'It's Forced': Defiant Pervez Hoodbhoy Says He Completely Stands By His Remarks On Burka

'It's Forced': Defiant Pervez Hoodbhoy Says He Completely Stands By His Remarks On Burka
Physicist and educationist Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, responding to the backlash over his recent comments about burka and hijab, said that he completely stood by his statement. He clarified that for him a woman's consent is important, but they should never be forced to wear burka or hijab.

He expressed these views while talking to Ailia Zehra during a live session on Naya Daur TV.


"As long as women wear burka by choice, it is fine. They have a right to choose their own clothes," he said, but added that this does not happen in Pakistan. "How should I accept that wearing burka is women's own choice when this practice began only recently?" Hoodbhoy was of the opinion that burka and abaya were forced onto women as part of the Islamization process in Pakistan and the state's radical right wing polices.

He said that when he began teaching in 1973 at Islamabad University (later Quaid-e-Azam University), very few female students used to wear abaya or burka, but now almost every woman student is burka-clad.

"At first they used to ask questions, but now they hardly do. Their behaviour has undergone a change, and why shouldn't it? The purpose of a burka is to hide a woman. It has been imposed onto a woman not just to hide her face but also her voice." Hoodbhoy termed this evolution of women's dressing a result of Pakistani society's radicalisation.

"Why weren't burka wearing women common in the 60s? Burka became common after Zia-ul-Haq's Islamist policies," Hoodbhoy said.

Hoodbhoy further said that the environment in foreign universities like those in China and Turkey is different from what we see in Pakistan. Our women students cannot compete with foreign students, because our society has become education-hating and discourages the pursuit of knowledge, he said.

In response to a question about the backlash directed at him, Hoodbhoy said that he does not use social media as he does not even own a smartphone. "I don't care what people say about me," he said, but added that he did not mean to hurt anyone's feelings.

Pervez Hoodbhoy also said that he was not against religion but stood against those who use the religion card to further their own agendas.