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Five ways Pakistan degraded women

Published Mar 17, 2014 03:52pm


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Pakistani women know to expect no special concessions. At any given moment in history, one or another political force, religious edict, or social problem is aiming directly at them, pointing fingers, attaching blame. Given this, most of them expected few good things to come out of the commemoration of International Women’s Day.

Sure, there would be some laudatory articles commemorating them, a few celebrations and gatherings here and there, providing neat opportunities for politicians and dignitaries to do their smiling and clapping bit, hand out checks to widows, listen to schoolgirls sing. A history of dealing with misogyny has meant a reality of low expectations. No one, of course expected anything to actually change for the better.

A lack of hope, however, does not equal adequate preparation for catastrophe. If things were bad on women’s day, a pragmatic Pakistani woman may have assumed, they would stay in their existing state of awfulness for at least the next week. As it turns out, they were wrong.

The week after women’s day has proven that new depths of misogyny are indeed possible and that they will be achieved in Pakistan, a country resolute in being the most woman hating place on the planet. Here a list of five steps the country took in this direction.

1. Recommended child marriage

On March 11th 2014, two days after the celebration of International Women’s Day in the country, Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology (perhaps fearing that women had become empowered by the occasion), decided to deliver some decisive blows.

The Chairmen of the CII, Maulana Mohammad Sheerani, declared that children below the age of puberty could be married off and that international conventions prohibiting child marriage were un-Islamic and not applicable to Pakistan. In one statement therefore, Pakistani girls, even babies were left vulnerable to abuse, with their lives and futures now liable to being decided long before they could have any say in the matter.

Also read: CII: Pushing Pakistan back to the caves

This was not the limit to rage against women, on an earlier day, he had also declared that any law requiring a Pakistani male to obtain permission from his first wife for a subsequent marriage, were also un-Islamic.

2. Ignored a rape victim until she burnt herself alive

She was 18 years old and she was a survivor of rape in a country where rape victims can themselves be prosecuted. Over two months earlier, on January 5, 2014, she had lodged an FIR at the police station alleging that the accused Nadir Khan, along with four accomplices had raped her near Bait Mir Hazar Chowk.

On March 13, 2014, all five men were set free. On March 14, 2014, five days after International Women’s Day, she set herself on fire outside the police station, which had so callously denied her justice. She died of her burns on the same day.

3. Buried a woman alive

Sughra Brohi of village Hakim Khan Marri in Sanghar District had committed the crime of marrying a man of her own choice. The village panchayat met and the elders assured everyone that she would not be killed if she returned home. They lied, As soon as she returned home, she was assaulted by her own family.

According to the Sindhi language daily, Kawish, she was buried alive in the graveyard of the Bheel community in the area. The grave was discovered and the news reported this last week. Area police are said to be investigating the case.

4. Beat up striking nurses

More than a hundred female nurses had been on strike for over five days outside the Punjab Assembly building. The nurses were protesting the firing of their colleagues who had been working on ad hoc or contract basis. On Friday March 14, 2014, the nurses all of whom were unarmed were baton charged by police.

 A policewoman beats a nurse outside the Punjab Assembly. —Photo by Online
A policewoman beats a nurse outside the Punjab Assembly. —Photo by Online

News footage of the incident showed the women being charged and heavily assaulted by law enforcement. Several were injured and had to be hospitalised, and two were so critically hurt that they had to be admitted to the intensive care unit of an area hospital.

Despite, the use of undue and unjustified force by the police, those that were unhurt continued to mark their ongoing protest outside the Assembly building.

5. Called them good for cooking not for cricket

If the round-up of being buried alive, burned to death, raped and baton charged were not plentiful degradation for Pakistani women to bear in a single week, a public insult by a man crowned the country’s cricket hero, added one more degradation to the week’s dastardly mix.

Also read: Why I won't be cheering for Shahid Afridi anymore

In an interview question, Shahid Afridi was asked about what he thought about the under 19 women’s cricket trials recently held in Karachi. The cricketer now revealed himself to be a male chauvinist; implying that “our women” were better kept in the kitchen, assumedly cooking up meals for their men.

With this list, the week ended, a series of blows, not unusual, not unique, but notable in their ability to represent, what is an entire nation’s inability to respect one half of its population.

