If we look at Twitter trends of the current year, every week or two we get a hashtag demanding justice for one girl or the other. This is not new. Ever since Twitter trending became a thing in Pakistan, it is being used to seek justice for women who have been brutally murdered, sexually assaulted, or harassed by their husbands, or in case of Khadija, a powerful businessman. Simply conducting a search on Google will show results of the brutality and injustices being committed against women in Pakistan.
Yet, when the question of women’s rights is raised through Aurat March and other women rights organisations, most of our political leaders, and the illiterate segment of society is quick to tarnish its image, and paint it as anti-Islamic. Women rights are considered a western agenda that is being used to mislead Pakistani women onto a path of obscenity.
But is it really what Pakistani women deserve? A life of pain, sacrifice and constant fear. A life, where every step they want to take comes with uncertainty about the consequences. Two weeks ago, a woman was raped by conductors in a train enroute to Karachi. Prior to that a bus-hostess was killed by a man for rejecting his proposal. If we want to go further back, in 2020 a 13 year old girl was raped in Bara Kahu within the walls of her home by 6 men for more than a month every day. Her father only found out when she became pregnant and gave birth at 14.
Theoretically, Pakistan was made for the weak. It was made to protect those who were at the mercy of the powerful. It was made for those whose voices were suppressed at every level of the society. But in reality it was made for the rich and the men. Women and the weak have no voices. Their struggle for freedom and dignity continues to this day.
By Amna Sheikh