ISLAMABAD, March 3: People's Party Parliamentarians (PPP) MNA Sherry Rehman has criticized rejection of honour killing bill both by the government and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) , saying that it has exposed the hollow slogan of enlightened moderation by President Gen Pervez Musharraf.

Talking to a group of reporters here on Thursday, the PPP MNA said rejection of the bill had also exposed true face of the friendly opposition. She regretted that whenever any women issue was raised in the parliament, it was made a religious issue by the treasury benches and MMA members.

She said the honour killing bill, tabled by the ruling party MNA, Kashmala Tariq, had only sought more protection for women and there was no question of Islamic or unIslamic about it.

Ms Rehman said Islam had given equal rights to women and men and there was nothing against Islamic injunctions in the bill. Moreover, she said, it was not the right of the MMA members to declare anything Islamic or unIslamic.

The PPP MNA said they were demanding protection for women to avert incidents like Dr Shazia rape case. Talking about Dr Shazia case, she said since January 3, every Baloch leader had been insisting that until the main accused in the case were not arrested and tried transparently, they would not cooperate with the federal government.

She said Balochistan had witnessed over 1,500 rocket attacks, 113 bomb blasts and hundreds of attacks on railways, telephone and other installations that crippled life in the province, yet the government remained unmoved.

The MNA questioned why the judge holding an inquiry into the incident had not submitted his report to the provincial government despite the fact that he was bound to do that within 15 days.

Why did a spokesman for the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) initially called it a minor issue that could be settled privately, she added. "Is a woman's life and honour so cheap that her rape by four alleged officers of the PPL and security apparatus was not to be taken seriously," she said.

The MNA further asked why was the victim not taken directly to Karachi for medical examination and diverted instead to Kandhkot, where she was made to sign a document under pressure from a PPL doctor, saying that she did not want to report the incident to the police.

"Why was she not allowed to meet her family until two days after the incident when they were finally informed," she said. Ms Rehman also criticized Gen Musharraf for pronouncing a verdict of not guilty on Capt Hammad, one of the accused, before the judicial inquiry had been completed?

By protecting the perpetrators of this heinous crime, she said, the military was bringing down its own image. The PPP MNA also questioned as to how DNA test was supposed to be conducted when all evidence had been destroyed before it could be chemically or forensically examined.

"DNA tests can only be conducted when a hair or some body part is left behind for examination. So on what exactly was the DNA test conducted," she asked. She also called for a public trial of those who tried to suppress the matter in violation of section 201 of the Constitution.

She said the government must understand that if it could not provide justice in such a high profile case, it was failing in its ultimate responsibility to protect lives of its citizens.

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