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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 September 2005, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
Pakistan women speak: Your views
After a series of rape controversies in Pakistan, the BBC News website spoke to women across the country to find out how this contentious issue was viewed.

The following is a selection of readers responses to their perspectives.

The understanding these women show sends a message of hope and confidence - that the women of Pakistan can sort this mess out for themselves.

The majority of customary laws and practices stem from fabricated sayings which the Prophet Muhammad never in fact made. The women of Pakistan have the support of Muslim men in the east and in the west. They just have to find the will to take on the fight. Thanks to them, I can see light.
Naved Siddiqi, Slough, England

I don't know what all the fuss is about. I think there are more rape cases in USA per hour than in Pakistan, even if you take into account the non-reported cases. Pakistan is a society that has always put religion first and in Islam the punishment of rape is very ferocious and Islam's teaching on sexual conduct is very clear. The main problem in Pakistan regarding rape is poor laws and even poorer law enforcement methods. But still in spite of all these poor laws the problem is not as bad as is projected by the NGO's which are just working for their own financial and political gains.
Humayun, Islamabad, Pakistan.

For those who say that only women are affected, under the "Hudood" laws both males and females who have extra-marital sex must be punished.
Javed, pakistan

Hudood and Blasphemy laws should be repealed because innocent people are arrested and sent to jail under these laws. Also, Pakistani women are doing great in many areas! But the media chooses to focus on certain aspects only. After all Pakistani women are flying fighter planes, they are very active in politics, they are also very active in all fields related to the Pakistani economy.
Fawwad Shafi, Lahore, Pakistan

I have gone through all the articles which I think is very good effort in identifying the difficulties in implementation of Hudood Ordinance and interpretation of this ordinance. In fact it all depends upon the those high up to implement rules in the country. Normal citizens cannot be benefit from such moves till such time as the governing authorities of the country are not sincere with themselves and with the country.

Being a Muslim and a Pakistani male, I feel great sorrow for women who are raped. Regarding Hudood ordinance it is the negligence of government and society that such laws still exists. If we consider this law to be an Islamic law, I have to totally disagree. Islamic laws, which give the right of khula to a Muslim women and the witness of a women to be considered enough in divorce cases can never support such brutalism.
Shiraz Ali shah, Karachi Pakistan

Yes, rape is an issue in Pakistan. But not more than anywhere else in the world. The issue should be tackled from the inside. Just like when you have problems in the relationship, you don't get the neighbours in to solve them. The anguish of these women must be taken seriously, yet it must not become a reason to defame Pakistan everywhere. The first step would be the end of the Hudood Laws and the death penalty for rapists-without pardon!
Ruhina Hashmi, Abu Dhabi, UAE

I would like to comment that Ms Zunaira Mahfooz is hundred percent right on her perspectives and that is truly happening here i know people who are mis-using the NGOs names and taking funds in the name of woman who are victims in other cases non other then the well known fathers of the churches are doing it, no problem in disclosing their names and what they have done and still doing it. So how does this happen? and still happening? Does the NGOs provide funds blindly to the concerned?
Zohaib Rauf, Karachi, Pakistan

Your article is filled with some clearly erroneous allegations. In Islamic law, rape is not classified as adultery, and therefore does not require four witnesses to prove the offence. Circumstantial evidence and expert testimony, then, presumably from the evidence used to prosecute such crimes. In addition to eyewitness testimony, medical data and expert testimony, a modern prosecution of rape would likely take advantage of modern technological advances such as forensic and DNA testing.
Naeem Ahmed Patel, London

As a police officer I have investigated hundreds of rape cases. The problem in Pakistan is not the Hudood laws, it is the implementation of these laws. It is ridiculous that a woman needs four pious witnesses for prosecution. That is only to enforce Hudd, the Tazir punishment is valid even if there are no witnesses. The forensic assistance is not available to the police. Conducting a simple test rape cases can be proved. The problem is over-reliance on witnesses in our criminal investigations. Police should be equipped and trained to investigate the rape cases. In Pakistan there is no rule of law. Even if you repeal the Hudood laws, other laws will be flouted with the same intensity and frequency. Any move to repeal the laws will only create more tension in an already fragmented and divided society. My suggestion is plug the loop holes and try to bring some consistency and integrity in the criminal justice and judicial system
Tariq Abbas, Lahore

