Stories published in July, 2016

Dear Bilawal (Zardari), please read a newspaper so you know what Sindh is going through

Dear Mr Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, It has been reported that you are behind the move to remove some ministers in the Sindh cabinet and appoint new ones. Of course, this is nothing new, all over the world ministers are sacked and replaced if they do not perform satisfactorily. Usually what happens is that new and competent people are chosen to run the government. With all due respect, I, for one, feel that nothing will change by sacking some ministers and replacing them with others. The people of Sindh will continue to suffer due to the absolute lack of governance in the ...

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Revenge of the Worthless is truly worthless

Who is not aware of Jamal Shah’s potential? He is amongst the most creative minds of Pakistan. Shah was involved in cross-border projects back in the 80’s and 90’s. Revenge of the Worthless is Shah’s directorial debut in the Pakistani film industry. This time Shah made his comeback with a highly potent cast including veteran actors Firdaus Jamal and Ayub Khoso. Having said that, there are many things the movie has to offer to its viewers. The plot of Revenge of the Worthless is based on the 2009 Swat insurgency. It shares the story of an upright progressive man Zarak Khan (Jamal Shah), a boy named Gulalai (Abdul Raheem) ...

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Why are these members of authority and celebrities silent over the Kashmir issue?

We had been seeing pictures of kids as young as four being admitted in hospitals, their faces mutilated with pellets. Young Kashmiris, some sportsman and some students losing their dreams as their vision was taken away with what the Indian forces described as ‘non-lethal weapons.’ On top of that, Facebook had the audacity to censor these stories in the name of ‘Community Standards.’ We wanted to do a campaign against the use of pellets. Narendra Modi was an obvious choice as he is the prime minister. Sonia Gandhi was chosen because her ally, Omar Abdullah, sanctioned the use of these guns in 2010. It ...

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Pop-up in the Park: Reclaiming public spaces in Karachi

Spoken Stage, in collaboration with Girls at Dhabas, hosted an event coined “Pop-up in the Park” at Frere Hall this Saturday in order to reclaim the public spaces in Karachi. Spoken Stage is an organisation that fosters the growth of individual expression through the projection of spoken word poetry and prose. Girls at Dhabas was created with the intention of enabling women to claim public spaces, and is quickly gaining influence as women all over South Asia are using the hashtag #girlsatdhabas. The event took place at Frere Hall with the intention of reclaiming public spaces.Photo: ...

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I, for one, am glad that General Musharraf was allowed to leave the country

It is embarrassing to admit it but when General Musharraf took over in 1999 through a bloodless military coup, one did support the aims and objectives he laid down in his famous seven point address. I, as a 19-year-old living abroad, was particularly thrilled by Musharraf’s invocation of Kemal Ataturk because I felt that only a military man like him could undo the damage done to Pakistan by General Ziaul Haq’s military regime in the 80s. All our hopes were dashed slowly but surely during the decade of Musharraf’s rule. The lesson to be learnt is that military rule follows ...

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Series 5 Finding salvation Part 1 ‘Love allergy’

The old rickshaw came to a skidding halt in front of the station. He poked his head out and looked at the busy station in distress. Saleem hated noisy places. Paying the driver in change, he got off. He threw his backpack on his shoulder and hesitantly waded through the crowd squinting for the ticket booth. “This has to be oldest train station in this province!” He thought irritably wrinkling his nose at the touch and smell of other human beings. The stench was unbearably strong. What to say of the germs this crowd must be carrying around. After struggling for ...

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Why are Indian and Pakistani men hell-bent on perpetuating sexual terrorism?

Another day, another news report about a horrific rape that once again highlights the distance India has to travel to ensure true equality, freedom, and justice for its women. In this latest incident, a 21-year-old was gang raped again by the same five men who had raped her three years ago. This incident is beyond outrageous and is a measure of the abject failure of the law and order machinery in ensuring that justice is served and all perpetrators of sexual crimes are punished appropriately. Out of the five original rapists, two were apparently out on bail and three had never ...

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‘You’re so bipolar’: Mental illness is not a joke

In an age where obtaining information is as simple as typing a few letters in a search bar and pressing enter, it’s disconcerting to witness the extent of disillusionment when one realises we’re so uneducated in matters of great importance. Mental illness is one of those things. We may live in the 21st century. We may live in a world where automobiles can drive themselves. Yet, as far as mental illnesses go, we may very well be back in the 17th century. The extent to which people are unaware about mental illness is so pervasive, that those who are informed of it are ...

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The reactions to Qandeel’s death reveal no understanding of feminism in Pakistan

They call her a prostitute, a sex object, a joke and other degrading insults in an attempt to discredit her. They assume that because they deem her to be all of the above, she cannot at the same time be empowering women and/or herself. A fatal flaw is, thus, exposed in their argument in that she is struck down for what women (and men) across the world celebrate her for: her courage, tenacity and fire to be whoever she chose to be in a society that (literally) stifles freedom—especially freedom of expression. As I reflect upon this week, many voices ...

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Why do 25 million Pakistanis defecate openly?

During moments of reflection it sometimes occurs to me that, as a nation, we have been conditioned to only react to tragedies on a large scale. In the greater scheme of things, this ability to suppress emotional reactions to the trauma that surrounds us serves as a defence mechanism of sorts; one that allows us to go about each day without being overwhelmed by paralysing depression. With this filter in place, we are able to circumvent the accompanying responsibility, writing off what we deem minor and letting it drown under a sea of other (more) pressing issues. Failing to ...

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