Pakistan witnessed another disgraceful incident with the harassment of analyst and rights activist Marvi Sirmed on National Television. Senator Hafiz Hamdullah of Jamiat-I-Ulema-I-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) isreported to havethreatened and verbally abused the female activist over a row during the heated conversation revolving around the recent honor killings in Pakistan.
During a show aired on the private channel NewsOne, the JUI-F leader who already had argued with Barrister Masroor on the latter’suse of words for the CII Chief’s lack of reactionover the brutal murders, interrupted Marvi on her first sentence assuming she was supporting the use of those words. A heated argument ensued between the rights activist and the lawmaker which was later shown on video with the obscene remarks were censored.
Marvi also said the leader tried to physically assault her but she was saved when fellow panelist Fayyaz ul Hasan came in the way to block him. According to her, the whole incident has been recorded. Staff security also intervened.
This incident is not isolated in itself. There has been a series of such happenings in the media, and as we can see from Shireen Mazari’s example where she was ridiculed by the Defence Minister during another row and ridiculously called ‘tractor trolley’, the National Assembly. All of thisjust narrows down to one important crux. Women are not safe in public spaces. The media and the National Assembly are microcosms of the society reflectingthe discrimination being meted out to women. Serious actions need to be taken to deter discrimination from happening and to safeguard women.
Women Media Center Pakistan condemns the happenings and extends support to the women like Marvi Sirmed and Shireen Mazari who are fighting for their causes irregardless of all hurdles on the basis of their gender. WMC also promises to continue its efforts in making public spaces like the media safer for women.