One of the crucial issues affecting women in South Asia
today has been the growth of state sponsored religious fundamentalism. This is
occurring in the context of increasing evidence of violence against women -
dowry murders, sexual harassment, rape often by the police and army, and the
throwing of acid on women in the streets. (1) As a result of campaigns and
agitations by women's movements, these incidents have been highlighted and the
governments have passed some preventive laws, albeit with many loopholes and
legal code of a nation ordinarily reflects, or should reflect, the values of the
society that form that nation. It depicts the influence of its past history and
its future aspirations or, at least, the aspirations of those in control. The
structure, mode, content and intent of the code indicate the ethical concepts
peculiar to that nation. All penal codes have ostensibly the same aims - to
punish the offender, to prevent crime and to preserve the peace.
The Muslim's Women's Research and Action Front considers the appointment of a
committee to examine Muslim Personal Law in the light of reform as a positive
step in the socio-legal and cultural upliftment of the community.
MWRAF as a group of committed and concerned Muslim women wishes to suggest a basis
for reforms, though we would like to reiterate the fact that our framework is
within the Qur'an and Sharia and the proposed changes would in effect be
implementation of not only the letter of the law but also the spirit of the law-
in other words the essence of the Qur'an
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.