Zainab Imam

A journalist, on a hiatus to pursue a Masters in Public Policy at The University of Chicago. Gender parity advocate, urban policy enthusiast. She tweets @zainabimam ( and blogs at

Maybe you can learn a lesson or two from the APS embarrassment, Imran Khan

You know you have done something very, very wrong when distraught, infuriated parents who have lost their children can still find the strength to tell you they don’t appreciate your show of solidarity. That was exactly the public embarrassment that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan had to face when he bothered to show up at the reopened Army Public School, Peshawar – the scene of a heinous attack that killed over 130 children and shocked the nation last month. I hope that Imran Sahib and the PTI leadership uses this as a wake-up call that they have kept this nation, their own voters, waiting for ...

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Did PPP really handle the assorted marches ‘better’ than PML-N?

There is no doubt that, on the face of it, the Zardari administration has handled the political crisis of Imran Khan’s and Tahirul Qadri’s previous marches much better than the Nawaz administration has so far. However, the constant comparisons that political pundits have made between the two situations are not only unfair but also erroneous. The reason that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government was able to handle the situation ‘calmly’ was not because Zardari is some sort of a political mastermind. Contrary to what we would like to believe, the PPP’s response was not part of some strong commitment to a ...

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PTI just keeps disappointing: Mr CM, that wasn’t insulting enough

If one more person tells me that Pakistan has a better record on women’s political representation than the ‘developed nations’ (meaning the US) because we have twice had a female head of state, I will use my very female and very strong hand to slap them across the face. The Women in Politics Maps 2014 released by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women recently ranked Pakistan 72nd among 189 countries in terms of female representation in the parliament. We could have been ranked even lower – there is no woman on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s handpicked cabinet, for instance. But one does not even ...

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Malala Yousufzai and the league of extraordinary Pakistani women

There was the face of one woman in that room that could quash all the misgivings that one has about Malala Yousufzai’s “backstory”. No, it wasn’t 16-year-old Malala’s herself, it was her mother’s. Minutes after Malala began her magnificent speech at the United Nations General Assembly this Friday, the camera cut to the face of her proud parents. Her father smiled like a man who had won a battle he had fought his entire life. Her mother, in her plain white dupatta and light green shalwar Kameez, sat next to him wiping a tear that fell out of her right eye. Since ...

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Why Chambaili is a must watch

 1. Ehteshamuddin: The theatre actor and director, who has also tried his hand at television, is definitely the highlight of Chambaili. He is a perfect fit for his role at Musa, the idealist journalist-poet who leads his friends to stand up against an influential politician and his son. 2. Dialogues: Extremely well-written lines, particularly for Ehteshamuddin, are really the icing on the cake. The Urdu is crisp and clear, unlike the terrible language we hear on TV nowadays. There is no mixing with English, neither is there the Bollywood influence. The dialogues are so good that they manage to make an impression ...

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Shahrukh Khan controversy: Hype and hypocrisy

As anything Shahrukh Khan would, the Bollywood megastar’s recent article in an Indian magazine, where he admits to having felt discriminated against in constitutionally-secular India for his Muslim identity, has gone viral. Everyone and their khala has read the interview, sympathising and basing their entire critique of India’s treatment of ‘minorities’ on this one man’s one statement that’s hardly any different from his previous statements on the matter. Enter our very own Hafiz Saeed, the noble chief of UN-blacklisted charity organisation Jamaatud Dawa. Unable to bear the injustice being meted out to a Muslim brother in (horror of horrors) India, he jumped in ...

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Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola: I’m not impressed

Just when I was convinced that there is nothing that the supremely talented Vishal Bhardwaj can’t do well, he co-writes Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola.


The film, a romantic comedy, has a trite plot with an equally trite leftist message jammed in where something fresher could have made MKBKM a much more enjoyable experience. Matru (Imran Khan) is a law graduate from Delhi University who, like his father before him, works as an all-purpose servant for the wealthy Mandola family, Harry Mandola (Pankaj Kapur) and the apple of his eye, his daughter Bijlee  Mandola (Anushka Sharma). Although Matru ...

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The more they target us, the louder I will say ‘I am Shia’

Over 90 of us perished on January 10, 2013.  I don’t mean Pakistanis, I mean Shias. As much as it pains me to identify myself as something before a Pakistani, this state seems to have left us little choice. Since the age of 15, when my parents decided to let me be and decide for myself how far I wanted my religious identity to go, I have been attending fewer and fewer majaalis every year. In some part, it has to do with the fact that I got busy building a career for myself, but in some part it was also because I ...

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How Bollywood entertained us in 2012…outside the cinema!

What would Bollywood be without drama? And I don’t mean just the films. The lives of former stars, current stars and even potential stars are scrutinised to death, sometimes over the most trivial of issues. Here, we compile a list of some of the more interesting, albeit inconsequential and even silly, controversies from 2012. The Shahrukh Khan chronicles: For the King of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan (SRK), this was not a good year for the most part. In the first half of the year, he was embroiled in two controversies – fist fights, no less – leading to Bollywood gossip pundits spelling ...

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Thank you for inviting us, India

It’s official: the most exciting cricket series of the year will kick off on December 25, when arch-rivals Pakistan and India meet in a Twenty20 International match in Bangalore. Promptly, and almost expectedly, chief of Shiv Sena, India’s equivalent of Pakistan’s assorted anti-India groups, Bal Thackeray came out with an asinine statement calling the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s invitation to the Pakistan cricket team a matter of “national shame”. For me, his statement has done little more than set the stage for a series I have craved since Pak-India ties came to an abrupt halt in 2007. But my ...

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