VIEW: A misogynist and bigoted society —Yasser Latif Hamdani

Courtesy Daily Times

We are a strange people. We love to spit on the people who help us. I am not talking about countries, because they help us according to the dictates of international politics, but individuals like Angelina Jolie, who opened up her heart and her purse for this country in a time of need.

Take for example the vomit that one TV anchor produced in his Urdu column for a local newspaper. Most of the claims made by the said anchor turned out to be untrue but that is not the point. The issue is that while Angeline Jolie came here and acted in an entirely respectful manner towards our society and culture, our geniuses are sitting on judgement on her lifestyle. Let me remind you of some of the things Angelina Jolie could have pointed out about Pakistan.

To start with, in many parts of this country women are treated worse than cattle. Not only are women discriminated against by custom and tradition but also by the inheritance law and the law of evidence. Imagine our embarrassment as lawyers when we advise foreign clients to use male witnesses on contracts because thanks to General Zia our law does not think women are credible in financial matters.

For a society obsessed with shame and honour we also believe in honour killing. One of our judges, who rose to be the president of this country thanks to one of the major political parties, had ruled that women had no say in deciding who to marry. Relying on misinterpretation of the Holy Quran by lazy clerics, the men in Pakistan have a free hand in abusing their wives, both sexually and physically.

Women, who despite all these handicaps make it in professional and public lives, become fair game, often by other women. Consider the case of Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan abusing Kashmala Tariq shamelessly on TV, while the TV anchor egged her on.

One is reminded of the events after the rigged elections of 1965 when Gohar Ayub Khan carried out a procession allegedly with a female dog to signify none other than Ms Fatima Jinnah, who is widely considered a founding mother of Pakistan. While it said nothing about Fatima Jinnah, it indicates what the Pakistani male thinks and feels about women. A woman to the geniuses of Pakistan can be either mother or a loose woman and at the end of the day even the mother becomes a loose woman.

This mentality reached its zenith when a proud president in uniform declared that women in Pakistan get raped to get Canadian citizenship.

In my view Angelina Jolie is a thousand times more respectable than the crank and madman who wrote against her. Why does he not write about the multiple marriages of Dr Aafia Siddiqui to al Qaeda men? Oh wait, Dr Aafia is pious because she wraps up her head in a cloak of ignorance. She is more deserving of our respect because well Dr Aafia has strengthened our image worldwide as a proud terrorist nation. The entire world is now shaking at the prospect of Pakistanis jet-setting through the world.

The anchor in question had already accepted a position with a media group that traces its origins to none other than the founding father of this nation. Jinnah was a bulwark against misogyny and the mentality that is now commonplace in the nation he is unfortunate enough to be called the founding father of. His career as a legislator bears witness to his efforts to secure equal rights and participation for women in society. He walked out of a dinner with the Governor of Bombay when the latter objected to Ruttie Jinnah’s strapless dress. When a colleague suggested that Jinnah use his political opponent Nehru’s questionable relationship with Edwina Mountbatten, he severely reprimanded that colleague and told him that Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion. Would such a man hire an anchor who indulges in yellow journalism, libel and juicy gossip?

National Public Radio fired Juan Williams for making racist comments against people in “Muslim garb”. Surely then the media group in question must reconsider its decision to hire a misogynist bigot.

The writer is a lawyer. He also blogs at and can be reached at



Filed under Pakistan

23 responses to “VIEW: A misogynist and bigoted society —Yasser Latif Hamdani

  1. Way to go Hamdani! Very true and very well said!

  2. amar

    Great write.
    Congrats ylh – hope they all read him and think and think and think honestly and without any false or fake honor ideas.

  3. Midfield Dynamo

    Who will cast the first stone…..

    Without peering into our own conscious we throw stones arbitrarily not to eradicate evil but to hide our own fake identities.

  4. Feroz Khan

    @ YLH

    Hello, I hope all is well with you and your family and the move to the cultural city by the river has finished. I wish, I was there; would have loved to burnt a Cohibia or two with you especially since the weather must be so pleasant on your side of the world.

