Monday, January 28, 2013

Nothing is right with Pakistan's so called "feminists"

In response to my blog post Pakistan's so called "feminists", author/novelist/blogger Bina Shah posted this response. While I thank her for her acknowledgement of my enthusiasm for women's rights, I was disappointed to read what was yet another long winded apology for why the women's movement has failed so miserably in Pakistan. The answer to that question I had already suggested in my previous blog/article. The reason why the women's movement will remain grounded for all times to come is because the so called standard bearers of the women's movement are unwilling and unable to look beyond biology and find allies. In fact I am afraid if they critically analyse their actions, they'll realize that they have a lot in common with the Mullahs. For example consider this brilliant message from an angry angry self styled Pakistani feminist, apparently in New York, addressed to me:

As a lawyer, I would have said you should have known better than to pen such an article but I think being an anthropologist gives one a better perspective of how societies and cultures function. We should each stick to our areas of expertise

 What can one say to such logic? Bina Shah take note, please.

Anyway - returning to Bina Shah's much more civilised re-joinder for which I thank her still ended with the line:

That a Pakistani man sees fit to attack Pakistani feminism as a whole is a disappointment, but it is not very much of a surprise.
Now civilised as her response was, she still managed to muddy the waters with the accusation "you damned Pakistan man - of course you will oppress us, Pakistani feminists by attacking us - I am not surprised".  In other words all men, especially Pakistani men, are by definition anti-feminist and this is nothing surprising. In other words if someone so much as questions the performance of the great and grand feminist movement of Pakistan which has failed repeatedly in this country, one is attacking Pakistani Feminism. No Ms Shah I am attacking the notion that the poor, pathetic on life support so called women's movement is not ideologically feminist or even by any stretch of imagination a women-friendly affair. No Ms Shah.  I am not attacking feminism or feminists - I am attacking a fraud that has been committed in its name. This so called "feminism" is the hobby horse of glamorized and glorified housewives who have nothing else to do (There are honorable exceptions like Asma Jahangir and Hina Jilani but these are few and far between and are the exception that proves the rule). Then there is the nexgen feminism. Just like rich boys with nothing else to do became Marxists and started wearing Che Guevera t-shirts, rich girls who have no aim in life have become nexgen fems.  (Here too we have a few exceptions like Dr. Taimur Rahman but an exception nonetheless). There is no point in citing exceptions. We know Sherry Rahman, Beena Sarwar and many others are strong and able women but they have not limited themselves to a clique separatist feminists.

No matter how you spin it - the fact of the matter is that there is little to show for three decades of hoopla created by Wafers.  As a lawyer I am tragically much more than aware of the pitiful and terrible conditions that most women in this country go through right from family courts to criminal justice system. Unfortunately none of them Wafer mothers to indulge them.  There is a real problem here. Feminism and women's movement has been hijacked by drawing room aunties with kitty parties. Simple test would do: What percentage of the Wafers are doctors, engineers, physicists etc ? How much of the Wafer leadership is drawn from the lower middle or middle classes? Please do not fool us.

At every step Wafers have discredited the women's movement.  At times they have over-committed to individuals. Other times they have failed to act. Here is the brutal truth my dear Ms Shah:

1. Article 17 of the Qanun-e-Shahadat Order 1984 reduces women to less than half of that of a man technically. 1984 came after the dawn of the great women's movement.

2. Domestic Violence Bill has NOT been passed.

3. Abortion is still illegal in Pakistan.

4. A man still has presumption of custody of a child above 7 years of age.

5. Women still do not technically have the right to divorce their husbands (no Khula is something quite different) unless of course it has been delegated to them by their husbands.

6. Women still are stopped from voting in many areas of Pakistan which most Wafers wouldn't know existed on the map of the country.

7. Women still inherit only half of their male sibling's inheritance. In most of the country women are still denied even that share.

8. Most widows can still inherit only 1/8th of their late husband's estate.

9. There is still no legislation stopping discrimination against women in terms of hiring and in terms of fair pay.

If there hasn't been any progress on these most fundamental and basic of issues, what are you talking about?

Look. The cause of women is intrinsically linked to human rights. Yet Wafers are caught up in their own little world, which is why they are unlikely to amount to anything. 


  1. The only feminists you approve of are in actuality, doormats who suck up to you and are your yes-women. These are the same women who do not know your asliyat. And those of us that do know, are attacked and discredited by you, like the coward that you are, because your behaviour is the mark of a coward, trying to use threats and intimidation to gain power over opinionated, strong-minded woman who will only stare you down if you try to bully them. You sad little troll.

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    Let me remind you that you are the one who is posting as anonymous. So let us stop and think who is the coward here.
    Please do tell us how you know my asliat and how you are an opinionated strongminded woman. Why don't you tell us what my asliat is by revealing your name?

    Much Love,
    Sad Little Troll


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