Mukhtar Mai – Media and Misogyny

My piece for DAWN


As if the showering of rose petals on Mumtaz Qadri and the release of a new Urdu book ‘Parwana-i-Shama-i-Risalat’ extolling him were not enough, Mukhtar Mai’s plight in today’s Pakistan is simply depressing.

Within hours after the Supreme Court’s split verdict on her was announced, Pakistan once again appeared as a divided polity. The medieval minds in media and intelligentsia were quick to harp on the soundness of the Court’s verdict while those who were sympathetic to Mai’s cause were dismayed.

Such divisions are rooted in our social structures, history and more recently the ideology sponsored by a national security state which plays up a patriarchal protector, eulogises a male saviour and renders the feminine invisible.