Musharraf calls Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal as hypocrite
Islamabad, Dec 5 (UNI) Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf today described political forces, which opposed the Protection of Women Rights Bill as "hypocrites" and asked women population of the country to reject such elements in the next year's parliamentary elections.
He said this while addressing a national convention of women here this afternoon, just four days after he gave his assent to the bill.
Amid resistance and opposition from the Islamic political alliance, Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal(MMA), the bill has already been approved by the Pakistani parliament last week.
The MMA, however, described the bill as un-Islamic. It announced that its members in the federal legislature will resign from the Lower House during the Supreme Council's meeting of the alliance in Islamabad on December 6-7.
Meanwhile, opposition leader in the National Assembly and Secretary General of the alliance, Maulana Fazalur Rehman strongly opposed the resignations of the MMA members, apparently because of the fears of losing control over Northwestern Frontier Province (NWFP) and southwestern Balochistan, which was being ruled by the alliance.
In this regard, Rehman yesterday said the MMA would not take a hasty decision, adding ''we will look into all options carefully.'' President Musharraf, however, could not resist calling those legislators, who boycotted assembly proceedings as-'hypocrites'-and said ''These were the people, who had even opposed printing of the Holy Quran and declared Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistani nation, as ''Kafir-e-Azam.'' ''These were the people, who opposed the bill but boycotted the Assembly proceedings when it was put to vote,'' he said without naming the MMA leaders.
The President, later, appealed to Pakistani women to reject extremists in the next years Parliamentary elections and asked them to vote for moderates ''My government has already politically empowered women by giving them their due share in the local governments system,'' Gen Musharraf said, adding, ''now it was for them to work hard to achieve economic empowerment.'' He was confident that the Women Protection bill would go a long way in checking social injustices against women.
Interestingly, the National Assembly has repealed the controversial Islamic Hudood Ordinance from the bill, which was promulgated by the former military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in 1979 to win support of the country's religious right.
While the ordinance was being considered highly repressive against women, the MMA and other religious parties have been opposing repeal or any amendments in the ordinance, stressing that it was in line with the teachings of the Holy Quran and the last Prophet Muhammad and therefore needed not to be touched.
Mentionably, one of the most controversial provisions of the ordinance, required the female rape victims to produce at least four male witnesses ton prove her ordeal or face charges for adultery.
However, one of the main amendments, passed by the Parliament took rape out of the sphere of the religious law and placed it under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
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