A ‘Pink’ bus for women, really?!

Published: February 20, 2014
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Although the effort is admirable and shows that the government’s thinking is on the right track, the solution, a Pink bus, is a complete sham. PHOTO: FILE

Recently in Lahore we were graced with the news of the arrival of our very own ‘Pink Bus’. The purpose of this bus is to rid, albeit momentarily, the female population from the roving eyes, slippery hands and insensitive tongues of the male population; to give women ‘harassment-free-travel’.

WHAT?

Although the effort is admirable and shows that the government’s thinking is on the right track, the solution, a Pink bus, is a complete sham. The mere fact that the authorities thought it appropriate to introduce something like this should actually offend women and yet we sit there smile, look pretty and let the big, tough, muscular men build walls around us to ‘protect’ us.

What happens when you get off the bus?

Or are you not supposed to get off the bus? Maybe you are supposed to be dropped off at your doorstep and are to dash inside to avoid coming in contact with the ‘harassing’ species? Perhaps we can introduce a house-on-wheels; at least we won’t have to meet any men who are not family and can still go out.

Oh but wait, the streets are crowded with men. There are men everywhere – how do we escape them?

Gosh, why did God do this to us?

It has, however, been discovered, whilst reviewing the progress of the bus, that the First Bus Service, the company that runs the Pink Bus, is not happy with its returns. They have blamed the Lahore Transport Company for a shoddy job with the ‘marketing’.

As sad as it may be for many, and as you may have already guessed, I was elated by the news. And no, it is not the marketing that is to be blamed.

They have planned to change the service from a ‘Ladies only’ transport to a ‘Family’ transport.

Hallelujah, I guess?

Pakistan – a country already in the stranglehold of various tags and labels – is one country that definitely does not need a Pink Bus.

We have labels for everything – gender, sect, religion, occupation, ideology, ethnicity, race – even nationality is a label each one of us carries. Take me, for example. I am sure that people would label me as a ‘girl’ (not a person), working as a ‘journalist’, who is a ‘Muslim’ living in ‘Pakistan’.

For the world at large, that would be my general description.

For Pakistanis viewing me, the labels would continue and I would be slotted into another bunch of categories. The dissection will turn me into a ‘liberal’ ‘Karachiite’ ‘Sindhi’ ‘woman’ who is ‘Sunni’ and works for the ‘media’. There are probably many other labels I would fall under – frankly I am a little relieved I can’t think of any others at the moment.

Each of these labels holds connotations that form a pigeonhole opinion about me.

This habit of dissecting individuals and placing them in little boxes of stereotype is one of the main problems in the world today. No individual is free from these labels and chains, and this is what stems the main problem of discrimination world over.

Instead of introducing cost-effective methods for empowering women, we are merely taking the convenient route out. Yes, the road to empowerment is long and steep but the long-term benefits far surpass this excuse of a solution.

Why is it that women have to be hoarded off, clumped together and concealed to overcome issues of harassment?

Is this not discriminatory?

Are we trying to show the world that Pakistani men are incapable of controlling their hands?

Or are we trying to show them that Pakistani women are not strong enough to face the world on their own?

Have we learnt nothing from history or the progressive world?

The mere fact that men and women can co-exist peacefully in other parts of the world should be indication enough that we are doing something wrong. Shoving women under curtains or stoning men who dare talk to women has not solved anything so far has it?

So, why increase the gender gap and separate the two so indistinctively?

Today it is just a separate bus; tomorrow we will require separate bus-stops, female drivers, women-only malls, conferences and even jobs.

What if a woman travels in the ordinary bus despite the pink bus being available? Will she be given another label too? Will she be called a woman with ‘loose morals’? What if an old man has no option but to travel by the pink bus one day, will he be offended to travel with a flock of women or will he be labelled a ‘rogue’ for travelling with women?

It is a Pandora’s Box of labels – it will never end.

If the idea of a man sitting near you is so repulsive, I don’t mean to be rude but, then walk it!

If a man tries to harass you, don’t complain about it – get up and do something about it. In a society like ours, the mere mention of a man upsetting a woman is enough to rile up a crowd in favour of the woman – then why this discriminatory sexist step?

Will we force our women into lives of dependency and insecurity forever?

Today there are many people who regret the very idea of a label being imposed on them – whether religious, ethnic, sexist or otherwise – and here, the government has gift-wrapped yet another chain of labels for women. With initiatives like the pink bus, we are inviting further prejudice.

I do not want to be tied down by more labels and I, for one, would not travel by the ‘Pink’ bus.

Do you think there should be a separate transportation system for women?

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erum.shaikh

Erum Shaikh

The writer is a News Editor at The Express Tribune and has an Undergraduate Degree in Law from the University of London. She tweets @shaikherum (twitter.com/shaikherum)

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

  • knightridrr

    @Author
    Are women happy with anything? They always want more. Don’t they?Recommend

  • Miss Syed

    What good is a religion to a man, that doesn’t even prevent him from looking at women? What religion do you men claim to follow when you can’t exercise self-control, when you can’t lower your gaze, when you view each and every woman like a piece of meat, when you consider a woman in your mind so lowly to be thought of only in one sense? Is this your religion, where is self-restraint? I wonder if these men really believe in God!Recommend

  • KB

    I wont be surprised if they name it Dulhan express.Recommend

  • Fox

    Hmmm… the author asked some valid questions here like what about women who travel by other means given the Pink Bus is available..and all that stuff about the label thing. I don’t think the label of ‘immoral’ would be given to women not travelling by the pink bus because they are never gonna be sufficient..so it would be okay for other people… anyway, it is just a political stunt and I’m happy that there are some more buses on the road. At least some people (or say women) can travel peacefully while others have to travel in such a mess.. So don’t worry too much dear author.Recommend

