This is a bit of a random thought, but it crossed my mind a while ago and so I thought it was worth sharing it. For various reasons burkas are not a big issue in Pakistan. First of all many women tend to have children pretty quickly after they get married. As it’s vital to interact with children through facial expressions it is obviously not possible to cover your face when you are with children, so this group of people is automatically out. Then there are people using public transport. They have to cross the street, which is not an easy thing to accomplish in Karachi especially, as the traffic is pretty horrendous and there are not many traffic lights. Thus being able to see as much as possible is crucial to reaching the other side fully intact. People who use public transport can obviously not limit the panoramic view that God/creation/both (chose as you feel fit) has provided them with. For those who travel in their own cars there are two options. If they have a driver and are tired of the landscape around them, as they have seen the same for absolute ages they can happily blindfold themselves, if it adds to the fun of the journey. However, if they are sitting in the driver’s seat it goes without question that they need to be able to observe as much of the traffic as possible and thus should not wear a burka. This list could go on forever, but I think the main idea can be grasped by now. If they are in some safe place like the back seat of a car women can put whatever they want over their head. Yet, in most situations health and safety does not allow for such fun. And in those, common sense should prevail. Luckily religion has nothing to do with some people’s fondness for the black garment. As my friend’s mother explained to me on my first night in Karachi: The Quaran asks of women to cover their breasts. Nowhere does it speak of covering their head or their whole body.
With men the whole issue looks different though. First of all they normally don’t have breasts. Thus, the passage can be interpreted a lot more loosely. Secondly, they are very good drivers by nature. In fact, they have a special car gene, so it is absolutely not necessary for them to be able to observe the traffic. A see-through grid is all they need to make sure they don’t get closer than 10 cm to the next car. And thirdly, but most importantly, Pakistani men score really high on good looks, as my friend would confirm, when I told her that it was a bit irresponsible of that good looking chap in the car next to us, to just flaunt his beauty and think nothing it. I could suddenly understand why in some countries with warmer climes women aren’t allowed to drive a car. It is very hard to concentrate on the traffic in front of you and most of all keep a cool head when you’re checking the traffic behind you and suddenly you spot a beauty like the one in the Islamabad rush hour traffic. Accidents are prone to happen. Yet, it is unfair to blame the woman if she can’t take her eyes off that guy. It is completely natural that she would be attracted to him (if she is straight and into men) and people should be really concerned about the mental health of a woman who manages to concentrate on the traffic. Thus, there is only one solution to the problem. Men need to wear a burka as it would seriously increase safety for everyone. Road accidents would immediately decline to a minimum. Only a small grid is necessary for a man to see through and make sure he isn’t closer than 10 cm to the car in front of him. Just imagine how many lives could be saved if women were not attracted by some cute smiley chap when crossing the road. Just a black sheet standing there by the road side that could be anything from a smelly man with long greasy hair to a tree stump left over after the last unexpected thunderstorm. Furthermore, there would less quarrelling between couples as men would finally have a plausible excuse for not taking the children to the playground. Once again fewer dead through a reduction in domestic violence.
Thus, I would urge you to sign my petition for male burkas. The more we speed up the process, the more lives will be saved.