By Zubeida Mustafa
UNESCO’S constitution in its preamble declares: “Since wars begin in the minds of men it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.” In the feminist context it should read that the defences of women’s rights against patriarchy need to be constructed in the minds of the women who are the most oppressed and exploited. That should be the immediate goal of the feminist movement in Pakistan.
The fact is that the state of women reflects best what author Kazim Saeed titles his book, Dou Pakistan. We have had a female prime minister, a young girl as a Nobel laureate, female pilots, mountaineers, millions of women teachers and highly qualified doctors and so on.
Continue reading The way forward
By Rifaat Hamid Ghani
THOSE who favour civil over military politics in Pakistan fret that PM Imran Khan’s personalised mode of governance obstructs the flow and continuity of the federal democratic political process and facilitates the entrée of centralistic benevolent dictatorship. A question then arises: is he using the military or are they using him? The tenor of occasional judicial pronouncements unpleasantly recalls the coziness of the relationship with President General Zia; and Imran Khan’s PTI is no grassroots, often aggressively independent, democracy-minded element in party politics aiming to reduce military trespass into civil space.
Is the PTI a king’s party or just the captain’s? If the iron hand has not merely donned cricketing gloves for form’s sake, are Imran Khan and a judicious military combine hand in glove?
Unlike 2018, the road to PTI success in elections 2023 is not paved with good intentions: these have been found functionally deficient.
Let alone the underprivileged irrelevant citizen, even the beneficiaries thereof, do not deny the validity of the corruption rubric conferred on the PML-N and PPP. But that is not enough to kill a party. Nor should it sustain it: And more than two years into its mandated tenure, a perception that the PTI too is nourished on the milk of human corruption cannot be quelled. Highlighting the corruption of other political contenders is now tactically a boomerang.
Continue reading Not quite Hobson’s choice
By Zubeida Mustafa
Zubeida MustafaPublished March 12, 2021 – Updated about 12 hours ago Facebook CountTwitter Share21 Zubeida Mustafa
THOSE who sow the seeds of change must first prepare the soil for it. That is the immediate thought that occurred to me when I read about the Aurat March, its bold posters and the backlash last Monday. It created a rumpus but the gravity of its message was lost in the melee. That is because we never remember that we have to take it step by step when addressing sensitive issues.
For decades after the initial excitement of the early years of feminism had subsided, International Women’s Day had become a ritualised event to recall the achievements and non-achievements of women in their struggle against the burden of oppression put on them by the forces of patriarchy.
Once feminism stopped making ripples and frustration set in, it was time for change. And it came spontaneously in the form of the Aurat March in 2018. It was the radicals who responded to the challenge. I admire their courage to act but not their strategy.
Many of the problems highlighted by the Aurat March have existed for ages. Feminists of my generation were aware of them too but were too slow in reaching the woman at the grassroots. The radicals have succeeded in mobilising a large number of people from all classes that we failed to reach. But do the leaders of the Aurat March have a solution?
Continue reading Sound & Fury, but …
By Rifaat Hamid Ghani
NO matter how they are conducted, the one constant about national elections is that the voter himself or herself knows how he or she voted. And soon enough the local grapevine reliably apprises them how things went by and large at polling stations in the neighbourhood. If gaming with the votes cast is significant enough to negate the predominant mood and intent; if it indicates more than a sporadic favouring of one candidate over the other; voters know and react collectively in common cause.
Continue reading Voters