Assaulted for wearing a sleeveless shirt

Published: August 6, 2011

It was only a matter of time anyway. A few days ago, a police officer along with his squad burst into the Nairang Art Gallery and beat up the female curator for wearing a sleeveless dress and interacting with men. The police officer, a SHO, was perturbed by the ‘fahash’ ambience of the place.

After being assaulted the woman and her colleagues who came to her rescue were taken to the police station and booked under an obsolete ordinance.

Nairang Art Gallery is a work of devotion to art, literature, music and design by the iconic architect Nayyer Ali Dada. Some say it’s the modern day’s equivalent of the Pak Tea House – where left-leaning intellectuals come to spend their time. They have a small cafeteria which pays for part of the operating expenses of the art gallery; the rest of the funds are put up by Nayyer Ali Dada.

The audacity of the police officer to walk into the art gallery and assault a young woman for wearing a sleeveless kameez is appalling. I had gone to interview Mr Nayyer Ali Dada – the owner of the   Nairang Art Gallery – for a profile piece and right after saying hello he handed me a press release of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemning the incident and demanding action against the SHO from higher authorities.

It’s a sign of the times we live in today. Through implicit support of the state, our police force has turned into the Pakistan’s version of Taliban’s notorious Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. It’s reminiscent of the secret video released by the Afghan women’s right groups of a Taliban member beating up a burqa-clad woman on the street because her ankles were showing.

But is this incident all that shocking? After all, it got only minor coverage in the media.

My mother grew up in Multan – a city far more conservative than Lahore. She recalls a time, while she was in medical college in the 1970s, when vigilante enforcement of a strict, literal interpretation of Islam was unheard of. Women were rarely harassed for wearing jeans, long skirts and sleeveless shirts.

All that changed when General Zia came to power and began a campaign to Islamize society as per the interpretations of hard-line conservative mullahs.

There was a concerted campaign by Zia’s regime to propagate hard-line Islamic policies through a heavily-controlled media and school textbooks. Consequently, a national narrative evolved, one that aspired to convert Pakistan into a Saudi Arabian-style theocracy: we’re an Islamic country and Pakistan was built for Muslims to be able to live under Shariah law without the overbearing Hindu dominance in all spheres of life.

Of course that was just a ploy by General Zia to stay in power by extolling his regime’s implementation of the so-called Islamic edicts. Bangladesh had recently been liberated and India’s brilliant embrace of secularism meant that the Muslims there were able to practice their religion freely.

Against this backdrop, General Zia’s policies won wide-spread appeal, mainly because it stemmed from our insecurity as to whether we constituted a ‘nation’ at all. Apparently, his policies attempted to justify the existence of Pakistan as a nation distinct from India. An Islamic theocratic state set Pakistan apart from India.

This was, ostensibly, in contrast to the very ideals of our founding father. Quaid-e-Azam had declared religion to be a personal matter and that the state had no business interfering in the religious practices of its citizens.

In the ensuing years after the end of Zia’s regime, successive governments reinforced the Islamized national narrative, embedding it firmly in the image Pakistan has of itself.

So when a police officer raided an art gallery and assaulted its staff –accusing them of ‘fahashi’ – there was minimal outrage.

People appear to have capitulated to the extremist fraction of the population. Zia may have whipped up Islamist sentiment to prolong the life of his regime, but that has left an indelible scar on our society.

Amir Qureshi

Amir Qureshi

A professional who works in the development sector of Pakistan after having worked for over five years in the corporate sector in the United States.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Imran

    Surprises you any longer? In private, the same officer would not spare a male child. He will go for sodomy. And in public, he will beat a woman for allegedly spreading fahashi. If he could get his hands on her in private, he would ravish her. This is a vilely hypocrite society. Recommend

  • Sohail

    Zia did this to the nation, Musharraf was doing the opposite. We cant b happy with anyone. He brought the hudood ordinance, still we cant b happy, he brought woman to parliament, still we cant b happy. We wanted a democracy, we wanted a democracy that doesn’t have local governments. We got what we wanted, we voted what we wanted. So live in the hell. We deserve this, chant go Musharraf go when the country is the third fastest growing economy! We really deserve this hell!Recommend

  • Ayesha

    What are they doing? Raiding places and beating up innocent women when target-killers are killing normal citizens everyday? Dont they have much more to take care of? These ‘police officers’ dont eliminate wrongs from our society, but help augment them. What is this society coming to?Recommend

