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Homegooglenews'Misogynistic And Discriminatory': Women Haj Assistants Hit Back At Pak Minister's Decision...

‘Misogynistic And Discriminatory’: Women Haj Assistants Hit Back At Pak Minister’s Decision | World

Islamabad: For the first time in history, Pakistan’s Haj mission will have no female assistants to help women perform the pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, media reports said on Wednesday.

Every year, some officials, including women, from the Religious Affairs Ministry, accompany the pilgrims to provide guidance and assistance and respond to emergency situations.

This year, more than 80,000 pilgrims, including 8,000 women, from Pakistan would perform Haj.

However, Federal Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Minister Maulana Abdul Shakoor has decided not to send women officials with the pilgrims, Samaa TV reported.

The women officers, who were stopped from accompanying the pilgrims have written a letter to Federal Ombudsperson for Protection Against Harassment Kashmala Tariq and called the minister’s decision “misogynistic” and “discriminatory”.

In the letter, the women officials claimed they have been subjected to gender discrimination on the directions of females of the minister who formulated a policy “to ban from performing Hajj duties”.

“The illogical ground of this policy is depriving us from our constitutional right of equality, and… resulted in discrimination (and) caused ridicule to all women officers and officials of the ministry,” reads the letter bearing the signature of seven officials, Samaa TV reported.

The officials said Article 7(A)(ii) of Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2022 defines harassment as: “discrimination on basis of gender, which may or may not be sexual in nature, but which may embody discriminatory and prejudicial mind-set or notion, resulting in discriminatory behavior on the basis of gender against the complainant”.

The officials also acts of resistance of the “lack of” demonstrated by the Secretary who acts as the administrative head of the ministry.

They added that under the ministry’s Rule of Business, 1973, the Secretary is usually bound to implement the Minister’s decision. However, if they feel the decision could cause “injustice or undue hardship”, they may ask the Minister to reconsider it. In case the Minister persists with the decision, the Secretary can request the Minister to refer the case to the Prime Minister, Samaa TV reported.

However, in this case, the matter was referred to the Prime Minister’s Office which directed the Minister’s decision will stand.

The women officials said the “competent authorities” in the ministry have surrendered to the “radical mindset” of the Minister.

(IANS)

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