Atif Aslam, Karachi Eat, the woman in the back row and the lies we tell ourselves

We say we stand for 'empowerment' but we do so only when the terms of that empowerment are dictated by men.
Updated 24 Jan, 2017

What if I told you I knew a woman who'd been harassed but who'd remained unsaved by Atif Aslam at the concert she attended in Karachi this Saturday?

What if I told you this woman, who was groped by a few men, was standing a fair few rows away from Atif at the time when she was harassed? What if I told you that she tried to get Atif's attention so he could save her just as he'd saved the woman in the row in front of her, but he didn't see her, or maybe he chose not to see her?

What happened to this woman who was less visible to those in power (in this case, Atif Aslam and the concert's management) and therefore less likely to be rescued from harassment?

What happened to the woman in the back row?


This weekend cult food festival Karachi Eat was widely criticised for using a policy for crowd control largely familiar to Pakistanis: the 'family-only' policy.

At Karachi Eat, this policy meant that single men or all-male groups of friends or family weren't allowed to enter the festival's premises. Only women could buy tickets for their parties and any men wishing to enter had to be accompanied by women.

Karachi Eat, now in its third year, has not been without controversy. Critics of the festival have called it out for being, at Rs250 per entry ticket, elitist. People have alleged the festival destroys Frere Hall's manicured grounds. These are fairly valid concerns and have long been the subject of healthy debate.

What's new is how the festival's 'families only' policy is being called out for being 'sexist' and discriminatory towards men.

Across social media criticism of the festival's family only policy was widespread. One man said: "Karachi Eat's sexist policy against men is just as wrong as the discrimination faced by females in our society." Another tried a 'logical' approach, saying: "Discriminate against Women & they lose their cool. Discriminate against men & its completely justified because they harass women. RIP Logic."

It wasn't only men who protested this family-only policy, a fair number of women found fault with it as well.

What's really at stake in this conversation about policies at Karachi Eat or Atif Aslam's intervention is patriarchy's power. The picture that emerges is that we only stand for women's empowerment when the terms of that empowerment are dictated and sanctioned by the ad-hoc, individual acts and largess of men.

Let's leave aside for a minute the absurdity of claiming that any current policy that singles out men is equivalent to the sexism women face. I've spoken about this in previous essays, so over here I'll just say: for women, discrimination is more than one policy at a festival — it's the air we breathe and the bread we eat. It's our reality, one that has for centuries now been justified by religion, law and social norms, making it impossible for women to expect a truly level playing field no matter what room they walk into, no matter which gender they interact with.

Men have their own valid grievances; that deeply entrenched biases discriminate against them based on their gender isn't one.

I'd welcome this dialogue if it meant we were genuinely invested in debating gender politics.

Unfortunately, this isn't the case.

What's really at stake in this conversation about policies at Karachi Eat or Atif Aslam's intervention is patriarchy's power. The picture that emerges is that we only stand for women's empowerment when the terms of that empowerment are dictated and sanctioned by the ad-hoc, individual acts and largess of men.


Which brings me back to our woman in the back row.

Pakistan can look back on a long sad history of institutional sexism. It's not enough to say legislation to protect women barely existed until very recently — it's worse than that. Legislation like the Hudood Ordinance actively disempowered women, sanctioning the creation of a culture where women were 'fair game' and their safe passage through the world depended on their proximity to a male guardian or patron.

In this culture where the law viewed women as being inherently unequal, a woman's protection became informal, largely dependent on the strength of her familial, class or tribal affiliations.

Women with these affiliations are privileged — they're in 'front row,' so to speak. In the context of this weekend's concert, they're the ones closest to Atif Aslam. They're largely shielded from abuse in the public sphere. In pop culture, women in the 'front row' include women like Momina Mustehsan, Meesha Shafi, Mahira Khan.

People in Pakistan view gender equality as a zero-sum game where universal protection for women enshrined in the law decreases the scope of unchecked male power, and that, to them, is a problem.

