When an act of parliament is an act of sabotage
In Pakistan’s civilised circles, the practice of ‘karo-kari’ or honour-killing is universally condemned as a intolerable crime against women; yet it is tolerated in much of the country due to its innately feudal mindset. General Musharraf, may rant against the practice for the benefit of Western cameras, but given his total hold over Pakistani politics, he has done precious little to actually tackle this perverse practice.
Witness the latest attempt to legislate against honour-killings: when Sherry Rahman, a member of an opposition party proposed a bill that would comprehensively address honour-killings and related disgraces, the Treasury benches proposed their own ‘watered-down’ version of the same bill. And on the day the bill was up for voting, the Treasury members failed to turn up; the bill was not put to vote due to a lack of quorum.
The behaviour of the members of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League party was disgraceful, to say the least. Especially when the very same members of parliament showed remarkable alacrity in passing the President in Sherwani and Fatigues Act earlier this month. If they have now decided to play truant, it is more because of Gen Musharraf’s failure to drive social reform rather than their own feelings on the subject.
Little wonder that the General has nothing to show on the social development front after five years of absolute power. So where’s the renaissance?