News Desk |
Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz leader Maryam Nawaz’s arrest caused a storm in the National Assembly, with the fiercest response coming from People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Maryam nawaz was arrested form Kot Lakhpat Jail after she met her father in prison. She had been summoned by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case, but she decided not to appear.
“How can you do this?”, Bilwal thundered across the hall as members of his party and other opposition parties beat their desks in unison.
— Fe’reeha Idrees@ abbtakk (@Fereeha) August 8, 2019
But the criticism took a strange turn as Bilawal asserted that the government was being petty by going after the women of the opposition.
“Larna hai tou mardon se laro, pakarna hai tou mardon ko pakro“, Bilawal bellowed into the mic. (If you have to fight, fight the men. If you have to make arrests, arrest the men).
He said that his family had been in politics for generations but it was only the dictator Zia-ul-Haq who had gone after the women of those who opposed him.
“But this Naya Pakistan, where Imran Khan had promised justice has arrested Maryam Nawaz wiithout any conviction”, he continued.
He also used the word beghairat (dishonorable) for Prime Minister Imran Khan at which the treasury benches erupted in noise.
The remarks come as a surprise from a politician who has been subjected to sexist jibes himself in the past.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had referred to Bilwal as “Sahiba” or a lady during a speech earlier this year.
After mainstream and social media erupted in outrage, PM Khan had said taken back his remarks by saying that “mistakes can be made”.
Bilawal’s mother Benazir Bhutto was the first female Muslim Prime Minister in the world. She made her way to power by taking on a Military regime that had hanged her father.
While the narrative that arrests of opposition leaders amount to political victimization is built on genuine arguments by the opposition, Bilawal could have arguably found better ways to express his sentiments where women are continuously fightng for political space.
Remarks from Party leaders should be carefully given in a country where women are often barred from voting and need reserved seats to maintain their voice in assembly.