They say “women belong in the kitchen” – and that is exactly where I went, professionally

In 1929, Virginia Woolf raised questions that remain relevant about the lives of men and women today. She said, “In 100 years…women will have ceased to be the protected sex.” Adding that, “Logically, they will take part in all the activities and exertions that were once denied to them.” “Anything may happen when womanhood has ceased to be a protected occupation.” It all started with my love for food; mixing ingredients together to create a taste that will either blow your mind or your insides. I always saw my kitchen as a lab where I was the mad scientist working with different chemicals to create something that would not only ...

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A woman covered with a dupatta, unlike the covered lollipop, will never be covered enough

As I strolled out of Emporium Mall the other day and waited for my car, a street urchin approached me. Assuming she was going to ask for some money, I pretended not to see her, but then she did something shockingly out of the ordinary – she adjusted the dupatta on my chest, draping it in a manner so that my entire chest was now covered by a sheet of cloth. “Baaji, kitni pyari ho (you’re so pretty), but it doesn’t look good na”, she said, pointing to the men standing nearby. “All the brothers are looking at you. Look even I have my dupatta on ...

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Private schools: Money guzzling mills or upholders of education?

The exorbitant hike in private school fees in Islamabad was caught red-handed by the auditor general of Pakistan. This highlighted the failure of Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA) as a potent regulatory body. Although PEIRA was established to mandate fee scales, which includes all fee and payments due from parents, private schools have displayed an attitude of absolute non-compliance to any such rules. Apart from failure to enforce adherence to fee structure rules, PEIRA also failed to regulate the teachings of Islamabad Capital Territory’s (ICT) mandated curricula in private schools. The incident in ICT cannot be brushed off as something that the rest ...

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Motherhood may be great, but pregnancy is more pain than pleasure

“Don’t take any stress when you’re expecting!” — a stressful comment every pregnant woman has to hear at some point — because everybody knows pregnancy is a low stress endeavour. On the contrary, the question we should be asking is; do pregnant women have any reason not to take stress? A lack of emotional support or being surrounded by negativity during one’s pregnancy will always be accompanied by high levels of stress, which directly affects the woman’s health and through her, the baby’s health as well. These stress levels automatically increase if you are pregnant and if you are a working woman as well. In such ...

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Will the Islamic State flag in Islamabad hinder Pakistan’s progress?

There is the lush screen scenery. There are the picturesque Margalla Hills. There are the curve-friendly roads on these hills that remind one of Vital Signs and Junaid Jamshed. There is the crisp and cool weather. There is a particular calm never found in other major cities of the country. Then there is the Lal Masjid – the antithesis of everything in Islamabad – loud, angry and not at all pretty. It was only a matter of time before this happened then, an Islamic State (IS) flag dangling in Islamabad, even though it may or may not have anything to do with Lal Masjid. Things in Pakistan have generally looked better off late. The military ...

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With one royal decree, Saudi Arabia has driven away decades of injustice

I was at the wheel of my own motor when the news came over BBC: King Salman of Saudi Arabia has issued a decree permitting Saudi women the right to drive. In one royal decree, he had swept away decades of injustice against half of the Kingdom. As I navigated the evening rush hour in New York, I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. An almost unintelligible Saudi women activist speaking to the BBC babbled with joy at the news, announcing that she would now drive her dream car – a Ford Mustang convertible. Saudi Arabia until today was the only country in the world to ban women from ...

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Does going to a psychologist mean that one is “crazy” or “weak”?

Whenever I tell someone I am a psychologist, I usually get one of two responses: “Can you tell what I’m thinking right now?” “You must be pretty crazy to deal with so many crazies!” I recently went to get my driving license renewed, and when I was called in for a medical evaluation, the assistant asked me for some personal information, including my profession. When I told him I am a psychologist, he suddenly paused and asked, “Kya main aapko pagal lagta hoon? Mere dost mujhe pagal kehte hain.” (Do I look crazy to you? My friends call me crazy.) This was an amusing, but not ...

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Dear NADRA, your failure to recognise Pakistan’s undervalued regional languages is not surprising

I recently came across a disheartening news article which stated that the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) failed to recognise a degree attained in a regional language. This applied to all the areas and provinces of Pakistan and not just Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). Now, let us take in the severity of this statement. In effect, this means that those who have done their Bachelors or Masters in Pashto or any other regional language cannot enter their education data for their national identity cards (NIC) at NADRA. The premier regulatory authority’s online forms only contain and recognise a master’s degree or Doctorate in English, Urdu and Persian. But ...

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The UNGA proved that Pakistan and India can never rise above name-calling

This year’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) did not bode well for the South Asian community. Maleeha Lodhi and Sushma Swaraj, two bright South Asian women who are fortunately educated and able, were unable to make a difference with their presence. Ambassador Lodhi, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative, stated that India is the “mother of terrorism” at the UNGA. Furthermore, she stated that Pakistan is open to starting a dialogue with India, and implementing all resolutions. However, she also went on to claim, “India has considerable experience in the state sponsorship of terrorism in our region.” Although Ambassador Lodhi claims that Pakistan is ready for a resolution, when ...

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Law schools in Pakistan may be operational but they are not good enough to produce good lawyers

It would be no exaggeration to state that the legal profession is one of the oldest and most prestigious professions around the world. Most of the world leaders who have dominated the political scene belong to the legal profession, whether it is Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Mahatama Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, or others. From this, we can understand that it is no coincidence that most of the world leaders acquired a legal education without knowing its significance. The importance of a legal education can also be gauged from the fact that it acts as a supply as well as fuel to the legal profession and the state ...

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