The Zina Ordinance is part of the Hadood Ordinances that were
promulgated in 1979 by the military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq, a
self-proclaimed president of Pakistan. Since then, tens of thousands of
Pakistani women have been charged and incarcerated under the ordinance,
which governs illicit sex. Although most of these women are
subsequently released for lack of evidence, they spend months or years
in jail before trial. To date, these laws still remain in effect,
despite international calls for their repeal.
Over a five-year-period, Shahnaz Khan interviewed women incarcerated
under the zina laws in Pakistan. She argues that the zina laws help
situate morality within the individual, thus de-emphasizing the
prevalence of societal injustice. She also examines the production and
reception of knowledge in the west about women in the third world,
identifying a productive tension between living in the west and doing
research in the third world. She concludes that transnational feminist
solidarity can help women identify the linkages between the local and
global and challenge oppressive practices internationally.
This analysis will appeal to scholars and students of gender, law,
human rights, and Islamic/Middle Eastern studies.
Shahnaz Khan is a professor in the Women's Studies/Global Studies Program at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Introduction: Locating the Issue 1 Native Informing on the Zina Ordinance 2 Contextualizing the Zina Ordinance 3 Speaking to the Women 4 Disobedient Daughters, Errant Wives, and Others 5 Current Challenges to the Zina Ordinance 6 A Politics of Transnationality and Reconfigured Native Informing Notes References Index