  • SUB

    @writer: Zia died some 22 years ago.Recommend

  • N M JAVED

    Good. Now the Muslim countries should also fine those women who wear sleeveless and unIslamic outfits. Just like some European countries do against the women who wear Hijab.Recommend

  • SUB

    @Imran: Sounds like a personal account? Generalizing every body with every crime is the way forward? May be the police guy had some personal account to sattle witht he lady.Recommend

  • Sara

    Disgusting…reading articles like this makes me ashamed of the fact that I’m a Pakistani and these these it’s only stories like this that we get to read.. rest of the world is on the path of progress and prosperity and we are going back to the stone age. We r the most isolated nation in the world and the fault is totally ours! Down with extremism and mullahs!Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Should we be appalled? Angry, yes, but not appalled.

    This falls perfectly within the pattern of moral dictatorship and religion-inspired fascism that has begun to define Pakistan. Where does the ‘surprise’ part come in?Recommend

  • Everlast

    Agreed with SUB please stop blaming dead people for the troubles caused by unequal wealth distribution and your social setup. I think the SHO did not do it because of FAHASHI but he attacked the thinking/ mindset she represented i.e., the numb elite we can whatever we want etc etc. Recommend

  • Bilal

    Get over Zia-ul-Haq .. He died some 22 years ago . I was there in the cafe at that time , and before leaving I saw police booking youngsters for having Hashish in their sheesha . Recommend

  • Farhan Usman

    “This was, ostensibly, in contrast to the very ideals of our founding father. Quaid-e-Azam had declared religion to be a personal matter and that the state had no business interfering in the religious practices of its citizens.”

    I agree with her that the police did a wrong thing but not on this comment as Pakistan was created for Muslims to practice this religion and if you feel Saudi Arabia is wrong in following Shariah.. than u r wrong, because that is what we need to do to get on the right track. as muslims we need to follow the shariah and not our mind.. because in Quran, Sunnah and Hadith there are ways to live our life not what we think is right..or u think humans are better than ALLAH in making the rules…Recommend

  • Bilal

    @Sara:
    are you ashamed that Pakistani police stopped ppl from enjoying hashRecommend

  • junaid

    “our police force has turned into the Pakistan’s version of Taliban’s notorious”

    great saying………!!!Recommend

  • Mir

    If Zia can do it, then we can undo it!! It will take a good 30 years but still .. whos ready to start?? anyone?? hello??? Dang it!!! Maybe after another 10 years then .. sorry to disturb ya’ll sleeping. Recommend

  • SUB

    @Bilal: No deary she (Sara) is only convinced that enjoying hash is “path of progress and prosperity”. HeHeRecommend

  • http://natashasuleman.wordpress.com Natasha Suleman

    Oh come ON. People have a habbit of generalizing on the basis of rare incidents. I have NEVER heard of anyone being beaten up for what they wear in this ‘post-zia’ era Ive been raised in.

    Same old ‘zia-did-this’ and ‘founding-father wanted that’ stuff with a little touch of a rare condemnable incident.Recommend

  • http://www.stock24x7.com/ saumil

    Pakistan Sucks , but biggest fools are there civilians, who don’t rebel against system only cry for help.Recommend

  • Tanzi

    @Farhan Usman: i dont have a problemmwith shariah law. But heres the thing: in those times people were encouraged to follow shariah with patience and compassion. Unlike today where it is rather imposed with sticks and guns. One ofthe biggest reason why people felt comfortable with Prophet Muhammad (saws) was because he was a compassionate person. He never passed swift judgements.Recommend

  • http://stay-blessed1.blogspot.com/ Asma Khan

    Sick behavior… :/Recommend

  • http://www.adnanjabbar.com Dr. Adnan

    Pakistani Passport & Citizenship for SALE …. anyone … hello .. anyone ?Recommend

  • Hmj

    @Everlast:
    “Agreed with SUB please stop blaming dead people for the troubles caused by unequal wealth distribution and your social setup. I think the SHO did not do it because of FAHASHI but he attacked the thinking/ mindset she represented i.e., the numb elite we can whatever we want etc etc.”

