Sexual Harrasment Women Face While Using Public Transport in Pakistan

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The condition of public transport in Pakistan is not even close to a satisfactory level. Daily commute for an average Pakistani woman is through public transport buses. But commuting through these public buses has become considerably difficult because of the unwanted attention and indecent remarks.

The public transport system in Pakistan comprises of Qinqis, rickshaws, taxis and buses. Now, seeing the buses of our country which are big enough to accommodate everyone, but here comes gender discrimination, only the front TWO seats of the bus are reserved for women while the entire bus belongs to men. Despite the fact that there is an increasing trend of working women in Pakistan.

The problem is not the limited amount of seats; the problem is the ogling men and their remarks. We ladies don’t have separate buses. Oh, I actually forgot we did have that facility the “Women Only Bus Service” which just survived for a couple of months, but then fell victim to non-funding and the dear “Metro Bus Project”, so the Rawalpindi Transport Authority (RTA) shut it down.

Those buses were a light of hope for women, finally we felt safe, secure and free from those offensive remarks. But then again this is Pakistan nothing can work properly in this country. So after three or four months of secure transportation without being harassed or verbally abused, we were back to those same  old buses with staring eyes and the hilarious songs of Altaf Raja from the 90’s “tum toh theray pardesiLet’s move forward, the indecent remarks and the non-blinking eyes are for the male passengers, but have you ever wondered what we women face in those front two seats where the “Tarzan” type conductor (climbing the windows) and the “Knight Rider” type driver stay.

I’ll tell you the driver has several mirrors which are primarily for keeping an eye on the traffic and seeing whether the passengers have got down or not. But, you will find it interesting that those mirrors aren’t used for that purpose. It’s used to see the ladies sitting behind his seat; the driver adjusts every mirror in such a manner that he can see the ladies sitting behind him from every angle. Wouldn’t it be good if he keeps those eyes on the road?

Now, comes the “Tarzan” conductor this guy is responsible for collecting the bus fare, but he is not liable to return the change, I mean come on you give them a Rs. 20 note and you will not get the Rs. 5 coin back. Did you forget you are supposed to pay for his tea?

Public transport is a menace to women, men don’t respect us they consider our dupatta as a towel, they will keep a close watch on their own sisters not being harassed but will do the opposite thing if you are somebody else’s sister.  They will physically harass a woman or pass indecent comments to the extent where they are about to get a slap and I honestly think they should. Travelling as a passenger is one thing, these men don’t even respect the hostess in bus services like Daewoo, which is considered an upper-grade bus service.

My question for all those men out there who do this, how would you feel if someone does the same with your sister or wife? For once, place yourself in our condition and feel the agony and embarrassment, which we suffer every day. It’s understandable for us that the drivers and conductors are not literate (but I guess literacy doesn’t have anything to do with respecting women), at least men from literate families should not behave like illiterates. If you want your sisters, mothers, and wives to stay safe and respected without any harassment, then why don’t you implement it for the other women as well. The day these issues are addressed and fixed, other things will start getting better on their own.

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  1. Alpha Bravo says

    I don’t agree with this “literacy doesn’t have anything to do with respecting women”

  2. guest says

    What an absolutely absurd piece of writing. The author doesn’t know whether to blame the transport system, or the issue of literacy/illiteracy or the wild nature of men! In one sentence, she blames all the three? I’ll bet she has never had the misfortune of travelling in public buses.In the last para she is about to ask a question and ends up giving an opinion!. A writing based purely on hearsay.

  3. asad says

    + Harrasment of women esp. as a bus hostess . this is more common.

  4. Sarah says

    all three of those things combine to become one huge issue….

  5. Bilal Qureshi says

    Her points still stand. How is her writing hearsay when women have had the same complaints for decades about their treatment on Pakistani public transport?

  6. Sarah says

    you really think literacy has to do something with giving respect to women, let me put it this way aik jahil ganwar insan bhi apni maa, behn aur biwi ki izat krta bhi hai aur krwata bhi hai……so in short respect is not related with literacy.

