‘Women hardly ever seen walking alone in cities, because of how society judges them’: Aagha Ali

Shanzay Salman

Shanzay Salman

Features Editor

Actor Aagha Ali recently questioned public safety for women in a podcast, talking about how women are hardly ever seen walking alone in cities in Pakistan, because of how society judges them. He said that even though as a society, we consider ourselves to be highly conservative, respectful and protective of our women, championing ‘women’s rights’- if you step out into Pakistan there will be hard to spot even a single unaccompanied woman on the road.

Appearing on the ‘Footprints’ podcast the actor talked at length about the prevailing issue of how difficult it is for women in Pakistan to travel alone and why it needs to change.


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Discussing his recent travels with his wife, the actor re-called how in all parts of the world it is common to see many many, women walking down the street, around offices, busy on phones, moving around with their girlfriends or just commuting on their own.

However, the disdainful thing is that he has never seen women walking alone in cities in Pakistan like that, because of how society judges them. Even if one does happen to see a woman, she will appear extremely scared and uncomfortable. So why are these women feeling insecure and unsafe and who is causing all this fear? Ali very rightly questioned- shedding light on the topic of public safety of women, which was also a central theme of the Aurat March- the yearly women’s rally!

The year 2023’s poster reveal for the women’s march described the issue of protection of women in public spaces in the words: “A reimagining of Lahore, one where women’s public presence is celebrated, one full of care and joy… The project is itself a demonstration of bhenchara, and expresses our utopian vision of the landscapes that exist around us, that are hostile towards us, that prevent our bodies from inhabiting and belonging in public space. The potential of bodies in movement together, gathering, persisting, and flourishing, is to shape this alternative future, until it is a dreamscape no longer.”

Along the same lines, Ali pointed out the hypocrisy in our society, considering that Pakistani men are the first to talk about how conservative they are and how much they respect women, but don’t respect them enough to allow a safe and protected environment for them!