    This comment should be read in parenthesis to your article, but it does make a point about ingratitude.

    In the 1970s, a group of army officers blamed Z. A. Bhutto for the defeat in East Pakistan. Before they could do anything, the plot was exposed and they were imprisoned in Attock fort and court martial proceedings against them were instituted. The president of the field court martial court was a recently returned brigadier from Jordan, recently promoted to the next rank, by the name of Zia-ul-Haq.

    Zia lived in Attock Fort in a simple room and shared the officers mess with an another army officer, a returned POW, who was in charge of the security and who narrated this story to me. I will tell you the reason, why he narrated this story to me later. Anyways, Zia conducted the proceedings well and all the implicated officers were given lenghty jail sentences and Z. A. Bhutto was impressed by Zia and Zia came to Bhutto’s attention and his star started to rise.

    This whole story started when I asked the question, one evening while we were sitting and talking, why did Bhutto pick Zia? Bhutto was returning a favor to Zia and Zia thanked him by hanging him but he jailed those officers because they wanted to kill Bhutto for his role in East Pakistan!

    On a personal level, Zia was indeed pious but outside of this peronal life, he was the very devil incarnate in his zeal for power.

    You mentioned a judge elevated to the presidency by a well known politican. I am speaking of him, because at a dinner, I was talking to the daughter of the COAS General Asif Nawaz, who died while in office under mysterious conditions and it seems that the gentleman, who made that judge a president, is also responsible for removing three army chiefs from office; an unmatched feat in Pakistani history.

    Give my regards to Lahore.


  5. amar

    “He (Jinnah) walked out of a dinner with the Governor of Bombay when the latter objected to Ruttie Jinnah’s strapless dress.”

    This confirms my view that pakistanis get only a truncated version of everything. The pakistani mind is truncated, amputated, purged. Their religion likes it to be that way. Either no honesty at all, or only truncated, amputated, purged, pre-filtered versions.

  6. Humanity

    @ Feroz Khan
    “On a personal level, Zia was indeed pious but outside of this personal life, he was the very devil incarnate in his zeal for power. ”

    So was Yaazid! While they worship their ego, such bigots end up creating immeasurable misery and mayhem for generations to come.

    Among the blessings to be grateful for is the right to exercise free will in a free homeland. The power freaks exert their godliness through absolute control. In their zeal to control free will, the children of Zia have already squandered the blessing of a free homeland. Welcome to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, where the majority lives in constant fear of the ‘strategic assets’ that Zia perpetuated as weapons of control. And yet the pious demand absolute control. Is it not hell already?

    Ingratitude never goes unpunished and arrogance is a human’s undoing.

    “…and never wilt thou find any change in God’s way.” [Al-Quran 33:62]

  7. YLH

    I’ll respond to Feroz khan’s post later but Yazid was neither pious nor a bigot per se. He was actually a very liberal caliph who mocked Ulema and had many Christians as viziers.

    How ironic that he is championed by some extreme sunni fanatics … But he was an unfortunate and pathetic figure who made the fatal error of sending an army to meet a family of unarmed civilians …for this he will be rightly lampooned for all eternity.

  8. Humanity


    I admit, I don’t know about Yazid much other than the stories I have heard. However, it must have been his insecurity and/or inflated ego that caused him to take the unfortunate action. The repercussions of his action continue to this day, in the form of hatred.

  9. Juan Williams was fired for not living up to liberal speak. Jole has given so much it is a shame this has happened.

  10. readinglord

    What a pimpish feminist’s screwed stroke! The writer turned a question of shame or ingratitude to that of misogyny to launch a personal vicious attack against Talat without naming him.

    He also mentions Kishmala vs Firdous embroil wherein the latter had abused the former to have arisen from the Hira Mandi.

    I don’t know what ‘wakilana’ point he wanted to make by mentioning this episode as Hira Mandi is the place where the free woman and the pimps flourish in their abundance in their real ‘feministan’. It is only in that paradise of ‘feministan’ that woman is just a commodity on sale in a free market whereas outside she is a mother, a sister, a wife or a daughter, all respectable relations.

