Aneeqa Ali, besides running an NGO, is a member of Critical Mass Lahore, a group which gathers women on bike every Sunday morning and explores different parts of the city of Lahore. Aneeqa Ali loves to wander on her bike in the streets of Lahore and explore some beautiful and amazing facts about her city. But, recently, on a fine Sunday morning, she was harassed, hit and injured by a group of men. This incident as a consequence invoked women in all over Pakistan to protest against it, but they find a different way to show their solidarity with Aneeqa. All of the women gathered together and ride their bikes and cycles in the streets of Lahore. They gathered at the roundabout opposite Jalal Sons and peddled their way towards Main Boulevard as onlookers looked on. The gathering was organized by Critical Mass Lahore and Girls at Dhabas to speak out against harassment women face in public places. According to them, the main purpose was to increase acceptability for women being on the roads and to make them feel more comfortable with this idea as well in our patriarchal society.
After the success in Lahore, the Critical Mass Karachi organized another gathering in Karachi as well where women on bike explored the metropolitan city.
Pakistani women are not less than anyone else and they have proved it by making their country and nation proud by creating their own examples in every field they have worked so far. Benzair Bhutto, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Malala Yousafzai, Naseem hameed and specially Pakistan Women Cricket team are just few of the names who have made their country proud. It’s just that they need the exposure and support to show their talents and prove them. Aneeqa ali also wants to create her own example along with her group of Critical Mass Lahore and Girls at Dhaba. Critical Mass and Girls at Dhaba provide girls a platform to prove that they are not less than men in anyway and they are strong enough to ride a bike on the streets without any fear, because fear is the biggest thing that stops them from going out and do small things like riding a bike or even walking alone. They need to overcome this fear and feel strong because they are not less than anyone else.
Although this is a small step but this is just the beginning. Small changes like this can make a great difference. It’s just that we need to be a little patient and consistent. Things would not change overnight, but we should believe in the power of the visual; such as seeing women on bike on our streets.