Woman harassed by female ‘moral police’ in Karachi

Published: June 29, 2016
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MJ given lecture on appropriate attire outside Clifton supermarket. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

MJ given lecture on appropriate attire outside Clifton supermarket. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

KARACHI: A young woman was harassed for her ‘inappropriate attire’ by a middle-aged woman outside Agha’s Supermarket in Clifton on Sunday.

MJ*, who refused to share her identity, was leaving the supermarket when the accused woman, whose name is not known, approached her and asked if she was a foreigner. When she replied ‘No’, the woman asked her if she was Muslim. “I hesitantly said I am and immediately followed it by asking what if I wasn’t?” wrote MJ in a Facebook post that has become viral since Sunday.

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According to MJ, the woman ‘went on a rampage’. She told her she should be ashamed of what she was wearing – MJ wrote she was wearing full sleeves shirt and loose pants – especially during Ramazan. “I told her if her lecture was finished she should leave and then ignored her,” wrote MJ, adding that the woman continued harassing her. “[She] told me women like me who hang around ‘without clothes’ are a threat to her husband, sons and brothers to which I told her that those men should not look at women like me [sic].”

MJ claimed the woman continued to touch her during the conversation despite her requests. The woman even mentioned that she knew her car licence plate and that it is blue in colour and that only God can save her now. “She also said that people like her were sent in this world to fix people like me and that it was her duty to God,” MJ wrote on Facebook.

She warned the woman of calling the police and she eventually backed off. MJ wrote down her licence plate number, hoping to pursue legal action against the woman.

MJ complained to the police and they were able to track down the accused woman and summoned her to the police station. While the woman did not show up, her husband – who MJ described as fairly decent, educated and definitely more moderate’ compared to his wife – came and apologised for his wife’s behaviour. He insisted on wrapping up the issue amicably.

MJ agreed to compromise on the condition that the accused woman come and apologises to her. Otherwise, she warned of registering an FIR against her.

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Nearly 30 minutes later, the man brought his ‘smiling’ wife to the police station. She claimed that she approached MJ after she heard two guys passing comments about her. She refused, however, to give a written apology which infuriated MJ. Eventually, her husband convinced her to write an apology. “I apologise for the incident that happened yesterday,” the woman scribbled on a piece of paper.

Hesitant to speak up

Despite narrating her entire ordeal through a public post on Facebook, MJ was scared to share her identity with The Express Tribune. She insisted that the matter has been resolved amicably and she does not want to highlight it further. Since then, the public post has been taken off Facebook.

Nevertheless, she left the following advice for other women who may face similar ordeals: women like these ‘incite hate and terror and their modus operandi is simple, scare girls who are easy targets, alone or without the company of someone who would stand up for them’. She advised other women to ‘be vigilant and careful not scared and oppressed’.

TV artist Anoushey Ashraf, who is friends with MJ, shared with The Express Tribune that her friend handled the matter in the best way possible as no one has a right to force his/her beliefs onto someone else. “We want to live in a free country,” she said.

Clifton police were unable to confirm details of the compromise. MJ mentioned a policeman, Usman Siddiqui, helped her deal with the law enforcers. Meanwhile, SSP Dr Farooq was unavailable for comments despite repeated attempts.

*Name withheld to protect identity

Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (44)

  • Brekhna
    Jun 30, 2016 - 9:01AM

    Is this even a news???Recommend

  • SYED
    Jun 30, 2016 - 9:16AM

    Whoever MJ, but she was not anyone with low profile. She must be having good back support that police took action on her request. Otherwise, this is not normal with normal people. Nevertheless the advise MJ gave for women that to be vigilant and don’t be oppressed and scared, is very effective.Recommend

  • Shameless
    Jun 30, 2016 - 9:32AM

    Freedom of Expression has become a crime now? WE ARE IN A FREE COUNTRY…RIGHT? SO LET ANYONE SAY ANYTHING ABOUT ANYONE WHO DRESSES indecntly. Recommend

  • Jun 30, 2016 - 9:42AM

    Yes, MJ took the right steps and made the woman moralist apologize on paper. Her stand is commendable and strong. She is a brave woman. Salams Recommend