Women who don't have access to these networks, women who are disenfranchised and without the cover of male protection have little legal recourse and are prime targets for abuse. These women are in 'the back row,' far away from well, Atif Aslam. Their distance from male power and male protection decreases their visibility to us and makes them less likely to receive aid. In pop culture women in the 'back row' include women like Qandeel Baloch, Meera, Ayyan.

For me, it goes without saying that informal protection afforded to women must be replaced by universal law which, at least in theory, applies to all citizens equally irregardless of affiliations and proximity to power. If this doesn't happen, women in 'the back row' will continue to suffer and what's worse, their voices will remain unheard.

For others, the above is less obvious.

We've made strides to protect women through legislation in the past few years, but most of these strides have been opposed by the religious right and even self-professed 'secular' conservatives.

Those who oppose these laws cite everything from 'reverse sexism' to 'unIslamic values' to bolster their case. But whichever way you look at it, through a secular or a religious lens, the conclusion is the same: people in Pakistan view gender equality as a zero-sum game where universal protection for women enshrined in the law decreases the scope of unchecked male power, and that, to them, is a problem.


I'm not suggesting that Karachi Eat's 'family only' policy is equivalent to, let's say, the Women's Protection Bill — I concede that it's an imperfect solution that reflects back at us the flawed society that necessitated it.

However, I can argue that the policies are similar in that they release women from the need to rely on informal ties for safety — from the need to be escorted, protected and shepherded by men. A policy like this secures women 'in the back row' from harassment. These otherwise at-risk demographics like single women, groups of women alone, divorced women and others are able to participate in civic culture and find a safe space within which to roam.

Ironically, the need for policies like this exists because systemic sexism has made women unequal. As a single woman I know that if I'm harassed, there's precious little I can do. The police won't help me or hold my harasser accountable. In fact the authorities might add to my abuse. I can only rely on these small pockets of safe space found at places like Karachi Eat to approximate the better, more secure world that'd exist if legislation and social norms had my back.

Unfortunately, those who have internalised sexism and still cling to patriarchal power as a means of validation feel threatened when women in the 'back row' gain this power. To them, it's an upset of the status quo that afforded men (and the women they selectively empower) an almost god-like position in society.

If you, as a man or a woman, felt Karachi Eat's policy was unfair, you might want to do some soul searching.

Most likely, you're not unsettled by 'discrimination' or 'sexism' — you're unsettled by the radical proposition that true empowerment means releasing ALL women from any dependence on men.


Which brings me back to Atif Aslam.

To me, Atif's act of intervention to "rescue" a woman from harassment (his words, not mine), while certainly well-intended and necessary at the time, is further proof of how deeply we've internalised sexism.

Let's admit it: we liked when Atif rescued that woman. The next day headlines across Pakistan hailed him a hero. "Atif Aslam stops singing, protects honor of female fan!" screamed one website. "Pakistani singer Atif Aslam stops concert mid-way to rescue girl!" said another.

This praise falls in line with our current patriarchal narrative that recognises male guardianship as the best and the only 'correct' means to ensure protection for women.

As per our current narrative, Atif is performing his role exactly as he should: he's protecting a woman from harassment by exercising all the privilege he holds — as a man, as a celebrity and so on.

As per our current narrative, we don't ask any questions about the woman in the back row, the women who he didn't see or chose not to see. For us, she doesn't exist at all, and she will remain nonexistent until men in power, like Atif Aslam at the concert, choose to validate her presence.

Also non-existent are the male harassers who tormented these women in the first place. We don't know their names, haven't seen their faces at all.

In this scenario, which is analogous to how gender functions in our society, empowerment (or a 'rescue') is selectively distributed through education, marriage and employment. Our respect and praise is in turn selective: it accrues only to the man making this empowerment possible i.e. Atif Aslam. Absent here is any respect for the courage it took a woman to attend a concert without 'family only' policies in place. In fact, she's criticised for daring to attend the concert at all.

What's interesting to unpack is why Atif Aslam's effort to protect a woman was widely praised when Karachi Eat's policies were widely scoffed at.

We praised Atif Aslam's intervention because it validated our sexist belief that only a male hand can and should 'manage' women. We disliked Karachi Eat's intervention because it protects women without needing a man to sign off on how deserving she is of that protection.

So here's the cold truth:

We liked Atif Aslam's intervention because in that instance the protection of women is informal, is executed on a case by case basis dependent on which woman is more deserving, and also because the ultimate decision maker is a powerful man.

We preferred Atif Aslam's intervention to Karachi Eat's intervention because we have internalised the sexist, patriarchal belief that a woman's protection is only good or valid when it is sanctioned by the ad-hoc decisions of individual men, ensuring that these men continue to wield power over women, dictating where they roam, how they dress and who they interact with.

We praised Atif Aslam's intervention because it validated our sexist belief that only a male hand can and should 'manage' women.

We disliked Karachi Eat's intervention because it protects women without needing a man to sign off on how deserving she is of that protection.

We disliked Karachi Eat's intervention because we want power over women's activities to only be in the hands of either their male guardians/saviours or the men who may or may not choose to molest them based on how women act or dress.

Did Karachi Eat's policies disempower men? Yes, but only in one way: they robbed men of the unchecked power to harass women or protect women based on their whims and fancies.

It is this displacement of ugly, sexist male power that we rued when we criticised Karachi Eat.

This is an ugly truth, but all of us, men and women alike, need to swallow it.

When we stand against the codification of laws protecting women and other structurally disadvantaged members of society, remember this: we stand for inequality. We stand for subjugation.

We need to check ourselves. Question our motives. Be unrelenting critics of our own prejudices.

Some have begun doing this, like the young man who, after witnessing harassment at Atif Aslam's concert, concluded that universal policies like Karachi Eat's 'family only' rule were necessary.

But others have a long way to go.

Still, it's not too late to stop kidding ourselves.


Sane Jan 18, 2017 10:58am
At one point women want to be treated similar to men, but at the same time want special treatment because of their sex. It's time to accept women are the weaker sex and and not equal. Only after that we can move forward and solve the problems.
Natasha Rathore Jan 18, 2017 11:05am
This is absolute bull and very unfair. No one these days can appreciate anything that goes around, though I agree with the patriarchal mindset that has our whole nation in its clutches but what he did was necessary and spoke to the rest of the crowd to behave or else they would be a target of that shame too. Which sends the message well across. We are probably decades or maybe centuries away from establishing an environment which is gender neutral, this however had nothing to do with being sexist, if it were a female singer on the stage and reacted the same way it would probably have the same effect and would send the message across to potential harassers to stop unless they wanted to be shamed publicly. Everything does not have to be criticised sometimes an act is simply good and we have lost the patience because each one of us has to have an opinion which is contrary to normal, while that is good when the matters are complex but please let a good deed stay how it is supposed to be.
MIRZA Jan 18, 2017 11:09am
You can't suppress the feelings.No what what country,situation is same all over the world.
Roy Jan 18, 2017 11:13am
so should Atif start having a watch over each and every girl during the concert that which one is being harassed and which one not?
Troubled Jan 18, 2017 11:18am
Now that was very well written piece. Waiting for the trolls to comment.
Farrukh Jan 18, 2017 11:34am
I don't wholly agree with your views but yes Front and Back row concept is surely an eye opener and fact for fact!
Sameeen awan Jan 18, 2017 11:38am
It's rather interesting to see how the writer has tried to connect the issue of sexual harassment, women empowerment and respect for women with Atif Aslam's act of rescuing a lady in a situation. I read this incident in the local media and there was only simple reporting without critisisim for the girl in question. Moreover and more importantly can we as a nation stop trying to bring down anybody who tries to show some goodness? I would give the singer some benefit of doubt . For this instance I would say take a leaf out of our neighbours' book and show some respect towards our celebrities. There also incidents happen and even when superstars condemn them via social media they encourage that thought/contribution. Lastly I totally agree with the Karachi Eat family only policy. It's time men realised they need to look inwards and see why an event needs such a policy....shameful!!!!!! .
grammarParsi Jan 18, 2017 11:51am
Really well-written and thoughtful article; please fix the spellings of wierd and non-existant.
Hasan A Jan 18, 2017 11:56am
Sadly, women and girls are still not safe in Pakistan.
Spyrogyra Jan 18, 2017 11:58am
You are reading too much into it. There is always going to be discrimination - male vs female, rich vs poor, strong vs weak. And then there are always going to be people who will try to do something about it. To me, Atif was in the right place at the right time and tried to do the right thing (this is not to say it could not have been a scripted publicity stunt). Everything is not a conspiracy and women are not always the victims, as you have tried to put it.
S.Khan Jan 18, 2017 11:59am
Very naive to think that all men harass women. And if you didn't mean to imply that, then your article sure does.
Talha Jan 18, 2017 12:10pm
If you have a woman like Ayyan in your "back row" then her being discriminatated isn't because she is a woman, it is because she was trying to illegally get a bag full of money out of Pakistan. Meera too gets targeted for her weird logics and comments. But then again Shahid Afridi also gets targeted for his weird logics and comments. We should stop portraying women as victims but as survivors who can't be stopped to achieve their goals no matter what!
zebswati Jan 18, 2017 12:12pm
who is Atif ? a singer or a watchmen ? In the world of entertainment, who concert organizers or singer is responsible for the arrangement/security ? . If an artist has said a good thing during the concert why the writer cant digest it , Had he taken his shirt off or puffed smoke in front of women crowd no body would have said any thing.
M Rohaan Jan 18, 2017 12:19pm
10,000 words...of things we've been going on & on & on about since time. How to better ourselves rather than pity at it should be the motto.Here's my question: Where are the best practices followed. Which society is the model to follow. Which country, race or religion has the best codes of conduct for men, women and society in general.Any historical evidence.. Please dear writer, i want to be part of the solution not this big , messsy problem. Regards
asad Jan 18, 2017 02:03pm
Sane people avoid and save their daughters, sisters and wife when they are in doubt of their safety and security. But here we see reverse and then complain. It was not a religious duty or question of life and death to attend such events.
Jess Jan 18, 2017 02:17pm
