A very popular political/religious anchor on a new mainstream media channel quoted the British Gazette, a short-lived English newspaper founded in 1926 during the general strike. He quoted British Gazette’s analysis on the Gulalai tribe which labelled the tribe as a bunch of liars and fraudulent traders who are apt at deception. The very purpose of quoting this 93 year old report was to denounce claims of harassment against cricket-playboy turned politician Imran Khan through a launch of hard-hitting, inappropriate and assumption centric allegations on the Gulalai tribe altogether in a bid to discredit Ayesha Gulalai. Welcome to a section of Pakistan’s media. The abhorrent reaction faced by Ayesha Gulalai can only be gauged by an analytical review of the majority of talk shows where she has been interviewed. The line of questioning that has been adopted has revolved around the four following: She’s been inquired aggressively over the reason behind her silence for 4 years. Every single statement that she has made is being put under the microscope visible by the airing of her earlier speeches in favour of Imran Khan. How could she support him if he had written unethical messages to her? Why has she been so contradictory regarding Imran Khan?Why is she making these allegations right after Imran Khan won a political battle against the most powerful politician in the country? It is solely not just about the content of these questions but the tone, aggression and air of distrust they entail which make her come across like a women playing the ‘harassment card’ to malign a successful politician. In an incredible attempt to dislodge and tarnish her public image, her sister’s sporting success has been used by public at large to cast a shadow of doubt on the honour and dignity in the family. But wait, ironically, there is not one talk show, not one newspaper article that has even remotely considered the possibility of such messages being sent by Imran Khan nor has there been any analysis on Imran Khan’s playboy ‘western’ lifestyle which would render allegations by Ayesha Gulalai as not so unbelievable. Gulalai deserves fair treatment across the board, less personal attacks and an end to the surrounding ambience of distrust manufactured by an overwhelmingly one-sided line of questioning It is not implied here that it is reasonable to term one guilty over the other. With such serious allegations in a high profile political scandal, only an investigation can reveal the truth. But the purpose is to highlight what this entire saga denotes. What it denotes is the ludicrous discourse that takes place around women in harassment claims. The Ayesha Gulalai episode is reflective of the relentlessly biased environment that women have to operate in. Note the discourse and debate surrounding Ayesha’s allegations and it is fairly simple to detect that it is centred on the possibility of her lying. Discrepancies have been highlighted in her statements to prove that she could be simply trying to smear Imran Khan now that she allegedly hasn’t received the NA-1 ticket from Peshawar. Allegations have been made against her sister to diminish the credibility of the family’s honour. The fact that she remained silent for 4 years is being used to highlight that her ‘honour’ doesn’t hold value for her rather it is only for her political aims that she has made such statement. On the comparative, there has been absolutely no discussion about the possibility of the PTI chief having indulged in such an illicit activity. The questioning has been completely one way with literally, Ayesha Gulalai bearing the brunt on twitter, media channels etc. This treatment serves as a microcosm for our county. For example, shifting away from this high profile political scandal to society at large reveals the same pattern and trend which is found in urban and rural cities alike. Notable women rights organisations like Kashif foundation and Aurat Foundation have highlighted that women do not report harassment because there is a genuine fear of being scrutinised, their past being laid open in front of everyone.The pattern can be identified in police stations where any rape victim or harassment victim is bound to be considered as either using their sexuality to malign someone or seeking attention. The law relevant to harassment is the Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act 2010 which is now just 7 years old. To think that women did not have legal protection against harassment for over 60 years is a testament to the patriarchal and chauvinistic society that encompasses us. Despite the formation of this law, harassment continues to persist in work places while women are still afraid of voicing their sufferings. This is because laws don’t change societies altogether. Sexual harassment continues and women continue to suffer psychologically due to their inability to report. The reason being the very dialogue that has clouded everyone’s judgement about Ayesha Gulalai is commonplace during sexual harassment cases in villages, police station cross examination, work places and internal office investigations.The aura given is that of the victim potentially being a liar rather than the accused actually being guilty. Rukhsana Kausar, Director of Institute of Applied Psychology Punjab University, has previously argued that working women avoid any legal action against harassment because of the fear of losing their jobs and demotion. Moving back up to another high profile politician, Kashmala Tariq in 2012 claimed on a major talk show harassment by family members of the then army chief but her claims were dismissed because of obvious reasons. 3 years prior to that on a talk show, she was pathetically accused of sleeping with male politicians to make her way up in her political career but few would know that she is easily amongst the most educated women politicians in the country. Even the legendary Benazir Bhutto wasn’t spared and subjected to a similar treatment in many quarters of society if not the media. The way we discuss and talk about women politicians signals how conducive the environment on ground is for sexual harassment to occur to millions of women in the country. Gulalai deserves fair treatment across the board, less personal attacks and an end to ambience of distrust around her manufactured by an overwhelmingly one sided line of questioning. If anything, it is at her discretion when she reveals harassment attempts and it is a legitimate trade-off for her to make between keeping her political career intact by remaining shut over any harassment attempts. The writer is a student of International Relations at London School of Economics, President of the London School of Economics Pakistan Development Society and Vice President of LSE South Asia Society. Co-Founder-Future of Pakistan Conference. Twitter: @OmerAzhar96 Published in Daily Times, August 9th 2017.