Stories published in January, 2017

Sex Aur Samaaj: Because a dialogue is important

Sex: that taboo word. Not only is it deemed sinful to discuss openly in more conservative societies, it is also about our own reflection and a repressed understanding of it. There is a compelling need to talk about sexuality as a normalised topic but due to rigid moral codes defined by religion or culture, an objective debate on this issue is not socially possible. In fact, there is an artificial silence about it because it is perceived as something dirty and sinful; a discourse to be refrained from unless one is legally recognised as a married person. Sex, indeed, is an ...

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A love story

Wedding celebrations are a long event in our family. Like any Pakistani family, we were knackered, relieved, and thankful on the last day of my sister’s wedding festivities. By the time all the guests left, we found ourselves nestled around the big boxes of sweets and presents in the wee hours of the night. My father in his preferred seat on the rocking chair. Everything looked in order as the living room was cradled by the slow December breeze of Karachi. I looked into Shereen’s eyes. We had been engaged for six months now. I was just about to ...

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The fall of Dhaka

“It was doomsday. I had fought many wars; I saw the division of a subcontinent. I have seen many of my friends dying in my arms, but this day was different. It was dark, it was gloomy. It was a sad day.” My uncle Rashid swallowed a sip of his tea. His eyes were dipped in tears of sorrow. Rashid, who I’ve always called Major Sahab, had witnessed Pakistan’s movement as a young boy. According to him, Pakistan was his life. He was in the Pakistan Army and was posted to Dhaka in 1971. He fought as a soldier in both the 1948 and 1965 wars. ...

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Farewell, Mr Om Puri, you were our voice of peace and harmony

Our generation is in a strange place today.  While we are reminded every day that we must “adult”, grow up and face whatever is thrown at us, we are losing certain things that link us to our childhoods. In the form of raising our eyebrows incredulously as we watch people change, losing our loved ones, and listening to news of eminent figures leaving this world, figures we grow up listening to and watching on the television and behind the veils of cinemas. The year 2016 took away too much. Some passed on naturally, some were snatched away from us in ...

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Is the jirga system truly just?

A report was published in The Washington Post on December 17, 2016, titled, “In Pakistan, five girls were killed for having fun. Then the story took an even darker twist”. It covered the investigation of an incident that took place in Kohistan in 2012, where five girls were murdered ruthlessly for singing and dancing at a wedding on the commandment of a jirga. The report divulged the abominable treatment and egregious injustices women are subjected to at the hands of influential jirgas. It further explained how this council of leaders conceals their wrongdoings by intimidating uneducated people and manipulating evidence. The jirgas are so powerful that ...

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Did Yasra Rizvi deserve to be trolled for her unconventional mehr?

When actress Yasra Rizvi set out to marry Abdul Hadi, little did she know that her claim to fame will be that she married a man 10 years younger and her mehr, which her husband agreed to, is Fajr prayer (obligatory morning prayers for Muslims). The couple was scrutinised harshly through the lens of a magnifying glass, and was trolled on social media for one simple reason – they dared to do something against the norm. And nothing scares us like what we do not understand. People are still familiar with the older-woman-weds-younger-man scenario, even though they see it as abominable, even those who harp on about how important ...

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Panamagate: Why are offshore companies such a big deal?

So it has finally come to this; a new five-judge larger bench, daily hearings and two adversaries baying for each other’s blood. Back in December, after a flurry of preliminary hearings of Panama Papers, the larger bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan had hinted that the formation of an inquiry commission was now a real prospect. The new larger bench announced that the proceedings would be held on a daily basis, after the court’s annual winter vacations have come to an end. With the ex-Chief Justice gone, having reached superannuation in December, there has been a new bench, with ...

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After #PakvsAus, it is time for Misbahul Haq to retire

If there is anyone who can be proclaimed as one of the greatest servants of Pakistan cricket at the drop of a hat, it is Misbahul Haq. It is crystal clear to a rational cricket follower that Misbah deserves a lot of praise for where Pakistan cricket stands right now. Misbah came under the spotlight during his Test debut against New Zealand at Auckland back in 2001, but it was a clerk’s room where he was offered the captaincy band in 2010, which was the actual turning point of his career. Misbah was asked to take command of the team at a time when Pakistan cricket was ...

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BBC’s The Real Housewives of ISIS: Offensive or not?

BBC’s Revolting: The Real Housewives of ISIS skit has earned mixed reviews across social media, from praise to explosive anger. The video is a brilliant and hilarious piece of satire. It takes aim, not only at lowbrow reality shows like Big Brother but at the United Kingdom’s growing radicalisation problem, where, over the years, a large number of young Muslims have travelled through Turkey to Syria and Iraq to join the world’s most infamous terrorist group. Inexplicably, a fair percentage of these Muslims happen to be British women, ranging from girls in their late teens to early 20s, who leave ...

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Sherlock S04E01: Back… with a whimper!

If you thought with 2016 over, the infamous celebrity death streak would show some signs of abating, then think again. Twenty-seventeen was not even a day old and the celeb version of the Grim Reaper was back with a bang. Princess Leia’s untimely demise was sad but Sherlock becoming the first shock casualty of this new year was totally gut-wrenching. A whole goddamn year I waited for him. He even arrived; munching on ginger nuts and nonchalantly tweeting about his liberating recall from a certain inevitable fatal assignment, while his murderous excursions were being brushed under the rug by the MI6. I was getting in the ...

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