Maria Kari

Maria Kari

A freelance writer and journalist currently based in Vancouver, BC. She writes on South Asian and Middle Eastern politics, portrayals of Islam in the West and the occasional preoccupation with pop culture faddism and tweets at @mariakari1414.

Sheraniland: Sharia law needs saving from Mr Sherani

In the past 15 years alone, Pakistan has made great strides by introducing numerous laws to help embolden and empower its womenfolk. Unfortunately, for Pakistan’s women, putting pen to paper only creates the law. It doesn’t actually implement that law. Nor does that law act as a shield against Pakistan’s powerful yet disillusioned institution of bearded clerics with an agenda. Take for example, the current chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Maulana Sherani, whose favourite pastime (when not fist fighting other maulanas) is undoing centuries of incremental change in women’s rights with a quick brandishing of the religious zealot’s favourite weapon: the mighty, all-encompassing and all too frequently misinterpreted torch of Sharia law. To be ...

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Fear the wrath of God

What do women seeking abortions, homosexuals in the US military, the animistic tribe of the Pakistani Kalash, and Christmas celebrating, non-vegetarians have in common? Apparently, God hates them and so we all have to put up with terrorists, strong winds and the earth splitting wide open. “Look what the Kalash have done now” In the wake of November’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake, a tragedy that left over 390 people dead, Pakistanis have descended into their favourite game; the blame game. It’s a familiar, age-old phenomenon. The wrath of God has been a sound explanation for the cruel, unusual, confusing and tragic since the inception of religion, and, perhaps, humankind. ...

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Pakistan has laws against rape and adultery, but what about incest?

Writing about the sexual abuse of a little girl is hard. Writing about the little girl’s incestuous relationship resulting in years of rape at the hands of her father is harder. In all the history of humankind, all societies have considered incest abhorrent, shameful and worthy of criminal sanction. But skirting around the uncomfortable topic of incest comes hand-in-hand with its social sanction. And in no place is incest slipped under the proverbial rug so eagerly as it is in the shame and honour based culture of Pakistan. This is because in a shame and honour based culture, the shameful action of one ...

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6 ways Jawani Phir Nahi Aani proves what’s past is prologue

This year witnessed Pakistani cinema step out of a murky and Bolly obsessed past into a well-choreographed, seductive, witty, and innuendo-filled cinematic future. For a country, now in its 69th year of independence, that once teemed with 1500 movie houses – it’s about time. The 2015 blockbuster, Jawani Phir Nahi Ani (JPNA), was the perfect culmination to a year of decent Lollywood films. Below are the venerable author’s six astute observations on the three hour Nadeem Baig comedy on the burdened life of three bachelors under the tyranny of their wives. 1. “What happens in Bangkok stays in Bangkok” Photo: Jawani Phir Nahi Ani ...

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Nigella Lawson: One of the many faces of domestic violence

According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report released this week, physical and sexual violence now affects a third of women worldwide. The consequences of this includes a myriad of health problems including broken bones, bruises, pregnancy complications and depression coupled with the harsh reality that many of these women may possibly spend their lifetime in such a relationship.  In the last year, a host of high-profile rape cases in India have helped shed the spotlight on the pandemic of sexual violence against women. Though we have a long way to go and much responsibility to bear, as a society, the immediate result ...

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Pakistan needs more men like Mirza Ali

In 1856 when Mount Everest was definitively identified as the world’s highest mountain what began was a series of early Everest expeditions, mostly led by the British, which, in 1933, included efforts to deploy the British Union Flag on top of the mountain by flying a formation of aircraft over the peak (an expedition funding by a British millionaires, Lady Houston) Since 1921 Everest has had over 4,500 climber visitors from over eighty nations. And while the first female ascent of the mountain was in 1975 by Japanese mountain-climber, Junko Tabei and the first Pakistani to scale the Everest was a ...

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Inglot releases halal nail polish

Cosmetic company Inglot claims it’s manufactured the world’s first ‘wudu-friendly’ nail polish. Being a relatively modern creation, nail polish remains obviously unaddressed by early Islamic sources. But the general consensus in the Islamic community is that praying with nail polish is impermissible because of the waterproof barrier it creates on nails, which prevents the wudu ritual from being completed five times a day. Enter Inglot’s happy accident – their 02M Breathable nail polish line, akin to breathable contact lenses, is made with a breathable polymer that allows oxygen and water vapour to seep through to the nails. Inglot’s tapping into the market of ‘halal’ cosmetics ...

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TV shows: It’s not just sex that sells, religion does too

A main feature of Ramazan in Pakistan is the surge of sehr and iftar talk shows and television programmes. Audiences, hungry for food, and thirsty for Da’wah (preaching of Islam), willingly welcome the gimmicky stratagems of the media-walays (media-people) looking to hook and reel us in. To name just a few, this year’s list of programmes features some of Pakistan’s most jaanay-maanay celebrities (well-known celebrities); a sportsman, an TV host slash regional park morality police, and an actress, model and an item girl, all in one personality (yes I know you know exactly who I speak of). By bringing in Pakistan’s most notorious and/or well-known celebrities, networks have tapped into a ...

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Aamir Liaquat: The second coming

Remember when Superman lost his life in a war against the seemingly unstoppable alien, Doomsday, in order to defend Metropolis? Except it turned out that he hadn’t really died and instead was actually just recharging in a Kryptonian regeneration mix for a few months so that he could return – fully alive and functional (notwithstanding that terribly embarrassing mullet). Now, Pakistan’s Ramadan hero, Dr Aamir Liaquat, will be joining the ranks of famed second comebacks so favored by comic books and holy scriptures. Yes, the rumor mill got it right this time around. Liaquat, who has often fallen from grace in the ...

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The curse of being a South Asian student

When an eighteen-year-old Tyler Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after suffering silently from months of cyber-bullying, journalist Josh Goodman at the The Huffington Post demanded that not only his bullies but the whole of society be put on trial for its role in the suicide. As virtually every media outlet, numerous celebrities, and even President Obama, spoke out about the tragedy, the question remained: Why would a young man just starting college, seemingly on the first page of a new chapter, change course and set sail in the direction of death instead? It is true that ...

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