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HADUD ORDINANCES OF 1979

HADUD ORDINANCES OF 1979 The Hadud Ordinances of 1979, promulgated by the government of President Zia ul-Haq, concerned crimes related to sex-adultery, fornication, rape, and prostitution The ordinances were viewed with great concern by women partly because they termed criminal many activities that were regarded in most civilized societies as beyond the reach of law Women in Pakistan were also apprehensive that the ordinances would provide a new set of instruments to those in the Pakistani society who were determined to reduce the status of women There was particular concern about two provisions in the ordinances One, in crimes relating to zina (adultery and fornication) and zina-bil-jabir (rape), the ordinances required that there must be four Muslim male adult witnesses present when the crime was committed for it to be recognized Two, the law did not draw any distinction between adultery and rape It was the latter provision that gave an enormous amount of authority to the state to regulate even those relations that had the consent of the men and women involved In spite of the strenuous efforts by women’s organizations, the ordinance remained on the books after Zia ul-Haq’s death A number of efforts were made by the government of President Pervez Musharraf to lighten the provision of the laws, but each time he was beaten back by the forces of conservative and extremist Islam



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