A WLUML networker responds to recent news that the provincial assembly of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) passed the Hasba Bill to suppress vice, with a unit led by a cleric and a police force to implement its orders.
The National Assembly passed the Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Bill to reform Pakistan’s rape laws which includes several amendments to sections 7, 8, 9 and 12 of the draft, as proposed by a committee of religious scholars.
Women are given in marriage to hostile families as compensation for a relative's crime in a practise called "swara" in Pashtun, parts of Afghanistan and the NWFP, and "vanni" in the Punjab. Although officially outlawed in Pakistan, the custom prevails.
Twenty-five years ago, Fehmida and Allahbakhsh were awarded 80 lashes and death by stoning respectively by a Karachi court under the Hudood ordinances. In response to these sentences, the Women's Action Forum was born to fight the oppression of women.