Security stepped up for three women lawmakers in Pak

Pak agencies have stepped up security details for three liberal women lawmakers.

Last Updated: Apr 03, 2011, 14:22 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistani law enforcement
agencies have stepped up security details for three liberal
women lawmakers and a human rights lawyer, including former
minister Sherry Rehman, because of threats from extremists,
according to a media report on Sunday.

The four women who have spoken out against militants
have become the target of terrorists, unnamed security
officials were quoted as saying by The Express Tribune
newspaper.

They are senior Pakistan People`s Party leader and
former minister Sherry Rehman, former PPP spokesperson Fauzia
Wahab, PML-Q parliamentarian Kashmala Tariq and Supreme Court
Bar Association president Asma Jahangir.

Tariq has been receiving kidnapping threats and has
requested authorities to post guards at her residence, the
report said.

Official documents of law enforcement agencies in
Punjab province suggest that officials are hesitant to deploy
regular police officers and instead want to use staff
specially trained for personal protection, such as the Punjab
Elite Force.

Other documents suggest that Rehman and Jahangir too
are under threat, the report said.

Rehman had last year submitted a bill to the National
Assembly or lower house of parliament to amend the
controversial blasphemy law and make it harder for extremists
to exploit it.

Following the assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan
Taseer and pressure on the PPP-led government from hardliners,
Rehman was forced by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to
withdraw her bill and has been maintaining a low profile.

Jahangir had supported Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman
sentenced to death last year under the blasphemy law for
allegedly insulting the Prophet.

Aasia Bibi`s case was taken up by both Taseer and
Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, who was assassinated
by the Taliban in February.

Former PPP spokesperson Wahab attracted the ire of
religious extremists when she made a statement claiming that
CIA contractor Raymond Davis, arrested in January after he
shot and killed two armed men in Lahore, had diplomatic
immunity.

Davis was released under a "blood money" deal with the
families of the dead men last month.

PTI