An act of kindness taken wrong. Perhaps the points mentioned about feminist right and condition etc is the writers justification. However I do think that it's unfair to regard his kindness in the way the article is written. Point is that he is on stage singing, he can't in anyway watch over every single female, sing and entertain all at the same time. Being up in the stage itself is a task that requires concentration and imagine processing lyrics etc all at the same time. One expects him to watch over girls too? This particular incident happened right under his nose and he spotted. Patriarchal act or not, any decent human being would stop this. Let's thank him for being a good Samaritan. As the saying goes "IF YOU HAVE NOTHING NICE TO SAY, DON'T SAY IT AT ALL" Cheers
Sam Jan 18, 2017 02:33pm
What if a man goes with two kids (daughter and son), but no wife -- would that be considered a family :-) This is funny 101. IMHO.
Check your privilege Jan 18, 2017 02:51pm
Check your privilege, rich girl.
Farhan Jan 18, 2017 03:14pm
1. Atif Aslam did what any sensible person would / should do in a similar situation 2. EAT Karachi did what any good organizer who is familiar with local culture and issues would do. The two events are separate and not linked in any way whatsoever. Didn't need such lengthy analysis and onion peeling.
Sana Jan 18, 2017 04:12pm
@MIRZA what feelings? Men need to learn to manage their 'feelings" as you put it if you say feelings can't be suppressed then how about women too express their feelings openly
Amna Jan 18, 2017 04:12pm
@Sameeen awan finally,,, all we do is abash and try to bring down anyone who does good,, eventually this minority of good-doers would diminish if we keep complaining and whining about every lil thing, in lieu of writing articles castigating such deeds, she should ave lauded the efforts of Atif Aslam to encourage others,
Annam Lodhi Jan 18, 2017 04:28pm
Couldn't have said it any better. IF a woman does stand up for herself while being harassed she is always ALWAYS confronted and told off saying that she is creating a scene and should have just ignored and walked away. MY Body is not yours to play with or look at. Isn't that simple? By asking for equal rights, right now we are only asking for human rights, to be able to walk around without being humiliated within our own skin.
Hashmi Jan 18, 2017 05:01pm
@Sane A) women don't want 'similar treatment' to men - that doesn't mean anything - they want equal rights, which is perfectly logical and the least we need to achieve if we hope to be any point counted as a civilised nation. B) unless women routinely sexually harrass and molest men in public spaces, what you're saying about 'similar treatment' is idiotic to say the least. Women DO NOT go around harrassing men, and men need to evolve to the point where they can return the favour and stop molesting women at every opportunity.
Khan Jan 18, 2017 05:23pm
It is easier to criticize than to do something about a problem. Atif Aslam observed a problem and took action. Should he had gone to the back rows and helped the women, yes. In a crowd of hundred to thousand people would those women be visible to him from the stage, honestly I do not know the answer and I would not comment based on assumptions like the author. What I would rather question is why was that individual not helped by the bystanders who surely had observed the behavior of Atif Aslam. If men attending were not educated enough to know how to behave with women, should there be separate sections for men and women ? I leave this question to be answered by the author. As a Pakistani we need to question that why are we so inclined to discredit and criticize individuals who set good examples and take action ? I would let the readers of this article answer this question. My two cents, Atif Aslam behavior should be highlighted as an example for others.
miyagi jr Jan 18, 2017 05:33pm
2.5 euro ticket to a festival there's food and where Atif's performing, elitist!!!! wt...
Insane Jan 18, 2017 05:44pm
@Sane , You have taken it wrong. Actually she doesn't want that "special treatment" which is because of her sex. She doesn't want to be touched just because her body is different from the person who wants to touch her in the mob and give a "special treatment". Yes, you are right its time to accept that it doesn't matter who is weaker and who is powerful ... just don't give any kind of special treatment based on sex.
Walia Jan 18, 2017 05:48pm
Most men look down upon harassment. The problem is that they ignore it when it happens. Why did Atif had to stop it? Why the gentlemen in every row not stop it? If the majority keeps the few bad ones in check, food festival would nit need its policy.
suraiya Jan 18, 2017 06:54pm
It is a man who harasses and its a man who rescues. Can you see where the problem lies??
@rana Jan 18, 2017 07:05pm
