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KARACHI: KU workshop urges review of Hudood laws

September 23, 2005

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KARACHI, Sept 22: Speakers at a workshop on Thursday opposed the implementation of laws under Hudood Ordinances, saying that those, in particular the ordinances related to the offence of “Zina” and “Qazf”, due to some inconsistencies led to increase in injustices to the underprivileged and poor women.

They called for a review of the different clauses of the ordinances and have a consensus on related issues prior to any further implementation of the Hudood Ordinances. Majority of the speakers expressed concern over the requirements of eye-witnesses and urged for a re-examination of those in the changing environment.

The workshop on “Hudood Ordinances and it implementation” was organized by the Public Administration department of the University of Karachi, with the objectives to provide the students an insight on the issues of public policy.

The participants were told that a set of five ordinances was introduced under the Hudood Ordinances about 25 years back during the martial law of General Ziaul Haq, without having any national debate, under the pretext of Islamization.

The ordinances in question are as follows:

1) The Offences Against Property (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance deals with the crimes of theft and armed robbery.

2) The Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance deals with the offences of rape, abduction, adultery and fornication.

3) The Offence of Qazf (Enforcement of Hudd) Order relates to a false accusation of Zina (adultery and fornication.

4) The Prohibition (Enforcement of Hudd) Order deals with the manufacture, possession and use of intoxicants (alcohol and narcotics) and

5) The Execution of Punishment of Whipping Ordinance, prescribes the mode of whipping for those convicted under the Hudood Ordinances.

Majority of the speakers confined to ordinances related to the requirements relating to the imposition of Hudd in the case of rape and adultery. A documentary film prepared by Aurat Foundation was also shown, discussing the emergence of Hudood Ordinances and its impact on the alleged victims of rape.

In her concluding remarks, Justice (retd) Majida Rizvi, chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women, said that the laws in question, which were prepared reportedly under the guidance of a justice from Saudi Arabia and introduced for implementation in a hectic manner, were not only confusing but practically failed to deliver justice to the women and the non-Muslims.

She discussed the forms of punishments in detail and held that in the presence of Hudd, defined as punishment ordained by the Holy Quran and the Sunnah, there was no need of “Tazir” (punishment) other than Hadd. Virtually the hudood provisions were serving the purpose of vested interests and ensured their control in the society.

The director of Aurat Foundation, Aneesa Haroon, said that the ordinances were such set of laws under which a woman after her rape was required to prove that she was subjected to the heinous crime. The laws have not been drawn from Islamic junctions, she added.

Allama Hassan Turabi focussed on the punishments ordained by the Holy Quran and the Sunnah. Scholars, politicians, academicians and policy makers should sit together to eliminate the differences on hudood and other issues of life, he pointed out.

Dr Shakeel Auj of the KU, Sadia Baloch of WADA, Akhtar Baloch of HR Commission and Prof Ahmad Ali Qadri of KU’s Political Science department also spoke.