Wherever there is a settled society, religion

is necessary; the laws cover manifest crimes,

and religion covers secret crimes.

-Voltaire

The Hudood Ordinance are laws in Pakistan that were enacted in 1979 as part of General Zia-ul-Haq’s Islamisation progress. It replaced the pre-partition British-enforced law, and added new offences for adultery and fornication. There were also punishments for whipping, amputation, and stoning to death. However, after much controversy, the laws were revised in 2006 by the Women’s Protection Bill.

The Hudood Law was intended to implement Shari’a law, and bring Pakistani law into conformity with the injunctions of Islam. This was done through enforcing punishments mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah for zina, qazf (false accusation of zina), theft, and alcohol consumption. The system provided for two kinds of offences, known as hadd and tazir, with different punishments. Hadd offences or punishments fixed by religion required a higher standard of proof than tazir, which was discretionary. Hadd punishments were worse as well.

The zina provisions of the law were particularly controversial; critics alleged that hundreds of women subjected to rape were eventually accused of zina. There was immense opposition against the Hudood Ordinance, and gave rise to groups such as the Women’s Action Forum (WAF). It acted as a driving factor for the second wave of feminism in Pakistan.