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Notification Enforcing Abaya In KP Schools Withdrawn After Social Media Backlash

Recently, the district education officer of Haripur had issued a notice directing all schools to ensure that their girl students cover themselves up. The notice stated that all girls should wear a gown, abaya or chador to cover themselves up in order to protect themselves from any unethical incident.

The move had received widespread criticism on social media, with many claiming that the move was against fundamental rights and would not prevent violence against women.

Activist Roshaneh Zafar took to Twitter to say that the state had no right to decide what women have to wear.

Moreover, lawyer Reema Omer was of the view that dress is irrelevant as even boys are vulnerable to sexual harassment.

Another Twitter user opined that we should focus on women’s education rather than ‘obsessing’ over their bodies.

Some were harshly critical of the move and said that such an action would push society towards the stone age.

Another user expressed opinion on these lines and stated that the ‘Taliban were back’ in KP.

Lawyer Waqqas Mir expressed worry over the fact that the dress of schoolgirls was a priority for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

Meanwhile, the advisor to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on education Zia Bangash backed the decision and said that it was for the girls’ safety. He added that we had to consider our culture when making such decisions.

Yesterday, the notification to enforce abaya in the schools of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa was taken back. The KP information minister announced the decision, saying that ‘purdah’ is a part of Islam but cannot be imposed forcefully.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari took to Twitter to express her support for notification being taken back. She raised the question of why girls should be penalised for the behaviour of boys and that we should not go back to Zia’s time.

She described the withdrawal of the order as ‘sanity having prevailed’.

Many people say that social media has no value and that expressing your resentment and frustration online serves no purpose. However, in this case, people taking to social media did actually result in action from the government.

Furthermore, it is important to note that in cases of harassment, the perpetrators should be penalised instead of the victims. Instead of asking girls to cover up their bodies, boys and men should be educated and disciplined to prevent behaviour which is harmful to women.




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Naya Daur