Another week, another spate of unregulated insanity. Never a dull moment! The government has finished another democratic term, which is both unprecedented and excellent. Our democratic process is creaking along, whether thanks to the usual peripheral interference remaining there or better practice at governing. One tends not to look a democratic horse in the mouth. The real challenge now is wrangling with our caretaker this-and-that. So many chaperones for so many positions, you’d think you were in a Regency novel or a British Raj type scenario where no young lady was allowed to be anywhere alone. Our PM seat, the CM seat and so forth cannot remain empty, and strangely instead of just timing our elections properly so the new representative takes over from the old seamlessly we prefer giving everyone a chance to play, like the world’s most egalitarian and hippy-dippy preschool.

Preschool also seems to be an apt parallel to draw, given the events of the past week or so. The two parties have been nominating people and then taking it back. There are no “try balls” in real life games, people. You don’t get to say “two times” when you clearly employed bad running strategy and now are in a corner and use two-times to escape your certain capture. So when two parties, one running the show and the other desperately wanting to, get together to make certain decisions then one would assume everyone would come to the table prepared. When you don’t, changing your mind only makes you look feeble-minded and disorganised at best. That in itself, if one were feeling generous, could be excused as a dimwitted mistake. But if, when musing over a replacement the best you can do is Orya Maqbool Jan, professional misogynist, then we have a definite problem.

That problem is further aggravated when Great Leader is seen inducting convicted rapists to the fold, for example. Not your garden variety rapist either, who quietly assaults housemaids and then makes them disappear, but a full-blown, death penalty dodged gang-rapist who is now wearing a tricolour party scarf and beaming at the camera. It also doesn’t help when another young stalwart of the party, more loyal than the king, proudly and publicly tweets about how he has had certain private email accounts “independently hacked” in order to leak private emails to the public to prove what a bad, treacherous and underhanded woman Great Leader’s ex-wife is. It does nobody any favours to declare to the entire world that you are a thief who has broken the law to prove someone else’s skulduggery. This is what “cutting off your nose to spite your face” means, not loyalty. And like one indulges a spoiled baby, the party seems to look the other way.

But what it means, irony and sarcasm aside, is that a party that wants to rule the country is completely devoid of any awareness of ethics or moral correctness. We are still the nation that elected a woman to the Prime Minister’s office, and look at where we are now. As a woman, a party that does such little due diligence before inducting new members to it, or has no standards of decency for its workers is a party that cannot be trusted to protect me or my rights. Whoever calls the shots in a party that could seriously consider a lowlife like Mr Maqbool Jan for CM is someone who is either extremely innocent or couldn’t care less about trusting a man who thinks women enjoy being beaten. One thought it would be a cold day in hell before one ever said something nice about the tree-cutting, heritage destroying Khadims of Punjab, but one has finally been driven to say it: at least they have tried to make an effort, even if only for appearances sake, to help women. We have officially hit rock bottom if now one has to be grateful for a subsidised scooter because while it is just band-aid for a massive wound, it isn’t as bad as the possibility of a pardoned rapist being a minister of state one day.


The writer is a feminist based in Lahore.