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LAHORE: The Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf women legislators have questioned the silence of Maryam Nawaz Sharif over her party MNA’s indecent remarks, saying it is unbecoming of a future candidate for prime minister not even to condemn such a behaviour.

They say unlike Bakhtawar and Aseefa, Maryam could not muster courage to condemn Javed Latif’s abusive language that shows PML-N’s indifference towards women’s dignity.

For them, it is rather surprising that Ms Maryam who seldom misses a chance to chide PTI and other opposition parties could not come up with even a single tweet on this matter.

“Although everyone here is disappointed to see no action by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif against Javed Latif, women feel let down by his daughter,” PTI MPA Sadia Sohail told Dawn here on Sunday.

“On Monday (today) we will raise Maryam’s criminal silence over Javed Latif’s highly objectionable remarks that show least regards for women in the PML-N,” she said.

Ms Sohail believed this was a test case for the Sharif family regarding its mindset towards women. “If Ms Maryam has to do politics in future, she will have to set an example by protecting the rights and respect of women,” she said.

The PTI legislator is of the view that recent stance of Bhakhtawar and Aseefa (daughters of Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari) over such an issue had set an example that if a woman is disrespected they will rise above the party politics.

When a PPP lawmaker in the Sindh Assembly passed indecent remarks recently about a woman legislator, Bakhtawar Bhutto asked him to tender an apology to the MPA as this was “absolutely unacceptable behaviour and totally against ethos of PPP that had been led by a strong woman.”

Shunila Ruth, another PTI lawmaker, said Ms Maraym should have taken up this issue like Bhakhtawar and Aseefa and not only condemn this behaviour of Latif but also ensure his ouster from the party. “Maryam’s silence endorses Latif’s remarks,” she said, adding it appeared that the whole PML-N was busy saving the Sharifs’ kingdom and nobody dared to speak one’s own mind without their approval.

PML-N MPA Hina Pervaiz Butt defended Ms Maryam saying “this was not the issue of women as being portrayed by the PTI”. She said she condemned the attitude of both Javed Latif and Murad Saeed. “People follow politicians, therefore, they must not indulge in such a behaviour.”

To a question what action the PML-N leadership should take against Latif, Ms Butt said: “I think he should be given a warning for his indecent remarks but removing him from the party will be a bit harsh.”

Federal State Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb did not respond to a questionnaire about her party’s ‘official’ stance over Latif’s conduct.

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2017