The wider implications of #MeToo and #TimesUp in Pakistan

“Cancelled” – that’s the impromptu public response whenever a known personality is accused of harassment. When Ukhano (Umar Khan) was exposed for alleged harassment recently by multiple women, he was instantly ‘cancelled’ by a significant percentage of people on social media, that is until Polish vlogger Eva Zu Beck shared her experience of working with him. Just because he hasn’t harassed you, doesn’t mean he’s not a harasser In an Instagram story, Beck shared how she went trekking with Khan for two months, during which he never made her feel uncomfortable or threatened at any point. It made sense for her to come out in support of her ...

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The unforgettable iconic queens of 70s cinema

The 70s was a golden era for the silver screen in Pakistan – the wave of retro glamour queens. These women redefined the cinematic footprint marking the future of Pakistani cinema in decades to come. By the 1950s, the young urban rebels of Pakistan had begun to veer away from the staunch rightist saint culture of the 50s to the leftist hippie culture of the 60s. Growing up as a 70s child was fascinating. Music became significantly prominent alongside populist political movements, as rallies become a cultural under-belly of fanfare, glamour and style. The cinema of that era, now known as Lollywood, was a ...

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As a Muslim husband, I do not agree with Farhat Hashmi and her view on marital rape

It was the summer of 2015. I was in Pakistan for a month and a half due to the demise of my father. My visit coincided with the month of Ramazan. During the holy month, my wife decided to attend Dars-e-Quran sessions conducted by a certain Islamic scholar, Tahira Yousuf. One night, my wife asked me to pick her up after the lecture. When I reached the centre, the lecture had just ended and I saw a large number of women from apparently affluent backgrounds coming out of the hall. When my wife sat in the car, I asked her ...

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Swineryy: The modern day Zorro, the Seth McFarlane of Pakistani comedy

Things that go viral can be corrosive. They do little, if anything at all, to help move the public discourse. But every once in a while, you see or hear something that defies these rules. Swineryy is one of those things.  I was introduced to Swineryy by a friend, as most people were, and my gut reaction was: this is bad. Maybe it was the medium it was shared on or maybe it was the premise of an animoji talking about the problems in Pakistani high society. It made me chuckle, but it didn’t do anything else for me. It ...

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Reviving our glorious past and traditions with Ehed-e-Ramazan

Every year, the month of Ramazan comes loaded with blessings. It is perceived as an opportunity to cleanse one’s self with spirituality and devotion. In the holy month this year, Express Entertainment started a series of segments for its valued viewers in order to revive their spirituality and refresh their souls. The program, titled Ehed-e-Ramazan, went quite successfully last year, and this year as well it has received an unprecedented response from viewers while drawing universal acclaim. Hosted by Javeria Saud and Imran Abbas, two of the most celebrated icons in Pakistan’s entertainment industry, it is clear why the show has resonated with so many. The program ...

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The ‘victim card’: why Pakistan remains a dangerous country for women

The rise of the #MeToo movement not only broke barriers internationally, it also created waves within Pakistan and encouraged women to speak up against their predators and abusers. Today, Pakistanis are more ‘woke’ than they have ever been. Gone are the days when women-centric issues were ridiculously hushed in the name of preserving ‘honour’. The concepts of ‘patriarchy’, ‘misogyny’ and ‘consent’ have finally made their way through to being publicly discussed, questioned and rebuked. However, things are nowhere near good enough yet. Pakistan is just awakening to the seriousness of harassment and abuse and how often this leads to rape, murder ...

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#JusticeForFarishta is proof we did nothing after demanding #JusticeForZainab

Childhood is perhaps the golden period in every individual’s life, but not in Pakistan. Here, even the children are not spared in this world of lust and greed, and quite often they are the ones who become victim to the paedophiles and monsters that run free. On May 20th, police recovered the body of 10-year-old Farishta, who had been abducted, allegedly raped and then brutally murdered, with her body thrown in some bushes at the edge of Islamabad. Farishta went missing from home five days prior to this, and when her father Gul Nabi rushed to the nearest police station ...

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David and Dan didn’t ruin Game of Thrones – the internet did

Fandom is a tricky thing. There is a very fine line between camaraderie and chaos, and fandom lies somewhere on its border. It has seen the rise of art and then the decline of it. It has turned from caring about a property to turning it into a cult, and it lives and breathes upon the cyclic torrents of the internet. Ah, the internet. The subculture of culture itself. The voice the Mad King hears, the past that Bran has seen, the future that the Maesters will write; the internet. It writes itself and corrects itself. It is the judge, ...

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An open letter to conservative father and cricket icon Shahid Afridi

Dear Shahid Afridi, One must appreciate your energy, which helps you stay in the news despite having retired from mainstream cricket a long time ago. Be it charity drives, advertisements, special appearances in entertainment shows or simply your comments to the press, you remain in the picture. We still haven’t forgotten the flash runs you made which earned you the title ‘Boom Boom’. And recently, you created another boom with your book, Game Changer. Now some people are criticising the political comments you made over bigwigs in the cricket world. Frankly, you may know better there; they are not my concern. ...

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Game of Thrones has not only failed the Night King, but also its badass women

If there is one thing I’ve grown to expect every Monday as I wake up at six in the morning to watch Game of Thrones, it is the feeling of disappointment that inevitably follows the end of every episode. This isn’t even limited to this season; many would agree that the show has been struggling for a while, now that it no longer has George RR Martin’s brilliant source material to fall back on. **Spoilers alert** Fans watched in disappointment as all the Martells and Tyrells were killed off, Jon was made Aegon Targaryen despite already having a half-brother with the ...

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