Khalilur Rehman schools women on how to ask for rights
A normal man doesn’t divorce a woman till she is caught in adultery, says playwright and director Khalil Ur Rehman.
These are the women screaming [about divorce] at Aurat March, he says, confident that the posters at Aurat March are “pathetic”.
In a heated debate about the Aurat March on News Beat, SAMAA TV’s anchorperson Barrister Ehtesham Amiruddin cross-questioned Rehman after his statement on divorce and asked what about instances when women are divorced for not bringing enough dowry or for not getting along with their mother-in-law.
Rehman said he is not in a position to define the percentage of women who are abused because he has not “collected data”, but stands with them.
He then went on to says he would like to define what exactly constitutes a “normal” man, but trailed off onto another topic. Rehman says he “hates” all men who bring home a wife for dowry or to please their mothers. But at the same time, he was adamant that such cases are very few.
Journalist Nayab Gohar said tearing posters is not a good way of expressing a difference of opinion. There are better ways.
She said it seemed that because Khalil sb himself, from what he said about helping out his wife with housework, is a progressive man, but he seems to think the majority of men in Pakistan are like him.
‘Mera jism, meri marzi’
Gohar addressed the controversial poster from last year’s Aurat March of ‘mera jism, meri marzi [my body, my choice]’.
“It means our body has certain rights. My body wants to be saved from torture. My body wants that when I walk out into the streets, I am not harassed and catcalled. My body wants that I not be married off at a young age. My body wants that I am not raped,” she said.
But Rehman doesn’t agree.
He thinks the phrase has a very “clear” meaning and it is “disgusting”.
It is an Urdu slogan, he says and “clearly sounds like what it means”. He offered no clear explanation on what he meant by his statement.
Some posters at Aurat March were said not to be within the realms of decency and morality, commented the anchor.
Analyst Yasir Pirzada, another guest on the show, did not understand what people’s issue is with the Aurat March. “If over 2,000-2,500 women get up once a year and march for their rights, why does the entire country get so scared?”
Every society has its norms and we don’t take pride in ours. We are trying to borrow the social setup from outside is all Rehman had to say as an explanation on why he had a problem with the slogan of women having a right on their bodies.
Another slogan he had a problem with was ‘I am divorced, I am happy’. He called it shameful.
Watch the complete show here to listen to the debate on how women “should” and “should not” be asking for their rights.