National, Politics

Misogyny: a tainted part of our politics

PTI Women target of misogyny
File photo of female participants at a Tehreek-e-Insaf rally.

We live in a patriarchal society where men believe it’s their birth right to pass misogynist and sexist remarks about women. What’s more ironic is that seasoned elected politicians who are representative of the people and are expected to lead by example, are in fact leading the charge against women. Even in a place as auspicious as parliament, they openly express themselves with their misogynist remarks.

Recently PTI held a rally at Minar-e-Pakistan which was attended by a huge number of women participants, something which of course didn’t go well with the ruling PMLN Party. Instead of appreciating women’s role in Pakistan’s politics they started hurling abuses.

Rana Sanaullah’s venomous remarks against PTI women are outright disgusting! He is Punjab’s Law Minister and given that he is one of the top spokespersons of PMLN, his remarks may very well be taken as the official stance of the party as there hasn’t been any condemnation or explanation from the party leadership.

Same is the case with Abid Sher Ali who discussed Shireen Mazari’s physique in his recent address at a rally. The language he used, and the way he made fun of a respectable lady, who is also a member of parliament, shows how deeply misogyny is ingrained in his nature. Abid Sher Ali is current Minister of State for Power and he is the nephew of Nawaz Sharif.

What came as a surprise was the silence of Maryam Nawaz on this issue. Being the leading lady of PMLN and a woman herself, one would expect she wouldn’t condone such sexist remarks against any woman, political opponent or not. However,  she has chosen to remain silent on this issue which can be construed as a tacit approval.

Then again, the list of misogynist mindset goes right to the top in PMLN. Khawaja Asif’s infamous ‘Tractor Trolley’ remark was made on the floor of the house. And, everyone remembers Nawaz Sharif’s notorious ‘Peeli Taxi’ comment against Benazir Bhutto.

Where we’ve seen the ruling PMLN condoning and not condemning such shameful acts there’s a precedent set by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari who not only issued a show cause notice to his MPA Imdad Pitafi who made inappropriate comments to functional league’s Nusrat Sehar Abbasi but also urged him to apologize. He did apologize at the floor of the house.

Quaid-e-Azam had summed it beautifully when he said, “no struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men.” Misogyny goes exactly against the beliefs of the founding father. The success of Pakistan’s future is directly tied with active participation of women in all spheres of life, especially politics.

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