Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) International Solidarity Network calls for the government of Pakistan to repeal its laws on blasphemy. The urgent need for law reform has been highlighted by the recent deadly attacks on a Christian community in Punjab, Pakistan, whose members were accused of desecrating the Qur'an. Members of a banned Islamist group, Sipah-i-Sahaba, took the law into their own hands and it is reported that policemen present did not try to control the mob and protect the citizens.
With clear evidence of political interference in Ms Mai's case it is uncertain when her case will be heard again, and her legal team are only advised in the last minute by the judiciary. Please see the letter of thanks for the support Ms Mai and her family have received:
Mukhtar Mai’s case has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 4th, 2009 at the Supreme Court of Pakistan at Islamabad. Ms Mai was just informed by the office of her council Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan. This is an astonishing move. Since 2005, Mukhtar Mai’s case was pending before the Supreme Court without any hearings being scheduled. There continues to be political influence in this case and regular serious threats to her life and the lives of family members in an attempt to pressure her to drop the charges against her perpetrators.
Mukhtar Mai's counsel, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, had moved an application for adjournment, which was considered the best course of action in the current circumstances. With no right to a further appeal, Mai's rapists will stay in jail. However, the threat to the safety of Mukhtar Mai, and her family, from those implicated in the interference in her case remains.
The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network is deeply concerned by the fact that a sitting Federal Minister, Mr. Qayyum Jatoi, has pressured Mukhtar Mai, the well-known women’s human rights defender, to drop charges against the accused in her case.
The following is an update on the situation in the Kanchanpur district of Nepal where women human rights defender Laxmi Bohara was murdered by her husband and mother-in-law. Further women activists are now being threatened and attacked.
The National Alliance of Women Human Rights Defenders (NAWHRDs) requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Nepal. NAWHRDs is shocked and appalled about death of Ms. Laxmi Bohara, 28, a member of Women Human Rights Defender Network, Kanchanpur and a resident of Champapur, Ward No. 8, Daji Village Development Committee in Kanchanpur district. She was severely beaten and physically injured by her husband and mother-in-law and later died in the zone hospital.
"General Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan on Saturday November 3, 2007 and imposed the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) that suspends the Constitution and the fundamental rights of citizens, gags the media and forbids any form of dissent. This has drastically upset the already frail political setup prevalent in the country.
WLUML's letter to UN Special Rapporteurs and UN Human Rights Bodies expresses our alarm and grave concern regarding the mass arrests, ill-treatment and flagrant violations of the human rights of members of the judiciary, the legal profession and civil society that is currently taking place in Pakistan. We urge them to appeal to General Musharraf to restore the constitution, the judiciary, the media, and to end all arrests and violence against peaceful protests.