Tuesday, July 18, 2006
The general's shame
Enlightened moderation be damned when there's power to be held on to. Musharraf has spoken: the misogynistic Hudood Ordinance is only to be amended, not repealed.
Ignoring the impassioned case presented by three sensible ministers to scrap the ordinance altogether, Musharraf saw sense in the following:
The president was told that according to one proposed amendment, if charges of adultery were not proved against an accused woman, the person levelling the allegation would be prosecuted.
The flip side is that where adultery can be 'proved' women ought to be thrown into jail. The beard's must secretly be rejoicing: if this is the furthest a liberal dictator can go, surely the beards' time will come.
For women this is yet another case of one step forward, two steps backward. A cuckolded husband's motive for prosecution is almost invariably vengeance, which, even in the absence of conclusive proof, may still be fulfilled by a conservative judiciary and a shambolic judicial process. Indeed, the trial process itself is akin to punishment in Pakistan.
Even the eternal optimists must surely have lost faith in Musharraf by now. 7 years into his rule, he can't still claim to be biding his time.