Dureen Anwer

Dureen Anwer

Dureen is a communications professional from Pakistan, now living in the UK. Having worked for a local government and now for the healthcare sector in England, she often wonders why Pakistan can't be developed like these Western countries. She tweets @ConfusciousDee (twitter.com/ConfusciousDee)

RIP Anam Tanoli: Worse than being a woman in Pakistan is being a victim of depression and bullying

“Be grateful for what you have.” “Always look at people who are less fortunate than you.” “If you believed in God, you wouldn’t feel hopeless. You need to pray more – it’s the devil making you depressed and miserable.” “It’s all in your head.” “Stop being cynical, be positive.” “Stop overthinking.” “Stop overreacting.” And here is the worst one, “Stop pretending you have mental health issues to gain sympathy and attention!” If you have ever had anxiety, depression, stress or any other mental health issues, I bet your Pakistani family, friends, relatives, colleagues, neighbours, or even complete strangers would have used at least one of the aforementioned phrases after ...

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If you think Priyanka Chopra is a ‘cougar’ for dating Nick Jonas, congratulations, you’re sexist!

Dating isn’t easy if you are a woman. Not only do you need to ensure that the man you are getting enamoured with poses no real danger – i.e. he isn’t a rapist, a serial killer, a psychopath, or simply a creep – you also have to deal with society’s dissection of your character, once your private life becomes public knowledge. Unfortunately for celebrities, their private lives are always in the public eye and thus open to scrutiny, and if you are a female celebrity, the scrutiny is always worse. Most of the time, the commentary is uncalled for ...

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Will Facebook’s dating app be a dream come true for all the “fraandship” boys out there?

I have a new obsession; looking at memes on Instagram. Especially all the memes that spun out of nowhere after the Cambridge Analytica scandal are bound to make you smirk and think at the same time. Due to personal reasons, I had deliberately deleted my Facebook profile last year in October. I shared this profile with my husband for at least nine years, but he hardly used it and in the last three years, I wasn’t actively using Facebook either. So before all hell broke loose for Mark Zuckerberg, I had already decided that Facebook was probably too public, and it ...

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If seeing six-year-old children dance is sexually attractive, the problem lies with your sick mind, not the girls

In the wake of the incidents in Kasur, which has caused a chaos in the country, there has been a lot of uproar on social media against a kids’ dance competition conducted on a local morning show. Kids as young as six can be seen dancing on Bollywood songs, including item numbers, as they try to copy the dance moves often seen in such songs. Only a few seconds are enough to determine that the programme was indeed in poor taste and definitely should not have been aired. Forward as Received جب پوری دنیا کے سامنے کم سن بچیوں کو سرعام ...

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Three years ago, 132 children returned from school as martyrs. Three years ago, 144 families were left incomplete.

Last year, a freak accident happened, where my toddler, while playing in our lounge, tripped and face-planted herself on to the floor. Her front tooth was pushed back inside her gum, there was a lot of blood, and we had to rush her to the emergency ward. Long story short, she is fine now but that incident still sends chills down my spine. The horror of watching her in pain still gives me goosebumps. And then I shudder to think how mothers who see their children suffer more immensely must feel. I wonder if they ever overcome the feeling of helplessness. ...

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Basila & The Street Crew: A much-needed humanised portrayal of the transgender community

Growing up, I always wondered about different genders. I was curious and after talking to different people, I learned that there are some really alarming misconceptions about transgender people. Especially in Pakistan, they have long been denied basic human rights and are usually seen as “different”, abnormal, lowly, dirty and mere objects for entertainment. I was really young when I first encountered a transgender individual yet I remember it so vividly. This incident was as normal as any other daily interaction but there is still something about that moment that I find really bizarre. We were staying at our grandmother’s place during summer holidays ...

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Ghairat: Exploring the orthodox beliefs and customs of honour killings and love marriages

Just when we started to see a glimmer of hope due to recent political events, many of us were given a harsh reality check. We were once again made to see the reality of our patriarchal society. We are once again talking about honour by stooping down to the level of discussing an unsuspecting female’s choice of clothing to become Pakistan’s top female squash player. We are once again associating izzat (honour) with the restrictive codes that women in Pakistan are expected to abide by. I will leave this specific matter until further investigation and evidence from both parties. However, this particular incident has evoked memories of several horror stories of honour killings in ...

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A man rapes an 8-year-old in front of his daughter in broad daylight, and India claims it is progressing

In my previous blog, I had mentioned how an old colleague quoted sacred text to prove that women were sent to this world as a test to men and that women are evil creatures.  Only a few days had passed and I read this disturbing story of a man raping an eight-year-old girl in Delhi, and that too in front of his teenage daughter. It made me wonder what could be the reason behind a human being falling so deep in the pit of monstrosity that they hurt vulnerable people or innocent children. Could it be psychological? Is there any explanation at all? And then I came across these verses from The Mahabharata, ...

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While a new day yields a new molester, our girls are still told it’s their fault

“It was my first day at work. I covered my head like a good Muslim, didn’t speak to the opposite gender unnecessarily, still somehow by the time I returned home, I had a few extremely vulgar text messages from unidentified numbers on my mobile. It shocked me because only a few family members had my new mobile number and I was 100% certain that it wasn’t a coincidence to receive such messages on my first day at work. I was frightened at the thought of someone at this new workplace having such a perception of me. That someone must have assumed I am ...

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Before boycotting Khaadi and fruit vendors, get your consumerism habits in order

I am often left speechless when asked to name a superstar from Pakistan who is unconditionally loved by the majority. I can’t think of a name like Shah Rukh Khan, whom people from around the globe would be familiar with even if they didn’t watch Bollywood movies. Surely, Pakistan has produced some of the best musicians, artists, cricketers and authors. There is no dearth of talent in our country. Then what is it that compels us to hate on people like Malala Yousafzai when the whole world is recognising her sacrifices and bravery? We as a nation excel in providing mob justice, witch-hunting ...

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