    You think he had the right to attack an innocent bystander, regardless of her attire or mindset? And you can’t blame dead people from inequitable wealth distribution, but you can sure blame Zia Ul Haq for brainwashing two generations with a twisted horrific version of Islam that was just brutal and fascist. And you can reject it. Recommend

  • Loneliberal PK

    Farhan,
    “I agree with her that the police did a wrong thing but not on this comment as Pakistan was created for Muslims to practice this religion”

    So practice it, don’t shove it down my throat. Shariah is about imposing your religious ideologies over the masses, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. That, we can do without.Recommend

  • Hmj

    @Bilal:
    I think if the police is booking our youth for hasish they have a lot of times on their hands, I dont think the Pakistani youths biggest problem is getting stoned…perhaps the police should have been out trying to arrest Moulvis in mosques for inciting hatred, or the billions of other crimes our country has that actually harm people. Hashish smoking kids are hardly the problem the police should bother with. Recommend

  • BanyanPao

    Mullah belongs in the mosque, not on the street, nor in the parliament.

    A politician inherently changes stances often towards the most expedient one at the time given the suitability of situation.
    Isn’t religion and matters of faith unflinching, unchanging and uncompromising in the face of difficulty?

    A mullah should never be a politician….. period!!Recommend

  • BanyanPao

    @SUB:

    Followed by four aborted rounds of 2 kleptocratic families that were too busy doing “other things of vital interest” to them….

    Musharraf tried but i think the damage the preceding “Shamocracies” had done was too deep.

    Even Musharraf is not absolved of blame… He surrounded himself with the left overs of intermittent shamocracies and absolute dictatorships who all proceeded to do what was best for their respective houses….

    Until and unless some of the leaders get the book for their crimes… NOTHING will change for the better. Things will stay the same, which means on with the downward spiral……Recommend

  • BanyanPao

    @N M JAVED:

    You call yourselves the better of others, yet you commit the same acts that you find abhorrent in “them”….. classy…Recommend

  • faraz

    You can do anything under the garb of religion ranging from murder to thuggery. Those who cant understand difference between Zia and Jinnah should study Jinnah’s eating and drinking habits.Recommend

  • BanyanPao

    @Everlast:

    Zia did an horrendous overhaul of society that could have been stopped had the following governments been worth the paper their ballots were printed on.

    However the damage ZIa did, fueled by Oil and US money was deep… Recommend

  • M Ali Khan

    and yet people here have no problem stripping a woman and parading her naked in the streets as punishment.Recommend

  • BanyanPao

    @Everlast:

    I almost missed this…. Did you just say the policeman attacked her for her “Elitist-mindset”???

    Wow….. Is it me or did you just imply; in that case it’s all good… ?Recommend

  • Saif

    @Farhan Usman: .
    Thankgod.., i really thank Allah that someone came along and said the right thing..!
    I agree that beating up that woman was the wrong way to do it, especially when such fashion is common on a communal level!
    But I also like the fact that you stood up for islamic principles adn teh shariat.., cuz that’s what we definitely need to bring out country onto the right path!!!Recommend

  • BanyanPao

    @saumil:
    Shouldn’t you be paying attention to the banking reforms happening in your country?

    Your banking system is about to be taken over by bank-sters…

    you should be protesting right now….Recommend

  • Saif

    @Loneliberal PK:
    U have no idea how wrong u are! Your name on this blog doesnt tell me if ur a muslim or not, but, man o man, if u are a muslim, u really dont know how lost u are..! speaking out against the shariah law like this is a sin indeed! shariah law encompasses the regulations passed down to muslims from the quran and holy prophet PBUH himself! And u disclaim its sanctity! If ur a muslim, u should be ashamed of yourself!Recommend

  • bold9k

    This nation is going down the tanks far from modern civilization and into the depths of oblivionRecommend

  • Taha

    Well sometimes we hear less and act more may be that policeman really found something strange thats why he beat that women,am not taking side of that policeman but still we must think that how he can just enter into the gallery and start beating up the women,but still one thing is for sure that now a days we are adapting western culture and of coarse that culture does not suits on womens of our society.this is all what my perception is.Recommend

  • maestro

    @Farhan Usman:
    LOL! You think the “Islam” being followed in Saudi is actual Islam??? LOL.. Where does it say in Islam that women cant vote, cant drive, cant have a career etc? Hazrat Khadeejah was a business woman! Have you seen saudis in the states and europe? They drink like fish, go to every brothel they can and then go back to their 50 wives and mistresses preaching holier than though. Saudis are the scum of the earth and are transplanting their version of “islam” to Pak via the madrassah network which wikileaks has proven to be funded by the saudis and UAE. Not even mentioning how they treat pakistanis there who have built their palaces and sky scrapers. This blind love of the “custodians of the 2 holy sites” has lead us to this point of decay in our society. Open your eyes. Pakistanis by nature are a secular people who have been brainwashed for the last 30 years and now are having an identity crisis. Religion is personal. We dont answer to an illiterate mullah – we only answer to God. You have NO RIGHT to impose your visions and beliefs on others. Worry about your own lives and leave us alone or move to Saudi! Recommend

