Tag Archives: Women

Whore of Babylon

Several terms are becoming derogatory and indecent as human race is moving forward. In Oct 2010 President Barack Obama signed a legislation requiring the federal government to replace the term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” in many areas of government.
Prostitution has been practiced throughout ancient and modern cultures. Prostitution has been described as the world’s oldest profession, and despite consistent attempts at regulation, it continues nearly unchanged.
Prostitution was commonplace in ancient Israel. There are a number of references to prostitution in the Hebrew Bible. The Biblical story of Judah and Tamar provides a depiction of prostitution being practiced in that time period. Prostitution in Ancient Rome was legal and licensed. In Ancient Rome, even Roman men of the highest social status were free to engage prostitutes of either sex without incurring moral disapproval. At the same time, the prostitutes themselves were considered shameful. Most prostitutes were slaves or freedwomen, and it is difficult to determine the balance of voluntary to forced prostitution. Because slaves were considered property under Roman law, it was legal for an owner to employ them as prostitutes. During the Middle Ages prostitution was commonly found in urban contexts. Although all forms of sexual activity outside of marriage were regarded as sinful by the Roman Catholic Church, prostitution was tolerated because it helped prevent the greater evils of rape. However, sexual slavery was not considered prostitution and was very common during the Arab slave trade during the Middle Ages and early modern period. Women and girls from the Caucasus, Africa, Central Asia and Europe were captured and served as concubines in the harems of the Arab World.

Hooker, whore, and prostitute, call girl, hooker, harlot, slut, etc. etc.
At least to me I find all the above terms derogatory and disrespectful. Have we given any term to the men who pay these sex workers for their time? Why do they deserve any respect if women sex worker can’t?
Why are we judgemental towards the women sex workers?
Don’t you think men visiting brothels are prostitutes not women?
What’s a polite and respectful name for a prostitute?
Ask yourself this question honestly?

Like mother like daughters

Every day is women’s day.

The International Women’s Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action – whatever that looks like globally at a local level. But one thing is for sure, International Women’s Day has been coming about for well over a century – and continues to grow from strength to strength.

This day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations in 1975. The General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be remarked on any day of the year by Member States.

Obsession is, the domination of one’s thoughts or impressions by a persistent idea, image, or desire. Since I met with Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, I am obsessed with her fearlessness, her vision for democracy, her views on human rights and freedom of speech. Today Pakistan is celebrating the International Women’s day, I would like to share not a pleasant incident, but it is linked to her bravery.

On Nov 27 1991 a friend of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, Farhana Veena Hayat was assaulted by five gunmen at her residence in Karachi. Ms Farhana Veena Hayat was the daughter of Sardar Shaukat Hayat, a prominent member of the All India Muslim League and granddaughter of Sir Sikander Hayat, chief minister of united Punjab.

She accused the province’s home affairs adviser, Irfanullah Marwat, a son-in-law of the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, of having ordered the violation. She claimed the rape was politically motivated because of her friendship with Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. There were two other cases set out the limelight because of Farhana Hayat’s case, Khursheed Begum and Rahila Tiwana, a Pakistan Peoples Party student activist. All three women were connected with PPP.

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She was raped to send me a message. This is the worst sort of male prejudice, male chauvinism to send a message to a woman political leader by raping her friend, her supporters: Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto led her Pakistan People’s Party, chanting “Fascists,” in an unprecedented walkout from President Ghulam Ishaq Khan’s ceremonial address to a session of Parliament. Firing tear-gas canisters and swinging batons, police later drove 2,000 Bhutto supporters away from the heavily guarded Parliament House. Ghulam Ishaq Khan denied any official complicity. He told the reporters that the charges against Irfan Ullah Marwat are nothing more than fabrication.

Initially, the Sindh. The government tried to sink off the case as one of audacity and assault. The police even refused to lodge an FIR. Benazir Bhutto, along with several political parties and women’s organizations, established a countrywide campaign demanding the arrest of the offenders but no arrests were made. Protests over the rape of Farhana Hayat reached a peak on 12 December 1991 when rallies were called in Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi

On Dec 12 1991 the Sindh government formed a one-man tribunal consisting of Abdul Rahim Qazi of the Sindh High Court to test the case. The tribunal’s report, presented to the Sindh government two weeks later and made public. The tribunal cleared Mr Irfan Ullah Marwat of any engagement in the rape and also concluded there was no political motive behind the rope.

