Ophelia Benson reports on attempts to change the standard of evidence in rape cases in Pakistan.
Gen Musharraf’s allies in parliament sparked the fury of the militant opposition by introducing a Women Protection Bill. This would remove the requirement for four male witnesses to prove rape and set 16 as the age of consent for sex with girls. When this measure came before parliament, Islamic radicals responded by tearing up copies of the bill and storming out. “This bill is against the Holy Koran,” said Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the leader of the militant opposition. “We reject it and will try to block it in any possible manner.” Other MPs chanted “death to Musharraf” and “Allah is great.”
She also wonders what’s going on in the heads of such people:
Do they ever think, these militant types? If so, what do they think about? Do they ever think about why Allah who is great would makes such a law? Do they ever wonder why they want men who rape women to have impunity? Are they so confident that all women are whores and liars (their own daughters, sisters, mothers?) that they deserve to be raped with impunity, and stoned or lashed to death if they charge someone with rape and can’t persuade the four pious witnesses to testify?
Answers on a postcard please.