There is a wide inconsistency between the status of women in Islam as determined by the doctrine of the Holy Qur’an and the customs11 in Pakistan. Provided that, in Pakistan, politics of religious parties has always rotated around religion and every ruler has engaged and taken to mean Islam arbitrarily in accordance with individual political objectives (Kaushik 1993:IIX). In Pakistan, women are not only subjected to financial discrimination, but they are also victims of inhuman customs and laws such as Karo Kari, Qasas and marriage on the Qur’an. In the following part the research will discuss, in brief, about the position and status of women under the Islamic law as interpreted by the politicians and ulema in Pakistani culture.
The government instigated a general campaign in the media, admiring people to be more religious in their lives and also ensure that their neighbors to be followed them (Shaheed/Mumtaz 1987:71). There were strict orders for female television announcers to appear on the screen with their heads covered and in full sleeved dresses. Women teachers and government employees who had to wear the chador over their clothes and to cover their heads must be followed in these orders. Further, women were not permitted to participate in different athletic events, ostensibly so as to risk immodest exposure (Goodwin 1995:55; Human Rights Watch 1992:35, Weiss 1994:424).
Women models were not to appear in commercials for more than 25% of the allotted time, and newspapers had to reduce the number of photographs of women (Shaheed/Mumtaz 1987:82). The Zia government confined women within the four walls of the house and directed to remain in veil. (Weiss 1994:417) and held responsible particularly working women for the moral ills of society and degeneration of values in the family (Shaheed 1995:87). But during the same decade women became more incorporated into the public domain than ever. There is no doubt that this decade was the most retrogressive for Pakistan’s women, marked by state-sponsored legislation, directives, and campaign seeking to reduce women’s rights, to curtail their access to economic resources, and to restrict both their mobility and visibility. Yet, ironically enough, in this same decade the largest number of women were recruited into the formal labor market and the number of women in the informal sector also grew, female applicants for higher education increased, as did the number of technical training institutes for women; and, in urban areas, even as dress codes became more uniform, an unprecedented number and new class of women started appearing in public places of leisure such as parks and restaurants (Shaheed 1995:89).
This was not end of process of Islamization in 1988, when, Benazir Bhutto, for the first time in history a women became prime minister of a Muslim state, became the prime minister of Pakistan, she did not modify the existing policies imposed by the Zia government toward women; neither did her successor, Mian Nawaz Sharif. Rather, Sharia, the Islamic law, was declared as the legal code of Pakistan in 1991, he promoted the process of Islamization in country16. Again, Pakistan came under military rule in October 1999 after the ousting of a civilian government of Mian Nawaz Sharif which had lost a great deal of public support. The coup leader, General Parvez Musharraf promised to change the country’s fortune. He extremely worked for the evolution of Pakistan honestly till 2008.