CNSNews.com – Pakistan’s government faces a looming deadline to either comply with a court ruling to amend the country’s penal code to make the death penalty the only lawful punishment for “blasphemy,” or to appeal the order. And with just four days to go, its failure to respond is worrying religious freedom campaigners.
The early December ruling by the federal shari’a court threatens to worsen an already grim situation faced by religious minorities. Currently those convicted of “defiling the name of Mohammed” face either life imprisonment or the death penalty, but the court wants the latter option to now be compulsory.
Despite national laws and international commitments, child marriage remains a real threat for many in Pakistan. According to the Pakistan Demographic and Household Survey (PDHS 2006-7), 13 percent of girls in the country are married by the time they are 15 and 40 percent by 18 years. 18% of Pakistani women have had their first birth by age 18; 9% have begun child bearing between 15-19 years and 7% are already mothers in those ages leading to one of the highest infant mortality rates in South Asia (PDHS 2006-7).
In January 2005, Dr. Shazia Khalid was raped by member of the Pakistan Army in a remote area of Baluchistan province. Dr. Shazia Khalid is a medical doctor who was working as an employee of Pakistan Petroleum Limited at that time, and the incident happened at her compound which was located inside the hospital’s premises in the Sui area of Baluchistan. A case was filed and investigations began after her husband made repeated visits to the police. The military government of that time found Dr. Khalid’s protests against sexual assault by a military employee extremely irritating and started making conscious efforts to remove the thorn in their side. First, the authorities destroyed the evidence and later, they started questioning the character of the victim by narrating shady stories of “used condoms” being found at her compound. Her case was also dismissed on the grounds that the victim failed to produce four witnesses of the incident. Her case increased tensions between the Baluch nationalist tribes and the Pak Army as the tribes took the incident as an attack on their honour. Dr. Khalid was kept under a house arrest in Karachi for several weeks. Eventually, she was flown out of the country and the entire story was swept under the carpet. Dr. Shazia Khalid is still awaiting justice.
The purpose of this Code of Ethics is to help individual journalists, media persons, management and owners of media houses to promote gender justice in their organizational policies as well as in their professions to become better at their work, by accepting and applying an established understanding of the expected universal gender-sensitive standards, attitudes and behaviour. This Code deals with the following six main areas: Right to Privacy; Pictorial Depiction of Women; Balanced Representation of Women; Projection of Gender Roles in Advertisements; Quality Coverage of Women’s Issues and Maintaining Professional Standards.
Two Muslim students report a 50 year old Christian for having burned pages of the Koran . In reality it was a text book in Arabic. Efforts of Islamic leader key to saving woman who is now in hiding for fear of retaliation. His invitation to all to "properly evaluate the facts" and not "stir up divisions."
Faisalabad ( AsiaNews) - The active collaboration between Muslim religious leaders and Pakistani Christian activists has allowed, once again, the peaceful resolution of an alleged case of blasphemy against a poor woman ( and innocent ) , belonging to a religious minority. The incident occurred in recent days in Faisalabad , Punjab , the province with the largest Christian community. The case has many similarities with that of Philip Masih and his family as recounted by AsiaNews, who was indicted for no reason and escaped trial thanks to the seminal contribution of Muslim leaders and police forces. The peaceful resolution of the story has prevented an escalation of tension, which often has exploded into attacks against entire communities (Gojra, in 2009). The names of the protagonists have been changed for security reasons.
Islamabad, Pakistan - As international headlines for much of this month focused on the attack on 14-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai by the Taliban, what generally went unnoticed was the outrageous plight of more than a dozen young girls in Pakistan.
Last month, a blood feud between two battling tribes in the Dera Bugti district of Balochistan province was settled by a tribal "Jirga" (assembly of elders) that decided to hand over as many as 13 young girls in "vani" - an age-old tribal custom that gives females in marriage to males of another tribal group to settle a dispute.
When 16-year-old Tahira was murdered in a horrific acid attack last year, her poverty-stricken parents got no justice. Pakistan officials slammed the door in their faces and the police refused to listen.
Pakistan just held a historic election, but civil society is protesting over thousands of women barred from the polls by Islamic radicals and the fresh killings of aid workers in the world’s most dangerous place for humanitarians.