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News Analysis |

Authorities at a private university in Islamabad, FAST-NU, has announced that women cannot wear westernized dresses while attending university. It has promulgated a ‘proper’ dress code to be followed by the women in the premises of the university.

The don’ts include disallowing women from wearing tight/fitted jeans, trousers and sleeveless shirts/Kameez. Not only this but female students are also prohibited from wearing short shirts, putting excessive make-up and jewelry, while in the university.

Students, who have been found to be supporters of ISIS and terrorism, are issues that have turned the country upside down. Female students clothing should be left to their own decision or that of their parent

The university does not mention if they have come up with a ‘conservative’ dress code for the males in the university as well. Strict penalties will be given to the student in case of not following the ethical codes. Which include fines and even suspension from the university.

The authorities have mentioned that they have undertaken this draconian infringement on women’s rights, as wanting to maintain universities as the hub of disseminating education, rather than letting them convert to a fashion and entertainment institute.

Read more: Higher purposes of university education

While authorities bear the responsibility of protecting ethical norms of the university, no mention is ever made of the importance of inculcating within students a mindset that promotes tolerance for diversity and the lack of this which is promoting extremism in the country.

Such university administration regulations over their dressing is an imposition of patriarchal authority over something which undermines the liberty granted to them, by their parents and family

This is not the first time the dressing code of young women has been the subject of debate in the educational institutes. Last year, NUST university also came up with strict regulation imposition on female dress code, which caused a severe backlash from females.

Other private universities have also done the same, imposing stricter dress code rules on women caused an uproar. Along with NUST, other universities include, Government College Lahore, University of Punjab, University of Swat, University of Sargodha, Lahore and National Textile University, Islamabad.

The topic has stirred the debate again between drawing a fine line between the role and authority of parents versus that of the university administration.

Read more: Education: A privilege of the rich

Females students are no longer Kids

The authorities have mentioned that they have undertaken this draconian infringement on women’s rights, as wanting to maintain universities as the hub of disseminating education

Female students are of the view that they are adults by the time they attend university, graduating and will soon be taking jobs.  Such university administration regulations over their dressing is an imposition of patriarchal authority over something which undermines the liberty granted to them, by their parents and family.

Terrorism mindset vs Dress codes mindset

An argument is being made that universities have much bigger issues facing them rather than that of female clothing. They should worry about increasing quality of research output, be improving higher education quality, even focus on reducing extremism mindset in students.

Read more: Education: A privilege of the rich

Not only this but female students are also prohibited from wearing short shirts, putting excessive make-up and jewelry, while in the university

The lynching of Mashal Khan by his fellow students is one such issue, as is the terrorist organization which was led by a university student under the banner of “Ansar-ul-Sharia”.

Students, who have been found to be supporters of ISIS and terrorism, are issues that have turned the country upside down. Female students clothing should be left to their own decision or that of their parents. The ineptness of the administration to shield its premises from the wave of terrorism, is, in fact, a more perilous trend than how females dress.

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