PTI's Shireen Mazari dropped a controversial tweet in the Twitter-sphere on Monday that left many netizens exasperated — a tweet that relayed the politician's troubling thoughts on the convergence of politics and women's rights and issues.
Mazari took to Twitter on April 4 and shared a post by Aurat March in which the movement publicly criticised PM Imran Khan's actions that eventually led to the dissolution of the National Assembly. "We condemn the political circus that has erupted due to the fragile masculine ego of a person who has sabotaged democratic processes just to save the perception of his individuality and to stage a dirty manoeuvre for his comeback to power," announced the Aurat March on Twitter,
Mazari clearly didn't like the Aurat March's statement. She replied in disagreement, saying that "this [statement] shows Aurat March has little to do with genuine issues faced by women in Pakistan and more with politics and political agendas. Since many here have NGOs funded from abroad this statement, while condemnable, is not surprising. Fact is the US sought regime change and we do not accept it."
Mazari's criticism of Aurat March's tweet clearly left many netizens antagonised. They responded to the tweet, asking why the politician seems to think that women, and especially movements related women's rights and issues, should not voice political opinions.
"Aurat March should have phrased it better but you, as a women in politics should be the last one to tweet stuff like this," one user said. "Do women have no right to [an] opinion on political matters? Or is this the 1700s where politics is for the rich men?"
Many were also tired of "conspiracy theories" being presented as the root cause of every issue in Pakistan.
"Can women not have political opinions?" another asked. "Aurat March is fighting for the social, political, and economic equality. Stop making a fool out of yourself with these conspiracy theories."
Others were disappointed to see such a tweet come from a former minister of human rights. "Not a crossover I was expecting. Minister of human rights delegitimising the women’s movement. Buying into the same, tired ‘foreign funding’ narrative. It’s exhausting," a tweet read.
"Ladies and gents, the sitting (recently ex) Minister of Human Rights in Pakistan has just dismissed this country's most organized/legitimate women-based movement," said one user.
Users questioned Mazari's tweet on the grounds that politics is "inherently and by definition tied to genuine issues". Political demands are an assertion of social and economic needs of citizens, which include women. There should be no separation of one from the other.
In fact, the call for equal rights for women includes the right to be political.
"Behen [sister], Aurat March deals with equal rights of woman, that could be social, economical, political and others," a user said.
People's dislike for the Aurat March aside, feminism has a lot to do with politics, especially since many of the problems faced by women in society have political roots. Women, as citizens of the country, are as impacted by what's going on in the National Assembly as every one else and they have the right to voice their opinions on it. It isn't anyone's call to police opinions on issues intrinsically tied to their lives and concerns as citizens.