Pakistan and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women

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By

Sabrina Khan[1]

Abstract

(The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women stipulates measures to be taken by state parties to bring about gender equality. Pakistan, as a signatory, has not been able to meet most of these benchmarks. Draconian laws such as the Hudood Ordinances of 1979 and the hold of obscurantist traditions have been the major roadblocks in the way of emancipation of Pakistani women. The government needs to undertake far-reaching structural reforms and, on a parallel track, concerted efforts have to be made to overcome a mindset that reduces women to a pariah status. Editor)

Introduction.

This paper discusses the first ten articles of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw) in relation to Pakistan which   became a signatory on 6 February 1996 and participated in the Beijing Conference. This was largely the outcome of pressure from the Women’s Ministry and from women’s rights organizations who felt that membership was necessary for the progress and development of Pakistani women. Cedaw’s main objective is to assist the state parties in establishing equality for women within their respective societies. It obliges them to take comprehensive measures to eliminate gender discrimination in the public and private spheres ranging from constitutional amendments, legal and administrative reforms, changes in social and economic policies and in the education sector.

In effect, Cedaw represents a third stage in the development of human rights, namely, that of addressing discrimination. It differs from other instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on Civil and Political Rights in that it is specific and defines “discrimination as discrimination against women.” The need for an instrument that specifically focussed on discrimination against women was emphasized in the Mexico Conference on Equality, Peace and Development in 1975. Global statistics showed that despite the emphasis on gender non-discrimination in all the main human rights instruments, there were wide disparities between men and women.

In 1975, women were carrying out between 66 and 75 percent of all essential work but their wages on a world scale constituted only 10 percent of the total. Furthermore, they owned only 1 percent of all private property.[1]

The Women’s Convention represents the culmination of these efforts to develop an international norm of “non-discrimination on the basis of sex.” It was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 19 December 1979 and entered into force on 3 September 1981. The Convention currently has 165 ratifications and accessions.

The main objective of the Convention is not only to provide equality but also to combat discrimination. To eliminate structural barriers in a country, each state party has the sovereign right to decide which measures or actions are best suited to it for bringing about gender equality and non-discrimination in the political, economic and cultural context.

The preamble recognizes the need to go beyond the documents to address factors which will help eliminate de facto gender inequalities. The establishment of a New International Economic Order, the eradication of apartheid, racism, foreign occupation and domination; and the strengthening of peace and security through nuclear disarmament and treaties that bind states to observe a common code of conduct, are all essential areas of endeavour by both men and women.

Cedaw’s ambitious goal of coming to grips with structural discrimination against women is reflected in Article 1, the content of which can be divided into two areas. Firstly, the elimination of discrimination against women needs to be defined on the basis of what discrimination stands for in terms of the actual meaning. Discrimination means distinction, exclusion or restriction. In relations to Cedaw, it refers to distinction made on the basis of sex. The word discrimination here stands for differentiation in terms of treatment of men and women, differentiation in access to opportunities (economic, social, cultural, and political) and differentiation in the application of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The second content area emphasizes equality between men and women in the context of equal terms, conditions and opportunities. There is widespread agreement in the Cedaw committee that despite the existence of international instruments, documents, commissions and protocols, there are in fact many areas where inequality and subordination prevail. Equality here would refer to providing women equal conditions, opportunities and treatment with men and equal chances of securing human rights and fundamental freedoms. The object for the equality is men in more concrete terms and implicitly it would refer to the state which is comprised of men as the decision makers. Equality is a wider concept than discrimination as it refers to the kinds of treatment and the consequences of that treatment. The human rights theory operates with these aspects of equality where it is defined in a broader sense and is not limited to a narrow definition based on mere biological differences between men and women. The emphasis here is equality in opportunities and result, equality of independence, equality in dignity and equality in justice.

Cedaw Article 1 to 10 and the situation in Pakistan.

In view of the perspective of Cedaw in relation to the situation in Pakistan, it is pertinent that its articles are discussed and defined in the context of contemporary Pakistani society.

Looking at the present situation in Pakistan and keeping in mind the definition of equality and discrimination in article 1, we find discrimination and inequality in practicing and exercising human rights and fundamental freedoms in all spheres including, among others, political, economic, social, and civil.

The reports of the Commission of Inquiry for Women, 1997, demonstrate that there is considerable disparity between men and women in Pakistan. The reasons in almost all areas are diverse. These include negative social biases, customary and cultural practices, discriminatory legislation, inadequate policies, plans and programmes including budget allocations.