  • Abid

    it is a real good facility for traditional Pakistani women except the types who will rather ride with strange men and look to be disrespected – pink color may be notRecommend

  • Lubna

    Dear Author, I’m sorry to burst your bubble but men and women are not co-existing peacefully in other parts of the world. Eve-teasing, rapes and domestic violence are pretty rampant there too. I say this as someone who has lived in the US. You seem to have lived abroad as well, given your alma mater. I’m sure you would know. So I’m sorry to say, the charade they put up of empowering their women shouldn’t be enough to use their policies as a standard.
    Firstly, if you have traveled by the public bus system, you would know that sitting next to a man on a bus is not the same as crossing one in the street. Harassment may occur in both scenarios but one is more conducive than the other to say the least.

    Moving on, I agree, majority of our fellow countrymen need to learn to lower their gazes but let me tell you, I don’t see it happening in the next few decades. So I’m too proud to wait for them to turn over a new leaf and until then, subject myself to the harassment that is common in buses today. I don’t know if the Pink bus project will be successful but you know what, if I get the choice, I will opt for it. Because I am that woman who now requests a seat next to a female even when I board an aeroplane. Call it being paranoid, narrow-minded -whatever you please-, but I prefer sitting next to an excessively talkative lady instead of the man who ‘accidently’ elbows you in the ribs every once in a while.Recommend

  • Lubna

    Btw, I don’t see the harm in starting such a project. It labels us as ‘girls’ instead of ‘persons’? So when a man harasses a woman on a public bus, he labels her as what, a ‘rabbit’? Because he can’t be under the impression that he’s looking at a ‘girl’, that label is only reserved for those of us who wish to shield ourselves or as you say ‘shove ourselves under curtains’!
    P.S. What about school buses? Does it drag the community under labels like ‘children’ and ‘adults’? No offence, but this is how baseless your argument is.Recommend

  • rafia noor

    dear erum , have you ever personally travelled in public transport on daily basis for about 5 hours of travelling time in 24 hours? if not then plz you know nothing about the plight of the females travelling in local transport along with men. have you ever been touched by conductors and drivers? have you ever been asked you to leave the wagon if you protest on them touching you? or sitting in the wagon for long routes travelling? or have you ever sat with the men stinking and trying to touch you? do you know there are no air conditioners in the wagons and womens’ seats are on the hot engines . and do you know that drivers are not certified drivers and due to harsh and reckless driving, many women have permanent back pains, but cant afford a private taxi due to financial constraints. do yu know a place that takes about 1 hour to reach by car takes 2.5 hours to reach at by wagon. dear erum there is sth called as reconnaisance that needs to be done before condemning it. true depiction of being a pakistnai journalist.Recommend

  • Waqar Qureshi

    A Happy Woman is a Myth LOLRecommend

  • gp65

    I would like to ask the author whether she has ever ridden in these buses? Years back when I would travel by Mumbai locals, I invariably travelled in the ladies compartment. Does that mean I had no male colleagues at work? Of course I did. But I knew them and trusted them. Could a man have made comments as I was walking from my home to the railway station or railway station to office? Of course but it is very different from groping and other physical forms of harassment.
    Finally, while this was not true for me and is probably not true for many fellow Indians, have you considered that in Pakistan, many families may permit women to go to college or travel indepnendently only if they travel by a mode of transport which does not subject them to harrassment?
    You describe yourself as liberal. But being liberal involves respecting choices that differ from yours as long as they do not harm anyone and such choices are not being imposed on you.
    If you are okay with women choosing niqab and hijaab (I assume you are), why are you not okay with a woman traveling safely in a ladies only bus – pink or otherwise? And how liberal are you if you cannot respect choices of other people?Recommend

  • gp65

    Your statement “If the idea of a man sitting near you is so repulsive, I don’t mean to be rude but, then walk it” sounds very much like what is attributed to Marie Antoinette ” If they cannot find bread, let them eat cake”. Both cases show lack of empathy and arrogance for those less privileged than you.Recommend

  • Alina

    You are the Head of Blogs Desk in ET and this is what you come up with? Really??Recommend

  • abubakar

    Agree with the other commentator about how the author has never (most probably) travelled in a local bus or wagon , she doesn’t know the miseries faced by women or even men that travel in these local wagons.

    Secondly the issue you are trying to raise will not be solved by presence or absence of these kind of buses.

    And I can’t remember where I watched the report but in that report most of the women interviewd were happy with buses like these being introduced so you whats your beef? , why so much bad-mouthing ? specially when you don’t even travel or aren’t ever likely to travel in local wagons and busesRecommend

  • Hammad Mian

    Miss Erum These buses are not for the rich and upper Class people like you. Let the poors and Middle Class women use these buses. You should appreciate the Government who has started such a good service for women instead of seeing everything with Negative glasses.Recommend

  • Nobody

    Granted harassment exists all over the world, but I’ve never been groped while sitting on any form of public transport whether in New York, Chicago or London. Not once. That does not stand true in Pakistan. I’ve been leered at, whistled at, “gently” shoved and had my bottom smacked on one occasion in Pakistan. Pakistan using the US or any number of other countries as a standard would still be an improvement; no one is striving for perfection.Recommend

  • Nobody

    My name is ‘Nobody.’ There, you’ve now met at least one very content woman. Myth busted. :) Cheers.Recommend

  • KB

    Equal rights my………!!Recommend

  • Umair Ahsan

    Nobody is forcing any women to ride the pink bus. Women who think the idea of a female only bus is ridiculous will wind up travelling in the co-ed ones. If very few women ride them, the female only buses will eventually incur huge losses and go out of business. But if there remains a sufficient demand by women to travel in female only buses, I do not see anything wrong in filling up a market gap! It is a free market and if someone wants to buy a certain service, there is no need to pass a judgement on their choices and prohibit the provision of said service!Recommend

  • KB

    beats suzuki with thighs around stick shifterRecommend

  • Abeer Pervaiz

    “If a man tries to harass you, don’t complain about it – get up and do something about it. In a society like ours, the mere mention of a man upsetting a woman is enough to rile up a crowd in favor of the woman – then why this discriminatory sexist step?”

