Recently, a bus hostess was shot dead in Faisalabad after she turned down a man.
Mehwish Arshad, a bus hostess, was shot dead at Faisalabad’s Kohistan Terminal. She was murdered for refusing to marry a security guard – a classic case of toxic masculinity running its course. After her father’s death, she was the only financial support of her family. It is important to point out that bus hostesses are harassed on a daily basis. The man who shot her was also an employee.
The whole incident can be seen via CCTV footage.
In the CCTV video, the man can be seen talking to her as he forcibly grabs her hand and she visibly looks disturbed and tries to pull her hand away. She succeeds in pulling her hand away and there is a two-second pause before he shoots her, and runs away. There is no one around to witness the incident, save a person or two in the background, but would that really have stopped the man?
In the harrowing footage, the woman can be seen sliding down the steps in pure agony, with no one to help her as she took her last breath.
The incident outraged people, and with good reason.
Truly Shocking! Mehwish was earning honest living for her family by being a bus hostess but unfortunately she became another victim of soceity’s evil. Shot by one of company’s security guard when she snubbed him from harassing. pic.twitter.com/GLWjghpf6B
— ~ (@Abidin_Xain) June 14, 2018
People were left shocked and disgusted.
What is wrong with us!?
This woman Mehwish was trying to make a living making ends meet by working as a bus hostess – a security guard wanted to marry her and she said no – and he shot her dead pic.twitter.com/2iaJuzOgX9
— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) June 15, 2018
People requested that she be remembered in their prayers.
This bus hostess was brutally murdered by a security guard bcz she rejected his marriage proposal yesterday in faisalabad at Kohistan bus terminal. Plz as it's Friday so remember her in your prayers. It's agonizing & terrible .After seeing the CCTV footage I have no other words pic.twitter.com/e5kHfgPsLY
— Mubashir. (@sheromalik) June 14, 2018
In a world where some countries are pushing for the acceptance of other genders, Pakistan has yet to accept women, to begin with.
For most Pakistani men, women can exist either as homemakers or as sexual toys, with zero agency of their own. This leads to the development of the thought process where they are the “alpha males” whom no one dares to turn down. It is important to point out that socio-economic aspects do not really matter when it comes to mindset.
And let me stop you before you say “not all men.” That’s truly besides the point.
In this sexist society, it is even more difficult for working women. They have to deal with this toxic masculinity on two levels; domestic, and professional.
It is important to note that this is not the first time that a woman has suffered for saying ‘no’. And, unfortunately, it won’t be the last.
The reasons behind numerous acid attacks that take place in Pakistan, always lead back to the woman saying ‘no’. In May 2016, Saima Mehmood was doused with acid for turning down a marriage proposal, in Karachi. In June 2016, a woman and her two-year-old daughter were attacked with acid over the woman’s refusal to befriend a local in Uch Sharif. In March 2018, a woman was burned in an acid attack by her ex-fiancé, in Bahawalnagar.
These are just a few recorded instances of women being attacked. Sometimes, acid isn’t the weapon.
Take the infamous Khadija Siddiqui case. She was stabbed 23 times by her class fellow, over her refusal to marry him. Even after two years of legal battles, she was denied justice and the attacker walked free.
Yet, she continues to raise her voice, hoping that justice hasn’t fled from the desolate realm of our country.
When fragile egos are hurt, kill her, strangle her, douse her in acid, stab her!
‘so why dint she report harassment?’ ‘She must have done something wrong to deserve death!’
Sole breadwinner of the family,mehwish sorry we failed to protect you
My struggle is for you! pic.twitter.com/dPbMVMxJe8
— khadija siddiqi (@khadeeeej751) June 15, 2018
Feminism is made fun of in Pakistan, by men and women alike. Yet, we’re the ones who need it the most.
However, it is imperative to point out that these cases are why we need feminism in Pakistan. The emancipation of women as individuals with their own agency over their thoughts, bodies, lives, and decisions is of the utmost importance.
All these women who suffer, or lose their lives due to the inability of men to understand the word ‘no’, rarely get justice.
Even with the existence of security laws or the government’s attempt to empower its women by giving them jobs, scooters, and scholarships, it still cannot give them what they really require; justice.
Mehwish’ attacker has been arrested and is currently being interrogated.
In the matter of murder of a innocent bus hostess in #Faisalabad -The alleged culprit has been arrested by #Faisalabad Police. Weapon has been recovered and will be presented in front of court. #Justice will be ensured. #Punjab #WomenProtectionAuthority pic.twitter.com/Ila2X6h7n4
— Chief Minister's SRU (@smucmo) June 15, 2018
We can only hope that her family gets the justice they deserve, so we can hold on to some hope for a better world. But we HAVE to realize that thoughts and prayers just won’t cut it anymore in the face of toxic masculinity. No, only justice will. For Mehwish. For Khadija. For the demised and the survivors. Justice is the only answer anymore.