It would be relevant to this discussion to give a brief background on the nature of the women’s rights movement, which runs parallel to that of human rights, in Pakistan. The oppressive climate of the 1980s against women was synonymous to a massive violation of human rights. The human rights movement, as it stands today, encompasses those of women and has made a significant impact in creating a larger constituency for its charter which, in turn, has gained international recognition. The proponents of the Women’s Action Forum, which include Hina Jillani among others, have also been the members of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). According to them tensions in the women’s rights area surfaced because of social stigma, cultural bias, lack of awareness and participation.

The cultural norms that lie at the heart of Pakistani society have been exploited to oppress and discriminate against women. The so-called protectors of cultural practices are, in reality, the oppressors. This, in turn, generates social biases to the detriment of women.

There has been controversy in Pakistan on the interpretation of Islam in relation to human rights. This is largely because secular human rights conventions, more often than not, define individual rights, but, in Islamic law the rights of the individual are linked to the duties the person owes to the state. The situation is further complicated because negative social practices, far removed from the tenets of Islam, have been sanctified to promote the vested interests of certain groups. They are motivated by a colonial and Hindu mindset which has been imposed on the masses. This has distorted the actual message of Islam and confined it to narrow social grooves. The Quran, on the other hand, clearly spells out no less than sixteen fundamental rights of individuals in gender-neutral language, as corroborated by scholars such as Maudoodi. These rights were granted several centuries before the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) and were equally applicable to both men as well as women. Several international human rights instruments on the other hand refer only to men or the male sex. [2]

The objective of colonialism was to rule and suppress as a result of which the Islamic ideas of equality and justice were discarded. Historically, women in Pakistan have suffered due to suppressive measures and have been denied equal rights. There is also a clear distinction between the public and the private. In a broad sense the former is political and the latter familial. Women are confined to the latter and placed within the “chardewari” (four walls) of their homes which lead to limitations on their movement and deprives them of opportunities in the political, economic, social and educational sectors. Men in Pakistan have retained, through the colonial legacy, a public role and relegated women to domestic chores. Even within the household, men are the managers. Thus women owe allegiance to men who not only control public and political affairs but also the household. The public/private dichotomy has undeniably resulted in the subjugation of women. They are the victims of social and cultural malpractices in the name of tradition and customs.

Pakistan has a population of more than 150 million. 48 percent are women and 52 percent men. The sex ratio therefore works out to 92.5 women for every 100 men. While recent global statistics show that life expectancy for females (64.6) is higher than that of men (63.9),[3] this is not apparent in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s infant mortality rate is the highest in the world. The rate for girls between the ages of 1 – 4 is 66 percent higher than for boys.[4] This indicates discrimination against girls as amply demonstrated by customary usage, culture and traditions. In is also an established fact that the burden of poverty is disproportionately higher for women because of their relegation to a lower social status in terms of land endowment, productive assets, discrimination in the labour market and limited access to economic opportunities and social services.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has reported that women comprise only 5.9 percent of the labour force.[5] More women work in the agricultural sector but their productive activities are not documented as they do not receive wages for their labour. Women, therefore, carry the double burden of working and looking after the household.

Article 2 of Cedaw declares that the state parties condemn discrimination against women in all forms and that they agree to pursue without delay policies aimed at eliminating such discrimination. Clauses a,b,c,d,e, and f emphasize the principle of equality in the national constitutions and other legislation particularly the enactment of laws that eliminate inequality. These clauses further envisage the establishment of legal protection and sanctions through national tribunals and public institutions and call for abolishing all laws and practices that discriminate against women.

Article 25 of Pakistan’s constitution[6] states that all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of the law and adds “there shall be no discrimination on sex alone.” The word “alone” implies that there can be discrimination but not on the basis of sex exclusively. Such vague and ambiguous formulations could leave the door open for discriminatory legislation.

Article 32 of the Pakistan constitution declares that the state shall encourage local government institutions composed of elected representatives of the areas concerned and in such institutions special representation will be given to peasants, workers and women. This clumsy formulation confines the status of women to that of workers and peasants. Furthermore it implies that women are not a part of the labour force or peasantry.

