Last August, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced his intention to rule Pakistan under a system of Islamic Shari'a law by proposing a constitutional amendment that would eliminate all secular laws and institute laws based on the Muslim holy book, the Koran.
Under the amendment, the government would have complete power to "prescribe what is right and to forbid what is wrong" and would require citizens to pray 5 times daily. The amendment has passed in the Pakistan's National Assembly and is pending in the Senate.
Just three months after proposing this amendment, Sharif publicly likened his plans to the rule of the repressive Taliban regime, which has subjected women to a "living death" in Afghanistan.
Pakistan has already imposed Islamic laws in tribal areas in the country's Northwest Frontier province, mimicking the Taliban regime in nearby Afghanistan. Courts headed by Muslim clerics will rule on all civil and criminal cases, and those found guilty will be subject to grand-scale, public punishments including lashing, amputations of hand and feet, and executions.
Under the Taliban, Afghan women and girls have been banned from attending schools and universities, and from working to support themselves. Since women are only allowed to receive treatment from female doctors, and female doctors are not allowed to work, women lack basic health care. Women are banned from leaving their homes unless a brother, father, son, accompanies them, and must wear a debilitating head-to-toe garment called a burqa when they do leave their homes. In homes where women live and in public buses, windows are painted opaque so that male passersby cannot see inside, and women cannot see out. Women are also forbidden from wearing shoes that make noise when they walk.
Media Resources: AP - January 16, 1999 and Feminist Majority Foundation
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .