Stories about women

Misplaced priorities: Why do you lose your mind when it comes to Imran Khan?

 As a journalist I have always been impartial towards political parties; experience shows that while all of them promise the world, none of them deliver. Lately, however, the dynamic of politics in Pakistan have changed. Ever since Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has come into power in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), many women started taking an interest in Pakistani politics. The women are now seen constituting a majority of the supporters participating in various sit-ins that take place in cities across the country. For many it is the aura that Imran Khan emanates that becomes the primary reason for support, while for others it ...

Read Full Post

Saudi Arabia: Holy hypocrites

I was born in Saudi Arabia and am very closely accustomed to the grossly odd laws that exist within the nation, namely, and perhaps most famously, that women are not allowed to drive, that women have to don the black abaya when in public and that there is strict segregation between men and women most stringently enforced by the muttawas or religious police.  I distinctly remember a muttawa once giving my mother a religious lecture over how she should contain her eight-year-old daughter and stop her from running around in case she attracted men. A complete absurdity indeed but my mother ...

Read Full Post

Does Pakistan’s media encourage sexism?

The recent controversy surrounding Junaid Jamshed has dominated social media over the weekend. The matter is between him and God; I am in no position to comment on the apology or the blasphemy issue at all. Maybe this incident will open a conversation about the blasphemy laws in Pakistan. However, I am surprised at the lack of a conversation around the casual sexist remarks passed by public personalities in the media in Pakistan. Junaid Jamshed has previously suggested that men should not teach their wives how to drive. In response to the recent controversy, Aamir Liaquat responded in kind with comments about Junaid Jamshed’s mother. We live ...

Read Full Post

The Why Chromosome

When speaking to a friend of mine on how to treat a lady, I was fairly shocked to find that he hadn’t a clue, really.  There seems to be confusion – a dearth of clear ground rules. When it comes to women, here’s what you should and shouldn’t do.   You should not stare as she walks past, or call her as a cat; Regardless of how she’s dressed, or if she’s thin or fat. Do not undress them with your eyes. Bite your cheap retorts. It’s really no business of yours, if she’s wearing shorts. “She should have worn more modest clothes to avoid catcalls.” Instead, perhaps the men should ...

Read Full Post

Real men do(n’t) cry

He was sharing some of his deepest secrets about his childhood; his fears, his regrets, his loss – of a loved one, of dreams, of time lost that could have been utilised better, of a life that could have been. I witnessed this man break some barriers in those moments as he dared to bare his soul, something men in our society are not taught to do. But most importantly, this man dared to cry, that too in front of a woman. In those moments, I saw bravery. Because he kept saying, “See? I’m crying. I didn’t even know I could cry ...

Read Full Post

Forced conversions in Pakistan: “Eeshwar kaun hai, Allah bol Allah!”

Scuffles and screams rang through the dark night. They were three and they were burly. They had her in a firm grip with her mouth gagged with a rough cloth. It was probably 11 or 12 o’clock at night. Not very late for a summer night but half the village had no electricity, so people turned in early. Her screams could have woken up the neighbours, if they had any. Theirs was a mud hut in a lone corner of the basti. She desperately tried to make as much noise as possible but it was of no use. The men had ...

Read Full Post

Reyhaneh Jabbari lives on – even today

“The world allowed me to live for 19 years. That ominous night it was I that should have been killed. My body would have been thrown in some corner of the city, and after a few days, the police would have taken you to the coroner’s office to identify my body and there you would also learn that I had been raped as well. The murderer would have never been found since we don’t have their wealth and their power. Then you would have continued your life suffering and ashamed, and a few years later you would have died ...

Read Full Post

Only in Pakistan can women become ‘white’ and men restore their ‘manhood’ using soap

It is unfortunate that even in today’s day and age we have issues concerning gender identity. In fact, they have become more complex than ever and people are seen spewing offensive slurs at those whom they believe don’t adhere to their idea of a ‘specific’ gender. What is worse is that things don’t end at picking on effeminate men or masculine women; it goes as far as people wanting to restore traditional (read: ancient) gender roles where men are the bread winners for the whole family while women are ‘property’ that stay home, serve their men and pop out babies. As if hideous ...

Read Full Post

Why does marriage equal compromise in Pakistan?

I’m a 24-year-old woman and I am divorced. Yes, you heard right; I’m a 24-year-old divorced woman in a Pakistani society. I got divorced because my husband was suffering from depression, was taking pills without any proper prescription due to which he also had erectile dysfunction. He insisted that his pride and ego were more important than getting treatment and ensuring a healthy marriage. When I tried explaining the benefits of acquiring treatment he became abusive, leaving me with no option but separation. Our society, however, does not believe I made the right decision. Yes, it is easy to sit behind a ...

Read Full Post

Living with polio in Pakistan

“I always wanted to study but my dream to get higher education remained just that, a dream. I was unable to complete my Matric because of my disability. It would pain me immensely to see girls who were with me in school going to college and making something of themselves.” Maria, while wiping her tears, was discussing the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government’s new scheme regarding free education for the disabled. Maria is 32-years-old and is a resident of Gulbahar in Peshawar. She was diagnosed with polio when she was one-year-old, soon after she got her polio vaccination. She is currently living with her brother ...

Read Full Post