Stories published in October, 2017

#MeToo: I am older, wiser and more determined than the little girl who was forced to hold an imam’s genitals – but not safer

The first time it happened, I was seven. An imam in our neighbourhood mosque held me, taking my hand, wrapping my fingers (they were still tiny) around his genitals, then massaging it. I was so small I did not know what it was that was in my hand. I had never seen it before and I certainly did not know what it felt like.  “Do you like it?” he asked again and again, until someone came to the room, and he quickly let go of me. Later, I told my mom about this peculiar incident, and she wept for weeks and months over ...

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Dear sexist men, I don’t chant “Hala Madrid” to compete for your heart

I had never been much of a sports fan. My father loves cricket and whenever he watched it, I either watched it half-heartedly with him or just left the room. It never interested me like it interested many of my friends. I thought maybe I am not into sports; maybe the extent of me liking sports is restricted to playing basketball. I was introduced to football back in school. It seemed so new to me, I had never explored this game. People at school talked about it and apparently watching it was cooler than watching cricket. I tried watching it ...

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Benazir Bhutto can wear western attire at Oxford and be praised for her achievements, but Malala Yousafzai can’t?

One can often witness how wearing hijab becomes an obstacle for women here in Pakistan. Be it at work, school or university, you will always be judged and scrutinised for everything you do. However, I have always wondered how a piece of fabric covering one’s head can depict an individual’s personality, to an extent that people believe it gives them the right to judge you for each and everything you say, do or wear. Recently, I came across the news of Malala Yousafzai getting admission into Oxford University and later being ‘spotted’ wearing a pair of jeans and a shirt with a dupatta covering her head. To my surprise, instead of being happy for her admission into one ...

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7 reasons why Pakistanis should be extremely proud of Kumail Nanjiani

For anyone who doesn’t know who Kumail Nanjiani is, he’s a Pakistani-American comedian, writer and actor. Nanjiani was born and raised in Karachi, graduating from Karachi Grammar School before moving to the United States to attend college. If you’re still reading this, you’re probably wondering, so what? Why do I care? What has he done for Pakistan? Well, he’s doing the impossible – he’s representing Pakistan, in a positive light, in Hollywood. Wondering how? Well, keep reading! 1. A Pakistani hosting Saturday Night Live (SNL)… wait, what?! Your host for the evening: @kumailn! ✨ #SNL pic.twitter.com/5P0RzSiEmn — Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) October 14, 2017 For anyone familiar with American ...

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Where does the Sharifs’ indictment leave Pakistan? Same place as yesterday

After much drama, an accountability court has proceeded to indict Nawaz Sharif and his kin for obtaining their foreign properties and businesses through dubious earnings. The indictment was a result of yesterday’s hearing in which only Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain Safdar Awan were present. Nawaz is in London tending to his wife, Kulsoom Nawaz, who is undergoing chemotherapy. The hearing was originally scheduled to take place on October 13th. On the day though, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz’s (PML-N) workers and lawyers barged into the court and created a ruckus claiming that their client had been manhandled and requested another date for the hearing. Also, ...

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It’s easy to pass a law that lets young girls report marital rape, but how exactly will this be implemented?

Child marriage is technically a punishable offence in India. If a male over the age of 18 is found guilty of marrying a child then the accused shall be punished under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act of 2006. The punishment, which is also applicable to parents and guardians of the child, is either rigorous imprisonment of two years, or fines which may extend to Rs1 lakh, or even both in certain cases. Despite the law, cases where girls as young as 15 or 16, of both Hindu and Muslim faith, are forced to marry continue to peak. The most inhumane ...

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard would have been a clichéd action movie if it weren’t for Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson

Even when the script they have to work with isn’t quite exceptional, talented actors still have the ability to elevate the mediocre material they’re provided and turn it into an entertaining cinematic experience for the audience. That is exactly what Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson have done with The Hitman’s Bodyguard, an otherwise middling action comedy that benefits from the chemistry and charisma of its leads. The actors portray two bitter rivals who must set aside their differences and work together to evade countless armed baddies on a journey across Europe. Reynolds appears in the role of Michael Bryce, a ...

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Can ‘Ittefaq’ surpass or be as good as the 1969 original?

Movie adaptations can be a challenging task, especially if some of the industry’s greatest actors performed in the original edition. The upcoming movie, Ittefaq, starring Sidharth Malhotra and Sonakshi Sinha in lead roles as Vikram Sethi and Maya respectively, will test their on-screen persona and method acting skills. They are not only starring together for the first time, but are also recreating the roles performed by Rajesh Khanna and Nanda in 1969’s original version. Judging by the trailer, the 2017 version of Ittefaq entails many twists and turns, and will keep you on the edge of your seat. Directed by Abhay Chopra and produced by ...

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Why I choose not to speak up and say #MeToo

Social media is surreal most of the time; however, this past week has seemed more unreal than usual. My timeline on every social media platform has been flooded, or dare I say bombarded, with #MeToo status updates, tweets and posts. The hashtag went viral after American actress Alyssa Milano tweeted it to encourage more women to come forward with their experiences with sexual harassment, in response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal that shook Hollywood. If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n — Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017 My feelings on this hashtag, which ...

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If Pakistan does not want to be pushed to ‘do more’, then its economy should not be so vulnerable

Nothing remains constant in Pakistan, not even perceptions. Such is the sad state of affairs of Pakistan’s geo-politics and economy. It was only a few months ago, in May, that Pakistan had been upgraded to the MSCI Emerging Markets status, opening door to global investors and economic analysts. Since then, however, the situation has changed drastically, and we continue to surprise investors at home and abroad, this time with our ability to turn things around for the worse. Despite a 10-year high economic growth and billion-dollar investments under the ambitious One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, Pakistan’s economy has yet again revealed how vulnerable it is. The gravity ...

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