  • ali
    Jun 30, 2016 - 9:50AM

    good thing she told the police and they helped rather than making things worse .

    religious fundamentalism has reached new heights in this countryRecommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jun 30, 2016 - 10:13AM

    Its seems Agha Supermarket has become the epicenter of bizarre goings on of late !
    First that kidnapping of the judge’s son, now this. Next expect a UFO landing.Recommend

  • Muhamad imran
    Jun 30, 2016 - 11:05AM

    pakistan is a islamic country. we have islamic culture and way of life. trying to ape western country would be disasterous for us. we should also enforce islamic judicial system in pakustan.Recommend

  • Brainy Bhaijan
    Jun 30, 2016 - 11:29AM

    This story also proves that one MUST GO TO THE POLICE and launch a complaint. Most people do not approach the police and remain silent.Recommend

  • Unknown
    Jun 30, 2016 - 11:33AM

    In the fight between two women somehow they managed to bring men and it was all men’s fault. Recommend

  • Muhammad Ziad
    Jun 30, 2016 - 11:34AM

    This Mj* after having an apology thought its not enough and shared the post with the women’s picture sitting at the police station on fb . Where as the women was wrong to do what she did , Mj also went a step further to humiliate her furthermore she also accused an institution and generalized over ones faith, the post of which I have a screenshot of. Hope the law takes its course and the women should also pursue a legal case on the basis of harassment , defamation , ehtram-e-ramadan act etc. People should know that the law works both ways and to defame others to promote a secret agenda has serious repercussions. Recommend

  • MSR
    Jun 30, 2016 - 11:34AM

    Not a news really.Recommend

  • Shakir Karzai
    Jun 30, 2016 - 12:08PM

    no one cares!Recommend

  • Hasan
    Jun 30, 2016 - 12:40PM

    @Haji Atiya:
    Seems about right. Agha’s seems the new magnet for troublemakers. People should avoid going there for the time being, till things improve.Recommend

  • OSD
    Jun 30, 2016 - 12:45PM

    Haha.. MJ and friends are flexing their muscles.. Got the news printed.. Now please tell us, who is harassing whom?Recommend

  • Fahim
    Jun 30, 2016 - 1:15PM

    Last time I went to police station to report as my Mobile was lost. I want to block IMEI. Police started bashing me that was it insured, how you got it, where it lost. I turned back and left police station. Recommend

  • Dilip Patel
    Jun 30, 2016 - 1:49PM

    @Muhamad imran
    It is time to walk the talk. English and other languages must be banned. Stop all communication in english. Arabic must be the language of choice. Jeans, trousers and western attire should be banned.Recommend

  • Khan
    Jun 30, 2016 - 2:09PM

    Now the other woman and her husband has the should file a complaint for making them public in illegal wayRecommend

  • Syed
    Jun 30, 2016 - 2:17PM

    @Dilip Patel: Modi Bhakt spotted!!Recommend

  • Bilal
    Jun 30, 2016 - 3:24PM

    we live in Islamic Republic of Pakistan not in amsterdam.
    She should have been punished by the authorities for wearing indecent cloathes that too in the holy month of Ramadan.Recommend

  • Najeebullah
    Jun 30, 2016 - 6:13PM

    I don’t believe it happened in Pakistan, well done MJ, you are a brave lady. Recommend

  • siesmann
    Jun 30, 2016 - 6:27PM

    Mullah has poisoned the minds of two generations,and still reigns supreme over civil society.Pakistan will remain in dire states unless Mullah is confronted and reined in.Mullah has been given too much power intentionally or inadvertently,aand he is becoming stronger by the day,and squeezing society to oblivion .He needs to be put back into the Mosque and monitored for hate speech and inciting of hatred and violence. Recommend

  • Saadia
    Jun 30, 2016 - 6:41PM

    @Bilal:

    Salaam,
    You should be punished for inciting violence against women in the holy month of Ramzan for things that are none of you business. Will send you a memo next time I go out in shorts since you care so much. You should try and lower your gaze and not stare so much. Recommend