Rape problem is far less real than hyped in media. I agree with Miss Zunaira Mehfooz that too much focus is given to it by NGO's. There are around 10000 cases reported in Pakistan. compare. In 1999 alone USA had 89,110 recorded rapes. Pakistani NGO's should first make noise about poor American women.
A Ghazi, Lahore, Pakistan

I am appalled and shocked to read the accusations of Zunaira Mehfooz towards the NGO sector in Pakistan. Firstly, by stating that all NGO's are run by the rich and receive foreign funding is a baseless assumption, with no supporting statistical data. From the thousands of NGO's that work towards safeguarding the rights of Pakistani men and women some are funded locally and some by foreign agencies. and in addition, why label the NGO's as attention-grabbing media hunters, when there already exist enough foreign donors looking for alternatives to supporting government programs that they perceive to be inefficient or corrupt>
Nida Butt, Karachi, Pakistan

I am rather surprised that the laws in Pakistan are being called "Islamic Laws". Though i totally agree that these laws are required to be changed because they are always misused but in no way these have anything to do with Islam. A dictator (Zia-ul-Haq) amended the laws to fool the people in the name of Islam.
Fraz, Cary, NC

While I agree with Robina that media coverage of the rape incidents in Pakistan may give the international community an inaccurate picture, I do not think that the attention here should be directed toward criticising the media. Oftentimes, it is pressure created by media exposure that changed unjust laws such as those in Pakistan. Just because the crime does not occur as often as the media makes it seem, that does not mean it should be brushed aside as "western propaganda".
Sonia ! K. Saini, Davis, CA

I am surprised to hear Pakistani women downplaying the issue of rape in Pakistan. Yes, of course rape happens in other countries; but in most countries there is a legal system that at least attempts to support and protect the victims. Yes, Pakistan has to solve it's own problems, but I believe the international community has a moral obligation to apply pressure on the government to make the necessary changes. Rape may not actually be the biggest issue, but if it is the emotive buzzword that motivates people to action to improve women's rights in Pakistan, then I think it is justified to highlight it.
Richard, Dubai, UAE

I just want to say that with respect to Hudood laws it is better to have insight rather than jumping to conclusion that they apply only to women. Those laws are not women only and apply to men as well. I am sad to see that these laws are highlighted as women only laws, which is not the case.
Rizwan Shaik, Karachi, Pakistan

I regularly visit the BBC site for information from around the globe and came across this article. To be very honest, rape or sexual violations coming into the lime light recently does not mean that these things have increased now in Pakistan. The fact is that the ratio has been the same even in the past. The difference is that now there is a growing awareness in the country about this issue. Most of the views given in the article about Hudood laws are absolutely right. Most of the laws in the country are against women and their rights. Primarily there is not a proper channel through which a woman can report the injustice done to her. What needs to be done is increase the awareness against such laws which in the guise of Islamic laws are encouraging the evil element of the society and any such laws are totally against the real spirit of Islam since Islam is the only religion giving maximum protection to women and valuing them like an individual human beings. In the end I would like to thank all those brave ladies working for raising awareness against such cruel laws and the BBC Team for recognizing the efforts. Regards.
Hina, Peshawar, Pakistan

I strongly disagree with the remarks made by Zunaira Mehfooz. Rape victims like Mukthar Mai, and others, would have received no justice, and their cases would have swept into oblivion had not the world been informed. The truth is, as much as I respect the current Pakistani regime and its ideals, deep-rooted cultural and social injustices have hardly ever been a concern of military governments.
Raza Siddiqui, Toronto, Canada

Many of these views are nothing more than an attempt to improve Pakistan's image. The President of Pakistan has shown the world how insensitive he is towards rape by suggesting Pakistani women get raped for monetary gain. Many of those interviewed seem to do just that: put the Pakistani state ahead of their women. Shame!
Arun Patel, San Jose, USA

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