The above video shows an incident which happened in Karachi yesterday (20th October 2016) when a female reporter named Saima Kanwal of K21 news went to the local NADRA centre in Liaquatabad, Karachi. It shows the female reporter trying to get the Frontier constable to face the camera for apparently manhandling the media team earlier, when he refuses and tries to go away she tugs on his sleeve which triggers a violent response by the man in a uniform, armed with a gun against a lady with a microphone and camera crew.
The female reporter was smacked squarely in the face and when the people began to react against this act, the constable fired aerial shots to disperse them. The scuffle which followed, resulted in several people being injured. Ever since this news broke, there has been this ongoing debate about whether the reporter stepped outside her journalistic boundaries by engaging the constable directly, this however is not my concern. What grabbed my attention, was the fact that many people are in fact praising the constable for slapping the female reporter, many have even expressed their wish to slap her a second time.
Seeing this bile, compelled me to write this blog post in order to address this advanced state of mental degeneration which the Pakistani social media users are exhibiting quite proudly. However I should clarify one thing first, I am not an anti-anyone in the uniform type of guy. No. People are portraying this whole issue as a “Uniform vs Media” scandal where anyone who stands against the “uniform” is for sure a traitor, no this is not a uniform versus media issue, this is about those few “idiots” who think that wearing a uniform makes them immune to everything, who feel that they can go around slapping anyone who dares to ask them a question, who feel that they can shoot unarmed and innocent men and women and get away with it because people respect the uniform. Everyone respects the uniform and the armed forces, but oppression and tyranny will not be tolerated.
No! This is not about uniform and media, this is about oppression and injustice. If you support injustice today, know that one day it will come back to haunt you.
The bile our social media users are spewing is not the only reason why I am writing this, we have a history of such incidents where men in our society frequently encroach their own rights and abuse women. Women abuse in Pakistan is a reality very few people want to open their eyes to. We will come to this a bit later, let us first look at some examplary social media users who are heaping praises upon the constable who slapped a female reporter.
Really bro? I didnt know that it was obligatory to support FC or anyone for that matter even if they went really low.
Uh, I am sorry bro, had to quote you again, you come up with such irresistible tweets. So what you are saying is that slapping a woman is unacceptable! Good, we are on the same page. But pulling a man`s collar is more than a slap for man`s respect? hm….
I do not think I quite follow you here. For the record, she tugged his sleeve, but fine we will consider that she pulled his collar. How on earth does pulling a collar equate with slapping someone? So you are saying that fine, go on and slap a lady it is unacceptable but hey, sometimes you gotta do it and women don`t feel disrespected when you slap them. But touch a man`s collar and you risk triggering WW3?
This lady here, is a well known TV host. So sad to see her remarks, why? Because only a couple of weeks ago she was bashing India for treating minorities unjustly. Of course India has a bad track record of treating minorities, the Gujarat massacre of Muslims is still fresh in the minds of many because Indian PM Modi was directly responsible for it, not to mention the genocide of Sikhs going on in India. But, why the double standards? Why do you only feel the pain when Indian minorities are abused? Why don`t you feel the same pain towards your fellow country men? Or perhaps you are fine with men violently treating women, which is the only reason why you could have suggested that the Tv reporter luckily escaped being shot for simply tugging the collar of a sepoy.
Really? A round of applause for everyone with this mindset. What is this? The dark ages? Remember this folks, whenever someone gets on your nerves, just whack them squarely in the face…oh and fire some aerial shots, just to add a bit of flavor.
This one is just 😐 Tweeted out by Pakistan Cyber Force. Are these guys official or what? The slap was beautiful? I hope someone beautifies your visage with a similar slap one day. Boy, that constable must be feeling like some Hulk right now, I wonder how many women will face the wrath of mighty slap because of these morons who are hell bent on patronizing his uniform regardless of his actions.
I can go on and on, the hashtag #ThaparWala is full of these moronic posts. I am just wondering, if a lady who tugged or lets say she pulled the collar of a guard, if this justifies slapping the living day lights out of her then hm lets see. What should we do with people who plunder this country and squander all the wealth of this nation abroad? Don`t they deserve something a bit more than a slap? Of course they do! We elect them as our rulers. Right! Sorry my mistake, move on nothing to see here!
It is all fun and games till someone gets hurt right? Well now comes the real reason for this blog post. I am really not interested whether the reporter crossed her line. No, the real concern for me is our inherent nature of oppressing women or anyone for that matter and pushing it under the carpet. People may say that this was simply one isolated incident, so where am I going at? No, this was not an isolated incident. We have got a really short-term memory, so allow me to remind you about some of the events which in the civilized world would have caused heads to roll-figuratively-at the very least.
