It all started on Friday with a video shared on Facebook.
The video was showed a guard refusing a woman entry into the Ministers’ Block of the Civil Secretariat building for “inappropriate attire”, in other words, she was not wearing a dupatta. The lady was adamant that her outfit was appropriate, prompting the guard to first lend her a dupatta, then finally relented and let her through.
The guard claimed that the order was issued by Dr. Yasmin Arshad, Punjab Health Minister.
It is not clear when the video was shot.
The video sparked a lot of debate on the lady’s timeline. Some people defended the guard’s actions, on the grounds that Pakistan is an Islamic Republic, and women should not be going around without dupattas.
Others, though, were quick to call out the actions for being utterly ridiculous.
The entire incident set the wheels of social media ire in motion.
Twitter user Noor Imran responded with a similar incident, describing how she too was denied entry for not wearing a dupatta.
She further added that she borrowed a dupatta from a friend who had accompanied her, but was still denied entry for not covering her head.
In a Twitter thread shared two days later, Noor stated that her friends made a second visit to the Secretariat building, and were asked to cover their head, even though they were not told to do on their previous visit.
While many people believed that there was nothing wrong, some people did agree that what happened to Noor was extremely ridiculous.
Subsequently, Twitter user Sidra Butt ventured to the Secretariat building to find out if there was any truth in the reports. She too reported that she was not allowed to enter, prompting her to tweet the video and tag the PTI and Dr. Yasmin Rashid’s official Twitter accounts.
In response, some Twitter users were quick to point out that the country was returning to the times of Zia.
A staff member at the Minister’s Block confirmed in an interview to The Express Tribune that Dr. Yasmin Rashid had indeed issued orders stating that women should not be allowed inside the Ministers’ Block if they were not dressed appropriately.
The PTI social media team was quick to issue a statement saying that no such orders had been issued. Despite all the video evidence, they continued to insist that there was no concrete evidence.
Again, Twitter reacted, calling them out for denying evidence.
Dr. Yasmin too denied ever issuing such orders, and added that the guard who had used her name had been issued a show-cause notice.
Her personal staff officer added, “Security officers have just taken her name, no such orders were issued by her.”