Monday, January 31, 2011



I greatly admire the stand taken by the Pakistani film star Veena Malik, who is reported in ‘The Australian’ today to have called for women to be freed from conservative dress and the horror of honour killing.

Ms Malik said Pakistan’s culture of fear had intensified since this month’s murder of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer. The Governor was shamefully murdered after expressing his opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy law.  

The Governor was right. There needs to be a proper separation between religion and politics, between Church and State, and laws against so-called “blasphemy” are a blatant attack on the right of free speech and tolerance of different religious convictions.  They should be got rid of, in Pakistan and anywhere else they exist.

Ms Malik pledged to fight for women’s rights.  “Why aren’t men being beaten? Have you ever heard they’ve thrown acid in a guy’s face here in Pakistan?”

Ms Malik said “We should emphasise education and improving the literacy rate, but we’re still stuck in “Look at her, she’s not wearing shalwar kameez (traditional dress), she’s wearing jeans.”

“If a woman is cool with wearing a burka, she should wear a burka. If a woman, being a Muslim, wants to wear jeans, then she should wear jeans.  That’s your right.”

Monday 31 January, 2011
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