  • Farhan Usman

    thank you @Tanzi and @ Saif

    Loneliberal PK;

    im sorry!!! Islam teaches us the full way of life and that law should be followed, i agree not by force but that should be the law of the country and anyone not following the country should be punished..according to the law ofcourse…..do u agreee???….i hope u do…and this will solve all our problems…giving the right punishments as well according to islam…i hope ALLAH helps us all to follow the right path and understand the difference in the right way, what we think is right or what HE thinks is right….!!!Recommend

  • Asif

    @N M JAVED: the woman who was assaulted happens to be my cousin. According to your mid-evil logic of “an eye for an eye” i should come to your house and assualt your family members as well. How would you like it if that happened. Unfortunately one of the biggest problems in our society is that people here deal with social problems through violence instead of enforcing the law, police and civilians included. Dealing with violence by resorting to it ourselves only inflames the issue.And went to the art gallery there was nothing “fahashi” about the place, its a cafe and art gallery, whats so strange about having art and coffee in Lahore, the cultural capital of this country ???!?!!?Recommend

  • Maria

    I wish that these idiots had the balls to raid the terrorists like that too…. Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/noman.ansari Noman Ansari

    Nicely written. Fine analysis. Recommend

  • Asif

    @Everlast: The woman who was assualted is my cousin and trust me shes not elite by any standard, she just happens to be lucky enough to belong to an educated family. pleas dont talk about people you have never met and have no clue about. It just makes you look like and absolute idiot.Recommend

  • Naeem Ahmed Bjawa

    Those who live their life on FB or reside inside barricaded suburbs like DHA, Cantt and commuting in their AC cars.. surfacing out only at few select and exclusive spots or at airports at Khi., Lhe. to take a flight to more salubrious destinations, watch out!… the noose is getting tighter and tighter. COME OUT of your comfort zones, Incidents like these should be taken as clarion call for all those who believe in liberal and progressive valuesRecommend

  • Saima

    “The first problem for all of us , men & women , is not to learn, but to unlearn” – Gloria Steinem

    We all know what has been done in the past … the question at hand is what are we doing now or plan to moving forward. Where is Pakistan’s “Arab Spring” ?
    My question is what is being done about this event in itself will it become another one that they got away with or it wasn’t worth the trouble. In a country where “rose petals” were thrown on a Salmaan Taseers assassin why does this event even register on the richer scale … Recommend

  • A.P.

    Disturbing and disgusting. What are we leading towards? Much of our media seems to be a joke. The other day, almost whole day, I heard the news about the tailor who had taken advance and wouldn’t give money but this news hasn’t even made headlines yet?Recommend

  • maestro

    @Dr. Adnan:
    LOL – why would anyone in their right mind want a Pakistani passport??? You would have to pay someone to take it and seek asylum somewhere. Recommend

  • Everlast

    @Hmj: Agreed he had no right to do so but whether you agree or not we as a nation are really frustrated and we channel out this frustration at every instant we possibly can be it against innocent people or otherwise. Just look around you we find so many instances of this unjust rage around us….. but i feel (I hope i am wrong) this has now become a kind of a tussle between haves and havenots Recommend

  • Tribune Reader

    if you think thats just an isolated incident, in our society we are enducing amongst people a sense of phobia and hatred for non religious muslims, people wont think twice in labelling u a kafir if they find out ur not an unconditional blind obedient practitioner like them.Recommend

  • http://log.umalik.com Usman Malik

    I still cannot digest this story! I want to know why police did that.

    Just 5-6 years back I was in Islamabad and was able to interact with art community there and never saw any such thing. Pakistani art scene is very liberal and has never faced any such troubles before.Recommend

  • RKYusuf

    As a reader above pointed; perhaps the Police goon had some personal issue with the gallery incharge. Am reminded of the recent Kamran Shahid vs Veena Malik fiasco on TV. Hats off to the brave woman for standing up to the onslaught of the “mufti’ and Kamran; a little bird told me he was interested in her, and when she (probably) rebuffed his advances, he tried to harass her on public TV! Can anyone confirm this?
    As for the incident in question, I wonder how far the gallery will go to get justice? Wah Wah Punjab Police!Recommend

  • Loneliberal PK

    Farhan,
    “im sorry!!! Islam teaches us the full way of life and that law should be followed”

    I’m sorry, but I’m not obliged to agree with you. If you like shariah law, feel free to follow it. Just don’t force me to follow it.

