My friend Riffat Naim had come from Lahore to stay with me, to attend a couple of conferences. Of course I opted to drive her around, and ended up in Gymkhana Club of Rawalpindi on 11th of March – over 30 km from my home.
Now that I was there, I thought I might as well enjoy it. My friend tried her best to push me into the projects too, but I was avoiding, as I’m already knee deep in my own projects, and don’t need any diversions at this point. I took along my books and cards to share my friend’s table of Strawberry jams. She makes jams and chutneys which are amazing.
The speeches were to begin inside the hall, so we walked in:
There were several speeches by each member. Shameem Kazmi head of the ABPAW ( Association of Business, Professional and Agricultural women ) started on a very light note, and later became serious. She said that the root cause for women’s problems is in this order:
- Ignorance – jahiliyat. Lack of knowledge which gives her fears, insecurities and lack of confidence.
- Financial and economic weakness. Even when she gets any money she hands it over to others with her generosity, ending up as a pauper again. She needs to learn the value her own earnings. She needs to keep her money within her own control.
- Power of decision making in matters affecting her own life. This includes choice of field of education, career, marriage partner, number of children, choice of professions and so on.
- Dowry: Most women are themselves guilty of propagating this criminal ‘tradition’. Every parent likes to send off their child with something, but it must not be obligatory, nor should it be demanded.
- Corruption: Stop corruption done by your husband. You are in-charge of your home, and make sure nothing illegal is brought into it.
Shameem ended her speech by Habib Jalib where he asks everyone to light his own candle,
” ….. Apnay hissay ki shama jalaein.”