Article 35 of the constitution states that steps will be taken to ensure full participation of women in all spheres of national life. However, only 5.4 percent of federal government employees are women and their representation in higher levels in the public services is negligible.[7]

There is also no representation of women in such constitutional institutions as the Federal Shariat Court and the Council of Islamic ideology. These institutions run parallel to the judiciary and have all male representation.[8] While making or amending laws, the women’s perspective is not taken into consideration. The power vested in the Federal Shariat Court to enact new laws or strike off old ones from the statute books makes women particularly vulnerable

Equal participation in decision-making is a prerequisite for effective and genuine democracy. The United Nations Charter prescribes a minimum of 33 percent representation of women in all representative bodies. To its credit, the Pakistan government allotted women this minimum percentage in the local bodies elections. There is also a provision for 60 seats for women in the National Assembly although this is less than the 33 percent prescribed by the UN Charter. The representation of women presently stands at 17 percent at the national level. This is a distinct improvement over women’s participation after the 1997 elections. There were only 10 percent women representatives in the National Assembly and 5 percent in the provincial assemblies. There were merely six women in the National Assembly which consisted of 217 members.

The law of evidence limits the value of a woman’s testimony to half that of a man and this too is acceptable only if the male counterpart is present.[9] As a result of protests by Pakistani women, this disparity has been limited to civil cases involving financial and monetary matters.

The Qisas and Diyat act, which deals with compensation and compromise for corporal injuries and harm, also discriminates against women in the context of compensation. This is largely because customary usage has relegated them to a lower social status.

The infamous Hudood laws, promulgated in 1979, were enforced in 1980 during the Zia-ul-Haq regime. They consist of five criminal laws and are collectively known as the Hudood Ordinances. Two of these have placed women at an enormous disadvantage. The first, “The Offence of Zina Ordinance,” deals with rape, abduction, adultery and fornication. The second, “The Offence of Qazf Ordinance,” concerns itself with the false accusation of zina, a term which includes both adultery as well as fornication. Women’s testimony became unacceptable in cases involving the imposition of Hadd i.e., the maximum penalty under Islamic law. As a result, competent female lawyers were excluded from becoming judges.

The Hudood Ordinances also redefined the age of majority and here again females were at a disadvantage. Girls could be awarded severer punishments than boys of the same age. Previously a female of 16 was considered an adult but under the Hudood laws, this was to be the age of puberty which could range anywhere between 9 and 13 years.

Furthermore, under these draconian laws, the offences of zina and rape placed women at risk both as victims of the crime as well as of the legal process. The mere reporting of rape by a female victim, if unproven by the evidence of four first-hand witnesses, made her liable to punishment for adultery. One such case that received wide publicity was that of Safia Bibi, a blind girl who had been raped by her employer and his son.[10] Unable to prove the charge, she was accused of zina and subjected to cruel treatment. Due to vehement protests by Pakistani women and the international attention that the case received, Safia Bibi was saved from being condemned by the law. There have been many other victims of this law.

The principle of Tazeer, which gives discretionary punishment powers to the judges, is the most insidious part of the Hudood laws and has been applied mainly against women for the offence of zina. Tazeer is essentially a fall-back punishment from that of Hadd i.e, the maximum obligatory sentence. The lack of cast-iron evidence for Hadd  does not exonerate the accused who becomes liable for Tazeer punishment. Every conviction under Tazeer has carried a sentence of public flogging.

Laws should rule out room for discretion but the Qanun-e-Shahadat (the law of evidence) of 1984 gives considerable discretionary powers to the courts. This is bound to lead to varied interpretations. In one case related to the law of Qisas (compensation and compromise for corporal injuries), the requirement was the evidence of two men or one man and two women. Since there are differences of opinion, strict consistency can hardly be expected. The law is unfair because it empowers the court to lay down the law and this can result in varied interpretations of Islamic injunctions.[11]

In clause g of Cedaw’s article 2 there is an emphasis on repealing laws that are discriminatory towards women. However in Pakistan this is difficult because a two-third majority of the National Assembly and approval by the Senate is required.

Thus malicious prosecution of women is used to curb their freedom in various forms including the freedom of choice in marriage. These restrictions have resulted in the denial of legal rights to them.

Article 3 of Cedaw further emphasizes the need to exercise human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, social, economic and cultural fields. This article goes even further in recognizing the role that culture and tradition play in moulding the behaviour of men and women which, in turn, can be exploited in restricting the basic rights of women. As noted earlier, Pakistan society is riddled with cultural practices that discriminate against females.

Article 4 refers to special measures aimed at removing de facto inequalities between men and women. It recommends, among other things, the adoption of measures in respect of maternity and also for eliminating all kinds of inequalities based on biological differences.

