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)

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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Saudi Arabia threatening to pull out assets is economic terrorism

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in New York, it was revealed that 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Yet the country the United States immediately attacked in retaliation was Afghanistan. Later, they followed this up with an invasion of Iraq. It has been nearly 15 years and both wars are still on-going, and are estimated to have cost between $4 and $6 trillion. While a response from the United States was certainly expected, after the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil – in the country where the event was planned, it is curious that none of ...

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A brainless hospital in Lahore hired a fake brain surgeon

Ms Maima worked as a neurosurgeon at one of Pakistan’s most prominent government hospitals at Punjab, Services Hospital Lahore. There, she worked on numerous patients, performing several brain surgeries for a period of eight months. One fine day, Professor Dr Rizwan Masood Butt, the head of the Neurosurgery Department, asked her routine questions during a medical round. To his alarm, she failed to answer properly. You see, Ms Maima, who had been working on the brains of patients at Pakistan’s second biggest hospital for so long, was actually a fake. Yes, this fake brain surgeon had outsmarted all the brainless people ...

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‘Go set yourself on fire’: Abdul Basit is but one of many students under crippling pressure

His name was Abdul Basit and he just wanted to pass his exams. A student of Hamdard University (HU), Basit had been struggling for years according to the principal, Dr Furqan. As his mother tells it, he arrived late for his Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) exams, because his vehicle had broken down – a frustrating situation any one of us can identify with. When he finally arrived, the exam, scheduled for 11 am to 1 pm had already ended. Here, Basit begged every official to allow him to take his test, as it was his final year. Dr Furqan told him ...

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It is better to arrive late than dead

It was over a year ago when a terrible tragedy befell a good family. While driving home at night, close to their house in DHA Phase 4 on main Khayaban-e-Badar in Karachi, a middle aged couple was blind sighted by a speeding vehicle. The fierce impact of metal gnashing on metal lasted several seconds, dragging their car sideways for what felt like an eternity. Both occupants were left hurt. The husband, a tall and kind-hearted man, usually armed with a ready smile that I automatically recall when I think of him today, suffered a head injury. Here, he performed one last ...

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Let them fight

As a feminist, I never thought I’d feel sorry for Junaid Jamshed. Yet here I am, feeling unhappy that he was physically assaulted at Islamabad airport by short bearded men, who comically enough, looked like they should have been carrying the ring to Mordor, instead of shouting at the pop-star-turned-preacher in loud nasally voices, “Gustakh-e-Rasool!” (blasphemy!) It is almost as if someone had decided to take up a particularly difficult challenge. Man 1: “I bet you can’t make the public feel sympathy towards Junaid Jamshed.” Man 2: “What? Junaid ‘women can’t drive’ Jamshed?” Man 1: “Yes, no one likes him.” Man 2: “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!” Let’s be frank. ...

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Why can’t Pakistani women wear niqabs if they don’t want to be stared at?

Dear Express Tribune (ET), (or should I say Sexpress tribune?) Here I was, browsing the internet while feeling very offended that the government had passed a ‘Women Protection Bill’, when I came across your latest liberal agenda spewing blog, titled, ‘Why can’t Pakistani men stop staring at women?’ This article made me so angry. The last time I felt so upset was when I spent seven and a half hours on Sunday pouring over every image and video on Qandeel Baloch’s Facebook page. That day I was so livid, I left comment after comment on her posts, asking her to cover ...

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