Kharotabad incident – 17 May 2011
On 17th May, in an area clled Kharotabad in Baluchistan 5 Chechens were shot dead, they were suspected to be suicide bombers and when they refused to stop at a check-post the Frontier Corps personnel shot them dead. At least this is what the first official version was, but the live media footage and investigation carried out later on raised some serious question marks. The 5 Chechens, were all unarmed, they did not have any explosive vest or even a single bullet in their possession. Furthermore, among those 5 was a pregnant lady who was found chained to the spot. If they refused to stop for a security check, then who chained her down?
The official version given by the authorities changed within hours and by the next day an inquiry was initiated to investigate further but nothing came out of the inquiry and the incident was hushed up. It is apparently very clear that those 5 Chechens were unarmed and peaceful. The live tv footage showed them pleading for life, but no mercy was shown.
Fine, we can understand that given the security situation of the country the FC soldiers “might” have made an error of judgment. But this asserts my point that “uniformed” men feel immune from everything. Not all of them, but surely a single bad fish spoils the whole pond. 5 innocent lives were brutally ended because of an error of judgment? If these people were unarmed then exactly how did the FC soldiers feel threatened to the point that they opened fire indiscriminately at them?
Model Town Massacre – 17 June 2014
There is a lot of content here on the model town massacre, simply click on the highlighted text. Without going into the background and context of the massacre, let us just get straight to the point.
Over 100 people were injured and 16 were shot dead in broad daylight by Punjab police, this was by far one of the worst acts of state terrorism in Pakistan. The men and women who were injured and shot dead were unarmed and activists of a political party calling for a change of system and reforms in Pakistan to end the era of nepotism, loot, plunder and corruption.
Among the 16 dead, there were 2 women who were shot in their faces from point blank range by Punjab police officials and one of the slain women was pregnant. So once again, it is the same cycle which was repeated. Men in police uniform, massacred unarmed and peaceful civilians with impunity because might lies in the uniform. To this day the planners and perpetrators of the massacre have not been apprehended, because obviously they enjoy state protection.
So-called “Religious cleric” abuses a woman on live TV:
This guy, who is a so called religious cleric and a politician abused a woman live on TV. His conduct shows that he probably bunked all of his classes on how Islam stresses upon conversing with women. This clip however did not spark outrage, no one came out to condemn his suicide attack upon Islamic ethics, instead people were over joyed because finally someone abused Marvi Sarmad live on TV. Marvi Sarmad is famous for her liberal views, but this in no way justifies abusing her either on or off camera. Debate! Is the word which Pakistani`s sadly do not process very well. If you do not agree with her views then debate with her and that is it. What this man did, basically shows the inherent nature of many Pakistani men, when they can`t argue they drop down to abuses.
Did she provoke him? I don`t think so. Then why did he start hurling abuses at her? Because she is a woman and his primal instinct told him to tread over her. She is lucky he did not have a gun with him, otherwise she might have ended up like those Chechens or the activists of Minhaj ul Quran.
Harassment of Female reporters and women in public gatherings etc:
This unfortunately has become a norm now or perhaps it always was, female reporters are subjected to harassment by people and they mostly go unnoticed unless it happens in a political gathering where the media uses such news for leverage. There are numerous clips of women in political gathering being molested by people whose faces can be clearly seen, but nothing is ever done against such people, instead we lash out against the women for “inciting” this lewd behavior by attending the political gatherings in the first place.
Domestic violence is not even accounted for, the harrowing stories of domestic abuse are almost a taboo and if anyone speaks out, they are labelled as rebels who destroy the social fabric. Really? This society mis-interprets Quran to get rulings of their own choice to abuse women, to marry women with Quran God-forbid in order to save family wealth from being distributed and they come up with labels of rebellion against those who dare to speak out!
This list could have been very lengthy, there are clips which cannot be shown here, incidents which are too explicit to be shared. But they all point towards a single problem and that is our inability to see our own faults. As I said earlier, it is not about uniform versus media, it is about injustice and oppression. We have oppressed our nation willingly, we don`t like to face the monsters in our closet. Every time a problem surfaces, we divert it towards something else. That guard slapped the female reporter not because she tugged on his uniform, but because somewhere deep in his mind he believed that women are inferior and that his uniform will help him get away unscathed. The issue was the way we treat women, but our pseudo-intellectuals or the moral brigade turned it into a matter of Uniform vs media. Which is yet another problem, people in uniform should not be immune, they deserve our respect but this doesn`t mean every individual wearing a uniform is above the law.
As long as we don`t realize our own errors, our own oppression and tyranny we can never achieve any thing. The world will progress and we`ll still be in our dark ages. No nation has ever risen to heights of glory without moral correction, you can have wealth, weapons for defense and resources but without moral correction everything will fall like a house of cards.