ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf has slammed civil society activists and women lawmakers for their silence over JUI-F’s chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s remarks against women participants of the PTI sit-in at D-Chowk.

“Why are women lawmakers sitting in assemblies if they cannot raise their voice for the rights of women? Where are the women rights activists? We demand Maulana Fazl to withdraw his statement against women or we will launch countrywide agitation,” information secretary PTI Dr Shireen Mazari told a news conference here on Sunday.

Flanked by President PTI’s Women Wing Munazza Hassan and Nafeesa Khattak, Dr Mazari said that Rehman’s repeated derogatory comments against women activists of PTI were intolerable. She issued final warning to the religio-political leader to ‘mind his language’.

She came down hard on NGOs and women lawmakers for keeping mum over the anti-women statements made by the JUI-F leader, arguing how women activists could bring change in their struggle for women rights if they could not defend the statements against the women lot.

Dr Mazari added that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government led by PTI had allocated record 70 percent funds for improving women education in the militancy-hit province, arguing that it was the reason that JUI-F resorted to anti-women verbal onslaught.

JUI-F, a religious political party and one of the strong political rivals of PTI, has been looking suspiciously at PTI for making women to dance at D-Chowk, the venue where PTI has been staging sit-in against the government.

Soon after Dr Mazari addressed a press conference against Maulana Fazlur Rehman for his derogatory comments against women, spokesman for JUI-F issued a statement belying the claims of PTI for doing anything significant for women in KP.

Jan Achakzai, spokesman for JUI-F said that PTI-led KP government had not given any representation to women in its cabinet. “Why the PTI has failed to give ministerial portfolio to a single woman MPA out of its 12 lawmakers in KP?” Achakzai asked in a statement.

He said that women MPs in KP had not got a single penny for development projects as compared to their male counterparts, adding the JUI-F had not objected to participation of female activists in rallies of other political parties.

“PTI’s sit-in has been turned out some sort of dating grounds for all those girls who would not otherwise get permission to go out of houses,” Achakzai said defending his party’s stance against women participants of PTI’s sit-in at D-Chowk.

However, Dr Mazari warned that women would raise their voice against Maulana Fazlur Rehman, take to the streets and expose his corruption in case he failed to curb his anti-women statements.

INP adds: Dr Mazari condemned the continuing assault on women belonging to the PTI by the likes of Maulana Fazlur Rehman and others in the most obnoxious language that was unacceptable to any decent citizen of Pakistan, especially women. She warned the JUI-F chief that if he did not stop using obnoxious language, women from all over the country would come to streets against him. They vowed to end the politics of ‘Maulvis’ in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the next elections and expose their corruption.

Mazari said for Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s remarks were merely reflective of his own shameful mindset. She said women form over 50 percent of Pakistan’s population and the PTI was in the vanguard of fighting for their rights, while Maulana Fazlur Rehman and his party continued to seek the repression of women.

After all, Munaza and Mazari pointed out, it was JUIF’s Hafiz Hamidullah who had given the shocking call for forcibly marrying off single women between the ages of 35-40. And another JUI-F leader has been advocating child marriages.

The two women also expressed disappointment over the silence of the so-called women rights’ advocacy NGOs against the ranting of Maulana Fazl. “Perhaps this is because PTI’s role models for women empowerment are from our Islamic and indigenous history not Western feminism,” they said.