Jan 17, 2012

It’s a sunny day in a park in Karachi.  A man and a women walk through the park hand in hand.  Pretty normal so far, right?  It’s a scene repeated in parks all over the world when the weather allows it.

However, a woman running up to the couple and demanding “Do your parents know your whereabouts?” while a film crew records the interrogation is not normal.

The woman is called Maya Khan and she, and a group of like-minded women, have decided to hound, harass and intimidate any couple showing any PDAs (public displays of affection) towards each other.

These women call themselves “vigil aunties” and the footage was broadcast live on national TV in an hour long show as part of their self appointed moral crusade in conservative Pakistan.  Some of the couples that they were harassing were doing no more than simply sitting together.

Liberal elements were outraged and the battle between conservatism and liberalism rages on but really, in this case especially, conservatism means in support of a high level of relationship duress and liberalism in support of a lower level of relationship duress.

This story does highlight the dangerous insanity of relationship duress.  Although this was an extreme example of it, really any form of relationship duress is insane when you understand the reasons why it exists in the first place.

Maya Khan – Dangerously Insane

How else can you describe a situation whereby even a married man and woman are made to feel uncomfortable for simply holding hands in public?

One young woman said – “Yes, I heard about what Maya Khan did, but I don’t care what people think. I will hold my husband’s hand, I am perfectly comfortable with it even if others aren’t.”

Really any person who feels they have the right to police other people’s personal affairs is suffering from a delusional level of insanity whether they are in the media or not.  Whether the intimidation is a TV camera in your face broadcasting on live television or simply a dirty look.  Its just different levels of the same thing.

Maya Khan apologised twice since then but the CEO of Samaa TV which broadcast the show said the apology was not “unconditional enough” and she was dismissed later in January.

A rare victory for liberal Pakistan.