The NATION 03/01/2001
Musharraf govt HR friendly

LAHORE (PPI)-- Renowned American scholar, Dr. Riffat Hassan observed  that the Musharraf Government is more human rights friendly than the previous governments and it also offers an opportunity of open discourse for the national reconstruction.
The American scholar who is on a tour of her home country, Pakistan, was
delivering a lecture on 'Islamic Society and Civil Society: A Direction for
Pakistan,' on Wednesday at Press Club. The lecture had been organised by
AMN-Asia in collaboration with the American Centre, Lahore.
Dr. Hassan said Pakistan government is facing tremendous pressures from
within and outside which were impeding the way for a change in Pakistan,  but in spite of that there is hope as General Musharraf is sincere in his bid.
She said the majority of the people, that is about 90 percent plus, are not
extremists but they have been rendered helpless in a tug of war between
Islamic extremists and secular extremists.
Dr. Riffat Hassan said Quranic teachings are not incompatible with human
rights defined by the secular UN character of Human Rights.  She said
patriarchal interpretation of Quran has created the impression as if Islam
is against women's rights.
She said the most important issue, which confronts Pakistani society, as
well as the Muslim Ummah as a whole, today is that of gender justice.  "It
is tragedy that the Quran, despite its strong affirmation of human equality
and the need to do justice to all of Gods creatures, has been interpreted by
many Muslims, both ancient and modern, as sanctioning various forms of human inequality and even enslavement," she added.
Dr. Hassan said while the Qur'an, because of its protective attitude towards
all downtrodden and oppressed classes of people, appears to be weighed in
many ways in favour of women, a review of Muslim history shows that  many of its women-related teachings have been used in patriarchal Muslim culture
against, rather than for, women.

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