Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Some Good News

This should serve as good news to many. Pakistan enacted new laws which enable women to bring rape charges against any attacker thourgh the normal criminal justice system. Until this law came to be, any woman bringing such charges was required to have at least 4 male witnesses to the rape to support her claim. Further, under the prior system if such charges were made without the 4 witnesses, the woman was subject to charges of adultery. Man, god truly is great. Four witnesses? "Hey, guys, come on over, I'm gonna rape your neighbor's daughter. Ya wanna watch? You wouldn't tell on me, would you?"

Now the burden of proof will be as with any other criminal charge, and it can include DNA and other forensic evidence which was not admissable before. It also removes the death penalty for extra-marital sex. Such acts are now subject to the equivalent of a $5000. fine. Not great, but it beats beheading, don't you think?

It is likely that the road to enforcing this law will be bumpy at best. It does give some semblance of hope to women in Pakistan, and perhaps in time, in other predominantly muslim nations. The law had the active backing of President Musharraf pitting himself against the traditional islamists who, as one would expect, opposed its approval. There are pros and cons regarding Musharraf, but this does represent a step in the proper direction. You gotta take what you can get, for now, anyhow.


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