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Pakistani Senator Threatens Activist With Rape on Live Television

Senator Hamdullah, Barrister Masroor and Marvi Sirmed during the argument. Screenshot from Dawn News video.

Senator Hamdullah, Barrister Masroor, and Marvi Sirmed during the argument. Image: Dawn News

During a TV talk show this Friday, June 10, Pakistani Senator Hafiz Hamdullah verbally abused Marvi Sirmed, an analyst on the program and a human rights activist, even threatening the woman with rape. Hamdullah, a representative of the religious political party Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), has spoken abusively on live television to political opponents before.

Shortly after the program was recorded, Sirmed wrote about the experience on Facebook, triggering an uproar, and leading to a police report and calls for Senator Hamdullah to be prosecuted:

I've just undergone a very traumatic experience at a News One program (Nadia Mirza Show) when Hafiz Hamdullah of JUIF got angry on a comment by Barrister Masroor. When my turn came, I started my comment by saying “I agree with Masroor sahib to the extent that…” and here Hamdullah cut me and went on and on with his arrogance and rudeness. I responded in almost the same coin. And that's when he started abusing me with worst possible expletives. Called me a whore and said “tumhaari shalwaar utaar dooN ga aur tumhaari maaN ki bhi” (I will take off your trousers and your mothers). I returned this to his own family women. And then he tried to beat me. All of this recorded in camera. Fayaz ul Hassan Chauhan held him so his punches don't reach me. He had to be taken away by the News One security.

And this religious merchant was fasting while he did all this.

Ironically, the incident took place while taping a show dedicated to the debate in Pakistan about so-called “honor killings” (the practice killing of a relative, especially a girl or woman, who is perceived to have brought dishonor on the family) and the silence on the issue from the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII)—a 20-member constitutional body, created in 1962, that provides non-binding advice to the government about the religious aspects of the law and society. The CII has also been faulted for failing to acknowledge violence more generally against women.

The Council of Islamic Ideology recently came under criticism for drafting legislation that would permit husbands to “beat their wives lightly.” Hamdullah, incidentally, chairs the Senate’s Religious and Interfaith Harmony Committee.

On the TV show, panelist Barrister Masroor suggested insultingly that CII Chairman Cleric Maulana Sherani and Senator Hamdullah were “pee k soey hue hain’” (sleeping after becoming intoxicated). Masroor went on to criticize the CII for condoning violence against women. The anchor then turned to Sirmed and asked for her opinion about the CII's position on women's rights and its failure to condemn honor killings. Sirmed sided with Masroor, enraging Hamdullah, who began shouting. The argument escalated to such a degree that Hamdullah ultimately threatened Sirmed with rape.

Fight Between Hafiz. Video: Shoaibvideos

The edited video clip omits the rape threat and verbal abuse. Sirmed shared details of the attempted physical assault on her Facebook page and on another TV show, after pressing criminal charges against Hamdullah. While the video footage showing the attempted physical assault hasn't been released yet, Barrister Masroor tweeted in support of Sirmed and corroborated her story:

After Sirmed shared her story, several others came forward to speak about the abuse they've faced from Hamdullah.

Parliamentarian Dr. Arif Alvi spoke out in support of Sirmed and shared his own experience:

Internet user Rana Waleed listed others who have faced abuse from Hamdullah in the past, including several TV anchors:

Sirmed has been on several shows with Hamdullah before, and she's never concealed her many disagreements with his politics. This time, however, he refused outright to let her speak, resorting even to violent threats. Despite the footage from the TV studio, many people online claim that Sirmed provoked the fight. Her supporters, meanwhile, are pushing back:

You responded to him so now why are you pretending to be innocent? aren't men and women equal?

Senator Sherry Rehman condemned the incident and echoed the public's demands for action against Senator Hamdullah:

The renowned women's rights activist Gulalai Ismail has demanded that Senator Hamdullah face legal penalties for threatening Sirmed. In a Facebook post, Ismail shared her anger and frustration about the senator's behavior:

Mullah Hafiz Hamdullah has not just used “derogatory sexist language”, through his statement he has given rape threat to Marvi Sirmed and to her mother. Through is statement, he is reinforcing that being a man having the power of a religious political party at his back, he can rape women and beat women at his disposal. He should not just be banned from media, he should be put in jail for life time because he is a threat to all women.

An earlier version of this post referred to Senator Hamdullah as Hamdani, the error has been fixed and post updated with the correct name.


  • kaveh azad

    Pakistan stay a backward country till it comes with term with Taliban mentality and how it treats the women and minorities.

  • LorenaRi

    Disgusting. Hafiz Hamdullah should be banned from public service and put behind bars. He’s promoting universal narcissism and violence. This post on rape really nails it

  • Karetaker

    Sounds like a good candidate for a republican politician here in America. Perhaps Trumps running mate.

  • Layla

    Muslim women need to wake up and realize how sexist and disgusting most men controlling Islamic laws are. Absolutely disgusting

    • lemmie40

      The ones that do are usually stoned or burned to death, so it’s kind of a catch-22.

  • Pakistani Senator Hafiz Hamdullah …how many people shares his views?
    how many voted for him?

  • Voice

    Narrow minded men with their inflated sense of self-rightousness hides ill intent behind a shield of religion. The rest of the world sees you as you are, as men who can’t control their silly little penises, so you use your brutality to make the case for your sexual ineptness. Women are the single best thing in your society, and you are shitting all over them with these absurdly pitiful dominance issues. What a way to make yourselves look foolish on the world stage…

  • john smith

    i bet u a thousand dollars she is going to get raped now, since the senator authorized it, praie allah,

  • FatFreddy'sSkat

    Pakistan has the most google searches for porn.

  • terrifick

    Give the jerk a cheeseburger—he will calm down (I hope)

  • Cycloneous

    These types of religious NAZIs understand one language, and one language only, and that is force! Perhaps if that woman spoke his language, he change his tune quickly but sadly, these religious thugs will be given air time to air their nonsense and nothing will change!

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