Stories published in May, 2015

Circumcision – a cultural norm or a religious duty?

Some stories leave one with a sense of anxiety. And for me, this was one such story. I got up uneasy after reading it, not really wanting to discuss it, but the writer in me just had to pick up a pen and paper. Should a four-year-old boy be circumcised if the parents have a different opinion on it? A recent case in Boca Raton, Florida, opened the debate on this matter. It makes an interesting case and raises the fundamental question about the rights of parents, and their prerogative to raise their children in their religious traditions. Parents have a right to ...

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5 things I learnt after moving to Pakistan

When I made the decision to move to the notorious land called Pakistan, because of my husband’s job, there were mixed reactions from the community (to say the least). My non-Pakistani and non-Muslim friends were terrified for my safety and were keen on reminding me of the short list of communities; their concerns involved my husband’s salary, the tough humidity, and the eternal inconvenience of load-shedding.  Ignoring all concerns, I decided to take on the adventure and assured my friends that I was happy and ready for anything. Boy did I lie. I was terrified – but very much in love. I had ...

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Karachi water shortage: Why KWSB is not the only one responsible

Annually, 250 million people face water-related healthcare issues all over the world and amongst them, 20 million succumb to their illnesses. Pakistan ranks at number 80 among 122 nations in the index of provision of hygienic drinking water – which means 44% of Pakistani people have no access to clean, usable water resources. This should make a lot of people lose their sleep at night, especially the powers that be – however, it doesn’t seem to be the case right now. We have failed to provide a great proportion of our people with safe drinking water. And the people who do have that privilege have ...

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Are Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar the best attacking trio in football history?

Some people say that they are the best trio since Nirvana. While the comparison between a music band and bunch of exceptionally talented football players may seem odd, the fact remains that both have excelled in their respective fields. Nirvana wooed people through their magical music, whereas the attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar – commonly referred to as ‘MSN’ – are busy setting benchmarks through their amazing skills and goals galore in football. With an unprecedented number of 117 goals so far during the current season, MSN is the reason Barcelona are on the cusp of winning a historic treble again. Photo: ...

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Balochistan 3: Pakistan’s dirty little closet full of skeletons

In the aftermath of Sabeen Mahmud’s murder, essentially right after the cancellation of the LUMS talk, a large number of people voiced their anger against those who tried to highlight state abuses in Balochistan.  Mama Qadeer, in particular, came under fire but people vocal about the issue were also accused of being traitorous, or at least of lacking patriotism, or colluding with separatists or, well, you get the idea. The groups under fire have expressed shock over the reaction they have faced. All they were trying to do was highlight the basics – human rights violations, human life itself. Human life, in theory, should be the foremost concern of ...

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You say you’ve seen England? I say not!

I had the great opportunity of living in London for eight years. My residence was right in the centre of London, near Oxford Street – the world famous shopping district.  I used to love observing tourists and travellers from my apartment window, especially the filthy rich people coming from across the world in their private chauffeured limousines, and the lovely women in mink coats getting off to shop at Selfridges or John Lewis, especially during Christmas. When I first arrived in London, I expected people around me to be hoity-toity, but I found the English to be very down to earth. The English are known for having a stiff upper lip; they always try to spare other ...

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3 Bahadur: Taking Pakistani cinema to greater heights

The need for promoting children’s content is of utmost importance in any country, since it develops their personality while broadening their mental horizon as well.  Storybooks, cartoons, and animated movies keep children mesmerised with the help of colourful and vibrant animations. Most of the time, the content promotes a social cause or a certain philosophy of life. Although content for children, both in print and electronic media, is available in Pakistan, there has always been a dire need for animated shows/movies which could bring stories to children in ways that would educate and entertain them. Oscar winning producer, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, ...

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If our police force is above the system, then why have laws at all?

When a law enforcer killed a lawyer, a citizen of Pakistan, he did not just kill a human being, he also injured the already burnt and bruised body of the sick and dying ‘rule of law’. When the lawyers reacted by destroying state property and thrashing several individuals for they were colleagues of the culprit, they added insult to that injury. Yes there was a better, saner, less violent way to register their protest. But they weren’t protesting, they were venting out frustration and anger. They weren’t protesting against the murderer, who is an individual; they were expressing their contempt and ...

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We need to stop treating menstruation as a ‘fault’

“So what do you do when you… you know… have your monthly period?” I said to my domestic helper, after my mouth-gaping-open-in-shock reaction was over and I found my voice. For an urban woman, what she was telling me was unthinkable. I was truly scandalised that many women in Pakistan’s underprivileged parts walk around with no sanitary cloth or napkins when they have their menstrual period. Others do use folded pieces of cloth, she told me, but even then the hygiene conditions she was describing were hardly satisfactory. The year was 2010. Pakistan had been hit by one of the worst ...

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My friend from IBA, an extremist?

I went to school with Saad Aziz. For two years in Lyceum, from 2005 to 2007, I considered him a friend of mine. A shy, lanky young boy always seen with a bag strapped on one of his shoulders – he always looked like he was headed somewhere but had nowhere to be. We lost touch after school. I had forgotten all about him till I was presented with a jolting reminder on May 22nd. When the news broke of him being the alleged mastermind behind one of the terrorist attacks, my initial reaction was one of denial. The story did seem implausible ...

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