Farahnaz Zahidi

Farahnaz Zahidi

The writer works as a Senior Sub-Editor at The Express Tribune, and has a focus on human rights, gender and peace-building. She blogs at chaaidaani.wordpress.com/ and tweets as @FarahnazZahidi (twitter.com/FarahnazZahidi)

September 10, 2014
TOPICS

“I was raped hundreds of times, by the man I was married to”

That phase of her life ended three years ago with her divorce, but 35-year-old Naila* will never be healed of what she went through during the nine years of her marriage. This is a true story; the true story of a woman who suffered a plight faced by so many women. Sadly, the crime committed against them is not even considered a crime. “Every time my husband approached me, it was sheer torture. Sometimes physical, and forever mental and emotional torture. He was physically brutal and wanted me to indulge in behaviour I was not okay with. He never cared about ...

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Can an older woman marry a younger man in Pakistan?

“I got a very nice proposal,” said a friend who was at a stage in life where she wanted to settle down in marriage. “But there is an issue. I am 31. And he is 26. I am five years older. I really like him but my mom says that in another five years mein uski maa lagoon gi (I will look like his mother). I will have to say no,” she said with resigned acceptance. But fate had other plans. The “boy” liked the “woman” very seriously it seemed. He pursued her. Her heart relented. They got married and are now in the seventh ...

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5 reasons I still support Imran Khan

At least once a day, I am asked, “You support Imran Khan? Seriously?” It is mainly because I do not fit the stereotypical image people have about PTI people. Emotional, young, immature and what we call “trolls”. I like to think I am none of these. Very few in my field of work are open about their political tilts, if any. Maybe because there is a remote chance it may interfere with journalistic objectivity. However, I have been very clear since day one. Anything I report will say the truth and nothing but the truth. Even if it goes against the ...

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Mr Prime Minister, is your government really the emblem of economic progress?

Forget, for a moment, that your panic and desperation resulted in the nation giving unnecessary attention to Tahirul Qadri. Forget the fact that once again the law enforcers in Punjab, under the umbrella term of law and order, put behind bars thousands of workers of the political parties that were giving you a tough time. Forget, for now, about the fact that what would have been just another march or protest became even bigger because you dug a hole for your own government’s future by over-reacting. Let us even forget for a moment that this political mayhem has us wondering whether democracy will ...

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“OMG, is #ImranKhan getting married?”

Those alluring eyes and that almost shy, sheepish smile; a self-assured gait of a true sportsman; a naive idealism that one can disagree with but is charming nonetheless. Add to it that tinge of genuine humanity and a good heart that the world has seen in his philanthropy and an overall drop-dead gorgeous personality despite the wrinkles that give away his age. Imran Khan Niazi, even at age 60 plus and a divorce later, is considered one of the most eligible bachelors alive. May be that is why the news that he is under pressure from his family to remarry made front ...

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Are Pakistani women clinically obsessed with clothes?

Every evening after iftar they storm the streets in flocks, like contingent troops, with one and only one purpose alone – they want clothes, clothes and more clothes. The women of Pakistan, it seems, have found the reason as to why they were created – they were created to make, buy, sell, maintain, wear, show and love clothes. And this sad obsession is across the board. From lower middle income groups to the elite, they spend big chunks of their valuable time in bazaars and malls, and unanimously spend more than they afford. And Eid season sees this obsessive compulsive behaviour ...

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My love affair with Sindhri mangoes

Yesterday, I tasted my first mango of the season. It was like falling in love all over again. I was sitting on an elaborate dastarkhwan on a 10th floor apartment’s spacious balcony in inner Karachi. “Saroli is the most amazing mango, is it not?” asked the elderly host. I sheepishly begged to differ. I am a biased Sindhri lover. Every year, the sweltering May heat that becomes unbearable as June comes closer, is a blessing for Mango lovers. “Ramazan will be unbearably hot this year. But chalo, at least there will be mangoes in the fruit chaat.” This sentiment resonates inside so many of us. And of all varieties of this ...

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Do Pakistani women only look good for other people?

One random Monday, after my aerobics class, I went grocery shopping. Still in my sports gear, I greeted another woman there, someone I didn’t know. After an exchange of smiles and pleasantries, she scrutinised my attire, visible even under a chaadar. She asked me, “From where are you coming?” I replied, “From aerobics.” She further inquired, “But why?” But why? Seriously? I was this close to giving up on Pakistani women. I shared my sob story with another female who said, “That woman must be complimenting you because you are not fat, so why should you exercise?” A third woman heard the whole saga and said empathetically, “Maybe her husband likes her to ...

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Love in the time of Marquez

I woke up today and switched on my cell, a morning ritual. The first ping was a WhatsApp message from fellow journalist and dear friend Shai Venkatraman, “Marquez is dead!” It was followed by an emoticon denoting sadness. I sat up, partly due to disbelief. Illogical disbelief. Gabriel Garcia Marquez was 87-years-old. He was sick and frail. Reports of Alzheimer’s pointed in the direction that the beautiful mind that had given us works that pulled us through our years of solitude had exhausted its reservoir of memories. He had done his job. He had given enough to this world. It was his ...

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Are parents responsible for their children committing suicide?

“Hum maaon ko sub kuch chahiye… sub kuch.” (We mothers need everything… everything). That is how disturbing certain advertisements aired on TV today are. They show a cross-section of mothers whose sense of validation and joy is dependent on their children becoming over-achievers. Most of these advertisements are disguised with a ‘feel good’ message, the underlying message, however, is disturbing and sadly, a reflection of what our society’s parents are unwittingly morphing into – a race of achievement-hungry, hard-task masters who want their children to be their trophy to show off. The models posing as mothers stretch their necks upwards as a mark ...

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