    “Will we force our women into lives of dependency and insecurity forever?”

    OK you seem to be contradicting your own argument. First you say that women shouldn’t complain and should do something about it without being dependent and insecure. So how come calling someone from the “crowd” (of course men) make the women independent and secure? In the end the women is still dependent and insecure since on her own she can’t even defend herself.

    In a society like ours a lot of effort is required to change the mind set. Seeing that happen is like waiting for a miracle. If we see it in a positive light at least the government is doing something for the women even if it means providing a bus service that gives them security and protection against getting teased, harassed and ogled by men.

    The author should have done some research before writing the article perhaps by asking the women who use local transport how they feel about the Pink Bus initiative. Do they feel labeled or do they feel protected?Recommend

  • TheOne

    This article definitely reeks of elitism. Pakistan has a huge problem regarding eve teasing (In my experience the worst in any country I have ever visited).

    It’s okay for someone who walks on the streets once in blue moon to talk about taking a stand but for women who need to use public transport every day the harassment is a constant bombardment. Even someone with the toughest mental armour is going to crack.

    A woman should be able to go from point A to point B everyday without having to take a stand and neither is she responsible for how other human beings(?) behave. If this is how women can feel safe then so be it.Recommend

  • Unknown

    Every women claims that she is happy and do not care about other women’s dress, make up etc etc.Recommend

  • ManaHaque

    I believe Pink Bus is a really good initiative, it is for the ease of women, if countries like U.A.E can provide pink taxis with women drivers for the women even it being one of the safest countries to live in then why not Pakistan.
    I believe it is a step forward and definitely an appreciated thought.Recommend

  • Mkhan

    gawd! this writer needs to stop over-thinking please! women who were till date being deprived of moving freely in the city due to family, cultural, and most importantly religious constraints MAY now be allowed to travel around if their male relatives are not home or away in some other country. Please be appreciative of the efforts government makes for the working class females. These buses are surely not for the modern-thinking middle or upper class ones who have the luxuries of having their own cars or still have the option open of travelling in the other local transportation. Now you have many options feel free to chose.Recommend

  • Gp65

    Well said. I cannot speak for the Pakistani experience but definitely confirm your experience in public transpirt in Washington DC, NYC, London, Barcelona etc. Voice of sanity and reason as always.Recommend

  • gp65

    Apparently the author is asking for less not more. But overall most women (cannot speak or all) simply want to live in a safe environment free frpm violence, have equal opportunities to pursue their dreams and be treated with respect. Surely that is not too much to ask? Recommend

  • Parvez

    What you have said is that women should stand up and be counted………well said.
    Now to come down to ground level on Pakistani soil, the ‘ pink bus ‘ is a small attempt at civic improvement . Hopefully ( will not happen in my lifetime ) standards will improve and the ‘ pink bus ‘ will eventually die its own death.Recommend

  • Lubna

    Well, alright, I’ll give you that. If we’re only talking about groping in public buses, the goras may be nothing compared to locals. I’ll admit to that. But have you ever undergone the trauma of witnessing a drunk guy lowering his pants in front of you and two other women at a Pakistani bus stop? I have. At a Metro bus stop in California. That was eve-teasing like I have never seen before. Even the middle-aged women sitting next to me were scandalised! And this is just one instance. I have friends who have been properly harassed. We can’t use a system where exhibitionism and other sexual offences have replace groping/whistling/leering, as a standard.
    The real standard was set by Allah in the Quran. Because Allah knows best. And if He tells us to avoid unnecessary mixing with the other gender, we should trust Him because He is the one who truly loves and cares for us, as opposed to any liberal, extremist, gora or well, non-gora.Recommend

  • KM

    Its often not pink where it is supposed to be even if they are oxford grads….Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Segregation only allows temporary comforts to women, in exchange for long-term alienation. It solves nothing.

    It’s like suggesting that the solution to Sunni-Shia violence is building a separate black-walled ghetto for the shia community to all live in. To separate them out so fiercely, that the feelings of “us vs them” are ratcheted up even higher.Recommend

  • knightridrr

    Sure equal opportunities, respect and safe environment is everyone’s basic human right. But what I find stupid is that author choose to attack this good service to get her point across. This service will give some much needed breathing space to women who commute everyday via public transport.Recommend

  • knightridrr

    @Faraz Your analogy is so out of place. Conduct a survey asking women, only who commute everyday via public transport about this service.Recommend

  • Pappu

    It is better to live separately than fighting and killing each other. Have you ever thought why muslims demanded a separate homeland from Hindustan? Why Bangalese chose to live separately from Pakistan?Recommend

  • Pappu

    God has claimed men as superior to women as per Islam. May be god does not want men to look at inferior species. Lowering the gaze advise proves that women are sexual objects?Recommend

  • Alann

    Did you seriously write a blog/article over a bus service for ladies?! Wow..the state, for once, does something good and you criticise it and that too by linking it to sexism? like..WoW!Recommend

  • Nandita.

