zehra.abid

Zehra Abid

Peshawar desk in charge at The Express Tribune. She is fluent in Urdu, English and Turkish. She studied at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara

For the Baloch who are missing and others who will be too

I cried for days when my cat died. But I was better off than my little cousin whose dog got kidnapped. We still wonder if Toffee, who came as a puppy 13 years ago, is alive. We wonder if she is given food on time. If she is safe.  Whenever she comes to mind, in our hearts we hope that she died too. Think about how you feel when your child gets late from school and you don’t know where your baby is, think about how you feel when you lose a pet, and then imagine what families of missing persons ...

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In the worst of times, Pakistan swings lotas

Last week as tickers of an earthquake in Japan started running on television, a PML-Q parliamentarian sat with four, different coloured lotas, screaming for her opinion to be heard in a discussion between two people. Other channels too had nothing but mudslinging, noise pollution and tickers on the earthquake. Pakistani television seemed oblivious to the disaster. It was not before turning to BBC that the extent of what had happened hit, as footage of seismic waves razing homes, sweeping away ships and cars appeared in the most devastating videos I have seen. Unfortunately it wasn’t only the infamous electronic media that had ...

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2011: A new start on the dark streets

It’s hard to leave the past behind and start the new year with renewed hope when it ends on a nationwide strike and begins on dark streets that depict nothing less than fear and gloom. It’s a struggle to be happy here, even when the day demands so. I had much sympathy for myself and this country on New Year’s Eve as I tried to find my way home amid containers that had blocked the roads. The street lights had been switched off, all restaurants were closed, and every motorcyclist that passed instilled a sense of fear, as the news of ...

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September 1, 2010
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Living in a state of sickness

Ahmedis say they are not provided space in relief camps, Hindus say goods are not distributed to them, when non-Muslims die in a plane crash their coffin says ‘kafir’ – Pakistan is suffering from a sickness. The sense of religious superiority that an increasing number of people seem to be developing has made us intolerant to say the least. And so in times of hunger, homelessness and even death, it remains important to point someone out as kafir. Quite obviously, our increased religiosity has failed to inculcate basic humanitarian values. Hindus and Muslims that have lived together in Dera Allah Yar ...

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What language do you speak?

Our identity is not something many of us have been nurtured to accept, let alone be proud of. In this fight against ourselves, one of the greatest losses has been that of language, which lies hidden under the inherent shame of who we are and covered by the pretence of who we are not. Many of us who have studied in private schools have been inculcated this sense of shame about Urdu. Back in school, it was embarrassing not being able to express oneself in English, despite the fact that it was not a language most of us were used ...

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