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Zina Laws in Pakistan
Cases of Zina laws
Narratives of Women
Mechanics of Zina Laws
Political and Social Context of Zina Laws
News Articles
Press Releases
News Articles of Zina cases in Urdu
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Welcome to our website!

This web site will be under construction for some time. We will be editing and adding new material, comments and suggestions may be e-mailed to

The purpose of this web site is to bring about an awareness of Zina laws and how they affect women in Pakistan.

The information on this site has been drawn from the research work of Dr. Shahnaz Khan of the Global Studies and Women's Studies Program at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University, 75 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, N2L 3C5.
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Funding for this web site has been made possible through a grant from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Zina Laws

The Zina Ordinance (also referred to as the zina laws) is part of the Hadood Ordinances, promulgated in 1979 by General Zia-ul-Haq, President of Pakistan as a first step towards Islamization. The text states:
Whereas it is necessary to modify the existing law relating to zina so as to bring it in conformity with the injunctions of Islam as set out in the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah . (Mahmood and Shaukat 1994:3)

With the adoption of zina laws, for the first time in Pakistan's history, fornication became a crime against the state and along with adultery, made non-compoundable , non-bailable and punishable by death (HRW 1992:34). Moreover, the legal definition of zina blurs the line between adultery, fornication and rape. For the purpose of the ordinance, zina is defined as "sexual intercourse without being validly married." Zina-bil-jabr, rape, is defined as "sexual intercourse without being validly married" when it occurs without consent. Legally this means that if it cannot be proved that sex occurred without consent (rape), the sex itself becomes a crime against the state. Although to date no woman convicted under these laws has been stoned to death in Pakistan, zina laws allow for greater control of women within state sanctioned interpretations of the sacred books of Islam.

This photo is from the Daily Khabrain News and was taken by Bushra Sayeed


SUNNAH: Refers to traditions, either personal example or opionions, attributed to the Prophet Mohammed.

NON-COMPOUNDABLE: Offense is one which the police or government may continue to investigate and proscute even if the orginal compliant withdraws his or her statement implicating the accused.

NON-BAILABLE: Those prosecuted on such charges are not eligable as of right of release pending trial by posting bond. Bail is left to the discreation of the judge.


Mahmood, Shaukat and Nadeem Shaukat, HADOOD LAWS (MUSLIM PENAL LAWS), Lahore, Pakistan: Legal Research Center, Noor Vills, Second Edition 1994.