Respect to Women
It is very unfortunate, but the Pakistani constitution does not view women as equal and productive citizens of the country.
By: Salman Ali
Pakistan have great women role models and they have struggled for every inch of the way, we are proud of Pakistani women. Without any doubt Pakistani women are the most impressive and accomplished women on the planet, winning Nobel Prizes, Oscars changing the way of our society functions as a whole. These outstanding women make Pakistani men and other women proud and, in turn, teach us all how to stand tall in the face of troubles and strife.
But the question here is why women are not made equal to men as constitution recognize women rights, yet these are not given to women because of cultural and traditional, social, economic, legal, religious and political causes. In Article 25(1) of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan it is stated,” All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law.” Article 25(2) states” There shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex alone. But on the other hand the state of Pakistan does not deliver to its female citizens when it comes to equal rights. It is very unfortunate but the Pakistani constitution does not view women as equal and productive citizens of the country. To add to the misfortune of these women, not only have subsequent Pakistani governments, whether elected or dictatorial, failed to legislate to protect the rights and real honor of women, but instead they also have formulated several laws that protect perpetrators of violence against women.
Secondly, in our country the moment a woman is born most of her decisions are made for her. However, when a boy is born, his family would try to give him a chance to do whatever he likes. Women are not allowed to go outside. But why? Don’t they have rights? Doesn’t Islam allow her to move? Is this the way to behave with women? Don’t they have emotions, feelings and happiness? Don’t they want to enjoy their lives? Are they being not equal to men? Yes, they are equal to men and we need understand their emotions. However, women are thought to be nothing. Until women and men are working together, shoulder to shoulder, this country wouldn’t develop or progress.
Recently, I had a chance to talk with some of the outstanding women of Pakistan, they constantly complained of having being isolated from mainstream society. They were on the view that women feel disillusioned on being maltreated by the male-oriented set up in Pakistan. However, if they are given a chance, they can contribute more positively towards the development of all social aspects. But sadly, Pakistani society usually adopts a hostile attitude towards the women. Their development in society is hindered due to many factors.
However, with national and provincial elections less than two months away, I want to request the political parties of Pakistan, to incorporate policies related to women’s rights in your manifesto’s. We can ta.ke an example from Sweden that is in the forefront in gender equality & Women rights and has undertaken several important steps through legislation and implementation of reforms. Whoever wins General Election 2018, try to accommodate women on important seats and ministries rather accommodating them on women wings, as these wings hardly have any say in policy and organisational issues. Hereby, I want to acknowledge and appreciate PPP for pushing Sherry Rehman as leader of the opposition in the Senate. In past the PPP has appointed women to senior positions, so other main stream political parties should also learn from this act.
I have a strong believe that empowering women with better education, being sensitive towards their health problems, ensuring equal job opportunities and respecting their rights will go a long way in transforming Pakistan.
Salman Ali is a social and political activist based in Lahore. He has done his Maters and MPhil in Communication Studies.