Rabia.Ahmed

Rabia Ahmed

The author is a freelance writer and translator.

The invasion of the Lahori relatives

There are times when one must write. The alternative is to burst – which would be messy. Because they came today, the rellies (relatives), while I was playing Scrabble on Facebook in a pleasant state of mindlessness. Have you ever played Scrabble? It can be exciting but right then the game was slow. I had just played ‘qi’ which, short as it is, often gets well over 30 points but this time I only got 22. Then my opponent somewhere in Australia played ‘hick’ which got him 18. Obviously he wasn’t having a good day either. Then I played ‘koi’ ...

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Dear God, where’s my T-shirt?

Dear God, I have a serious complaint to make. You must know… but of course you do… that there are now T-shirts out there with that man Raheel’s picture on them. God, this is too much! I am the PM not he! Why have you allowed this to happen?? Please God, remember that I am still weak although I don’t look it, because I have just had a very big operation and although many people don’t believe it (they say I went to my London apartment in Mayfair… how delicious that sounds… just to hide when that stupid Panama information leaked out but you ...

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What would Barbie be like if she were to come to CII’s Pakistan?

Let’s open a can of worms (an interesting exercise if indulged in occasionally) and wonder what it would be like if Barbie (of Ken fame) came to Pakistan as a franchise. Since a non-Muslim woman before being co-opted into a Muslim family must become Muslim and change her name, Barbie, before being launched in Pakistan must do the same. I speak of Pakistan which rejoices in the name ‘The Islamic Republic of Pakistan’ as of a family, however dysfunctional, and of Barbie as a sort of Qaum ki bahoo, (the nation’s daughter-in-law) which puts Sania Mirza’s nose out of joint. It’s ...

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If you ever travel on an American airliner, just remember this curly haired economist

Things have been really tough for the Americans since 9/11. All those people in and out of the country speaking so many languages, and if you’ve never gone beyond your local 7/11, how on earth would you be able to tell this language from ‘that’ one. You know, the one that all terrorists speak; Arabic! Which explains what happened to Guido Menzio. Menzio took an American Airlines flight from somewhere to somewhere, right? And the intelligent woman next to him caught him writing something and how was she to know what it was? Acting on the principle, that anything that does ...

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What constitutes ‘proper’ Quranic education?

In Pakistani schools, making it compulsory to study the Holy Quran is a bit like insisting the prime minister to take a cruise along the Panama Canal for his birthday, never mind that it’s supposed to be a beautiful spot. Yet, compulsory Quranic studies is apparently in store for young Pakistanis according to a speech given by the Minister of State for Education and Professional Training, ‘Engr’ Muhammad Baligh ur Rahman. Mind you, speeches given by government ministers are often so much chaff, but still, speaking at Al-Huda International School’s fourth annual day celebrations (where else?) ‘Engr’ Rahman said that; “This process ...

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Pakistan’s complete lack of planning creates the ideal environment for violence

A loud blast followed by an explosion in Quetta on Wednesday left several persons dead and others severely injured. The scene was a polio vaccination centre, and the explosion took place near a group of vehicles which were being loaded with vaccination supplies. Twelve of the dead belonged to the police, two to the paramilitary, while two were civilians. Fifteen people died at the hands of a suicide bomber whose remains were later collected from the site. The police and paramilitary personnel killed had come to the polio vaccination centre to escort the polio workers since polio teams are so commonly subjected to attacks ...

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Reza Aslan versus Bill Maher: Learning the crucial difference between culture and religion

Responsible schooling, governance, international diplomacy, accountability and conscientious citizens are the demands of modern society. However, popular media despite its presence in every home, remains the most ignorant, irresponsible and manipulative aspect of modern life. With its capacity to communicate instantly, the world with its current atmosphere of extremism, global stress and social and political upheavals is more open to suggestions in a way it was never before. Therefore, manipulation by entities with access to an audience has wider influence than before. Labels are among the pithiest vehicles of language. They appeal most strongly to unthinking individuals, starting with those of all faiths in the pulpit ...

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Don’t deny it, Pakistan. We are responsible for the teenage couple’s suicide!

Sadly, there is nothing unusual about teenage suicide. Nothing new about the reason behind it either. Recently, two teenagers, aged 15 and 16, killed themselves at their school in Karachi, apparently because they were ‘in love’ and did not expect their families to consent to them marrying each other. According to The Express Tribune, the boy shot the girl first as per her request before pulling the trigger on himself. The young couple had left behind two suicide notes for their parents. Both of them said that they were aware that their parents would never allow them to get married which is ...

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‘Beti Bachao, Selfie Banao’: Modi finally takes a step in the right direction

It’s hard to take Narendra Modi seriously. As a member of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh political party) and a controversial one at that, his election to the post of the 15th Prime Minister of India is more likely to make most people raise their brows in amazement. But every tub can stand on its own bottom even if it wobbles at times, and Mr Modi proves he too has some stable ideas. Mr Modi has suggested that Indians should take selfies. Not just random selfies but selfies of themselves with their daughters and post these pictures onto any social media platform with a ...

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Some of us cannot afford the hijab of today

There is a school named The Clifton High School which is not in Karachi but in New Jersey, USA, and Abrar Shahin is a Muslim student of Palestinian descent who recently graduated from this school. Sincere congratulations and best wishes in her subsequent career to the young lady who appears to possess a strong sense of identity since her photograph shows her wearing a hijab, and who is about to present us with what I hope, a healthy debate. In the hormone-charged atmosphere of high schools, where girls dress quite revealingly, it takes conviction to cover your head with a scarf at ...

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