Islamic body to review Pak's Shariah laws

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's top religious body has agreed to review the tough Shariah laws on adultery in the wake of widespread criticism by women and human rights groups, an official report said.

The Council of Islamic Ideology of Pakistan decided to study the Hudood Ordinance "to identify all those parts which are not in accordance with the Koranic teachings and Sunnah (traditions of the Prophet Mohammad)," the official Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

It quoted council chairman S M Zaman as telling reporters in the eastern city of Lahore that the council realised that the Hudood Ordinance could have "human errors."

The chances that some of its clauses had "fault" could not be ruled out, he said.

The statement came as some women's organisations launched a campaign for the repeal of the law after a court in the northwestern Kohat district last month convicted 26-year-old Zafran Bibi of adultery and sentenced her to death by stoning.

She has challenged the verdict and the country's top Islamic court has admitted her appeal for hearing.

Some 30 people, mostly women, were briefly detained by police in Islamabad earlier this month as they tried to protest the civil court's sentence of death-by-stoning.

Bibi was arrested more than a year ago but has denied the allegations, claiming she was raped by her brother-in-law. She has since given birth to a baby girl in prison.

Uzma Mehboob, the legal advisor of women's rights organisation Aurat Foundation said Bibi was raped by her brother-in-law who was already in jail in a murder case.