Mr Irfan ullah Marwat remained highly controversial during the term of office of all powerful Sindh Chief ministers, the late Jam Sadiq Ali. The two, along with the former DIG CIA, Samiullah Marwat, were blamed by Benazir Bhutto for unleashing a reign of terror on the PPP leaders and workers, which reminded her of the days of the late General Ziaul Haq.

Mr Irfan Ullah Marwat, who was elected from the PS-114 constituency on the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) ticket, met Ex-President Asif Ali Zardari on 24TH February 2017 at the Bilawal House and announced joining the party. I just got blanked when I heard this news, couldn’t understand how to respond.

While I was in shock BB’s daughter came to the deliverance;

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All faiths and all societies have given parents an honourable status. From a purely material standpoint, we find ourselves indebted to our parents, I am sure it must have been very difficult for Miss Bakhtawar Bhutto and Aseefa Bhutto to show their disagreement publicly, but it was the training of their brave mother who taught her children how to show your disagreement without being rude. Our indebtedness to our parents is so immense that it is not possible to repay it in full. Bakhtawar Bhutto and Aseefa Bhutto you are an inspiration for millions this year and years to come. I hope you always will stand strong for the women of Pakistan.

LIFE AFTER CANCER IS WORTH LIVING

 

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women globally, as different studies show it kills about 40,000 women every year only in Pakistan. According to World Health Organisation, breast cancer rates are starting worse and it is not sparing even younger age group. Breast cancer is the most predominant type of cancer in the world. In Pakistani society, there are multiple factors associated with late detection of the disease. One of them is social set up, where women are reluctant to undergo their medical check up and pressing out their medical issues. If women are being diagnosed with breast cancer, they don’t even share the news with their family members. In rural regions of Pakistan, no formal health infrastructure is available for the rural population. Illiteracy is also a major cause of breast malignant neoplastic disease among women because women have no awareness about personal hygienic conditions. Most of the Pakistani women have no proper access to the medical facilities due to gender-based discrimination. 1 in 9 Pakistani women has become the patient of breast cancer. In Pakistan, the most frequently diagnosed cancer among females is also breast cancer, accounting for about one in nine female patients. Its incidence in Pakistan is 2.5 times higher than that in neighbouring rural areas like Iran and India. The disease is curable. It can be detected early if routine breast examination is done. According to the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre website, several studies and reports suggest that among Asian population Pakistani women have the highest risk of breast cancer. Lack of awareness about the diseases and diagnostic facilities, however leads to late diagnosis which is why many women lose their lives to the disease. People hesitate to discuss the issue because of cultural norms. It is important for people to realise the importance of early detection to save the life of a mother, a sister, a wife or a daughter. Women are the heart of the home and our core consumers. The government should create widespread awareness.
A short breast examination can prevent this cancer and protect women from this most horrifying and horrendous nightmare. Breast cancer is not ‘just’ about breasts. From there it can lead anywhere in our body.

Scientific evidence indicates that women can reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by at least 20 per cent by being active for 30 minutes every day.
To reduce risk of breast cancer, one needs to be physically active on a veritable basis. That means exercising for a total of at least 30 minutes a day. Integrate physical activity into your day to day routine. There are lots of different ways to be physically active; brisk walk to work or the shops or park ,push a baby buggy, wheelchair, gardening, vacuuming, sweep the paths, walk up the stairs, or go for a swim.
Dietary change is another important approach to cancer control.Diets high in fruits and vegetables may have a protective effect against many cancers. Jet lag or shift work disrupts the body clock and could increase the hazards of deadly breast cancer spreading, new research suggests. Interrupted sleep patterns could increase a woman’s chances of developing rapid-spreading versions of the cancer. Previous research have shown women who experience broken sleep, are more probable to develop breast cancer, thanks to advances in medical care, the rate of survival has doubled over the last 40 years and around half of cancer patients survive for ten or more years.

Women diagnosed when the disease is still localised have a 99 per cent probability of surviving.
Together, our actions can deliver eloquently greater impact. In concert, we can defeat breast cancer. We all can contribute by spreading awareness on twitter or face book or write a blog or share your story .I am proud to spread the word about how meaningful every action really can be as we all work together to do our share to eliminate breast cancer at least in suburban parts of the country .

Make a discernible difference to the support and care available for people affected by breast cancer by becoming a Breast Cancer Voice, support the scientists who test, analyse and experiment to find ways to prevent breast cancer and treat it more effectively. Speak out with the campaigners who push for more dependable services, treatments and care for patients. A pink ribbon is a symbol of breast cancer awareness. It may be worn to honour those who have been diagnosed with breast malignant neoplastic disease.

