LAHORE: The government representatives on Friday took the flak after a guard at the Minister’s Block of the Punjab Civil Secretariat stopped a woman from entering the premises without a dupatta on her head.
The issue surfaced when a woman uploaded a video on social media showing that a guard had prevented her from entering without a dupatta. It shows the guard telling the visitor that the orders had been orally given by Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid and Chaudhry Zaheeruddin from the Public Prosecution Department.
Both of them vehemently denied issuing any such order and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf, through its official account, also condemned the allegation.
Dr Yasmin Rashid tweeted: “This is quite absurd indeed! Neither has such an instruction been given nor is it possible to discriminate against anyone on this pretext. Have taken notice of this. The guard has been investigated and a show cause notice is being issued to him.”
Her party page also supported her tweet: “The Minister @Dr_YasminRashid has not issued any discriminatory orders like this. One should not hurl any blame/allegation without concrete evidence. You may report the incident to concerned authorities.”
Speaking to Dawn, Personal Secretary to Chaudhry Zaheeruddin denied the involvement of the minister, and said whoever had done this was involved in character assassination.
“Thousands of people including women of all ages and attire enter inside everyday, and no one is told this,” he said. “Someone is playing a prank of some kind for tarnishing our image,” he said, adding “there are no such rules and no such orders.”
Social media user Sidra Butt posted a video saying she had gone to the Minister’s Block to find out veracity of an earlier claim she had heard about not being allowed inside without a dupatta and she found it to be true.
“Went to the Minister’s Block, Civil Secretariat lhr today coz I heard of this issue that you can’t enter without a dupatta. They refused me too. I asked for written orders and there were none. They used your name ma’am @Dr_YasminRashid . You can see. @PTIofficial #NayaPakistan”.
She said she also asked politely for the written orders but was told that the orders had been orally communicated.
The guard in the video says the orders were given by the health minister after a woman came earlier, ‘inappropriately dressed’. He said that after that incident Dr Rashid had told the guards not to allow entry to any woman who had not covered her head. Punjab Commission for the Status of Women chairperson Fauzia Viqar said, “instead of controlling how men should behave, women are controlled as always. Society needs to train its men if gender violence and discrimination is to end.”
In a somewhat similar case, the Punjab University administration on Friday directed the Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology (IBB) admin officer to remove the notice directing the girl students to wear dupatta on the premises of the institute.
A notice was signed by IBB Administrator Muhammad Rafiq in which the dress code for both boys and girls was defined and adherence was asked for.
The notice prohibited the boys from wearing shorts or ‘casual clothes’ and instead allowed pants and shirt or shalwar qameez only and girls were restrained from wearing shirts short of knee-length, and nothing other than a shalwar or trouser was allowed.
PU Registrar Dr Khalid Khan told Dawn that they had removed the notice and would take disciplinary action against the administrator who posted it. Quoting the administrator, he said the notice was posted on the direction of the head of the department, Dr Saima Sadaf.