Musharraf favours changes to Hudood Ord
ISLAMABAD,March 31,2005: President Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday said he would support changes in the Hudood Ordinance in order to delete the provisions which were contradictory to Islam.
“But a mere change in the law is not sufficient. We need to change the mindset,” the president said while addressing an international conference titled Gender Mainstreaming and Millennium Development Goals.
The president said the government was working to improve laws, which had been misused. “The situation of Pakistani women isn’t as bad as projected by some non-governmental organisations and the media. The record of women’s rights and development in Pakistan is much better than other developing countries.”
President Musharraf said changes in laws to stop honour killing would not bring about positive results if the mindset was not changed. “I am disappointed to see our own people painting a gloomy picture of Pakistan,” he said, referring to an article by a Pakistani on Mukhtar Mai in the foreign press.
He said Pakistan was pursuing far-reaching steps for socio-economic development and women’s empowerment. He urged the developed world to assist the developing world in realising the “millennium development goals”.
“The developed nations must assist the developing countries otherwise this objective will not be achieved,” he said, urging the industrialised nations to ease the debt burden on developing countries so that women’s empowerment could be achieved.
The president also called for the return of “plundered” money from developing countries and now stashed in western banks. “The return of this laundered money will help speed up development,” he added.
Referring to a number of initiatives by the government for women’s empowerment, the president said that half of the female population in Pakistan had been empowered fully in the public and private sectors.
President Musharraf said more than 40,000 women were enjoying political authority at various levels, including the Senate, national, provincial and local assemblies.
The president stressed real empowerment of women could only be achieved by social change based on enlightenment and widespread education. The president said the government had changed the mindset through legislation but it alone could not change society effectively. “For an effective change, we will have to change the minds of the people,” he said, adding that several initiatives had been taken to provide quality education at primary and higher levels and several colleges and universities were being opened. Incentives such as free books and stipends have been introduced at the primary level to attract female students to education.
Source: Daily Times