Pakistani women are routinely subjected to sexual and domestic violence.
Chauvinistic attitudes remain entrenched. Phrases, such as “lady doctor” or “lady health worker” are used on a regular basis, as though being female makes her less professional than a male doctor or health worker. Even today, when someone advertises to hire an office secretary, their gender – female – is a criterion. Some jobs are considered more “suitable” for women, for instance, teaching where they can be close to their kids or return home before their husbands/fathers, as opposed to more “hardcore” professions such as law or accountancy.
Anything to do with clothes or physical appearance – such as fashion designing or hair styling – is considered appropriate.
But what is alarming is that these are the attitudes affecting those who are able to go out and make a choice, albeit out of options enforced upon them by someone else. They cannot even begin to indicate the sort of problems and pressures that a large majority of Pakistani women must face every day – from being socially-ostracised for giving birth to a female child to being branded of loose character for taking up a job to help provide for her family.
Pakistanis not a safe or conducive place for women and no matter how annoying the constant “nagging” gets that is a fact that can neither be denied nor ignored. Just because a handful of women are able to choose what they study, where they work and who they marry does not mean our society has become friendlier to women. There is a long walk to freedom and only “nagging” will get us there.
He said that the Sharifs owned huge foreign business and properties, APML spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said in a press statement that two agents — Nabeel Chaudhry and Aqeel Chaudhry — had been employed to look after the property business of Shahbaz Sharif in New Jersey (US) worth millions of dollars.
Similarly, he said, the other businesses owned by Shahbaz Sharif included a property-related company engaged in construction of luxurious houses, suits and villas, while some other companies doing business in the name of the Sharifs included Mayfare, Baywater andKingston.
Fawad further said the Sharifs had also a vast business inSaudi Arabia and Qatar which they started during their exile.
“Shahbaz should not fool the masses by claiming that he has meager assets worth Rs30 million in theUK,” he said.
He said the property worth billions of rupees had been registered in the name of the Sharif family including Nawaz Sharif, Hamza Sharif, Hasan Nawaz Sharif, Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif and Mariam Sharif. He also issued a detail of the properties allegedly owned by the family.
According to Mr Fawad, Nawaz Sharif owns356-Wexham Road,Slough SL2 4QL;116 Byron Avenue, Honslow TW 46LY; 149 The Crescent, Slough SL 12LF;332 Wexham Road, Slough SL 25QL;24 Railway Road, Kings LYNN PE 30 1NF; and 149 The Crescent, Slough SL 12LF.
Hamza:24 Jermyn Street,LiverpoolL8 2XA; 14 Garrison Close, Liverpool L8 OHA;65 Ellerker Avenue,DoncasterDN4 OAY; and75 Wellingley Road, Balay,DoncasterDN4 8TB.
Hasan Nawaz: Avenfield House, Parklane,LondonW!K 7AF;62 Springfield Road,WolverhamptonWW 10 OLJ; and119 Eton Avenue, Wembly HA0 3 BA.
Kulsoom Nawaz: 200 The Frithe, Slough SL 2 5RW;30 Lloyed Road,ManchesterM19 2RF; 16 Grasmere Parade,Wexham Road,SloughSL 25HZ; 1/1,Clerk Street,EdinburgEH 8 9JH; and 201St. Andres Road,BirminghamB9 4NB.
Mariam Sharif:78 Edinburgh Road,LondonE17 7 QB; 9 Sturrovk Close,LondonN15 5 JA;49 Avenuse Road,LondonN15 5 JPG;6 Selby Square,LondonW 10 4 AP; 4 Highfield LAN, Maidnhead SL6 AG; and200 Richmond Hill Street,AccringtonBBO% OPZ.
Responding to the charges,Punjabgovernment spokesman and PML-N Senator Pervaiz Rashid said the Sharifs had not been doing business abroad with black money.
He said they started business there after 1999 to earn their livelihood. “Everybody has a right to invest legally earned money anywhere,” he said.
The Senator said the Sharifs did not plunder national wealth like Zardari.
By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
05 May, 2011
The USgovernment’s bin Laden story was so poorly crafted that it did not last 48 hours before being fundamentally altered. Indeed, the new story put out by White House press secretary Jay Carney bears little resemblance to the original Sunday evening story. The fierce firefight did not occur. Osama bin Laden did not hide behind a woman. Indeed, bin Laden, Carney said, “was not armed.”