    Note that your religious freedom ends where my nose begins, and vice versa.Recommend

  • nafisa

    Well said.
    We dwell in apathy.
    All in all we are NOT just another brick in the wall. Recommend

  • http://bakedsunshine.wordpress.com/ Shumaila

    This is my country * facepalm *Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    Some Hours ago today I was goin’ through ET slide show and saw Farwah zaheer’s veil concepts..I wonder why cant they be made accessible to masses. No body would mind them. But why wouldn’t You see common man, “in ladies” sees veil as a sign of religious obedience and sleeveless-ness\low necklines\tight outfits\jeans\skirts as “slutness” here in Pakistan.
    Why well they care too much about women only for their own eyes. Common man when comes to women is selfless and selfish at the same time. They would like to cover their women and uncover others. Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    That’s the slide show I was talkin about
    http://tribune.com.pk/multimedia/slideshows/223520/Recommend

  • MS – Mariya

    SHO had nothing better to do i guess…SHO should be catching the purse snatchers on MALL ROAD…yes lahore MALL road and that in broad day light. Thats how confident the theif are..clearly they know the SHO is busy harassing girls and boys. Recommend

  • Informer

    @Fahad Raza
    Hmm …is that how break fast some hours ago?? ;DRecommend

  • Norwegian Pakistani

    I wish they were more passionate about other problems in the society rather than what a woman is wearing! This is so unfortunate!Recommend

  • Dee

    SAD!!!Recommend

  • n

    where did this incident take place?
    the writer has not bothered to mention the cityRecommend

  • AR

    whats this country coming to!!!!!!Recommend

  • parvez

    This narration is about an incident relating to society and governance. An official has overstepped his limits and caused an incident that was avoidable. Nothing more.
    Our obsession with bringing religion into everything is apparently the problem. Recommend

  • hammad virk

    We are in 21st century.This is the age of technology and we are still in the stone age.We alwys come up with weird news like this. We lack tolerance in our society and this is the major factor of our downfall. If Zia has done it can you name one leader who tried to recover our society. One who slayed Taseer came up as hero this is the level of us. We need to move forward. Please think in a broader way.I am proponent of free and open society with essence of Islam. Allah bless PakistanRecommend

  • http://Momina Momina

    What actually disheartens me after reading articles like these is how easily we go about accusing Islamic extremism and fanaticism for every unethical incident that happens in our society.To me it seems more of a ‘I don’t follow my religion,so lets condemn those who do’ strategy.I believe these mind sets are conspiracies to remove the little islam that is left in our society today by stereotyping every mullah as an extremist .This policeman I believe had nothing to do with enforcing islamic shariah .And this act was Just a depiction of his violent character and personal motives.We should not deface islam by calling such men islamic extremists.Recommend

  • Daud Ahmef

    Wats ur say on european baning hijab?? Fine them?? There must be othr reason behind this act by police .. Pakistan for everRecommend

  • KolachiMom

    Soon they’ll be beating us if we’re not wearing burqas!Recommend

  • Mustafa

    Like this is the biggest problem in Pakistan right now…why can’t people get their priorites right?

    No need in reporting this case anyway. This is nothing compared to what “really” happens in Pak…Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/Lazy.Boo.Boo.Bear Yasir Khan

    Mr. Amir Quershi,

    With all due respect, I am very sad and angry at the same time after reading you story and analyzing that how cleverly you have molded the story to show the sick and frustrated nature of our media. You have successfully established the fact that we are a fanatic nation and cannot tolerate women wearing sleeveless dresses.

    However, this was not the truth.

    I searched about this incident and found two stories from authentic news websites … please view following links:

    http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/08/inquiry-starts-against-shadman-sho-over-nairang-antics/

    http://news.fmota.com/uncategorized/inquiry-starts-against-shadman-sho-over-nairang-antics.html

    These news stories clearly mention that: ‘Eyewitnesses said the SHO was stopped as a young lady trying to park her car in front of the art gallery, took a little long. The delay infuriated the SHO and he marched into the gallery with his staff members.’

    and ‘Shadmaan Police Station Station House Officer (SHO) Rana Zulfiqar was held for inquiry on charges of harassing and beating staff members of the Nairang Art Gallery, including a young female curator.’