    The mumbai local train context is very different Faraz. In the mumbai buses, men and women travel together and no one has a problem. But the local trains are a different story altogether.The crowd in these trains is unimaginable.Visit mumbai sometime and you will be apalled at the sheer number of people getting on and off these trains.Its like people are glued together, pressing against each other.
    Its disgusting.when I lived in mumbai, I couldnt handle travelling in those trains. I would miss atleast 3 trains before I finally managed to get into one. I will narrate a few incidents.While getting onto a train once, something pierced my arm. After I got in I realised someone’s glass bangle had broken and it had cut my arm.SOmetimes the trains are so crowed that people FALL OFF THE TRAIN. I made the mistake of wearing a sari and getting onto s train once. Due to the constant pulling and pushing in the train, my sari came undone. Now I was in the ladies compartment so it was ok. Cant imagine what would have happened had I been in the men’s compartments .People carry extra shirts while travelling in trains coz their shirts get crumpled in the train becoz of the crowd.they change once they get to office or college.
    People are bum to crotch in those trains. Sounds disgusting na? Imagine travelling like that. Its hard enough having other women pressing against you but which woman would want 5 different penises rubbing against her? Ewww! In the mumbai trains case : its not about segregating men and women to protect women from sexual harassment. Mumbai is very safe and women and men interact, travel, work, study together easily. But the crowd is maddening so you cant have both sexes travelling together in one compartment during rush hours becoz its extremely disturbing to be so close to someone who isnt your spouse or lover.Even if men dont want to press against a women , in that kind of crowd men cannot prevent it from happening. During the afternoons, when the rush is less, men and women travel in the same compartments. But during the peak rush hours : different compartments are preferred.

    The womens compartments are also less in number in the normal trains and the number of women travelling is very high so its impossible to accomodate so many women even if the number of trains are increased.Even if the number of general trains are increased, women still get few compartment s and so many women cant be accomodated. So now, there are special trains for women and frankly, I used to love that. In those ladies trains , I could atleast get into the train easily without having my arm ripped off.So when theres a ladies train , the whole train is for women and all the women waiting on the platform can get in and dont have to wait for 5 trains to come by..so its not about segregation:its about comfort. ( I am only talking abt mumbai local trains, cant speak for all the cities) … I don’t approve of segregation of the sexes but in some situations ( like in mumbai trains : you dont have another option )Recommend

  • x

    Exactly!
    @author, when a baby is born or ultrasound is done, msut the doctor only say “it’s a baby’ and never ‘it’s a girl’ or ‘it’s a boy’ to avoid such ‘labeling’? or maybe declare “it’s a human”. or would that make plants and animals feel left out? ID cards, cvs, passports, etc all carry information regarding details such as religion, gender, age, marital status, etc. We all have different labels. I am “human”, “female” ‘pakistani’, ‘punjabi’, ‘muslim’, ‘sunni’, ‘liberal’, ‘daughter of xyz’, ‘xyz profession’ ‘single’, ‘twenties’, etc etc. These are not labels but diverse aspects to out identity and that’s fine. Where we come from and how we were born, how we have emerged and made ourselves and where we plan/aspire to go in the future are all part of our identity.Recommend

  • Miss Syed

    God Has claimed Men as protectors, guardians, providers & caretakers of women. Islam says; The best among you is the best to his wife.
    Lowering of Gaze. a term that makes it absolutely necessary for both males and females to lower their gazes, to not gawk at each other with nothing but carnal lusts. To maintain that humanity we are born with. to not lose respect for another fellow human being by only viewing him/her with THAT sense.
    You sound a bit off mind! Do some research. How come lowering of gazes, which is basically promoting modesty proves women are sexual objects? what about the western media, that basically strips women naked in various Ads, The pornography industry is worth billions? The hip hop lyrics? don’t even get me started on it, they speak of women as worse than animals? is that not viewing them Sexually?
    Talk on ground realities, All men want sex, It’s a psychologically proven fact that men think about sex every 2 minutes, isn’t that crazy? Almighty Allah put those desires in men, at the same time gave them the will power to resist it and instructed them to lower their gazes. Isn’t that what makes humans superior and better than animals who just go about making love with who so ever they want? I gotta tell ya one thing, bro/sis. Islam is all about conquering the vain & selfish desires we all have. The world offers temptation and we gotta resist it. If a man who thinks about sex that often, still lowers his gaze fearing his God, and for pleasing his Lord, He rightly deserves a reward.
    Don’t make Islam complicated, it’s only asking you to be shy & modest. what’s the big drill here? no need to be all philosiphical! Give islam a fair chance, look around the world, go down a street and observe how many men and women are stupidly gawking at each other. what do you think they are thinking about?Recommend

  • nust

    I am pretty sure you never traveled in a “wagon.” I go to university daily by bus, and I FULLY support this pink bus system. And before anyone starts thinking I am of non-egalitarian views, I’m more of a feminist.Recommend

  • Waqar Qureshi

    are you married and happy with your hubby? I am really glad if its so.
    By the way, what I said was meant to be on a lighter note LOL
    It did not really warrant so serious reply. Please save it for other comments ;-)Recommend

  • gp65

    SO then I assume that you also disagree with the concept of ‘boys only’ or ‘girls only’ schools?

