Zara Hafeez

Zara Hafeez

A digital marketer, writer, a history buff, volunteer for humanitarian causes for The James Caan Foundation, UNICEF Promise for Children, among others and a tea-aholic. She tweets as @zara_hafeez (twitter.com/zara_hafeez)

Dear uninformed author, your list of the “Top 10 schools of Pakistan” is nothing short of misguided information

A few days ago, a publication listed the ‘Top 10 Schools of Pakistan’ on its website. The write-up in question, which was an anonymous contribution to the publication, went viral. I saw the article being excessively shared on my Facebook and Twitter feeds. The following is the list of top schools according to the publication’s ranking: Karachi Grammar School (KGS), Karachi Lahore Grammar School (LGS) 55 Main, Lahore Pakistan Air Force College, Sargodha Aitchison College, Lahore Cadet College, Hasanabdal Sadiq Public School, Bahawalpur Beaconhouse School System Gulberg, Lahore Lawrence College, Ghora Gali Chand Bagh School, Muridke Cadet College, Kohat Today, I finally decided to share it on my own social media account to see the response people ...

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I was at APS on December 16, 2014 and now I know what hell will look like

On December 15, 2015, I received a text from my daughter’s school stating that, in order to commemorate the APS Peshawar tragedy, December 16, 2015 would be a holiday. It was then that that harrowing Tuesday morning came back to hit me in the face. Hard. And then it began. I started reliving every moment of it again. That fateful Tuesday morning, at 10:52am my phone buzzed. The briefing was short and to the point. I didn’t have the time to think about the magnitude of what was being said to me. All I knew was that I was on duty. Whilst ...

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Would Reham Khan’s degree matter if she wasn’t married to Imran Khan?

Recently, when the Daily Mail published an article that claimed Reham Khan, who had citied having attained a course in ‘Broadcast Journalism’, did not exist as part of her educational credentials, the social media was abuzz. As interesting as this not-so breaking news seemed, it looked like an entertaining Twitter trend to follow. I use the term ‘entertaining’ for it was exactly that, entertainment. Having earned a degree in Media Communication and Journalism, for me, the entire hullabaloo that followed this news was intriguing to say the least. We all know that the media really has no ethics and we are also ...

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Sabeen Mahmud, Jibran Nasir and Shaan Taseer are all cut out from the same fabric

In May 2013, just a little over two years from now, there was a wave of change which brought with it new possibilities and ‘hope’. Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) tenure had come to an end and elections were going to take place. We had various political parties competing against one another for the win. In the entire hullabaloo that was taking place, there was one young man, about 26-years-old who ran for the NA-250 constituency. Jibran Nasir ran his campaign actively on social media and other forums, and gained many followers, however he lost the political end game. Shaan Taseer, very well-known ...

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“It was funny… (he) squealed like a pig”: Germany’s Muslim-intolerant police force

The recent news circulating about a German police officer who shared a gruesome video on Whatsapp that featured him torturing a Moroccan Muslim man has had me in a spin. The video shows how the victim was forced to eat rotten pork off the floor. The same German officer is also being prosecuted and thereby is being investigated for physically abusing (and strangling) an Afghan refugee. Until last week, I, being a college counsellor for one of the top ranking schools in Lahore, was trying to educate my students on the perks of gaining further education from Germany – a country that is offering foundation ...

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There is zero tolerance for hate speech in Pakistan, even if you are a cleric!

Recently, an anti-terrorism court set a precedent by sentencing a prayer leader belonging to Kasur for five years of imprisonment. Maulana Abubakar was convicted of delivering anti-Shia hate speech during his sermon. He openly declared Shias to be “infidels”. In the last few months, over 4,000 individuals were arrested for similar offences while 21 have been convicted in Punjab for delivering hate speech, with some of them jailed for up to eight years. I am not going to refer to this man as a ‘qari’ in this blog, for a ‘qari’ is expected to be a respectful man who is dutiful towards his religion, actions and sermons. No one ...

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“Pakistanis are known for taking shortcuts in life” – True or false?

On April 8, 2015, it was reported that blatant acts of cheating were underway during the yearly SSC-I and II examinations in four districts of the upper Sindh. The examinations were being conducted under Secondary Education, Sukkur (BISE) and the Board of Intermediate, Sindh. It was reported to The Express Tribune that about 210 centres had been placed for the examinations in all the four districts. Out of these 210, 174 had been assigned for male candidates while 36 for female candidates. The report suggested that 27 teams of invigilators confirmed 311 students who had cheated in various examination points while five ...

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Lahore blast: When will the barbarity end?

February 17, 2015. Two months and one day after the unimaginable tragedy of the Peshawar Attack, Lahore has been targeted today. Today, at 1pm, a suicide bomber blew himself up right outside the Police Lines in Lahore. So far, as reports have suggested, there have been about eight causalities but the number is expected to rise. Emergency has been declared in hospitals and other prominent buildings. The city has been struck by terror by once again. Only yesterday, I came across the video of the attack in the mosque in Hayatabad, Peshawar. The video sent shivers up my spine. Every gunshot ...

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The media didn’t fail on January 8, you did, Pakistan!

Chaos, screams, gunshots, children running from one end of the camera to another, mothers wailing in the background, mortifying reports, death tolls, debates, condemnations, shock, horror and terror – this was Pakistani media on December 16, 2014. Our minds couldn’t fathom, let alone comprehend what we all heard and saw that day. Our very souls quivered with absolute fear, remorse and anger. That was the day a small army of terrorists entered the Army Public School in Peshawar, opened fire on innocent students and teachers, forever scarring our ‘pure’ land with blood. Pause. No, not ‘forever’. Pakistan doesn’t remember anything ‘forever’. Fast forward. No wait, not ...

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Humanity dies as Peshawar bleeds

This morning, as I opened my social media newsfeed, I was left completely mortified. At around 11.45 am, news about five to six militants who had carried out an attack at the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar was all over my newsfeed. Alarm bells started going off in my head. I have friends whose children go to that school. Immediately, I thought of ringing them up. But then I stopped. A thousand thoughts went through my head in those few seconds – what if they didn’t know about the attack just yet? Would I be causing panic? What if I clog up ...

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