Women in Pakistan: Two steps forward, one step back

I was ashamed to see the sickening treatment of women at a political gathering held in the capital. I am not writing to castigate any political party or government but the parents who are responsible for the discrepancy between the moral values they instil in their sons and daughters.

In our society, girls are taught from an early age to not be loud, stand out and be noticed to maintain their modesty. It makes sense in a country where even a false rumour about a girl’s conduct can ruin her life in ways unimaginable; parents want to protect their precious daughters. While parents are caught up in training their daughters to achieve unrealistic standards set by our bigoted society, they overlook the character building of their sons. They are left to bully, harass and assault the soأcalled ‘weaker sex’. They are never reprimanded or questioned about their actions.

All the while I was brooding over the moral upbringing of men in our country or lack thereof; I was also participating in a discussion with an acquaintance. Here is an excerpt from the conversation,

Him: Women in our country are asking for equal rights and claim that they are not less than men. When something like this happens they still won’t avoid going to such gatherings. How can we let our women go wherever they want? I am heartbroken to see this but girls should be careful when going out.

Me: It’s not a woman’s fault that she is assaulted instead parents should pay more attention to the upbringing of their sons. Women make up half the population of this country؛ how do you expect us to move forward if they don’t participate in protests or political gatherings and decide about the future of this country?

(Then the discussion took an unexpected turn.)

Him: Women shouldn’t be given the right to make decisions because they are weak and emotional (well, go tell that to Margaret Thatcher!) according to Islam and I agree with that.

(Before you accuse this guy of being a radical Islamist, he doesn’t have a beard, doesn’t pray five times a day and is living and studying abroad.)

Me: Islam gave women the right to vote 1400 years ago. It also gave them the right to assume different political positions besides giving them the right to make decisions.

(Hazrat Khadija (R.A) was a business woman, Hazrat Zainab delivered a historical sermon in the court of Yazeed who was her captor, Umm e Ammara fought in the battle of Uhud and Razia Sultana ruled India!)

Him: I may be forgetting something and will get back to you with references.

(He is not the one to blame because men in our society see women being denied their rights from a very young age. They are indoctrinated or somehow assume that a woman cannot hold her own.)

It is absurd that in a world where our fellow humans are working on reviving dead brain cells, sending human expeditions to Mars by 2018 and self learning robots, a Pakistani woman is not safe in her own country and is treated as a second-class citizen. Having said all that, not every Pakistani man thinks alike because Muhammad Ali Jinnah certainly didn’t. Jinnah said,

“No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you. We are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners. There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable condition in which our women have to live.”

Sadly, there are a plenty of Pakistani men who need to be taught how to appreciate and respect a woman.

Lastly, because I don’t want to come across as a man hating feminazi, I want to mention that some of the people who inspire me (namely Elon Musk, Lao Tzu and Abdul Sattar Eidhi) are men! Peace.
I am not writing to castigate any political party or government but the parents, who are responsible for the discrepancy between the moral values they instil in their sons and daughters.

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3 Comments

  1. ali says

    Well, good to know that still there are sensible people around us do exist like you.
    Madam, things r quite clear if you are getting ready with heavy makeup, modern dresses and going to attend some sort of musical procession.

    Nothing may be ruled out, it may be the weakest point of PTI.
    They are right from the day 1, they just pretended as if they damn care but enjoying the presence of female.

    Anyway, things are to be evaluated from both side.

  2. Javedshah says

    I am from Pakistan I am so ashamed to associate with pakistan there is nothing good about it to say sorry to say that

  3. Ijaz Khan says

    its always good to hear some sane voices , brilliant writing and true to the core. The main problem is not mentality of a specific gender but a hypocrite culture that has evolved specially in the last 1 2 generations. another problem is not letting society evolve and forcing it one way or another which in turn make the society more corrupt. I really appreciate ur neutral stance and being v logical . We should understand that many so-called feminists have damaged the concept of feminism more than men of backward societies by having such a harsh stance that it scares people away.lol.
    completely agree with Jinnah “No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you. “

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