please don't bring religion into this discussion because it really pollute the essence of this debate . if we really were following the religion, this whole concert would look a lot different. though, sometime i feel sorry about this discussion. firstly in order to solve this predicament, we have to study about the nature of man. secondly, it is our mistake too as men that we are not educating our daughters that what is appropriate. though as a men we are not a true epitome of piousness. Just to cap it off you cant clap with one hand. In order to deal with this menace , we have to start walking on the path of Islam, women and men has to act modest, know their limits, have to start dressing properly, need to lower their gaze,and have to know the restrictions imposed upon them and every other commandment written down in the Holy Book. by that way, we can create a just and safe society for our women and end this so called patriarchal society.
sAIF Jan 18, 2017 07:05pm
Don't equate the jackass behaviour of a few men to all men (also discrimination). Somehow you lay responsibility for the protection of all women at the event to Atif (poor analysis! it is the responsibility of management). He set a positive example by putting to shame those who behaved badly - he is better than the rest of us who see this everyday and do nothing. Thank you Atif for being a positive role model.
supertree Jan 18, 2017 07:31pm
@Sane okay caveman. Thank you, you can go back to your cave now.
Hamaad Jan 18, 2017 07:41pm
Parents need to raise better sons. Sons that respect all women, just not their mothers.
Wali Rizvi Jan 18, 2017 07:44pm
This is a smart policy that only ladies can buy tickets. I think we all know it. This article lacks practical logic.
Saba mallik Jan 18, 2017 07:45pm
we love atif aslam
T Jan 18, 2017 07:48pm
@Annam Lodhi Generalization is not good Annam. Are they really ALWAYS confronted and suggested to walk away? Don't discredit the 1% of the men who do the right thing because when you generalize and criticize them along with the other 99%, that 1% shrinks and becomes 0%.
N_Saq Jan 18, 2017 08:00pm
Women/girls are physically weaker then men/boys and that is a fact. That is the reason the laws are implemented to protect the weak, so no one can take advantage of them or discriminate against them. In the West there are specific laws that address the rights of women in the society (not men) because women and girls needs to be protected from harm. Similarly, there are laws that protects minority from majority because minority is weak compared to the majority and the majority can harm the minority and so on. Pak is in the right direction but the need of the hour is implementation of laws and their enforcement. In the West it is the men who protect the rights of the women by following the law. In the West the reason men are afraid to harm the women is because of men who follow the law i.e. if a man misbehaves to a women he faces the wrath of men who follow the law. We have been on this path before without laws and we all know the result, so the solution is not mullahism but laws...
Jack Snakes Jan 18, 2017 08:25pm
More than a little unfair to castigate this singer for helping someone, or for being unable to help everyone. The fact of the matter is that south Asian culture is absolutely reprehensible and disgusting towards women, but attacking some poor bloke because he does the decent thing is never, ever going to help you. I can assure you that the "strident feminist" tone will not win you any fans (at least, none that can help) and will only antagonise those who have the ability to change such things.
Zain Abedin Jan 18, 2017 09:04pm
Why put yourself in such a position? Why are we thinking this is an issue only in Pakistan? Go to clubs and concerts around the world and tell me these things don't happen? If you must go to such events I suggest go in groups of people and not alone surrounded by hyena ready to play predator.
Bilal Jan 18, 2017 09:36pm
Hamna, While your article is completely justified, unfortunately things will improve with baby steps. And this was one of them. So there is a positive aspect to the event that took place as well. As for your concern about the headlines, what do you expect? This is Pakistani media. And collectively as a nation we look for one man heroes. Collective efforts are not our forte.
alisha Jan 19, 2017 12:11am
It is difficult to be a girl and live a care free life in Pakistan. There is absolutely no freedom even for little things like partying or having fun. I cannot even be roam around with my boyfriend. It sucks to be a Pakistani. I dream of the day when I can escape this hell.
Mark Jan 19, 2017 12:48am
It's sad that this even needs to be said so explicitly in 2017. End the rampant practice of abusing women, full stop. Don't do it, don't condone it, don't ignore it any longer!
Mark Jan 19, 2017 12:48am
@Sane are you joking??
waqas sultan Jan 19, 2017 03:43am
We have not grown as a nation......Writing long articles in an English newspaper won't change the mindset of a common male in Pakistan, who is frustrated, having double standards, and chauvinist......Lack of quality education and scarcity in human development is the root cause for such havoc everywhere in our country.....Pakistani educated common man is trying their best to bring about a change at an individual level but nothing much could happen unless government start thinking seriously of the depleting plight and image of Pakistanis in every sector globally....
sikandar bashir Jan 19, 2017 06:36am
Its better not to say anything. Just organize better in future.