Also read: Bigotry in the name of God

In the dead and injured and degraded collected in this one week, is the reflection of a country in which every man considers himself unaccountable and unconnected to the miseries enacted every day and day after day on women.

The forces of law, of faith, of community, of Government and of entertainment, each one came together in this bouquet of misery and degradation, its stench and filth, exposing the rot that lies within.

Author Image

Rafia Zakaria is an attorney and human rights activist. She is a columnist for DAWN Pakistan and a regular contributor for Al Jazeera America, Dissent, Guernica and many other publications.

She is the author of The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan (Beacon Press 2015). She tweets @rafiazakaria

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (77) Closed

Najib Mar 17, 2014 04:50pm

Dear Ms. Zakaria, with all due respect I can give you 10 ways how men are being degraded in Pakistan. It's not about gender madam. It's about the minor gods and the rest.

mk Mar 17, 2014 04:53pm

it is a well written piece, keep up the good work but as far as Afridi's comment is concerned he explicitly pointed out the women of Peshawar; as the host asked him about Peshawar under-19 trials; not Karachi. And another thing, you should understand Pakhtun cultural and traditional values and you should keep in mind the true teachings of Islam as well. Pakhtuns definitely allow their women to participate in every healthy sports activity but we also take great care of Pakhtun and Islamic cultural values and norms. we allow our women to play cricket but not allow the men to ogle them. i think this is the point where liberals and Pakhtunz differ with each others view. And above all Pakhtun's women are reluctant to play in such environment.

mk Mar 17, 2014 04:55pm

it is a well written piece, keep up the good work but as far as Afridi's comment is concerned he explicitly pointed out the women of Peshawar; as the host asked him about Peshawar under-19 trials; not Karachi. And another thing, you should understand Pakhtun cultural and traditional values and you should keep in mind the true teachings of Islam as well. Pakhtuns definitely allow their women to participate in every healthy sports activity but we also take great care of Pakhtun and Islamic cultural values and norms. we allow our women to play cricket but not allow the men to ogle them. i think this is the point where liberals and Pakhtunz differ with each others view. And above all Pakhtun's women are reluctant to play in such environment.

abdul Mar 17, 2014 04:59pm
  1. Marriage is a right of every boy or girl who has reached puberty. You you deny this right, you are practically forcing them to illegal sexual intercourse.
  2. displaying women as sexual object is one of the main method of degrading women. The author ignored this fact.
  3. Using women as commodity in dance bars/cheer leaders or brothels also amounts to degrading women.
  4. Expecting women to work and rear children at the same time amounts to women slavery. The so called equal women of the west also need permission from their husband to "rest" (not work) because equality demand equal financial contribution to household expenses.
Feroz Mar 17, 2014 05:06pm

Equality cannot be achieved by laws and dictats alone, they need struggle. Women ,make up approximately half the population of every country, without their cooperation the country simply cannot run. While I fully support you in whatever you say, writing articles may not bring success. You need to hit the streets and paralyze life through non cooperation like Mahatma Gandhi did. This needs will, sacrifice, commitment and a burning desire to achieve the goals set. Are women ready to take this challenge, unite and hit the street. If it is a burning issue that affects their well being, I think they will. If they do not, I think you may be in a minority in voicing these views. Arm chair debates will definitely not resolve this very important issue you have written on.

Namra Mar 17, 2014 05:26pm

Agree except for the 5th point . That is just ' making a mountain out of molehill'

Atif Mar 17, 2014 05:34pm

We are pretty bad, but we also vacate our seats to women, hold our tongues in their presence, even go slow on them in disputes because they are women. By all means we need to do a lot more for women, but for heaven's sake some fraction of us also offers something good.

