–Some senators condemn Khalilur Rehman’s misogynistic remarks, others demand probe of Aurat March
Popular writer and controversial figure Khalilur Rehman Qamar, cursed journalist and social activist Marvi Sirmed on live television on Tuesday night, with no remorse.
The topic of discussion was none other than Aurat March and Qamar expressed his disdain towards the kind of slogans that are raised during the yearly protest.
In response to a question by the host, Qamar started off by saying, “When the court has denied the usage of slogans like ‘Mera jism, meri marzi’ (My body, my choice), then it hurts me deeply when figures like Marvi Sirmed use these slogans.”
As soon as he said this, Sirmed interrupted his response by reiterating the same slogan over and over again. This left Qamar baffled and he started yelling at her in a demeaning manner.
“Tere jism men hai kya? (What is in your body) Don’t talk in between. Thookta nahi hai koi tere jism pe (No one would even spit on your body). Shut up you b****. Beech men nahi bolo (Don’t talk in between),” he said.
If such piece of crap was a playwright in a civilized media industry, he would have been boycotted and would be reduced to ashes. But this is our beloved Islamic Republic. The misogynist abuser won’t have to face any consequences. He’d be welcomed by every media house. https://t.co/2AVOe15keR
— Marvi Sirmed (@marvisirmed) March 3, 2020
The host, a woman herself, chimed in asking Sirmed to stay quiet, without calling out Qamar for his vulgar use of language.
The incident, of course, has ignited a fierce debate on social media, with a number of people supporting Qamar’s blatant disrespect, while a number of women are rallying to get him banned from TV.
He should be banned from all kinds of platforms. He’s not only a shame to our industry but to human race. Such abusive & disrespectful behaviour shall not be tolerated. Anyone who works with him is equally responsible for his behaviour. #khalilurrehmanqamar
— MAWRA HOCANE (Hussain) (@MawraHocane) March 4, 2020
I am shocked at what I have just heard and seen!! Sick to the core. This same man who abused a woman on tv is revered and given project after project because of what? We are as much to blame if not more for perpetuating this thinking! #khalilurrehmanqamar
— Mahira Khan (@TheMahiraKhan) March 4, 2020
Marvi Sirmed got abused by #khalilurrehmanqamar and is rallying for support. I think its time she apologises to all the people who she have been abusing all this time before rallying for support. Abuse by men or women is equally hurtful and bad. pic.twitter.com/kZ7o5hA6h6
— Adeel Raja (@adeelraja) March 4, 2020
The president of the channel has issued an apology to Sirmed while Senator Sherry Rehman has asked for the writer to be boycotted.
The man is not worth two seconds of your time, anyone’s time, but why is this anchor not taking him off air for gross and completely unacceptable disrespect!!! @NeoTv_Network this is NOT ok https://t.co/qIBI82yatE
— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) March 3, 2020
SENATORS DEBATE AURAT MARCH:
Speaking in the upper house today, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Krishna Kumari Kohli condemned Rehman, saying he had disrespected all women through his remarks.
She said Rehman should not be invited to any talk show in the future. “It is because of people like Khalilur Rehman that women are out protesting on the streets,” Kumari added.
Senator Sassui Palijo, another PPP lawmaker, expressed similar thoughts, saying it was time that the character assassination of women in the country ended.
She said Rehman had not just uttered expletives against Sirmed but that he “abused all mothers, sisters and daughters”.
The senator said complete security should be provided to the Aurat March. “Everyone will have to understand that women’s rights are human rights,” she stressed.
However other — male — senators in the upper house were less unequivocal in their censure of Rehman’s remarks.
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan said women’s rights should not be turned into a “gender clash”.
“If Khalilur Rehman Qamar has said something inappropriate, we condemn it; we also condemn mera jism, meri marzi. We also condemn the attempt to introduce Western culture in the name of women’s rights,” he said, adding that “values” should not be targeted for the sake of “independence”.
PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan went one step further and demanded an investigation of the march’s organisers.
He said the debate of men against women was “useless”. “A mother is also a woman. Can one love anyone more than their mother? How much does a sister love her brother?” he asked.
Khan said he wasn’t against any march, but went on to ask in the same breath: “Which man will allow his mother or sister to go and do this on the streets?”
“It should be probed who is behind this [march], then other issues should be discussed,” he added.
Khan further said the slogan “mera jism, meri marzi” meant “obscenity” (fahashi). “We will not allow this slogan,” he told the house.
PTI Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said people “should not bring new doctrines from the West”.
“We know who has authority over our bodies,” he added.