Awareness isn’t enough;educate

Women : face of Islam

Aerial view of Hijr e Ismail,picture credit googleimages

I travel to open my heart and eyes and learn more around the world than our books will accommodate.I travel to bring what little I can in my ignorance and knowledge,to those parts of the globes whose riches are differently dispersed.Six years ago I travelled to Mecca to perform Hajj in search of few unanswered questions.

Hajj is one of mankind’s most enduring rites for more than 1400 years.The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their household during their absence. There are about 3 million Muslims from all over the World perform Hajj and approximately 4 million Muslims perform Umrah every year.The present form of Hajj was established by Muhammad with its roots in the chronicle of Abraham, the Hajj is a set of rituals performed every year for five days in the month of Zia-Hajj. Pilgrims follow the route of Muhammad, who went on only one Hajj. It begins in Mecca, before moving to the desert of Mina, then to Arafat, for a day-long vigil, then to the rocky plain of Muzdalifah, a few miles away, where pilgrims collect pebbles to ritually stone the Devil, and then brings back to Mina for three days. Back in Mecca, pilgrims bid farewell to the Kaaba.

What is so special about the Hajj that it is expected to produce close to significant changes in the personality, attitude, and outlook of a person? Is there anything magical in the rites and rituals of the Hajj that produces the changes, or is it the constant conscious effort on the part of the performer to inculcate in himself/herself the spirit of those rites and rituals which brings close to the desired changes?What is the most significant aspect of this adoration?

Since my return from Hajj I have consulted many accounts written on Hajj to learn the essence and core lesson from Hajj.Majority of the accounts discuss about the rewards of Hajj , seldom scholars have pointed out towards the literal message.

While browsing many accounts on Hajj I came across a quote from Jaffer Sadiq;

“Ismail buried his mother Hajr in the area of Hijr e Ismail and then constructed a wall over it so that people would not step her grave.”

The whole practice of Hajj hides in these lines ,this tradition is further explained by Dr Ali Shariti in his account on Hajj,he elaborates;

Toward the west of Kaaba there is a semi-circular short wall which faces Kaaba. It is called Ismail’s Hajar. Hajar signifies lap or skirt. The semi lunar wall resembles a skirt.Sarah, the wife of Ibrahim had a black maid called Hajar. Here was a woman who was not honoured enough to become a second wife to Ibrahim yet Allah connected the symbol of Hajar‘s skirt to His symbol, Kaaba.The skirt of Hajar was the region in which Ismail was raised. The house of Hajar is there. Her grave is near the third column of Kaaba.

What a surprise since no one, not even the prophets, is reckoned to be buried in mosques, but in this case, the house of a black maid is located next to Allah’s house! Hajar, the mother of Ismail is buried in that location. Kaaba extends toward her grave. There is a narrow passage between the wall (Hajar’s skirt) and Kaaba. When circumambulating around Kaaba, Allah commanded that you must go around the wall not through the passage otherwise your Hajj will not be taken on.

Those who believe in monotheism and those who have accepted Allah’s invitation to travel to Hajj must touch this skirt when circumambulating the Kaaba. The grave of a black African maid is now a part of Kaaba; it will be circumambulated by man forever! Today the infection of social profiling still remains where we are judged on the colour of our skin, caste, social class or even beliefs.  How wonderful is this symbol that Ismael planted?A flag of equality at the entrance of the all knowing, all seeing Great creator’s household. Now we can affirm the Kaaba is humanity’s bastion.

Allah, the Almighty  needs nobody and nothing. However, among all His countless and eternal creatures, Allah has chosen one, mankind, the noblest of them.From among all humanity: a woman, From among all women: a slave, And from among all slaves: a black housemaid!

The weakest and most humiliated one of His creatures was given a place at His side and a room in His house. He has come to her house and become her neighbour.. Hence now, there are two, Allah and Hajar, under the ceiling of this “HOUSE”!

The rites of Hajj are a memory of Hajar. The word Hijrah (migration) has its root in her name as does the word immigrant.

Hajar‘s grave is in the midst of man’s circumambulation of Kaaba. You, the immigrant, who has disassociated himself from everything and accepted Allah’s invitation to go to Hajj, you will circumambulate Hajar’s grave and the Kaaba of Allah simultaneously. The planets rotate around the sun, the electrons around the nucleus, rotating around such a center mean allegiance with love. Tens of thousands circumambulating around the Kaaba and Hajr like the galaxy turning together with billions of stars.