The firefight story was instantly suspicious as not a single SEAL got a scratch, despite being up against al Qaeda, described by former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld as ‘the most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the earth.”
Every original story detail has been changed. It wasn’t bin Laden’s wife who was murdered by the Navy SEALs , but the wife of an aide. It wasn’t bin Laden’s son, Khalid, who was murdered by the Navy SEALs, but son Hamza.
Carney blamed the changed story on “the fog of war.” But there was no firefight, so where did the “fog of war” come from?
The White House has also had to abandon the story that President Obama and his national security team watched tensely as events unfolded in real time (despite the White House having released photos of the team watching tensely), with the operation conveyed into the White House by cameras on the SEALs helmets. If Obama was watching the event as it happened, he would have noticed, one would hope, that there was no firefight and, thus, would not have told the public that bin Laden was killed in a firefight. Another reason the story had to be abandoned is that if the event was captured on video, every news service in the world would be asking for the video, but if the event was orchestrated theater, there would be no video.
No explanation has been provided for why an unarmed bin Laden, in the absence of a firefight, was murdered by the SEALs with a shot to the head. For those who believe the government’s story that “we got bin Laden,” the operation can only appear as the most botched operation in history. What kind of incompetence does it require to senselessly and needlessly kill the most valuable intelligence asset on the planet?
According to the US government, the terrorist movements of the world operated through bin Laden, “the mastermind.” Thanks to a trigger-happy stupid SEAL, a bullet destroyed the most valuable terrorist information on the planet. Perhaps the SEAL was thinking that he could put a notch on his gun and brag for the rest of his life about being the macho tough guy who killed Osama bin Laden, the most dangerous man on the planet, who outwitted the US and its European and Israeli allies and inflicted humiliation on the “world’s only superpower” on 9/11.
When such a foundational story as the demise of bin Laden cannot last 48 hours without acknowledged “discrepancies” that require fundamental alternations to the story, there are grounds for suspicion in addition to the suspicions arising from the absence of a dead body, from the absence of any evidence that bin Laden was killed in the raid or that a raid even took place. The entire episode could just be another event like the August 4, 1964, Gulf of Tonkin event that never happened but succeeded in launching open warfare against North Vietnam at a huge cost to Americans and Vietnamese and enormous profits to the military/security complex.
There is no doubt that the US is sufficiently incompetent to have needlessly killed bin Laden instead of capturing him. But who can believe that the US would quickly dispose of the evidence that bin Laden had been terminated? The government’s story is not believable that the government dumped the proof of its success into the ocean, but has some photos that might be released, someday.
As one reader put it in an email to me: “What is really alarming is the increasingly arrogant sloppiness of these lies, as though the government has become so profoundly confident of their ability to deceive people that they make virtually no effort to even appear credible.”
Governments have known from the beginning of time that they can always deceive citizens and subjects by playing the patriot card. “Remember the Maine,” the “Gulf of Tonkin,” “weapons of mass destruction,” “the Reichstag fire”–the staged events and bogus evidence are endless. If Americans knew any history, they would not be so gullible.
The real question before us is: What agenda or agendas is the “death of bin Laden” designed to further?
There are many answers to this question. Many have noticed that Obama was facing re-election with poor approval ratings. Is anyone surprised that the New York Times/CBS Poll finds a strong rise in Obama’s poll numbers after the bin Laden raid? As the New York Times reported, “the glow of national pride” rose “above partisan politics, as support for the president rose significantly among both Republicans and independents. In all, 57 percent said they now approved of the president’s job performance, up from 46 percent.”
In Washington-think, a 24% rise in approval rating justifies a staged event.
Another possibility is that Obama realized that the the budget deficit and the dollar’s rescue from collapse require the end of the expensive Afghan war and occupation and spillover war into Pakistan. As the purpose of the war was to get bin Laden, success in this objective allows the US to withdraw without loss of face, thus making it possible to reduce the US budget deficit by several hundred billion dollars annually–an easy way to have a major spending cut.
If this is the agenda, then more power to it. However, if this was Obama’s agenda, the military/security complex has quickly moved against it. CIA director Leon Panetta opened the door to false flag attacks to keep the war going by declaring that al Qaeda would avenge bin Laden’s killing. Secretary of State Clinton declared that success in killing bin Laden justified more war and more success. Homeland Security declared that the killing of bin Laden would motivate “homegrown violent extremists” into making terrorist attacks. “Homegrown violent extremists” is an undefined term, but this newly created bogyman seems to include environmentalists and war protesters. Like “suspect,” the term will include anyone the government wants to pick up.
Various parts of the government quickly seized on the success in killing bin Laden to defend and advance their own agendas, such as torture. Americans were told that bin Laden was found as a result of information gleaned from torturing detainees held in Eastern European CIA secret prisons years ago.
This listing of possible agendas and add-on agendas is far from complete, but for those capable of skepticism and independent thought, it can serve as a starting point. The agendas behind the theater will reveal themselves as time goes on. All you have to do is to pay attention and to realize that most of what you hear from the mainstream media is designed to advance the agendas.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. firstname.lastname@example.org
The basic principle of democratic governance is to tax the people on the basis of their ability to pay and not otherwise. Taxation inPakistanis unjust, oppressive and tyrannical. It favours the rich and shifts incidence on the poor in a ruthless manner—taxing them beyond their ability to pay. For example, rich property owners—these include generals, judges, bureaucrats and even journalists who, after grabbing state lands at throw-away prices, have converted them into income-generating buildings—pay lower rate of tax on rental income whereas salaried persons on the same income pay higher tax! This is blatant discrimination but nobody—not even our very vibrant media—has taken note of it.
Take another example, A rich person earning Rs.2 million per annum as interest from bank accounts pays Rs. 200,000 as tax under presumptive regime, whereas his normal tax liability comes to Rs.500,000. He has been saving tax of Rs. 300,000 per annum since 1991. In contrast, a widow, who is earning only Rs. 300,000 per annum from her deceased husband’s gratuity kept in a national saving scheme or a bank account to make both ends meet, has to pay Rs. 30,000 as tax although her income is below taxable limits. Can this kind of tax system inspire people to pay their taxes honestly and diligently?
Progressive taxation requires higher rate of tax as level of income goes up, meaning by, that more tax from those who earn more. This concept is at the core of a progressive tax policy—sin qua non of any democratic system. Progressive taxation, enforced through levy of income tax as major component (and not excessive emphasis on indirect taxes as is the case in Pakistan), ensures that the rich are taxed and money collected from them is utilised for the benefit of the less privileged classes. The prime aim of taxation in any democratic set-up is thus redistribution of wealth. InPakistan, however, we have just the opposite policy. The rich get tax concessions and breaks. Wealth is shifted from the poor to the rich through artificial hike in prices. The absentee landlords-cum-businessmen-turned-politicians through manipulative—rather dirty—means get higher prices for everything they produce. Then on top of that they get tax exemptions and concessions.
The present Income Tax Law of Pakistan extends unprecedented tax breaks and benefits to the wealthier echelons of society. The rich and mighty property owners pay tax at half the rate applicable on the same income earned by salaried persons! These owners have palatial bungalows and inIslamabadand they charge rent in dollar terms to foreign missions and multinationals. The owners of monstrous plaza and commercial buildings earn in millions but their rental income suffers tax at a much lower rate than the income earned by other taxpayers. This is gross violation of Article 25 of the Constitution as there is no rational differentia for this classification; taxing the same income quantum in two different ways, one beneficial for a rich class and other unfavourable for corporate, business and salaried persons.
Historically, property income (on fair market value and not actual rent) was taxable at normal rates after its inclusion in total taxable income. Under income tax laws prevalent in the world, incomes from various sources are computed under heads of income and then on aggregate amount the applicable tax rate is applied to work out tax liability. To give unprecedented tax benefit to the rich property owners, the law was changed inPakistanin 2007. The Finance Act 2007 amended the law rendering the definition of “total income” under section 10 absurd, which reads as under:
“Section 10. Total Income. The total income of a person for a tax year shall be the sum of the person’s income under each of the heads of income for the year.”
The heads mentioned in section 11 clearly identify ‘Income from Property’ as one of the heads of income. It aims at first including “Income from Property” as part of total income and then, proceeds to provide a separate taxation method distinct from other heads of income defying all sense of logic and fairness. Initially providing for a flat rate of tax at 5% of the gross rent, progressive rates were introduced by the legislature when faced with immense criticism.