  • SF
    Jun 30, 2016 - 7:48PM

    At all the amusing gentlemen here who have commented about this being the “Islamic” Republic of Pakistan, and assuming that MJ was not dressed decently (she was dressed perfectly decently when this encounter happened, since she mentions what she was wearing), are you related to the aggressor, or condone this kind of harassment?!?!?! My Quaid did not put this country on the map for you alone, it is for all of us. If we HAVE to live with you peacefully, return the favour, or go live on some isolated island, and practise your (sometimes imagined and man made) archaic rules and laws on each other. You will be so happy with each other, just make sure you don’t escape!Recommend

  • Azmat Ali
    Jun 30, 2016 - 8:21PM

    @Bilal: Would you please advise what’s the legal / constitutional dress code for Pakistani Women? Also, please advise what was MJ wearing at the time of the event that was against that particular law you are going to mention? Let me also remind you that this is Pakistan, not Saudi Arabia. We do not have an official dress code for our women. Atleast, not to my knowledge. I am sure once you advise us all of the same, i’ll be better versed on the subject. Recommend

  • IBN E ASHFAQUE
    Jun 30, 2016 - 9:07PM

    @Fahim: The Police in karachi are to extract mula from the ordinary citizens…….on one pretext or another………..Recommend

  • Gaz
    Jul 1, 2016 - 12:43AM

    @Muhamad imran: oh yes because aping the Arabs has been such a huge success for us so far. Recommend

  • sid
    Jul 1, 2016 - 2:33AM

    If Muslims would only mind their own business, wouldn’t it be a better world? This coming from a Muslim.Recommend

  • Muhammad Ziad
    Jul 1, 2016 - 4:33AM

    @sf , other gentlemen say the same all the time. Everyone should condone the incident. The women was at mistake for approaching a lady even had she been not dressed appropriately though she was dressed perfectly fine as per the claims. Since when does Islam differentiates between full clothed women or completely naked one ?, to stare upon both is a sin. Aunty threats were equally unjust and against the law.

    With the above cleared , Mj did the right thing of getting the police involved and I believe that the police did their best for both the parties that’s why Mj was all praise for the cop. So we assume that an apology was issued , everything was settled and they all left the station happily.

    Later in the day Mj and co decides to perhaps start a humiliation campaign against the women with a picture they took at the station of hers. They put her photo on public display and start warning other women of ‘such’ people and also promote a hate campaign against religious institutions in general specifically targeting those run by farhat hashmi. Now I’m no fan of religious fanatics myself , I respect all institutions nevertheless. Considering this , Mj Was clearly played by her friends. All legal action are open from the women to pursue against Mj for humiliation , defamation etc. People like Mj and co once they taste victory are easily carried away with thinking law is in someone’s favour. Where as before their party was innocent they have just became guilty. The women BTW was like a normal human being , had her own reasons or whatever , Mj accepted the written apology as much as what happeneded with Mj was condemnable , i just hope she understands her actions post settlement is also condemnable. You don’t speak of women rights by defaming other women even if she’s of a different race,cast or religion than yours. Recommend

  • Zabreen Hasan
    Jul 1, 2016 - 1:31PM

    Good for you, MJ. Behind you all the way.

    This kind of thing happened to me too. I was coming to Islamabad from Lahore. When the bus stopped half way and I went to the bathroom, suddenly I felt somebody hug me from behind. I was startled, whipped around, and this lady in a black burka was practically on me. She was very nice and polite, but told me that I should cover up.

    I was completely speechless. I was wearing capris and a T shirt, and I thought I was decently covered. She then said that it was God’s order, not hers, that women should be covered.

    I couldn’t think of anything to say, I just walked off. In retrospect, I could have kicked myself. What I should have done was say that there were all sorts of people in the world and we should be tolerant, and that this too was “God’s order, not mine”. But I was too taken aback, and just couldn’t think quickly enough.

