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Hudood Ordinance Essay

4187 words - 17 pages

IntroductionThe Hudood Ordinance is a law which was enacted in 1979 by Pakistani President Zia-ul Haq as part of a process to Islamize Pakistani society. This law has been revised and replaced in 2006 by the Women’s Protection Bill. This paper studies the legal definitions of Hudood Ordinance. It analyzes the Islamic concepts of rape and talks about the effects of this ordinance on women. It makes suggestions and recommendations regarding the reform of the law.The Hudood Law implements the Islamic Sharia by enforcing punishments for Zina, Qazf, theft and drinking of alcohol. Zina is defined as extramarital sex in Islam. It prescribes punishments for Muslim men and women for the act of Zina. The punishment for adultery is stoning to death for married person, while an unmarried person receives one hundred lashes or being exiled for twelve months. The conditions for the implementation of the punishment are that the accused must be a practicing Muslim. Further the accused must have committed adultery out of his/her free will. There must be four male witnesses who can support the accusation. Zina-bil-jabr is referred to as sexual intercourse with a woman or man against the will of the victim or without the consent of the victim. It can also be committed if consent has been obtained by coercion, intimidation or threats. Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse to prosecute the offence of zina-bil-jabr. Islamic scholars state that rape is the same as adultery or fornication which carries the same punishment. Pakistan’s Law of Evidence is discriminatory towards women as it requires the evidence of two women as compared with that of one man in the case of Muslims. “The Zina Ordinance does not take into account a woman’s evidence even if she is the victim” .History of Hudood OrdinanceThe Hudood Ordinance has been responsible for injustices towards women. Rape victims who have not been able to prove it end up in prison if they have admitted to have illicit intercourse. An estimated six thousand women and children have been held in prison with the majority being imprisoned because of the Hudood Ordinance. The law requires that men and women who have been found guilty of zina to be subjected to Hadd punishments. This is carried out in the form of public stoning if the man and woman are married. For non married men and women, the punishment is public flogging of one hundred lashes. The problem emerges while proving the crime of zina-bil-jabr. The accused must make a confession or four male witnesses are required to support the accusation.Women of Pakistan have emerged as being most vulnerable and targets of social, domestic and sexual violence. The process of Islamization started under the government of President Zia-ul Haq. Pakistan has ratified the CEDAW and Article 25 of the constitution of Pakistan calls for the establishment of laws to help protect women. This has not prevented violence or discrimination...

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