Noman Ansari

Noman Ansari

The author is the editor-in-chief of IGN Pakistan, and has been reviewing films and writing opinion pieces for The Express Tribune as well as Dawn for five years. He tweets as @Pugnate (twitter.com/Pugnate)

If you think the niqab is a choice, think again

In my recent article, ‘Our national dress is the shalwar kameez, not the niqab’, while examining countries in and around the geographical vicinity of the Middle East, I lamented the loss of cultural riches such as art, music, various religious festivities, as well as heritage sites like ancient temples and monasteries to a single fast-spreading inflexible ideology. To drive the point home, between a dozen countries, I compared various cultural garments with the full single-colour veil called the niqab, also known as the abaya or the burqa. The contrast was startling. On one end were 12 aesthetically delightful national dresses varying ...

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Pakistan cricket desperately needed a tournament like PSL

It is difficult to believe the Pakistan Super League (PSL) started less than a week ago, for the T20 cricket tournament has already grown into a daily viewing addiction. Featuring five teams, including Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi, and Quetta Gladiators, the tournament has captured the imagination of people across the country. During the last week, I have found it remarkable how keenly the games have been followed on the streets of Karachi; taxi and rickshaw walas are keeping up with the contests on the radio; roti walas, while rolling bread in their uncomfortably warm hole-in-the-walls are glancing constantly at ...

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Would they have arrested Maulana Abdul Aziz had he been a Virat Kohli fan?

Al Jazeera claims he is possibly the most hated man in Pakistan. Maulana Mohammad Abdul Aziz; a fiery cleric; said to be the torchbearer of sprawling madrassas, 5000 pupils and 550 teachers strong; co-owner of the militia powered seminary Jamia Hafsa; accused of using religion to serve his politics; allegedly a sympathiser of notorious organisations such as Al-Qaeda, Pakistan Taliban and ISIS. In the late 00s, his Lal Masjid disciples began frighteningly violent acts of arson, vandalism, and kidnapping. In response, security forces hit back with a military operation. Scores died. Eventually, Maulana Mohammad Abdul Aziz became the subject of a meme when he tried to escape wearing a burqa. In ...

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What do our reactions to a 13-year-old’s false allegations of gang-rape say about us?

The 13-year-old Berlin based German-Russian girl’s allegations of being kidnapped and gang-raped by men of Arabic and African origin quickly snowballed into a storm. Her claim was the men had forced her into their vehicle and attacked her. Reports of the girl’s harrowing tale were shared across Russian social media and even made it to local television. They were met with demonstrations by an anti-migrant national right-wing political party, as well as people from the Russian community in Germany who were backed by the Pegida-related Bärgida movement. The matter soon turned into an international incident. While the German police rightly kept ...

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6 things Saudi Arabia and Iran have in common

Saudi Arabia’s long and bitter history with Iran came to a boiling point recently when the Kingdom murdered Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on charges of treason after a farcical trial. For some time, the Saudis had indirectly indicated that Nimr al-Nimr was on Iran’s payroll. The late preacher, a fierce critic of the monarchy, ridiculed these claims. Although Nimr al-Nimr was a Saudi national, Iran strongly condemned the execution. Later, a Saudi embassy in Tehran was vandalised by Persians angrier than the ones defied by 300 Spartans. That Iran reacted so strongly did nothing to disprove any Nimr al-Nimr ...

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Our national dress is the shalwar kameez, not the niqab

Through fear of the sword or through promise of eternal torment they spread their regressive ways. Over time we found another reason to abhor each other, to feel divided, to openly judge our own. The foreign culture we adopted didn’t play well with our own, for it insisted in its dark perfection while clashing with our own light. Whenever I travel from Pakistan I feel a melancholy that slowly hums in my heart overseas until it reaches full tempo when I return home. Other countries hold dear their customs and honour the old roots from which they rose with tolerance ...

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What if a student had shot back during the mock drill at Punjab University?

As a resident of a country where militancy regularly makes headlines, I sometimes wonder how I would react if caught in the middle of a terrorist attack. Perhaps it is because I am a passionate video gamer, but I’d like to believe that I would fight back should no escape route be available. Would a gun or any other weapon be available to me in such a scenario, I am sure I’d shoot at any terrorist in my way. Of course, considering that my only training is playing first person shooters late into the night with Cheetos crumbs on my ...

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Sex with any girl under the age of 18 is rape!

Cowards. Cowards. All of them. Cowards.   On Friday, Pakistan’s National Assembly tore down a pitch that whichever way you look at it, seemed like a no-brainer. Introduced by the ruling government’s PML- N, the proposal sought to end child marriages through a bill called ‘Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill 2014’. That’s great, right? Who doesn’t want to place a ban on parents forcing their children to tie the knot, when they aren’t old enough to tie their shoe laces? Who doesn’t want to place a ban on fathers selling off their young daughters to lecherous old men for profit? Who doesn’t want to protect ...

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January 14, 2016
TOPICS

They call it Taharrush gamea

Author’s note: Islam has nothing to do with taharrush gamea; the act contradicts the teachings of the religion. At the same time, there is no denying where the incidents are taking place, and who the perpetrators are. Denying this out of some misplaced sense of political correctness has only exacerbated the issue. Not surprisingly, the attacks are more sophisticated than a coordinated assault from a pack of hyenas. These are predators after all. The incidents usually take place in the cold black of the night at locations where women are more vulnerable; at the end of an alley, near a tunnel, in ...

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“Baaji, you never wear a dupatta. Does that mean you are also asking for it?”

It was a despairing day for humanity on Sunday when yet another report of a horrendous rape broke out of South Asia. A 14-year-old Indian girl bravely took to television to share her story. She had been gang raped by three men for two weeks in a dark room before being pitilessly shot after she had been told she was being let go. Speaking of her ordeal to the NDTV news network, the teenager said that the three attackers took turns to rape her over a two-week period. “After a fortnight of repeated abuse, one night they said they will let me go. ...

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