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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

 

The Shame of Pakistan - The Case of Mukhtar Mai


Hudood (Rape) Laws and What they Mean - Catch 22


Back in March I wrote about Mukhtar Mai of Pakistan who was gang raped. Unlike others in her situation, she fought back---sought legal recourse. The four men charged with rape were at first freed but the intense publicity generated by the case and outcry from women's organizations forced the court to put them in prison.

Now they are being released. The Government of Pakistan placed Mukhtar Mai in house arrest (supposedly "for her own safety") and banned her from traveling. The criticism in foreign press was quick and scathing. The authorities caved in. According to latest news, she will be allowed to travel. The government was concerned that her appearance before international organizations would damage the "image of Pakistan".


Mukhtar Mai Posted by Hello

Pakistan's antiquated Hudood laws are shameful. While educated and wealthy Pakistanis remain largely immune from them, in some areas of the country the enforcement of Hudood is very much in evidence. More and more Pakistani women are speaking out against the laws and customs which relegate women to little more than slaves.

This is from the web site of LHRA (Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid), Pakistan.

The Zina Hudood Ordinance(1979)Defined
Now, here is the icing on the cake. To press charges against the perpetrator(s), the victim must provide proof as described below.
Proof of zina or zina-bil-jabr liable to hadd shall be in one of the following forms, namely:--
Talk about a classic Catch 22---this is the mother of them all! Hard to believe that such barbaric laws and practices exist in the 21st century but they are real.

As avowed champion of human rights the Bush administration ought to raise the plight of Mukhtar Mai and others with the Government of Pakistan. Don't hold your breath; not going to happen. President Musharraf of Pakistan is our ally in the fight against terrorists. So our government looks the other way. The hypocrites continue to utter platitudes.

Links:
LHRA Pakistan
Rape Laws-Pakistan

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