Human Rights and Religion: Islamic Opposition to Hudood Ordinance in Pakistan The Case of Islahi and Ghamidi1
Hudood ordinance of General Zia regime remain controversial among
various segments of Pakistani society since its promulgation in 1979-80.
Opposition to the Hudood Ordinance3
could not succeed as the
traditionalists/fundamentalists did not allow anyone to discuss these laws let alone
to repeal it. During Musharaf regime a debate was generated in media which
finally ended up with bringing changes in the Hudood Ordinance and passing of
Women Protection Bill (2006) by the Parliament. In Pakistan‟s chequered
democratic history, for the first time Islamic injunctions were subjected to debate
by the public representatives. In the eve of debate, a relatively unknown Islamic
school attracted many educated people to a particular interpretation of religion.
This school is known as Islahi-Ghamidi school in the existing religious intellectual
discourse. Javid Ahmad Ghamidi‟s view on Hudood ordinance was quite similar
with the modern/NGO prompted views of repealing these laws but on different
basis. The whole episode of campaign for and against the Hudood laws is
connected with the existing religious intellectual discourse. How Ghamidi
rebuffed the religious supporters of the Hudood Ordinance is targeted in the
following pages. A descriptive approach along with content analysis is adopted to
look to Ghamidi‟s thought along with a comparison to other religious trends in
Pakistan. The legislative process along with the extra-parliamentary manoeuvring
of the traditionalists/fundamentalist is also focussed when the women protection
bill was moved in the parliament.