Sadia Mar 17, 2014 06:10pm

@Atif: that is patronization, not respect

Dr. Nabil.I.Awan Mar 17, 2014 06:17pm

I fully agree with you. Things have gone alarmingly wrong and its appalling how this country continues to show such grit against progression. All I have to say is that I believe that a woman's issue, is a woman's issue. Complete, absolute and comprehensive freedom should be given to both women and men equally. Hypocrisy of the male gender must stop. Also, we need to draw a clear distinction between Islam and this short-sighted interpretation of it. Let not the judgement of a few(read: many) spoil this beautiful religion for the rest. Educate your children, educate your neighborhood, your schools and workplace. Enlighten them. Let the common MAN know that he no longer has any control whatsoever over women. That a woman is free to do what she wants, say what she wants, and dress the way she wants, talk to whomever she wants. That she has all the freedom a man has. But at the same time let's not turn people away from Islam. Lets just turn them away from the misogynistic interpretations.

Khanzada Mar 17, 2014 06:22pm

As far as Pakhtoon traditions and culture are concerned they are ignorant and backward and one of the big reasons why Pakistan gets such a bad name around the world. Pakhtoon traditions which are based on their primitive tribal laws and not Islam apparently include stoning women to death, giving refuge to traitors Taliban and Al Qaeda enemies of Pakistan, and killing poor defenseless Polio Workers who are trying to help their kids! Where is Pakthoon honour and bravery? I believe it is dead! That is why Pakhtoons in the millions in FATA/KPK/Balochistan have failed for last decade to fight and defeat a handful of Taliban mercenaries and foreign helpers who are creating trouble and killing innocents throughout Pakistan. As far as Shahid Afridi's comments are concerned they are only reflective of the backward and ignorant mentality of Pakhtoons when it comes to Women's rights and their place in society. These Pakhtoons don't understand and practice teachings of Islam which call for education for women. Pakhtoons prefer to treat their women as their "possesions" and keep them illiterate and housebound like Maids. The attack on Malala Yousafzai who was fighting for her right to education is an example of these Un-Islamic barbaric tribal customs and traditions of Pakhtoons!

Addy Mar 17, 2014 06:48pm

6) forced them into niqabs and hijabs on the pretext of protecting them from ogling men, yet the rapes and harassment continued. 7) shot them in the head for the 'crime' of fighting for education and women's rights. 8) killed them for clapping at boys dancing at a wedding. 9) offered them half the inheritance as men and set their witness testimony to be weighted half as that of men. 10) conspired to block them from voting and blocked all progressive pro-women legislation in Parliament.

Agha Ata Mar 17, 2014 07:11pm

And above all . . . playing a god by having the monopoly of deciding if she would be let born in the first place, and if she does, how is she going to spend her childhood, ignore girlhood, becoming a good wife so obedient and faithful to her husband that he could even have a dog instead, who is absolutely obedient to his master, doesn't even complain when kicked around or even killed. Man is the master of his dogs, and his women. And of course, he doesn't have to take permission from his first dog to buy another one, of any age, no limitations, of course.

Amjad Wyne Mar 17, 2014 07:13pm

The problem is not with the men of the country, the problem is with the fathers, brothers, husbands and the sons that have failed to elevate their daughters, sisters, wives and mothers; give them the space they need and the respect and opportunity they deserve.

Aaryan Mar 17, 2014 08:00pm

Wow! The comments below say it all. This country is full of insecure, misogynist boys. There aren't many men around. A MAN knows a woman is her own person and does not belong to him or anyone. She decides her own fate. He's there shoulder to shoulder supporting her and knows, she's isn't there to serve him hand and foot but to be loved and respected. A man does not get threatened by her sexuality. I see no hope for this country. It's doomed.

Saman Mar 17, 2014 08:05pm

Beautifully written. I totally agree with this article. Pakistani women serve as the backbone of the country, the efforts our mothers, wives, sisters & daughters make everyday are incredible. Yet they are still harassed and looked down upon.

madilatif Mar 17, 2014 08:50pm

@mk: Allow our women? Sir, sorry to inform you but a woman doesnt need a man's permission to do what she wants. Nor does a woman ALLOW men to oogle at her. Its the thinking and draconian society that has caused the continued suppression of women and attitudes as such. We are human beings and just like men we have desires and aspirations. Its not upto the men to decide what we are good for and what we are not. Its upto us.

BRR Mar 17, 2014 09:09pm

@Najib : By making it into a competition of numbers rather than acknowledging the problem and thinking of doing something about it, you have clearly represented the attitude of a majority of Pakistanis. Bravo.

