Pakistan Braces Itself For a Theocratic State

It was bad news for women, religious minorities and liberals, and human rights workers in general. Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, personally picked the conservative Muslim Rafiq Tarar as Pakistan’s President. Tarar is known to favor the introduction of the Sharia, Islamic Law, to turn Pakistan into a fundamentalist state run on strictly Islamic principles. He has denounced laws that give women the right to divorce and to fight for child custody, and supported a punishment of amputation of a thief’s hand.

The Prime Minister has been too busy consolidating his power to occupy himself with the country’s endemic problems, including poverty, illiteracy (65%), and corruption (the favorite joke amongst the taxi drivers is the following: "Do you know why Pakistan only came second to Nigeria in a recent worldwide poll on the worst countries for corruption? Pakistan bribed the Nigerians into accepting first place").

Though his role is largely ceremonial, Tarar is still feared by liberals. His appointment can only encourage the conservatives to press for more and more Islamic laws to govern Pakistani society. Pakistan is already heavily implicated in the success and continuing support of the fundamentalist Talibans in neighbouring Afghanistan. Many of the Talibans received their indoctrination in Koranic schools in Northern Pakistan.

Reported by Ibn Warraq