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Women Lawer Forum seeking equality, Editorial

The Women lawers forum, Karachi issued the following statement in persuence of respect and equality for women in Pakistan.

WOMEN LAWYERS CALL OUT CHIEF JUSTICE FOR SEXISM & MISOGYNY

Statement issued by Women Lawyers Association, Karachi – 22 Jan 2018

On January 13, 2018, Honorable Chief Justice Saqib Nisar spoke at a judicial conference in Karachi in which he compared the quality of a speech to the length of a woman’s skirt: “It should not be too long that one loses interest and neither too short that it doesn’t cover the subject.” This is a quote attributed to former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, “A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.”

The subject in question, of course, would be a woman’s legs and genitals. It is disappointing to hear the highest judicial authority in our country using women’s bodies to illustrate a point about public speaking in this manner. It is especially a setback for women lawyers who practice in a male-dominated profession, as it is such statements that cause alienation and marginalization of women in the legal field. Given the global conversation today about the impact of discrimination on women’s lives, ranging from casual sexism in the workplace to sexual assault, the statement is particularly tone-deaf, tasteless, and unbecoming of the Chief Justice of any country.

As lawyers, we understand the need to exercise discernment in our choice of language and in whose words we allow to shape ours. The legal community emulates the Honorable Chief Justice’s example, and his use of a demeaning quote about women further reinforces attitudes that harm women within the legal community in a country where women face many everyday struggles. Furthermore, Winston Churchill died in 1965 and held values we now consider abhorrent: Like many of his peers, he saw the white race as superior, opposed the Indian independence movement, and did not believe women should have the right to vote. Surely, we need not look to our former colonial masters for advice on public speaking that reflects antiquated values educated people in their own country would reject today.

We, the Women Lawyers Association, hope that those in positions of power in Pakistan will choose their words with greater care in the future. Let us not forget that Jinnah envisioned a nation in which women and men would work side by side as equal citizens.

We also indorse their demand but the logic and argument they have put forward is highly questionable for their cause.

As they are arguing that founder of Pakistan has founded this country with equal rights and oppertunities for men and women, so there should not be any discrimination among citizen of Pakistan based on gender. Well said and well placed argument but this women lawers forum must be knowing that Quid e Azam had same vision and stance for religious minorities and sects and he caegorically said that you may belong to any sect or religion but in the eyes of state you are equal citizens of this state Pakistan.

But now, the constitution of Pakistan, which you have read as a subject in your LLB course, has this unconstitutional and inhuman 2nd ammendment which at the preamble level is denying this equality and respect of  citizenship from 1973, onwards and all of you are well aware of its fragile nature as per rights and respect of the citizens.

Now you do demand protection for your rights and respect from state institution but seek some other leagal and constitutional tool.

This is being used and misused by many respect and rights seekers and activists but it hatches no chicks now. 

Ladies, this is not egg, it is a pingpong ball


Women Lawyers Association
Karachi, Pakistan

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