Good news all around here: justice for Pakistani women, a hopeful signal that the Islamist element isn’t as much of a threat to Musharraf as thought, and a hissyfit about “free sex” by one of the fundie savages for true conservative Andrew Sullivan to exploit as proof of their essential similarity to “Christianists.”

Pakistan’s lower house of parliament voted on Wednesday to put the crime of rape under the civil penal code, curtailing the scope of Islamic laws that rights groups have long criticized as unfair to women…

That does away with the requirement for four male witnesses and will allow convictions to be made on the basis of forensic and circumstantial evidence…

Islamist lawmakers walked out of parliament, boycotting the vote, after leader Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman told the assembly the change to the law would encourage free sex.

“This is an attempt to create a free sex zone in Pakistan,” he said. “Existing laws are correct and should be maintained … The changes are not in line with Islamic teaching.”

They added a five-year sentence for extramarital sex as a concession to the Islamists. The penalties under the old Islamic law? Lashing and stoning.

Exit question: how likely is it that the new law will be enforced, say, here?

Update: My headline was inaccurate. It was only the lower house of the Pakistani legislature that passed the amendment; it remains to be seen what the upper house will do.