Purniya Awan

Purniya Awan

The writer is a Gender Studies graduate from York University, has been nominated as a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum, is a former member of Youth Parliament Pakistan and is a founding member of Courting The Law. She is a women's rights activist and frequently writes on feminist and human rights issues. She tweets @purniyaA (twitter.com/PurniyaA?lang=en)

April 3, 2017
TOPICS

With no medical reasons or links to religion, why are women still being circumcised?

Africa and certain parts of the Arab world are not the only places where the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) prevails, as Indonesia is currently on the hot seat for allowing female circumcision on girls as young as one-year-old.  On March 27th, a disheartening video of an Indonesian toddler surfaced which shook people around the world. In the said video, Salsa Djafar is shown decorated in a crown with ribbons and shiny clothes, ready to be circumcised. The video is not to be watched by the faint-hearted as it truly captures the pain of the little baby girl while ...

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Wear red today

Indeed, today is the day to celebrate women. For those of us who are lucky enough to wake up to our mothers’ presence, we are aware of all the work they contribute to the house. Whether it is by showing love to their children, getting all the house-hold related chores in order or by making sure that there is always food on the table, mothers have always remained at the centre. In our society, being a mother is possibly one of the most unappreciated jobs. Historically, women were respected for raising children since there was no alternative option to full-time mothering. However, they ...

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Pakistan isn’t the only country that bestows injustices to its transgender community

Pakistan isn’t the only country that bestows injustices onto minority groups residing in its country. We all are aware of the recent violent acts that have taken place against the transgender community, all thanks to social media for spreading awareness on the issue. Donald Trump’s win as the 45th president of the United States has brought about many conservative and anti-human rights thoughts, which seem to retract the liberal and more inclusive laws set in motion by the former democratic president of the United States, Barack Obama. Obama ordered public schools in May 2016 to allow transgender students to use bathrooms according to their chosen identity, further threatening to hold back federal funding if ...

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An open letter to Zara and Zoya Khan

More than 80% of women in Pakistan face sexual harassment on a daily basis. Harassment has become one of the most common issues of our society today. In most cases, the perpetrator takes advantage of the victim’s vulnerability and helplessness. Because women are taught to keep such incidents private, the fact that women will seldom come out to raise their voices against injustice, strengthens the perpetrators’ determination to touch whoever they like.  I applaud you, Zara and Zoya Khan, for standing up to the atrocious and sexually deprived man, who, like many others, assumed he had the right to touch you without your consent; ...

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Hina Shahnawaz was powerful and financially independent, so patriarchy killed her

News of honour killings, or karo-kari, is not new to Pakistan. Almost a thousand women are killed in Pakistan every year for allegedly bringing “shame” to their families. In a society that feeds off hyper masculinity, a woman’s autonomy and independence of any sort is seen as a threat to the Pakistani culture as a whole. Last year, a renowned social media celebrity, Qandeel Baloch, was murdered by her brother in the name of honour, because of her financial and social independence gained from practicing what she preached – self-love and personal power. Although honour killings were (and still are) very common, this incident in particular is what led the government ...

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Is the killing of Rohingya ‘ethnic cleansing’ or Muslim genocide?

A campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslims is being carried out by Burmese authorities in the western state of Arakan. The Burmese troops have slaughtered children, raped women, as well as killed and shot men. They have burned and looted houses. They have forced people to cross the river into Bangladesh, which is one of Burma’s neighbouring countries. The Rohingya group, numbering about 1.1 million people, is seen as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities. A huge number of people from the community have poured across the border for several years to seek asylum in one of the refugee camps near Cox’s Bazar. Moreover, ...

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Why was this Christian boy beaten for drinking water from a mosque?

News and images of Pakistani Christians being beaten up or being wrongly prosecuted are not surprising for the Pakistani public, especially since Pakistan ranks number six on the Open Doors World Watch List for Christian prosecution. Verily, one cannot turn a blind eye to such violence when it takes place so often. With the growing intolerance rate in Pakistan, many members belonging to minority groups continue to pay the price for acts they don’t even know constitute as crimes. And, realistically, they aren’t. A couple of days ago, a Christian boy was shown to be brutally beaten up in a video ...

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Islam does NOT stop a transgender person from performing religious duties

About a month ago, a violent video was circulated on social media which showed a gang of men in Pakistan viciously flogging a transgender as a ‘punishment for her bad habits’. While many people belonging to various sectors of Pakistani society condemned the series of human rights violations of transgender people on a local front, there comes yet another news that is sad and terrifying; this time a global one. Saudi Arabia has formally banned transgender people from even visiting the country. It doesn’t end there – they have also been banned from performing the religious pilgrimage, Umrah. The pilgrimage can be performed ...

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