    People like this think they’re God’s messengers for us ordinary folk who don’t conform to their “ideals”. They need to back off. I mean, this is my country and I have the right to wear what I want, live the way I want, work the way I want. I will not be intimidated and I will not be dictated to. If I’m offending somebody’s sensibilities that badly, THEY can leave!Recommend

  • Shah
    Jul 1, 2016 - 2:07PM

    Pakistan is a free country and everyone should live as one wants, if one wants to apply Islam, they should apply it to themselves and keep there nose out of other people’s business, and I blame mulas for this, mulas should be deported to Afghanistan, the Taliban’s there could keep them as we have keep AfghanisRecommend

  • Anon
    Jul 1, 2016 - 4:08PM

    @Muhamad imran:

    You cannot force anyone to dress a certain way if their heart and mind doesn’t agree with it. You can never make people lean towards islam , if you pursue on enforcing and shoving your opinions down their throats , it makes them hate the religion. I am not a preacher , but a mere person hoping you understand what I’m trying to say sir. If we want to invite people to our religion , or even like us a pakistanis we must show tolerance first and foremost. Have a good day sir.Recommend

  • Meanwhile
    Jul 1, 2016 - 6:40PM

    meanwhile both aunties can go and help some poor people around. Recommend

  • Namaste
    Jul 1, 2016 - 7:30PM

    And now I understand when a pak actress said in an interview on tv, that she was shocked to see that in Mumbai when she saw girls wearing sportswear and jogging on the road, just like that…. Recommend

  • kareem
    Jul 1, 2016 - 8:52PM

    What MJ did is the other side of extremism. Recommend

  • SRIDHAR KAUSHIK
    Jul 2, 2016 - 12:21PM

    @Shameless:
    Are you really free?
    Ask the minorities.Recommend

  • Black Diesel
    Jul 2, 2016 - 3:24PM

    Salam every 1,
    The way that lady said to MJ* was wrong…the way she conveyed her message was absolutely wrong…she said these things to MJ because she had personal hatred and what she conveyed was her personal point of view…I mean Look at Maulana Tariq Jameel….he also conveys the message of Allah but look at the way he conveys that message
    …..Shame on that women….Recommend

  • Pakistan Zindabad
    Jul 2, 2016 - 5:11PM

    Swiss are not giving Muslim Nationality just because of student denied to shake female teacher. Girls are rejected for Naturalization just because they refused to swim along boys. Why? Because it is their culture. What the older woman want to tell is that you must obey your culture. If a Muslim person teach you this, You call them Backwards. The same thing is happening on daily basis in West. You are calling them Liberals and it is their right. What a time to be lived on.Recommend

  • IBN E ASHFAQUE
    Jul 3, 2016 - 10:57AM

    @Dilip Patel: Islam does not ban any language……Hence we can communicate in English….However, there is a dress code for women and men in Islam……That people have to follow in Muslim Lands such as Pakistan…..May Allah guide us all…Recommend

  • IBN E ASHFAQUE
    Jul 3, 2016 - 10:58AM

    @Bilal: No need for punishment…….She needs to be educated about the Islamic dress code for men and women in Islam….Recommend

  • siesmann
    Jul 3, 2016 - 2:30PM

    over 90% of . people who talk about Islamic dress dont follow their own recommendation.Tey just want to force others to do it.Hypocrites.Recommend

  • Human
    Jul 3, 2016 - 7:44PM

    @Muhamad imran:
    Says a man who can’t even spell ‘Pakistan’ correctly Recommend

  • AL KEMAL
    Jul 3, 2016 - 8:26PM

    Brovo MJ, the whole world support you and your direct action……….. you have taken against the self styled fake custodian of faith.Recommend

  • Vikram
    Jul 5, 2016 - 5:42AM

    LOL, she wants to live in a free country. Six or seven young Muslim men shot dead 20 non-Muslims in Dhaka because Allah only wants Muslims to live. It is time for Muslims to decide what true Islam is.Recommend

  • Vikram
    Jul 5, 2016 - 5:50AM

    @Brekhna: Should not be a news because woman who acted as a moral police did not throw acid on her. Do you think when 6-7 Bangladeshi Muslims kill 20 non-Muslims, should it be a news.Recommend

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