Women Living Under Muslim Laws supports Shamial Raj and Shahzina Tariq who were sentenced by Lahore High Court (LHC) to three years rigorous imprisonment and Rs 10,000 fine on charges of perjury. Presently, Shahzina is imprisoned in Central Jail, Faisalabad, and Shamial in Kot Lakpath, Lahore.
Women Living Under Muslim Laws is deeply concerned about the prosecution and detention of Shamial Raj and Shahzina Tariq of Faisalabad, Pakistan. Shamial Raj had a sex change operation and for years has been living as a man. He and Shahzina Tariq married for love last year, despite the fact that Shahzina's father had wanted to marry her off to someone to whom he owed money. Shahzina's father, Tariq Hussain and other members of her family continued to harrass the pair and took legal action against Shamial accusing him of kidnapping their daughter, despite the consensual nature of their marriage. On the 28th of May, 2007 the Lahore High Court decided there was insufficient evidence to charge Shahzina and Shamial under section 377 (unnatural offences). However the couple have both been sentenced to three years imprisonment on lesser charges.
The Ajoka Theatre company staged a satirical play, "Burqavaganza", in Lahore earlier this month using the image of the burqa as a metaphor for the double standards which exist in contemporary Pakistani society. Following protests from Islamist politicians, the play has now been banned.
Just fourteen days after the National Assembly of Pakistan passed a Women's Protection Bill in order to provide relief and protection to women against the abuse of laws against premarital and extramarital sex, WLUML is deeply concerned to learn of another brutal "honour killing" case reported, from the Shikarpur district in the Sindh Province of Pakistan on 29 November 2006.
Colleagues at Shirkat Gah, WLUML Asia regional coordination office have been monitoring the situation and have confirmed that they have made efforts to meet with staff from the university departments involved and that the female student is now reported missing. There has been no further news on the incident and despite letters being sent to the judiciary and the university authorities, this case does not have a positive outcome. However, many thanks to those of you who responded.