WOMEN’s Action Forum (WAF) is shocked and incensed at the male abuse and threats against Ayesha Gulalai for speaking out against her alleged sexual harassment within the Pakistan Tahreeki-Insaf (PTI). WAF is especially dismayed by only those women who are themselves targets of abusive misogyny, and then join the male squads in suspecting women as if they are lying and fabricating their abuse for financial gain.Abuse against political women like Benazir Bhutto and those who stand up for their rights against cruelty, such as Mukhtaran Mai, Malala and so many other Pakistani women, is a deliberate strategy to intimidate all women who dare to enter or speak out in male public spheres. Those cowardly social media users who are exhibiting blatant criminal behaviour and terrorising Gulalai with threats of acid attacks and sending jirgas to her house should come to the real world and meet women survivors of such crimes. When party leaders tolerate or laugh off verbal abuse and harassment of women, it creates impunity and encourages the harassers to become more violent in their threats. There is doubt that the PTI has introduced a culture of abusive politics in Pakistan. If Naya Pakistan is so empty of empathy, compassion and neutral reflection and is hypocritical, then perhpas the old Pakistan was a better place. We urge all political parties to take urgent action against such political persecution of women and open inter-party investigations over such serious allegations. WAF rejects all constitutional nostrums introduced by Ziaul Haq, including articles 62 and 63.

Women’s Action Forum Karachi