Stories about misogyny in Pakistan

Asad Umar mocking Bilawal Bhutto is a new low, even by Old Pakistan standards

A few days ago, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressed the National Assembly in the English language. I did not see it at first and in fact, my attention was drawn to it after hearing Finance Minister Asad Umar’s rebuttal, which was tweeted by PTI’s official Twitter account: Finance Minister @Asad_Umar reminds Mr @BBhuttoZardari of how a grassroots worker beat PPP in its own heart of Lyari, and how his speech in English today toeing India’s narrative was postured for a specific international audience whose bidding he does. #PTI pic.twitter.com/fKYaHhiUWa — PTI (@PTIofficial) March 6, 2019 In his rebuttal, the finance minister first mocked the ...

Read Full Post

“Patriarchy ka janaaza”: The outrage is proof that we need more Aurat Marches

I’m marching through the streets of Karachi, I’m marching through the streets of Karachi. My feet connecting with the cold hard concrete of Saddar, I feel my heart beating. I’m pumping my fist in the air, I’m waving my poster side to side, I’m feeling safe, I’m feeling comfortable in my own skin. I’m screaming “Azadi” at the top of my lungs. I’m looking around. Documenting this moment for today, For every day, For all my tomorrows. – Aurat March 2019. Last Friday was International Women’s Day, and to spread awareness about the Aurat March, #WhyIMarch was trending on Twitter and various other social media platforms. Women shared their truths and spread the ...

Read Full Post

Remembering Asma Jahangir: A democrat in a country that loved dictators

“Pakistan cannot live in isolation. We cannot remain shackled while other women progress.” – Asma Jahangir A year ago, when the news came in that Jahangir had passed away, I felt like I no longer recognised the legal system I had worked so hard to become a part of. To understand why, let me tell you a little bit about who Jahangir was. Jahangir was a woman who was born a democrat in a country that loved dictators. The Convent of Jesus and Mary may have been the first to discover this. The Convent had a system for selecting their head girl ...

Read Full Post

Battling for votes: Mud-slinging and the maa-behen dilemma

I walked into my house on a very crisp and warm evening this week, only to find that Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah had passed disgusting comments about the women who attended the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Lahore jalsa, on their apparent ‘character’. The crude statements targeted women who participated in the PTI rally and Member National Assembly (MNA) Shireen Mazari. Where Sanaullah raised ‘concerns’ over the ‘character’ of PTI’s women supporters, Abid Sher Ali’s tirade elaborated the scuffle between him and MNA Murad Saeed during the parliament’s budget session on April 27. Unsurprisingly, the comments received severe backlash from all ...

Read Full Post

Pervez Musharraf claims he gave women their rights, but then mocks Bilawal Bhutto Zardari by calling him a “woman”

“Bilawal jo nahre laga raha ke auraton ke tarah. Sub se pehley tu yeh keh aadmi ban ker dikhai aur phir  nahre lagwai.” (Bilawal is raising slogans like a woman. First he should become a man and then raise such slogans.) These lines from the latest video from General (retired) Pervez Musharraf really hit me hard. As of late, I am becoming used to Musharraf sprouting nonsense, but this was very uncouth and ill-considered and below his usually extremely low standards. After all, Mr Musharraf, the former dictator and Pakistani “educated” urban middle class’s favorite political leader after Imran Khan, has lately been ...

Read Full Post

Dear Centaurus Mall, forcing single males to pay a non-refundable fee of Rs500 is elitist and offensive

Centaurus Mall has once again fired shots at the lowly invaders of its ‘family-oriented’ atmosphere. I fear this will only get worse. Frustrated social media users have posted images of Rs500 entry tickets to Centaurus, applicable only to single male visitors. Unlike older entry coupons, these tickets are neither refundable nor adjustable with purchases inside the mall. #Boycott #Centaurus_MallAbsolutely ridiculous! Centaurus used to charge 300 previously which was adjustable. They're… Posted by Islamabad~~~Rain~~~Music~~~Walk~~~Perfect Combination on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 It appears that the management of Centaurus has done nothing that is not within the class-warfare guidelines of Islamabad – the face of Pakistan’s elite ...

Read Full Post

PML-N is cultivating a sexist and misogynist culture, but PTI is no better either

A few weeks ago, I had written an article lamenting the misogyny in our politics, which is actually a more accentuated reflection of the level of misogyny in our entire society. The Javed Latif incident had shamed the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and made them defensive. I had hoped that due to the negative publicity, the ruling party would adopt a more careful approach in the future and avoid ridiculing rival women politicians. However, it seems that PML-N, which is already in a lot of legal and self-created problems (the Nehal Hashmi outburst is an example), does not plan on learning from their mistakes. After the Latif incident, ...

Read Full Post

Yasir Hussain is atrocious, but you’re not any better

Most Pakistanis have already moved on from outrage to the inevitable “forgive him and move on” phase, but the despicable nature of Yasir Hussain’s comment will never be lost on the victims of child molestation in Pakistan. For those who have not been on the internet for a week, at the Hum TV Awards, Hussain looked at Udaari star Ahsan Khan and said, “Itna khoobsurat child molester, kaash mein bacha hota.” (Such a beautiful child molestor, if only I were a child.) I haven't watched #Udaari but it was such a sensitive topic that i can't imagine someone making a joke on it.Sickening humor ...

Read Full Post

Dear misogynist from Parhlo, this is what Pakistani feminists want you to know

I came across an article on Parhlo today, and infuriated does not come close to encapsulating how I feel, so here’s my response to it. Before you start calling me a “feminazi” – listen closely. The roots of feminism lie in finding equality; it is not about disowning male rights, or putting women above, it is about finding an equal ground that pleases both genders. Questioning, or challenging or taking offense to feminism makes you a sexist, plain and simple. Have you not heard of the damsel in distress? Have you not heard of the ‘Angel in the House’? I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t because let’s ...

Read Full Post

He asked me why I never “act like a woman” – what does that mean?

Earlier this week, I went bursting into the courtroom to show my fellow colleague the new book I was reading. I exclaimed, “Oh my god. You have to see this!” Although no one was alerted by my vivacious excitement, he was completely mortified. He exclaimed, “What is wrong with you? Why do you never act like a woman? They are supposed to be quiet and elegant”. As annoyed as I was with his remark, I had to admit he revealed an unearthing reality of our society. Women are expected to be clones of the typical damsel in distress – quiet, shy, dignified – ...

Read Full Post