Can Mukhtar Mai Obtain Justice?

Leena Khan in Ego Magazine:

Mukhtarmai_main2Women’s legal and social status in Pakistan have had a turbulent history. From honor killings to acid throwing to gang rapes, women in Pakistan have had to pay with their lives and bodies for alleged crimes violating their family or tribe’s so-called honor. To make matters worse, successive governments in Pakistan have consistently turned a blind eye to harrowing atrocities committed upon women.

Some of the most disastrous consequences for women’s rights began to unfold during the aftermath of the military dictatorship of General Zia ul-Haq. In 1977, General Zia led a military coup and overthrew the elected government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The years which followed witnessed a series of laws known as the Hudood Ordinances that gave legal sanction to women’s subordinate status. With the Hudood Ordinances, General Zia led a large-scale effort to Islamicize the country, promising to return Pakistan to the “moral purity of early Islam.” The appropriation of conservative Islamic laws and policies meant increased social control of women. The Hudood Ordinances introduced a number of discriminatory laws, and most significantly equated laws pertaining to rape and adultery. The law provided that in order for a woman to prove she was raped, she would have to produce four males of impeccable character who witnessed the act of penetration. The testimony of women and non-Muslims would be considered worthless. If she could not produce the requirement of four male witnesses, she would be guilty of having committed zina, or adultery, an act punishable by stoning.

More here.  [Thanks to Amera Raza.]