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The News

Published Date: Apr 24, 2012


Religious minorities are not treated according to the norms and rules prescribed by the Constitution of Pakistan, said researcher, activist and writer Ahmad Salim.
He was speaking at the launching ceremony of Ayesha Salman’s novel ‘Blue Dust: Unveiling Taboos’ organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday. Mome Saleem of the SDPI conducted the proceedings.
Ahmad Salim said that the constitutional provision of religious equality should be incorporated in the body of law also, which at the moment is not treating followers of different religions equally. He said that creative writers think before social scientists. He also referred to stories incorporated in the novel.
He said that women have started struggling which shows a little change in society. Referring to a girl in the novel, he said that being daughter of a Muslim father and Christian mother was an experience for her that she developed guilt and found it very difficult to cope with the situation.
Dr. Fouzia Saeed, activist, writer and director of the Mehargarh, said that every generation in Pakistan has to start from zero. She said such books are good and new generation females should read such books. She said: “We treat women as innocent and they have to pay the price for this ‘innocence.’
She said that characters in the book are very interesting. She said that you get intrigued by the story but in the end, it comes up making strong points.
Maria Rasheed of the Rozan said that the story of the novel is a common happening. She said that reported cases of sexual harassment of women are tip of the iceberg. She said that the presence of discriminatory laws and absence of required laws make minorities, women and children victim and incest results from this. She said that sexual satisfaction of males is at the helm of institutionalising harassment. She said such acts may take place even without economic concerns. She said that shame is there but it is more difficult for boys to share their abuse. She said that blaming a boy for an act perpetrated by an adult only because body behaves in a particular way is wrong and a child seeing physical body behaviour thinks he had a role so may not complain.
Answering a question, Maria Rasheed said that we should impart sexual education to children to face any eventuality. Dr. Fouzia Saeed told a questioner that burden of the act whether abused or abuser may occur to a person may be after years or decades and he or she may think oneself accomplice which may need counselling.
Ayesha Salman, narrating excerpts from the book, said that she saw many injustices that touched her heart as each injustice was leaving indelible mark on her heart and the result was the story of three women, their trials and tribulations in the book.