Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

November-16-06

Pakistan's Lower House Amends Rape Laws Punitive to Victims

Pakistan's lower house of parliament approved changes to the country's punitive rape laws yesterday. Currently, rape in Pakistan is tried under Islamic law outlined in the Hudood Ordinances. A rape victim must produce four male witnesses to the crime, and if she is unable to prove her case, she is charged with adultery, which is punishable by death or flogging. The new legislation, called the Womenís Protection bill, would allow a judge to decide whether to try rape cases under the Hudood Ordinances or Pakistanís civil code, and it permits the use of forensic and circumstantial evidence in determining guilt, the New York Times reports. The amendments also outlaw sex with girls under 16 and reduce the sentence for consensual sex outside of marriage from death or flogging to five years in jail or a 10,000 rupees ($165) fine.

The changes must still be approved by the Senate, which is expected, and by President General Pervez Musharraf. In September, similar legislation was proposed, but never approved by the government. President Musharraf seems supportive of the legislation, saying, "I have taken a firm decision to change these unjust rape laws as it was necessary to amend them to protect women," according to AP. The new proposals, however, have created a large schism within the legislature. According to the New York Times, Islamic fundamentalists boycotted the vote, and some have threatened to resign from parliament if the bill takes effect.

Local and international activists have been calling for a reform of Pakistanís rape laws, especially after the 2002 gang-rape of Mukhtar Mai. A tribal council in a rural area of Pakistan ordered the gang rape of Mai after she approached the council in hopes of settling a dispute involving the kidnapping of her younger brother and his affair with a woman of a higher caste. Mai has become a womenís rights activist, posting a blog and establishing two schools, in addition to speaking out about her experiences in Pakistan.

Media Resources: New York Times 11/15/05; AP 11/16/06; Feminist Daily Newswire 3/4/05


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

12/19/2014 Woman on Life Support Revives Ireland Abortion Debate - Debate surrounding Ireland's ban on abortion has come up again following a current case involving a woman who is being kept on life support because she is pregnant. The woman's family wants her to be taken off life support, but doctors refuse because Irish law says they must do what they can to protect the 16-week-old fetus. . . .
 
12/19/2014 DC City Council Unanimously Approves Reproductive Health Anti Discrimination Bill - Wednesday, the Washington, DC City Council unanimously passed a bill that will prohibit employer interference in the reproductive health decisions of their employees. The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014 was first introduced by DC Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), just ahead of the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of for-profit retail chain Hobby Lobby this summer. . . .
 
12/19/2014 Incremental Gains for Women in Congress - When the 114th Congress is sworn into office on January 3rd, 2015, there will be exactly the same number of women in Senate as the year before, 20, and a record-high number of women in the US House, 84. . . .