For some reason, it is not at all surprising to find out that the thought of “women in jeans” keeps Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman up at night. A visibly distressed JUI-F shared his feelings on the subject during a protest rally held against the PTI-led provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). Maulana revealed to the crowd that jeans-wearing women working for NGOs in Islamabad were running the KPK provincial government. There are three key words in the statement, which do not sit well with Maulana’s vision of a utopia: jeans, women and NGOs. Islamabad, however, he holds very close to his heart. No matter who is in power, Maulana always finds a way to create some room in the capital. As if women in jeans wasn’t scandalous and sinful enough of a thought for his audience, Maulana felt compelled to emphasise that these KPK-running, NGO-working, jeans-wearing woman were…young or “naujawan” as he put it. After all, it’s all in the details.
It is not the first time Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman has revealed his narrow-mindedness before the masses. He also has the honour of declaring that no woman could lead the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Departing from his ‘principles’, which has never been much of a challenge for him, he later joined Benazir Bhutto’s government. He has always been in a love-hate relationship with the West, or the US to be specific. He hates them in public, because it sells, and loves them in private, since it works. WikiLeaks was most cruel to him compared to other politicians who thrive in the art of doublespeak and duplicity. Maulana invited a woman, not young though, Anna Patterson, to a state dinner where he revealed he too has a dream. He sought support from the same western power he denounces as morally bankrupt and evil to become the prime minister of the country.
It is one thing that the heads of the political and religious parties utter nonsense, it becomes even more absurd when other members come forward in defence of the indefensible. JUI-F spokesman Jan Achakzai tried his absolute best to defend the statements made by his chief. Mr Achakzai, who has spent many years in the ‘west’, and prefers to appear in ‘western suits’ in public, lectured everyone over the need for women to dress modestly in accordance with the local norms and traditions. So, it is perfectly acceptable for him to wear a western attire and still claim to me moral and appropriate, but its different rules for women. The fact is that Mr Jan Achakzai and his chief are no one to dictate the dress code for women in Pakistan. They are a hangover from the past. If jeans-wearing women bother them so much, they can always shut their eyes when they see one next time. It will help.