Govt warned of protests if Hudood laws not repealed -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Govt warned of protests if Hudood laws not repealed

By Our Reporter

ISLAMABAD, Sept 17: Sixteen civil society organisations on Sunday warned the government of countrywide protests if it did not repeal the Hudood Ordinances and enact new legislations through parliament that could ensure the rights of women. They also rejected the three proposals suggested by Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) for incorporation into Hudood Ordinances calling it “politics” in the name of Islam and at the cost of women. The countrywide protests would be kicked off with a rally to be held near China Chowk, Islamabad, on September 20. This would be followed by demonstrations in major cities of the four provinces including Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.

“We strongly denounce the government for setting in motion an extra-parliamentary process to accommodate the anti-women forces of MMA, which had boycotted the select committee of parliament,” said Farzana Bari while reading out a statement at a joint press conference here on Sunday. Representatives of Women Action Forum, Pattan Development Organisation, Human Right Commission of Pakistan, Sungi, Aurat Foundation, Rozan, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Actionaid, Strengthening of Participatory Organisation (SPO), The Network, Sach, Bedari and PODA were present on the occasion. Naeem Mirza of Aurat Foundation said it was strange that amendments to Hudood Ordinances were being made by those political ulema, who had prepared these ordinances. Instead of bringing them to the court for formulating such repressive laws, the MMA-PML Ulema Committee was given the powers to reject the recommendations of the select committee.

Human rights activist Nasreen Azhar and Rubina Saigol of ActionAid criticised Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman for his statement that if Kalabagh dam issue could be deferred then why not amendments to the Hudood Ordinances. They said the Maulana should have differentiated between a human rights issue and a water project because it was a question of life of thousands of women jailed under Hudood laws. The joint statement said that the messy situation created by the government’s decision to amend rather than repeal the Hudood Ordinances was a flawed piece of legislation that had not only denied all principles of gender equality and social justice but was also full of legal loopholes.

They alleged that the government had already stuck a deal with the MMA on three amendments: reinsertion of Section 3, moving adultery back to Taazir through introduction of a section on lewdness and moving rape back to Hadd. Human rights activist Ms Bushra and Samina Khan of Sungi said that the women brought by MMA to parliament had never raised their voice against the exploitation of women.
Source: Dawn
Date:9/18/2006