By Najeeb Kakar
Many writers and intellectuals boldly write and speak particularly about the menace of terrorism and extremism plaguing the country. Every commoner, religious fanatic, liberal fascist, atheist and feminist is likely to raise their voice against terrorism, extremism, Talibanisation, social inequalities, minorities’ rights, and the growing abuse of human rights. However, very few actually discuss that, why in our society – prostitution has been adopted as a reasonable alternative by thousands of women for the survival of their families. Even though it is not a common issue to ignore, but it should be highlighted via digital and print media to create awareness to grab the attention of influential thinkers who could analyze with being bias and give it a healthy debate, as to watch should possibly be done next and make it happen.
Perhaps most significantly, in Pakistan a large number people are embroiled in prostitution. They have considered it as a viable source of revenue for their livelihood. However, I would like to bare some acrimonious facts about the Pashtun society that how an indigent Pashtun women are entail in this business. Conceivably, the truth may be bitter to Pashtun folks and its highbrows. Nonetheless, it is substantial to feel and see the situation in both the capitalist and proletariat in the Pashtun society. Regrettably, we are so reluctant to waste the ink of our pen to highlight of those who become the victim of prostitution. That being said, I would like to present a historic saga of two insolvent and indigent Pashtun women, whose lives have been devastated socially and religiously.
A woman from KPK was telling her story during a cautious meeting with the Khyber News. She is a Pashtun housewife having seven children, living in a rented house and her husband is an old man incapable to earn enough money in order for them to sleep with full stomach at night. She said that “The ever-increasing poverty has made me vulnerable to this filthy occupation. When we go to anyone affluent for help, we have to pay the price through their sexual desires.” Moreover, she explained that “No woman will sell her self-esteem for the sake of some money. However, only when intensive paucity and the hungry cry of small babies could drive a nail through the heart.” All this happens when a woman would cross every limit to make sure that her children will survive, even it means losing her own self-respect.
She further said that, “None of the Gharratt Mand Pashtun had helped me without fulfilling his lust and sexual needs.” Hence, the utmost scarcity of provisions would compel a respected women of society to become a prostitutes and once they become the part of this, they then lose their honor and become tarnished in the society – in every context. Therefore, leading them to face stigmatization from their peers mainly because people consider prostitution as Un- Islamic and an illegal act. However, they do not help these women from exploitation, economic issues, pre-dominancy and other organized crimes. Moreover when a reporter asked her that, “how much people pay you for this act?” She wept and replied shocking everyone by saying that “Sometimes Rs.500 and sometimes Rs.1000.”
When another woman was interviewed, her story was filled with sorrows that made me very upset and weep, and will never forget them. She started her painful tale with appalling statements. She said that, “My husband got an accident in which he lost his both feet. Which was a sad news for us, because he was the only source of income for their livelihood. But, one year after his accident, Eid came and we had had nothing at home to provide Eid festivities to our children.” She further said that, “My eight year old daughter was weeping for clothes and other Eid essentials.” Unfortunately, she was lacking income to buy things for her children. She shockingly revealed that, “A woman from my neighborhood came to me and said to me that ‘you are in trouble’. She tried to push me towards prostitution, but I refused to do so. She then tried to persuade me by saying ‘if you want your problems to end, come with me.’”
She wept as she said “After that women left, my daughter was crying which then compelled me to go to her home and sell my body for the wishes of my children. The flesh-peddler Madam met me with two Pashtun clients who gave me Rs.1,100 after sexually gratifying them. After that painful day I considered prostitution as my profession due lack of income.” It was poverty made her economically vulnerable, leading her to a profession that disgraces her.
Meanwhile, Dr Basharat Hussain the chairman of social work department Peshawar University, said that “There are multitude of reasons that force women into such a profession, such as; poverty, pre-dominancy, financial issues, where the mafia and gangsters are involved in form of organized crime. Lack of economic opportunities for women could also force them to adopt illegal ways to earn money for their survival. The first main concern about prostitution is that how these women get lured and trapped. These gangsters cajole them through various means to use them for this illegal business. The second main concern about prostitution is that it is exploitative. As presented typically in movies, prostitutes typically work for a pimp or a madam who takes a sizable cut of their income. This is exploitative is because the prostitute is doing the hard work while the pimp/madam is taking an unfair share of the proceeds.”
Most intriguingly, a paper has revealed some unpleasant facts prevailing the Pashtun society in which Khans, Nawabs, and Sardars exploit these women not for their personnel benefits and sexual desires, however, this article revealed how a deprived needy women could have been diverted towards prostitution – possibly through society and the environment around them. It also wrote about the feasible social causes, cultural recoils, trickery, lured or trafficked predicaments and societal pressure which inclined women towards prostitution.
As I wrote this piece I wept. My tears were streaming down my face and wet my paper as I was writing, because I could understand why these injustices were happening in our Pashtun society and what can we do to fix them? Let’s all hope we can play a part in making things better.
Najeeb Kakar is a freelance writer and researcher interested in politics, society, history and terrorism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on Twitter@najeebkakar19 and Facebook.