Although the history of hajj goes back to Ibrahim’s era, but Islam contributed furthermore towards Hajr.In the second year after Hijrah according to some traditions Prophet Muhammad was  commanded to change direction of prayers from Mosque Al-Aqsa to The Holy Kaaba.Prayers have become a constant reminder about  the importance of women. Stand in respect when you embark on your prayers and bow down to bury your ego to acknowledge the status of WOMEN and thank Almighty God in Sujood for giving you this chance to infer.It is hard to realise.But for those who think they live in freedom and defend humanism, the significance of these incidents transgresses the scope of their apprehension.

 

 

Esteem is an unassuming resounding force. It means being treated with consideration and esteem and to have a regard for other peoples’ feelings, listening to people and discovering them, i.e. giving them one’s full attention. Even more importantly, respect means treating one with dignity. Respect is the opposite of humiliation and contempt. Hence, where the latter can be a cause of conflict, the former and its opposite can help translate it. How do you feel when you are appreciated , honoured and respected ?

Do women need any legislation to protect themselves under such commandment ?

be respectful to women,for they are the mothers of mankind.”

This article first published in The Nation

We the people

benazir-return

Benazir Bhutto was one of the most charismatic leaders that Pakistan’s  politics had produced. Since her return home in 2007, she had been the target of at least three assassination attempts by elements linked to al Qaeda and the Taliban. She staged a series of mass meetings across Pakistan. She did that despite her aides  appeals for caution in the wake of a double suicide bombing that narrowly failed to kill her on the night of her return from exile in October 2007 which killed more than 130 people.

“We will continue to meet the public,” she said as she visited survivors of the bombings at a Karachi hospital. “We will not be deterred.” One cannot take part in democratic life from behind walls,I am not like bin Laden or Mullah Omar, to run and hide in a cave. I have to be with my people.

“I know death comes. I’ve seen too much death, young death.”  Benazir Bhutto

She  was one courageous ,secular and liberal women leader Pakistan will always be proud of,a daughter who knew the tribulations of cloistered confinement, a sister who outshone her brothers by carrying forward her father’s legacy,a young bride who supported her husband , a mother who did not let pregnancy get in the way of politics, an leader  who could easily move with her people regardless of their race, religion, gender  or status.

In 1988 she became the most powerful symbol in contemporary politics for women,as she became the first elected female head of the State in Muslim World.She exemplified  the normalisation of women in politics and immediately countered invisibility of women heightened under Zia’s military rule. She lifted press censorship.

When I met Mohtarmah Benazir Bhutto in December 1989 just a month before Bakhtawar’s birth she was coming back from Multan after monitoring Military excerci ses, I asked her why is she soft on Pakistani print media (in Zia’s regime newspapers were just pro-Zia while in her times it was totally opposite) ,she replied;

This is because of the suppression of 11 years of brutal military rule ,let them take out their frustration , this is the difference between democracy and dictatorship , we are here to strengthen democracy.

She left me speechless but in another interview she confessed ;

I can deal with political differences, but how do you deal with it when someone says I don’t like you because you’re a WOMEN and you have taken a man’s place. I found that my opponents reduced themselves to verbal abuse rather than discuss issues. My identity comes ultimately from being a women and I felt that my life has to make a difference to the lives of other women. I was brought up to believe that a women can do anything that a man can.

The Muslim extremists  not ( Islamists ) killed Benazir Bhutto. But they shouldn’t be allowed to kill Pakistan’s hopes for democracy. In her willingness to meet a violent  death,she may give courage to other women and convince them that its worth risking their lives for the future generation.

More power to ladies like Asma Jahangir,Bushra Gohar,Sherry Rehman,Hina Rabbani Khar,Saman Jaffery,Shereen Mazari,Nafisa Shah,Farah Naz Isphahani,Maryam Nawaz,Fauzia Kasuri,Marvi Memon,Sara Tarar,Sharmila farooqi,Syeda Shehla Raza and many more

June is the month of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s birthday ,may I request you all to celebrate her  by celebrating what she said in December 1988 ;

We gather together to celebrate freedom,to celebrate DEMOCRACY,to celebrate the three most beautiful words in the English language: “ We the people”

http://www.theasians.co.uk/blog/remembering-benazir-bhutto-a-beacon-of-democracy