AXH Jan 19, 2017 06:45am
@Sane - With all due respect, would you have made the same comment if someone had groped your sister or mother in a gathering? Just because most women are physically weaker than men does not mean that men start to take advantage of their physical superiority and behave like animals because this is exactly how animals behave. I hate to drag religion into this discussion, but I couldn't resist to state that in Islam, there is great emphasis given to respecting women and that is for a reason. And BTW, those "manly men" who groped that helpless girl would not have dared to be that "manly" if that girl was accompanied by a man. This tells you how coward they actually were. And if anyone is wondering, I belong to the male specie. Dawn, I beg to request that you publish my comment.
Khurram Ansari Jan 19, 2017 08:41am
This is not limited to our society, in fact, differentiation between men and women is prevailing all over the world, be it America, Europe, Africa, Russia....not a single female ever elected as head of the state unlike Pakistan, Bangladesh and India....Just because women belong to a weaker sex and need protection from stronger sex and this should be realized ASAP.
sajjad akbar Jan 19, 2017 08:44am
'Family only' policy, sounds very similar to a disco in Islamabad. I remember, back in mid 90s, having witnessed single males or group of males standing outside of this disco and waiting for lone female visitors. They used to offer paying the entry fee for those girls and in return they (girls) used to help them to get into the disco by showing themselves part of that group (meeting the 'family only' condition). Same thing can happen in these festivals too. As such, there is no way to avoid such unpleasant situations where females are harassed or molested by males. 'Family only' or other such policies are very good steps taken by the management that show a sincere commitment of organizing an enjoyable event but, people will always find ways to deceive the management. The only way to avoid is that we (the participants) should start respecting our women and refrain from such activities.
lily Al Jan 19, 2017 09:46am
very well done! Hats off to some one who brought the real perspective from a view point of a minority (women).
Maliha Atif Jan 19, 2017 10:01am
Using Atif Aslams act figuratively the writer has managed to deliver the message with a very powerful impact. The singer is just used as an emblem of or metaphor for power and the selective empowerment it grants .
PUmA Jan 19, 2017 10:20am
1) I am all for family only policies 2) No Qandeel, Meera and Ayyan are not back row women. These are women who have self-commodified themselves and their dignity. 3) Creating safe-space isn't just meant for Women. 100s of boys get molested every year , we need to create safe-space for them as well. 4) Women need to understand that the REAL world is a horrible horrible place. Just like a mother has to protect her son , a father has to protect his daughter. I remember how my mother would never let me go to a video-games arcade shop alone. Now i know why. The world is filled to the brim with predators. How can women actually think that they can go to a mix-concert and not one of them is going to get harassed. The REAL , sad and Ugly world does not work like that. Whether it's Pakistan, India or the US. TLDR; Create safe-space for everyone , including children.
PUmA Jan 19, 2017 10:32am
@M Rohaan From what I have read humans live in peace , without descrimination, division of labor for around 500,000 years. Then came Agriculture and Language around 35,000 years back and since then humans have been going down hill. Look at Bush Women , they are completely naked but they don't raped. Why ? Because there is something wrong in our heads. Domestication does that.
Abhishek Vyas Jan 19, 2017 11:01am
Hamna Zubair.. Wow. uve hit this one out of the park!!.. The situation is same in India, recent BLR new years eve horrors. Part of the Problem is objectification of women by Mainstream Media as well..another part is our hypocrite culture systems. where it's ok to ogle at other women but people take offence at some1 ogling at theirs.
Saima Jan 19, 2017 07:43pm
@Sane Sorry to say, but what a sexist comment. Your comment implies that either women accept they are less than men or get mentally prepared to be harassed. Women on the contrary behave better than men. Women in general are more polite, more forgiving, less aggressive, don't grope men and don't kill men in the name of honour. All women demand in return are not to be harassed, this by no way is special treatment. It is a human right. And yes, all problems in Pakistan are due to the fact that women think they are equal to men. No wonder west in general (and Germany in particular with a female chancellor) is decades behind Pakistan. It's not the women, it's the men who should stop being obsessed with women and pay attention in building the country instead. It seems impossible in Pakistan to go to a place where men don't give a damn that a woman is around.
Sabin muzaffar Jan 19, 2017 08:11pm
