Purniya Awan

Purniya Awan

The writer is a Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies graduate from York University. She has been nominated as a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum, is a Founding Member of a Pakistani legal blog, Courting The Law, and is also the Co-Founder of The Gender Stories (TGS). She identifies as a feminist, and is currently working in Pakistan as a Publicist and as the Head of Social Media Marketing. She tweets @purniyaA (twitter.com/PurniyaA?lang=en)

The fault in our minds: Bushra Maneka’s attire is her business and choice, and hers alone

While Pakistan’s political fate is changing, the people of this nation believe there is something more important that needs to be focused on. Yes, unfortunately, that topic is Bushra Maneka’s choice of attire. This is not the first time that women’s choice of clothing has become a hot topic of discussion. As a confused country, it seems as though we are never content with anything. When Mahira Khan was spotted in a backless dress with Ranbir Kapoor, people bashed her for wearing a revealing outfit. And here we are, a year later, and we still cannot seem to decide whether ...

Read Full Post

Sara Taseer belittling Baloch women for voting proves money can’t buy integrity

With countless security threats lingering around the time of elections every five years, along with general political uncertainty, many citizens are afraid to step out of their comfort and safety zones in order to fulfil the responsibility of casting their votes. There has been a deadly and heart-breaking series of bomb blasts that have taken place in Quetta, killing numerous civilians and politicians, especially the most recent one taking place directly outside a polling station on Election Day. At a crucial time like this in the country, where voter turnout has been relatively low in the past, perhaps encouragement to ...

Read Full Post

This chaand raat and Eid, give the women a break!

As a long and exhausting month of Ramazan (because of the extreme heat) comes to a close, I am rather grateful for the lavish sehris and iftars I have been blessed with to complete this journey. Every year, Muslims around the world wait for this month to not only repent for their sins but also for the chance to indulge in delicious food at sunrise and sunset. However, only the privileged get to experience this side of Ramazan. There are thousands of people out there who fast with just the intention to fill their stomachs, uncertain of whether they ...

Read Full Post

To eat or not to eat: If you support the ban on eating publically in Ramazan, your faith is weak

Ramazan is a one of the holiest months known to all Muslims. In fact, fasting in Ramazan stands as one of the five most important pillars of Islam; it is an essential act which makes up the religion. There are some very clear guidelines on how to act during this month in order for a person’s fast to be accepted and counted as successful. It is believed that during the fast, one should abstain from all bad deeds. A person fasting should not indulge in arguments and disputes nor use obscene language; should not show bad temper, should be ...

Read Full Post

Zainab Kay Qatil: Capitalising on the rape of a child in the name of raising awareness?

Four months ago, the news of Zainab Ansari’s rape and murder surfaced. The entire nation, our neighbouring country and international celebrities spoke out against child sexual abuse, especially showing sympathy for Zainab and her parents. There were several protests held all over the country in order to urge law and policy makers to bring the perpetrator of this act to justice; some even called for public execution. Feminist men and women alike organised vigils for the 7-year-old rape and murder victim, hoping that their prayers would bring her soul some peace. Even though the alleged perpetrator was sentenced to capital ...

Read Full Post

To the women of Pakistan: Get out there, march and reclaim your space!

For this year’s International Women’s Day, Pakistani women from Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad have decided to stick it out together, get out on the streets of their respective cities, and march to reclaim their space in the public sphere. The event, called the Aurat March, is planned and organised entirely by a diverse group of women belonging to different ethnicities, classes and sections of our society. The march itself is not linked to a particular organisation, nor is it initiated or funded by any political parties or groups, and all women (and men) are welcome! #AuratMarch 4pm 8th March 2018. ...

Read Full Post

Why is a Pakistani man’s masculinity so fragile that he can’t handle rejection and resorts to murder?

The scariest possibility of simply expressing your lack of interest in a man may result in – wait for it – your death. Yes, you read that right! This is not even an exaggeration. For many though, this won’t come as a surprise considering the fact that in Pakistan, people reside with extremely conservative mindsets, not to mention the deeply rooted patriarchal cultural that exists here. The misogynistic norms are heavily supported, defended and backed up by this very patriarchal culture. They are contrasted in such a way that gives leverage and power to men to entirely silence (read: ...

Read Full Post

He exercised his right as a husband – he used iron bars to consummate his marriage

Over the past 10 days, Pakistan’s conscious was set ablaze and shaken up when a picture of seven-year-old Zainab’s dead body went viral on the internet. The minor girl from Kasur had been raped, murdered and then thrown in a heap of garbage. Yes, that is the reality of many countless girls (and boys) in this country. Kasur has already been under the spotlight previously for birthing and remaining the largest child pornography hub in the nation, supplying illegal child porn worldwide, making those very videos by continuously raping young boys and girls. The one positive thing that we all ...

Read Full Post

Whether for smoking, wearing jeans or saying #MeToo, 2017 was a year of constant harassment for Pakistani women

It’s finally that time of the year, when you get to cuddle up in a blanket on the sofa while you sip on hot chai (tea), and reflect on the past year. In fact, I’m doing just that as I write this. As we get through the very last days of 2017, a year that went by rather swiftly, it’s time for an important recap.   For me, a great part of the year was spent writing about and highlighting human rights injustices, not just in Pakistan but globally. By far, what throws me off every time is the sheer ...

Read Full Post

#ChangeTheClap: Giving inclusivity a new direction, one clap at a time

As 16 Days of Activism to end gender-based violence came to a close on December 10th, World Human Rights Day, the Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN) launched its #ChangeTheClap campaign. This campaign comes at an imperative time, considering that gender-based violence is on the rise and atrocities against the trans community, especially, are extremely prevalent. The campaign aims to directly challenge the way people perceive transgender people in Pakistan. Brutality and humiliation towards members of the transgender community is something every citizen of Pakistan is aware of, or has taken part in, directly or indirectly, in some form or the other. ...

Read Full Post