A shocking development in Afghanistan that should not go un-noticed and without a response from the civilised world is the recent approval of a law by the Afghan government that makes it legal to rape your wife. According to daily Telegraph "The law, which has not been publicly released, is believed to state women can only seek work, education or doctor's appointments with their husband's permission... Only fathers and grandfathers are granted custody of children under the law, according to the United Nations Development Fund for Women." I wonder whether the plight of women was easier under the Taliban or is it under Mr. Karzai. Is this the free and democratic Afghanistan for which American and British lives and resources are committed to.
Passing of this law is a desparate attempt by Afghan president Karzai to appease the hard core fundamentalists in the country ahead of the forthcoming presidential elections. He has also successfully managed to go a step ahead in political opportunisim from president Zardari of Pakistan who last year slapped the women's rights movement in Pakistan in the face by appointing to senior political positions Senator Israrullah Zehri, who made headlines when he publicly supported in the parliament the barbaric custom of honour killing as being "part of our custom" and declared that he would defend it, and Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani who headed a jirga that gave away five girls, aged between two and five, as compensation to the family of a murdered man.
I must remind readers that these traditions and practices do not have any link to Sharia and Islamic laws but are deep rooted ancient barbaric practices which some political leaders, who despite having spent lives overseas in western democracies, are finding hard to let go.
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