‘Even if I’m unable to make a living, I will not let my wife work’

Published: March 7, 2011
The audience intently watches Samar Minallah’s documentary showcased in connection with International Women’s Day at Kuch Khaas. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID

The audience intently watches Samar Minallah’s documentary showcased in connection with International Women’s Day at Kuch Khaas. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID


“A woman is supposed to stay at home, cook food and look after her kids — there is no need for her to go out. Even if I were to lose a body part and I’m unable to make a living, I will not allow my wife to go out to earn money,” said a local bus conductor when asked why he sexually harasses women.

Such comments, among many others, were taken from common citizens and were screened as part of a documentary at Kuch Khaas to commemorate the 100th International Women’s Day on Saturday.

The documentary by filmmaker Samar Minallah, along with renowned women rights’ activist Kishwar Naheed’s moving poetry, presented challenges and brutalities faced by Pakistani women since independence.

Minallah, in his documentary, presented a first-person narrative of a 12-year-old girl who was severely burnt and disfigured when her neighbour threw acid on her face for refusing to be friends with him. She was appreciated by a round of applause from the audience for her courage and will to make a difference for all acid survivors.

The documentary also touched upon the issue of women’s trafficking in Pakistan. It said that the practice is considered “one of most profitable and easiest businesses in Pakistan.”

Poor and innocent girls are being fooled by their own relatives. They get them jobs as maids, where they get harassed and raped. These girls are told that they cannot go back to their homes and are later forced into prostitution.

Another painful story of a female student from Khushal School in Swat, and the psychological trauma on her family after her father died in a suicide attack, brought the audience to tears.

“Violence against women in Pakistan cannot end until and unless the mindsets of our men are changed,” said renowned Social Activist Mumtaz Begum. She sang a song on the occasion, “Darya ki Kasam, Maujon ki Kasam” (A promise by the sea and its waves), which she wrote back in 1986 on the brutalities faced by Pakistani women during Ziaul Haq’s regime.

Renowned Poet and Women’s Rights Activist Kishwar Naheed recited few of her famous poems, including “Mera watan Qaid hai” (My nation is Quaid), “Hum ghunaghar aurtein” (We sinful women). She said that feudalism is the root cause behind violence against women in Pakistan. However, there is a need to get united and fight against all such brutalities and challenges, she said.

Minallah said, “Everyone needs to play their individual role to end violence against women.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • saif memon
    Mar 7, 2011 - 2:23PM

    The barbarians like the bus conductor in this article are dime a dozen in pakistan.our population still has the mentality of the cavemen of centuries ago.
    Our male population can’t stand a strong,confident,self sufficient working woman as such a woman threatens their manhood,their self confidence.Our men are highly insecure & their wives ,sisters have to suffer the consequences.
    it’s time women started completing their education & getting jobs & working even after marriage.is their husband turns out to be an insecure barbarian then they should get a divorce & lead a free & independent life.
    it’s time our women summoned the courage to live independent lives & not beg their husbands or fathers for pocket money for their food & clothes.Recommend

  • abdul jabbar
    Mar 7, 2011 - 2:28PM

    the only way this misogynistic mentality will change is when women start to demand their rights from their husbands,fathers & brothers.if their husband is a religous fanatic they should divorce him so that he knows that he cant keep his wife as a personal property like his car or house.

    If our girls dont stand up, the sick attitudes of our population won’t change.The girls have to make sacrifices in the right direction.Having the courage to leave a husband to live a life of dignity is a sacrifice in the right direction.staying with a man who abuses you & beats you up is not a scarifice,it’s your weakness & pathetic dependency on him,that’s no sacrifice,that’s just stupidity.Recommend

    Mar 7, 2011 - 5:10PM

    This is SICK!!!Recommend

  • cosmo
    Mar 8, 2011 - 7:11AM

    Well, end of the day the bus-conductor has to follow the preachings of Islam, else he could be charged under blasphemy. Recommend

  • SA
    Mar 8, 2011 - 9:00AM

    “My country is QUAID”? QUAID means ‘Leader’ it’s supposed to be ‘captive’ for QAID not ‘leader’!Recommend

  • Stacey
    Mar 11, 2011 - 4:52AM

    The bus conductor is not following his religion as he is taking away his wife’s rignts given to her through Islam. Culture sometimes gets in between religion and get’s confused. What happened to admiring women like Khadija who ran her own business. I am glad that my husband allows me to work as he knows it makes me happy, yet he is still a very stong Mulsim in faith. He refuses to let culture come between religion.Recommend

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