BRR Mar 17, 2014 09:11pm

@abdul: Misogynist alert! Cannot respond to the writers issues intelligently - therefore Abdul decides to blame her for more problems with women or for ignoring other problems women seem to have. Wonderful way to address the problems - just deflect it to others - exactly what Pakistani society has been accused of doing over the decades.

BRR Mar 17, 2014 09:13pm

@Atif: Tell that to the parents of the girl who got raped and whom the police essentially ignored.

Urfi Mar 17, 2014 09:17pm

I am disappointed in all the responses that you "men" wrote here. All I see are excuses and justifications for the abuses of women in my country of birth. Treatment of women in Pakistan 30 years ago was bad and is even worst now. This is exactly because of the attitudes displayed in these responses here. Some of you brought up Islamic values as an excuse. Islam does not allow men to persecute women nor does it allow men to "own" them. The men in Islam are to be protectors of their women, not owners of them. You don't protect anybody by imprisoning them, beating them or taking away their God given rights as a human being.

Imran Ahmed Mar 17, 2014 09:36pm

I unreservedly support each word in the above article. Ours is a chauvinistic and rather irrational society so I am not sure that most people will even try to comprehend the truth written in it. Pakistanis, especially men, are convinced of the innate right of men to control women most specially women's sexuality. The faithful follow bearded men who in turn follow a mirage of the past while suspending all of their own critical faculties including their sense of justice and of compassion. Those people who condone or advocate the crimes of sexual slavery (non consensual marriage) and pedophilia are simply evil minded fanatics.

Parvez Mar 17, 2014 10:25pm

IF, what the CII recommends actually turns into law would be disturbing in the utmost. At present the CII is a nuisance factor at best and an instrument to propagate a regressive religious ideology for political reasons, at worst. The problem on women in Pakistan in particular stems from the fact that in the societal context, Islam appears to revolve around the female and all discourse is conducted by the male........the female is just a spectator or the victim.

Atif Mar 17, 2014 10:27pm

@Sadia: Frankly, I have seen drunk people banging on the window panes of buses and saying things to girls in the West and I saw nobody objecting to that until the pane itself was threatened.

Try that in Pakistan in a crowded area, and patronizing or respect, however, it works out in your own head, I am sure the offender will not go scot free.

AM Mar 17, 2014 11:26pm

@abdul: Ever heard of sex education?

Shoaib Mir Mar 18, 2014 12:17am

The problem with most men is that they put all possible anatomical organs in a fast-forward mode except the one meant for thinking, when it comes to a discussion on the opposite gender.

Aysha Mar 18, 2014 12:51am

Rafia, you forgot an EXTREMELY important point; Domestic ABUSE of women by their husbands. It includes both physical and mental abuse. I think in Pakistan's rural areas, more than 70% of women would have experienced abuse from their husbands (it wouldn't be reported though). I know that domestic abuse happens everywhere in the world (in west too), BUT, there are laws in west and husbands once convicted of abuse are considered CRIMINALS. What do u think is going to happen in Pakistan if a woman goes to police station and complains that she has been beaten up by her husband?

Aysha Mar 18, 2014 01:17am

@abdul: I feel like throwing up after reading your comments. Here is answer to your points. 1: Looks like you believe in pedophilia. Consent is required for marriage and you can not take a consent from a "child". A girl can hit puberty between age 9-13 (still a child), would u allow a 9 years old girl to sign a property contract? if not, how do u allow her to sign a marriage contract? 2: Do u think all the women working and following a career (doctors, engineers, nurses, bankers) are displaying themselves as sexual objects? 3: Where does dance bars/cheer leader come from? Was it mentioned in this article? I have been living in west for 20 years and working as an engineer, I have never been to any dance bar, do u think I am presenting myself as a sexual object? 4: Expecting women to work???Mr. Abdul, look around...what would u say about maid (massi)coming to your house to clean? Isnt she expected to work? do u think she is doing it for fun? World economy has changed, in many countries, only father's income is not enough to fulfill basic needs of the family, consequently, both mother and father has to go out and earn money to put food on the table and keep a roof over their children's head. And if you say women dont have to spend money on their family, suggest that to your cleaning lady not to spend on her kids, you will find out the answer. No mother will keep her money in the bank if her kids are hungry and her husband cant afford to feed them.