The present tax rates for rental income mentioned in section 15 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 are as under:
INCOME FROM PROPERTY
(a) The rate of tax to be paid under section 15, in the case of individual and association of persons, shall be–
|S.No.||Gross amount of rent||Rate of tax|
|(1)||Where the gross amount of rent does not exceed Rs.150,000.||Nil|
|(2)||Where the gross amount of rent exceeds Rs.150,000 but does not exceed Rs.400,000.||5 per cent of the gross amount exceeding Rs.150,000.|
|(3)||Where the gross amount of rent exceeds Rs.400,000 but does not exceed Rs.1,000,000.||Rs.12,500 plus 7.5 per cent of the gross amount exceeding Rs.400,000.|
|(4)||Where the gross amount of rent exceeds Rs.1,000,000||Rs.57,500 plus 10 per cent of the gross amount exceeding Rs.1,000,000.|
(b) The rate of tax to be paid under section 15, in the case of company, shall be–
|S.No.||Gross amount of rent||Rate of tax|
|(1)||Where the gross amount of rent does not exceed Rs.400,000.||5 per cent of the gross amount of rent.|
|(2)||Where the gross amount of rent exceeds Rs.400,000 but does not exceed Rs.1,000,000.||Rs.20,000 plus 7.5 per cent of the gross amount of rent exceeding Rs.400,000.|
|(3)||Where the gross amount of rent exceeds Rs.1,000,000||Rs.65,000 plus 10 per cent of the gross amount of rent exceeding Rs.1,000,000.]|
The following example of an individual showing same amount of income (Rs. 40 million) for tax year 2011 would help to highlight the discrimination in treatment of levying reduced tax rate on property owners doing nothing vis-a-vis persons toiling hard for their living. Hopefully, it would elucidate the concept of equity in the minds of our policy-makers (sic).
Tax on rental income according to the current law:
Tax on 1,000,000 57,500
@ 10% on 3,000,000 300,000
Total tax 375,000
Tax if normal method had been applied:
Total rent 4,000,000
Less 1/5 for repairs 800,000
Less 20% property tax 800,000
Taxable Income 2,400,000
Tax @ 25% 600,000
Tax concession available: Rs. 225,000
Tax for salaried person on Rs. 40 million
Tax @ 18.5% Rs. 740,000
Tax difference: Rs. 365,000
Both are taxed on gross income, but salaried person has to pay Rs. 365,000 extra on same income!
One wonders if the property owner is being rewarded for his indolence while a salaried person or businessman having same quantum of income, punished for his diligence! What are we encouraging – laziness, luxurious indulgence, ‘hud harami’, conspiracies, crimes against the weak, taking money for granted and fanning arrogance? Where are all those thought-provoking ideas: “an empty mind is a devil’s abode” etc.? What kind of legacy will the landed aristocrat leave for his children, where their father made money without any effort, without sweating? These things are not to be ignored and no sane government can afford the growth of potential trouble-makers enjoying colossal wealth without as much as moving a finger. One shudders to think what kind of society we are heading towards, whose members have no clue about struggling in life, of achieving high goals, of pursuing research for benefit of mankind, of toiling hard to provide their children with a better quality of life and to make them realize that money does not come easily.
There were ugly accounts, told by many refugees from the northern Syrian town ofJisral-Shughour, some of whom had crossed into nearbyTurkey, and by others who remained in a strip of Syrian territory hugging the Turkish border.
Soldiers had abducted several beautiful young women from the town, they said, enslaved them in the sugar refinery, raped them and forced them to remain naked and serve them tea and coffee. There were other, uglier stories of several women reportedly mutilated after being gang-raped by soldiers, their breasts sliced off in a final sadistic act. But few had encountered any of the victims, and fewer still knew their names.
That’s hardly surprising. Sexual assault is a difficult subject to raise in any society, but especially so in conservative rural Arab communities — like those of northern Syria— where a family’s honor is often tied to the virtue of its women. The mere suggestion of compromised chastity, even if it was stolen, is a shameful stain, one that can make the victim and her entire family outcasts. The refugees on the Syrian side who spoke of these acts said they heard the victims had been taken to a particular Turkish camp. Calls to several camp residents seemed to confirm the claims. They had heard that there were raped women among them.
