Shabana Mahfooz

Shabana Mahfooz

The author is a senior media professional with experience in Broadcast Journalism. She has a keen interest and writes on topics of women's rights, foreign affairs, social and cultural issues. She tweets @Shamahf2 (twitter.com/Shamahf2)

Has Eid ‘modernised’ with time?

Eid shopping is easy these days. Just saunter in any of the malls, check out the popular brands, take your pick and head back home while enjoying any of the easily available branded snacks. For the parents, this is a job well done. For the kids, it’s one of those shopping trips which is topped with a favourite place to eat out, as celebrating Eid for them is just another holiday. However, decades ago, when I was a child, Eid was a different affair. As we prepared for Ramazan, my father would visit his mother – my grandmother – to ...

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An open letter to conservative father and cricket icon Shahid Afridi

Dear Shahid Afridi, One must appreciate your energy, which helps you stay in the news despite having retired from mainstream cricket a long time ago. Be it charity drives, advertisements, special appearances in entertainment shows or simply your comments to the press, you remain in the picture. We still haven’t forgotten the flash runs you made which earned you the title ‘Boom Boom’. And recently, you created another boom with your book, Game Changer. Now some people are criticising the political comments you made over bigwigs in the cricket world. Frankly, you may know better there; they are not my concern. ...

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Religious persecution under the guise of free will?

How does it feel to be a child one day and a woman the next? How does it feel to take a different name for the deity you believe in? How does it feel to begin a daily ritual in a new language, with new customs? For you and me, this may seem difficult. But for a child who is forced to give up her name, identity, relations as well as her faith, describing the experience as catastrophic would be an understatement. After a prolonged cold spell of winter, as Pakistan basks in the warm sunlight of spring, the Hindu ...

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Zainab was clearly not the last one as cases keep popping up, yet sex education remains taboo in Pakistan

Recently, a school guard of a private school in Karachi was detained by the police for allegedly molesting a minor girl. A five-year-old girl barely escaped a rape attempt in Bahawalpur. The body of a four-year-old girl was discovered in the sugar cane fields of Mardan; she had been raped and strangled to death. Policemen in Kasur search in vain to nab the serial killer wanted in the rape case of Zainab, a case that has taken the country by storm. The news of these horrific incidents keep popping up with no end in sight. My head spins when I get my daily updates, ...

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How Saudi women will soon be the driving force of Saudi Arabia’s economy

After decades of inactivity, obscurity and an identity crisis, Saudi women are suddenly caught in a frenzy of excitement and events that promise something for them to look forward to. When a royal decree was passed, lifting the ban on women driving in the country, it was followed not only by jubilation, but seemed to have opened a wide range of opportunities for the female population in Saudi Arabia. From receiving offers to be female cab drivers, to job vacancies in women-only outlets, to grabbing key posts in the bureaucracy, Saudi women are now starting to make their presence felt in a ...

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She was forced to parade around naked, but instead of helping her, we photo’d her and shared it on social media

Recently, a 16-year-old girl was forcefully stripped and paraded around the streets of a village in Dera Ismail Khan in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) province. The reason given was that she was ‘paying the price for her brother’s crimes’. Her brother had allegedly gotten involved in a relationship with a girl from the village. To resolve the matter, he had already been fined by the local jirga and the tehsil nazim. But obviously, some hot-blooded relatives were not satisfied and decided to pay back in the same coin. While the news itself was both saddening and infuriating, it reiterated the bitter truth that ...

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