noobguy19 Mar 18, 2014 01:22am

Dear Zakaria The CII has 'recommended' the changes. They have not become laws-'their future now liable'...means you are overstating. Afridi has explained that he was taken out of context. Even if it was not so he has at least now showed that he does not hold these views, later. I suggest and hope that as reasonable men and women we must not stretch the truth. It costs us the legitimacy of our argument.

syed Mar 18, 2014 01:28am

@Najib : Excellent reply, thats how these type of women try to misguide society

Amir Mar 18, 2014 01:35am

Quite a stupid article actually. Please learn to differentiate between lawlessness and misogyny.

You conveniently failed to mention what happened to the man who married Sughra...was he welcomed by the tribe? the women nurses, as per the image you attached, seem to be attacked by other women law enforcers. a scenario you are quite likely to come across on wall-street the next time you are there, or not, as there, men would be beating up the women protestors but over there you will be lauding the gender equality. And the mere expectation that Shahid Afridi, a pathan and a tableeghi, would hail women cricket in Peshawar as something great shows how disconnected you are from Pakistani society. But i guess, thats the price one pays to be on the CNNs and the BBCs.....Disconnection, rather an active dislike of one's own culture and unconditional love for theirs.

What i see in Pakistan is that women never have to wait in line, unless there are other women around. No maam, we are not misogynists. Stupid, illiterate, and lawless we may be..but not misogynist.

Kyle Brown Mar 18, 2014 02:19am

Wow, the comments are certainly an interesting view on Pakistani society. And this is a "liberal" paper. Just.... wow. Some people take their "ownership" and control of women very seriously.

BTW, ogling isn't a crime for women - it's the men doing it. If someone should be restricted, it is the men. If it bothers you so much, put out the eyes of a few oglers and the problem will disappear.

As for the references to the West having a serious problem, I'm not seeing it. Sexual harassment is actually illegal in the US. Is "eve teasing" actually punishable in Pakistan? You're so dishonest about your problems you make up an innocent sounding name to cover up your crimes.

Aysha Mar 18, 2014 03:03am

@Najib : You said you can talk about 10 ways men can be degraded. Let me tell you this, whatever issues men face in our society, women face those issues as well, and ON TOP OF THAT, they face MORE issues just because they are women. So if men face 10 issues, women face 20.

a Mar 18, 2014 04:21am

@Najib : I couldn't agree more.

M. A. Naqvi Mar 18, 2014 04:24am

I disagree with this assessment.

  1. The Council of Islamic Ideology has nothing to do with the state of Pakistan, it is an organization and does not speak for Pakistan. Islam is in the name of their organization, not Pakistan. Many Pakistanis have spoken against it, in fact, the popular opinion is against what the Council of Islamic Ideology says.

  2. The FIR lodged in the rape of a woman is not just a gender problem, it is a society problem. There are many FIR's that are lodged in other matters of criminal activities, and they remain unresolved, the issue here is the need to improve the police and judicial institutions. There was a man who burned himself alive due to the economic situation of his family, nothing was done.

  3. That issue was with the family and the crime that the family committed, nothing got to do with state or religion, but old cultural customs. This was a crime against the law. The problem is that the state has been weak in enforcing key laws.

  4. Police brutality is a societal issue, not just a gender issue. The picture shows a woman officer beating another woman. But police brutality should not be tolerated, regardless of who it is aimed towards. In the United States, we had one major incident called the Rodney King beating, we still have these cases even today.

  5. While Shahid Afridi is a major sports start, he is not a politician. He is simply a sportsman who has views that many of us do not agree with. He does not speak for the state.

Pakistan has had many women pioneers, such as Fatima Jinnah and a women leader such as Benazir Bhutto. Women have more rights in Pakistan than they do in Saudi Arabia or some other nations in the world. While we have a long way to go in terms of women rights, it is a global issue, not just a Pakistan issue.

