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Former CM Sindh Arbab Ghulam Rahim degrades women

16 April, 2013

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KARACHI: Politicians and members of civil society organisations have severely reacted over the statement issued by former chief minister Sindh and head of the People's Muslim League, Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, which he issued the other day.

Rahim, while talking to media persons in Mirpurkhas after meeting with senior Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader and former federal minister for religious affairs Syed Khursheed Shah, said that he is not in favour of women rulers and women should be kept within four walls. The previous government brought women out publicly and included them in the government.

"In societies, where women come out of their homes in public, birth of children born out of wedlock becomes common," a local Sindhi newspapers quoted him. Condemning the statement, PPP Sindh secretary general Taj Haider wrote a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), pleading ECP to warn Rahim for issuing such statements.

"Rahim has tried to degrade womenfolk by saying that they cannot rule, that they should be kept within four walls of their homes and has attributed the most derogatory remarks about their morality, which we do not find proper to repeat. These utterances violate the code of conduct, the law, the constitution as well as the teachings of our faith which gives equal status to all, irrespective of their gender," said Haider in the letter written to ECP.

Dr Rahim had already given a controversial statement against former prime minister Benazir Bhutto on Oct 27, 2007 after a bomb attack on her caravan on October 18, 2007 near Karsaz Karachi, that drew severe derision from all quarters. Later on, angry PPP Jiyalas had hurled a shoe in Sindh Assembly, when he was still serving as Sindh chief minister, for his statement against Benazir Bhutto.

The Women's Action Forum (WAF) and Aurat Foundation, on behalf of the whole Civil Society strongly condemned his statement and requested the Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G Ebrahim to take serious notice of the issue and cancel Arbab Rahim's election papers.

"In his statement Rahim has openly insulted and degraded the status of women in Pakistan. It has been internationally acknowledged that the women play an important role not only in the societal development but also in the economic development of a country.

All the political economists agree that no country can make progress without the active participation of its women in all walks of life. His statement has not only wounded the women's emotions and dignity but also damaged Pakistan's reputation on the global front," said a statement jointly issued by WAF and Aurat Foundation.

In another statement, the National Organisation for Working Communities (NOW Communities) has condemned former CM Sindh Arbab Ghulam Rahim's statement against the role of women in the society and demanded the ECP to take notice of the issue.

"The statement of former CM is condemnable and the ECP should take notice of the issue," said NOW Communities Executive Director Farhat Parveen. She said women have played a vital role in the progress and prosperity of the country and Asia's first and twice elected woman prime minister late Benazir Bhutto was also from here.


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