Pakistan, India, Indo-Pak, Pak-Indo, war, terrorism, jingoism, xenophobia, cricket, second class entertainment, weddings, language, land – I've been trying to think of all the things that bring Pakistan and India together. Well, cricket makes even the most peaceful and apolitical of us want to scream down our neighbours. We make fun of each other’s entertainment industries and movies lead to war on social media, in drawing rooms, offices and every inhabitable place of desi adults. We also make fun of each other’s wedding rituals, while the rest of the world looks on in amazement over the eagerness to spend so profligately. In Linguistics, our respective national languages (Urdu and Hindu) are of certain interest, because they are spoken almost identically but are written completely differently; a case of religions dividing or giving rise to "new" languages. And land… well isn't that the bane of our existences.

So what actually brings these nations together – apart from the inherited cultures and traditions passed on by ancestors? Off the top of my head I, and many other women, I am sure, can say: the hatred for women. Oh nothing brings these two cutthroat "rivals" closer than the treatment of women. One cannot possibly tell whether a woman speaking out on her experiences with men and families from her country was Pakistani or Indian.

Getting coaxed into a degree that will make her rishta price higher; Indian or Pakistani girl? "Girls are the last to go to sleep and the first ones to wake up"; Indian or Pakistani elder? "Larki ghar ka kaam karte hi achi lagti hai"; Indian or Pakistani parent? A gathering where girls get food after the boys have been served; Pakistani or Indian gathering? A woman is shamed and ostracised for turning men into harassers and rapists; Pakistani or Indian woman? A woman is matched in marriage to a charsi much less educated than her because "shaadi ke baad sab larke sudhar jaate hain"; Pakistani or Indian woman? Cusses using copulation with female relatives, female body parts, femininity as insult; Pakistani or Indian curse words?

See, men, you make it so hard to tell us apart.

And yes, misogyny is present all over the world but Pakistan and India are of significant interest to me because:

1.    I belong to the "Muslim side" of this equation

2.    Sworn enemy stuff always happening, has been happening

3.    Both countries swear and aspire to be the opposites of what the other country they claim is like

4.    Our men have gone to war against each other multiple times

And despite all the wars, the swearing off of all things neighbourly, us women find ourselves equally oppressed and up against similar structures of power on either side. Our men may oppose each other, fight each other to the death, be each other’s sworn enemies, but they will be taking up arms against women in an almost absolute similar fashion.

Such is the universality of misogyny.

And the funniest part? We women wholeheartedly put up with it, play our part, do our duty to the country. We don't hold back in cursing our neighbour with the same misogynistic slurs as our men. We play along, we internalise as we go by. But tell me why I should hate India with a fiercer fire than I should hate Pakistan? I am an insult, a means of reproduction, an evil, a woman on both sides. Some kilometers to the left or right, I would have had a different passport, sure, but how differently would my life as a woman – and make no mistake being a woman is an experience – have played out?

Recently a male public figure from Pakistan responded in video form to a nationalistic statement from an Indian male public figure at the crux of which was calling him a woman to insult him. I can with certainty say that switching nationalities of the figures would have made no difference to the nature of the insult. Not only do you treat us similarly, you use our beings to insult each other. I refuse to believe that there is no camaraderie amongst you in misogyny, in putting down us women, in showing us our place in your patriarchal nations.

So, Pakistan and India, how different are you? What is all this noise about, if you live out your social lives the same way? If anything, the women on the other side of the border are my only true allies; we suffer the same society and men. How differently from a Pakistani man would an Indian man create problems from me? How differently would my schedule – to step out of the house – be designed if I were to shift to India? How differently would I be compared to my brothers if I were an Indian girl? How differently would I be silenced? How differently would my worth be compared? From the eye of women struggling; struggling to be independent, struggling to live a safe, secure life where their potential isn't decided at the moment of birth, struggling to matter as individuals and not maa-behen of men, you countries and your patriarchal conditions are all the same.

Pakistani and Indian men may claim to hate each other, may want to kill each other, but, as demonstrated every other day, will remain brothers in arms against us women.