Stories published in March, 2016

In Pakistan, we have 13-year-old rape victims

The terrible news of a 13-year-old girl, raped and impregnated by her teacher in Larkana, Sindh, breaks the heart over and over again. The only good thing about this is that the teacher has been arrested, and has confessed to the crime (now that the child is four months pregnant). A powerful essay talks about how nobody in the government has taken notice of this case. Worse, the community blames the victim’s family for not protecting her “honour”. Supposedly they should have protected her “honour” by either never letting her go to school in the first place, or by killing her as soon as they ...

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Pakistan and India don’t need Trump to manage their affairs!

Adolf Hitler had forewarned the world about his wicked intentions in Mein Kampf in 1925, years before he implemented his satanic plans of exterminating the Jews from the world. He wrote in the book: “Hence, today, I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: ‘By defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” Yet, the international community did not pay heed to Hitler and the Germans went on to democratically elect him with a thumping majority. The rest is history. Imagine someone like Hitler heading the most powerful country in the world. It ...

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Shame on you, Manchester United fans!

Imagine ourselves hosting India in a significant cricket world cup fixture at the Gaddafi amidst an electric atmosphere. The green caps are chasing a relatively easier target with consummate ease, pinning the blue shirts completely against the proverbial wall with an exhilarating display on the pitch. Our arch rivals have all but lost the match in their heads, with Dhoni and company, praying for an external intervention to somehow save their collective back sides. Intrusion arrives, but not in the form of rain. Instead, vile chants regarding the Army Public School massacre start pouring down from the travelling support. If that had ...

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Do we really want to find out if Trump is another Hitler?

On a page that is dedicated to sharing glimpses into people’s lives, the unexpected took place on March 14, 2016, when ‘Humans of New York’ founder Brandon Stanton exposed his own sentiments in an open letter to Donald Trump. This letter took the internet by storm, receiving over two million likes and one million shares on Facebook. “An Open Letter to Donald Trump: Mr. Trump, I try my hardest not to be political. I’ve refused to interview several of your fellow candidates. I didn’t want to risk any personal goodwill by appearing to take sides in a contentious election. I thought: ‘Maybe the timing is not right.’ ...

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Why can’t Pakistani men stop staring at women?

The four and a half months I spent in Turkey as an exchange student were the best part of my life. But after a while of living there, I had already started to miss my family and friends and couldn’t wait to be back with my loved ones in the country where my home existed. But there was something I had forgotten about my home country. The day I was flying back to Pakistan, while waiting at the Istanbul Airport’s lounge, I realised what I had forgotten and what was awaiting me in Karachi. The excitement of returning home slowly began to fade ...

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Stop trying to make private schools cheaper, improve govt schools instead

Back in September 2015, the parents of students studying in the top elite schools of Pakistan created an outcry over the unwarranted increase in school tuition fees. No one could have guessed the extent of effect the parents’ grievances would have on the elite private school systems. The fee chalaans for the year 2015-16 incited an uproar, prompting them to protest and provoke the authorities to devise a system that can regulate the fee structures of these schools. They claimed that the ‘private school mafia’ – a term coined during the protest – treat them as ATM machines with an unjustified ...

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Travelling back to 11.22.63 to save John F Kennedy; What a thrill and a half!

Based on the bestselling novel with the same name by Stephen King, 11.22.63 is the latest TV series taken on by Hulu. The title of the series refers to the date November 22, 1963; the day John F Kennedy was assassinated and the series follows, Jake Epping, the English teacher who has the opportunity to travel back in time to prevent this historical event from ever taking place. Its executive producer is JJ Abrams and it stars James Franco as the protagonist. Photo: IMDb The story begins with Jake Epping being presented with the chance to save ...

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Afridi’s comments in favour of India were not a “national shame”, Miandad!

It has been a trend that whenever Pakistan tours India or vice versa, there are elements in both the countries that come up with preposterous statements to vitiate the atmosphere.  It was, therefore, not surprising when a few ex-cricketers of Pakistan took umbrage to the innocuous comments made by Shahid Afridi during a press conference. In an attempt to create a cordial atmosphere, before the start of the marquee match with India, and also to pre-empt any possible hostility from the Indian crowd during the match, Afridi had stated that, “We have always enjoyed playing in India and have been loved ...

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Why Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy made A Girl in the River

Last night I had the good fortune to attend the first Pakistani public screening of the Oscar winning film A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness. I also conducted a Q&A afterwards with the film’s director Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, who’s been dealing with a lot of controversy in Pakistan for the film’s subject matter and its global success. The movie’s about a young woman who survived an honour killing and lived to take her would-be killers – her own father and uncle – to court. Did Sharmeen make this film for western consumption, as a “transaction” as feminist writer Rafia Zakaria puts ...

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Why is India denying women protection from marital rape?

In India, marriage is often regarded as a license to have sex; and that’s not entirely in jest. In a country where public attitudes towards sex are typically very conservative, marriage provides a socially sanctioned outlet for their sexual energy. In addition to being conservative, India is also a male dominated society where in vast swathes of the population, women have very little say in the direction their lives take. Men are responsible for most major decisions and women are expected to meekly cooperate. The combination of deeply ingrained patriarchy and unsympathetic state machinery puts Indian women at a severe disadvantage. However, education, economic progress, ...

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