Farahnaz Zahidi

Farahnaz Zahidi

Farahnaz is a writer and editor, and has worked as the Features Editor with The Express Tribune. Her focus is human-centric feature stories. She now writes as a freelancer, and works in the field of marketing and corporate communications. She loves literature and traveling. Her work can be seen at chaaidaani.wordpress.com/

Thank you Abba, for making me the woman I am

It’s been almost nine years since Abba left us. I have written much about Ammi since then, about how she did not take his going so well, about her dementia. But I have somehow avoided writing about my father. Perhaps there is too much to write and it is difficult, even for someone like me, for whom words come easy. In the last few years of his life, his health was flailing and he knew. He started to wrap things up, though he loved life and fought for it till the end. In that twilight phase, what came up repeatedly was ...

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Ramazan shows are like a slice of Pakistan: A bit of religion followed by a lot of gossip

For those of us who grew up watching PTV, religious shows were an integral and beneficial part of the daily routine. Anything that came on PTV, we watched. As a member of the PTV generation, I grew up watching the daily afternoon show where the recitation of the Holy Quran was taught, and I don’t recall missing Majlis-e-Shaam-e-Gharibaan on any tenth of Muharram, even as a Sunni. Religion, as presented on TV back then, was something to be respected and honoured on the media. I recall care being taken even about the kind of advertisements that were run between religious ...

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We’re celebrating the 250th Press Freedom Day but is the Pakistani media really free?

You know, therefore you are. And we know because of the press. Be it print or broadcast, media is what keeps you updated. It provides us with information because it is our right to know, and it is the press’ right to relay that information. The press, or a more relevant term today might be the media (that includes products of both print as well as broadcast and digital journalism) relay that information to you. But, if you are a Pakistani and have never been a part of the media, never seen the workings of a newsroom and have never been a ...

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Are Pakistan’s “still unmarried” women the leftovers?

The best ones get taken first. The ones that are second choice get taken next. Those who are still not taken are considered ‘left overs’ – something must be lacking. No we are not talking about the kurtas on sale at a pret store, nor the shoes on the rack of an international shoe store. We are talking about women. Talented, smart, intelligent Pakistani women, each uniquely beautiful, irrespective of whether she is poised to be a home maker or a working woman. It is shameful that this is how society perceives them if they are still unmarried. Being engaged or ‘in a relationship’ ...

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This Women’s Day, our celebrations remain incomplete

There was a time when women would hide their bruised faces with layers of foundation, fake a smile and accompany the husband to a family dinner 20 minutes after being beaten. They would weep in the bathroom when everyone, including the children, had gone to sleep. They thought they were being good wives, upright mothers and chaste women by letting the hurt fester. And then, somehow, somewhere, things began to change. Around 102-years after the first observance of International Women’s Day that took place on March 8 1914, Pakistan’s women are ruffling some feathers. A recent Facebook post of a young woman posting ...

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Why is Pakistan’s affluent class so ashamed of getting extra food packed at a restaurant?

“You are embarrassing me!” Said the husband, upset over the fact that his wife asked the restaurant staff to pack the left overs which included one kabab, three-fourths of a naan and a bit of chicken karhai. “But it will be wasted,” She smiled and even carried the large mineral water bottle that was almost untouched with resolve. It was a delightful dinner my family and I were invited to and this conversation between our host couple was all too familiar. There is the “what will people think” attitude associated with carrying home leftovers and in doing so we forget that edible, clean ...

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So who should talk to the 20-somethings about contraception?

They can curse in each other’s presence, break traffic signals in unison and smoke together, and they may at times act macho and show off their romantic escapades. But young men, like their elders, do not readily open up about reproductive issues. Parents or teachers do not discuss subjects of a sensitive nature with them. While it is the same with adolescent and young women, they are comparatively more open to confiding in each other and getting guidance. But it seems the world may be in for a change in attitude. Young men, all over the world, are stepping up to take ...

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Drought or not, children are dying in Tharparkar, Qaim Ali Shah

Death is a regular visitor at the doors of Tharparkar’s mothers. Within the first 10 days of 2016, 17 children died in just the Mithi area of district Tharparkar in Sindh. Nothing new. Between December 2013 and early March 2014, at least 124 lives were lost in Tharparkar, 67 of them at the Civil Hospital Mithi alone. These are just some registered deaths in the most (relatively) developed area of the 20,000 sq km desert comprising the district. And once again, Sindh’s Chief Minister (CM) says these deaths are being exaggerated. This feels like Déjà vu. Part of the statement of ...

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She was 13 and he was 39

The 15-year-old girl from Lahore gave her “consent” and he was her “boyfriend”, and so it is not rape, they say. This case is garnering a very expected response. But why are we surprised? It reminds me of a case I came across a while back. A 13-year-old girl fell for her 39-year-old neighbour. They started chatting via the internet. One day, when she was home alone, he coerced her into having a sexual encounter. Reality was not as the girl had imagined. When it actually happened, she yelled, cried and resisted but was raped. But the men in her ...

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Why aren’t Pakistani men given paternity leave?

“We are pregnant.”   That is such a wonderful way of announcing the happy news that a couple is expecting a baby. While it is by natural default that the woman is destined to bear the bigger physical brunt by carrying the child to term and going through the delivery ordeal, there is no dearth of good daddies who take pride and ownership in the role. The more evolved men of today take the paternal instinct very seriously. They are involved in active parenting. And so many of them – like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg – want to spend some uninterrupted ...

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