Did Kashmala Tariq really say that sending ‘good morning’ messages is harassment?

Kashmala Tariq, Pakistan’s federal ombudsperson for protection against harassment of women, made several headlines yesterday for saying that sending ‘good morning’ and ‘best wishes’ messages to women is a form of harassment.

Tariq allegedly made the statement during the Women’s Day celebrations at the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce yesterday.

But soon after, she took to Twitter to say that she’s being quoted out of context.

She claimed, “At Women’s Day Celebrations at Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce today, I said that people [should] not use their position of power to exploit women [and] ask them out for lunches [and] teas. That tantamounts to harassment too. I said unwelcoming [and] unwanted text messages [and] stalking on social media is also harassment. And then I gave examples. Media [should] not take just one line out of context please.”

This isn’t the first time a woman’s statement about what constitutes harassment has sparked controversy. In October 2017, filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy tweeted that she’s taking action against a doctor who harassed her sister by adding her sister on Facebook after administering emergency treatment to her. Her tweet sparked considerable backlash ranging from claims that she’s trivialising the serious issue of harassment to accusations of abuse of power.

In Kashmala’s case, her alleged statement has sparked a slew of tweets wishing her ‘good morning’. How ironic.

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