Hamna Zubair

Hamna Zubair

The writer is a former staffer of The Express Tribune and currently pursuing a post-graduate degree in creative writing at The New School, New York.

The hurricane diaries

RANIA NASIR NEW YORK: As Sandy passes through New York, everyone is trying to prep the best they can for her visit. Grocery stores have long lines, where soup, bread and water aisles are empty. A bunch of Facebook posts and memes have emerged pointing out how prepping for the storm in New York meant stocking up on wine and cheese rather than flashlights and water. Hurricane parties have started cropping up everywhere. I am just relieved to have this break after the midterms. What’s impressive and quite different from Pakistan is how fast information flows here. Students are getting separate emails from the ...

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Let them wear bangles

Has life for women in Pakistan improved or deteriorated over the past decade? This question is being hotly debated in the wake of a report that listed Pakistan as the ‘third-worst country in the world for women’. Now, I am not one to say that some Pakistani women have not made great strides in the past ten years or so. When critics of reports like the one I mentioned above rattle off names of prominent women politicians, educationalists, intellectuals and social workers as proof of women’s success in Pakistan, I agree wholeheartedly that these women have effectively contributed to society, ...

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Mukhtaran Mai: Waiting in vain

Let’s please not dump all our grievances about the Supreme Court’s verdict on Mukhtaran Mai’s appeal (of a Lahore High Court verdict) on our esteemed and independent judiciary. If you’re going to hate on something, you may as well spread it around – after all, the entire legal system in Pakistan is plagued with flaws to pick at and ponder. This is reflected well in the Supreme Court’s judgement on the Mukhtaran Mai issue. In it, among other things, the court sees fit to spend an inordinate amount of time on quibbles that relate to the likes of Section 354-A ...

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PPP’s agenda: Toeing the party line

Quick – how many people have been thrown out of government this month for refusing to toe the party line? It’s getting to a point where it’s hard to keep track. If you stop considering those individuals who have been sidelined because their views are too controversial, the number of disgruntled Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) members is even higher. We’ve heard it over and over again – political parties need to have an agenda, and party workers need to stick to their group’s principles. This is not only done to legislate effectively, but is also an important way for a political ...

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Talk to the shoe

Desperate times call for desperate measures. So what do people resort to doing when they have been rendered politically impotent? They opt for symbolic, emotionally charged protests like name-calling, flag-burning, and most recently, shoe-throwing. Shoe-throwing has been the way to get your voice heard since 2008, when Muntader al Zaidi tossed two shoes at George W Bush in Iraq. In a slightly less famous incident, Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao was the victim of a shoe-attack in the UK in 2009. In the instances mentioned above, both shoe-tossers chose to accessorise their flying footwear with a string of invective. Zaidi ...

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The trouble with free information

Wikileaks makes over 90,000 classified US military documents public. An aspiring activist posts offensive content on Facebook. Iranians oppose broadcast of their election protests over the internet through Twitter, fuelling international outrage at the regime. What do these events have in common? These events all represent the changing face of war. For a modern state now more than ever, insecurity is going to be measured by how secure its information systems and databases are, and not just by how many troops it deploys along its borders. This new threat that governments fear is well illustrated by Julian Assange’s attack on US strategy ...

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Command of the military

The ease with which General Stanley McChrystal was sacked should not allow us to shrug off the implications of his rebellion. McChrystal’s criticism of US civilian leadership is another cost of the Afghan war that America has to face- a clash between the military and the executive. Unfortunately, a clash between these institutions is inevitable in the face of a security threat that has few tangible solutions. As commander of US forces in Afghanistan McChrystal undoubtedly understood the conflict’s ground realities better than civilian leaders. But the resources needed to wage the war McChrystal-style were not at his disposal. The ...

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