Stories about education

The child marriage legislation is a step in the right direction, but will it be implemented?

Marriages are big business in Pakistan. It is a time of hope, happiness, faith and love. Such a memorable event can easily turn sour when the parties getting married are underage. To curb this heinous act, legislation has been passed by the National Assembly, aimed to reduce child marriages by ramping up the severity of the punishment.  Instead of being imprisoned for up to three years, individuals involved in arranging child marriages face a 10-year imprisonment with a one million rupees fine. This new change in the law seems to be a serious effort on part of the government to tackle this insidious practice. Although on ...

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Have Muslim countries failed its women due to religious orthodoxy?

A few months ago, when Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy won her Oscar, I got into a heated argument with one of my friends. His contention was that people like her were ‘maligning’ the image of Pakistan by unnecessarily inflating some isolated incidents. In his opinion, her efforts were just creating negative stereotypical images of Pakistan and which made ‘enemies’ of Pakistan feel comfortable in their hate. In his opinion, Pakistan’s gender related issues were not systemic and were blown out of proportion. “It is just a tiny minority which is indulging in honour killings and it is unfair to present Pakistan in such a negative light”, he argued. Is he ...

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Why America is the greatest Islamic Caliphate there exists

Last Friday, Maulvi Sahab again said that God’s wrath is soon going to descend on the United States of America (USA) and the Muslim World will rise again. Although these are two entirely different things – fall of America and rise of Muslims more so the Asian Muslims – quite unrelated; nevertheless, he bundled them together as is the understanding in the entire Muslim world these days. So far so good. For the last 30 years of my life in Kashmir, I have often heard this prediction being made by “God’s own middlemen” that this Islamophobic, zionist, kafir America will ...

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Lessons from Nelson Mandela

“I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” This historic roadmap  refers to the most celebrated statesman and visionary leader of the preceding century – Nelson Mandela. He is recognised both nationally and globally as an archetype of the utmost endurance and a man who showed unprecedented ...

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Why are you silent on the amnesty bill for property sector thieves, Imran Khan?

It has finally happened. For the past five months, our government strongly resisted pressure from property sector players to grant them amnesty to retain stolen money. This week, the National Assembly – composed mainly of crooks – approved a bill which will enable these thieves to whiten their black money by paying back only 3% of the amount that they have looted from the nation. Property investors and builders are jubilant. This scheme allows them to whiten seven trillion rupees instantly, while paying a piddling amount to the exchequer. Prices of their plots, bungalows and apartments will undergo a phenomenal increase, making it impossible ...

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Volunteering at KVTC helped me more than I helped them

I spend all my days and nights looking for a purpose in life and though I might be 20, I feel the burden of not giving back to life after everything I’ve been blessed with. It might sound clichéd when I say that I can’t imagine a life without purpose but I kid you not when I say I have trouble sleeping at night on the days I feel I took more from life than I gave back to it. With the recent exponential growth in negativity around the world, I found myself soaking in negativity and breathing it out, both ...

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“Oh, it’s just a small cut so why are you complaining?”

“Oh, it’s just a small cut so why are you complaining?” Those are the words of Filzah Sumartono from AWARE – a group dedicated to women’s rights – when she tries to talk about the taboo subject with members of her community. It is astounding that people avoid this topic with a wave of the hand, branding it as a “small cut” especially when the effects of such a procedure can be damaging – both physically and mentally. According to Orchid Project, girls and women can suffer from emotional distress throughout their lives, not to mention having feelings of fear, helplessness, ...

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“Baji, why does Master ji not give me the same kind of attention he gives to Hira?”

She was bathed in my perfume when I entered the room. “Baji, there was some stench coming from the store room; that’s why I was using it.” She is the daughter of our housekeeper; hardly 12, with dark skin, sharp features, huge, sparkly eyes, and an innocent face. Her mother asked me to help her with her studies and I loved to teach her. She was such a bright student who wanted to learn as much as she could. But for some time now, I was noticing a devastating change in her personality; a lack of interest in her studies, a sudden interest in the latest ...

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Capitalism, the disease that breeds social injustice

A while back, a story went viral on the internet about a young girl, who worked as a house maid. Long story cut short, she asked her employer for an advance because her mother was extremely ill, but her employer refused. A few hours later, the very same employer showed the house maid the brand new lipstick she had just bought – a MAC product worth more than her salary. The house maid was naturally furious and disappointed: What happened then? Did the house maid’s mother survive? I doubt it. She didn’t have enough money for the treatment and her employer had refused to give her ...

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An open letter to my younger self

Dear Tanzila, Today your wish will come true. You will get what you had always wanted. Remember that hair straightener set? Mum has gotten it for you. It has curlers too! But I have some bad news: you will forget about the beloved straightener within three years and never think about it again. Why? Because, you will embrace the hijab as your identity – don’t freak out! You will love it. Today, as the 26-year-old ‘you’, I have reached out to you of the past to share some lessons. Some of them I learned in Sweden, some as I was sitting in a training session ...

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