  7. Altaf Raja says

    Looks like she has hit a nerve or two here. Do you also do this kind of stuff in public transport?

  8. Xoheb says

    The problem is quite simple in short: there’s no Accountability of men who do this

    Solution: the Pakistani society will never accept it, it would disrupt their Entertainment, aside from saving them from the deepest fires of Hell

  9. Xoheb says

    problem: bad mothers and fathers raise the good Children, which grow up to become the Worst Citizens i.e. more animalistic in nature, letting their instinctive impulses guide in all walks of life.

    solution: too much work for the parents, that are too busy earning enough livelihood to make sure their families dont sleep hungry at night!

  10. Alpha Bravo says

    you are right to some extent but education makes a person decent and that directly relates to his/her interaction with the society

  11. Danish Sohail says

    I live in Lahore and I have used public transport a lot last year, yet I didn’t see any harassment issues as you have mentioned above. Though I heard about that Daewoo incident, yet I travel every week in Daewoo and I haven’t witness any issue till yet. With due respect, men shouldn’t be blamed as whole. There is problem with the mentality of both genders. Women exaggerate situation and fail to understand things frequently.

  12. Hafsa says

    The author has stated accurate things which women face. Its very easy for you men to shut your eyes and say that there are no such issues. Huh

  13. Sarah says

    No sir I don’t agree to this I have seen educated men behave in an indecent manner where as a rickshaw wala is decent enough… 🙂

  14. ahned says

    It is about the type of people that are going, Going from Hyderabad To Karachi very nice
    Going to Sukkur, people keep pressing on the call bell and being all weird listening to loud music.

  15. Usman Haider Sheikh says

    education starts from home, one doesn’t have to be literate(to be able to read and right) to be educated but to be well educated(whats the point of education if it doesn’t make you a better person).

  16. Sarah says

    What do you have to say for those people who are educated yet they harass and abuse women?? please enlighten me with your opnion

  17. Usman Haider Sheikh says

    I raised the same point actually, i asked if literacy means education???

  18. Ali Mehdi says

    its extremely unfortunate but its true, ever wondered the about the irony in the name of this country??

  19. Sarah says

    Oh then my apologies…too many bracketed senteces got it all mixed….Peace

  20. zarak says

    Thanks to Allah that I didn’t behave like this. Its the mercy of Allah on me.
    Men shouldn’t do like this bcs “Allah ki lathe beawaz hote hai”. If men do like this he will be ready to expect the same to his mother & sisters from others.
    But I will also blame the women. It’s the duty on the part of women that they shouldn’t be dress up like this.

  21. Abdullah Javaid says

    Its unfortunate but true fact. Every day is a battle for the bus hostesses in daewoo.

  22. Danish Sohail says

    I am not a grown up yet, so you can’t throw an argument of I being sexist. I respect women and I am well aware of their problems but it’s not only in Pakistan. Western countries have them but women there doesn’t exaggerate like Pakistani women. Pakistani women want to compete with men at similar platform and yet they want everyone to treat them as a lady. When you want to compete with us, I won’t take you as a woman but as my competition. So buckle up and stop whining about things. Instead work for the change and improvement of society, for you gonna be mother one day.

  23. Bilal Qureshi says

    This is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read.

  24. Ali Imran says

    anum …good going …I just want to tell this very truth that all the men who do this type of harkatey ,definetly their home ladies are experiencing the same with other men …. tum kisi ka darwaza khatkataogey tu tumhara darwaza kaht-khataya jayega , tum jis nazar se kisi ki behan ko dekhogey waisi nazarain tumhari behan per hogi tum kisi ki biwi ko buri niyat se dekhogey tu tumhari biwi ko bhi buri nazar se hi dekha jayega ….jo logh is tara ki harkat kartey hai who ye kaise samjh lete hai ke unki maa behan beti biwi safe hongi ,,,nahi who aisa nahi samjhtey balke who jantey hai ke aisa unke ghar ki ladies bhi bardasht kar rahi hai lekin who be gairat ho gaye hai unko kisi baat se frq nahi parta hai who bas apna maza karna chatey hai

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