Nasiroski Mar 18, 2014 04:32am

@mk: I don't know why Pakistani's like to drag Islam in everything. While assuming you are Pakhtun you can talk about the culture of the region and what have you. But Islam is a religion it is not a cult it does not assoiciate with or subscribe to "a" culture, please before making any such comments do some research find out the difference between religion and culture, so you can talk somewhat intelligently

Nasiroski Mar 18, 2014 04:55am

@abdul: Average age of marriage in Pakistan for a male is 27 yrs and female is 20 (and this is old data), per you argument we have been forcing our nation into "illegal sexual intercourse" for atleast 40 yrs, how much of that have you seen in the society?? Have you ever lived in the countryside specially southern Punjab and northern Sindh, where to this day underage marriages are very common?? your ignorance to the way of life in rural areas is reflected in your argument. Number 2 and 3 are still waiting for our society's moral and religious champions to educate against, why educated, please reader Sahir Ludhianwi's "Sana Khwaan e taqdees e Mushriq kahan hain" and ponder over it you will get somewhere. No. 4 You have no idea absolutely totally no idea how the western society works, I can tell you they also have problems but not ones we think, your argument is actually pretty comical and I could'nt help but smile, and I have been living in west in multiple countries for over 2 decades now and never lived in a desi ghetto.

ahmad hussain Mar 18, 2014 05:40am

@Najib : Two wrongs don't make a right

Akil Akhtar Mar 18, 2014 06:36am

This obsession of our so called intellectuals with blaming Pakistan for everything is now becoming shameful. Blame the people/individual who commits such acts not all of Pakistan....One non Sunni Muslim is killed in Pakistan and these people start blaming all of Pakistan for this act whereas thousands of minorities are killed in other countries but they only blame the perpetrators not the whole nation or the country. Lack of love for Pakistan among our writers and opinion makers is frightening...

Dystopia Mar 18, 2014 06:46am

To all the people being defensive about how respectful (Mashallah) Pakistan is towards its women, you are right in some aspects but all those nice gestures are given to women in countries where female empowerment is greater. You need to go a bit further. You hold your tongue in their presence but you commit domestic violence against them (50% of the women have suffered at least once from domestic violence in KPK). You vacate your seats for women but your women are highly under-represented in the parliament in terms of the number of seats. This is the same country where Fatima Bhutto (Madr-e-Millat) was not fit for to be a prime minister according to her opponent because she was a woman.

Haroon Rooha Mar 18, 2014 08:14am

Pakistan is not the only country where crimes against women weak helpless are daily occuring.India B.D. are not far behind.They may be neck and neck.The difference is India being a secular democracy will be forced to deal with these henious crimes against our daughters and sisters.

Pappu Khan Mar 18, 2014 08:18am

Areh beta it is not just in Pakistan, it is a big problem in south asia. In South Asia we have every religion known to man but the one religion we need is "

JK Mar 18, 2014 08:28am

MS Zakaria, You missed the sixth one, 6. Five ways Pakistan degraded women.

These days any one can write about Pakistan and will be printed as long it's against Pakistan and portray negative. Never forget it's because of the Pakistan you able to write this piece. You have a Ph.d the highest degree any one can hold which suppose to broaden once mind. Pakistan is one of the Country which has Women prime minister, not once more then once. When Fatima Jinnah was standing prime minster, US women not even have rights to vote.

Daaman Mar 18, 2014 10:18am

Blaming a religion, a culture, or celebrity is not the right way for progress. We need to change the way we see things by improving our identity, i.e the constitution.

I have stated before that our constitution has created multiple identities amongst us. Currently we have three identities: 1.Islamic or other religion 2.Culture 3.Democratic

If one wants to commit Karo kari then they look at all three options and pick at least one that conforms with their designs. After that, they say they did it for those reasons, and to some degree we start to agree with them because our multiple identities allows us to accept it. And when NEWS comes to our doorsteps we ( the religious, the liberals, the culturists ) start bashing each other, and blame each other for each others shortcomings.

Of course we can't forget that the people in the interior regions have no basic rights, security, and let alone food. If the government wont give it to them then we the people must make a stand, and teach them the way of.. well whatever you believe, as long as its not about believing in the laws of the living God deities that are the chaudries, and waderas.

Alan Mar 18, 2014 10:42am

You are using 5 individual case examples. In that case there are 90 million individual women examples in Pakistan that were well respected and honored. You lose by a huge margin.