    In both of these authentic News links … try searching for the word ‘Sleeveless’ … and you will find ZERO results …

    I condemn this misuse of power but I hope it also clears the point I was trying to make !!

    You should apologize to the people and nation for this kind of immature journalism that you did!!

    Hope that ALLAH shows you the right path and gives you courage to do true and meaningful journalism.

    Best Regards,

    Yasir KhanRecommend

  • Burhan ud Din

    @SUB:

    Yes and Ibn-e-Wahab died 200 years ago. And we still suffer from his corruption of Islam.
    The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones. (William Shakespeare in Julius Ceasar)Recommend

  • Ali Hameed

    the news can be true.. what happens in these kinda ‘art’ centers, every one knows.. ‘sleeveless’ is such a minor’ thing. even theres reported ‘nude sketching’ in NCA and other ‘modern’ institutions.
    Rest the writer has exaggerated , he wanted to address and attack zia’s policies and took advantage of the news. they would never comment on ‘porn houses’ , over westernization of the society and ‘sex parties’ , all they observe and comment is , one side of the picture, rather a ‘distorted’ picture. Recommend

  • Ali Kazmi

    There’s going to be protests against this injustice in Lahore and Islamabad on Saturday. Go to http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=138747912879519 for more info.Recommend

  • Farhan

    Mr Maestro…

    Im already here in Saudi Arabia.. as u said u cannot judge by what saudis are doing…but what are their laws…and what should be the laws of one Islamic state if u want freedom to have _ and __ do whatever u want..u can go to other countries dont pollute the Islamic Republic of Pakistan…as thier is already big pollution, parties and drinking there itself….saudis mayb wrong government mayb doin the wrong thing but pls stop ur moderate thinking and once and for all try and mold ur life acoording to islam…do u think it is difficult..pls just try….being moderate is more diff..try and live according to the rules of Islam…hope u understand…Recommend

  • Zulfiqar Ali Maqbool

    @ Yasir Khan

    I think you haven’t read the articles (the links you posted) carefully.

    “The delay infuriated the SHO and he marched into the gallery with his staff members. Inside the café, he started questioning a young couple having lunch. As the couple told him they were married and the husband was an advocate, the SHO backed off. He then asked the maintenance manager to call the gallery in-charge, a female curator. On meeting the curator, the SHO noted down her name and address. When the young lady questioned the SHO on taking down her personal details, the SHO first criticized her appearance and then hit her.”

    The article failed to mention that the SHO had criticized the female curator for wearing a sleeveless shirt and then hit her. I got the details of the story from the people who were actually present there.

    Besides, what business does the SHO have asking men and women seated together to prove they’re married or not?Recommend

  • wajahat ali

    the article left me dumbfounded.to zero on the problem for God sake we should stop blaming others.its a nations fault. there is a big hole in our ideology created by the foreign media and our lack of knowledge leaving us ambivalent about the theocracy and seclurism. Recommend

  • Nairang Art Gallery

    we would like to set the record straight. we were not harassed for hashish but SHEESHA and no we DO NOT serve it! our curator was wearing a sleevless shalwar kameez but the policeman assaulted her for ASKING him politely WHAT THE MATTER WAS. he assaulted her and THEN commented vulgurly on her attire and the venue. Recommend

  • Syedae Ali

    This has to do with double standards..there are different kinds of people everywhere..we need to simply prioritise our responsibilities..we have bigger issues to be taken care of..you can’t beat peple up for wearing sleeveless or talking to guys or for having drugs..2veryone has the right to have their own expression…what Zia did can’t be undone.. But sure should not be left for the generations to recall!Recommend

  • Taimur Rahman

    “General Zia’s policies won wide-spread appeal”

    Are you kidding me. They were incredibly unpopular. Recommend

  • Ali Kazmi

    @Nairang Art Gallery:
    There’s going to be at least two protests: one in Lahore and one in Karachi and maybe one in Karachi too. Invite as many people as you can to this event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=138747912879519Recommend

  • Syme

    Whatever, whether its Harsh or sleeveless lady.My only question is why don’t they raid Shah Jamal, Data Darbar , these places are the sites of sodomy, child trafficking and drugs, you can find anything illegal at Data darbar?
    Naraang isn’t an exception, you can smooch, snog and get high but what about other places? we all know the guest houses and Candy bars.Recommend

