The motorway to misogyny | Pakistan Today

The motorway to misogyny

So much to be done!

Woman, not just a mere word but a quintessential force that brings into being the very existence and continuation of mankind. Beyond being an architect of the society, she holds onto herself being the nucleus that nurtures future generations and weaves the social fabric. Apart from all the roles attached to her like being a mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife… she demands to be treated as a human first, one who deserves every and equal right to think, speak, travel and live a life on her own terms and wishes.

In 2020, while we as a society are assumed to be on a highway of progress and modernization, the unfortunate and ugly truth is that the women of our era are still on the streets protesting for their fundamental rights. That is certainly not a sign of a healthy progressive society, where a major section of society feels anguished about being suppressed time and again.

Let’s join forces and pledge to raise our voices for this issue in hand, let’s break the shackles of patriarchy and inequality, let’s recreate Jinnah’s Pakistan, a nation where women were promised all fundamental rights and protection, Yes, let’s make a conscious effort to bring more women in power!

These protests are not new and the bad news is that we still continue protesting, which goes to say “we ain’t getting any better” thus highlights a huge social problem for both men and women. My question to the readers is, should we just play ostrich and ignore the insecurities and injustice around us or should we talk about it, raise awareness and address the grievances and walk the talk? If we don’t then there is no hope for a balanced and healthy societal order.

Recalling a quote by Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yusufzai where she says “I raise up my voice…not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. … We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.” From holding back a gender from getting basic education to denying it level playing field, how can we expect 50 percent of our population to compete in a deeply entrenched male-dominated patriarchal society?

It will be unfair to not touch upon the recent horrific motorway incident where a woman was raped in front of her children and after the incident what we see is that the Capital City Police Officer of Lahore rubbing salt on the victim’s wound by blaming her for not checking fuel and traveling in wrong hours. Don’t you smell patriarchy? It doesn’t end here, later we even saw the who’swho of the federal government juming in as a savior to defend the CCPO over his controversial and insensitive remarks.

In a similar act, in year 2005 a woman was gangraped in Pakistan by four police officers, who asked for a bribe so her husband would be released from prison; one officer was arrested while three disappeared. Isn’t it a mockery of justice and the police system? Those who are meant to protect citizens are themselves the culprits. Is it the first case of its kind? Has any rape and violence victim got justice up till now? Is there any hope for secure environment for the women to travel freely any hour of the day/night? I pose this question for my readers to think, introspect and learn how other nations have dealt with similar situations.

Let’s for a quick reference look into similar menace that plagued neighboring country’s capital, New Delhi, infamous as the “Rape Capital”. In 2012 Jyoti Singh, 23, was gangraped which generated widespread outrage amongst the society the victim was also known as Nirbhaya (fearless) as Indian law doesn’t allow the press to publish rape victims’ names. Amidst mass public protest a judicial committee was formed to take up public suggestions for amending laws for prompt investigation and prosecution of sex offenders. The committee concluded after considering 80,000 suggestions that it was a failure of the government and police behind such crimes against women, following which the Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance 2013 was promulgated and six new fast-track courts created to hear rape cases. Some say the countermeasures brought a sense of awareness to women as the number of crimes reported by them substantially increased.

It is disheartening to see that despite Parliament unanimously passing an anti-rape bill on 7 October 2016, with strict punishments for culprits, we still see a rampant increase in rape and abuse cases in Pakistan. This supports the argument that the law is not being enforced with all will and might. The grievances of women are  genuine and must be addressed in order to give a better society to our generations to come.

The problem doesn’t end with the culprits being put behind bars. The problem is much deeper and hence needs a total sterilization. There are various measures the government must take to kill this evil of rampant inequality, violence and patriarchy. To name a few critical yet practical actions like cyber patrolling, better street-lights and wider pavements, separate transportation for women, gender balancing the police institution, monitoring repeat offenders, scanning and geo-mapping of high crime spots enabled with modern surveillance systems, creation of one-stop facility for medico-legal assistance including psychological counselling and temporary shelter assistance to women susceptible to this crime. So much to be done!!!

Let’s join forces and pledge to raise our voices for this issue in hand, let’s break the shackles of patriarchy and inequality, let’s recreate Jinnah’s Pakistan, a nation where women were promised all fundamental rights and protection, Yes, let’s make a conscious effort to bring more women in power!

Mustafa Abdullah Baloch



2 Comments

  1. Sadia Khan said:

    Well written! The writer has amazingly crafted the dark sides of misogyny. He has also given remedies to counter the horrendous crimes against women. He deserves applause 👏🏽

  2. Anum Ali said:

    Nicely written👍🏽
    Its good to see that someone is talking about the injustice happening with women. Once again brilliant writing. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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