    I do not know about Pakistan but back in the days, even at a party the women and men would automatically and voluntarily seggregate – men in one area and women in another. In such a culture, especially where harassment of women is the norm – such services are a needed short term bandaid. The women cannot be stuck in their homes until such time as the culture changes. In fact I would argue that women coming out of their hmes and having some economic empowerment is a prerequisite to the change in culture.Recommend

  • gp65

    I agree with your assessment of this particular blog as my other comments clearly indicate. However, the blogger does not represent all women or even all Pakistani women and perhaps you should not stereotype all women based on this blogger’s opinion.Recommend

  • Fox

    And I bet the author has never traveled by public transport like other women do. Her views would have been different otherwise. The lower middle class doesn’t think at this level given the miseries they have to face in their day-to-day life.Recommend

  • Arne

    Head of Blogs Desk? Are you serious? ET please! wake upRecommend

  • Muhammed Usama Aziz

    Your comments are always filled with hate towards Islam and they just show your arrogance towards it and how little knowledge do you have about it.
    Try to learn a little about Islam and you will know what ALLAH has ordered to men.Recommend

  • Maryam

    LOL. This is so elitist it is not even funny! As other commenters have wondered, I too doubt you have ever travelled in public transport. As a regular commuter in the Karachi busses once, I assure you there was nothing worse than sharing the already horrible experience with a bunch of men who had no morals or values as far as women were concerned, including most of the drivers and conductors. These commutes were the worst times of my life. I assure you, that the pakistani middle or lower class men (such as the ones that use public transport) are not going to change their ways any times soon. Change may come slowly as we improve education and awareness, but in the meanwhile it is GREAT if women can have some peace of mind and safety while getting from point A to point B. And as for the “labels” that we Pakistanis get..really? You’ve got to get over your gora complex and admit that saving our women from harassment on a daily basis is worth any “labels” that this service earns us- and quite honestly, the rest of the world has its own problems to worry about and so should we.Recommend

  • Tayebah

    Dear author ! I can’t tell you how disappointed I felt as a girl reading what you wrote. If one wants to take that positively , it’s a step by govt. recognizing the problems of women. I have lived 5 years In a hostel of a very competitive university. And bus was never an option. Either car or stay hostel. And the reason was not that I have petrol to ruin. It was that I and thousand girls more were afraid of expected sexual harassment in public transport.
    I totally agree that one should take step when harassed. I would like to raise one question. In this country do you actually imagine a 17 , 18 year old naive girl to say that she is being ‘ sexually harrased’? Never. Recommend

  • gp65

    To be fair to Erum, she does an absolutely outstanding job as head of the blogs desk. By ensuring a very vibrant mix of topics in the blogs section and also a relatively more transparent moderation polict compared to the news and editorial section whose moderation polict is mystifying at best – i think she has created a very vibrant community here. I commend her efforts and respect her professionalism.

    As a blogger though she appears to be out of touch and condescending to the audiences she writes to based on both this blog as well as her previous blog.Recommend

  • gp65

    To be fair to Erum, she does an absolutely outstanding job as head of the blogs desk. By ensuring a very vibrant mix of topics in the blogs section and also a relatively more transparent moderation polict compared to the news and editorial section whose moderation polict is mystifying at best – i think she has created a very vibrant community here. I commend her efforts and respect her professionalism.

    As a blogger though she appears to be out of touch and condescending to the audiences she writes to based on both this blog as well as her previous blog.Recommend

  • Muhammad Cheema

    Speaking as a man, harassment is a real issue unfortunately. Though not unique to Pakistan (it is common in Western countries as well), we need to ensure that women feel a sense of safety and security as they go about their daily lives. Unfortunately, much progress has to be made in education, manners and mental health before this becomes a reality throughout the globe.
    As for segregation, this is only self-segregating. If men want women to feel secure around them, we need to change our culture and attitudes (which is a slow and arduous process). Women shouldn’t be forced to use a separate bus. But it should be available to them. Hopefully a day comes when any women, regardless of her ethnicity, religion, dress choices, etc. feels comfortable and safe walking through any street anywhere in the world.Recommend

  • Muhammad Cheema

    Speaking as a man, harassment is a real issue unfortunately. Though not unique to Pakistan (it is common in Western countries as well), we need to ensure that women feel a sense of safety and security as they go about their daily lives. Unfortunately, much progress has to be made in education, manners and mental health before this becomes a reality throughout the globe.
    As for segregation, this is only self-segregating. If men want women to feel secure around them, we need to change our culture and attitudes (which is a slow and arduous process). Women shouldn’t be forced to use a separate bus. But it should be available to them. Hopefully a day comes when any women, regardless of her ethnicity, religion, dress choices, etc. feels comfortable and safe walking through any street anywhere in the world.Recommend

  • abcd

    There are pink taxis in dubai as well. These taboos are in our under confidenceRecommend

  • Pappu

    Should we stop looking at a “rose” because we have a “desire” to pluck it. Probably Pakistanis need another century to be civilized. There is a difference between “looking” and “crossing limit” to hurt/ harass someone. Only human made laws and their “implementation” can stop harassment even in Islamic societies. Dubai is one example.Recommend

  • AZKhawaja

    If the govt. don’t do something about they will get accused of negligence.
    If the govt. do do something about they get accused of sexism.

    Damned if you and damned if you don’t.

    The author would do well to get a long, hard dose of something called reality.Recommend

  • Pappu

    So we should lower our gaze when we see a rose because we may “desire” to pluck and destroy it. Is this your logic? Why Pakistanis cannot be civilized like Turkey, UAE etc, not to cross the limits.

    In UAE, police calls the person even for a small complaint of harassment and issue written warning. Of course this cannot happen in lawless land of pure.

    “men think about sex every 2 minutes” Hahaha

    Men also think about making more money every single minute, so they will start looting and robbing neighbors? Please talk some sense.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    I absolutely do oppose gender-separate schools.

    The misogyny and harassment women face results from the presentation of women as not regular, fellow citizens, but an exotic, mysterious being that men treat in public like a rare bird sighting in a nature park.

