‘Aurat March’ in Pakistan: Feminists vs Mullahs!

Pakistan's Aurat March had pitched two kinds of fanatics against each other; "Feminist fanatics" versus "Religious Fanatics" both trying to sway the opinions of silent majority by their shrill slogans. Author wonders what will be the future of this ever deepening confrontation?

feminism

Recently, the sudden escalation and uproar on the topic of feminism in Pakistan and the lionizing of ‘aurat (women) march’, got me contemplating about the vices of our feeble society and the illusive mirage, our religious zealots and the self-proclaimed ‘bourgeoisie’ are residing in.

From blindly blaming someone for what they want to wear or do with their bodies to blatantly accusing and calling all men as ‘dogs’ or ‘trash’, our society is living in a bubble of lies.

We live in a toxic society where a famed writer can abuse a woman on live television and where the same women can use social media as a leverage to spout slurs and instigate cheap twitter wars. Either side we support, we are two sides of the same coin and that is extremism.

We in our entirety, never tried to understand the true meaning of feminism in our country.

Feminism in Pakistan was aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and equal opportunities for women in Pakistan.

Perhaps the major reason for our society to be unable to grasp the actual meaning of feminism is because of these religious zealots that have been the linchpin behind such a divide and clash in our thoughts

It is the pursuit of women’s rights within the society of Pakistan. Like their feminist counterparts all over the world, feminists in Pakistan are supposed to seek gender equality: the right to work for equal wages, the right to equal access to health and education, and equal political rights.

Feminist and women’s rights consciousness in Pakistan has historically been shaped in response to national and global norms where different organizations such as Tehrik-e-Niswan and Alliance Against Sexual Harassment at Work place (AASHA) have tried working for making and shaping feminism as it was meant to be but there are some who take an unfair advantage of such movements to concoct a rift between the masses – one that support feminists and one that go on supporting the mullahs.

This in turn causes the friction we see on social media to steam up until it explodes into twitter wars and even violence at worst.

Perhaps the major reason for our society to be unable to grasp the actual meaning of feminism is because of these religious zealots that have been the linchpin behind such a divide and clash in our thoughts.

Read more: Mansoor Ali Khan busts doctored images of his family at Aurat March

As Pakistanis, we are unable to come up to a general consensus about an issue such as feminism where so many mullahs and pseudo-ersatz religious extremists cloud the thinking of many people around the country , trapping these poor souls into a pipe dream of somehow creating a religious country through forcing their opinion over everyone they wish to do in the name of Islam.

Did Islam taught us to force our opinions about our religion on someone? Did Islam taught us to resort to violence in order to force our opinions?

The fact that people at this ‘aurat march’ were ambushed and got their peaceful march hijacked by these so-called religious enthusiasts, speaks volumes of their approach of how to ‘Islamize’ the country.

To thrash a peaceful protest for a notable cause is unheard of and it rattles our brains to realize that what are we doing as a nation.

Yearly we see hundreds of women become the victims of rape , domestic violence , harassment and many more dark vices in our country and our religious leaders have done nothing but to declare a peaceful march that was aimed to help liberate all the oppressed women in our country ,as un-Islamic.

we as a nation that is focused more on making fun of everything on the internet have led to a divide in opinions as well. Not every woman is Marvi Sarmad and not every man is Khalil ur Rehman Qamar

Isn’t forcing a woman to stay at home and stopping her to do a job un-Islamic too? Isn’t thinking of women as weak and dependent un-Islamic too. It’s about time our people understand what is Islamic and what is not.

It is true that past similar events supporting feminism had been flawed with many chinks within their armor. The fact that there have been controversial banners that somehow became viral on social media, causing us to forget about hundreds of other banners that were just and perfect – Banners that showed what these women were fighting for.

However, we as a nation that is focused more on making fun of everything on the internet have led to a divide in opinions as well. Not every woman is Marvi Sarmad and not every man is Khalil ur Rehman Qamar and not everything we see or hear should become a meme.

Sometimes it is important to understand the underlying problem and the sensitivity of an issue before jumping to making jokes on that issue.

The march was supposed to help many women to raise their voices against so many issues, but those banners go unnoticed.

Read more: Shaan Shahid slammed for criticizing ‘Aurat March’

The only banners that do go noticed are those cheap slogans that try to mock the whole idea of feminism. These same women, who call themselves the so-called flag bearers of feminism are likely abusing daughters of those women as maids, whom they are helping to raise a voice for.

A survey carried out by the Thomson Reuters Foundation ranked Pakistan as the third most dangerous country in the world for women, after Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This is the country we are living in and yet we are still fighting over some childish slogans. The very reason why Pakistan is ranked as such a dangerous country for women is our ignorance.

Not always ignorance is bliss and sometimes it’s important to take a stand. Here the government is also to be blamed for taking no such actions in helping to make a safer country for our women.

No major laws have come forth in recent years that could help these women to stand on their own feet. However, our government is too busy in more ‘important’ issues perhaps. Something that might be more alarming than helping to make Pakistan a much safer country.

Salis Malik is an engineering student and works with various national and international think tanks. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

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