Facts Reporter

Burqa Brigade in Karachi

Jamat e Islami women wing now harassing karachi girls. Common rooms taken over by the Burqa Brigade’

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
By our correspondent


When Pakistanis go about something, there are no middle grounds. It’s either do or die. Don’t believe it? You should visit only two of the city’s varsities – University of Karachi (KU) and Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) – to get my drift.

The reason why they cover their faces in the girls’ common room where no males are allowed is pretty evident, except of course for the obtuse who need their ‘i’ dotted and their ‘t’ crossed! If those females who do not observe the purdah chance glimpse their face, it will make the purdahnasheens un-pure! Get it?

Time to move on to Sindh Medical College (SMC). Here, one can see some weary first year students walking towards the comfortable, air conditioned common room. They deserve to relax. They have been attending heavy duty lectures from 8.30pm to 10.30pm. It’s their 30-minute break and they need to relax before their next tutorial/demonstration class. But what is it they find? Yes, you guessed it right. The female wing of Islami Jamiat Talba (IJT) is in possession of the girls’ common room here, too.

Slightly daunted, the new comers walk in and settle in a corner unobtrusively. They start talking in hushed tones when the crack of a whip stuns them dumb, “Batain na karain. Yahan dars ho raha hai. Aur jahan Quran parha jata hai wahan batain naheen hotien.” (Do not speak during Dars. You’re not supposed to speak when the Quran is being discussed.) Period.

It seems that girls’ common rooms are taken over by the female wing of a religious political party. They carry out all their activities through these rooms which were intended to offer comfort to students who cannot just sit back and relax wherever they want. According to senior students of the SMC, these girls never attend classes throughout the day, but are promoted to the next semester. Difficult to digest, isn’t it?

What is more bewildering here is the attitude of the authorities. According to a graduate of the KU, they are totally indifferent to the plight of girls, and in some departments they even support such students.

“I don’t even go to the common room. It is a weird place populated with the burqa brigade. One is not allowed to talk there, so what’s the use of even going there?” inquires another KU student.

“We want to write an application to our principal requesting him to allot these girls a separate room for their activities. We are also Muslims, but it is unfair of these girls, who are in a medical college, to infringe on our right to relax. The only problem is: who will bell the cat? Whoever signs the application will have to bear the brunt of their anger,” says a first-year student of the SMC.

In all fairness, the students deserve to spend some quality time to refresh themselves. The students’ wings of political parties should realise the purpose of the common room. They deprive others of space to rest and preach Huqooq-ul-Ibad. But the rights of others is a foreign concept for most of our religious leaders!


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