On November 15, 2006, Pakistan's National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, passed the 2006 Protection of Women Bill, transferring rape case jurisdiction from religious Sharia courts to civil courts. The bill also made it easier for women in Pakistan to prove rape allegations. Conservatives claimed the law would lead increase in adultery, but women's rights groups praised the passage of the bill. Parliament had previously postponed consideration of a weaker version of the legislation in September 2006. The new laws were officially enacted on December 1, 2006. Prior to the new laws, rape and adultery were both prosecuted under the Hudood Ordinances. These harsher standards required rape victims to present at least four male witnesses during proceedings to evade prosecution for adultery, which can be punished with lashing, stoning, and death.
Coat of arms of Pakistan
Learn more about Pakistan and Sharia law from the JURIST news archive.