YOU are perpetuating rape-culture and don’t even know it yet

For far too long we have subjected women, particularly victims of sexual violence, to our ignorance and insensitivity ingrained in our speech, linguistics, culture and even laws. The sad fact is that even after the promulgation of the Women Protection Act 2006, efforts still need to be made to challenge the horrendous rape culture we are embroiled in. A rape victim is someone who has been subjected to a violent, non-consensual and invasive violation of her body, reducing her to a mere object of satisfaction, lust and vulnerability. The marks of the crime are far more than physical. Many victims consider ending their ...

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Why I am returning my award

Although I do not believe that awards are a measure of the work we do, I would like to add the National Award for Best Screenplay that I won in 1989 to the growing pile of returned awards. Also, I want to make it clear that I am not returning this award because I am “shocked” by what is being called the “growing intolerance” being fostered by the present government. First of all, “intolerance” is the wrong word to use for the lynching, shooting, burning and mass murder of fellow human beings. Second, we had plenty of advance notice of what lay in store ...

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Rokhsahana, a woman, was barbarically put down like a dog that had defied its master, a man

She just wanted to live her life. Rokhsahana, estimated to be only 19 years of age, was brutally stoned to death just over a week ago, in late October. An Afghan girl belonging to the village of Ghalmeen, she had spent her entire life suffering decisions made by other men. According to The Guardian: “According to Joyenda, who has staff members from the village, Rokhsahana first ran away several years ago to Iran after her family tried to marry her off to an old man. After they brought her back, they forcibly married her off to another old man. When she ran away this ...

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Why Uber should stay far away from Pakistan

Uber, a company worth around $50 billion has decided to launch its operations in Pakistan – wonderful news for our developing nation, is it not? Well, in actuality, not really. Uber is a controversial private taxi service currently based in over 60 countries, and is notorious for the numerous legal, safety, regulatory as well as privacy issues it faces. Before I expand on these risks and issues, let me first brief the readers on what Uber is and how it operates. Uber is a web-based service through which you can ask strangers in your vicinity to arrive at your destination and give you a ...

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Will Maryam Nawaz invest Michelle Obama’s $70 million anywhere outside of Punjab?

This week we were treated to scenes of Maryam Nawaz Sharif standing with Michelle Obama as the First Lady announced an investment of $70 million as part of a new partnership between the United States and Pakistan to promote girls’ education. The money is part of President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative, which started up in March of this year and seeks to expand educational opportunities for girls. Ms Sharif also spoke about Nawaz Sharif’s education reforms, and the importance of educating girls. It’s good to see commitment at the highest level to this worthy goal. However, I can’t help being a bit of a cynic about ...

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Karachi and the paralysis of imagination

You want to read about a vision of a just Karachi? The contract killer ($50 a hit) ripping up the road behind Disco Bakery on his Honda 200CC and the secret service colonel cracking skulls in a Clifton safe house will both cite one vision: Dubai. This happens to also be the vision of the one-armed Afghan refugee selling Beijing socks off a cart in Saddar bazaar and the unsexed Karachi Port Trust shipping agent waiting for shady clients to cough up cash so he can escape to Phuket. To borrow from an old Urdu election rallying cry, Chalo,chalo, Dubai, chalo (Come, come, let’s go to Dubai). Vision presupposes ...

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People are dying, yet clerics say they are ‘happy’ to see attendance rise in mosques

It was déjà vu for anyone who lived through October 8, 2005, and not just the feeling that the ground was going to split open. Yet again, we have shown that at times when people come together, irrespective of cast, creed, faith and political affiliation, we Pakistanis would rather choose to be divisive. People are dying, yet clerics say they are ‘happy’ to see attendance rise in mosques. People have been left homeless, yet politicians are busy point scoring, blaming each other for the slow response of the other instead of taking responsibility for their own mismanagement. Hospitals are being called high risk buildings by their own staffers, yet ...

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Is Maryam Nawaz gearing up to be the next prime minister of Pakistan?

On October 22nd, the former US First Lady and current Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, survived an 11-hour long congressional hearing pushing her closer to the Oval Office. The same day, Justin Trudeau, the son of former Canadian Premier, Pierre Trudeau, began his takeover of power in Ottawa, Canada. On that very day, just shy of her 42nd birthday, another political heir made her global debut standing next to Michelle Obama in the eastern wing of the White House.  This woman is Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of Pakistan’s incumbent third time Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, who has announced a commitment to educate more girls in her country. The fact ...

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Will Gilgit-Baltistan witness a peaceful Muharram this year?

As the Himalayan peaks witnessed their first snowfall, I was automatically reminded of my days in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B). I turned towards the window overlooking the silhouette of mountains, and I wondered whether Gilgit will witness a peaceful Muharram this year. Gilgit, being the capital of the province, is home to a fair representation of all sects; Sunnis, Shias, Ismailis and Noor Bakhsis. During Muharram, streets are thronged with men, women and children making their way to various majalis and processions.  “We climb the mountains around Gilgit valley to illuminate the name of Imam Hussain (RA), drawn out with candles,” says a young ...

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The sentiments of Karbala do not only belong to Shias

I would firstly like to inform my readers that I am a Muslim, a Hussaini at heart. I believe that Imam Hussain (RA) was the grandson of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He was the one who had gifted us our religion back. I would like to shed light upon the Battle of Karbala. This tragic event was not just an attack on Imam Husaain (RA) but also his family and followers. It was an attack on the family of our beloved Holy Prophet (PBUH) – the same Prophet (PBUH) who was extremely concerned for the good of his Ummah, and spent his nights ...

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