The degree to which Pakistani women cover themselves is somehow often seen to be indicative of their character. In our country, if you do cover up pretty well and conform to certain societal expectations, aap shareef hain.
But if you don’t…?
However, when we criticize this aspect of our nation, we must remember that it’s pretty much the same everywhere.
If women are categorized as decent or indecent here, they’re categorized as either sluts or prudes in other places. Point yeh hai ke women don’t have it easy anywhere. Moral policing har jagah hai.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to how much freedom women enjoy in all these different nations. And isi freedom ki baat pe, a Twitter user shared the following tweet:
Left: a woman in a free country??
Right: a woman in a country ruled by Sharia law?? pic.twitter.com/QiJqX7FxPo
— Ensaf haidar (@miss9afi) March 3, 2018
The tweet seems to draw a comparison between women in India and Pakistan. The comparison intended to show how women are free in India, as indicated by their apparel. On the flipside, Pakistani women are bound by law to cover up completely.
There’s a lot to process in this tweet.
Firstly, Indian women aren’t as free as we’d like to believe. India, though slightly progressive, still suffers from the same illnesses that plague its sister country, Pakistan. For instance, cases of domestic violence, rape and honor killing are reported widely in both countries. Dowry is still a huge issue. As is marrying a man you love. Or choosing to pursue further education.
And what do these have in common in both countries? Women.
Another aspect of this is the fact that covering up is seen as a sign of oppression.
Yes, some women do feel bound by religious guidelines and adhere to the law unwillingly. And some don’t. However, there are those who make a conscious choice to cover up. That, in itself, is an empowering decision.
There are multiple other facets to this as well. Which is why other Twitter users expressed their outrage over this tweet. Some chose to attack the Twitter user’s views:
What does she knows about Pakistan? Just she’s following the foot steps of the people like tarek fatah..
— Faizan (@Faizan_virgo) March 3, 2018
While others tried to educate her, using examples:
— ZAMANOV (@mhrrmzamanov) March 3, 2018
Hello. Wanna see how we combat bigotry? ?? bye. pic.twitter.com/ddggD0qvzm
— Emma (@identitycrysiss) March 3, 2018
However, Jeremy bhai ne dil jeet liya with the following tweet:
1. Pakistan has female fighter pilots.
2. Burqas aren’t *that* common in Pakistan, and there are no laws enforcing hijab. I saw zero burqas when I was there. Mostly they’re in Swat or tribal areas.
3. “Sharia Law” means “Law Law.” It’s just Sharia. https://t.co/OGPpmRUFXO
— Jeremy McLellan (@JeremyMcLellan) March 4, 2018
People soon started stepping in to thank him for the same.
Thanks for speaking against this propaganda and the truth for Pakistan, Jeremy!
— Tallie Dar (@talliedar) March 4, 2018
— ㅜ. (@TabindaSamar) March 4, 2018
And some vehemently agreed.
If ladies in burqas don't give a flying f*** about ppl wearing bikinis in west, then they have no right to tell what #LadiesInBurqa should wear. Its not the law but the will to wear it. Its the freedom in Pak that ladies can put on Jeans and burqa. You hit the bullseye, Bruh
— Mokhtiar Ali (@MokhtiarAli) March 4, 2018
And we had flight fighter pilots before India ??????? pic.twitter.com/TE0vFCXfR7
— SamraAliSyed (@SamraAlisyed) March 4, 2018
Others used his clarification to declare how their attire doesn’t bind them in any way.
Burqas/hijabs are there but NOT STOPPING US FROM ACHIEVING OUR GOALS.
Sometimes i wear it just because i don't have time to press clothes everyday. ?
— Hana (@hiddenmeows) March 5, 2018
While we’re all definitely grateful to Jeremy for stepping in, there’s a lot more to this debate than what meets the eye.
Again, whatever side of the debate you choose, it’s important to remember that these two pictures don’t necessarily give a comprehensive view of the larger scenario. A lot of factors come into play when we talk about freedom for women in any country. Khair, as far as the current debate goes, let us know what you think in the comments below.
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