  11. Asad

    Not sure, why the author misunderstood. I just read Talat’s column, it is satirical column and is mocking Pakistani politicians while comparing them to Angelina Jolie’s character and the praising Jolie for her relief efforts.

    you totally missed the point! Get a class in Urdu literature.

    For those interested: Here is Talat’s column:

  12. YLH

    Not another genius. Our issue is with the so called “characterisation” and not the eye wash at the end.

    So if you don’t see what is wrong with it you are an even bigger idiot than Talat.

  13. Salman Arshad


    about Jinnah.. was he a misogynist when he condemned his own “characterless non-conforming” daughter’s marriage ??

    What is your opinion ?

    My opinion is that Talat would have been in good company had he joined Jinnah then..

  14. YLH

    Salman Arshad,

    Pakistan studies kay maray bewaqoof log.

    First of all little knowledge is dangerous. Dina Jinnah is still alive and she already debunked this myth about “disowning” in her interview with Christopher Martin – which was finally compiled by Akbar S Ahmad in the documentary “Jinnah and the making of Pakistan”.

    The fact that Jinnah carried young Nusli’s pictures and talked about his grandchildren shows (read an account of Jinnah’s evening in London in 1946… in Begum Jahanara Shahnawaz’s memoir “Father and daughter”) shows that this “characterless” is the imagination of idiots like you who have invented Pakistan Studies.

    Talat Hussain is not even the equal of a shoe lace of Jinnah’s two tone shoes.

  15. Salman Arshad

    @ YLH

    i could be an idiot for not knowing for sure *what happened* between Jinnah and his daughter..

    i only have public sources of information at hand, and your claim could only mean that for example this Mr. Chagla(a Chief Justice, and Ambassador to the USA) was lying when he narrated the little episode between the father and the daughter i found at the Dina_Wadia entry in wikipedia.. of course i cannot vouch for its credibility, although he was Jinnah’s assistant, which could also be a lie .. I would suggest you go and edit the whole episode out of the wikipedia entry..

    My lowly functional brain was not able to reconcile your staunch “beliefs” in Jinnah with the contradictions apparent in publicly available information..

    You have been successful in pointing out my idiocy to an extent that I now know that even this episode has a scandalous dimension, but I am not a believer in Jinnah.. I am ever open to the possibility of discovering my own, or your idiocy regarding this particular episode..

    Maybe he was not a misogynist himself, he had to “act” as if he disowned his daughter in order to remain loyal to the “cause” of Islam.. just like his other political actions..

    And maybe “disowning” was a Pakistani invention, but then to what extent did Jinnah disapprove his daughter’s marriage ?

  16. YLH

    I don’t wish to edit anything out of “wikipedia”. That is for people like you. For others there are history books.

    But since little knowledge is dangerous:
    M C Chagla was Jinnah’s associate till 1927. Dina was about 12 then.

    M C Chagla’s account is in any event ytquestioned given that he was anti-Jinnah member of the Congress post his break with Jinnah.

    The issue was entirely a legal one. It had to do with the renunciation of Muslim status under law. I have written about it in detail in my article.

    If Jinnah was so concerned about “characterlessness” of the issue perhaps you will explain why Jinnah chose to educate his daughter in England entirely divorced from Eastern and Muslim norms.

    There was no break between Jinnah and Dina. That was debunked by Dina herself. Jinnah’s opposition to his daughter’s marriage was given the fact that he could not countenance the contradiction between fighting for a community while under law his daughter would give up her nominal Muslim status.

    This is why Jinnah had fought in favor of mixed marriages bill all his life (and which was passed in India only after he was dead).

    But you wouldn’t know this now …given the Wikipedia you depend on.
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  17. Salman Arshad

    Thanks for the elaborate answer. Very true, nobody contributed to the wikipedia entry with all these details.. and I wouldn’t have known !!

    So the fact is that he did have a problem with her marrying a non-Muslim and its not conspiracy… How her legal status as a Muslim was more important to him than her intimate personal choice is what is fact..

    Jinnah’s failure to “countenance” the contradiction is typical of any modern Pakistani misogynist father sending his children abroad, especially girls.. so this is nothing new..

