Pakistan is the ugly twin of India. 2017 has dawned and Pakistani women are still hemmed in by the Sharia laws. Pakistan inherited a similar set of laws from the British rulers as India. The law of the land for decades since independence has remained the Pakistan Penal Code. Often referred to as Macaulay's code, this was a secular code. However, General Ziaul Haq who took over in 1978 after a military coup reversed the clock. He brought in the Sharia for crimes against Women. This is known as the Hudood ordinance. The ordinance took away crimes against women like rape out of the purview of the PPC.

They were put under the Sharia. General Zia had his reasons for taking this retrograde step. He had no political base and after the execution of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the Pakistan PM his popularity was at a low ebb. He wanted to bolster his image and thought that such a law will appeal to the Mullahs and male Muslims of Pakistan. He thought that he would gain legitimacy. Unfortunately, Zia was assassinated in 1989, but the Hudood ordinance still remains and has not been repealed. Nobody seems to have any guts to tinker with this ordinance.

Ordinance and rape

The ordinance is like an anchor around the throats of the Pakistani women. As an example, a rape crime has to be proved by four eyewitnesses.

In addition, a women's evidence is half of a man. Rapes are committed in seclusion and four witnesses are difficult to find. A woman's own evidence that she is raped carries no value. There are cases that women who reported rape under the Hudood ordinance were charged with Zina or adultery. The crime of adultery is punishable by death.

Thankfully nobody has been as yet stoned to death, but hundreds of women who reported rape were put in jail. This is a chilling thought.

Amendment by general Mushraff

There was a significant amendment made to bring women's crimes back under the PPC. General Mushraff got passed the "protection of women( criminal) laws amendment act" in 2006. This act allowed rape, as it is not mentioned in the Koran back under the PPC, but the other aspects of the ordinance remain including Zina