It’s not usually that difficult to get into a refugee camp, but these days, there is nothing about covering theSyriastory that is not difficult. Barred from the tightly controlled country, foreign journalists have been forced to rely on telephone calls, tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos and stray secondhand testimony in a bid to piece together what has been happening since anti government protests first erupted in mid-March.
So when thousands of Syrian refugees started streaming into southern Turkey recently, the opportunity to conduct face-to-face interviews, to hear firsthand testimony and see how it was conveyed was just what we had been waiting for. Turkish authorities, however, have different ideas. They have blocked media from entering the refugee camps in southern Turkey’s Hatay province on grounds of protecting the privacy of the more than 9,500 Syrians quartered there.
On June 16, a female Arabic-speaking colleague and I sneaked into the camp, posing as the relatives of a particular male refugee who had been shot. The Turkish guards at the gate bought the story. They knew the young man and his wife we were asking for and called them over to the fence. We were let in. The ruse was just to help us enter. We were hoping to speak with alleged rape victims.
Although the Turks manning the gates left us alone with our “relatives” once we entered, the Syrians were another thing altogether. Perhaps it was because Syria is a society raised on fear, a country where mukhabarat, or secret police, are on every corner, and emotions like paranoia and suspicion can be just as lifesaving as the body’s fight-or-flight response. Or perhaps it was because the camps contain mukhabarat posing as refugees. Either way, old suspicions died hard.
At least eight men stood within earshot of us. They weren’t the harmless, inquisitive types wondering who the new girls in the camp were. They showed no shame and didn’t look away, even when directly asked to. They were like the not-so-secret police all over the Syrian capitalDamascus, the men who don’t even pretend to be doing anything except standing there, trying to watch and listen to you. After 10 minutes or so, one of the men, who had white hair and a bushy beard, went up to our male “relative” and warned him that he knew the rules: nobody was allowed to speak with anyone, unless this particular gentleman agreed to it. We were going to be searched, he said, to make sure we weren’t journalists or spies. That was our cue to leave, and fast. Although we had emptied our bags of notebooks, hotel keys, business cards, passports — anything that may suggest that we were journalists — we had smuggled in small digital recorders and a camera in our clothing.
We wished our “relatives” well, told them we didn’t want to cause them any trouble, and quickly made for the gate — but not before slipping a small Flip video camera into our female “relative’s” purse and asking the couple to find the raped or mutilated women. Relatively speaking, it’s not a large camp, with just several thousand residents. Still, after days of searching, the Syrians told us they had nothing. Everybody, it seemed, had heard the stories, but nobody knew who the victims were. Not even those in the hospitals of the Turkish city of Antakya, where some 70 wounded Syrians are being treated, could aid our investigations.
I headed back down the difficult, mountainous smuggling route across the Turkish border intoSyria. The plum orchard where a week ago I had spent a chilly night with thousands of men, women and children huddled together in makeshift shelters or out in the open was nearly empty. Most of the families had crossed over into Turkey. But those who remained said they knew of a man from the village of al-Serminiyye, a few kilometers away from Jisr al-Shughour, whose four teenage daughters were all raped by Syrian soldiers.
“Yes, it’s true, but I don’t know the family’s name,” said Mohammad Merhi, a 30-year-old pharmacist who has become the makeshift clinic’s de facto physician, dispensing pills for children with diarrhea and treating gunshot wounds with whatever he can find in the few boxes of medicinal products scattered around his open tent. “You know, we are an Eastern society, we don’t speak openly about such things,” he said, trying to explain why nobody knew who these girls were.
The strikingly handsome young man was one of four men in this makeshift camp who had offered to marry the teenage rape victims, even though they had never met any of them. In this traditional culture of shame where virginity is prized, rape victims cannot easily (if ever) marry. The 32-year-old Bassam al-Masry, whose younger brother Basil was shot dead by security forces in Jisr al-Shughour on June 3 (his funeral the following day reportedly ended in a massacre by security forces), was another of the young men who had heard the story. “I hope that I will have the honor of marrying one of these girls,” he said, as Merhi treated an almost healed gunshot wound in al-Masry’s upper right thigh. “I know that these girls suffered, they were taken against their will. I don’t care what they look like, the point is to stand by them, and I do with all of my heart.”
The family was likely in another informal encampment of refugees, several kilometers away from this one, the young men said. And so, we trekked over there. But there too, nobody, it seemed, knew the family.
