DailyTimes | Empty gestures

Empty gestures

Empty gestures

Sir: It was a charming gesture for Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif to send a sari for Indian PM Narendra Modi’s mother. The sari as we know is the traditional dress of women in the subcontinent, predating the now nationally mandated shalwar kameez by centuries, if not more. The shalwar kameez was Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s sop to religious conservatism in his feeble attempts at creating national unity through a dress code. One wonders though if the PM would give his own mother or daughter a sari, or if she would be allowed to wear it in public? In fact, given the fate of women in Pakistan today if they so much as walk around without being covered head to toe in a ‘shuttlecock’ (sometimes known as a burqa) I wonder if any woman in this country can wear a sari in comfort and peace, secure in the knowledge that she will not be molested by leering, sexually frustrated men. Aside from the weddings of people who have lots of armed security guards, there are few places where a woman can show her stomach without being called a harlot or condemned by the bearded monsters who consider themselves the guardians of morality in this country. Maybe next time Nawaz Sharif should send Modi’s mother some mace or pepper spray so she can better understand what women in Pakistan have to put up with on a daily basis.