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Poll Results: Pakistan’s image and women’s rights

Posted on July 15, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, ATP Poll, Law & Justice, Society, Women
21 Comments
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It seems that ATP readers believe that the most important things that can be done to improve Pakistan’s image in terms of women’s rights need to be done in Pakistan.

Most importantly (46%) in terms of repealing the Hudood Ordinance and other laws that restrict women’s rights; and in societal education in terms of changing the behavior of Pakistani men towards women (27%). A significant proportion (17%) felt that the most important thing is to highlight the many rights that Islam gives to women. Another 8% felt that the thing to do is to aggressively publicize positive news about Pakistan women, while 1 reader opted for launching a ‘charm offensive’ on the subject as the most important thing to do. (See original questions, here).

Even more important than these statistics was the spirited discussion on the post. The two strong conclusions that came out were:

  1. The focus of what we do ought to be improving the real lives of real women in Pakistan and the ‘image’ question could become a distraction women, especially from the challenges faced by rural and poorer women (for excellent discussion on this, see this post on the blog Boundless Meanderings).
  2. To the extent something needs to be done about the ‘image’ question, everything on the list of questions ought to be done simultaneously; although the most important things are those that change the situation on the ground.

Overall, I felt that our first experiment in having an ATP Poll went quite well. The quality of the discussion was excellent, and a reasonable number of responses (52) were recieved over the day-and-a-half that the poll was up. Of course, this is not really a scientific sampling; there is an obvious smaple bias in terms of who visits this blog; and there were only the minimal design controls. Therefore, I make no claims to broad representativeness. However, I do feel that the results are indicative of how a significant subset of Pakistanis–in Pakistan and abroad–feel.

As many of you noticed, the poll had to be removed quite early and I fear that it got only about half the votes I had estimated (largely becasue it seems that our weekend traffic is quite different from weekday visitors, and weekend visitors did not get a chance to vote). I apologize for this technical glitch–it turns out that the website that the poll was hosted by restarted teh tabulation suddenly on day 2 for no real reason. Since resolving this was beyond the technical ability of this web neophyte, I just pulled the poll and have tabulated the last results I had recorded. I assume, the results could have been different had more people (espeically our weekend visitors) had a chance to vote; but you still do have a chance to continue the discussion here.

21 Comments on “Poll Results: Pakistan’s image and women’s rights”

  1. MSK says:
    July 15th, 2006 12:32 pm

    Glad to see this. I had begun to wonder if there was a sinister reason for the disappearance of the poll (I guess we are all conspiracy theorists at heart)! I think the message is clear. Change the reality, and the image will itself become better.

  2. André Fournier says:
    July 15th, 2006 12:41 pm

    ‘…other laws that restrict women rights; and in societal education in terms of changing the behavior of Pakistani men towards women (27%).’

    Is ‘women rights’ an example of Pinglish or simply a typo? I ask because in the sub-heading to your article you have ‘women’s rights’.

    Also, I wasn’t aware that Pakistan had switched from British spelling to American. Is there a reason for this?

  3. July 15th, 2006 12:53 pm

    Thank you André. ‘Women rights’ was really a typo, but maybe it will also become Pinglish if I use it often enough ;-) I have changed it (hopefully correctly) where I could, but not in the graphic … too much work, and as we say in Pakistan: ‘gall samajh aa-ni chaiye’ (as long as you get the gist of the meaning!’)

    On American vs. British English. I write mostly in US English, because I am based in the US. Meanwhile, as you have noticed, we are trying to develop a variey all our own: Pinglish.

    Thanks, again, for visiting. Do keep coming back.

  4. July 15th, 2006 1:46 pm

    An excellent post! an extremely relevant issue. The repeal of Hudood ordinance is only the first (and a very crucial) step in what really needs to be done.

  5. YMA says:
    July 15th, 2006 3:32 pm

    Repealing Hudood may be a good idea, but it is not goin to do anything to our image. The west just does not like us and whatever we do, they will stay the way they are. so, why try to appease them when it will not work?

