Noman Ansari

Noman Ansari

The author is the editor-in-chief of IGN Pakistan, and has been reviewing films and writing opinion pieces for The Express Tribune as well as Dawn for five years. He tweets as @Pugnate (twitter.com/Pugnate)

Dear Adam Saleh, hijacking Muslim sentiments is not funny

From CNN to Al Jazeera, Adam Saleh’s video has made headlines across the world. We got kicked out of a @Delta airplane because I spoke Arabic to my mom on the phone and with my friend slim… WTFFFFFFFF please spread pic.twitter.com/P5dQCE0qos — Adam Saleh (@omgAdamSaleh) December 21, 2016 Retweeted over 769,000 times on Twitter, the shocking footage shows him being escorted off a Delta airlines plane where he expresses outrage for getting booted. His crime, he says, was speaking a few lines of Arabic on the phone to his mother, an offense that was too much for his fellow passengers. As expected, many online reacted with disgust. Was just forced to leave ...

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Junaid Jamshed is Pakistan: Absurdly talented yet seriously flawed

Capping off a year already filled with terrible news was yesterday’s tragic incident. A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crashed on the way to Islamabad from Chitral, killing 48 people on board and leaving the country in shock. To start with, the pain being faced by the families of these lost 48 lives must be incalculable. To lose a loved one so abruptly without closure is a terrible ordeal. At the very least, the loved ones should be provided with grief-counselling by the government at the earliest, though the chances of this happening are low. There must also be questions asked about ...

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Dear PEMRA, why can’t Hamza Ali Abbasi talk about the plight of Ahmadis without being threatened or banned?

Pakistan is the land of topsy-turvy, where the righteous are punished and the wrongdoers thrive. In what is a thoroughly perplexing decision, The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) imposed a ban on Hamza Ali Abbasi’s Ramazan program. What was his crime? To open a dialog on his show on the plight of one of the most viciously persecuted minorities in Pakistan, the Ahmadis. Not a few days ago, Hamza Ali Abbasi asked why Ahmadis were treated so poorly in the country and why we were so afraid to talk about it: “The community is being suppressed but if you talk about it, ...

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Whether the victim is a man or woman, acid attacks are no laughing matter

A terrible incident took place in Multan a few days ago when a young person was attacked with acid, suffering burns on over 50 per cent of their body. Usually – as much as 80 per cent, in fact – when an acid attack takes place in the country, the victim is a woman. In this case, though, the genders were reversed. The victim, a 24-year-old man, had been invited over by a 36-year-old woman to her house. I am sure there is more to it than this, but the woman, who apparently was already married and the mother of ...

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Why is a white or Arab guy playing Rumi?

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, better known as simply Rumi, is one of the most beloved poets of all time from Asia to the United States. An Islamic scholar, thinker, and Sufi mystic, he was born in the Eastern part of the Persian Empire – now Afghan territory – which is why it is surprising that Hollywood wants to cast Leonardo DiCaprio, an actor of Italian and German descent, to play him. What’s more, Hollywood wants to cast Robert Downey Jr as Shams Tabrizi, who happened to be Rumi’s spiritual instructor, close friend, and a source of inspiration for his ...

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Dear PEMRA, why can’t we talk about sex?

As of 2015, Pakistan’s estimated population was frighteningly over 190 million. We are growing so fast that the United Nations estimates we will hit 300 million by 2050.  Now, I am sure some of you read this and thought, “Masha’Allah.” But the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) warns that we will start running into water scarcity by 2025. Yes, we are already overpopulated, and our resources can’t sustain our growth. In essence we are a giant growing elephant riding a tiny single-wheel cycle. Photo: Jusscope And this unicycle is going to fall, except we are told by our ...

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Alisha was treated outside a lavatory – shame on you, Peshawar

Like any other people, all the transgender community wants is to live with dignity. But in Pakistan, dignity for this sexual minority is almost impossible to find. From birth to their death beds, they are ostracised as if they are the bearers of some invisible disease. Forced to live with their own communities, forced to take menial jobs or to beg on the streets, forced to put up with mental and physical abuse, forced to deal with sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and rape, from their fellow citizens or even those tasked with protecting them, the transgender people of Pakistan ...

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20 names of places that could break Pervez Rasheed’s wuzu

Perhaps in an earnest attempt to set the Guinness World Record for longest simultaneous face palm across a single country a few days ago, politician Pervez Rasheed attacked rival Imran Khan at a press conference by saying that he couldn’t name the locality where Khan’s boys studied, for it would break his wuzu (ablution). Continuing the silly line of attack, he added, “If he believes in wuzu.” It didn’t take long for the internet to tear Rasheed to shreds over his comment. The area he refused to mention, of course, was Middlesex. Later, he tried to save face by claiming he had ...

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Suno! mirrors the dark reality of tackling mental illness

For a Pakistani play to tackle the taboo subject of mental health is commendable. But, for it to execute the show so effectively is a terrific accomplishment. Written and directed by the talented Hamza Bangash (Baraf Paani), Suno! is a sublime drama running at the Karachi Arts Council that holds up a mirror to our society. Let’s be honest. We all know someone who has battled mental health issues. We also know how the subject is treated like a massive elephant in the living room that everyone refuses to acknowledge. Often, the manner in which Pakistani society reacts to mental health ...

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This Saudi therapist teaches husbands how to beat their wives

Saudi Arabia is a kingdom where women aren’t allowed to drive, can’t vote like men, must dress like ninjas, and often take the legal blame if raped. Without permission from their husbands/fathers, they can’t leave the country, can’t open a bank account, can’t obtain a passport, can’t pursue higher education, and more. These laws open Saudi women to abuse. Depending on the luck of the draw, if a Saudi woman ends up with an abusive husband or father (like the Saudi preacher who raped his ‘flirty’ five-year-old daughter to teach her a lesson) she is destined for a life of ...

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