This refers to the news “Ban on entry of maids to elite clubs lifted”, published on Jan 31, 2019. According to the news, “Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday lifted the ban on the entry of maids in elite clubs, including Islamabad club.” What a shame that even in the 21st century we are living in the medieval age; in the period of Pharaohs and kings and monarchs, or in the history of masters and slaves. On reading such news items, every humanity-loving citizen bows his head in shame, as such rules are nowhere found among the civilized and developed world.

In November 2008, in one such column I wrote a letter titled “Maids, servants and pets not allowed” - referencing a sign board I found at the entrance of Defense Club in Lahore. The sight appeared to belong to the period of British rule over India, when “Indians and dogs” were not allowed in certain clubs of the “elite and proud” British rulers of the subcontinent. Thanks to the administration of that particular defense club that, after the publication of my letter, they removed that disgraceful, shameful, dishonorable and hurtful notice from their club’s entrance.

Hats off to the Prime Minister of Pakistan for taking notice of such discriminatory sign boards in front of clubs and other public places that restrict the entry of maids and domestic servants. Surprisingly the “elites” of this country, who are shy of sharing the same place or dining tables with their maids and servants, are those who regularly travel around the world - with their favorite places being Europe and the USA - and in those countries they proudly share the same club, hotel etc. with the “cleaning lady” or the pet sitters visiting their apartments twice or thrice in a week. What double standards do we have? It seems that gone are the days when “Mahmood and Ayyaz” used to be in the same row. The minister of state for interior has very rightly, in a tweet, termed the lifting of this ban as “removing symbols of elitism and colonial mind set”. With Pakistan being an independent country for 72 years, it has definitely been too long a period to get rid of the colonial mindset, and start behaving like human beings. Let us now strive for a society in which all citizens of the country enjoy equal rights, with no master and slave. It’s hoped that in light of the PM’s directive the “elites” of this country will voluntarily come forward and wash out the pride and egoism from their minds, and treat their domestic staff equally as if their family members.

AAMIR AQIL,

Lahore, February 20.