  • Rameez

    @n:
    Nairang Art Gallery is in Lahore.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/yusra.hanif yusra hanif

    we just love spicing things up. dont we? more masala = more TRP eh?
    you took one incident in which a single guy bashed a single woman for wearing a sleeveless and turned it into a national crisis , then intelligently bought zia in who had died some 20sth years ago and blamed him for corrupting the policeman’s mind and then concluded that we should be less fundamentalist and more flexible in accepting modernization.
    for your very kind information when i lived in khi I saw atleast 10-15 women wearing sleeveless, skirts, jeans daily. some of them were my very fast friends. other acquintances and random strangers. none of them have ever been harrassed by a policeman. ever.
    there are millions of people in this country who wear what they want do and do what they want to. dress in sleeveless or smoke sheesha.either secretly or openly. I have never ever ever heard of a single incident in which a police wala beat up a girl because she was wearing a sleeveless and smoking a sheesha save this one. have any other ET reader seen such incident??? and i have my serious doubts that either there is more to the story or the police walla was mentally unstable and needs checkup. but this in noway proves that we suck as a nation and we should start selling our passports and moving abroad. pakistan is more acceptable than many other islamic countries and lets atleast recognize this fact. you could have focused more on that one single guy who did wrong [and im sure such exampes are everywhere] but you chose to generalize the news which is a sham. I challenge you to give me atleast 10 [or even 5 more]authentic police incidents like this one in which someone was beaten up because of his/her dressing from any/all major cities of pakistan from lets say last 6months-1 year and then we can conclude things like people’s mindset needs to change etc. i know you wont be able to. so stop making such general statements.
    also, next time try focusing on a more imp. issue. Recommend

  • Burhan ud Din

    @Farhan:

    Dear Farhan. Islam is moderate. What is not is the sham that the Saudis and now we follow. The Prophet (PBUH) gave rights of inheritance to women, they participated in the affairs of state. He said “go to China if that is where education is to be found”. Surely he knew that China in 7th century did not educate people in Islamic texts. He meant education in wider sense. The same education that we are now stopping by blowing up schools.

    Someone up in the comments said these are isolated events. We just buried a 17 year old who would help his mother run an NGO that helped women find employment. His mother received a warning to stop “fahhashi” and a coffin. Then this boy was murdered by unknown people. This happened last month in main Lahore. Apparently around 20 other women owned businesses in the neighborhood had also closed in the past 6 months due to threats.

    Please wake up people. The people dying of ignorance and hypocrisy are now your neighbors. They could soon be your relatives. Have you ever looked at a mother who just lost a 17 year old son to murder. Can you even sleep after that.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/britpak Mohammed Abbasi

    why don’t they arrest the mullahs for blaspheming against Islam instead? Recommend

  • faraz

    I wonder how people get the time to ponder over petty issues like clothing. Live and let live Recommend

  • Mustafa

    @Yusra Hanif

    it’s true Zia died some 20 yrs ago…. yet the ordinances he promulgated – even though he was an unelected despotic dictator – are still part of the constitution. And some of these ordinances were Hudood, Blasphemy, ihtaram ramzan, all of them are relentlessly used to settle personal scores and persecute minorities. None of the successive governments have had the guts to amend these ordinances, Musharraf tried… but the mullahs came out on the streets and burnt down everything in sight..so he retreated. As for wearing sleeveless, i see girls wearing skirts, sleeveless all the time…but only in Gulberg, Defence and Cantt. Try walking through Anarkali, Icchra in a skirt or a sleeveless shirt…but that’s not the point… the police regularly harass men and women hanging out in public parks and areas… this is not an isolated incident that’s how it happens in less affluent parts of the cities and rural areas across the country. I think the writer did the right thing by putting this incident in historical and broader perspective.Recommend

  • Shock horror

    @Dr. Adnan:
    If you pay me 100 Crore Rupees, I will think about taking Pakistani Passport and citizenship off you!Recommend

  • MT

    I think there would have been more to the story. I think, I might be wrong, it was not only the sleeveless thing which caused this incident. Whoever wrote this he / she should come up with complete story. This cafe Nairang, or whatever the name is, I think it’s same on Jail road, in front of a girls college – give me a break! It’s quite notorious for it’s so called liberalization. At the name of art you just cant do anything in a cafe. An islamic state does not allow what happens there. By claiming it to be the modern version of tea house you just cant go beyond limits. Liberalization and modernism have better meanings which could be within boundaries of Islam.

