Jeremy Mclellan’s Twitter Reply and Women In Pakistan

It takes a foreigner to remind us that women in Pakistan are not suffering like some in the West think.  This is exactly how Jeremy Mclellan, a foreigner sees Pakistan, in a different light, in a normal way. And that is okay because it proves that Pakistan isn’t a hellhole. 

Yes there is gender disparity, yes there is rape, yes there is a huge percentage of girls out of school. Child marriages happen and cultural taboos on women are rampant as well. Phew. That does seem a lot. Not a lot of positive image to boast you would say.

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But check this out. The Indians, our next door neighbour, despite being literally next door with a lot of history to share as well, are still confused about our culture and especially about the women of Pakistan. Either we take way too much interest in their lives or they don’t at all.

We hear things from the West and some Indian people about Pakistani women:

All women wear burqas

Women are forced to wear a hijab

Sharia Law hinders women from achieving their potential in Pakistan

Pakistan is not really a safe growing place for women

None of the above is entirely true. At least not for certain places, regions and class.

Jeremy McLellan, an American stand up comedian, who has visited Pakistan and has been talk of the town this whole past year,  replied to a biased tweet by a human rights’ activist.

Jeremy Mclellan
via twitter


Below is the biased and misinformed tweet to which the above was tweeted.


biased tweet
via twitter

Sweeping statements like the above where one generalizes the whole women population is only ignorant and nothing else. In a Muslim majority country, there will be many school of thoughts existing. Same is the case with India. In a huge Hindu majority population not everyone will be following a singular school of thought. And we know that every religion in the world is divided into various segments.

So if in the 21st century we make a comment that every Hindu widow is shunned from her society and post a photo of a successful career woman from Pakistan, that would say something about my ignorance.

It becomes ten times more ridiculous when such tweets come from people who are apparently educated but poor at making logical comparisons; case in point of the tweet above.

Similarly we see Pakistan being misrepresented time and again in some of Indian and Western media. Is it simply aloofness and ignorance? Or is it something genuinely thought about?

In the famous US TV series Homeland, the version of Pakistan shown was something new to us as well. There was a lot of talk about how the series season 4 had some serious misconceptions about Pakistan. The scenes from Islamabad and certain dialogues led to an image not entirely accurate. There is a dialogue by the character of CIA chief where Pakistan is called a “shithole” and “…not even a country but a fucking acronym.”

Yes Pakistan has an intelligence agency like many other countries. Yes there is a huge war on terrorism that disrupts the lives of Pakistanis. And yes there are debates on the role of military, the corrupt politicians. But there is also peace and resilience and success stories despite the terrorism. It is this same military fighting a war on terrorism.

The country has sacrificed for the world at large to curb terrorism that isn’t only the product of this land. How and when and why terrorist groups came into being and then kept on getting their fuel to grow has an intriguing and mind boggling history to it; a history that will not exclude role of India or America.

So before people jump onto twitter and social media to bash Pakistan, to bash the status of women in this country with their ignorance and lack of knowledge, just stop. Look at your history as well. No one in this world comes with a clean slate when it comes to world politics, terrorism and wars.