    And, ironically, our solution to saving women from this agony is to double-down on the segregation which is CAUSING this alienation in the first place!Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Maybe you’re right. A better analogy should be ghettos for black people, because races and genders aren’t chosen, unlike religious beliefs.

    If you’re offended by separate buses for black people, you should be offended by separate buses for women.

    I’m sure black people too have complained of harassment by the majority race, and several have floated about the idea of segregation as a means of protecting the blacks. But that only reinforces the alienation that is causing the harassment in the first place.Recommend

  • Mohsin

    Whats the big deal?? Here in Dubai, Women have Pink Taxis & nobody objected. Its upto their choice, so leave it to them. Please change your mind-set.Recommend

  • Nobody

    In certain things, yes, separation is better (like in a horrible
    marriage; separation is sometimes the best thing for both people), but
    not in everything. Separating men and women doesn’t solve anything; it
    only strengthens the way men see women as alien beings as opposed to
    just fellow humans. It’s healthy for men and women to know how to behave
    around one another.
    That being said, in a place like Pakistan, I
    appreciate what women must go through on public transport and offering
    them a short term fix such as this one only seems fair.
    In short, I agree with both gp65 and Faraz Talat.
    Cheers.Recommend

  • Nobody

    Wow. That’s taking eve teasing to a whole new disgusting level. Well, my apologies you had to see that. You are right to say that standards differ for different cultures and religions around the world; all that being said, I still think encouraging at least healthy exchanges between sexes will fare better for a society as men and women learn how to behave around one another. Pakistan need not emulate the West exactly, but striving for some interaction is a plus for both women and men.

    All that being said, once again, the pink buses may be a short term fix for women as I appreciate the experiences they have on public transport around men from all walks of life.Recommend

  • Nobody

    And I’m willing to bet majority of them mean it mate.Recommend

  • Nobody

    I’m happy and SINGLE at the moment actually. :) One does not need to be married to be content, particularly not at this stage in my life.
    P.S. smiley face emoticons = not seriousRecommend

  • Pappu

    Take another example of Egypt, Islamic country, where millions of non Muslims visit grand pharaoh monuments ( greatest enemy of Islamic god) wearing whatever they want but there is no harassment to girls/ men /women.Recommend

  • Muhammed Usama Aziz

    So you mean this is not common in “Civilized” India? Dear first clean your own house then try to stalk Pakistani websites.
    As regards for human made laws, there is not a single law in the world made by human which is error free. They are constantly Improved because they do not cover every situation nor every country. If this was the case, there would be a single constitution for every country in the world.Recommend

  • Saad

    Dear Rabia

    At least make an effort to read the article properly before criticising. The writer is rightly suggesting that they we should empower women so they are free to walk around rather than providing them with a separate public transport to protect them.

    Women are not Children that need to be fed and protected they are adults like men and the right thing to do is to treat them as such.

    Changing the mindset of the society is need of the hour and unless we do that by forcing men to behave the problem would continue.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    And UAE, being the flag-bearer of social prosperity and women’s rights, can’t be wrong?Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    We don’t need pink buses for women. We need brown buses for perverts and misogynists (which drive off a cliff one-by-one).Recommend

  • gp65

    Well if you oppose separate gender schools, you are at least consistent – which is a good thing. This does not mean i agree with you. Seggregation is not caused by a pink bus or separate gender schools. Rather these short term solutions in a society which allow some opportunities and outcomes in an already deeply seggregated society.

    While i agree with you that seggregation per se is not healthy and social reform should be initiated to address it, i feel that in the interim there have o be created safe ways in which women are allowed to participate and empower themselves. Many parents may deny girls the right to go o a school if there were o girls schools. If you think that doing away with girls schools will remove seggregation – you are wrong. It will simoly remove opportunity for education for many women.Recommend

  • gp65

    No one ever claimed that seggregation in south africa was for the benefit of black people nor did any black people indicate they felt that way. Many women do feel that a facility like this pink bus in Pakistan or delhi ladies university specials or special ladies compartments in mumbai locals do empower them by giving them increased mobility sans harassment. Therein lies the difference.Recommend

  • Miss Syed

    Mr. Pappu, I sympathize with you. Lowering of Gaze simply implies to not gawk at someone Unnecessarily? How does that make women objects of sex is beyond my comprehensions especially when this command is for Both genders? What is your say on how the west exploits women, you didn’t answer that? Naked advertisements, porn, detestable lyrics etc., does that in any way increases the status of women, or COMPARING WOMAN to a rose? You have avoided yourown question. Dig deeper buddy I am not the one saying men think of sex that often. Science says that. Where does science say men think of making money more than sex ou talk about UAE? They have a law against people who GAWK at women on the beach? ummm, why do they have this law? Because gawking is a big vice,sin and a crime? why do you want to gawk? Why one decent command of a religion which only aims at building perfection in character and achieving nobility despises you so much? Plain hatred towards a religion? I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to marry a guy who simply gawks at other females all the time, under the pretext of freedom or “JUST LOOKING” what purpose does this exactly serve. I ask Why?Recommend

  • Kohistani.

