Pakistani Province May Enact Taliban-like Restrictions
Women’s groups in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) bordering Afghanistan are reacting sharply to a proposed bill calling for the enforcement of strict Islamic law. The legislation, which places Sharia law above secular provincial law, paves the way for provincial leaders to “[follow] in the footsteps of the Taliban,” the groups caution, according to the BBC. While members of NWFP’s Islamic coalition insist the law would “curb obscenity and protect human decency,” many women fear new restrictions will ban them from working for foreign non-profit groups. “The way the Islamic parties have started imposing laws in the NWFP we feel will deprive many people of their basic rights,” Kamla Hayyat of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan told the BBC. Already deputies are considering introducing legislation to create a Department of Vice and Virtue, similar to that under the Taliban. In addition, a local legislator has already proposed mandating “purda” or veiling for all women over the age of twelve, the Gulf Daily News reports.
Media Resources: BBC 05/27/03; Gulf Daily News 05/21/03