Pakistan: Statement on anti-marathon mania

National Commission on the Status of Women, Pakistan
A strong NO to anti-marathon mania from the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), Pakistan.
The Policy Advocacy Unit of NCSW strongly condemned the attack of religious political alliance on a marathon attended by women and men from different walks of life in a statement issued today. This is sheer usurping of the basic and constitutional rights of women, and the Government should deal with it with an iron hand, the statement said.
Whereas the Commission strongly denounces this act undertaken by a politico-religious alliance, it welcomes Punjab Assembly’s stance on it whereby this incident is termed as “act of terrorism”. The Policy Advocacy Unit said in the statement that NCSW would show its full support to the government in fighting with the obscurantist forces, which use religion as an implement to usurp people’s rights.

Obscenity lies in the minds of those who see women as a commodity for their pleasure, and not as an equal individual, the statement said. It was stated that the said marathon was a sport participated by women and girls from different walks of life as an exercise of their basic right and by no definition it could be termed as obscenity. It would not seem obscenity to them if they start looking at women with respect, it added.

Moreover, the Commission said that gender segregation is not the solution to fight moral bankruptcy in our society; it would rather worsen the situation. Had Islam supported exclusion of women and gender segregation, the Haj would never have included women siding men during this important ritual of Islam.

NCSW hailed the stance of Punjab Assembly and the subsequent statement by the Punjab Chief Minister on the issue whereby the Government of Punjab reiterated that it will not bow down before the bigotry of certain groups, as opposed to the interest of a larger section of society constituted by women. The statement demanded that a notification from the government must be issued to all the district governments advising them not to postpone the marathons. Another issue that has come to NCSW’s notice, is the barring of women from marathons in certain districts. It is, therefore, demanded hereby to notify all the district governments not to take this kind of decisions, which could exclude women from healthy activities.

It was demanded by the NCSW that the culprits of this lamentable incidence should be booked for committing violence against women and every possible measure should be taken to curb such unlawful, disgraceful and appalling incidents in future. This not only humiliates women as an equal shareholder of life and society, but also tarnishes image of Muslims and portrays them as a fanatic nation. The matter should be addressed rather seriously and those involved should not only be punished but also their membership of Legislatures, if any, should be annulled with immediate effect.

For further information please contact:

Marvi Sirmed
Policy Advocacy Officer
National Commission on the Status of Women