South Asia

Women's Action Forum (WAF), Lahore expresses grave concern at the sentence of stoning to death of Zafran Bibi by the Sessions Judge Kohat, Mr. Anwar Ali. Zafran Bibi was sentenced on the basis of her statement before the court that she became pregnant and gave birth as the result of being raped by her husband's brother while the former was in jail. The male accused was acquitted.
Although friends in Pakistan clearly stated they wish to pursue this case by prioritising local pressure and working through the Pakistani legal system, local groups have however requested that international friends remain ready to launch an alert for action should the need arise. Pakistani women’s, human rights and lawyers’ groups have mobilised around the case. At this point they are prioritising local pressure and working through the Pakistani legal system as their strategy.
Protest against the threats and intimidation unleashed on women activists of the social work organisation SANGRAM and the prostitutes collective VAMP (Veshya AIDS Mukabla Parishad) by the Nippani Circle Inspector of Police Satish Khot and the Shiv Sena corporator of Nippani.
Dr. Younus Shaikh, a peace activist and founder of the Progressive group 'Enlightenment', was a teacher at the Capital Medical College for Homeopathy, Islamabad. He was arrested on 5th October 2000 by the Islamabad police and charged under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code. All petitions for bail were rejected by the Lower and High Courts. On 24 July 2001 the Multan Bench of Lahore High Court confirmed the death sentence of Ayub Masih, a Christian, in a blasphemy case. Ayub Masih of Arifwala, Distt. Sahiwal (Southern Punjab) was arrested on 14 October, 1996 on the charge of passing derogatory remarks against the Prophet Muhammad. The appeal in one case is currently being heard while in the other case the appeal has already been turned down at the High Court level. It is therefore of the utmost urgence that all friends respond now to place pressure on the Pakistan authorities and ensure that these precious lives are not lost.
Simi Banu, a young and talented artist of Narayangonj Fine Arts Institute, committed suicide at her residence in Khilgaon thana, Dhaka on December 23.
A booklet which aims to break the cycle of impunity in cases of honour killings by clarifying common misconceptions about the law and by providing information on some basic aspects of the law and the operation of the legal machinery in Pakistan as it relates to murder.
Following their release on bail in August 2001, the HIV/AIDS prevention workers now face charges from the Lucknow police.
On July 7, 2001, police in Lucknow raided the offices of Bharosa Trust and the Naz Foundation, seizing HIV/AIDS prevention material, including educational brochures, videos, and condoms.  The Senior Superintendent of Police concluded that both agencies were running "gay clubs" and spreading gay culture throughout Lucknow.