“Jootiya maar ke nikalein ge Islamabad se is ko.” was one comment by (Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, former Minister for Interior of Pakistan towards Benazir Bhutto, then Prime Minister of Pakistan) I came around two years back which prompted me to pursue my Bachelor’s dissertation on this problem.

In Pakistan, sexism is a very common phenomenon and it has reached a point where it is considered not something wrong or out of the ordinary. It’s usually dismissed by men by saying “Yeh tou hota rehta hai.” In politics, men have gone so far as to say that for women to work in politics they need to suffer a little otherwise they should stay home.

As a woman, it’s not difficult to understand that we are bound to go through this process just like a person is bound to work to provide for their family by hook or crook. What disturbs me more is the fact that unlike in other professions or institutions where sexism against a woman is bound to feel like it’s necessary or given the Parliament is a place where “a group of elected representatives with power makes laws.” Facing this kind of verbal abuse in the Parliament of Pakistan is extremely shocking (for me at least). Imagine facing assault at the very place whose responsibility is to protect its women. Worst of all, that place epitome of the implementation of any law passed in the constitutional institution of Pakistan. If that very place lacks implementation then just imagine the condition of other institutions like workplaces and homes where the eyes of the media are never present.

The question to think about is do the elected seats of the women in the Parliament of Pakistan hold any significance? It seems to me that those seats are acting more like dummies where a known representation of women should be present to show to the world that men affirm women’s participation in lawmaking. But in reality, she is just a showpiece who should sit quietly, take in the abuse, not say a word and be a pretty little picture frame for the misogynistic and patriarchal nature of men who pronounce that they should be the sole decision-makers.

What makes my blood boil is the fact that in a place of power, women have no power. What kind of equality is this? What kind of equal representation in the Parliament of Pakistan is this for the country’s women? How far and for how long will this institution continue to not take action regarding this abuse? After reading so much material, I feel the main problem with this is the fact that there is absolutely no implementation of the laws that are passed. As a woman in Pakistan, we have all the means necessary, all the institutions necessary to make a sound system but our system is riddled with betrayal and rotten with advantageous implementations that work as long as they fulfill personal whims and desires.

I can only imagine and feel sorry for women who are fighting for the betterment of all the women in this country and at the same time hearing words like “Dafa hojao kaali aurat. Behas na kharab kar jaan boojh kar. Dafa ho!” in a public senate session in front of the whole world to see.

May we learn to support, never give up and fight till the end for the rights of our sisters, mothers, daughters.