Dear Prime Minister, Allah SWT has ordained you as our head of state. A ruler has the greatest level of accountability on the Day of Judgment. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “On the day of Judgment, a just ruler would be one of the seven under the shade of Allah, when there would be no shade.” (Sahih Al Bukhari 660) You often refer to Riyasat-e-Madina as your inspiration. Madina was an unremarkable farming community of warring tribes and their Jewish allies. But it gained honour through Islam and reached its zenith under Umar bin Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), who ruled a kingdom greater than that of Alexander the Great, and his reign was synonymous with justice. During the days of Jahiliyya, Umar bin Khattab had buried his daughter alive, but after Islam, and especially as a caliph, he was known to pay special attention to the issues concerning women. He did his best to uphold justice for women. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) cautioned Muslims about women in his farewell address when he said, “Fear Allah concerning women.” I am a female over whom you have been appointed qawwam (caretaker/protector). Unfortunately, I have experienced misbehaviour, theft and its coverup by your state postal service and have been unsuccessful at seeking redressal. My gender is the raison d’etre for this. I am an academic, a newspaper columnist, and an internationally published author but even then, I was not spared the menace of misogynistic oppression. I am a female over whom you have been appointed qawwam (caretaker/protector). Unfortunately, I have experienced misbehaviour, theft and its coverup by your state postal service. Women in Pakistan are never taken seriously, no matter what their professional and personal standing may be. They can only conduct official dealings under a male chaperon as if they are minors, not adult citizens with rights and obligations. The Supreme Divine Authority, Allah SWT, gave legal personhood to women by giving them Islamic rights: to pursue an education; to earn a livelihood; to vote; to undertake contracts in their name; to inherit assets; to engage in litigation; to sell and buy property and to approach government offices for official matters. These Islamic rights are hence an obligation upon our Islamic republic. Disrespect, harassment, subversion and violence by men negate the above-mentioned rights in spirit, even if they exist on paper. Of late, we have seen the extreme manifestation of such attitudes. The spate of violent incidents against women has brewed social media storms in the last few weeks. Misogyny has been nurtured by the clergy who misuse religion to deny women any public space. Consequently, the religious rationale is employed for victim-blaming whenever a woman faces harassment or sexual abuse. However, the reality of our religion could not be more different. The Quran unequivocally identifies two specific categories of women who are commanded to stay at home: the wives of the prophet, (Quran 33:32-33) (none of them is in our midst today) and women whose immoral conduct has been testified by four eyewitnesses (Quran 4:15). This is only commanded by Allah SWT to preserve public morality. Common women are given access to public space by Allah SWT. While our clerics even object to a woman entering the sacred space of a masjid (mosque), Caliph Umar allowed women to attend prayers. He even demonstrated gender sensitivity by constructing a special entrance for women in the masjid. This gender inclusion made Madina great when the feminist western world languished in the dark ages. Today, western and East Asian nations guarantee women their legal rights as equal citizens. The west is now considering giving legal personhood to animals, corporations, foetuses, natural objects, and artificial intelligence. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had said to Adi bin Hatim, “If you live long enough, you will surely see a lady in a howdah travel from Hira till they circumambulate the Ka’ba, fearing no one except Allah” [Sahih Bukhari 3595]. But in Pakistan of 2021, this can only be a fantasy. Impunity serves as oxygen for misogyny. Internalised misogyny conditions women to subvert other women; to ingratiate themselves to men. Violent atrocities are now scarily becoming an everyday reality for women in Pakistan. Swift penal action by the state, instituted foremost within the framework of government offices, is the only way to dispel misogyny. My ordeal (Complaint 90421167 published in this newspaper on April 19, 2021) began when I used the state postal service to send a parcel of books. I experienced misbehaviour and a criminal breach of trust (theft of books) by Postal Clerk Ashraf and his supervisor. I never demanded any financial compensation and only repeatedly requested the recovery of my books. All my complaints led to inaction and even inappropriate behaviour by the department of complaints at the PostMaster General (PMG) Karachi’s office. As a last resort, I repeatedly approached the PMG, Mr Bhuttio himself. He finally assigned the case to Ms Mariam (Divisional Superintendent) who called me to aggressively victim-blame and bully me. The case was instantly dismissed by her on grounds of missing evidence. My witness was never contacted because the sham inquiry was a fait accompli. Victim-blaming and bullying by a public servant must result in their dismissal if the state wants to ensure deliverance by its institutions. This painful experience has compelled me to pen this op-ed addressing the PM in the hopes of turning this incident into a landmark case that spearheads a paradigm shift in public dealing viz-a-viz women within public sector organisations. Firstly, Pakistan Post’s official website should be redesigned to be more user-friendly. Information about various ways of registering, insuring and sending parcels etc. must be easily accessible. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) must be clearly addressed while audio and video guide clips can be uploaded for the benefit of the illiterate. The website needs interactive features to provide detailed information in every instance, along the lines of the US postal service website. This would help both common public and postal staff. It would greatly reduce the average customer engagement time for clerks-who are the customer interface- resulting in greater efficiency. Training of all levels of postal service staff viz-a-viz public dealing must be initiated along the lines of the online retailer Daraz’s customer support. State employees must be taught business etiquette, so that they may conduct themselves better than an uncouth street vendor. Gender sensitivity should be stressed in their training to initiate a zero-tolerance policy for misogyny within state institutions. State employees of all levels found engaging in misbehaviour, fraud, sexual harassment, bullying, failing to perform their duty, theft or aiding and abetting such actions by another employee, through any means, must be promptly dismissed from service. The present system where each department self-regulates is flawed as this is a structural issue, which can only be resolved with external control at the very top level. The People’s Republic of China can easily execute public sector mega projects due to their strict penal action against non-performing and corrupt public sector employees. Representing Pakistan, I was amazed how the public sector in Singapore won Quality awards, which is an attestation of their performance excellence. Quranic revelation commenced with the command, “Read.” (Quran 96:1) My 65 books were costly non-fiction American publications. Their loss has compromised my professional endeavours and left me demoralised. The wicked handling of my complaint by a government office has dampened my fierce patriotic spirit. As a female citizen, I turn to the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for swift penal action against all eight concerned employees at the PMG Karachi office and financial compensation from the thieving clerk and his aiders and abettors. The writer is an independent researcher, author and columnist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.