In consideration of this article, it would be necessary to mention that Pakistan, as a member of Cedaw, is obliged to accept and implement non-discriminatory measures in areas where the national authority does not exercise direct control. These are required to achieve equality by removing de facto differences. These intentional measures are called affirmative action. The quota system prevalent in national and public representation of women is a classic example of removing de facto gender inequalities. Article 51, clauses 4 and 5, of the Pakistan Constitution, 1973, recommends reserved seats for women to promote their participation at the provincial and national levels. Without these special measures women’s involvement in public affairs would have been minimal. De facto differences have to be removed in all facets of socio-political and economic life by further reinforcing affirmative action. To this may be added that gender mainstreaming involves a coordinated process of integrating gender into all facets of life thereby increasing the participation and empowerment of women at all levels.

In Pakistan special measures have also been taken to provide women maternity benefits. These, however, are not clearly defined and need amplification particularly in the areas of pre-natal and post-natal care.

Cedaw’s Article 5 aims to modify social and cultural practices with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and discriminatory customary practices. It stresses the need to ensure that family education includes a proper understanding of maternity and, particularly, the interests of the child.

Cultural practices lie at the heart of Pakistani society. Many of these deprive women of their basic rights of life, freedom and dignity. They are implemented in the name of religion and the patriarchal system prevalent in the country. Honour killings of women have become alarmingly frequent and need to squarely dealt with.[12]. Furthermore, the traditional jirga system stands in the way of the democratisation of the family. It takes the law into its own hand and has been particularly discriminatory towards women. The latter are often used as compensation or for the settlement of family disputes. The clan’s decision is above all laws. This has resulted in the humiliation and the victimization of women. Their fate is determined by a few men who make all the decisions on their behalf. Females have no option other than to abide by these decisions as any resistance on their part can have severe consequences including death.

A particularly barbaric practice is Karo Kari which is prevalent in Sindh. Under this evil custom, a man is able to kill his enemy and then murder his own close female relative, say,  sister, daughter, niece or even his wife on the plea that she was having a dishonourable relationship with his slain enemy. The murderer often goes unpunished or is awarded only a light sentence on the untenable pretext that the crime was unpremeditated. The HRCP reported more than two thousand Karo Kari murders for the year 2000. In 18 percent of the cases a husband was accused of killing his wife.[13] Instead of being punished under the law, the husband was released despite committing murder. Other reported cases involve family members mostly brothers killing their sisters. The reluctance of the law to punish men for the killing of female family members has given rise to widespread violence against women.

According to reports by the HRCP, one woman is raped every six hours and one woman is a victim of domestic violence every two hours.  There were 1,960 cases of rape reported in the year 2000. Of these 30 percent of the cases involved minor victims and 40 percent were gang rapes. Other forms of violence that are commonly reported against women include corporal mutilation and facial acid burns. Particularly common is the cutting off of noses to symbolise the dishonour the woman brought to the family.[14] Since such crimes go unpunished the violence has been on the increase. There were 500 hundred female suicides reported in 2000 but the actual number far exceeds this. A common method employed is stove burnings. Women shy away from reporting violence against them because of the bias of the authorities towards men. More than 2,000 women languish in jails. The few that have been able to elude the harsh justice of the discriminatory laws and customs, have sought refuge in protection shelters or centres.[15]

Female prison inmates are subjected to maltreatment and physical abuse by the jail staff despite the provisions of articles 10 (1) and (2), 14 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of Pakistan. These clauses uphold human dignity, equality before law, respect for privacy and the inviolability of homes, the prohibition of torture and the extraction of evidence through this means. All this drives home the point that such laws that guarantee human rights are meaningless unless they are faithfully implemented.

The maternal mortality rate in Pakistan is 340 for every 100,000 births and this is estimated to be one to the highest in the world.[16] The reason is the lack of health facilities and the relegation of women to a low social status. There are also significant gender-related differences in childcare. The estimated mortality rate of girls under the age of 5 is much higher than that of boys. Chronic malnutrition and less medical expenditure on girls are largely responsible for this. Discrimination in any form between girls and boys militates against the right of the child. There is urgent need to remove this gender bias especially in respect of children.

