Huma Iqbal

A blogger who writes on social development, socio-political and economic issues in the region.

12 and married

The small private clinic was echoing with mixed voices – those of ear-piercing shrills and loud excitement. Waiting to see my doctor, I realised the commotion in the maternity section with nurses rushing through a storm of women – aunts and grandmothers waiting on news of a baby child. Passing it on as regular routine at the clinic, I was alarmed when the doctor came out scolding the elderly woman in the group who was wailing, claiming the doctor did not do enough to save the child. The doctor told the waiting family, “The poor girl would have died in labour. She was ...

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World Teachers’ Day and Pakistan’s education crisis

Nations all over the world are celebrating  World’s Teachers’ Day. I too, took part in the celebrations, and sent wishes to some of my most inspiring teachers on this very special day. However, I began by first mailing a motivating token of appreciation to… myself.   And why shouldn’t I? I remember October 1 2003 vividly when a fresh, barely out-of-college young girl stood in a class of 40 ninth-graders. I was clueless, to put it mildly. I felt like Alice in Wonderland, prey to all sorts of student pranks and innocent to the naughtiness of children. I discovered that I had to teach ...

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Osama bin Laden’s revenge begins

Osama bin Laden, the world’s most wanted terrorist and mastermind behind the September 11 attacks, was killed by US Special Forces in a predawn helicopter raid in Pakistan’s garrison city of Abbottabad on May 1, bringing an end to the decade-long terror that had gripped the entire world in its ugly clutches. His death was declared the third biggest news of the 21st century; right below the rise of China to first-tier nation status and the election of Barack Obama as the US president. However, even in his death, Osama has not seized to surprise us. If anything, he continues to ...

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May 10, 2011

Can I afford not to be the ‘simple’ girl next door?

I fail to understand the ‘simple girl’ formula. Equally baffling is the notion of ‘the girl next door’. I am a 25-year old professional, single, and equipped with considerable social etiquette but I do not fall in any of the two categories. Am I not shareef enough then, to be a desirable partner for an educated urban male who has a stable reputation in the society? I am afraid I am not. I am anything but ‘simple’ so given the value association that comes with being an” Oh-so-simple-and-hence-so-good-girl” should I consider myself bad? Good girls and bad girls By what standards do we define the good and ...

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Victims of patriarchy: Save the women of Pakistan

My last blog post on soaring cases of rapes in Pakistan received a mixed review. While some readers appreciated the issues that I highlighted as being responsible for the increasing numbers of the gruesome tragedy, to others the piece was nothing but a Islam bashing, ‘westernized’ viewpoint coming from the pen of a feminist! And while a few of the emails that I received from our foreign readers discussed the hardships that rape victims all over the world have to face and live with (appalled at the lack of support for these victims in Pakistan), there were other countrymen ...

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Women in fear: Rape cases soar across Pakistan

Every morning when I leave for work, I feel uncomfortable. The constant nagging of recent (and increasing) news items of rapes in Pakistan makes me feel insecure. I fear for the vulnerability of my sisters in different parts of the city, attending lectures in college halls, making rounds in hospital wards, traveling in school vans, waiting at the bus stop or spending an evening with an aunt or uncle. And my fear is not just confined to my sisters. It expands its ugly claws for every woman, all over the country. It takes the shape of a pitying monster whenever ...

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Chilean miners: A lesson in giving a damn

The joy that the families of the rescued miners in Chile experienced after their members were winched to the surface from a two-month ordeal of being trapped in a coal mine was shared by millions across the globe. And then there was no looking back. As the news poured in on the television screens, it was a delight to watch the happy faces of hundreds of Chileans who had gathered to greet the trapped miners. Even the presence of Chilean President Sebastian Pinera could not lessen the deafening noise of cheers, applause and horns on the sight of every ...

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