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.