Even though the author acknowledges that we live in a patriarchal society, it seems that she is in utter denial that women empowerment and the issue of gender needs men's active involvement; exactly why movements like HeForShe have been launched globally. We cannot have a conversation about marginalization, victimization without their support. The fact that Atif saw one girl IS the point... not that he missed xyz or ABC Girl. We love pointing fingers and being negative ... and completely missing the point - which is Men need to step up and help women reclaim public spaces!!
Munzir Jan 19, 2017 08:12pm
Writer criticizing Atif for protecting one girl who was being harassed while ignoring all those who he was not able to see or protect. Honestly, I didn't get a point, so if I see someone being abused and help em...I am doing wrong ! How on the earth Atif become responsible for NOT protecting those who he did not see..obviously there is a frustration in the society and there is no civic sense but these issue exist at every gathering where men and women mingle freely...we can not fool ourselves that West doesn't have those issues. North America and Far East are far more worst than Pakistan.
Respect for women Jan 19, 2017 10:12pm
This writer views are not in parallel to our society, his/her thinking cannot be accommodate into our society. we need to think about how the violence that is committed against women can be minimized and how can we protect woman from killing in the name of honour or other things. the situation erupted at Karachi eat festival is not the part of the entire society and if a woman participates in such gathering than she should not have any complain about such behavior from man because such kind of gathering of young men and girls would not be free from such kind of misbehaviour or disrespect for women and our society is not so much developed as it could protect us from such type of assaults. So try to handle problems within the context of our society it would be easy and meaningful for us instead of coping the western world where the value of woman is only a sex object and piece of motivation and attraction.
Ayesha Jan 20, 2017 03:43am
@Sane I don't think weaker is an appropriate word here. Women are different. Both genders are diverse and one contributes where the other lacks. If you say weak, women are going to lash out. But respecting the differences and developing a society built on that respect for differences, in my opinion, might just do that trick.
Some guy Jan 20, 2017 04:08am
Why, at the time of marriage, only the financial position of the groom is considered not of the bride? If you want rights like western women, you have to live and behave like a western women. This is coming from a guy who is living in a western country and I have seen things here. Here, women enroll in STEM fields more than the men do. They travel on public transport and if no seat is available and if she is pregnant or anything, no one offers a seat to them. There are no separate queues or sometimes no separate toilets for them in public places. If they enroll in business studies or arts then they don't complain about their wages and don't compare their living with the ones in STEM fields. I can write a whole essay to show how absurd the idea of feminism is especially in Pakistan. Having said that, I am completely against women harassment or imposing anything on them. They have a right to do, wear or say anything they want. (2/2)
Faiza Jan 20, 2017 07:58am
You seemed to have missed the entire point. Instead of looking at this instance as a lesson for all people to stop harassing women you're belittling it as she needed a man to rescue her. Ofcourse she very clearly did. If he had kept singing turning s blind eye to what was happening infront of him would that have been the RIGHT thing to do. Giving this a sexist twist is so typical of our society. Never happy with anything! Just something I still remember from lion king for my fellow female friends: being brace does not mean looking for trouble. So if you want the society to protect you first identify areas where you are leaving yourself vulnerable and sensitize yourself to the collective educational level of the society you live in. Articles like this diminish women's lib to wearing short clothes and literally rubbing shoulders with men when it stands for things beyond physical interactions! Pathetic peice of writing!
Junaid Jan 20, 2017 07:15pm
Look, I'm all for full equality and empowerment for women, their full access to any area of public life, and their full freedom from male-perpetrated harassment. That said, I, a single man without a family that has never harassed a woman (whether you want to believe that is up to you, I'm just stating it here for the record), would be genuinely discriminated against by being denied entry into Karachi Eats, and not at all because my ability to harass women would be taken away by its family-only policy. Just because a woman shouldn't be discriminated against for being a woman, I also shouldn't be discriminated against for being a single man with no family. Just like it's wrong to expect women to have a male escorting her, I also shouldn't be expected to have a woman escorting me if I want to enter any social space, especially when I'm not going there to harass anyone. This article is grossly one-sided.