Haripur just added its name to one of the most WTF places for women
A notification addressed from District Education Officer of Haripur Samina Altaf just circulated on social media where she has made abaya mandatory for young girls
The circular made it mandatory for female students to wear an abaya or chaddar to all government schools. This rule was apparently made in order to protect the girls from the daily harassment and teasing they were facing while going to and from the school.
One of the DEO’s subordinate commented that a good number of girl students wear a dupatta or ‘half chaddar’, which apparently does not properly cover their bodies.
She added that since providing police protection to girl students at every nook and corner was not possible, the administration had decided to enforce this dress code upon them so they can observe “proper purdah for their own safety”.
This notification has obviously pissed off people because instead of giving young girls a safe space to go to school they are reprimanding them for “not covering enough” as if women in abaya never get harassed
Some were enraged that Pakistan has still not even made any progress on this front, while constantly trolling other nations for their achievements.
Govt in Haripur, KP can't fix education so they decided to go after little girls & made it mandatory for them to wear abaya/chadar. Can we stop this constant, sick obsession with women & their clothing? & focus on education instead of hating on India for making it to the moon?
— Annie (@quratula1n_s) September 14, 2019
Some people said Haripur is going back to the Stone Age
They highlighted how this was a move towards regression and not a healthy step forward towards changing mindsets.
Pushing society towards Stone Ages. Haripur District Education Officer orders girl students of schools to wear abaya (a kind of burqa) for protection, yes protection, from unethical incident. Rein in sexual predators instead of such gimmicks you dumbs pic.twitter.com/hVk6IepRVF
— Mubarak Ali (@mubarak74) September 14, 2019
Others are even wondering if this is even real
Since the order was issued by the district education authorities and not directly from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, people are wondering if the DEO even has the authority to do this.
Does the Haripur district education authority have the power to make this call without approval of the KP govt?https://t.co/PhjoF0kyi5
— Madiha Afzal (@MadihaAfzal) September 14, 2019
Even Shehzad Roy expressed his frustration with this stupid letter
Shehzad Roy stressed on the fact that instead of trying to change the societal conditions, we focus on putting more restrictions on girls which limit them on the whole. So the right way to go about this is trying to change this unsafe environment in the first place.
Girl students wear dupatta, carry heavy bags, can’t play proper sports because what they wear. Now Government want these girls to wear Abaya and chador so they are not harassed. Change conditions and stop changing these girls https://t.co/KAJGt8iLBX pic.twitter.com/luTNctc51E
— Shehzad Roy (@ShehzadRoy) September 14, 2019
People said this circular was another name for incompetency to protect women
It was noted that the school was shying away from its responsibility of making the school a safe environment for the female students and instead was forcing them to ensure their own safety by compelling them to wear abayas.
Incompetent people & those, who believe in imposing their personal agenda on others, without their consent, takes such decisions. Girls should not be compelled to wear ubaya for avoiding eve-teasing, it is the responsibility of college administration to provide good environment https://t.co/GTYd0oBdCM
— Ansar Naqvi (@naqvi1966) September 14, 2019
People rightfully questioned why boys weren’t being taught good behavior
People wondered how it was okay that the solution for this was asking girls to change instead of ensuring that boys behaved. It seemed a little like the victim being admonished instead of the perpetrator.
A solution Haripur schools found for complaints regarding Eve teasing & harassment…
They want girls to wear abaya/gown or chadar but won’t teach boys to behave or take steps to keep them in line… https://t.co/Zee9rnxpHs
— Ayesha Khalid (@ayeshakhalid7) September 14, 2019
They said that wearing an abaya is okay but you should have an option to choose. Taking away that option is what makes things ridiculous.
Forcing girls to wear abaya in Haripur Schools is extremely non-democratic.
I wore abaya when I wanted to; I took it off when I wanted to.
Who the hell is society or government to tell girls how they should be dressed!!!
— Samra (@SNazir29) September 14, 2019
People believed it still won’t stop harassment
An issue that was raised was that the root of sexual assault and harassment is the corrupted mindsets and not women’s clothes and unless nothing is being done to change the former, changing the latter won’t help.
the dress code for female students in haripur has been set to abayas and gowns to protect them from harassment. PLEASE can people understand that a woman's clothes have NOTHING to do with rape and harassment !!!!!
— yahoodi saazish (@wtfmanal) September 14, 2019
However, there have been people who supported the idea
They stressed that these new rules were in-line with the Islamic norms and should not be unnecessarily condemned.
We appreciate Haripur authorities for issuing specific Islamic "Abaya"as compulsory dress code order for local schools.
It's in line with islamic Norms and the constitution of islamic republic of pakistan,
So called liberals must shut the hell up on this. https://t.co/bhFQwcY6G8
— Muhammad Imraan Abbasi (@Abbassiiiiiiii) September 14, 2019
Liberal Pakistanis were dragged
They shaded the people calling for a reversal of order by calling them ‘desk liberals’.
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/gETtn5NdU6
— Muhammad Irfan (@mirfanm123) September 14, 2019
Some Haripur residents themselves welcomed the change
They reminded people that we live in an Islamic state and should adopt values that are in line with Islam.
We, the people of Haripur welcome the decision of the mandatory Abaya for women at the schools colleges by the district administration.Some Mombatti mafia's criticizing this decision but we must not forget that we live in an Islamic state and we must adopt Islamic values.
— AحMer (@Ahmeri12) September 14, 2019
They expressed that it was their culture
People living in Haripur said the dress code was part of their ways and not something controversial.
This is Our Culture. I live in Haripur, My uncle was Naazim of District Haripur. This is not a bad thing.
— Waseem Khan Jadoon (@9Waseem) September 14, 2019
Enforcing rules will always be controversial. From a liberal point of view, the outrage on this is understandable, after all, why should you take away the right to choose on this matter? And why isn’t anything at all being done to curb the mindset giving birth to these heinous crimes of assault?
However, from the perspective of most people living in areas like Haripur, where people prefer to be safe than sorry and assault is dangerously prevalent, using chaddars and abayas as tools of defense does give them comfort, I guess.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments.
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Cover image via: @mubarak74 via Twitter / dawn.com