Pakistan: rape laws challenged, Islamists exploit backlash

Now this is pretty depressing. Pakistan finally moves to overturn the atrocious anti-woman Hudood ordinances, under which women are punished for “adultery” if they report a rape. The Islamist opposition links backlash against this long-belated bit of progress with (legitimate) calls for democratization. This exemplifies how the US can do no good in this part of the world: the State Department doubtless pressured the Musharraf dictatorship to do away with the Hudood ordinances, to give Washington’s GWOT ally a minimally plausible imprimatur of secularism. But because it happens in the context of a military regime being pressured by its imperial patron, this allows the would-be jihadist totalitarians to dress up their clerical reactionary agenda as a pro-democracy struggle. And even elements of the idiot left in the West get confused. From the Pakistan Tribune, Nov. 25:

RAWALPINDI — Central Leadership of Pakistan Muslim League PML-N has categorically stated that the rulers have confronted the Hudood Ullah with the passage of the Women Protection Bill and the rule of the present government will end soon.

It was said by PML-N leaders while addressing a reception gathering given by renowned local Trader Union leader Imran Chaudhry here on Friday.

PML-N will bring about a change that will result in empowering masses and will put the nation on course of progress. No military general will be allowed to usurp the right of free exercise of vote from the public in the next general elections.

The controversial bill that is in the process of debate has created rumpus in the Upper House.

The gathering was addressed by PML-N Chairman Raja Zafar-ul-Haq, Central Information Secretary Ehsan Iqbal, Central Joint Secretary Siddique-ul-Farooq, President Women Wing Punjab Begum Najma Hameed and others.

Raja Zafar-ul-Haq said that the rulers through a well-worked out planning wish to blur the destination of the ideology of Pakistan and Islam. The government is presenting distorted facts in front of the public.

Lambasting the government over the WPB he said that in the name of the women protection bill the government wishes to introduce a bill mediating vulgarity and obscenity that is in actual a rebellion against Allah.

With the passage of the bill the rule of the government will also come to an end. General Musharraf is using force in the whole country including Bajaur and Balochistan. for pleasing the US President Gen Musharraf has written the memoir.

The opposition leader said due to the government attitude towards Dr Qadir Pakistan has been made a culprit and weak state in front of the world. The government ministers are viewing the passage of Women Protection Bill as a way of promotion of tourism in the country.

Raja Zafar said at present even the minorities in the country are calling the government adopted policies as shameful. Soon the rulers would be made accountable for their acts. He said that he will be the first to take to the streets and the nation will follow. The government cannot keep Nation and Nawaz Sharif apart for long.

Referring to passive role of Punjab during the fall of East Pakistan [Bangladesh–WW4R] he said the major responsibility lies with the Punjab. If they didn’t act now then there will nothing more than lamenting to do left. It is important to stop the dictatorship by force now for saving the country.

He said on the occasion of Tony Blair’s visit a ban was placed on prayer and Azaan at the Faisal Mosque. Those claiming progress must tell where the development has taken place.

Siddiqu-ul-Farooq on the occasion said in the past seven years its just PML-N that has practiced politics on the basis of principles. Today all the political and religious leadership must agree at restoration of constitution and doing away with the dictatorial rule.

He criticized the prevalent corruption nationwide.

See our last posts on Pakistan, the abysmal status of women in the USA’s closest South Asian ally, and the Hudood ordinances.