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Harsh Pakistani Laws Criticized

September 03, 2003|From Reuters

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A government-appointed commission in Pakistan called Tuesday for the abolition of strict Islamic laws, which rights activists say discriminate against women.

The Islamic Hudud Ordinances were passed in 1979 under the dictatorship of Gen. Zia ul-Haq and cover a range of crimes. One of the most controversial provisions states that a woman must have four male witnesses to prove rape or face a charge of adultery herself. Men and women found guilty of adultery face stoning or 100 lashes.

"We have come to the conclusion that these laws should be repealed altogether," said Majida Razvi, chairwoman of the National Commission on the Status of Women.

Razvi said the panel was preparing a report that would urge the government to conduct a public and parliamentary debate before passing new laws.

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