Copyright (c) 2008 Regents of the University of California
UCLA Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law
ARTICLE: FROM THE HUDOOD ORDINANCES TO THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN ACT: ISLAMIC CRITIQUES OF THE HUDOOD LAWS OF PAKISTAN
2008 / 2009
UCLA JOURNAL OF ISLAMIC AND NEAR EASTERN LAW
8 UCLA J. Islamic & Near E.L. 1
Moeen H. Cheema* and Abdul-Rahman Mustafa+
Pakistan's notorious Hudood Ordinances have been the subject of much debate but little academic scrutiny. 1 This is a subject, however, that ought to be of interest to academics from a range of disciplines: from post colonial theorists as a manifestation of statecraft in former dominions long after the departure of the colonists, to political theorists interested in the resurgence of political Islam in modern Muslim societies. Most certainly, legal academics concerned not only with the social construction of crime and punishment, but also with the divergences between the theory and practice of the Islamic criminal justice system, have a vested interest in studying Hudood Ordinances.
To some Islamists, the promulgation and visible enforcement of hudood criminal laws, albeit in a handful of instances, 2 represented an attempt to refashion the traditional corpus of Islamic law for the purposes of a modern Islamic polity. 3 To many a critic, this was a cynical ploy by an authoritarian military regime to gain some political legitimacy and popular support. 4 Over the last quarter of a century, the hudood laws have been a subject of bitter contestation within the political, religious and legal spheres in Pakistan. Although the most vociferous opposition has come from human rights and women's rights advocacy groups, there has been some critical examination of the philosophical underpinnings of the Ordinances and an internal critique of specific aspects of these laws even from within the Islamic milieu. 5 Throughout the period in which the Ordinances have ...
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