Matchmaking businesses: Wolves disguised in sheep clothing?

They say that ‘relationships are made in heaven’. But finding that ‘assigned better half’ on this earth is quite a daunting task. This chore becomes even more overwhelming when mothers of daughters approaching their twenties become apprehensive at being unable to find a good spouse for their daughters. And sometimes in their desperation, they eventually seek the help of matchmakers. Matchmaking in Pakistan is gradually gaining ground and turning into a money-making business. Getting their daughters married into a decent family is undeniably a glad tiding for any family. But the plethora of events and proceedings that precede the event are quite ...

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Don’t equate the United Baloch Army with the Taliban!

Wednesday April 9, 2014. 8 am. Islamabad I-11’s fruit market. A blast rips through the usually quiet federal capital morning. Over two dozen lives lost. Everyday news in everyday Pakistan. The only difference? The attack was not claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or one of its various splinter groups. It was claimed by the United Baloch Army (UBA). This has been the second attack of its kind carried out by the UBA in the last few days. The first one took place at a train station in Sibi, Balochistan, killing 17 people. While in the last few hours the government has rejected the ...

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Why are Pakistani women obsessed with their weight?

I should make it clear from the beginning that this unhealthy obsession with weight is not limited to Pakistani women but is the universal truth for women everywhere.  We are either too thin or too fat, with most of us being the latter. In Pakistan, a woman’s elegance, grace, beauty or self-worth is all linked to her weight and other women, mostly, deem a skinny female to be successful.  I noticed this on a recent trip to Pakistan. After meeting relatives whom I hadn’t seen for a long time, the first thing they commented on was my weight, which had become quite rotund. It didn’t occur ...

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Why do we need peace talks if we have the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance (PPO)?

 The Government of Pakistan is in the process of carrying out a dialogue with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – they who have been hiding in Pakistan and have attacked the Pakistani armed forces, national strategic places and killed more than 50,000 people of Pakistan. Despite these facts, the government continues to pursue these ‘negotiations’. The recent Protection of Pakistan Ordinance (PPO) bill, approved by the presidential house, gives full support to the armed forces to take action against state enemies who are waging war against Pakistan from within the country’s borders. Therefore, the question then is what was the need for such a bill when the ...

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We are all blasphemers

A few days back, as an aftermath of the sectarian violence in Rawalpindi on Ashura last year, I saw a post on a social media site which supported the idea of death by hanging for any act of blasphemy done against Allah (swt), the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), his companions (ra) and the Ahle Bayt. There were a lot of comments; emotionally charged Muslims, full with religious fervour, supported and encouraged the motion polishing their imaan. After going through a number of comments, I decided, it was time for me to finally explode. It had been a while since my last backlash on society, religious extremists and particularly anyone ...

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Humiliation, detention and beatings do NOT help children at school!

The environment in some Pakistani schools, particularly, government schools, is uncivilised at best and tyrannical at worst. While studying Psychology, I was compelled to look back at events from my childhood and school days. There were times in school when a few of my fellow students were mistreated by their teachers and class mates. Every class has a few students who are slightly slow at learning or grasping certain subjects or concepts. In my class, Zara was one such girl. She was mistreated by each and every teacher along with all the students in the class only because she was unable ...

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Do we need madrassas in Pakistan?

Pakistan has undoubtedly become a difficult place to live in with death penalties for the weakest of the weak while terrorists and thugs are acquitted and walk free.  It is quite true that those who believe in absurdities are the ones who commit atrocities. Blasphemy or what ‘they’ term blasphemous is one such absurd idea that provides the basis for committing atrocious acts in Pakistan. The death sentence given to a young Christian man, Sawan Masih, is a great example of such an atrocity committed in the name of ‘blasphemy’ under Pakistan’s rigorous blasphemy law. Sawan Masih, a cleaner, was arrested last year in March in ...

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Of course, charging an ex-Chief of Army staff with treason will help us fight terrorism

After many hiccups and a long wait, the day has finally come and former president Pervez Musharraf has been indicted for treason. This is a new chapter in the history of Pakistan, for reasons both, good and bad. However, before going into the reasons and the impact of this verdict, I think it is pertinent to recap the situation that led to the imposition of emergency on November 3, 2007 – the alleged violation of Article 6 of the constitution. Since the matter cannot be considered in isolation, let’s begin from the presidential reference against the former chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry. The lawyers’ ...

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The rise of the rupee: A politically potent economical stupidity

Last week I received a call from a friend in Karachi. “What is going on with the dollar?! Should I buy dollars? Why is it falling like this?”  My answer was simple. “The dollar isn’t falling; it’s the rupee that is rising.” What’s the difference? Difference is its implication. Hailing from a regime that had made promises of ending load shedding within 90 days of coming to power, the fact that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar made good on his December 2013 promise to bring the dollar down to Rs98 deserves an applause. While those who consider the currency exchange rate as something of a competitive sport where appreciation ...

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Four Pakistani conspiracy theories that are less fictitious than you’d think

Last year, Pakistani journalist Nadeem F Paracha published an article titled Malala: The real story (with evidence) on the website of Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper. The article argued that schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai was shot not by the Pakistani Taliban but by the CIA – and with blanks. The shooting had been completely staged. The triggerman? Robert De Niro “posing as an Uzbek homeopath”. Paracha was clearly satirising Pakistani conspiracy theories but some of his countrymen took him quite literally. One obscure newspaper, The Lahore Times, even published an article which was later removed from its website, reporting Paracha’s article as fact. Dawn eventually posted a disclaimer noting that the article was fictitious. One ...

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