ISLAMABAD, Nov 12: The Women Action Forum in an open letter to President Asif Ali Zardari, condemned the appointment of Senator Isralullah Zehri and Mir Hazar Khan Bajarani as Federal Ministers for their hostile attitude towards women.

The letter said WAF was shocked, horrified and outraged at the appointment of Senator Israrullah Zehri as a minister.

“This is the man who is on record to have actually defended the barbaric and inhuman crime of burying women alive as a traditional custom”. Zehri also threatened, on the floor of the senate, Senator Yasmin Shah, who had the courage to speak against the heinous crime of dire consequences.

WAF was of the opinion that such beliefs reflected a reprehensible absence of sensitivity to, and awareness of Pakistanis laws, which declared heinous crime as a cognizable and non-bailable offence, and carried strong punishment. “This is also the violation of 1973 constitution which guarantees equal rights to women.”

The letter said WAF Pakistan was outraged that despite the result of the investigation clearly indicating the involvement of Satter Umrani and Fateh Mohammad Umrani, (all PPP representatives) in the crime, the acting chairman of the senate, Jan Mohammad Jamali, refused to condemn the killings.

“WAF therefore condemns the appointment of the Zehri as minister, WAF further condemns the ministerial appointment of the Mir Hazar Khan Bajarani as Education Minister”, the letter said.

It was pointed out that Mr Bajarani was the PPP MNA who participated in a jirga decision to exchange five little girls, of 4-6 years, in marriage to settle a feud between two warring tribes in 2007. Hearings about this crime were even held in the Supreme Court, when former chief justice Iftikhar Choudhry took suo motu notice of the crime.

“Such a person as Bajarani can hardly be considered fit to head the Ministry of the Education, and understand the need to ensure equal educational opportunities for girls. We condemn the appointment of Mr Bajarani as Education Minister. —Our Reporter

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