“We are all hearing the stories of rape,” said one woman, Em Mustafa, a 34-year-old from the Syrian border village of Khirbet al-Jouz, who despite the fact that her home was just a few kilometers away, was staying in a tent closer to the Turkish border. Hundreds of residents of Khirbet al-Jouz were doing the same, abandoning their homes and sleeping out in the fields, for fear that the Syrian army might sweep through their town at night. “Most of all, we fear rape,” the mother of three young daughters, all under 10, said. “We have heard a lot of stories.”
Everybody, it seemed, had heard the stories, but nobody knew any victims. Separating fact from fiction is only one hurdle to telling theSyriastory. Overcoming the people’s fears, suspicions and feelings of shame is perhaps an even bigger obstacle.
Professor Dr Iftikhar Baloch, a former principal of the Punjab University (PU) College of Earth and Environmental Sciences (CEES), has been dismissed from the university service over his involvement in a case of sexual harassment on 21 April, 2011.
The Punjab University syndicate had earlier issued a show-cause notice to Dr Baloch under the Punjab Employees Efficiency Discipline and Accountability (PEEDA) Act 2006. He was suspended from service in October 2010, for being involved in harassing female staff of the university.
There were a number of complaints against Dr. Baloch but no action has been taken because of his connections and his membership of a social circle of senior politicians.
One PhD student, Ms. Shabeena Gul, wife of Mr. Ibrar Khan and also a lecturer at the CEES, filed an FIR against him after he dragged her into a room adjacent to his office at the university. The incident occurred on 15 May, 2010. The room mentioned was furnished as a bedroom and footage of the interior of the room was shown on different television channels. Ms. Gul made the report to the Muslim Town Police Station following the incident but police did not officially lodged the First Information Report (FIR) number 450/10 until 1 November, 2010.
This is the first reported case of sexual harassment made after the passage of the bill in the parliament in March 2010. But the police purposely avoided booking Dr. Baloch under newly passed law. The cases which the police eventually formed against Dr. Baloch have nothing to do with sexual harassment at the work place. The case of a similar nature was filed by another female staff of the University, Ms. Shafaq Aijaz, on 15 October, seven months after the case of Ms. Shabeena, vide FIR number 451/10 but even then the police have not moved to initiate action against him.
The National Implementation Watch Committee (NIWC), formed on the instruction of the PM to monitor the compliance of the anti-sexual harassment laws, has reported that there are 18 cases of sexual harassment against Dr. Baloch. The NIWC took strong notice of the cases of harassment against Dr. Baloch and through the office of the Honorable Prime Minister, requested the Punjab Government to set up an independent inquiry committee to look into these cases. The three member committee, headed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), gathered information, interviewed several of his victims and concluded that there was sufficient evidence for the crime he was accused of.
The Punjab University also formed a four member committee which consisted of heads of different departments. This committee also found him of guilty of sexual harassment. The committee proposed to the University authorities that he be dismissed for using university premises for his nefarious designs. The Syndicate of the university, being the Competent Authority, dismissed Dr. Baloch from the university employment on 21 April, 2011.The dismissal orders were signed by the vice chancellor.
During this process, Dr. Baloch initiated parallel cases upon the victim in retaliation. He threatened university officials of serious consequences if they pursued this case, because of his strong contacts with senior politicians like Raza Hayat Harraj, a federal minister and leader of the ruling party, PML Q. The federal minister quickly started contacting different official groups to save Dr. Baloch.
The governor of Punjab was approached by Mr. Tochi Khan, the chairman of the Standing Committee of the national assembly on government assurances, who held a meeting of his committee on 9 May. The committee recommended the Punjab governor to suspend the vice chancellor of the university and stop his salary. It also recommended that Dr. Baloch should be restored with all benefits. In response to Mr. Tochi Khan’s recommendation, the governor, Mr. Lateef Khosa, who was once a promoter of the bill against sexual harassment in the national assembly, called secretary of higher education to his office on 4 June and asked him to suspend the vice chancellor and restore the perpetrator of sexual harassment to his position. However, the secretary of higher education of the province refused to do so.
The PM also contacted the governor and asked him to do a favour for his friend, Dr. Baloch. However, because of the Eighteenth Amendment the governor cannot make decisions without a summary from the CM.
