No, Pakistani ‘startups’ did not raise over $300 million in investments in 2018 

A Pakistani tech publication published an article recently, claiming that Pakistani startups raised $341 million in 2018. This article was shared by many in the Pakistani startup ecosystem. The article was perhaps seen as an acknowledgment of the fact that the technological ecosystem in Pakistan has come a long way and is finally attracting venture capital (VC) money. This might very well be true. But the claim that Pakistani startups raised over $300 million last year is a stretch. For any such report, it is very important to first define a few basics and focus on their respective methodologies. These basics include: the definition of ...

Read Full Post

If Gillette’s ad proved anything, it’s that #NotAllMen want to be their best

When a celebrity or corporation deviates from societal norms, it ends up creating controversy and a lot of debate. Right now, a Gillette advertisement, released just a few days ago, is doing the same. The advertisement has so far garnered well over 17 million views but more than the views, it is people’s responses to it which tell the real story: Presently, over 450,000 people have ‘liked’ the video on YouTube while the number of dislikes is almost double this number. The comments section is also interesting because of the fierce debate that is developing slowly. On the whole though, ...

Read Full Post

Surviving R Kelly in the #MeToo era: Because one victim’s voice is not enough for justice

Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and now R Kelly. Like countless other men, these men were accused and guilty of sexual abuse and assault against women. Here is the situation that continues to baffle many people including myself: when a woman claims she was sexually abused or assaulted, the man in question always tends to deny it. Why does our society and justice system always defend the man? Despite living in a time and society where we want to empower women, why are they not being listened to in the first place? Believe it or not, there are enough people out there who ...

Read Full Post

Haiwan: When will our dramas stop misrepresenting rape and child abuse?

While highlighting social taboos and evils through local dramas is a bold initiative that our entertainment industry has been taking for around two years now, it doesn’t always hit the mark. At times, our serials normalise things that ought not to be, sometimes in the wake of ratings and sometimes because the makers want to portray situations as close to reality as possible. Recently, the much-hyped drama serial Haiwan, that kicked off the trend of #MyChildMyResponsibility on social media, concluded on a deeply unsatisfactory note. A drama that was meant to give a strong message of protecting children from the predators that ...

Read Full Post

Dear PEMRA, it is our society that is ‘indecent’; our dramas are merely a portrayal of it

The performing arts are considered a tool for providing entertainment, relaxation and catharsis to society. Before the invention of the television, stage dramas, dancing and poetry were all important mediums in people’s lives, showing just how necessary entertainment is for us. Pakistan’s first official TV channel was launched in 1964, and we soon saw the rise of our drama industry with classic plays like Ankahi, Waris and Tanhaiyaan. However, after General Ziaul Haq’s martial law and the subsequent Islamisation of society, the entertainment industry was not spared either. As a result, the film industry gradually vanished and dramas became more ...

Read Full Post

12 times Pakistani sense of humour stole the show on Twitter

The end of the year is upon us, and yearly roundups are spreading like wildfire. After all, for Pakistan alone, this was the year of the elections, of some intense accountability and of some horrendous behaviour by politicians and celebrities alike. International news didn’t fare any better. In a year that is certain to be remembered as a dumpster fire, the only thing that kept us going was a platform where all the dark souls on this planet gather to laugh at their misery – Twitter. They say things get worse before they get better. Pakistanis can attest to that, ...

Read Full Post

From ‘possessed’ to the ‘crazy ex’, do Bollywood horror movies have a gender stereotype problem?

Bollywood cannot be credited with producing the most sensitive of films, and although there has been a welcome change in the recent past, there is still a long way to go in terms of appropriate and sensitive representation across genres. While genres such as romance and comedy are actively dissected regarding how they often portray skewed gender relations on screen, one genre which probably needs to be spoken more about is that of Bollywood horror films. The roots of horror as a genre in mainstream Indian cinema can be traced back to the Ramsay family production during the latter half of the ...

Read Full Post

The year that #Metoo was reborn, and with it the sisterhood of victims

It is the defining moment of the year gone by, not because it finally became part of a global movement but more so because it took a second wind to unsettle the dominant voices of patriarchal corridors and send a message that #Metoo was not about some misguided and delayed wave for justice, just as it was never about a woman in the wrong job at the wrong time. All it had ever been about was consent. October 2018 will be remembered as the renaissance of the #MeToo movement in India. A forgotten actress Tanushree Dutta touched down from the ...

Read Full Post

The year the world mourned dead journalists, and with them our freedom of speech

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a New York-based organisation defending the freedom of the press, 53 journalists have been killed in 2018. Let that sink in – 53 journalists. Syria, Afghanistan, Mexico, Yemen, Israel and USA are the top sites for these deaths. The figure went up from 47 in 2017 to 53 this year. Needless to say, it has been a tough year for the media and its workers across the globe. But what struck me is the high numbers of murders; other reasons for the deaths being dangerous assignments and threats from external forces. Our own ...

Read Full Post

To Bushra and Dua Aamir: As a man, I apologise for how our society continues to treat you

Aamir Liaquat is neither new to misogyny nor to propagating hatred for minorities by calling for them to be murdered, as well as all other ugly things under the sky. After all, he shot to fame by mostly self-creating the controversies he is known for. From trying to give away babies on live TV and inciting hatred against groups by giving judgment calls against them, to using foul language for his opponents, he has never had any qualms when it comes to getting his hands dirty. We also witnessed how his filthy mind believes in sexualising fellow female colleagues, when he used ...

Read Full Post