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Why are guards saying Dr Yasmin Rashid wants women to wear dupattas at Lahore’s Civil Secretariat?

SAMAA | - Posted: Oct 20, 2018 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
Posted: Oct 20, 2018 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
Women have been stopped from entering the minister's block and the guards say it's because of Dr Rashid

A man is measured by many things – his character, morals and accomplishments. In Pakistan a woman, however, is measured by the length of her dupatta.

A woman named Sidra Butt went to the minister’s block at the Civil Secretariat in Lahore on Friday morning because she heard that security officials weren’t letting women in without dupattas. This claim was proven right.

Security officials stopped her from entering, saying that they were given verbal orders by Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid to stop women who weren’t wearing dupattas from entering the building.

Dr Rashid denied this vehemently on Twitter and said it was “absurd”. After denying that she had given any such instructions, she said the guard’s behaviour was being investigated and that a show cause notice was being issued to him.

She also told SAMAA TV that issuing such directives was not under her domain.

Problem is, when SAMAA TV visited the secretariat, the female reporter was also stopped for not wearing a dupatta, this time by a female officer. Only this time, the officer told the reporter that she should wear the dupatta on her head instead of around her neck.

The officer backed off once the cameras started rolling but before that she also said that Dr Rashid told them to make sure women wear dupattas. We have asked for a written order to post it on the door so that people stop arguing with us, said the guard.

The news of this moral policing took social media by storm.

This isn't the first time women have been restricted from entering this building because of their dupattas or lack thereof. But the PTI's official page was quick to dismiss the news on Twitter. It even tagged the information ministry's Fake News Buster account.

Speaking to SAMAA TV, former Punjab MPA Uzma Bukhari said this is the face of 'Naya Pakistan'. She said Dr Rashid's explanation that she didn't give any such orders doesn't make sense. "Why would the guards make it up? If it was of their own initiative why would they start doing this now?" she asked.

"Who gave Yasmin Rashid the right to pass judgement?" asked Bukhari. She said it is difficult enough for women in Pakistani society without a female minister doing something like this.

She said verbal orders are indeed valid, slamming the PTI's U-turn policies. "I always thought Yasmin Rashid was a reasonable woman but this is too much," she said.

The PML-N leader said it seems like an excuse made up by Rashid to discourage visitors she didn't want to meet. Tomorrow they'll be an order about men's clothing too, she said.

PPP MNA Naz Baloch said there is no law in our country forcing women to wear dupattas so there is no rule or law for these guards to enforce.
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