Pakistan’s Anti-Women Cabinet

There’s no disputing that Pakistan is in a state of upheaval, but in light of the fact that it once elected the Muslim world’s first female prime minister (okay, before assassinating her), this news still surprises: The Guardian reports that Pakistan’s new minister of education, Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, presided over a "jirga," which gave away five girls aged 2 through 5 to the family of a murdered man as compensation. Bijarani is positively forward-looking on women’s rights when compared to the minister of the postal service, Israullah Zehri, who defended the "tribal tradition" of burying alive women who tried to choose their own husbands. "Is this the politics of appeasement?" said Tahira Abdullah of the Women's Action Forum. "It almost looks like rewarding these men for their deeds against women." Said another critic: "Had Benazir Bhutto been alive she would never have allowed this."