Islamabad Club: Rights of admission reserved

Notice board barring ‘maids and ayas’ from poolside draws ire on social media, members defend policy

Qadeer Tanoli May 14, 2017
The offending signboard in Islamabad Club. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The debate surrounding rights of admission at exclusive clubs and eateries is an old and controversial one, especially in Islamabad.

The debate was recently reignited after the image from an Islamabad-based club - which counts among its members’ senior government bureaucrats, politicians and diplomats - showed that a board had been put up which barred the entry of maids and helpers beyond a certain point. “Maids, Ayas are not allowed beyond this point,” the board reads in bold lettering.

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The image went viral on social media with comparisons being drawn with the colonial past of the region where certain clubs did not allow the entry of natives or pets. The board was put up near the pool of the Islamabad Club. An exclusive, semi-government club located in the heart of the capital.

Some members of the club, however, were of the view that this segregation promotes a class system within the club. “Self-respect is the main thing and ignoring one’s ego and disrespecting it should not be allowed anywhere,” a member of the stated while declining to be named. “It seems that the practices of British imperialism still exist and compromises our national dignity.”

Renowned human rights activist Farzana Bari, who is a paying and consenting member of Islamabad Club, called the signboard and any implied segregation a ‘shameful’ act on part of the club’s administration.

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“I am writing a letter to the club’s administration against this act and I will also request other members to take up this issue as well,” Bari told The Express Tribune, adding, “It is class based discrimination which reminds one of the colonial eras.”

“Actually brown masters have now taken the place of white people. It’s new colonialism, in which marginalised sections of the society are being discriminated openly,” the activist. She said this sort of attitude with the working class is shameful and should be condemned by other members of the club as well.

With the club’s membership costing around Rs1.5 million, some other members of the club had a different view towards the admission policy. “Guards and maids should not be allowed into the club as it is for families of members only and their guests,” said Hassan Raza.

Another club member argued that they had paid money to utilise the services of the club, but to see them being used by a non-paying member such as an attendant or a nanny deprived them of their right to the facilities, which they had paid for.

Rules not new

Meanwhile, Yasir Mahmood, the assistant to Islamabad Club Secretary, under the rules of the club ‘maids and ayas’ can be prohibited from visiting certain areas of the club owing to privacy related issues of the members.

Asked about the particular board, he said that the rules may have been implemented recently, but the particular rules exist. In fact, he said that the club could have been violating rules by failing to enforce some of these prohibitions.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2017.


Karimudualah | 7 years ago | Reply It happens to everyone of us, but the populous are mad just because they have made a sign board about it.
Froeign Leg | 7 years ago | Reply This is exactly the reason why Quaid E Azam has created a separate country for........of subcontinent.
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