Shamila Ghyas

Shamila Ghyas

The writer is the author of the Aoife and Demon series. She also writes for Khabaristan Times, The Nation, Express Tribune, Dawn and other publications. She can be reached at @ShamilaGhyas (twitter.com/ShamilaGhyas) and www.facebook.com/shamilaghyas

We are all Pakistanis and that itself is enough to glue us together

Recently, I came across an advertisement made by Filumbaaz for Leisure Club, a clothing company in Pakistan.  Inspired by Denmark’s TV2 ‘All That We Share’ concept, it was certainly something that we Pakistanis needed to see, especially keeping in mind the events of recent times. We have seen violence result from verbal disputes over literally nothing. We have seen people pull out guns because someone looked ‘weird’.  We have seen a person lynched over a rumor. The advertisement itself was dedicated to Mashal Khan and others who were forced to leave us long before their time. It starts with various people walking into a ...

Read Full Post

Why was Khabaristan Times blocked?

Freedom of speech is defined as “the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint”. Seems simple enough but caught between the war between the liberals and conservatives in Pakistan – two words which mean entirely something else here – it is more about making a chutney out of it or a yoyo or rather a squishy ball that can be thrown at anyone’s face to win any argument. A certain TV show anchor/religious scholar/ Ghalib movie fan/ two-week PHD prodigy/ game show host/mango seller/actor was taken off air by PEMRA after numerous complaints were made. On his show, he ...

Read Full Post

Remembering the ones we lost too soon

It seems like the year 2016 just started a while back, but here we are, just a few days shy from welcoming 2017. A lot happened last year which took us by surprise and shocked us. But even amidst such unpredictability, we were not prepared to see some of the deaths that came our way. Some were lost to old age, some to disease and some to murder. But regardless, they were all taken too soon. Here are some of those names, in no particular order. Peter Vaughan Photo: IMDb Even though he had a career spanning 75 years, ...

Read Full Post

Is uncovered hair a more deadly sin than murder itself, Saudi Arabia?

A woman named Malak Al Shehri posted a picture of herself on Twitter in Riyadh recently. The issue was that she wore no hijab or abaya in it – a punishable crime in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The backlash on social media was immediate with some asking her to be executed while others demanded she be imprisoned and lashed. “Kill her and throw her corpse to the dogs” was one of the suggestions. Another demand was, “We want blood!” Translation of those tweets:"We want blood"."Kill her and throw her body to the dogs"."The least punishment for her is beheading her". — Anon ...

Read Full Post

Being a Lady 101: Don’t sit like that, don’t wear makeup, don’t play sports

In our part of the world, our society comes equipped with a ‘sorting hat’ of sorts. When a girl is born, the hat is placed on her head and she is given an instant identity of a daughter, niece or a sister. As she grows older the identity keeps evolving; she becomes a wife, a mother, a grandmother and then she dies. Of course men are also handed the same titles too, a son, a brother, a husband etc. However in more cases than not, it is not what gives them their identity. An alcoholic husband who beats his wife ...

Read Full Post

What purpose did Trump’s naked statue serve?

Let’s face it, there are not too many of us out there who are fans of Donald Trump.  I am fairly certain even his kids cringe deep inside right before he goes on stage and opens his mouth. We have all been disgusted when he has made sexist and derogatory comments. His constant bigotry against Muslims is worn on his sleeve as a symbol of pride. He has made fun of people with special needs and has even gone far enough to make hypothetical comments about shooting Hillary Clinton; and then even bragged about that comment having gotten him even more votes. He has used tragic ...

Read Full Post

If Trump can’t even comfort the parents of a war hero, how will he manage a nation?

Hate the Clintons or not, you have to admit that they have one heck of a smart team.  Donald Trump who feeds on people’s fears, irrationality and bigotry to get votes just got played. And how! One of the key points in Trump’s campaign is his stance against Muslims in general. Known to all by now, he plans to bar Muslims from entering his country if he is elected president. Of course, he also plans to build a wall along the US-Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it, but let’s just put that rant aside for now. One of the supposedly ...

Read Full Post

What’s so obscene about QMobile’s ad, Pakistan?

QMobile recently made an ad that has everyone in Pakistan talking about it. Strangely enough, mostly for good reasons this time. The ad is about a girl called Sara who wishes to pursue her dreams of playing cricket. Like many in our society who feel a girl’s place should be at home, Sara’s father refuses to support her and says “ladkiyan cricket nahin khelti” (girls don’t play cricket) making it clear that cricket is a “man’s” sport. To this day, potential in-laws look for an educated girl to wed their son, so that she can be domesticated as a homemaker. No ...

Read Full Post

Why should non-Muslims bear the brunt of your compulsion to fast in Ramazan?

How many times have you gone for a dinner to a restaurant and then told the management to get rid of the beggars outside looking in through the window? If not that, then how many times have you gone to buy a kebab roll with a hungry child staring at you? How many times did you react in an irritating manner saying, “It’s hard to even buy a roll now without them bothering me!” Let’s dial it down even more, how many times have you eaten something knowing very well that there are people right outside the restaurant who can’t even ...

Read Full Post

Shahbaz Taseer finally breaks his silence and we blame him for cooking up a story? Really, Pakistan?

Warning: The pictures displayed below are graphic. Please use discretion. Shahbaz Taseer has spoken up for the first time about his five-year horrific ordeal. Why now, is anyone’s guess but with so much negativity and fabrications going around, perhaps it was time to set the record straight. Even after his interview with CNN and BBC where he had to relive the torture by recalling the details, many people called him out for not being truthful and making up most of it. There were comments like:  “But he doesn’t look like he was tortured.” He clearly states that his torture stopped after a while, so there ...

Read Full Post