Monday, 15 April 2013

veil fury as students forced to show faces

Young women arriving to take their final exams at a women's college in Islamabad last week were shocked when they were confronted by male proctors demanding they remove their face veils for identification before being allowed to enter the examination room.

Students and teachers at Islamabad Model Postgraduate College for Girls decried the demands as shameful mistreatment and a violation of human rights.

In many secularised parts of the world, female covering is regarded as discriminatory, oppressive and contrary to women's rights. But in Pakistan, as in many Muslim countries, the opposite is true: veiling is regarded as a woman's fundamental right and a private choice of religious observance.

The students in Islamabad who wore headscarves were instructed to uncover their hair, face and neck. A college teachers' group has protested on their behalf.

''This is nonsense,'' said Tahir Mahmood, president of the Federal Government College Teachers Association, who accused the men of harassing the students.


Identity checks: Students in Islamabad chant slogans during a 2007 protest in support of their teachers.

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