A bevy of Pakistani stars turned up outside the Karachi Press Club yesterday to show their solidarity towards the Lahore motorway gang-rape incident. They protested against the country’s flawed system while also condemning the men involved in such horrific crimes. From Mahira Khan and Sarwat Gilani to Ayesha Omar, Frieha Altaf, Mansha Pasha and Sheema Kermani, the entertainment industry’s leading ladies voiced their concerns over the unsafety and mistreatment of women across the country. Yasir Hussain and Ali Rehman were also in attendance alongside a myriad of other male celebrities. The protest was organized by the trans community to criticize the incidents of rape, killings and harassment in the recent past.
The Raees star made a few notable remarks while speaking outside the press club. She said, “Harassment is everywhere but the problem stems from the mindset which is ‘mei yeh karsakta hoon’. It is a power dynamic which needs to change and everyone needs to understand now.” When asked if the culprit – who sexually assaulted the unidentified woman in front of her children – should be hanged, an agitated Mahira responded with, “I believe that whatever punishment is given to the accused needs to be a severe one. It should not be that when you look at the biodata of the rapist, his records show a ‘previous rape’ incident too.” Echoing her sentiments, Mansha added, “We industry people are here to raise our voices against this terrible motorway incident. This is not just a woman’s issue but it is a human rights issue that needs to be solved in the correct manner.”
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TW: ?? Celebs come out to attend the anti-rape protest outside Karachi Press Club. #ManshaPasha #SarwatGilani #SarahKhan #AyeshaOmar #YasirHussain #AnoushayAbbasi #FriehaAltaf (?: @catwalk_cares) #mediaferternity #Nomercyforrapists #Womenarenotsafe #Childrenarenotsafe #CatwalkCares
PR Mogul Frieha arrived at the venue holding the placard, “We are living in the Islamic Republic. Not the Rape Republic.” While speaking to a journalist during the protest, the former supermodel said, “It saddens me, it angers me to have to raise my voice against such barbaric incidents. I shouldn’t have to organise such protests but I have no other choice since the law and order situation in this country doesn’t seem to get any better.” She continued, “There are similar horrific cases every other day and it’s time we make some noise to put an end to it.” Both Frieha and Gilani feel that the public hanging of rapists is not the solution. According to the latter, what is more important is the introduction of sex education in the school curriculum while also teaching our children how to differentiate between a ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’.
While talking to The Express Tribune correspondent at the Karachi Press Club, Gilani shared, “”I feel it’s high time we introduce sex education in the schools. We need to teach our children what does good touch, bad touch mean. We need to have conversations with our children. We need to raise boys better. There is so much we – as a society – need to learn. Should there be an example set for such a grave crime? Yes. But we need to be more mindful of what the long-term solution might be.”
Yasir was spotted with a poster that really tugged at our heartstrings. It read, “Akeli aurat zimadaari hoti hai, moukah nahi (An alone woman is a responsibility, not someone to be taken advantage of).” Veteran social activist Sheema is of the opinion that “revenge is not the answer, justice is.” She feels that change can only happen when the culprits are detained and punished according to the legal procedure. This was the second peaceful protest held in retaliation to the heart-wrenching motorway occurrence. From Islamabad to Lahore and Peshawar, all cities have been staging rallies to demonstrate their opposition towards the sick-minded men and demanding justice for women from all walks of life.