The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government on Monday ordered female students to 'cover up' to protect them from any "unethical incident" from taking place at government schools throughout the province.
Provincial Adviser on Education Ziaullah Bangash said the step was taken to stop female students from being harassed on their way to school.
Bangash said the directive would guarantee the safety of schoolgirls, adding that, "Donning a pardah has now been declared mandatory."
Advisor to PTI govt in KP on education Zia Bangash says decision to instruct female students in schools to wear"abayas"is to ensure their safety."I want to tell those who see the decision negatively that we have to consider Islamic values & our culture when making such decisions" pic.twitter.com/L8uDlYuHXU— VOA DEEWA (@voadeewa) September 16, 2019
Haripur asks girls to cover-up
Earlier, Peshawar District Education Officer Samina Ghani issued a notification in this regard, directing schools to instruct all girl students of middle, high and higher secondary schools to wear a chadar, abaya or gown to protect them from any "unethical incident".
The move came a day after Haripur District Education Officer Samina Altaf had issued a similar notification.
Altaf’s notice had given schools and colleges a week to implement the new rules.
The DEO told The Express Tribune that the decision was taken in light of Islamic principles.
Social media uproar
The decision drew backlash on Twitter as social media users slammed the government over the new directives.
Journalist Benazir Shah hit out at authorities, saying: "In Naya Pakistan, the problem is with schoolgirls, not the men who harass and assault young girls."
After Haripur, Peshawar school girls told to cover up.— Benazir Shah (@Benazir_Shah) September 16, 2019
In Naya Pakistan, the problem is with school girls, not the men who harass and assault young girls. https://t.co/Djwa4OSZqU
Female rights activist Tooba Syed also seconded her view, deeming the notification a clear message from the government that women are solely to blame for being harassed.
District education officers all over KP have issued circulars to “instruct the student to use gown,abaya or chadar to veil/conceal/cover up to protect themselves”— Tooba Syed ☭ 🍞🌹 #inshallahInqilaab (@Tooba_Sd) September 16, 2019
So now “officially” we are saying that it’s the women who’re solely responsible for their own harassment. 1/ pic.twitter.com/7QANlKHL3R
However, certain quarters lauded the move as journalist Ansar Abbasi appreciated the government for issuing a dress code.
He claimed that "liberals" would now try to force authorities to rollback the order despite it being in line with Islam and Pakistan's constitution."
Appreciation for Haripur authorities for issuing dress code order for local schools. Now a selected section of desk liberals is expected to pressurise the authorities to undo the order, which is in line with Islam and the constitution of Pakistan. https://t.co/hEMf0e8pdu— Ansar Abbasi (@AnsarAAbbasi) September 14, 2019