  6. Khalid_s says:
    July 15th, 2006 4:07 pm

    Dear YMA, should we not be worrying more about the plight of our own people, our women, more than our image in the West. Isn’t that reason enuf!!! Or are you saying the only reason to do anything about women’s rights is to improve our image!!!

  7. MSK says:
    July 15th, 2006 6:02 pm

    An important finding of this is that only one person things that just having a ‘charm offensive’ will make a difference. I guess, no one though that debating mis-reporting or pressuring media people to write better stories makes a difference. That highlights the main result. What we need to do, we need to do ourselves.

  8. Rameez says:
    July 22nd, 2006 1:16 pm

    I belive in treating everyone equal sadly I don’t think the problem is islamic law its the ppl who implement it. They use it to abuse women and in a country where it can’t be implement its beeter not to have islamic law and just see eveyone as equal.

    Rameez

  9. sahar says:
    August 7th, 2006 8:25 am

    aslam-o-alakam;
    i just want to say that ;
    rulers of the world want to change islam according to their choice, because the actuall problem is not “womens right” for them but is islam. islam do not restric women but restrict crual rulers, which are opperessing poors, thats why they want to change the islam.
    hadood ordinance are not need to change, but need to implement them properly. written on piece of paper they are ok but rulers and leaders never impliment them in the way are their right.
    thaks

  10. sahar says:
    August 7th, 2006 8:42 am

    islam is the only religion which give a women its best and properiate position. islam give everything a balance according to its nature. it gives women a balance and best position, not like some asian countries including sub-continent which make women weak and opperessed and also not like some euorpeans countries which make women a “show-piece” and disgusting.
    in pakistan people treat with women in the way they want to treat, but put on this the labol of islam that islam let them to treat in that way. they are un-educated and “silly” people, which don’t understand islam but use “islam” name to do that un-islamic acts.

  11. sahar says:
    August 7th, 2006 8:44 am

    islam is the only religion which give a women its best and properiate position. islam give everything a balance according to its nature. it gives women a balance and best position, not like some asian countries including sub-continent which make women weak and opperessed and also not like some euorpeans countries which make women a “show-piece” and disgusting.
    in pakistan people treat with women in the way they want to treat, but put on this the labol of islam that islam let them to treat in that way. they are un-educated and “silly” people, which don’t understand islam but use “islam” name to do that un-islamic acts.
    but in last i wasn’t complete, you must let me to give my viewpoint

  12. Aziz Akhmad says:
    August 7th, 2006 12:10 pm

    Sahar,

    Wa-alaikum salam,

    This is in response to your first comment posted at 8:25 A.M

    You are right, rulers do try to “change” or interpret Islam according to their needs. Not the rulers of the world, though, as you put it, but only some rulers of the Muslim world. Ziaul-Haq comes to mind immediately as an example.

    He was the one who introduced the Hadood Ordinance, which, even according to prominent Pakistani Muslim scholars, is not an Quranic law. The Council of Islamic Ideology also said so. It discriminates against women and the weak. Therefore it needs to be repealed.

    A bad law can never be implemented justly.

  13. September 19th, 2006 2:07 am

    [...] Seems like an appropriate time for an ATP Poll. Previous ATP Polls have sought our readers views on women’s rights and Pakistan’s image (here), on what Gen. Musharraf should do about his future (here), and on which of Pakistan’s past leaders did the most ‘good’ for the country (here). This time we want you, our readers, to do a performance review of Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s years in power. How would you grade Gen. Musharraf’s performance in four key areas: (a) domestic politics, (b) economy and development, (c) governance and reform, and (d) foreign affairs? [...]

  14. mahi says:
    February 2nd, 2007 8:21 am

    Repeal the Hudood laws, but only as a first step. Second would be a societal attitude adjustment that strengthens women by whole-heartedly recognizing them as equal partners in creating and nurturing our world.

    There isn’t any way in the world that Allah would want injustice done to women. So the question of Islam doesn’t even figure here I believe. Ask your heart whats the best way to treat them and surely it will be a more humane way than what currently passes off as ‘rightful’,'illumined’,'islamic’, etc, way of treating them.

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