KARACHI: Repeal of Hudood laws demanded
By Our Staff Reporter
KARACHI, Sept 14: Various civil society organizations on Thursday demanded repeal of Hudood laws owing to which a large number of women had been victimized over the years.The demand was made at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club by the Justice (retd) Shaiq Usmani, Anis Haroon, Danish Zuberi, Nuzhat Kidwai and Sarah Zaman who were representing various NGOs, including Women Action Forum, War Against Rape etc. They said though nothing good had come out of the present exercise of doing amendments to the Hudood Ordinances, one good thing had emerged that the government and the religious parties by agreeing to make the amendments have accepted that the Hudood Ordinances were man-made laws and could be amended. They said the original amendments to the Hudood Ordinances suggested by the government and recommendations made by the National Assembly’s Select Committee — though did not totally met their demand of repealing of the Hudood ordinances — did provide some relief to women but then the government succumbed to pressure of religious groups and gave in to their demands. They said if amendments suggested by religious parties — Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal — were included in the law, it would become more dangerous for women and they would be more vulnerable to victimization. They said the amendments suggested by the MMA were not according to Quran and Sunnah. They said that MMA had suggested that the Qazaf punishment should not be given automatically if the accuser did not produce four witnesses. If the accuser fails to produce four witnesses to Zina, the accuser should be punished under Qazaf immediately without making a fresh case. They said that the MMA’s demand that adultery be tried under the Hudood Ordinances as well as PPC was not fair. They said that the move to throw the proposed Women’s Protection Bill in limbo indefinitely in order to appease the MMA was nothing but the political expediency on the part of the government as it has to negotiate with the MMA on various other issues also. They said that their the Gen Zia’s Hudood ordinances had many flaws and making amendments to it would further complicate them more and women would be victimized more, so it was better to repeal the Hudood Ordinances. They said the women’s rights were not negotiable, so they would continue to struggle against the discriminatory laws.