Pakistani Women Lose Rights Even After Release from Jail
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 12:05 PM

In Pakistan, men sometimes accuse female relatives of leaving their homes to engage in illicit sexual relations. The penal code does include the offense of fornication, including abduction for sex. These laws can create problems for women. Even if the lawsuit is thrown out, the woman’s reputation is often irreparably harmed.

If a woman does go to jail for a fornication crime, she has many difficulties upon her release. Thousands of women in Pakistan now live in shelters after being released. Judges send women to these places to ensure their safety. The shelters do not allow the residents to leave unless they return to their husband, remarry, or move in with another relative, so these women become virtually jailed again in the shelter.  Moreover, they have no way to see their children and other loved ones. 

Compiled from:  Jordan, Mary, "Searching for Freedom, Chained by the Law: As Pakistani Women Assert Rights, Families Use Legal Means to Get Revenge," in Washington Post Foreign Service, Page A01, 21 August 2008.

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