Moral Police To The Rescue


Let me (re)introduce you to a term called “slut shaming”, undoubtedly our most favorite pass time. This might not sound familiar to many but I promise after  I get done with the definition most of us will be able to relate fully.

Slut shaming is the deliberate act of calling a woman a slut, a whore or impugning her character in sexual terms in order to embarrass, humiliate, intimidate, degrade or shame her for actions or behaviors that are a normal part of female sexuality. In simpler words as long as gendered slurs like “slut” continue to be weapons casually wielded against girls and women, any female who acts in a way that another person doesn’t like is at risk for being slut-shamed.

To summarize it even more, any woman who acts in a way that is not considered acceptable in the society she lives in, is attacked and called names in order to rule out her credibility and divert focus from the main issue. I too have been a victim of slut shaming, simply because I choose to be vocal about issues.

Undoubtedly, it falls under the ‘moral policing’ ( more popularly known as the ghairat brigade) category which again is our most favorite pass time. Let’s quote a real life example, while speaking to the media after visiting survivor of the recent gang rape incident, Sharmila Farooqui had this to say:

“Bohat rude hain, kuch bata nahin rahin. Keh rahain hai subah say sab unsay bohat kuch pooch rahay hain. Badtameezi say baat kar rahee hai. Dost kay sath rehti hain, kehti hain hum rent share kertay hain” ( she is really rude, is not disclosing names and being extremely rude, saying she is being interrogated since morning. She lives with her friend, a guy, she says they share rent”

To this a reporter responded with: “Aur rent kay paisay kahan say atay hain” (where does she get the money to pay the rent). I fail to understand how any of this information about her personal life was in anyway relevant to the case. As for Sharmila, if she was expecting a woman who had been gang raped by 5 men and thrown in a ditch to be all cheery and hospitable, she immediately needs to seek help.

Ironically, Sharmila is not the only jumping on the Ghairat Brigade. While making a fiery speech against the PML (N), Haider Abbas Rizvi, had this to say:

“Humain bhi pata hai kiss ki behan betiyaan kisay sath kiss kiss tarah shaadiyan kartee rahee hain”

“We know how their sisters and daughters got married and to whom”

“Humain pata hai kiski beti kaisay bhaagi thee kiskay sath bhaagi thee, pandora box na khulwayain”

“We all know whose daughter eloped with whom, don’t force us to open the pandora box”

The whole argument (if it can be called that at all) began when Chaudary Nisar said:

“hum zaatiyaat par nahi utarna chahtay par(..) hum  unki wife unkay baray main kya sochtee hain wo release kerdaingay”

(we don’t want to get personal but if forced we will bring forth Ataf’s ex wive’s opinions about him.

This is not the first time, PML(N) has used moral policing to attack it’s political rivals,but it was certainly shocking to hear  a member of the MQM, a secular progressive party, to resort to such sexist and derogatory remarks.

On another talk show on a popular Urdu News Channel, while speaking about Veena Malik, the host said: Kanjiriyoun ki bhi koi izaat hoti hai” (even prostitutes have some respect)  while a furious caller says “ Iss bayghairaat veena malik ko koi samjhaya” (someone please get a hold on this shameless woman”


These are examples of how moral policing (i.e ghairat brigade) is used for various purposes may it be political rivalry, diversion tactic or point scoring. Even Country’s most widely read Urdu Daily had the audacity to publish in depth details of the survivor, including her name, her friends’ name and even her address. This is not only against all internationally practiced procedures but also an extremely unethical act that has endangered the life of the survivor and her friends. Meanwhile, Urdu Dailys have also published columns slandering Veena Malik, and claiming that she has “damaged the reputation of the country” stirring a moral outrage amongst Islamic parities.

However, I seem to be missing the point in all this, because last time I checked Veena Malik didn’t represent me, politics had nothing to do with one’s daughter’s or sister’s character, and rape was a crime, a heinous one; irrespective of the victim’s lifestyle.

We should be ashamed of ourselves as a society. It has come down to a point where many of us are advocating rape and reinforcing the “she asked for it” mindset. A woman has to prove her piety in order for the authorities to take action against injustice. Our politicians are resorting to personal attacks in order to make political points. A film actress participating in a reality show has suddenly become the sole representative of the entire country’s integrity.

