Senators for strict action against harassers of woman in Lahore

Senator Rubina deplores how Arabic letters on the woman’s shirt were misunderstood by people as Quranic verses

PTI demands early release of imprisoned women politicians.

ISLAMABAD  -   It was a ‘day for women’ in the Senate on Tuesday as lawmakers called for a strict action against those involved in harassing a woman in Lahore for wearing a shirt printed with Arabic calligraphy, besides demanding immediate release of imprisoned women politicians belonging to PTI.

A day earlier, Lahore police had protected the woman from a mob attack after some people objected to the Arabic letters inscribed on her attire. The house also echoed the demand of release of at least four jailed women leaders of the PTI with the opposition party staging a protest walkout from the house over the issue. The PTI also reiterated its demand that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should immediately allot seats, reserved for women and minorities in the parliament, to Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) – a religio- political party that has been joined by the party-backed independent members.

Speaking on a point of public concern, PPP Senator Rubina Khalid said that it was unfortunate that a woman in Lahore was harassed only because she was wearing a shirt with Arabic letters printed on it. “The scenes that have become viral are horrific,” she said and deplored how Arabic letters were misunderstood as Quranic verses. She said that it was “utter ignorance” that some people could not make a difference between the Arabic letters and Quranic verses.

“This shows intolerance and ignorance in our society,” she said. She added that the enraged mob would have done something worse if the police had not reached in time to protect the woman. “We need to think about where we are heading to. There should be a debate on this,” she demanded. Objecting to the video in which the woman apologized in the presence of the accused and police, she questioned why she was forced to make a public apology for the action she never committed. Senator Rubina added that the shirt the woman was wearing belonged to a brand based in Saudi Arabia. “It is fine there, but here women are harassed in the name of religion.”

PML-N Senator Saadia Abbasi dubbed the matter as serious and regretted that no one talked in the house over the issue. She said that the incident badly damaged Pakistan’s reputation internationally. She also urged that PTI’s jailed women including former health minister Yasmeen Rashid and Sanam Javed besides others should also be released in no time.

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