Monday, May 13, 2013

Article “The Other Half”, written by “Dr Syed Farooq Hasnat and Zamurrad Awan”, Published in “Pakistan Today”, on 9th May, 2013.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Review on Punjabi Play “ Kholo Surt Mat di Bari” Organized by ‘Simorgh Women’s Resource and Publication Centre’

A Review on Punjabi Play “ Kholo Surt Mat di Bari” Organized by ‘Simorgh Women’s Resource and Publication Centre’

On 15th October 2010, a Punjabi play was organized by ‘Simorgh Women’s Resource and Publication Centre’ based upon the findings of an action research project “Ours by Right”. The focus of the play was women’s right of inheritance. The venue of this play was ‘Ali Institute Auditorium, Lahore’. According to the written invitation of the program, the play was to be conducted through a talk and followed by a question answer session with Justice ® Dr. Nasira Javaid Iqbal.
The program started after a delay of one hour, with an introductory note of Naleema Hussain, the coordinator of Samorgh. After the introductory session, Ms.Neleema requested Justice Dr Nasira for her sharing of views on women’s inheritance rights. Dr Nasira, intellectually presented her views focusing the negligence of Pakistani women, over the sensitive issue of inheritance, especially those of women. She enlightened the audience over the proportion of women share in the property of their family as a daughter, sister, wife and even a mother. She further reiterated that women can ask for assistance from court over this issue of inheritance but she should be aware of her rights and she should also make her children aware of their proper rights and responsibilities from childhood. Moreover, she stressed upon the significance of Islamic laws, regarding women share in inheritance, by saying that Islam is the only religion which acknowledges the women equal rights with men but unfortunately our society, due to its patriarchal mind-set is unable to ensure women equality even in such an obvious issues, as inheritance. After the sensitized arguments of Dr Nasira, the theater performance tried to highlight the women share in inheritance, especially in the prospect of rural setting.

After the play, Madiha Gohar, a talented theatre personality was invited to express her views. She disappointed the audience by ignoring the significance of Islamic laws regarding women right of inheritance. She totally disagreed with the views of Dr Nasira and even the views of those performers, who tried to inform the audience about the clear Islamic principles in respect of women inheritance. She further stressed on equal share of women in inheritance instead of the share as described by the Quran. She offended the audience by setting aside the justification of Islam regarding the due share of women in property. Her rather illogical arguments over this sensitive issue were not approved by even her supporters and left the audience in dejection. Before the advent of Islam, the women could not inherent any property and were treated as a house-hold property. Islam granted full share to the male members along with responsibilities regarding their old parents, widowed sisters and other related issues.

According to the program, in interaction and discussion session with participants, when the students from F.C. University and Kinnaird Colleges tried to ask questions over the remarks of Madiha Gohar, but they were “shut off” and the program was concluded by Ms Neelma.

It was completely an inappropriate way to conduct a program, particularly in which the comments of audience (students) were neglected. Moreover, to make this program effective, there was a need to highlight the issue of women inheritance in both rural and urban settings with the addition of academic discussion, accompanied by moderate views.

Shehzadi Zamurrad Awan
Senior Lecturer at Political Science Department
Kinnaird College for Women