Last month, a 24-year-old woman was gang-raped at gun point by two men in Islamabad’s F9 park. The First Information Report (FIR) filed by the victim stated that after she was raped, the assailants gave her Rs1,000 and told her that she should not have been in the park at night.

How did the federal Minister for Human Rights react to this heinous crime? Almost three weeks later, in a televised interview with Nadir Guramani, on the topic of the F9 rape case, Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada said that mothers of ‘tarbiyat’ (good upbringing) do not let their children go out at night. In one breath, Mr Pirzada not only victim-shamed the victim of the rape but he also blamed her mother for not having “properly reared” her daughter.

Clearly, Mr Pirzada has no understanding of what his job entails as the federal Minister for Human Rights. Here is a tailor-made letter of resignation he can sign on his way out.


TO:​​ Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif
FROM:​​ Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada
RE:​​ Letter of Resignation (Federal Minister for Human Rights)

Dear Excellency,

I write to you with the heavy weight of self-awareness on my shoulders. I have come to see that I am a misogynist and therefore I cannot represent fairly and equally the rights of all the citizens of Pakistan.

The term “misogyny” is often linked to woman-hating. The problem with this outdated view of misogyny is that, when it is used like this, it is a circuitous nonsense. As soon as I tell you that I love my mother and my wife, which I do, I have proven to you that I simply cannot be a misogynist.

What I have come to learn is that misogyny is an enforcement system that keeps women in gendered roles. A woman who carves out her own path, or steps outside the role of being a well-behaved, supportive, giving woman, is disrespectable in the eyes of a misogynist and he (or she) is then entitled to put that woman back in “her place” to ensure she complies with the norms and expectations of patriarchy.

In my interview with Mr Guramani, I concurred with the F9 rapists: the woman who got raped had it coming because good girls do not venture out at night. I went one step further and I also blamed the victim’s mother because, clearly, she has not raised a good girl. This justification of rape makes me a misogynist. I wonder if the rapists’ criminal defence will quote my words and use my line of reasoning?

As the Minister for Human Rights, I should have known that Chapter 1 (Fundamental Rights) of the Constitution of Pakistan provides for equality of citizens and “no discrimination on the basis of sex” (Article 25) and that security of person entails that no person shall be deprived of life or liberty (Article 9).

As the Minister for Human Rights, I should have demanded that my own government (and the police) do more to protect our citizens, who have every right to enjoy their liberties, which include taking in the night air, free of fear and discrimination, whether man or woman.

As the Minister for Human Rights, I should have made clear that the rapists are the real and only culprits of the F9 rape and that I stand firmly with the victims, enraged at the violation of their human rights.

I am an embarrassment to the Ministry of Human Rights and I hereby resign, with immediate effect.

Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada