This is just horrific. Yesterday, a good professor lost his life because he stood up for female students. Professor Khalid Hameed was murdered by a student who could not face women being invited to a fun fair organized at a university.
And then they say women don’t need to scream for their rights, that everything’s fine and dandy, and that they ought to get on with the program.
Our lawmakers are no better. Instead of serving people, yesterday the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly passed a resolution against the Aurat March, condemning it for promoting ‘obscenity.’ The resolution was put forward by Rehana Ismail of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), who thought that the placards and slogans being used in the rally were too much to handle.
Pakistani Women Deserve Better
Meanwhile ‘honor’ killings continue unabated, and this one man murdered his wife over serving him cold dinner. How insecure are we to allow these things to happen?
To be fair, its unfair to single out the KP Assembly for this. Just a week ago, another MMA lawmaker Abdul Rashid, who belongs to the Sindh Assembly, registered a complaint with the police. He wanted the organizers behind Aurat March arrested over ‘vulgarity’.
Meanwhile, Punjab’s Special Monitoring Unit says that “at least six women are murdered or face a murder attempt; at least eight women are raped, another 11 assaulted, and 32 abducted for various reasons.”
In 2018, Pakistan was ranked as the 6th most dangerous country for women to live in.
Some Suggestions for Pakistani Lawmakers
Since these lawmakers don’t know what is going on in their own backyard, here are some relevant things that they should pass laws against so that women in Pakistan feel safer.
- Make the cruel practice of ‘Honor Killing’ history, by addressing various legal loopholes that make murderers go scot-free. Currently, the existing law gives a judge carte-blanche to rule whether a ‘honor-killing’ has occurred or not.
- Make child abuse illegal and punishable by law. Currently the law allows for parents to be exempted, letting them take some ‘corrective actions’ as they see fit.
- Outlaw the practice of ‘forced marriages’. Daughters should not be married off to settle disputes.
- Make sports compulsory in the curriculum. A lot of female athletes don’t come forward over fears of social stigma. In fact, some of these girls have to resort to unorthodox measures in order to overcome all odds.
- Carry out a de-weaponization drive. If New Zealand can ban arms after one horrific terrorist attack, why can’t our lawmakers? And no, please don’t say its part of someone’s culture when human lives are at stake here.
- Innocent children are being raped (remember the Kasur child pornography scandal?). Perhaps lawmakers from all provinces of the country should put a stop to this heinous act?
Credit where credit’s due. The KP Assembly has passed laws against domestic violence against women (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Domestic Violence against Women (Prevention and Protection). The National Assembly has also passed similar measures against acid attacks against women. So its not all bad.
All that being said, violence against women continues, and railing against posters and placards at Aurat March seems neither here nor there. Its such a sad commentary on our state of affairs that mard hazraat (menfolk) aren’t outraged over those who send dick pics to female relatives, but are losing their marbles over this poster which highlights a sad reality:
— Prem راٹھی (@PremRathee) March 16, 2019
Pakistani lawmakers, be better. When half of the population of Pakistan is being mistreated, we have a responsibility to make sure that we give women all the tools so that they can be the best version of themselves.