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Saturday, July 20, 2024

I don’t feel safe in Pakistan: Actress Ayesha Omar

Omar passionately shared her thoughts on the challenges women encounter in Pakistan, shedding light on the pervasive issues of harassment and the constant fear that shadows their daily lives.

In a candid discussion on the Adnan Faisal Podcast, renowned Pakistani actress Ayesha Omar addressed a pressing concern shared by many women in the country – the absence of safe public spaces.

Omar passionately shared her thoughts on the challenges women encounter in Pakistan, shedding light on the pervasive issues of harassment and the constant fear that shadows their daily lives.

During the podcast, the actor expressed deep concerns about the lack of safe public spaces for women in Pakistan. She highlighted the pervasive issue of women feeling unsafe on the roads and streets, emphasizing that even simple activities like going to a park can be tainted by fears of harassment and stalking.

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“I don’t feel safe here,” remarked Omar. “I want to be able to walk on the road.” She added, “It’s a basic human need to be able to walk outside in the open air. Can all the women in your office walk on the street?” With the off-camera response presumably negative, the actor continued, “Isn’t that sad? I don’t want to sit in a car. I want to cycle. Why can’t I ride a bike?”

Omar also shed light on the unique challenges faced by women in Pakistan, emphasizing that men may never fully comprehend the constant fear and anxiety that women grapple with daily. “Men can never understand what Pakistani women grow up with,” she stated. “As much as you try, you cannot. Because that fear that a woman has in this country – sure, he who has daughters may understand.” She continued to add, “Being in a woman’s shoes and understanding that is impossible. You’re anxious every second.”

Expressing her heartfelt desire for a time when women can move freely in their own country without the looming fears of kidnapping, rape, or mugging, Omar emphasized that freedom and safety are basic human needs. “When will the time come when I can roam freely in my country?” she asked. “Without the fear of being kidnapped, without the fear of being raped, without the fear of being mugged. It’s a basic human need. Freedom and safety.”

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Amidst acknowledging the existence of crime in every country, Omar pleaded for a transformation in societal attitudes, advocating for the creation of an environment where people, especially women, can walk on the road without fear. She drew attention to the distressing reality that women often face when attempting to enjoy public spaces, recounting experiences of being followed, catcalled, and subjected to harassment.

The star remarked, “There is crime in every country in the world. But people can, at least, walk on the road. She added further with a sense of resignation creeping in towards the end, “You can’t even go to the park without ten people following you or catcalling you. They say weird things, they try to touch you. What do you do? What do you do?”

Omar’s candid remarks on the podcast bring to the forefront a critical societal issue that demands attention and action. Her plea for safe public spaces echoes the sentiments of many women across Pakistan, sparking a crucial conversation on the need for societal change, empathy, and the creation of an environment where everyone can enjoy the basic human rights of freedom and safety.