    Mr. To let,..your analogies are convoluted, erratic,
    mystifying. Look at is this way : gender based harassment.
    Would you like to be groped, while traveling on public
    transportation? Doubt it. Leave out the sanctimonious part. Skip the Holier than thou.Recommend

  • Unknown

    Ya thats why they have to tell everybody that they are happy :)Recommend

  • Unknown

    At this moment she is happy because simely face means not serious. For women, Yesterday simely face might have represented the seriousness but not at this moment :)

    Why women has to tell everyone that she is happy?Recommend

  • Ajab Niaxi

    strongly agree…i bet she never taste local transport…Recommend

  • Ajnabi Sheher

    wah lol what a fit class of authorRecommend

  • Gipsy

    For pakistani men why women are still a kind of “alien specie” in this century and time that they “gawk” at? I believe answer lies in their religious teachings.Recommend

  • Pappu

    I agree totally. I am against gender based separation in public life.
    Woman are the ultimate beauty of nature and men should admire that rather than damage it.
    The problems in Pakistan is education and absence of conditions/ environment of a civilized culture. Majority of men on the streets/ public transport dont know how to react/ behave when they see a woman. They consider woman inferior and not more than a sexual object (as taught in their religious teachings).Recommend

  • Pappu

    Nobody gawk at woman in modern educated and civilized societies. Men gawking at woman on the streets/public transport in Pakistan OR malls/ beaches of UAE ( uneducated labor from Pakistan) consider woman just a sexual object. Other men DO NOT gawk.

    There is no law against gawking in UAE but yes a woman can complain ( and action will be taken) if she considers it as an offense.

    Gawking is a very bad habit in pakistani men ( i face it when ever i go there with my modern white wife). While we never face men gawking on the streets in US or Europe. Why??
    Illiterate and lower class faction of pakistani men are only taught religion ( which considers woman nothing more than sexual objects and child producing machine).

    Lastly, woman have no issues with their advertisements etc in the west and i have never seen a man hugging such an ad on the street. regards.Recommend

  • sundas

    as far as i can remember i have beaten up atleast 3 guys on my way to office or uni for being teased verbally or physically in bus. by which i mean i very much advocate the idea of protesting against harassment….but wait every time what i got was a bunch of other guys to seem amused by the situation….so i am not sure if it is really gonna work ever bcz it seems it will take years to reproduce a lost-sense of respect for women, elders, underprivileged and so on….

    so the till the time comes i guess “pink bus” may be helpful to help a girl not to undergo all that mental torture every day.Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/shail.arora.589 Shail Arora

    “relatively more transparent moderation policy”… Huh, ‘transparent moderation’, rubbish!Recommend

  • Doesnt Matter

    Delhi Metro is an ideal example of keeping everyone happy by bringing the liberal and conservative views together. Seperate compartments for ladies, where men can’t enter, for women who might feel uncomfortable travelling with men and on the other hand women are free to get into any compartment they wish. Plus regular announcements asking passengers to give seats to ladies and senior citizens.Recommend

  • Pappu

    FYI i am a Pakistani living abroad. I like human laws because these can be “discussed and improved”, with time and as per new requirements, without leaving everything to gods will, gunnah and sawab.

    Any how “implementation” of laws is the key.Recommend

  • Geust

    @Pappu who are you making a fool of? I reside in the UAE for over a decade and i am yet to see one police action in this whole tenure. Dubai’s dark side is well known, it is a brothel at nights where women from eastern europe and even india are literally ‘sold of’ and guess what. which community buys them most? Yes, our dear Indians.
    And the whole activity is monitored and given security by – Dubai Police! so stop spreading your lies!

    I can laugh about no harrasment in Egypt – you don’t know what you’re talking about or have never really visited Egypt in person. Again, stop spreading your lies filled with hatred for Pakistanis.

    May i remind you which city is called Rape Capital in the world – oh yes, its Delhi!

    @Miss Syed
    Lastly, every single word you said is absolutely true and in line with islamic teachings.Recommend

  • Pappu

    I am a Pakistani and i have lived in Dubai for 15 years. I have travelled more than half the world and I have personally visited Cairo along with my wife in 2005. I wish you go to Cairo and see splendid wonders of Pyramids, museums Sphinx and monuments constructed by Pharoah which are providing livelihood to millions of egyptian muslims connected to tourist industry even after 5000 years. Only in 2008, 11.5 million people visited Cairo. Europeans are the maximum visitors.
    FYI, 180 nationalities live and work in Dubai peacefully and harmoniously. Women wearing minimum clothes can be seen on the streets, malls, beaches, offices, driving and elsewhere without harassment.

    Rare harassment cases do happen ( mostly with Filipinas ) but if reported police takes action ( plz read gulf news).
    Brothels, night clubs etc exist everywhere in the world.
    Oh i forgot, we were talking about GAWKING. You have not mentioned this word even once in your bashing.Recommend

  • Geust

    Even Dubai has pink taxis exclusive for females driven by females. now would you dare raise finger on ‘gender segregation’ in Dubai Ms. Erum?Recommend

  • Geust

    What betterment has been brought by ‘healthy exchanges’ to the US where a woman is raped every 2 minutes? At least rape rate in Pak is better than that and more so if you put the definitions of rape that exist in both these countries.Recommend

  • Pappu

    I have lived in Dubai for 15 years and i know exactly whatever happens there, but, gawking and harassing women on streets or in public transport is not part of it. ( apart from asian labor). 180 nationalities live and work in Dubai peacefully and harmoniously, women are an integral part and have complete freedom to work and have fun.

    This cannot happen without implementation of laws. Rare cases of harassment do happen and definitely action is taken if reported.

    I have travelled more than half the world and visited Cairo in 2005 along with my wife. You can read about tourism in Egypt here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourism_in_Egypt

    Your point about selling/ trading women is interesting. FYI this activity pre-dates islam in arabia and has continued until today. Also arabs go to asian countries and buy women as concubines. You can read here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_views_on_slavery#Sexual_intercourse

    Maria al Qibtiyya ( Maria the coptic) was gifted to Prophet of Islam by the ruler of Egypt. He had a son ( Ibrahim) from her who later died.
    Please read here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_al-Qibtiyya
    RegardsRecommend

  • Geust

    Sorry none of your argument answers my points. Posting a wiki link does no good and i am NOT surprised on how quick you changed your stance from “gawking pakistani labors” to “gawking asian labors” . you indians think you disguise well as pakistanis but believe me you give away a thousand hints to know who you are.

