April 30, 2018

When contemptible street scum actually is contemptible

Abid Sher Ali (left) and Rana Sanaullah (right)
Shireen Mazari uses the word ‘guttersnipes’ to describe the filthy Rana Sana, Abid Sher Ali and Talal Chaudhry of the PML-N. As an upstanding citizen of Pakistan with the moral obligation to tell misogynistic a-holes to go to hell, I stand with her and her choice of words to describe these men.

It all started when Abid Sher Ali in his infinite (lack of) wisdom decided to call Shireen Mazari a ‘tractor trolley’ on the floor of the parliament; the very same parliament where we expect the best of us to go and debate and listen and make laws. Instead of apologizing, he doubled down on his vulgarity and gave a new weapon to PML-N supporters — that it was OK for them to harass and verbally abuse the women of PTI.

It is no secret that the PML-N has always been envious of Imran Khan’s unrelenting popularity in the upper-middle class of Pakistan. This class is educated, moneyed, social, outgoing and constantly calls for changes to the established power structures that we’ve been seeing since the 1980s. So how does the PML-N react to this class? They go after the upper-middle class women by slut-shaming them. In their tiny, regressive worldview, the PML-N yanks think that slut-shaming these women will elicit the same reaction that they would have if somebody slut-shamed their own mothers, wives and daughters — hurt the ego of the men.

But this vileness does not swing from one tree. PTI is also notorious when it comes to lack of women protection. The vitriol they spew against Maryam Nawaz Sharif Safdar, or Ayesha Gulalai, or heck, even Imaan Mazari (daughter of Shireen Mazari) will leave anyone’s mouth agape. It all points to the bigger fact that these men (of the PML-N and PTI) believe it is OK if women are befouled as long as it’s the women of the other side; it only becomes an issue if it’s the women of their own side who are harassed.

I do not expect Rana Sanaullah or Abid Sher Ali to be punished by the leadership of the PML-N. Rana Sana’s foul mouth has uttered unbelievable vitriol in the past without a single hair ruffling on either of the Sharif brothers’ heads. It will be no different this time. What I am happy to see is that instead of the people saying “this is more of the same,” they’ve really taken both Rana Sana and Abid Sher Ali to the cleaners. Rabia Anum of Geo says she will not invite or interview Rana Sana, Abid Sher Ali or any other “misogynist creeps” until they apologize. Imaan Mazari has publicly called out Maryan Nawaz Sharif Safdar, Marvi Memon, Saira Afzal and Shaista Pervaiz and demanded that they stand up to safeguard the respect of their female colleagues.

Will this ugliness make any difference to the political careers of those who foul-mouth women as if they were consuming Rooh Afza on a hot summer day? Most probably not. But if there’s one thing everybody can be proud of, it’s that the conscientious people of Pakistan will not stay silent in the name of such backwardness anymore.