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Prime Minister Intervenes in Case of Woman Who Faces Stoning

January 25, 1988

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ The prime minister has intervened on behalf of a woman sentenced to be stoned to death for in accordance with Pakistan’s Islamic law for adultery and ″rape″ convictions, officials said Monday.

Foreign press clippings seen by Prime Minister Mohammad Khan Junejo prompted him to send a note Sunday to Interior Secretary S.K. Mahmud asking that the sentence meted out to Shahida Parveen be examined, Mahmud said.

The Associated Press reported on the plight of Ms. Shahida, a 25-year-old carpenter’s daughter, last month as she languished in a Karachi prison.

An Islamic court on Nov. 7 convicted her of the capital crimes, ruling that she was still legally married to Khushi Mohammed, 52, when she wed her cousin, 35-year-old Mohammed Sarwar.

Ms. Shahida maintains Khushi divorced her in 1986 because she could not have children and he wanted to marry another woman. But the court ruled that divorce papers she presented were forged.

Ms. Shahida was only 13 when she married Khushi, who brought the case against her.

Mahmud said he had ordered the inspector-general of prisons in southern Sind province to send court documents to the prime minister.

An appeal filed by Sarwar already is pending before an Islamic federal high court. If it upholds the sentence, the case can still go to the Supreme Court, which applies a more lenient penal code drafted by the British during pre-1947 colonial rule.

The government of President Mohammad Zia ul-Haq introduced elements of Islam into Pakistan’s existing laws in 1979.

Two women have previously been sentenced to stoning, but later had their sentences commuted to flogging or jail.

Though several women’s groups are fighting the new laws, as many as 80 percent of Pakistan’s people approve of them.

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