Shireen Mazari recommends Pakistani men change their mindset regarding women

Shireen Mazari recommends Pakistani men change their mindset regarding women

She says, if a man can't respect us, tell him to sit at home instead of making women house-bound.
Updated 17 Sep, 2020

In the current climate, public discourse is centred around issues of violence and justice —violence faced by the women of this country and the inability of the justice system to be effective in countering that.

But what often goes unnoticed, or is deliberately ignored in such conversations, is the insidious and pervasive way discrimination against women plays out in our everyday lives, starting with stifling their voices and diversity of opinion.

Following public outrage over the heinous gang-rape incident on a major highway near Lahore, the National Assembly took up the issue of the tragedy through their call attention notice.

And while many—mostly men—gave impassioned speeches about the state of the country, society and its laws, there was only one woman who spoke straight from the shoulder.

Our Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, minced no words.

Addressing the speaker of the assembly, Dr Mazari said, "I have been listening to the debate, where politics and the police have been discussed in detail. But I want to speak as a woman."

She continued, "To say that a woman is someone's mother, someone's daughter first, is just not right. A woman is entitled to respect and regard not because she is related to someone, but because as a woman she deserves it. She is entitled to all the rights and privileges that a man has. I shouldn't only be respected because I am related to married [to a male], I should be respected because I am a woman, and more than that, an equal citizen of this country."

Speaking on the CCPO's controversial remarks, Dr Mazari said, "Nobody has the right to tell me [women] what kind of clothes to wear, where and how to travel, to be accompanied by a mehram (male relative), or ask me why I was travelling on the roads alone. Nobody has that right over me."

Amid desk-thumping which is equivalent to an ovation, she continued, "If a man can't keep his gaze lowered, if a man can't treat women with respect, then tell HIM to stay home, tell him to not come out on the roads."

Read: 'Who are you to set time limits for us?' Lawyer and survivor Khadija Siddiqui asks CCPO Lahore

While the speaker of the assembly, and many other male lawmakers, 'giggled' at the mere suggestion of keeping misogynistic men housebound, Dr Mazari went on to say, "You don't know the gravity of pain and anger that the women of this country feel on being told IF you had done this you would have been safe, if you had done that you'd be in danger."

"Sorry, this is completely unacceptable. And something like this should never even be tolerated. Basic freedom is my constitutional right as a Pakistani, as a woman."

She recommends implementing stricter laws around the crime, improving and sensitizing the police force, but first and foremost, to change the 'mindset' regarding women in this society—especially the kind exclusively held by men.

Addressing the leader of the opposition, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, who was heavily criticised for political point-scoring during the National Assembly debate, she urged him to stop referring to the motorway incident survivor as "Qaum ki Beti" (Daughter of the Nation) but to rightly call her "Qaum ki Aurat" (Woman of the Nation).

Not only did Dr Mazari school the national assembly on framing the issue in the right light, but she also won the support of women across the country.


Shukran Sep 16, 2020 04:58pm
The only minister who still thinks that she is in the Opposition.
Chrís Dăn Sep 16, 2020 04:59pm
Impossible,Ms.Mazari. Pakistan society is a male chauvinist society and men respect women conditionally. Any woman who does not follow male dominated regimes in civil life is doomed and condemned.
Chrís Dăn Sep 16, 2020 05:09pm
I did hear her speech just now. A simple WOW!!! How graceful life can be for a pakistani woman if she is respected only as a woman and as a citizen of Pakistan. BRAVO,our lady!!!
Be wa koof chabri Sep 16, 2020 05:18pm
Hearing and seeing our great leader has changed mindset.
YM Sep 16, 2020 05:24pm
Paksitani men will become men if they adopt Islamic teachings... History is proof of that.
andy Sep 16, 2020 07:24pm
Stop spreading hatred against men and stop generalising all men.
NK Sep 16, 2020 07:40pm
Yes in our culture men are Macho's
M. Saeed Sep 16, 2020 08:20pm
Debates won't work. Mazari must come out in open to act directly in fields.
Ibrahim S Sep 16, 2020 08:21pm
Please introduce mandatory training on "Sexual harassment" in schools, seminaries and offices. There should be zero tolerance on violation. Do "Mughal Kings" and "Mullahs" have the will and desire to do the right thing and bring back the dignity to women in the land of pure.
Naveed Sep 16, 2020 08:36pm
Non sense
ABD San Francisco Sep 16, 2020 09:22pm
Men have been controlling how women should behave for 1000s of years and It’s ingrained in the culture of the society. This attitude can only be changed by Mothers by treating girls and boys equal. It’s the women who are in charge of enforcing men’s rule in their family.
tuk Sep 16, 2020 10:34pm
@Shukran Agree! She says right things but what has she accomplished? However, her defense of Asad Omer who defended CCPO was a mistake!
Shamim Sep 16, 2020 10:49pm
Tell that to your pm and his favourite ccpo
Dasaavatar Sep 17, 2020 12:40am
Too late for such speeches. Please back up with good education for gilrs and to become independent.
Riaz Uddin Sep 17, 2020 01:08am
Agreed! But what about transgender? They are also sexually molested and being degraded especially in Pakistan. Necessary legislation may be enacted to extend the level of respect (as proposed by the Minister) to these unfortunate segment our male- dominated society. They may also be treated as human being.
Zunaira Abbas Sep 17, 2020 01:15am
Bravo and well said
Zubia Sep 17, 2020 02:17am
Thank you Shirin Mazari. You are the only reason I will vote for PTI.
Ahmad Sep 17, 2020 08:29am
Her own party patronizing CCPO and his likes. So she means IK should resign and stay home as he defended a person like CCPO.
Shaukat Aurangabadkr Sep 17, 2020 09:44am
Perfect. Dr. Mazari earned respect with this speach.
Maria Sep 17, 2020 04:02pm
Very well said! Bravo .... Her words are so right irrespective of her current or previous standings.
Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Sep 17, 2020 04:44pm
She is 100 percent right.
Kaneez Fatima Sep 17, 2020 05:24pm
She deserved to be leader of this human rights ministry !! Well spoken
Ranjan Sep 20, 2020 04:26pm
The Motorway case is already forgotten. Nothing ever happened to the victim blaming ccpo. Nothing will. The prime suspect is still free. Looks like the government/administration has no will left to do the right thing.