Stories about honour Killings

Do Pakistani female legislators actually represent women or merely serve as “proxies” for the wealthy and elite?

In the male dominated South Asian region, women are considered a marginalised faction of society. While describing South Asian women in politics, there are contradicting accounts. On one hand, there are examples of women like Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto, Hasina Wajid and Khaleda Zia as prime ministers, while on the other, the majority of women are seen as poor, illiterate and lacking political, social and economic opportunities. A general perception ascribed to women in South Asian politics is that they belong to higher social strata and certain political parties, which aides their journey into the mainstream political arenas. However, women in general still lack the opportunities to participate and represent in the ...

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In India, women’s safety is a promise no one can keep

It was Mother’s Day recently and we couldn’t stop gushing in our seasonal tribute about our love and gratitude for our parent. The rest of the day, we patted ourselves on the back and declared ourselves super mommies who deserved their day in the sun or rather the spa. But away from all the bleeding hearts and not too far away from the national capital, a mother spent the day watching her 10-year-old girl in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Days later, she continues to do so. There can’t be a bigger irony, because our declarations on social media don’t have a pulse on ...

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Why Qandeel Baloch’s biopic is important for today’s Pakistan

Qandeel Baloch’s biopic has once again brought her right back into our lives. The uneasiness and discomfort has started unsettling us once again. Even her story has the power to keep us on edge and make us start talking again. The debate is rife, whether the story should be told or not and you don’t need to guess where the most votes lie. The anticipation around this project is brimming with many questions. Yesterday, I happened to watch a chunk of the show Popcorn on Express TV. The discussion was the routine banter, and questioned whether the biopic is an attempt to capitalise on Qandeel’s death ...

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Why politicians like Javed Latif use women to humiliate opponents

“Mein nahi kehna chata ke log jo batein is ke mutaliq karte hain. Woh kehte hain ke us ki do choti behenein hain unka Imran Khan ke saath kia taluq hai aur kyun ana jana hai, mein nahi kehna chata.” (I don’t want to repeat what people say about this matter. They say that he has two younger sisters and ask what relation they have with Imran Khan and why they visit him so often, I don’t want to say.) This statement was made by none other than Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Javed Latif. The utterly filthy content almost made ...

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Is the jirga system truly just?

A report was published in The Washington Post on December 17, 2016, titled, “In Pakistan, five girls were killed for having fun. Then the story took an even darker twist”. It covered the investigation of an incident that took place in Kohistan in 2012, where five girls were murdered ruthlessly for singing and dancing at a wedding on the commandment of a jirga. The report divulged the abominable treatment and egregious injustices women are subjected to at the hands of influential jirgas. It further explained how this council of leaders conceals their wrongdoings by intimidating uneducated people and manipulating evidence. The jirgas are so powerful that ...

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We’re celebrating Pakistan’s Independence Day, but are we really independent?

On August 11, 1947, a newly-formed Pakistan held its first parliamentary session. The purpose was to draft a constitution. During this session, Pakistan’s founding father Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah famously reaffirmed the pluralistic values the new nation had been founding declaring: “You are free, you are free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or any other place of worship in the state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” This year will mark the nation’s 69th year ...

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Mahira’s “matkas” and “jhatkas” prove she’s the greatest marketeer in Pakistan

Mahira Khan’s larger-than-life performance and her red-carpet appearance at the LSA2016 (replete with a dress and entourage big enough to fill up all of Expo Center), proved to me that she’s an excellent brand manager who understands her target audience very well. At a time when people are desperately trying to go back to old values, Mahira brings back the charisma of yesteryear. Her audience loves when her lip is bitten in sharam. They oppose the women who bite it in lust. They love when her dupatta falls strategically at the right time during a performance. They do not like women whose ...

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There is no place in Pakistan for men who do not consider women their equals

The acrimonious display of chauvinism by Hafiz Hamdullah in a talk show is rightfully being condemned in all quarters of the media. However, we need to go a little further in examining this overt manifestation of a rot that is deeply entrenched in our midst. To start off, Hafiz Hamdullah’s failed attempts at intimidating and shouting down Marvi Sermid are a continuation of his past behaviour during televised debates. It also seems the pious senator reserves the worst of his bullying for the fairer sex. And this is the crux of the issue – I believe the honourable Hafiz was apoplectic ...

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Women, the stuff maulvi nightmares are made of

Pakistanis are extremely resourceful people. We work with what we get. When life gave us the proverbial lemons in the guise of terrorism and religious extremism, we rose to the occasion by coining the term ‘liberal extremists’ to protect our social fabric from the menace of tolerance, human rights, and other Jewish conspiracies. The ‘liberal extremist’ is the right-wing’s brilliant attempt at tapping into the powerful global constituency against violence and extremism in a post 9/11 world. Someone recently said that ‘when you are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression’. In the case of Pakistan, when you have political ...

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The dirty old men of Pakistan

In the world we live in, there is no dearth of pious men who believe that most of the world’s problems can be fixed by giving their women a little thrashing. And this business of a man’s God-given right to give a woman a little thrashing has brought together all of Pakistan’s pious men. A few weeks ago, Pakistan’s largest province passed a new law called the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act. The law institutes radical measures that say a husband can’t beat his wife, and if he does he will face criminal charges and possibly even eviction from ...

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