Stories published in January, 2012

Why firing Maya Khan is not the solution

The protest has borne fruit: Maya Khan has been fired and her show has been taken off air. One more host of Samaa TV has been shown the door, after a clamour of complaints following the fateful episode of her morning show. This is the moment of vindication for the online community of journalists, bloggers and ordinary citizens who were incensed (and rightfully so) after watching Maya and her coterie of minions prey on couples dating in a public park. But lest these critics lapse into complacency over an accomplished mission, they must know that there’s more to the story. There’s ...

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We need domestic violence legislation…now

Pakistan is considered to be the third most dangerous place for women to live in, according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation poll 2011. Despite the fact that the majority population in Pakistan is female, it is still a strictly patriarchal society where women are sometimes killed for something as personal as choosing a husband. In the West, women liberation now means fighting for tax payer funded abortion; in Pakistan, we are still advocating the treatment of women as equal beings who deserve the basic rights to life, family, freedom from torture and inhuman treatment. While there is some progress on  the ...

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Team Misbah did us proud

Victory against any opposition is sweet. But when you win against the world’s top Test team, it is memorable. Pakistan beating England by 72 runs last week has to go down as one of the best successes of the Pakistan cricket team. Defending just 145 against one of the best batting line ups of the world would have been a tough job in any case, but Pakistan never let England off the hook. Surprisingly, the chief destroyer was Abdur Rehman who grabbed six wickets for 25 runs in just 10.1 overs. Saeed Ajmal supported him well with three wickets for ...

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Who says I can’t be a Muslim feminist?

People, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, often tell me that I can’t be both a Muslim and a feminist. At a recent book reading in Oregon, for example, a male audience member asked me, “How does that even work?”. These questions demonstrate some of the rigid misconceptions individuals have about Islam and feminism; many people think that they’re mutually exclusive categories. In fact, as a Muslim feminist, I have found them to have more in common than people realise, especially when it comes to social justice. Ethos – the fundamental spirit that guides my faith– is more important to me than edicts, ...

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The great brain waste

In May last year an Australian embassy press release stated that more than 5,000 Pakistani students have chosen Australia as their destination to study. How many of these people actually go abroad to study? The answer is nil. Living in Australia, I can say that 99% of these so-called students are actually professionals and underachievers of society who go abroad to seek a better life. Let’s face it: who would want to live in a country where there is daily load shedding, nepotism, corruption, government ineptitude and terrorism, right? Although this Pakistani talent is moving out in search of greener pastures, the truth is that ...

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Shaming Maya: Two wrongs don’t make a right

The Book of Love is full of charts, and facts and figures, and instructions for dancing, at least according to The Magnetic Fields, later confirmed by Peter Gabriel. Both the indie band and the legendary former Genesis lead singer also agree that they love it when someone reads to them from it. Unfortunately, it seems that nobody ever read to Maya Khan from it. That can be the only reason she takes so much offence to young love. Now, I’m probably wrong on both counts, given the amount of pictures and video of her indulging in extra-mehram-al relations with men, ...

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Humsafar: A comic review

If you’re a human being  and you know a Pakistani woman, then you’ve probably heard about Humsafar.   I could write pages on how this show is planting the seed of fasaad (trouble) in perfectly normal and happy households and how it’s basically just a guide on how to break up pretty normal marriages. The fact that most women like it says a lot. I’ll end the casual sexism now and just give you the review. Enjoy it! A couple of things to remember: this review is supposed to be funny. If you do not ...

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Team Pakistan: Back with a bang!

Can anything taste sweeter than victory? If you are a Pakistani fan who has gone through the spot-fixing case, the ensuing talks of banishing Pakistan from world cricket, the semi-final losses in the World T20 and World Cup 2011, clearly not. And what if that victory is against the number one side in the world? It just makes it all the more sweet. It might take a couple of days for this to settle in. Consider this- in 2010, the cricketing world was so irritated with a particular team and the board’s chairman that there were talks of throwing them ...

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Our poisoned education: Shia clothes and Sunni textbooks

When I was studying at university, during a discussion over an economic issue, my professor (a PhD) uttered these words: “Alhamdulillah, I am a Sunni, I am a Muslim.” These words took me and many other students by surprise. The bizarre logic of uttering those unnecessary words in the midst of a discussion, especially when the class comprised of students from diverse religious backgrounds, was unfathomable. Even if she considered it essential to make a reference to the Islamic economic system, she could have easily done that in a mild tone without boasting about her own religious and sectarian affiliations wrapped ...

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Jaipur Literature Festival: Prisoner of a palace

An outsider who has never been part of the Jaipur Literature Festival wonders what goes on for four days in the Diggi Palace, a 16th century palace owned by one of the descendants of some nondescript feudal lords. The day starts with four different sessions on varied issues running parallel in four different venues, aptly named Mughal Durbar, Mughal Tent and so on. Before lunch, three such sessions are held and writers interact with moderator and audience. The same continues after the elaborate rich Rajasthani lunch and it ends at 6.30 pm. Then, the music session starts and soon after, the bar and ...

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