Stories published in January, 2017

A domestic helper is not a slave. A child is not a servant. #JusticeForTayyaba

Exactly one year ago, a man heard a little girl cry out from the cold floor of a washroom in Rawalpindi. She is a 12-year-old domestic worker in Rawalpindi Cantonment. As the man tries to contact the police, he realises there is no proper method to save a child like that from a family that refuses to understand that such treatment towards young children, or any person, is nothing but inhumane. The man who heard this little child’s cry wrote about the incident in a piece published on January 01, 2016, with the hope that by this year, she ...

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Just because I’m over-weight does not mean I’m pregnant

“Yes I am fat…. Get over it” “Oh congratulations, when are you due?” “I didn’t recognise you!” “Aap tou healthy ho gayi hain.” (You have become healthy.) “MashAllah bari sehat bana li.” (You have gained weight.) “Thori dieting vieting tou try karain.” (You should try to diet.) The recent events in my life have forced me to put my emotions into writing. The above mentioned remarks are just a few of the insults that have become a haunting part of my daily routine. Disappointingly, some of these people are even closely acquainted to me. Pregnancy is a miraculous time period in every woman’s life, especially for someone who ...

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Demonetisation: How Pakistan can avoid making the same mistakes as India

On November 8, 2016, while the rest of the world was watching the American election results, India dropped a bomb shell on its citizens. The wily Mr Modi (dressed in his favourite kurta shalwaar) announced that the Indian government would pull out all Rs500 and Rs1000 from circulation at midnight. This would be akin to 86% of the total economy – some Rs14 trillion in cash would be rendered useless. Mr Modi implored to the nation that even though it seemed as if he had ripped a bandage off here, India would benefit in the long run. The impetus for ...

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Alienacs, rejoice!

I have always found Ridley Scott to be an infuriatingly hit-and-miss filmmaker. On one hand, we have got cinematic masterpieces including Blade Runner, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down, while on the other, we have got celluloid monstrosities like G.I. Jane, Robin Hood and Exodus: Gods and Kings, where you are forced to wonder what the hell the Knighted Englishman is smoking. Ridley Scott and Jussie Smollett in Alien: Covenant (2017).Photo: IMDb Every single time a Ridley Scott movie is on the radar, you tend to anticipate its arrival with a bizarre mixture of cautious excitement, and Alien: ...

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What happened to Pakistan at the Gabba?

Pakistan’s predictable unpredictability is their biggest threat towards both the opposition and, regrettably, themselves. In the last three Tests, Pakistan have lost nine wickets in the final session, almost pulled off the biggest chase ever in Test history. Pakistan’s cricketing woes are largely representative and reminiscent of Pakistan’s general attitude towards everything ranging from religion to politics – a middle ground just doesn’t exist. At the Gabba, Pakistan earned themselves a moral victory and were rightfully praised for all their efforts. Momentum, despite losing, had tilted slightly towards Pakistan and it was still there for three and a half days of ...

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When even a seven-year-old is not “too young for jihad”

She was probably born on a bad day. Her birth must have been as abysmal as her death was going to be. She had heard from her grandmother about the bad aura of some days. “All people born on such days are as nehes (unlucky)”, her grandmother had said one day. She gulped nervously. She looked at her sister lying next to her who had fallen asleep only an hour ago after sobbing uncontrollably all night. Fajar is near. “I can pray to Allah. Maybe He will undo this. But I should hurry. If father gets up and prays before me, then Allah won’t listen to my ...

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The Infinite Miners

The wind is uncomfortable, almost biting, The souls, in all their agony, begin reciting, The unfinished walls, dripping with red paint, blood, The fences scream, but just like their lives, are stopped with a single brazen thud. The hands, gravelling aggressively, soon succumb to the sweat, The lips dry, swollen, and pink, are blessed with the smoke from the infinite cigarette, The ground beneath, shakes and trembles, just as their fragile grey bodies, Their shirts, dripping of the stench of a thousand dead rats, that they would, in all their magnificence, rather be. Their ghosts circle the hole in the ground, contemplating, Their chests, bare naked, just as the day they were ...

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