“The Swat Taliban have also announced that families with unmarried females should come forward in mosques so that the women/girls may be married off — to the Taliban. Or else, they are to be forcibly married (read raped).”
“Whither Swat’s women?” by Qurat ul ain Siddiqui for the Dawn, February 22:
WHAT happened with Shikarpur’s Maria Shah, a recent victim of an acid attack, may be considered as a random act of violence but the degree of resolve and perfection with which misogyny is being systematized in Swat is simply unprecedented in Pakistan.
Banning education for females and specifically targeting girls” schools was, to look at the current situation on the ground, only the prelude to what is turning out to be a conscious establishment of a system of violence and sadism.
With the destruction of over 180 schools in the valley, thousands of female teachers are without a source of income and some 80,000 female students are no longer getting an education.
However, it is not “˜only” women’s education and livelihood that are at stake here. Women can also no longer venture outside their homes without a male relative (definitely a mehram) and it is mandatory for couples to carry their nikah-namaas or they are asking for trouble. The Swat Taliban have also announced that families with unmarried females should come forward in mosques so that the women/girls may be married off — to the Taliban. Or else, they are to be forcibly married (read raped).
So would any Pakistani woman want to wake up the following morning only to find out she’s in Swat? Hopefully not.
The government has done little, if not nothing, to address this “˜institutionalisation” of gender-specific violence in the once idyllic valley. And while a visit to the region by some in the national cabinet was in the offing, the NWFP government’s recent decision to implement “˜sharia” in the area seems highly unlikely to rescue the population from this despotic setup.
What was done to Bakht Zeba, a 45-year-old resident of Mingora and a former member of the Swat district council, should have been enough to serve as a wake up call for those entrusted with the security of our lives and properties.
Zeba’s criticism of the Swat Taliban’s anti-women measures was more than enough to incur the Talibs’ wrath. On Nov 26, Bakht Zeba was dragged out of her Mingora home and was shot in the head after being brutally flogged.
A mere three hour drive (less than 200 miles) from Islamabad, Swat has transmogrified into a horrific embodiment and just when one dares to think that it can’t get any worse, a whole new horrible bunch of stunts is pulled only to keep one’s optimism in check.
The rather recent decree regarding bringing unmarried girls/women to give them away in marriage to the Taliban is a truly shocking one. Going a few more steps ahead than the Afghan Taliban, this group has clearly expressed its disregard for anything and everything with a semblance of civilised behaviour. So really, what form of the sharia will satiate their appetite for brutality?…
Read it all.