Fatima Raza

Fatima Raza

The author is a Biosciences graduate and a student of MPhil International Relations. She aspires to be an accomplished writer someday.

Munir and Ali needed a goat like Raju

“Mama! Mujhay subha uthana please aath bajay. Baba kay sath mandi jaunga,” Ali pleaded with his mother. (Mom! Please wake me up at eight in the morning. I have to go with dad to the cattle market) She nodded as she tucked him in lovingly. Ali had been looking forward to the Bari Eid since Ramazan. He had been extremely disappointed to find out that the Eid after Ramazan will not involve getting a bakra (goat) and bringing it home. He had insisted though. “Hum le aatay hain na! Hum bakra isi wali Eid pe le aatay!” (We should get it! We should get ...

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What independence are we celebrating?

Some 71 years ago, people from all over subcontinent left their homes and took roads laced with perils to reach the ‘land of pure’. What made them leave their lives behind to move to an unknown land where all that awaited them was a promise? No tangible shelter but only a promise; the promise of freedom. What is meant by this ‘freedom’ that caused the greatest migration of the century? Freedom or independence means the availability of the opportunity to exercise one’s rights, powers, desires and even faith. Yes, I put emphasis on faith because any country where any ...

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Pakistan’s brain drain: 11 exceptional Pakistanis unrecognised by their own country, until they leave

Pakistan is a land of diverse culture and boundless talent. However, what we lack here in abundance is acceptance, while denouncement and hatred are quite easy to come by. We push away anything or anyone who is even slightly diverse when compared to the hordes of our mediocre mainstream, choosing monotony over innovation. As a consequence, those who are truly gifted are forced to leave the country and follow their dreams elsewhere. And why shouldn’t they? Those with bigger dreams need bigger horizons, and instead of broadening ours, we cast them out. Then we have the audacity to comment on how ...

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Mahwish Arshad’s cold-blooded murder puts the killer and women behind bars

“O Mother! Hold me in thy embrace, For it is where no scoundrels roam; ‘tis the safest place, Come wipe my blood away and clutch me to your chest, I toiled the day away and now I wish to rest…” Last year, on our way to Lahore, my mother and I chose to travel through a private transport company bus. A young girl in her early 20s welcomed all passengers on board and started serving people food and drinks. A few minutes later, a group of boys boarded the bus and started signalling to the hostess. Their constant catcalling and bothersome behaviour was ...

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How Laila saved Eid this year

“Could I hit him if he groped me again?” she thought to herself as she made a fist and punched thin air around her. Cursing under her breath, she returned to the pile of clothes she was rummaging through. She could hardly see anything inside the dark tent. Making a blind choice in the dark, she pulled out a piece of cloth and turned around to leave. She was about to miss her truck. Cautious as to not literally step on anyone’s toes, Laila hopped about the tent silently, avoiding crushing her family members who were still asleep. On her ...

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Her favourite red sweater and her favourite bhaiya

“My sweater is red and my leggings are blue, My bangles are shiny and my shoes are new, My teeth are brushed and my hair is done, I want to play outside and show my shoes to everyone, But mother says don’t go, there are animals on the street, I don’t see no animals, but a nice man with sweets, Maa animals live in the jungle, some also live in the zoo, And that’s where the nice man will take me if I am good too…” She woke up that morning to the sound of the motorbike’s engine revving. “Abba jarahay hain!” Zara sat up suddenly. (Father is leaving!) She quickly ...

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Will anyone remember Lady Constable Shabaana?

She looked at her reflection in the stained, old mirror.  ‘Ammi ke jahez ka hai ye… ab bhi purana na hota tou kab hota,’ she thought to herself, eyeing her 32-year-old face in the 33-year-old mirror on the wall. (This is from mother’s dowry… it is stained because it’s very old) Smoothing out the creases in her pants, she eyed her widening figure apprehensively. Even the long duty hours were doing her no good. “Sabeen aur Nazish jo phakki bata rahi thein, wo nihaar moun khana shuru karti hun. Magar Sabeen tou ab bhi pura tank hi ha,” she chuckled recalling how her weight-conscious colleague Sabeen had ...

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October 15, 2017
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That night she became Riffat Bai and everything changed

“Kokhla chapha kay jumairaat ayi hay… jaira picchay murr kay wekkhay odhi shaamat aai hay… kokhla chapha kay jumairaat ayi hay… jaira picchay mur…” their chanting went on and on. (I have hidden the dupatta behind you on Thursday and if you turn your head around, you’ll be in trouble) She dragged herself from the pile in the corner. Steadying herself against the wall, she looked around for her cane. It was in the other corner of the room. She sat back down, sliding against the wall. The paint crackled as she moved, falling down the feeble wall. Holding herself against ...

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Who can possibly hurt me if I have already conquered the pain by hurting myself?

Droplets of blood appeared on his arm. Trembling, he deepened the cut, elongating it along the markings he had drawn earlier. This time, more blood trickled out. Clamping his teeth firmly around the washcloth, he spread the cut along the length of his bony arm. “How about that now, father? It is blood gushing out, isn’t it? Your weak skinny boy has some blood in him after all!” He mumbled furiously to himself, picturing his father’s bewildered face. He would love to wipe that smug smile off his face. He had conquered the only fear he had, the biggest fear anyone ...

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Coke Studio season 10 may have had a rocky start, but it has managed to silence its critics with its latest episodes

They say aging makes the wine taste better. That certainly is not the case with subsequent Coke Studio seasons lately. The awful rendition of the national anthem was a terrible lapse of judgment on the director’s part. Things did not quite improve with ‘Sayonee’ either, which was taken as nothing less than an affront on the honour of Ali Azmat as a singer. However, if each episode is viewed song wise, the season has not been half-bad. Yes, I know I may have poked a hornet’s nest here. I myself quite enjoyed episode three, four and five and I shall explain here ...

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