Stories published in May, 2016

Is battling women harassment a man’s duty as well?

A woman clambers aboard a crowded coach, negotiates her way through the jostling throng of people and manages to find a seat. She plumps herself on the vacant place and clenches her hand around her purse. You are sitting on the opposite seat that directly faces her. However, as she fishes out a ballpoint from her purse and begins writing in her notebook, you treat her like just another stranger on the bus, trying to make her way home. Minutes later, something stirs within you. A deep disgust wells up in your heart as you notice a man sitting next to ...

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Pakistan’s grim tales of custodial torture and coerced confessions

Did Aftab Ahmed’s death bring custodial torture into the limelight or did a can of worms just open up in Pakistan? What puzzles me is the inquiry ordered by the Chief of Army Staff. What is there to inquire now; the fact that he was tortured? Yes, he was. Isn’t it too obvious from all the marks on his body and report of the medico-legal officer (MLO)? Will the inquiry probe into reasons why the Rangers deemed it necessary to torture him? Are there any reasons which necessitate torture in the first place? These are questions our government should have ...

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Stop celebrating Sadiq Khan’s victory, Pakistan, you have no right to celebrate

Sadiq Khan is now the mayor of London. There are countless reasons to celebrate this feat. On a personal level, it is indeed a great achievement for someone who was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His father was a Pakistan immigrant and a bus driver who brought up Sadiq and his siblings in a council property. Imagine the son of that particular immigrant getting elected by a record mandate in London; it’s a truly superb moment. Congratulations to him for a truly remarkable victory. But can every Pakistani and every Muslim personally feel proud over the appointment of the new ...

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Welcome home to a Very Important Person from us mortals

Welcome home, Ali Gilani. I am sure the entire family bowed down before God in gratitude for your safe return. They should also be thankful that you bear the name ‘Gilani’, for the fact that your father is an influential person; a VIP (Very Important Person). Many mothers have lost their Alis, they are never to be found or heard of; erased from all nooks of reality except from the hearts of a few loved ones and a dust laden FIR eroding away in some record room. Many wives lost their Shahbazs, only because they did not bear a last name ...

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Does the “Urdu problem” lie with Mah-e-Mir or us?

This Mother’s Day I took my mother out on a date to watch Pakistani cinema’s latest flick Mah-e-Mir. Luckily, it has not been banned as yet. I am not a movie buff per say, but I do end up going to the cinema every other week to take a break from reality. So, I hardly ever read movie reviews before watching movies. I like to watch a movie with a blank mind, having nothing to compare it with and judge it based on the entertainment value. I went in judging from the title that Mah-e-Mir would probably be based on the ...

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90 minutes to La Liga glory

For me personally, there is only one thing worse than watching either Barcelona or Real Madrid lift the La Liga trophy and that is to watch any one of these clubs winning a rather predictable two-horse race of a league at a canter. It’s like watching a glorified Scottish Premier League. For “Los Merengues and Els Blaugrana” read “hyped-up Celtic and Rangers”. With the notable exception of 2013-14 Atletico Madrid under Diego Simeone, a Rafa Benitez led Valencia in 2001-2002 and 2003-2004, and Deportivo La Coruña once at the start of the current millennium, no team other than Real and Barca has won the Spanish first division title in the last 20 years. And ...

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Balochistan is far from “uncivilised” and these women prove just that!

That Pakistan has a youth bulge is well known to most informed readers, but what the youth thinks about the myriad challenges faced by the country rarely gets space in the media, especially when it comes to females from minority communities. The First International Conference on Social Sciences recently held at Sardar Bahadur Khan Womens’ University in Quetta, Balochistan, provided me with an opportunity to learn just that. SBK Womens’ University caters to around 6000 female students from all parts of Balochistan and offers up to MPhil and PhD degrees. In 2013, the university was attacked in a suicide bombing that ...

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The women molested were your responsibility, Khan Sahib, and you fed them to the wolves

Dear Imran Khan, I write to you today, not as a woman, but as one of those supporters who, whilst having issues with your ideology, had belief in your ability to unite the nation. You are one of the few leaders the nation believed in and idolised for being vocal about equal rights for all. Women, in this misogynistic society, needed a leader like you to stand up for their rights. But disturbing events have started to occur. While on one hand, you talk about women empowerment and equal rights for every individual, your female supporters are still being harassed and physically abused, as was seen in your ...

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If you ever travel on an American airliner, just remember this curly haired economist

Things have been really tough for the Americans since 9/11. All those people in and out of the country speaking so many languages, and if you’ve never gone beyond your local 7/11, how on earth would you be able to tell this language from ‘that’ one. You know, the one that all terrorists speak; Arabic! Which explains what happened to Guido Menzio. Menzio took an American Airlines flight from somewhere to somewhere, right? And the intelligent woman next to him caught him writing something and how was she to know what it was? Acting on the principle, that anything that does ...

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What do Nawaz Sharif and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have in common?

It has been reported that our embattled Prime Minister, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, is looking increasingly towards President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey for inspiration in how to establish civilian supremacy in Pakistan and to face off challenges from the powerful military as well as political opponents.    If this is true, then one can only hope that Mian Sahib emulates Erdogan in his earlier avatar as a committed democrat and not in his most recent reincarnation as an unabashed autocrat. It is hard to believe now but there was a time when Erdogan was the great hope for a truly ...

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