The perpetrator is still in the university and using his influence to create a hurdle to remove the specter of sexual harassment from the university.
Aye Musalmano Yeh Tumne Kya kiya?
Dr Pandit Shankar Dhyal Sharma,
former President of Republic of India
Has Spoken Those Words Over Some 35 Years Ago…
Amal ki kitab Thi
Dua ki kitab Bana Diya
Samajhne ki kitab Thi
Parhne ki kitab Bana Diya
Zindaon Ka Dastoor Tha
Murdon Ka Manshoor Bana Diya
Jo ilm ki Kitab Thi
Usey Laa ilmoUn Ke Hath Thama Diya
Taskheer-E-Kayenat Ka Dars Dene Aayi Thi
Sirf Madarsoun Ka Nisaab Bana Diya
Murda Qoumon Ko Zinda Karne Aayi Thi
Murdoun Ko Bakhshwane Per Laga Diya
Aye Musalmano Yeh Tumne Kya kiya ?
March 08, 2007
A 46-year-old businessman and Muslim religious teacher was sentenced to 32 years in prison and 24 strokes of the cane for raping his six daughters from December 2003 until June 2005, when one daughter filed a police report in Singapore.
Three wives of the man have pleaded guilty to abetting the years-long incestuous rapes of their daughters by their father, whose name is withheld to protect the innocent.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Eugene Lee said the husband told his multiple wives and scores of children that according to the Quran, a father “owned” his children and this extended to having sex with his daughters.
Notably, two of the daughters became pregnant and underwent abortions.
By Austin Cline
When critics argue that the Muslim practice of forcing women to wear veils or burqas is misogynistic and oppressive, Muslim apologists frequently counter that modest dress and extensive coverings actually protect women from objectification by men.
One problem with this defense is that it presumes men cannot control themselves and therefore women must be responsible for men’s actions — an argument that can be found in many religious defense of oppression.
Another problem is that the facts on the ground are sometimes exactly the opposite.
In Cairo, for example the sexual harassment of women on streets has become an epidemic — an epidemic which the authorities and tolerate and which the men, predictably, blame on women.
In 2008, the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights released shocking statistics that stated that 83 per cent of Egyptian women and 98 per cent of foreign women in Egyptreported exposure to sexual harassment. Out of 1,010 Egyptian women surveyed by the Cairo-based NGO, nearly half reported being subjected to harassment on a daily basis, ranging from lewd comments to molestation.
“We receive complaints from women about various forms of sexual harassment. These range from salacious gestures and groping to impertinent compliments or outright chases on public streets. Subsequently, we have conducted several studies that have proven one thing above all else: Sexual harassment occurs regardless of age, dress or time of day. Women are victims simply because they are women,” said ECWR chairwoman.
What is significant about this report, aside from the just how widespread the sexual harassment is, is the fact that the sexual harassment occurs regardless of what the women are wearing.
Men and even some women have tried to adopt the attitude that sexual harassment is only experienced by “bad” women who wear the “wrong” things (as if they were even a legitimate excuse). The reality, though, is that even very modestly dressed women have to endure sexual harassment and some women are concluding that the harassment might be worse for those who are dressed most modestly.
More than 60 per cent of the respondents — including females — suggested that scantily clad women were most at risk. But the study concluded that the majority of the victims of harassment were modestly dressed women wearing the hijab. Contrary to expectations, the male perpetrators made little distinction between women wearing a veil and those who were not. “We found that a veil does not protect women as we thought,” says Abu Al Komsan. “More than 75 per cent of women in Egyptare veiled but are still harassed. And 9 per cent wear the niqab — the complete face cover — so they are fully covered.”
While both men and women surveyed said that short skirts and tight clothes triggered harassment, Nora Khalid, 31, told Weekend Review: “All my female colleagues advised me to wear the hijab to spare myself any advances from passers-by, just to find that women in the hijab were the most frequent targets of unwanted comments and touching on the street.”
“As women, we follow our grandmother’s advice — not to come home late, walk in a crowded area because people can protect you and never walk down a dark or desolate street — and we know all this very well,” Khalid said. However, Abu Al Komsan said: “But what [our research showed] was something completely different from the stereotypes — sexual harassment occurring in crowded areas, even if the women were covered from head to toe.”
