Protests by Religious Conservatives in Karachi After Proposed Changes to Islamic Law

August 26, 2006

Source: GulfNews

Wire Service: Reuters

On August 26, 2006 Reuters reported, "Religious conservatives held small protests in several Pakistani cities yesterday, vowing to resist government attempts to amend Islamic laws that liberals have long deemed unfair to women. The laws, one of which makes rape victims liable to prosecution for adultery unless they produce four male witnesses, were introduced by a military dictator in 1979 and have since drawn widespread criticism from rights activists. The ruling party introduced a Bill in parliament this week aimed at amending the laws, to the fury of religious conservatives. 'We will even sacrifice our lives for this and will not allow these amendments to take place,' Mairaj-ul-Huda Siddiqui, a leader of an opposition alliance of six religious parties, told a crowd of about 200 in the city of Karachi after Friday prayers. 'This is part of a US and Jewish conspiracy and we will resist it forcefully,' Siddiqui said. Similar small protests were held in Lahore, Peshawar and the capital, Islamabad. Mian Aslam, a member of parliament for the religious party alliance, told a crowd of about 50 in Islamabad that President Pervez Musharraf was bowing to pressure from the United States and Britain. Force would be used to oust the government if the changes went ahead, he said. While conservatives oppose any amendment to the laws, rights activists have long been demanding their complete repeal."