Stories about woman

Will Canada be held responsible for Jamila Bibi’s death?

This is not the story of a helpless woman who fled from her country, Pakistan, because of accusations of adultery and attempts on her life. It’s not about how 65-year-old Jamila Bibi just could not put her trust in the legal system in Pakistan. This is the story of how even after she escaped certain, violent, retribution for allegedly committing adultery, her narrative was lost in the complexity of laws which first protected her and then threw her back to the wolves. Jamila Bibi sought asylum in Canada in 2007 because her life was in danger after her husband accused her ...

Read Full Post

“I was raped hundreds of times, by the man I was married to”

That phase of her life ended three years ago with her divorce, but 35-year-old Naila* will never be healed of what she went through during the nine years of her marriage. This is a true story; the true story of a woman who suffered a plight faced by so many women. Sadly, the crime committed against them is not even considered a crime. “Every time my husband approached me, it was sheer torture. Sometimes physical, and forever mental and emotional torture. He was physically brutal and wanted me to indulge in behaviour I was not okay with. He never cared about ...

Read Full Post

Remembering Joan Rivers, the good, the bad and the ugly

“I ain’t afraid of death. I am in show business, I died a million times.” That is Joan Rivers for you, a woman so full of life that even the idea of biding ado to this world couldn’t dim her light. A dynamo, fashionista and a firm believer in happy endings, Joan passed away at the age of 81, after a throat complication and being taken off life support. Starting her glamorous career in 1959, she had the good fortune to experience it all. After getting her big break through The Tonight Show, starring Johnny Carson, there was no looking back for her; ...

Read Full Post

Can an older woman marry a younger man in Pakistan?

“I got a very nice proposal,” said a friend who was at a stage in life where she wanted to settle down in marriage. “But there is an issue. I am 31. And he is 26. I am five years older. I really like him but my mom says that in another five years mein uski maa lagoon gi (I will look like his mother). I will have to say no,” she said with resigned acceptance. But fate had other plans. The “boy” liked the “woman” very seriously it seemed. He pursued her. Her heart relented. They got married and are now in the seventh ...

Read Full Post

Can’t a woman ask for her property share?

A few days ago, I was at a get together with friends and the usual small talk somehow turned to the ‘controversial’ topic of women and their property rights. One of them dramatically sighed and told her sympathisers how her ‘atrocious’ sister-in-law had the audacity to ask for her share of the family’s property. That opened up a Pandora’s Box as she was joined in by the other women who started sharing anecdotes of girls who had the audacity to ask for their share of their family’s property. I did not, and could not, understand what was so reprehensible about a ...

Read Full Post

Is it a burden to have four daughters in a Pakistani society?

“Four daughters?” the woman asked, her eyes wide with a mix of horror, pity and fascination. Then, “Mashallah!” A sympathetic smile, followed by, “They are beautiful. May Allah (SWT) bless them with good kismet (fortune)” I can’t count how many times I have heard these sentences being said to my mother. Different women, same words, same connotations each time. For most of my life it did not bother me. I took it in stride. After all, it is a burden to have four daughters in a Pakistani society. To find an educated husband for them, to painstakingly accumulate their dowry, to train them in the art of keeping house; above all to ensure their ...

Read Full Post

Pakistani women, cricket and their dilemma

To stand in the sunlight, over the lush green grass of a cricket ground, surrounded by hordes of people cheering you on while you aim to annihilate the stumps with that ball in your hand is no longer just a man’s dream. Today, women too aspire to have a career in cricket and recent events have shown that they are very much capable of becoming great cricketers. The Pakistan women’s cricket team made it to the limelight when the national squad won medals in the 2010 Asian Games and brought glory to their nation. This was a major milestone, not just for the ...

Read Full Post

Can a woman in Pakistan play sports without being sexually harassed?

One of the biggest impediments to women participating, or being allowed to participate, in any form of sports in Pakistan is that of sexual harassment. Just yesterday, we all learned about the tragic demise of Haleema Rafiq, the young and talented 17-year-old cricketer. She was one of five girls who had the courage to raise her voice by accusing the Multan Cricket Ground of several instances of sexual harassment that took place last year. However, rather than taking her accusations seriously and wasting no time in conducting a serious investigation, Rafiq’s cry for help fell upon deaf ears. Her case ...

Read Full Post

Do you have a Sarah in your house?

Whenever I see her, her eyes haunt me. The sadness in them is unspeakable and the horrors of her life, incomprehensible. She is young and beautiful yet her heart yearns for a minute of peace and happiness. She is Sarah*, a married girl who lives with her in-laws. Sarah married into a family of four sisters where her husband was the only son. The torture began almost immediately. Her three unmarried sisters-in-law cannot stand the very sight of her. They never speak a kind word to her, and always address her with stern and blank expressions on their faces. The very faces that smile ...

Read Full Post

Happy 61st Birthday Benazir Bhutto, there is none like you!

June 21st is one of the longest days of the year. But its significance is much more than just that. It is also the day when Pakistan’s great leader was born 61 years ago. Benazir Bhutto was a brave and dauntless leader. With her charisma, intelligence, wisdom, knowledge and compassion she was an ideal woman in many ways. Tested through fire, she never abandoned her ideals and belief in the freedom of humanity from tyranny. In a male-dominated and Islamic society, she became the first woman elected ruler of a Muslim country in modern history. She stood bravely against both the tyranny of ...

Read Full Post