Kashif Mar 18, 2014 10:47am

@Amir: Totally agreed, you gave words to my thoughts and of many others !

Ali Mar 18, 2014 11:43am

@mk: They play well what they know best and you all know what.

ALI HASAN Mar 18, 2014 12:02pm

Lets not beat around the bush, women and minorities are degraded and denied equal rights in Pakistan everyday

abdul Mar 18, 2014 12:16pm

@Sadia: difficult to understand that vacating seats are patronization....anyway....still they should be given credit for this

chikoo Mar 18, 2014 01:01pm

Although reasons she mentioned was recent happenings . There are many other ways , a women is being degraded that comes directly or indirectly to the media. Yes! this is very right in all possible ways, men seek to go rude to their womens but not in most of the cases. I believe , we are told to behave super goods as men and this difference implies whereever, whenever we required an association to a lady. i would not agree on the last reason she made about taking womens to do household/suiting kitchen. What is that so bad if they would do that ? All those women crickters will have to marry one day . i dont think so they would be playing or persuing their career this way . Cultures and Society defines some values / perception on gender's role for a husband or wife or any gender. Injustice is being carried out in all corner of the country sometimes in the name of religious belief or sometimes in the form of fuedlism, or sometimes brutal assaultment. bless all ladies, mother sister daughter, May Allah keep them safe. Ameen

Muhammad Zeeshan Khan Mar 18, 2014 01:04pm

We are born Muslims,We have Quraan, sunnah and hadith.We are taught and we have to preach that.And when you don't know any thing about that so please don't go so far and against these laws.....We are just a statues of clay and we knw nothing.God knows better and he imposed the laws...when we r talking about these marriages etc plz first think that these are Quraanic and Islamic laws....unfortunately in the age of modernism we are going far from our religion and that's the reason of our downfall...

Nasser Mar 18, 2014 02:44pm

The article is correct and we all know how women are dysmally treated in Pakistan. But Rafia offers no solution. Here is mine. Has it ever occurred to the WOMEN of Pakistan to fight back? It is not easy, I hear you say; easier said than done, and all that. True! But please tell me how the victims in history snatched justice, through mainly if not entirely their own actions, no matter how prolonged. It only stands to reason if I am being victimised, especially to such an extent, I have the greatest incentive to fight back. It is unnatural to expect others, no matter how well-meaning, to do the same. The other point is that others would start to give a helping hand if they can see effort by the victims themselves. My final point is that in many cases the victimisation of women is perpetrated by women themselves - the ever-prevailing sas bahu conflict is a prime example. Our whole society is very unjust, corrupt, and backward. There is no difference between politicians and the rest as far as attitudes are concerned. The only difference is power and opportunity in this "Islamic" land of Pakistan.

Jawad Mar 18, 2014 03:35pm

Education is the issue and I don't mean maths n English. Education on what are basic rights if humans, rule n regulations, religions and cultures in other countries. The lessons in history that need to be learned. And above all the value that should be placed on life regardless of gender, age or colour. I don't think terms like bullying, racism, sexual harassment are even consider a serious issue.

Kumar Mar 18, 2014 04:13pm

Reading this article and other news, I wonder why Muslim women still follow Islam. May be they can take good part of Islam and start their own religion with full rights to women. Women are not as violent as men and more tolerant.With more than 50% population as women, they can civize Pakistani society and get rid of mullahs.

Nad_NJ Mar 18, 2014 07:01pm

Abuses of women caused by blind faith of religions, And blind faith of religions caused by lack of education.

Aurangzaib Mar 19, 2014 12:02am

Excellent article Rafia Zakaria !!

ali Mar 19, 2014 12:54am

@abdul: Thanks your comments prove we are still living in dark age

ali Mar 19, 2014 12:57am

@Amir: yes you are ..and a fool too

salman Mar 19, 2014 02:10am

these are not five ways rather four of them are events first one relates to islam which should be accepted by all Muslims child entering into marriage independent of being male or female can decide for themselves to keep this relation or not when they reach adulthood before that marriage cannot be consummated only nikah can take place in my view whole of the article is baseless and demands freedom for women without any moral bounds.

Samina Mar 19, 2014 05:44am

Things will only get better when men start feeling secure and when women start displaying the power they truely have.

