Martin Lau


Shortly after coming into power in 1979, General Zia ul-Haq began to Islamize the Pakistan legal system. One measure used to convert Pakistan into an Islamic state was the introduction of hadd offenses-those offenses for which the Qur'an prescribed fixed punishments-into the criminal law. This Article specifically examines the impact of one of these provisions, the Offense of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, on sexual offenses under the Pakistan Penal Code. This statute criminalized all forms of adultery and fornication outside of a legally valid marriage, including instances of rape where the burden of proof had not been met. In 2006, in response to pressure from women's rights groups to repeal or amend this Ordinance, the Pakistani National Assembly passed the Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Act. Designed to weaken the inequities of the Zina Ordinance while maintaining conformity with Islamic law, this Act introduced significant reforms to the laws as they relate to women. This Article discusses the importance of this Act and the continual need for additional reform.


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