Women’s Movement in Pakistan – Activism, Islam and Democracy is Ayesha Khan’s latest book recently presented at the ADAB Literature Festival in Karachi. Ayesha works for the Collective for Social Science Research, situated in PECHS – a civic neighborhood that has now changed into a business area.
We were welcomed by the women’s right activist, author and social scientist in her office, where we got insights on current and relevant women’s issues. The Collective conducts multidisciplinary research in Pakistan and on an international level. Ayesha Khan produces academic research to promote discussions on social, political and economic policies.
Ayesha Khan, Director and senior researcher at the Collective of Social Research
The Women’s Movement advocates women’s activism ever since Zia-ul-Haq’s military rule in1977. Zia-ul-Haq installed an ‘Islamization’ program that changed many laws into discriminatory laws towards religious minorities and women – the Zina law being one of the most cruel ones.
Since the Women’s forum has started more than 1000 Zina-law-cases have occurred. Even with the existence of the women’s forum and the increase in awareness, the law has still never been executed. However it still exists and it seems very difficult to remove it. Many other laws implemented by Zia-ul-Haq are still on the Women’s movement agenda.
Unsafe abortion related to morbidity and mortality and the impact of post-abortion care have emerged as major items in the current reproductive health agenda among policy-makers and stake holders in Pakistan. On the other hand there are far too many dying because of the lack of maternity rights.
Last but not least it is the women’s quota again which will count in the end like all over the world it is a main issue in Pakistan’s women policies.
And finally: Pakistan has many different human rights activists who put pressure on the government to increase the implementation of pro-women laws to find an end – one far day – with inequality against them.