An essential component of women’s empowerment is the right to exercise control over their own fertility, to delay marriage and childbirth, the proper spacing of children, to take better care of their children and live better and healthier lives. Women’s protection of maternity rights is integral to their inalienable human rights of equality and freedom of choice. It is only through the implementation of these ethically inspired rights that women can derive practical benefit. If women are to reach their full potential as productive members of their communities, they must be allowed to manage their roles including motherhood.

In Pakistan, women’s reproductive rights are neither recognized legally or culturally, nor are their reproductive healthcare needs adequately understood or addressed. Consequently, the indicators for women’s reproductive health in Pakistan are amongst the most alarming in the world. Pakistan’s annual population growth rate, estimated at 2.9 percent, has seen only a minimal decline in the last ten years.[17] The total fertility rate at 5.7 per woman has shown just a marginal decline. The vast majority of women lack access to trained medical personnel for obstetric care. Insufficient availability of contraceptives, virtual absence of counselling and referral and the lack of involvement of men in adopting family planning are still matters that are being looked into.

Besides the iniquities suffered by women such as in rape cases, disabled females and women with a large number of children have to contend with the male indifference to family planning programmes and this has become another major, though less publicised, problem because of the burden this places on women. Even more pathetic is the plight of women in prisons who often keep their infants and minors with them. These children witness the indignities and humiliation inflicted on their mothers by the jail staff and the psychological damage to them is incalculable.

Article 6 of Cedaw requires State parties to take appropriate measures including legislation to suppress all forms of trafficking of women.

Clause 11 of the Constitution of Pakistan prohibits all forms of slavery, forced labour and trafficking of human beings. However, despite this, trafficking of women is prevalent in many parts of the country. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has reported that women are being sold and bartered by families for economic considerations. This trade is an ongoing process and is not only an affront to human dignity but it also deprives women of all social status. Here again the problem is the non-enforcement of the laws that are already in place.

Cedaw’s article 7 aims to eliminate discrimination against women in the public and political spheres and to ensure women equal terms with men. This includes equality in voting and participation at all levels of public life.

Recent statistics show that only 5.4 percent of federal government employees in Pakistan are women. Both political and public participation of women is marginal when compared to men despite the stipulations of article 2 of Cedaw.  The government has reserved 10-15 percent jobs in the public sector for women. These targets, however, have never been met. Sexual harassment in the workplace is rampant and on the increase. The problem is exacerbated because women refrain from complaining about such incidents. The reason for this is social taboos and fear of acquiring a bad reputation.

Equal franchise is lacking. In the previous elections there were less than 25 million registered women voters against more than 30 million male voters. There are many hurdles that women face in exercising their right to vote. These include socio-cultural norms such as chardewari which prevent women from leaving their homes to exercise their right of franchise.

Article 8 of Cedaw urges state parties to facilitate the participation of women at the international level including employment in international organizations.

Limited access has been given in Pakistan to women at the international level. Their participation is mostly confined to attending conferences and conventions held for women. Representation of women in international organizations is minimal. When women are given equal representation at the local level only then will their participation at the international level become more prominent. It would be pertinent to mention here that although Cedaw was endorsed in 1979 and came into force in 1981, it was ratified by Pakistan only in 1996 i.e., later than many Muslim countries

Article 9 of Cedaw stipulates that member states should grant women equal rights with men to acquire, change or retain their nationality.

In Pakistan the law allows a foreign woman who marries a Pakistani to acquire the citizenship of her husband but the converse is not permitted. A foreign man cannot acquire the citizenship of Pakistan on marrying a Pakistani woman.

Cedaw’s article 10 stresses equal educational opportunities for women in all areas including vocational training.

The pivotal role of education for girls and women is obvious. The high rate of illiteracy prevalent in Pakistan is a severe impediment to the advancement of women. The last decade has seen only marginal gains for women in the area of educational training. Currently, 70 percent of those without basic education are girls. About 50 percent of girls dropout before they complete primary education; this figure goes up to 75 percent in the rural areas.[18] The dropout and the repeater rates are considered to be the highest in the world. Estimates indicate that the highest dropout rate occurs between grades 1 and 2. Only 24 percent of girls between 6 and 14 years of age from families below the poverty line were attending school as compared 54 percent for boys.[19] There are a number of reasons for these continual problems. They include social attitudes, the lack of mobility for girls, their domestic responsibilities, and the unaffordable cost for poor families even in government schools. Besides insufficient educational facilities, the neglected state of present institutions and the non-availability of sufficient female teachers beyond the primary level are continuing problems.