    But thinking about Jinnah saying “kya moun dikhaun ga logon ko”.. is actually more embarrassing.. he was not fighting for the community .. he was fighting for some principles I suppose.. the community didn’t support drinking alcohol either.. how knew how to “countenance” that didn’t he?

    I can’t see how you can defend him if he at all tried to convince her to change her mind, over this legal issue of her status..

    I would however be skeptic about Dina’s claim that she did not have ANY (?) rift with her father at all over the marriage.. in old age everyone tends to forgive .. You would hardly ever hear an aged person complaining about their issues with their parents..

  18. YLH

    It seems to me that neither the English language nor logic is your forte. So let us take it one by one:

    1. What do you think the term “misogynist” means?

    2. Defensible or indefensible, do you think Jinnah’s objection to his daughter’s marriage was on grounds of his daughter’s character?

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  19. Salman Arshad

    1. What do you think the term “misogynist” means?

    a person with an over dose of self importance due to being a male and ever ready to have a reactionary response when that self importance is threatened by a woman directly or indirectly..

    2. Defensible or indefensible, do you think Jinnah’s objection to his daughter’s marriage was on grounds of his daughter’s character?

    No. I think I had already expressed what I think was his problem. Not her character. It was her choice that he felt flouted his status in the Muslim community. The rift occurred because he “objected” to her choice as a reaction. His frustration should have been directed at the legal department not his daughter. She was not the one who was wrong. It was the law that should have been his problem. It was his attempt at asserting his “ownership” on his adult independent daughter over an issue that was the law’s fault, not his daughter’s ..

    Had it been the legal issue alone, he would have expressed concern over the legal problems it could cause, if they were a concern at all to Dina herself, which they weren’t. So there was nothing else to do except bless the daughter. She had taken care of the legal issue herself !

    If you think I am still lumping him with Talat, please be relived, I am not. If Talat is 10, Jinnah’s at 2.

  20. fightingchance71

    @ Feroz Khan

    Most officers who were imprisoned in the Attock Fort are still alive, it would make interesting reading if their interviews were compiled here.

    It was not that they were sent to jail, but the kind of treatment they had to endure during the inquiry proceedings which suggested to Bhutto the kind of loyalty that could be extracted from Zia.

    Later in 1973, during a visit to a military cantonment, accompanied by most humble servant the then COAS Tikka Khan, Bhutto was assessing loyalties among the top military brass. Two contenders that day were Wajahat Hussain who was presenting the fire power demonstration, an awe inspiring spectacle, which was conducted very professionally with all the protocol due to a head of state. Later in the afternoon Bhutto was to address a Durbar, a traditional method of talking one to one with the troops, Zia was making the welcoming address, it was an opportunity fully availed, it was quite like a greedy courtier in the presence of a Mughal King, polishing balls of the sovereign. Later in 1974 at a reception for Crown Prince Hasan Bin Talal of Jordan, Bhutto introduced Zia as his pick for the future COAS. The super clever Bhutto added sanctity to the occasion by an endorsement of the Crown Prince and underscored to Zia the level of loyalty expectation with this connection, linking it to Zia’s role in Jordan when Palestinians were mowed down by tanks.

    When the PNA began to agitate after Bhutto’s second rigged election, the army was called out to suppress the uprising and was virtually controlling all vital installation in the country, at this point Zia was expected to deliver his promise, crush the uprising by all means possible, after all he did it in Jordan and salvaged the Hashemite Kingdom, why not in his own country to save a democratically elected head. But to the surprise and horror of Bhutto, Zia decided to dethrone his benefactor.

    For this was not Jordan neither were the people Palestinian….I will leave it at that and let you draw your own conclusions.

  21. YLH

    Well then stop barking. No one said that Jinnah was perfect or right in his reaction to his daughter. The contention was simply that there is no similarity between the two issues.

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  22. YLH

    Barking used most affectionately ofcourse.
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  23. Salman Arshad

    Well sometimes only a bark can quiet needless idolizing purring ..

    (Note: purring used only playfully.. )