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Qatl refers to the offense of murder or causing someone’s death unlawfully. Under the Pakistan Penal Code, there are two specific circumstances in which qatl can be committed:
“Ikrah-i-Tam” refers to a situation where the offender exercises complete and absolute coercion over the victim, leaving them with no choice but to comply, even if it leads to their death. In such cases, if the victim dies as a direct result of the coercion, the offender can be charged with qatl.
Example 1: A person holds a gun to someone’s head and demands that they jump off a high building. Fearing for their life, the victim complies and jumps, resulting in their death. The person holding the gun would be liable for qatl committed under Ikrah-i-Tam because the victim had no alternative but to obey the coercive demand.
Example 2: An individual kidnaps someone and threatens to kill their family members unless they ingest a lethal dose of poison. The victim, under extreme duress, consumes the poison and dies. The kidnapper would be charged with qatl under Ikrah-i-Tam since the victim had no option but to comply due to the imminent danger to their loved ones.
“Ikrah-i-Naqis” refers to a situation where the offender exerts partial or incomplete coercion over the victim, who still retains some freedom of choice or ability to resist. If, during such circumstances, the victim dies as a direct result of the coercion, the offender can be held accountable for qatl.
Example 1: A person physically assaults another and threatens to continue the assault unless the victim consumes a poisonous substance. While the victim could potentially resist or seek help, the fear and physical domination by the assailant lead them to ingest the poison, resulting in their death. The offender would be charged with qatl under Ikrah-i-Naqis because the victim had some capacity to resist or seek assistance, but the coercion and fear prevented them from doing so effectively.
Example 2: An individual forces someone into a confined space and starts a fire, blocking all escape routes. The victim, trapped and fearing the imminent danger, jumps from a window to escape but suffers fatal injuries. The person who initiated the fire would be charged with qatl under Ikrah-i-Naqis since the victim had limited options for escape due to the coercion and lethal situation created by the offender.
In both cases, it is crucial to establish that the coercion directly led to the victim’s death, and the victim had no reasonable means to escape the situation or defend themselves effectively. The specific circumstances and evidence presented in each case would determine the penalties for qatl committed under Ikrah-i-Tam or Ikrah-i-Naqis.