Maheen Usmani

Maheen Usmani

A freelance writer who has covered subjects ranging from socio-political issues to women's rights to counter terrorism, sports, travel, culture and music. Maheen tweets @MaheenUsmani twitter.com/MaheenUsmani

Shahzeb Khan’s parents did what they had to

‘’Shahzeb’s family should be shunned by everyone who supported them.’’ “The parents had been extremely pressurised to forgive the tyrants, but Allah (SWT) will inflict them with His divine retribution InshaAllah.’’ To all those bashing Shahzeb Khan’s parents, what would you do if you were in their position: threatened by feudals and their sidekicks, having lost one son and trying to protect the remaining children? In a land where might is right, would you have the guts to endanger more precious lives in order to see justice done to a grinning Jatoi or Talpur? As Shahzeb’s mother said: “We cannot spend our entire ...

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September 2, 2013
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Delhi gang rape verdict: Is it a crime to be born a girl in India?

She came from a small town in Uttar Pradesh, but she had big dreams. Her father may have been just an airport baggage handler at Delhi’s international airport who earned $200 a month, but he supported his daughter’s ambition and sold his ancestral land to finance her studies. Having enrolled in a four year Physiotherapy course in Dehradun, she came to Delhi for an internship after finishing her final exams. To supplement her income, she worked nights at a firm and gave tuition to school children. She slept for only three hours because she was in such a hurry to reach ...

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Ehteram-e-Ramazan: Don’t forget to beat, backbite and bribe.

It has to be said, nay proclaimed, that we are the proud custodians of Islam and chest thumping leaders of the Ummah. But was there any doubt on that score? Notwithstanding the deafening silence in the land of Al Harmain Al Sharifain, Saudi Arabia, we protested against an American film by a sloppy filmmaker. We so loved setting ablaze our own property and cinemas, because of the resounding impact it had on the life and profession of that sloppy American filmmaker. We keep screaming like banshees at the plight of poor dispossessed Palestinians who have never backed us on ...

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The smiling gardener

The house is the same but he’s not here. Why then is it that everywhere I turn, I feel his presence? The garden he worked so hard on day after day, month after month, blooms but his corner is empty. No music blasting from among the flower beds, no hoeing of loose earth, no planting of flower buds, no watering of plants, no clearing away of rubbish, no crackling of leaves burning. The garden looks gorgeous, a testament to the hard work of the smiling gardener who tended it with so much dedication. He was like mercury- here, there, everywhere. Happiness ...

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Zahra Shahid Hussain: A woman of substance

Zahra Shahid Hussain was a tour de force. Nothing seemed impossible for her to conquer and she made it all seem so easy. Her ready smile and twinkling eyes lined with kohl will always be in my mind’s eye. My parents counted Zahra Hussain and her husband, Shahid Hussain, as one of their closest friends. The towering Uncle Shahid, in his white kurta pajama and deep baritone, was a gentleman to the core who had a vast repertoire of stories. As for Zahra Aunty, she was a woman of deep conviction and strength. Fearless and passionate, she was a great ally ...

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The agony and esctasy of PTI

‘’It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us..’’ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities. ‘’Captain oh my captain’’ Imran Khan energised many with his strident call for change which lassoed in thousands hoping to change the history ...

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Hamza Ahmed and the urban feudalism in Karachi

Karachi gives off a palpable sense of fear which stems not just from menacing robbers, kidnappers and terrorists, but also from haphazardly driven tinted four wheelers by boys with a plethora of armed guards at their beck and call. What is this worrying trend of urban feudalism in cosmopolitan Karachi? The nexus between power, money and brutality in Pakistan is nowhere as evident as in the crass behaviour of these pampered youngsters. A friend visited a designer’s house in Defence where she was introduced to her smiling teenage sons. After leaving the place, the friend’s car was nearly pushed off the main ...

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Gora complex unabated

George Galloway came, he saw, he conquered. Conquered who, one may well may ask?  Karachi’s literati and liberal elite who intermingle, for one, who fawned over the UK Member of Parliament (MP) at the recently held Karachi Literature Festival (KLF). With high expectations, one went to hear him speak at his first session with Irfan Hussain as moderator. After all, Mr Galloway had no less than three outings at KLF, the last being as being the keynote speaker at the closing of the festival, so evidently even the Oxford University Press was not immune to his galloping charm. Mr Galloway arrived, ...

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Avengers incorporated

Apart from sending the cash registers ringing, what do the films ‘Bodyguard’ and ‘Captain America’ have in common? No, it’s not the good looks or the brawn of its leading male protagonists Salman Khan and Chris Evans. Both films represent an avenger taking on the forces of evil and hatred and emerging triumphant, if a trifle bloodied, after a fierce battle. In an increasingly insane world, is it any wonder then that we are increasingly drawn to a hero who will vanquish our demons and ensure that peace and harmony prevail? Actually I was dragged feet first to see Bodyguard  ...

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Jagjit Singh: A man for all seasons

Jagjit Singh: just the name of this maestro is enough to excite his legions of fans. At a recent concert in Europe, old and young crowded into the auditorium, the scene reminiscent of a desi wedding, with women dressed to kill in sequins, silks and red lipped pouts. The great singer held the audience in the palm of his hand as he regaled them with ghazals intertwined with jokes, anecdotes and improvisations. Making my way through his throng of admirers at the end of the concert waiting to get his autograph, I found the ...

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