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Pakistan: woman was sentenced to death by stoning

Pakistan: A woman was sentenced to death by stoning through a Jirga
8 July 2010 – Khawateen Mahaz-e-Amal (Women’s Action Forum – National) is outraged at reports of yet another judgement of Rajm (stoning to death) for illicit relations, pronounced by a self-styled Jirga, an illegal court in Kala Dhaka, Pakhtoonkha province on an accusation that a man and a woman were seen walking together in a field in Madakhail.

WAF strongly condemns the Jirga and its verdict; as also the fact that while the accused man, Zarkat, escaped on hearing the Jirga’s verdict of Rajm, the accused woman was captured by the Jirga members and reportedly is being held at a secret place in Manjakot, pending the Rajm punishment. As usual, it is the woman who is made to bear the brunt of such atrocious barbarism, injustice, and inhuman, unIslamic sentences.

WAF appreciates a few locally-based religious scholars, who went against the Jirga’s judgement, declared the woman innocent, and are now trying to save her life. We see this as a ray of hope, and we stand staunchly in solidarity with the woman and her supporters, including the commendable progressive sections of the print and electronic media.

WAF asks the KPK Government: why is the provincial law enforcement system neither de jure nor de facto functional? Where are the women’s protection mechanisms and institutions?

WAF notes with grave concern that the federal and provincial Governments did not heed the higher judiciary’s pronouncement of Jirgas and Punchayats to be illegal and parallel systems of “justice” and instructions to the Government to eradicate them, to punish those who participate in them, and to disallow their so-called judgements to be implemented (vide Sindh High Court and Supreme Court landmark judgements). This is still happening with total impunity all over the country, showing the Governments’ lack of political will and commitment, a disregard for the sanctity of the Constitutional trichotomy of powers, and the helplessness of the law enforcement agencies and legal systems in the face of continuing arrogant political feudal and tribal patriarchal dispensations.

WAF demands that the KPK ANP Government should immediately take notice of this heinous incident, and take urgent action to save the woman’s life. We demand that the Chief Minister and Governor apprehend and punish the Jirga members as a deterrent to future Jirgas.

WAF calls upon the Prime Minister and President of Pakistan not to patronize those who convene Jirgas and Punchayats, and to take immediate action to eradicate the scourge of these self-styled, illegal and unconstitutional “judicial” systems permanently from Pakistan, thereby restoring the writ of the State, the supremacy of the Constitution, and the law of the land.
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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984. The above statement has only been forwarded by the AHRC.

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