22 Nov 17/Wednesday.
As per Wikipedia, Blood money, also called bloodwit, is money or some sort of compensation paid by an offender (usually a murderer) or his/her family group to the family or kin group of the victim. As per the Islamic laws also referred as Shariya, blood money or diya is paid to the victim or victim’s family as a compensation for causing the death or injury of another person accidentally or intentionally. It is also considered as a punishment and a means of protecting the rights of the parents of the victim but never a means to undermine the justice to the victim. It is over and above the punishment to the accused as per the criminal proceedings.
However, in Pakistan it seems the religious clerics teaching young children in numerous Madrassahs have moulded this law to suit themselves and as an escape route to their sexual crimes against children. Rather than blood money paid for the blood now it is called as money paid to seek “Forgive” from the victim or victim’s family, whether they are willing or not, after committing sexual crime .
These religious offenders backed by the Militant outfits like Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) take it for granted to indulge in such crimes as they are aware that nothing can happen to them. Firstly the victim’s family itself is scared to lodge a complaint and even if they do the law enforcers force them to withdraw their complaints. They prefer settling the issue through Blood Money and Forgive, how heinous may be the crime. Victims and their families are pressurised to “forgive” the crime, or essentially settle for Blood Money. Most of the victims do it as they believe they are helpless to do anything else and there is constant threat to their lives if they pursue the case.
Last year Pakistan has been able to remove Blood money in cases of Honour Killings but they are not been able to do the same for rapes of young children by religious clerics in almost 20,000 Madrassas across the country. So, at one hand when the honour killings accused are being punished on the other hand rapists of children in the Madrassahs are being let off after paying the blood money.
Ms Munizae Bano, executive director of “Sahil”, an NGO in Pakistan, with one of the charter of Protecting Children from Sexual Crimes by reaching out to the victims of Madrassas and helping them get justice, narrates how difficult it is to find out such violations as people are reluctant to complain. Whatever cases they have come through is just “tip of the iceberg.” In 2016, NGO had found around 56 such cases involving religious clerics of Madrassahs. However, inspite of all the assurance non came forward to take on the accused and cases were deemed settled by the law enforcers, most of them by paying blood money since in a country like Pakistan, where religious clerics are so very powerful that sexual abuse by them is seldom discussed or even acknowledged in public.
In one such latest incident where a 9 year boy was raped by his teacher in Pakistan, at Kehrore Pakka, mother of the boy, who had earlier vowed that she would never give in to intimidation to drop the charges against the accused had to settle for Rs 30000/- as blood money as she was pressurized and perhaps threatened by religious militants.
Question remains to the country and to the humanity as to how long such law can carry on which is used as an Escape route to sexual offenders?