Smokes and mirrors

October 5, 2018
By Fahad Shujaat

I have several problems with NUST Smoking Policy published in the issue of September 28.....


I have several problems with NUST Smoking Policy published in the issue of September 28.

1. Why are girls not allowed access to the smoking areas? Why are their parents to be notified when they arrive there while young men are free to smoke in the designated areas? If it is a men-only zone, shouldn’t there be a women-only smoking zone too, or is that especially hazardous to the environment? I’m extremely confused by this notice to accommodate smokers of a specific gender. Why is it called “Designated Smoking Area”? Shouldn’t it be called, then, “We-are-obviously-rather-misogynistic-give-us-your-parents’-phone-number-and-maybe-rupees-1000-because-boy-or-not-you-did-smoke-in-the-designated-area”? Boy, that’d be a pretty cool name.

2. NUST is worried about the environment and the passive smokers but, why not about the active ones? Wouldn’t it be easier to just ban cigarettes on-campus in the first place? To prevent “cheating/smoking at hidden places”, NUST could always impose a fine of “First Violation: Rs. 1000” and all that, instead of encouraging those who earlier smoked secretly to now smoke openly. You realize this means there will be teachers smoking in these designated areas and I have a feeling that won’t exactly be a discouraging factor for students who don’t smoke yet but can’t wait to, if only they had a place where Daddy dearest cannot smell the cigarette on them.

3. I’m sorry, I just cannot wrap my head around it. Why are girls not allowed? Also, what information are you going to give to their parents? “Hello, Mr. Paracha, your daughter violated university rules by breathing in the “Designated Smoking Area” while men smoked there”. Really? *Tries to come up with a better reaction but fails dismally* like, SERIOUSLY? Fareed can smoke in the designated smoking area and Fareedah cannot even go there? Also, please don’t give us the dumb reason “We care about women more than men” because cut the crap, we know you don’t and the women in question are, Ma Sha’Allah, university students; they know everything they need to take care of themselves. (Actually, subtle hint, most women know very well what they need to do without you mansplaining it to them. Regards, Somebody Who Actually Knows Because She Is A Woman)

4. Last but not the least, a “Clean, Green, Suitable Environment” is the goal here, and the way to achieve that is “Designated Smoking Areas”? I have just one question, ever heard of the divisions of a swimming pool?

There, horns locked and operating; sorry about the length, but this topic was irresistible and I couldn’t stop ranting once I’d started.

Saniyyah Eman

Okay, so authorities do something good for women only and there is a hue and cry in the media about gender discrimination. Come on, dudes, get a handle on the situation and think about the purpose behind barring women from the designated smoking areas on the campuses. Women are cherished in our religion, and males are responsible for keeping them safe and that includes keeping them safe from passive and aggressive smoking, so why the protest? Besides, like it or not there are things guys can do that girls can’t, and smoking is one of them. Just deal with it! In the same way, I don’t understand what a chaste girl has to fear if pertinent information regarding her comings and goings are provided to her parents. Our values and moral norms are threatened by the freedom provided to girls, and as a result, even rapes and harassment of females has increased. Such steps will go a long way in protecting girls.

So, ladies, look at this thing positively and stop yelling!

Fahad Shujaat