It really is humiliating for me as a woman to come to terms with the kind of society we have become. Pathetic as it is, when it comes to a woman standing for injustice we are quick to snub her down, we compare rape and pedophilia stats to that of other countries in order to hide our own shortfalls. Yet we are quick to use the same woman as an epitome of our countries honor dare she decides to make her own decisions for herself.

If there’s any shame left at all, we should be demanding a public apology from our politicians, media houses involved in maligning and slandering, and ask for more ethical and gender sensitive discourse in the future.  In a country, where even 3 year old’s are not safe from heinous crimes such as rape the Ghairat Brigade should know better than to raise hue and cry over other’s personal lives and focus on the real issues.


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17 thoughts on “Moral Police To The Rescue

  1. Veena malik is basically a fake, a drama. Having watched her on several Big Boss 4 episodes it was obvious that her indiscretions with Ashmit patel were stage managed. She wanted to emerge as the Women Rights champion; taking the ignorant Mullahs and Jahil public by the horns.

  2. A very courages topic. Indeed in our society any issue regarding victim women has been taken like a small issue with few consequences, but indeed it is more horrible for females to encounter and endure. And it’s very sad attitude of our society that we judge others very brutally.

  3. I am from india. Did watch bigg boss. To me Veena Malik never represented Pakistan. Just an actress who did her job in a reality show. Every country has lot of women like veena.

    You guys are just overreacting.

  4. It is not a blasphemy law to protect the Holy Prophet Muhammad that Pakistan needs

    Allah can well protect His Prophet, unless some well learned Muslims think otherwise
    By the actions of the so called well learned Muslims i have come to think so

    What Pakistan really needs are laws to protect the reputation of its women from malicious attacks against their reputation and honor

  5. I chuckled reading this point “…..A film actress
    participating in a reality show has suddenly become the sole
    representative of the entire country’s integrity.” :)… Thumbs up
    Sana!!!! It is for those too who listen all these things silently
    (which in some way includes me :s).? Thanks and Jazakallah

  6. The slut shamming, yeh tu hum sab ka favorite time pass
    hai, like it or not. 😐 which doesn’t make it right, and it’s not
    going to change anytime soon.

  7. Great article. What our nation is lacking is focus. Masses easily gets played around.

    If we don’t have writers like you to put it back on basics we’d be aiming at the sun while shooting off at the moon! keep up the good work.

  8. It is a sad reality that women in Pakistan are at the bottom of the food chain so to speak! Everything has to do with our character and the more emancipated we are, the more modern we are, the more our character is called into question. Interesting how two of the most profane swear words in Urdu have to do with being a mother and sister!

  9. Such “Slut Shaming” do exist in all societies in all over the world. Problem is that in Pakistan, such groupings are part of the mainstream and the majority. They tend to make the victim guilty before a trial or any investigation has come forth and therefore all from the beginning they support a lie.
    What is more disturbing is the support such “Brigades” have from educated youth from among the diaspora in Europe/America or from Urban cities in Pakistan aswell.
    Surely it all lies in a damaged educational system, the lack of a full fledged renessainse which were supposed to lift up subcontinental muslims from Jahilia (Aligarh Movement, and its equivalent Nahda in middle east)and make them more capable of building a enlightened society.

    As you have quoted some politicians about their remarks on the henious crime, where they mix a citizens private life to justify a crime i recently saw a show on state tv where Ayatullah Durrani a PPP federal minister were trying to say that the government and the party always have supported the blasphemy laws. And to prove that he said

    “…its in PPPs honour to have decleared Qadiyanis non-muslims”

    On which the state sponsored host said.

    “yes you have the honour to have decleared them non-muslims”

    like if it was something to be proud of!

  10. Well written. Altho i believe Haider Abbas Rizvi is part of MQM’s entourage. But the point u have raised are really valid … How is it that so many facets of this islamic society are behaving in this fashion. With such disdain and disrespect.

  11. Well said, Sana. Am sick to death of people attacking women’s character, behaviour, and lifestyle as a way of “diverting from the issue” as you said. We live in a society that seems to revel in its own backwardness, like a bunch of pigs who like to roll around in mud and garbage.

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