    Yeah so you have problems with gawking but you are fine with brothels! where did the respect for women, that you so claim about, go? Brothels are an insult for female gender and their mere existence does not make them respectful.

    of course the news on Gulf news (which is famous for being India-centric btw) is made public but my point is that most harassment cases are never reported! Why?

    You see massage centre (read: sex) cards 7 days a week on your car and everywhere in dubai and police never caught a single brothel in residential areas of even Marina. you pay AED 150 to 1000 for an hour. Where is the respect for women?

    180 nationalities, yes. harmony, yes. But i can offer you a free ride on my car in any area of dubai, we go harassing ladies together and lets see whether dubai police catches me or not.

    Gawking is a problem that stems from not respecting women. I prefer to talk about the “root cause” rather than “effect”. happy?

    Recommend

  • Pappu

    Why are you scared of Wikipedia or internet, because it is exposing bigotry of religions?
    For all your assertions about brothels, night clubs, massage centers etc ( anywhere in the world), it is none of my concern if the WOMEN involved have no issues with it. ( the focus of article is on women freedom and not the police).
    I repeat…in case a women reports/ complains to police, action is taken in Dubai ( how far you will run after harassing someone?) Lady can note your car number and will call police.
    Pakistani men always talk about “respect” of women but they are not ready to give “freedom” to women which is their right.
    I am a Pakistani.Recommend

  • Umar

    by any means could you be happy? If in same bus they we shout separate section for women, if separates the whole bus they shout why there is such need of that!!Recommend

  • Paggo

    You know what best way to protect women is to arrest them in the house. Recommend

  • Geust

    Stick to the point, why US has one of the highest rape rate in the world? Don’t try to change course of question.Recommend

  • Geust

    Scared from wiki? i see what you have been smoking all night long.

    i have a problem with your self assumptions that women in brothels have no issues. you are a hypocrite deep down . go search for the documentary called “dark nights of dubai” and you’ll quickly know that women in brothels are forced to do it (most if not all) – but Pappus would never admit it!

    I openly challenged you, be in my car and we will harass ladies in dubai any where you say and lets see if police does something about me (its my car plate after all and they should trace me, you are safe) .. but you chose to keep ‘repeating your stance’ ….. action vs words!

    All your concepts are messed up. Ladies in Dubai wear Abaya and yet they are free to do whatever they like. Respect never means just freedom, its much more than that.

    Yes, a dog with a cat’s name plate.Recommend

  • Komal Gilani

    Female-only transportation is a good idea. It protects females from males who routinely harass and violate us. Male assault and violence against females is routine and relentless, and slowly erodes female boundaries, self-esteem and sense of bodily integrity. Even during peace time (i.e. when there is no war), females in Pakistan fear going outside or travelling, especially in public transport, as if they were at risk of being raided by an opposing army or blitzed by enemy planes. Male violence against females in Pakistan is nothing short of a declaration of war, and any means of defense is acceptable. Female-only transportation is a relatively benign means of defense that harms nobody, so to oppose it is to needlessly oppose female safety. That is not only anti-feminist but downright misogynistic.Recommend

  • Komal Gilani

    The only objection I have to the project is the name ‘Pink bus’. The term ‘pink’ used in this context reinforces gender stereotypes. Other than that I think it’s a great idea.Recommend

  • Geust

    Pappu .. you should pat your back on the all-knowing attitude that you have lol

    here is the proof of what i had been claiming .. a Dubai police officer caught molesting ladies in their house. Why? Because he is an insider and he knows well that ‘police actions on harrasment complaints’ are basically cosmetics and no more than myth. Now please stop shouting!

    http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/inside.asp?xfile=/data/crime/2014/February/crime_February81.xml&section=crimeRecommend

  • Nobody

    Rape rate in Pakistani only SEEMS better because most rapes are not reported and things like marital rape are not even recognized crimes in the eyes of the law. As for daily exchanges between men and women, yes, I can comfortably say I feel at ease in the US and don’t feel subject to the kind of leering and harassment myself and many women have experienced in Pakistan on a daily basis. When on vacation there, stepping out of the house to walk down to the corner store or anywhere is a nuisance because half, if not more than half, of the men stop what they’re doing and leer. Women are not alien beings to men in the US. They are used to seeing them in equal numbers around them. As for rape, every society has sick minded people who rape to feel a sense of power. Locking women away or separating men and women does not help.
    Cheers.Recommend

  • Nobody

    Because it has a higher percentage of reported rape. To think Pakistan has a low rate of rape is an illusion. Most women do not report rape because they will likely be charged with something instead of the rapist. Recommend

  • Nobody

    So you’ve spoken to every woman and each went on to express her happiness, which you knew to be untrue by virtue of their expressing it? My my, quite an achievement. You ought to be in GBoWR mate. :) Cheers.Recommend

  • Nobody

    Irrelevant and somewhat child like comments. Cheers.
    Oh wait, I forgot :) smiley face because I’m happy and not serious, only at this moment though.

    P.S. No woman has to tell everyone she’s happy and I’m not sure why you think they do that at all as my experience suggests otherwise, but my initial response was to another commentator who feels ‘no woman is ever happy’ after seeing a woman express her opinion about something. According to your world….women express dislike about something, they’re wrong. Women tell people they’re happy, they’re wrong.
    Hmm, and people say women don’t know what they want…..Recommend