Stories published in March, 2015

Skin colour, Indian politicians, and an age-old prejudice

A few days back, an Indian politician passed a remark about South Indian women being dark. “Here people are awed by fair skin. Matrimonial ads also ask for fair skinned brides.” He further added, “In the entire country, there are more saanvle (dark-skinned) men. The women of South are beautiful, their bodies… their skin… We don’t see it here.” Perhaps he said it as a joke or perhaps he spoke carelessly without realising. Whatever the case may be, it led to a predictable barrage of reactions from foreseeable corners; feminists, anti-racists, anti-fair skin activists and the anti-sexists. However, I felt this hype and attention was unwarranted. Truth be ...

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Pakistan vs Australia: Without Irfan, our romance with fast-bowling continues

As we qualify for the quarter-finals (the super eight) in the most unobjectionable style possible – keeping in mind how we lost our first two matches – it makes me wonder how phenomenal our team’s journey has been. Looking back at how things were about a month ago, and how they are now, it was nothing less than an emotional roller coaster ride for the 180 million people of this country. Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz (L) runs to his teammate Mohammad Irfan (R) as they celebrate their 29 run win over South Africa. Photo: AP For the first week or so, our performances were ...

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Dear Pakistani sisters, your suffering is in your hands

Tabassum Adnan became a victim of child marriage at the age of 13. It took 20 years for this woman from Pakistan’s Swat Valley to gather the courage to divorce her husband and end a nightmare of physical and mental abuse. According to a US Department of State press release, this move caused her to lose her home, money and children. But she had no choice but to look forward, and this year she has been awarded the Secretary of State International Women of Courage Award in recognition of her NGO Khwendo jirga (Sister’s Council). [email protected] & @AmbCathyRussell present the brave and amazing 2015 #WomenofCourage. ...

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Pakistan’s moral catastrophe – Don’t execute Shafqat Hussain

Shafqat Hussain, the youngest of seven children, came to Karachi from Kashmir in search of work in 2003. Having struggled with a learning disability, Shafqat failed in school. He was 13 years old when he dropped out, barely able to read or write. He sought refuge in a metropolis that had no space to give and was quickly relegated to the city’s fringes. He never saw his parents again. When he was 14, still four years under Pakistan’s legal age of adulthood, Shafqat was detained illegally by the police and severely beaten. The boy was held in solitary confinement, his ...

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Will Patari.pk be successful in a country like Pakistan?

I like to listen to music, just like anybody else. And like a lot of people out there, I crave a musical atmosphere where I don’t have to listen to Bollywood music blaring out the speakers all the time. And it makes me wonder, whatever happened to the Pakistani music industry? Did it just die? Are we not good enough? Has everyone abandoned it? In this social media and gadget-infested world, it is not hard to find answers to these questions. I have had discussions with famous artists about it, talked about this on television and even had drawing room discussions about ...

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PIA taxiing on the fashion runway – finally!

 Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has had its fair share of ups and downs in the past, but recently, PIA seems to be changing things up for good. One of those drastic, but essential, changes has been the recent initiative to change their uniforms. Looking back at PIA’s history, you will see how much the uniform of the ground and cabin crew mattered. Photo: PIA Photo: PIA Photo: PIA Photo: PIA Photo: PIA Photo: PIA Photo: PIA Photo: PIA [caption id="" ...

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Pakistan can stand tall against Australia without Muhammad Irfan

The tall and towering Muhammad Irfan is out of the World Cup, due to a stress fracture in the pelvis. But there is no time for remorse. The Pakistan team is in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, after they changed their fortunes and came back from a very dismal start to end the group matches on a high note with an easy win against Ireland. But now there, is no room for error and no time to cry over spilt milk. Muhammad Irfan. Photo: AFP Muhammad Irfan was supposed to be the spearhead of our bowling attack against Australia but so ...

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Christening our Muslim land with blood

Five years ago, I lost close friends in one of the most gruesome terrorist attacks on Pakistani soil. In twin attacks on two major Ahmadi places of worship in Lahore, 88 worshippers were martyred by the Taliban. It was a painfully bloody day. This weekend, I woke up to sad news from Pakistan that made me relive some of that pain. Fourteen worshipers were martyred and more than 70 were injured when two Taliban suicide bombers blew themselves up outside churches in Youhanabad, Lahore. These attacks on Pakistan’s Christian community are not a sporadic event. They are a part of a very tragic trend. Just over a year ago, another ...

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No, Jinnah would not defend our blasphemy law

“I thoroughly endorse the principle that while this measure should aim at those undesirable persons who indulge in wanton vilification or attack upon the religion of any particular class or upon the founders and prophets of a religion, we must also secure this very important and fundamental principle that those who are engaged in historical works, those who are engaged in bona fide and honest criticism of a religion, shall be protected.”–Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on the passage of 295-A of the Indian Penal Code (also Pakistan Penal Code) There is a common tendency – common between Islamists and self-hating Pakistanis alike ...

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A new step for American Muslims

New York mayor, Bill de Blasio, announced on March 4 that two Muslim holidays, Eidul Azha, also known as the Feast of the Sacrifice, and Eidul Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramazan, will become a school holiday starting in 2016. It was joyful news and many American Muslims were cheerfully sharing it and trying to find out if they could request the same thing in their state. However, when I checked social news websites, I was very disappointed with the bigotry expressed in the comments sections. Actually, it is everywhere. Nothing felt right after the Paris ...

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