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How the #MeToo Movement became the voice of change in Pakistan

The #MeToo movement may have started in the US but its effects were felt in Pakistan. It may not have made waves in Pakistan but the trickle effects are felt even today.

On International Women’s Day the world comes together to celebrate women and their struggle for rights. SAMAA Digital takes a look at some milestones that the #MeToo movement has been able to bring about in Pakistan.

Director Jami Mahmood stands up against sexual misconduct

On February 21, director Jami Mahmood took another step after being vocal in his defence of victims of sexual harassment.  In a post on social media, he vowed that his production company Azad Film will no longer work with any individual who supports those accused of sexual misconduct.

“Azad Film Company decides not to hire any actor for TVC or film who supports sexual predators…”

Patari’s CEO steps down

On April 11, 2018, Khalid Bajwa, the CEO of local music streaming giant Patari, was made to step down following harassment allegations made against him by two young women.

Following his resignation, a two-month audit was also initiated and multiple staff members resigned because they said the values of the organisation no longer matched theirs. The company lost six of its core members following the allegations. In their last statement, Patari wrote that Bajwa has been removed from any role connected with the company.

Bahauddin Zakariya University suspends teacher  over sexual harassment

On December 16, 2018, Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) suspended a professor accused of sexually harassing his student after she recorded her statement before an inquiry committee. Assistant Professor Wasif Nauman reportedly harassed his student by sending ‘indecent’ videos.

The agriculture department teacher was previously kidnapped by the varsity’s students for allegedly teasing girls, however, he was released after the administration’s intervention.

PTV’s current affairs director removed

On November 1, 2017, PTV’s then director of current affairs, Agha Masood Shorish, was removed from his post over multiple accusations which include harassment, nepotism and negligence in the broadcasting of breaking news.

A total of five inquiries were initiated against Shorish, including three for sexual harassment.

Unfortunately, there are also numerous cases in which action hasn’t been taken. The #MeToo movement has shown Pakistan the potential for great change in society but at the same time uncovered many areas where not enough is being done to protect women.

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