Search

PMLN and misogyny

Misogyny has no place in politics. If the ruling PMLN did not know this before, it does now. The party has been rightly castigated over unacceptable remarks made by at least two of its lawmakers. That these were directed at the women of its political rivals does not reduce the seriousness of what transpired.
Far from it.
Rana Sanaullah saw fit to put his own spin on that old maxim; the one that re-imagines the personal as political. And it was not good. The women who attended the PTI Lahore jalsa over the weekend, opined the Punjab Law minister, “were not from honourable families”. He knew this “because their dance moves implied where they had actually come from”. Which is another way of casting women in the role as custodians of societal and, now, political honour. Here in present day democratic Pakistan. Well then.
Sadly, this was no isolated incident. Just ask PTI’s Shireen Mazari. Back in 2016, the now disgraced former Foreign minister Khawaja Asif was the first to refer to her as a “tractor trolley”; in the National Assembly, no less. This was repeated by Minister of State for Power Abid Sher Ali at the weekend. Moreover, Mazari had claimed that during the recent unveiling of the budget she had been encircled by he and other PMLN lawmakers. She feared physical attack. Yet in his ‘defence’, Ali remarked that “there is nothing to touch in her [body].” At the time, the Interior minister — rather than take her complaints seriously — took to Twitter to advise Mazari to behave “like an educated lady MNA”.
The PMLN needs to take disciplinary action against all of its lawmakers who are guilty of such gross misconduct. And while some of the top leadership have come out on social media to condemn this behaviour — without actually mentioning misogyny by name — it is not enough. The latest incidents are a continuation of a trend. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last year took to a rally in Okara to tell female PMLN workers: “You are not like those women who were present at the opponent’s [PTI] rally yesterday. You all saw on TV what they were doing.”
That the men of a ruling regime think this is acceptable language does not bode well for Pakistan’s future. For if women lawmakers and political activists are routinely subjected to such casual chauvinism — what hope is there for less-privileged women? Particularly those who have no recourse to fight back?
Despite the apology tended by the Punjab Chief Minister, proceedings should be initiated against Rana Sanaullah. This is only right and just. Though this should also extend to the minister for Power: specifically, for his unwarranted insolence against Mazari.
Given that the rot runs so deep, only a purge will set the right kind of precedent going forward. For everyone.



--!>

Turkish president’s visit to Pakistan postponed: FO

--!>