Guard who denied women entry to Punjab secretariat 'for not wearing dupatta' issued show cause notice
Responding to claims that she had issued orders to bar women not wearing a dupatta from entering the Ministers Block of the Punjab Civil Secretariat, Punjab Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid on Friday denied the allegation and said the guard who made that claim had been issued a show-cause notice and was being investigated.
The provincial minister for primary and secondary healthcare said the allegation was "quite absurd indeed".
Prior to the clarification, reports had been circulating on social media that some women not wearing a dupatta were prevented from entering the building by a security guard, who claimed that he was required to do so by Dr Rashid.
On Twitter, a woman shared a video of her encounter with the security of the Minister’s Block of the Punjab Civil Secretariat, where she said she had gone after hearing that women were not being allowed to enter without a dupatta.
In the video, the guard claimed that a woman had come to meet Dr Yasmin Rashid wearing "a certain type of dress", "after which she [Dr Rashid] had given orders that from next time, no one without a dupatta would be allowed entry".
When asked if the orders were issued in writing, the guard had claimed that they were "verbal orders".
The guard also claimed that another minister had also said that "you have eyes and should stop 'them' [women in 'inappropriate' dressing] from entering the offices so that every man does not look at 'them' in a certain way."
When the woman in the video insisted that there was nothing objectionable about her outfit, the guard claimed that this was not his decision and the rules had been changed only a few days ago.
The woman then asked if she was required to wear the dupatta around her neck or on her head, to which the guard responded that if she did not want to cover her head, she could wear it as a sash.
She again asked him if there was a written order regarding these instructions, to which he said there was no written order, and that the security had been told that "if we see something we have to be careful".
When the woman made it clear that she did not have a dupatta, the guard initially asked her if he wanted her to arrange one for him, then relented and issued her a visitor's pass before walking away.
This video was shared on Friday by a user on Facebook, who said it had been recorded by her aunt. It was not clear when it was shot.
Another user, Noor Imran, had shared a similar experience on Twitter on Oct 16, claiming that she was refused entry to a government building because she wasn't wearing a dupatta.
In subsequent tweets, she added: "My colleague with me had a headscarf and a dupatta [and] lent me hers to enter. I threw it on my shoulder and told her to let me go now. She [the guard] then said, “Cover your head with it”. I was like why? I have a dupatta now! And I walked off."
She updated the Twitter thread on Thursday saying two of her colleagues had visited the same place again, and one who had a dupatta but did not have her head covered was stopped and asked to cover her head.
According to Imran, the colleague said she had entered without it the day before and asked why she had to cover her head today.
Imran said on Twitter that, "I was told this is a rule for the entire minister’s block".
The PTI also tweeted a denial about reports alleging that the minister was responsible for the orders.
"One should not hurl any blame/allegation without concrete evidence. You may report the incident to concerned authorities," they wrote.