Dupatta or headscarf declared mandatory for PU IBB’s female students


LAHORE: In another attempt by educational institutes to morally police the students, University of the Punjab’s (PU) Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology (IBB) the other day issued a notice in which female students were mandated to wear a dupatta or headscarf within the premises of the institute.

The notice was signed by IBB Administrator Muhammad Rafiq in which the dress code for both male and female students was defined and adherence was asked for.

The notice prohibited the male students from wearing shorts or ‘casual clothes’ and instead allowed pants and shirt or shalwar qameez only.

On the other hand, female students were restrained from wearing shirts short of knee-length, and nothing other than a shalwar or trouser was allowed.

Further, the notice said that wearing Abaya or Hijab is upon the discretion of the female students and not a compulsion on them.

IBB Administrator Muhammad Rafiq while talking to Pakistan Today maintained that he had only implemented the directives issued by the head of the department, Dr Saima Sadaf.

He further stated that female students’ dress is sometimes not considered to be appropriate, and therefore such measures have been taken.

When asked under which authority and rule has the administration passed such an order, Rafiq remained silent. However, about the repercussions in case of non-compliance by the students, he said that the students nevertheless cannot be forced in case they chose to wear otherwise.

Talking to Pakistan Today on the condition of anonymity, an IBB female student said, “It is very disturbing that every day before entering the department, we are bullied by male guards and other men in the administration for wearing a shirt that is shorter than knee length. Unfortunately, we cannot even report this kind of harassment because victim-blaming has now been legitimised. This is a really depressing environment for us to study.”

Despite multiple attempts to reach IBB Head of Department Dr Saima Safdar, she remained unavailable till the filing of this story.

Earlier, Bahria University had also come under criticism for asking male and female students to keep six-inch distance among each other.

Further, the varsity also mandates female students to wear dupatta, chaddar or scarf and prohibits shorter shirts and tight pants.