“Pakistan ignores justice and holds women in contempt”

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Read this Op-Ed by Anber Raz of Equality Now in The Independent. Below is an excerpt:

More than 100 schools for girls have been torched or blasted by militants in the Swat valley and other tribal areas, where it is feared that as many as 100,000 girls may now be denied their basic right to an education.

The militants have warned all parents to remove their daughters from school or face direct attacks on the girls. Women have been told to wear the veil and not leave their homes unless accompanied by a male relative. The Pakistani government is said to have agreed the introduction of sharia law with the militants as an inducement to stop the fighting.

Government sanction of a parallel legal system used to deny the basic rights of women and girls, is both unconstitutional and unacceptable. Reports suggest that more than 70 Taliban courts are already operating in the region, handing down punishments that include flogging. With no indication of when girls’ schools in the region will reopen and with appeasement of the militants an apparent priority, the government claims to be doing all it can to restore law and order, but it seems to have excluded consideration of more than half its population.

Law and order is certainly something that would be very much welcomed by Mukhtar Mai. She was gang-raped in 2002 on the orders of an illegal tribal court in punishment for an alleged crime of her 12-year-old brother. She has still not won justice. …

Please contact the officials below urging them to ensure the rights of women and girls are protected and not sacrificed in order to appease militants in Swat and FATA.

President Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
President’s Secretariat
Islamabad, Pakistan

Mr Farooq Naik
Minister of Law, Justice and Human Rights
S Block Pakistan Secretariat

Mr Ameer Hussain Hoti
Chief Minister of North West Frontier Province
Tel: +92- 92- 9211705

Please also send copies of your messages to the Speaker of the House of Parliament:

Dr Fehmida Mirza
Speaker, National Assembly of Pakistan
Parliament House
Islamabad, Pakistan
E-mail: speaker@na.gov.pk

Please keep Equality Now updated on your work and send copies of any replies you receive to:

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