This probably shouldn’t be surprising. There is the obvious fact that in a society where most women are veiled, then widespread sexual harassment will fall most heavily on veiled women rather than the minority which refuses to adopt veiling. More than that, though, I suspect that when a woman veils then she signals that she submits to the patriarchal assumptions about a woman’s “proper” place in society and subordinate position relative to men. Unveiled women, in contrast, signal that they don’t submit — that they challenge patriarchal demands.
Now, it’s true that the latter group will be a more important target for shaming in order to get them to submit as well as to discourage others from joining them. In practice, though, which do you suppose makes the easiest target? Which is a more appealing target for bullies? That’s what sexual harassment is, at least in part: bullying. Notice that sexual harassment is most common in the most public and crowded areas, which should tell us that a key factor in sexual harassment is the presence of an audience: an audience of other men, thus enhancing the social status of the harasser, and an audience of other women, so they learn their place.
In the end, it’s all about preserving a harsh patriarchal system — but these extreme levels of sexual harassment suggest to me a lack of confidence — a feeling that the system is unstable or under threat, thus necessitating an extreme reaction.
Several people said such harassment of women was a new phenomenon in most populous country of the Arab world. Until the 1970s, there was very little harassment in Egypt. Nowadays many women envy their older relatives, who in the 1960s and 1970s would wear clothes they never dream of wearing today.
Lawyer and feminist Salma Jamal said: “Religious restraint of the Egyptian people, which used to be one of their best characteristics, became a catastrophe when it turned into religious extremism because of various political and economic influences. Women in such an extremist society are always viewed as secondary citizens — merely a sexual object created to please the man and satisfy his physical needs.”
That argument is at odds with what Dr Amnah Nosseir, a professor of Islamic philosophy at Al Azhar University in Cairo, feels. She believes that lack of religious morals is the main reason behind acts of harassment of women.
“Look at our boys today,” she says. “They have nothing to occupy their lives except TV and the internet. And now we have this problem of late marriage. When you combine it all, you will have social problems such as harassment.”
If there has indeed been a significant shift in social behavior, that process needs to be studied to better understand why women are being so extensively victimized today. It would be interesting if women were victimized less when religion was more a private matter but victimized more when religion became a matter of greater public and state enforcement. This would tell us a lot not only about religion, but also about more and less healthy roles for religion in society.
The argument of Dr Amnah Nosseir is also interesting, even if it does sound like a lame rationalization. It would be plausible if the increased victimization of women is tied, at least in part, to increased cultural conflicts — but what is the source of those conflicts? It’s hard to believe that Western cultural influence is that much greater today than a few decades ago. That would mean, however, that the conflict is stemming more from militant, patriarchal Islam.
Dr Hanaa Al Gohari, sociologist at Cairo University, said that the problem of sexual harassment in Egypthas to do with the mentality of the society. Today’s Egyptis infected with two main diseases: religious extremism and patriarchy. “It is our Arab society’s patriarchal mentality that holds women accountable for the mistakes of men. Egyptian women rarely report being harassed to avoid public embarrassment or humiliation to their family. Women just remember: It’s always your fault and your ‘Jezebel’ behaviour and clothes.”
Sixty-two per cent of Egyptian men admitted to harassing women. …”Do not blame me. You should blame her. When a woman wears make-up and tight clothes, she seeks attention. Women in Cairo are out in the streets rubbing shoulders with men everywhere,” [Yasser Ali, a 21-year-old student] said, being defensive about the occasional catcalls he makes at women in the city, “who are different from the ones in my village”.
I find it interesting that, on the one hand, so many men are so willing to admit to sexually harassing women on the streets. This suggests that they feel little guilt or shame over the practice and regard it as a normal behavior. On the other hand, the one quoted person is ashamed enough to start reaching for rationalizations and excuses to justify his behavior. I don’t think he’d be so interested in blaming women if he didn’t regard the practice as blame-worthy on some level; the effort to transfer guilt suggests that there is guilt to be had.
I think that two keys in ending such behavior must include getting people to realize that the behavior is wrong as well as getting them to realize that the ones to blame are the ones doing it and the women are the victims. So long as the men are able to rationalize their behavior as a just response to women who are doing something wrong, they are virtually certain to keep it up. What, though, will get Muslim men inEgyptto understand that they don’t have a right to sexually harass women no matter what they are wearing or that women have a right to dress as they please?