Khawaja Asif’s Attack on Shireen Mazari Symptom of Larger Problem

Khawaja AsifI don’t usually agree with Shireen Mazari on political matters, but I have always admired her as a strong woman. She has always handled herself and managed to keep up with the boys in our political arena which is not known for its politeness. This is why it was all the more shocking to me when none other than Shireen Mazari herself was reduced to tears on the floor of the National Assembly after suffering a humiliating treatment by Khawaja Asif. After being held to account in the media for treating a woman in such a manner, the Defence Minister finally issued an apology. However, he did not apologise to Shireen Mazari, he apologised to the National Assembly.  Many people are commenting on Khawaja Asif’s terrible behaviour, but I believe he is not the only one to blame. Was his attack really a surprise? Not because Mazari deserved it. Never. It was not a surprise because it is only another symptom of the epidemic of woman hating in this country.

How much do we have to hate women to burn them alive? This was not an accident. Women are set on fire in this country like trash. It happens more often than we are willing to admit. When women are not set on fire, they are raped. Even school girls are not safe from rapists. Rapes are even recorded and shared for entertainment. Incidents of violence against women are soaring in the land of the pure. Even those who are supposed to protect us are involved. Is it any surprise? Our clerics teach that treating women like dogs is the will of Allah.

Khawaja Asif’s attack on Shireen Mazari is inexcusable. He is a government minister who behaved worse than an illiterate street urchin. It is no surprise to me, though. I am old enough now that it is what I expect from most men. Khawaja Asif’s apology tells everything you need to know. He did not apologise to the victim of his attack, because one does not apologise to a woman. He didn’t even say that his behaviour was wrong. He said it was ‘improper for a political worker’. Until we accept that such behaviour is not only improper for politicians, but for any man, how can we as women expect to be treated as fully human, much less full citizens?

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