Repeal of Hudood laws sought
ISLAMABAD, September 05 2006: Approval of Criminal Law Amendment (Protection of Women) Bill 2006 by NA select committee, which is expected to provide some relief to women and minorities, comes as disappointment for civil society activists who have been demanding repeal of Hudood law in totality. Prior to its approval the bill was read clause by clause. The Bill was approved with consensus by the Select Committee of the National Assembly on the Criminal Law Amendment (Protection of Women) Bill 2006.
The bill would now be sent to the National Assembly for enactment. In the amended Bill, 496-b (Zina bil jabr) was deleted and would not be considered punishable crime under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). In the amendments, sexual assault on a minor girl (below 16 years age) would be considered zina bil jabr and the rapist would be punished under the PPC.
“Civil society has been endeavoring for its complete repeal. We don’t need religion as only basis for a law,” said Action Aid’s Aksa Khan. These discriminatory laws had come through undemocratic methods, she said. “The Hudood laws were drafted by a military dictator to serve his own ends. They are discriminatory against the poor women of Pakistan and also against the minorities. It is disappointing that the Hudood laws have not been repealed completely.”
Pattan’s Dr Farzana Bari saw the approval as a step in the right direction. “Although we wanted complete repeal of the discriminatory laws but some major changes do provide a little relief to the poor women of the Pakistani society.”