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February 17, 2020

Moot celebrates legacy of women struggling against repressive forces

Karachi

February 17, 2020

Speakers at an event on Saturday stressed the need to stand united against “patriarchal violence that has engulfed Pakistani society”.

Marking National Women’s Day as ‘Pakistan Women’s Resistance Day’ to celebrate the legacy of women struggling against the forces that repress them, the Women Democratic Forum (WDF), a progressive women’s organisation, organised an event titled ‘Women’s revolution against patriarchal violence’ at the Karachi Press Club. Hina Saleem Mesiya, a WDF member, moderated the event.

Scholar Afia S Zia said that colonial laws and the spread of nationalism promote violence and institutionalise women, promoting otherness instead of addressing violence inflicted on women.

Discussing the materialist basis of patriarchal violence, Abira Ashfaq, an academic and a lawyer, raised the question of gender equality, talking of “systematic basis and structures of oppression that women face”. She also discussed the role of capitalism, imperialism and “the state’s negligence in the economic oppression of women and cheapening their labour”.

Farwa Thallo, the WDF’s federal member and an academic, stressed the need for a continued feminist struggle and presented the forum’s analysis on “overgrown patriarchy embedded within the state structure”. “What can we do to fight it politically, since the issue of patriarchal violence is political?”

She also spoke about the normalisation of patriarchal violence, the societal propagation of invisibilisation of violence “which is socially acceptable” and therefore emphasising that “its existence is part of a feminist struggle”.

Laila Raza, the WDF Karachi president, concluded the discussion and said that the event evoked “a sense of socialist spirit for the violence within working-class communities”.

After the panel discussion and question-and-answer session, members of the WDF-Karachi held a theatrical performance titled ‘Boli’ which spoke of the oppression of women and the burden they are forced to carry in society.

Aabida Ali, the WDF Sindh’s information secretary, and other members sang revolutionary songs to celebrate the political struggle of women in Pakistan. A large number of political workers, women rights activists and students attended the event.

National Commission of Human Rights’ former member Anis Haroon, Sindh Commission of the Status of Women chairperson Nuzhut Shirin, and Tehreek-e-Niswan’s head and art performer Sheema Kirmani were among the participants.