From the Hudood Ordinances to the Protection of Women Act: Islamic Critiques of the Hudood Laws of Pakistan
UCLA Journal of Near Eastern and Islamic Law, 2008-2009
33 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2008 Last revised: 1 Feb 2010
Date Written: October 17, 2008
This paper is an attempt to present an impartial review of the Islamized laws pertaining to sexual offences in Pakistan and to highlight the major structural and theoretical problems therein, paying particular attention to the perspectives of the modernist Islamists, human rights lawyers as well as traditionalist Islamic scholars. We hope to demonstrate that there is a set of fundamental theoretical disagreements between the modernist and traditional Islamic accounts which preclude the possibility of full agreement on the scope, remit and applicability of these laws. Over the last two decades the Shariat (Islamic) courts, although appearing to be responsive to some of the human rights criticisms and political opposition, have been unable to define the underlying philosophical premises on the basis of which they interpret and apply these laws. The legislature too has failed to resolve the fundamental tensions and recent legislative interventions represent a compromise between the two perspectives, while also accommodating the human rights critique through a number of procedural safeguards. This is typical of recent efforts at law reform in the context of 'de-Islamization' and means that in reality the real debate concerning the nature and scope of Islamic laws regulating sexual conduct is only being deferred.
Keywords: Hudood, Islamic Law, Pakistan
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