ROHIT PANDEY Mar 19, 2014 08:00am

Institutionalized misogyny....under the guise of religion,culture,and a host of other things!

Happens in all societies...but rather overpowering in Pakistan??

Farooq Ali Mar 19, 2014 09:34am

All 5 you have mentioned are crimes in our law and prohibited, there are more than 190 countries in this World and crimes are committed every where, in a way or other, laws are made to control, police and govt. are blamed and even changed, we cannot isolate Pakistan till we have a valid statistical data and compare it with other countries, further a lot depends on cultural practices, and beliefs which differs from nation to nation.

canuck Mar 19, 2014 09:54am

@ali: Agreed Abdul and few millions more like him.

abdul Mar 19, 2014 09:55am

@ali my pleasure............

PakistanRocks Mar 19, 2014 10:41am

Five ways "Pakistan" degraded women? "Pakistan" did not degrade any woman Ms Rafia, it is a specific sect in society who you are trying to portray as "whole Pakistan" so point your finger but name the culprit correctly please!

muneer Mar 19, 2014 11:19am

@Feroz: And during any agitation try not to wear dupattas as it is immoral and against the freedom of showing one's assets.

O' Ibn-e-Adam we are soon going to have a free feast...on the streets ....... be ready.....

najia Mar 19, 2014 11:31am

well done madam Rafia...we are proud of you :)

Noshad Mar 19, 2014 12:26pm

Excellent article but you need to further go in depth!

Ilyas Mar 19, 2014 02:25pm

I think everyone has the right to their own opinions. Islam gives respect to the woman not the so called freedom in which the woman is really degraded - by posing in ads even for the sale of trucks and tractors in some countries.

A. Khan Mar 19, 2014 02:40pm

@abdul: Regarding your 4th point, have you ever lived in the west ? Do you personally know any Westerner's before you made that sweeping statement ?

sania Mar 19, 2014 05:08pm

Unfortunately this cant be defied but thankfully you didn't use 'Muslims' here in the title....but if only you could change the word Pakistan with Pakistanis, and its not just our country where such humiliation can be witnessed, there are many other places on this earth where the worst is happening to the woman... the worst any mind can imagine..

abdul Mar 19, 2014 06:01pm

@A. Khan: oh yes. You know ....Alfredo, Chris, Peter...any of them !

Jamal Mar 20, 2014 01:06am

@Nasser: Educate all women! That will be a sweet revenge for millennia of mistreatment of women.

rash Mar 20, 2014 01:57am

@Atif: Where in west? I have lived in 5 different cities in Europe and have never seen what you described in your comment. Don't just cook up stories.

Anl Nair Mar 20, 2014 01:43pm

@Najib :

Except Women have it far worse than the Men in Indian and Pakistan just because of their gender

Suma Mar 20, 2014 02:55pm

Muslims want to be Muslims all the times even in their sleep that is the problem with them. If they dont correct this problem, i am sure world will come together and correct it.

Alee Mar 20, 2014 08:22pm

While it is important to stay balanced it is also important to speak from the heart. I like the idea that Pakistani or Pathan men respect their women, but the way we are mostly treated and made to feel is mostly quite opposite. I have seen my Pakhtun brothers thrash their sisters so bad it made me shudder, I also know a pathan who beat his own mother. When I work with my Pakistani colleagues, I find they are either extremely rude or feel it necessary to harrass me. I feel more respected when I am in the west than when I am in my own country. There I do not feel oggled at but treated as an individual. My gender is not highlighted wherever I go as it is in my home land. At home, I am shouted at by my husband in any disagreement and threatened of being silenced with violence. And folks tell me as a Pakistani woman I am respected. Don't people know that respect is felt by the heart?

Anthony Edmunds Mar 20, 2014 08:59pm

Aysha - your reply is right on the nail. The really frightening thing about Abdul's comment is that 38 people recommend it. I used to like reading the comments on Dawn's articles because I thought they were a reflection of educated, thoughtful Pakistani opinion. But after reading the woman-hating responses to Rafia Zakaria's article, I'm drawing a line in the sand. Enough is enough. I fear for the future of my beloved Pakistan if these comments reflect true public opinion.