Pak Islamists protest amendments to rape laws
The amendments include dropping the death penalty and flogging for people convicted of having consensual sex outside marriage.india Updated: Dec 22, 2006 15:07 IST
Normal life was disrupted in the Pakistani port city of Karachi on Friday due to a strike called by Islamic groups to protest amendments to controversial rape laws.
Business centers were shut in several localities and most of the transport was off the roads, leaving hundreds of students and workers stranded.
There was a complete shut down in Banars, Baldia town, Suhrab Goth, Landhi and several other localities.
The strike was called by an alliance of Islamic groups and religious seminaries "Tahafuz Hudoodullah" to protest amendments to the country's rape laws, eliminating the death penalty for extra marital sex and revising a clause that made accusers produce four witnesses to prove rape cases.
Religious groups have also planned demonstrations in major cities later in the day as part of their protest drive.
Advisor of southern Sindh government Wasim Akhtar said extra security personnel have been deployed in some sensitive areas to check any violence.
He said the strike has not affected normal life in the city but head of the "Tahafuz Hudoodullah, Maulana Hanif Jalandhry has described the strike as successful.
The amendments include dropping the death penalty and flogging for people convicted of having consensual sex outside marriage and giving judges the discretion to try rape cases in a criminal rather than Islamic court.
Islamic groups have condemned the amendments, passed by both houses of parliament and signed by President Pervez Musharraf into law last month.