    With this I would never say that SHO had the right to beat up the girl. He should have taken actions under the boundary of laws of Pakistan – whatever they are. Recommend

  • narayana murthy

    Good going. Protect Osama and beat up the innocent.Recommend

  • umar

    @ auther
    someone writes this in other post
    Sami Bilal .. I was at the Art Gallery when this happened. This is a total non sense report. The curator didn’t had the permission for the exhibition and when the law enformcement agency tried to shut it down the curator went violent shouting and abusing the police.Recommend

  • umar

    If that truely happened, then its shameful for all of us that where our society is heading to.
    And are we waiting for another violent video to be uploaded on youtube so that we could just GOSSIP it for next couple of weeks and then get silent, otherwise we wont take it seriousRecommend

  • http://russianroullete2.wordpress.com Jeddy

    General Zia is dead, why do people behave as if he is still alive?Recommend

  • Dr,A.K.Tewari

    It is not a new thing for a muslim society . Women in Pakistan will remain a second grade citizen . Islamic Pakistan has no future .It is not a new thing for a muslim society . Women in Pakistan will remain a second grade citizen . Islamic Pakistan has no future .Recommend

  • ahsan

    feeling sorry for that girl . feeling even more sorry for that sho who doesnt know how to behave in such situations. someone sold him arrogance & ignorance at the name of islam. pitty on such people. Recommend

  • Attiq Ahmed

    While the project of identity remains un-conclusive. The fact of the matter is not sleeveless or Burqa but more about the fact that no one has the right to take the law in their own hands. The SHO by assaulting the young lady was not performing his duty, he was being violent. He did not follow correct legal procedures unless the bulk of people think its alright for the police to just walk into anyone’s house or business without a warrant and just start slapping people around without following the course of the law. Recommend

  • menteliscio

    you shud read the comments of the curator, it was not about her sleeves. zia is here because you wont let go of himRecommend

  • Adnan

    This nation will never get up against all that is being done on the name of our great religion. What a pity that a peaceful religion Islam has been hijacked by the rigid and extremist thoughts. I can only pray for the departed soul of our nation! May ALLAH Keep It in Peace! AameenRecommend

  • http://zindalahore.com Lahori

    I wonder this SHO must be a hero for how many Pakistanis? probably a vast majority of them.Recommend

  • Awais Khan

    Although it looks as settling of some personal vendetta, but the way religion has been exploited, clearly shows the amount of extremism present in our society.Recommend

  • Ali

    seriously every one knows very well about the “social circle” of art people along with people in media..so no doubt there was something for sure which needed a police action. no no need for arguing big…this is not any big colossal event that has occurred…police are no mullah nor Taliban…so dont get scared from Islam so instantly guys..they have their job and they are accountable for it and responsible for any action..

    its better to be rational instead of biased and immediately showing coherent attitude pointing it to the entire religious system, with the fact that it even dosnt exists…:)

    i makes me smile after seeing the scary and concerned attitude of liberals or moderators in our society who get to group together having same coherent and worried thoughts when ever some social action is taken for any cause of immorality. :) we are humans! are there are social boundaries that make us humans…freedom is not meant to be socially freelanceRecommend

  • TM

    @Everlast:
    Sorry, but you must mention the misfits who once ran the country … whether they are dead or alive. They serve as a bitter lesson for humanity. From Democratic Republic of Pakistan to Islamic Republic of Pakistan … put those two side by side in a comparative analysis and see how far we have advanced (de-evolved) and what we have achieved. Zia’s deplorable self serving vision gave this nation hatred, sectarian violence, division and corrupt to the bone mullahs like Saeed Kazmi who’s fraud and malevolence was exposed for all to see in recent Haj Scam … who incidently, was also the head of all religious affairs. (Go figure that one … how he became in-charge!)

    The word Mullah / Molvi is synonymous to filth and the lowest degree of it. The have made the mockery out of God and the spirit of Islam has been molested by suck ilk.

    No wonder today’s youth is looking into Atheism in Pakistan. Yes… in Pakistan!Recommend

  • TM

    @Zulfiqar Ali Maqbool:

    Yes indeed … what business did he have?

    And he walked away from the premises after assaulting her and nobody did anything? Why didn’t anyone wring his neck right then and there?

    There are people with illegal bore weapons and chainsaws running around in Pakistan and the police is attacking art gallery management?

    Nice!Recommend