File spoon-archives/postcolonial.archive/postcolonial_2003/postcolonial.0306, message 11

Subject: sharia in a province of pakistan
Date: Tue, 03 Jun 2003 08:31:50 +0000

Sharia law adopted in Pakistani province 

Javed Aziz in Peshawar
Tuesday June 3, 2003
The Guardian 

The parliament of Pakistan's North West Frontier province passed a bill yesterday to implement sharia, or Islamic law, in the region, which borders Afghanistan. 
The bill was approved by the provincial assembly, making it the only Pakistani province to take such a step.

The assembly is dominated by the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), a six-party alliance of Islamist parties.

Akram Durrani, the province's chief minister, said: "From today, sharia law will be implemented in the province and there will be no place in the province for those who refuse to follow it."

But the province's law minister, Zafar Akram, declined to give details of what the new act will mean in practice. Islamic legal authorities are divided about the strictures of sharia.

An assembly official said a commission would examine existing laws and bring them into line with sharia, including a ban on interest-based loans, a key demand of the MMA at the national level.

Mr Azam said the provincial government would introduce a new bill today to set up a department to promote religious observance, which critics say is modelled on Saudi Arabia's religious police, which the Taliban also set up.

On Saturday, the provincial government passed a directive ordering civil servants to pray five times a day and urging businesses to close at prayer times. It warned of unspecified action against those who failed to obey.

Saturday's prayer order followed curbs on the sale of music and videos and the destruction of posters featuring women and advertisments for western products,

The province came under the control of the MMA after an election in October which critics say was manipulated by President General Pervez Musharraf to sideline the main opposition parties, which are more secular.

But the MMA's power in the province has been challenged by two dozen district mayors who resigned on Sunday after complaining that two of their colleagues had been sacked unfairly by the ruling alliance. The mayors are seen as loyalists of Gen Musharraf.

Yesterday a spokesman for Gen Musharraf said he would visit the province later this month to meet them and inaugurate a new tunnel.

Opponents of the move to impose sharia in the province will also be able to appeal to Pakistan's supreme court if the law contravenes the constitution. The court could overturn the assembly's decision, opening the way to fresh elections. Reuters 

     --- from list ---


Driftline Main Page


Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005