Who Says Muslim Women in Pakistan are Docile ?

Two women officers, who have emerged as superstars in the otherwise pliant and evasive bureaucracy, have made a hell of a difference in Punjab because of their bold and resolute commitment. They fear none and lay hands on the high and mighty in the business world, who are otherwise untouchables as they are well-connected and have overbearing customers to entertain.

Of the two Aishas, Aisha Mumtaz, Director, Operations of the Punjab Food Authority (PFA), has outshined, and is continuing to earn kudos from all and sundry. She has been aptly described by some as a ‘dhabang’ (powerful) officer. Her daily raids and actions awfully lay bare what kind of confectionary and bakery items and overall food produced by even top class hotels and meat we are consuming. Her detections expose the repulsive and heartless minds, knowing no norms but greed. Her practical drive has established beyond an iota of doubt that the food industry is thoroughly adulterated and contaminated and even poisoned in some cases.

She has given a lie to the notion that women are docile and can’t act decisively or deliver when given tough assignments to deal with influential people. “So far, thousands of raids have been conducted by the PFA; action has been taken against the outlets found to be not following the hygiene standards,” the official said.

The way the apparently down-to-earth lady is performing her duty is akin to a movie scene and not something that is happening in the real world.

The other woman officer, Aisha Ranjha of the Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA), has also moved determinedly against fashion designers’ outlets, which are visited only by affluent people. What to speak of paying taxes by them, they have not even registered themselves with the PRA. This is not something unusual in a culture of bemoaning all the time over others’ inefficiencies but not doing their bit.

It is being hoped that as Aisha Ranjha will act more. Her actions have also been universally acclaimed.
“Several businesses are earning a lot of profit but not even registered as taxpayers. It is a crime, reflecting the situation of not abiding by the law of the land,” Aisha Ranjha says.

Apart from the excellent work being done by the Aishas, Punjab also tops all the provinces in having the maximum number of women secretaries of ministries. It has six female secretaries while Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) have one each. Balochistan has no such officer. The female secretaries posted in Punjab include Umbreen Raza, Special Education; Irum Bokhari, Higher Education; Bushra Aman, Human Rights; Aman Imam, Women Development; Ismat Tahira, Archives; and Saima Saeed, Special Secretary to Governor.

A 33pc quota for women has been allocated in all Punjab government institutions, boards, committees and taskforces, and 25pc in the Punjab Public Service Commission. Daycare centres have been established in educational and government institutions so that married women could leave their children somewhere safe while they work. For the first time, a female has been appointed as ombudswoman. In addition, the quota of female in government jobs has been increased to 15pc from 5pc. Besides, both husband and wife, if they happen to be government servants, are entitled to house rent allowance.

Women’s inheritance rights have been strictly ensured.

Courtesy: The News International

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