A few days back, a senior zoology teacher of a degree college was coerced by clerics in Bannu to “denounce Charles Darwin’s theory of biological evolution and mixed gender gatherings, and declare that women are inferior to men”. Bannu is in the  KP (formerly NWFP), the province which is the most backward and which provides the country with smuggled arms, goods and drugs. This province is also well-known for its residents stealing gas and electricity and avoiding payment of taxes.

I can understand the resistance of mullahs to evolution, but what connection has the theory with the subjugation of women? I know a man who has consistently refused to agree that women are equal to men. He is opposed to the law that requires a man to take his wife's permission before taking another wife. "It's not human nature to ask a woman for permission to do anything, leave alone take another wife", he says. Needless to say, he's also opposed to allow women to have jobs. When I first met him he used to say that a society that allows women to earn is doomed.

I still don't understand the connection between the theory of evolution and mixed gender gatherings as well as the so-called inferiority of women. But then, there are many beliefs of our mullahs which defy understanding like not allowing women to vote in national and provincial elections.