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Pakistan Passes Anti-honor Killing Bill

FILE - In this picture taken on July 18, 2016, the mother of Pakistani slain social media star Qandeel Baloch mourns besides her dead body in Shah Sadderuddin, Pakistan. Baloch was killed by her brother for what he called “intolerable” behavior.

Pakistan passed long-awaited legislation Thursday on so-called "honor killings," removing a loophole that allowed the killer to go free..

Under the new law, perpetrators will get a mandatory 25-year prison sentence. Previously, killers could be pardoned by the victim's family and be freed.

In a statement issued late Thursday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated the parliament, civil society activists, academia and media for supporting the landmark passage of the anti-honor killing legislation.

"I urge the entire nation particularly enlightened and progressive voices in the country to support us in successful enforcement of the legislation and catch hold of those who have been targeting women through frivolous customs and practices that have nothing to do with Islam," Sharif asserted and added: ”There is no honor in honor killing.”

Human rights groups say hundreds of women are killed in Pakistan each year for allegedly bringing “dishonor” to their families.

In July, a social media star, Qandeel Baloch, was strangled and her brother confessed to the crime, citing what he described as Baloch’s “intolerable” behavior.

Her death made headlines in local and international media for days, prompting a high-level probe into the killing.

VOA's Ayaz Gul in Islamabad contributed to this report.

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