[JURIST] Women's rights activists in Pakistan [JURIST news archive] urged the government Sunday to suspend controversial religious laws that make it extremely difficult to prosecute rapists in the country. The Pakistan parliament [official website] delayed [JURIST report] the introduction of a revised 2006 Protection of Women Bill [BBC report] as planned on Friday because Islamic leaders do not want to change the laws, called the Hudood Ordinances [Pakistan government backgrounder], and would not make a compromise deal to parallel them with secular criminal laws.
The bill, which would classify rape under the penal code and make it easier for women in Pakistan [CBC backgrounder] to prove rape allegations, is at the center of a debate between liberals and conservatives in the country. Liberals who support changing the laws say the laws are old-fashioned and discriminatory against women. Conservatives, on the other hand, accuse bill supporters of trying to "westernize" the country. Reuters has more.