Training opportunities do exist for women but in traditional areas of work. These are neither market-oriented nor do they keep pace with current technological advancements. On-going plans to increase training facilities ironically perpetuate gender inequalities because only one-third of these for women.

In the Human Development Report, 1997, Pakistan was compared to other Muslim countries in terms of literacy rates. The findings are startling. Pakistan’s literacy rate for females is 24 percent whereas Iraq has a female literacy rate of 35 percent; Indonesia 78 percent; Bahrain, the UAE and Malaysia 80 percent; and Turkey 82 percent. According to the Seventh Five-year Plan, Pakistan remained the most illiterate nation in South Asia with a literacy rate of 47.1 percent. On a global level, Pakistan ranks amongst the globe’s 20 least educated countries as spending on the educational sector stayed the lowest.

The levels of deprivation of women and girls are reflected in their lower nutritional status, higher mortality and lower levels of education. Among the most crucial for Pakistani women are the areas of education and health.

Conclusion.

Although the Constitution of Pakistan states that “all citizens are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of law…There shall be no discrimination on sex alone,” nothing in the article prevents the state from making special provisions for the protection of women and children. It further states that “steps will be taken to ensure full participation of women in all spheres of national life.” In practice, however, the promise of equality has not only been ignored but has been blatantly violated. Women suffer in spite of these laws. This disparity is further enhanced in the availability of food, education, health and employment. Women suffer additional constraints because of restricted mobility, limited decision-making power, little control over their resources, a low level of awareness of their rights, poor self-concept and limited aspirations. The 1997 Human Development Report confirms that in South Asia, Pakistan ranks the lowest in gender-related human development indicators.

The women’s movement for nearly half-a-century echoed this cry of despair. The National Report on the Fourth UN Conference for Women had to admit that women in Pakistan continue to suffer in the face of this oppressive patriarchal structure, rigid orthodox norms and stifling socio-cultural customs and traditions.

In order to bring about a change in the dismal situation that prevails for women in Pakistan, the mindset of the people will have to be radically transformed. Only that will restore respect for women as equal partners entitled to equal treatment and opportunities. This will, in turn, enable their equal participation in both public and private life. It necessitates a reformation of the prevailing value system by adopting those virtues that constitute the core of a just and equitable society. The first step in this direction is   cognition of the need to respect the female child of the family. Giving equal treatment to male and female children will imbue women with the dignity that has been denied to them. The home, the family and the school can play a prominent role. If these values are introduced in the curriculum and education system, a cultural revolution that does away with tradition-based biases against women can be achieved. A change in attitude has to come from within and this entails a collective willingness to bring equality and justice for women.

The print and electronic media along with other forms of mass communications can play a vital role in this transformation. The government has to provide an enabling environment through reforms, policies and legislation to promote gender equality. But even these will be meaningless unless they are scrupulously implemented.


[1] The author heads an NGO and is a women’s rights activist.


[1] Mexico Conference on Equality, Peace and Development, 1975.

[2] Hasan, Riffat, “Members, One of Another,” Gender Equality and Justice in Islam.

[3] Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, State of Human Rights 2000.

[4] Report of the Commission of Inquiry for Women, 1997.

[5] Report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 2000.

[6] The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973, implemented during the regime of Zulfikar Ali  Bhutto.

[7] Report of the Human Rights Commission of  Pakistan, 2000.

[8] The independence of Judges and Lawyers in Pakistan: November 1989; International Commission of Jurists. Columbia Journal of Gender and Law: 1992; Columbia University School of Law.

[9] The Hudoon Ordinance, 1979, promulgated during General Zia-ul-Haq’s regime.

[10] S. Zia (1996), The Women’s Movement in Pakistan,Aurat Foundation.

[11] Rashida Patel vs Federation of Pakistan.

[12] Code of Criminal Procedure, 1998.

[13] Report of the Commission of Human Rights of Pakistan, 2000.

[14] AGHS (Lahore): Survey/Materials on Crimes against Women.

[15] Guidelines for Shelters, Punjab, 1996.

[16] Human Development in South Asia, Mahbub-ul-Haq, 1997.

[17] Human Resources Development: Effectiveness of Programme Delivery At the Local Level In Countries of the ESCAP Region.

[18] National Report for the Fourth World Conference for Women, Beijing, 1997.

[19] Human Resources Development: Effectiveness Of  Programme Delivery At The Local Level In Countries Of The ESCAP Region and The National Report for the Fourth World Conference for Women, Beijing, 1997.