Why single-sex schools are failing your children

Recently, I came across diaries of mine from my mid-teenage years. For close to a year, nine out of my 10 diary entries revolved around some boy or another, while the rest revolved around the intensity of my self-hatred because of how the opposite gender made me feel. There were a few entries scattered throughout concerning friends and family, but that was about it. What put me off was that even after flipping through multiple entries it was difficult to come across actual events from the year. All that particular years’ diary covers is boys and their affect on ...

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Why I ditched my chador

When I was in my teens, some 20 years ago, my parents would tell me to wear a chador (a large piece of cloth that is wrapped around the head and upper body) and cover myself every time I would go out of the house. I lived in a small city and my father was widely known. Each time I stepped out of my house, I would cover myself from head to toe, sometimes even the face if I was with my father, as he didn’t want people gazing at his daughter. I understood at the time that this was essential for ...

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Women helped bring PTI to power, and now it turns its back on them

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has presented itself as the party that will bring change to Pakistan and save the human rights record of the country. In this vein, PTI has built its supporter and voter base at the hands of Pakistan’s youth and its women. Women have played a key role in bringing the organisation into power, both in terms of electoral candidates and their participation in its jalsas. These women were ridiculed by other parties but they were encouraged by PTI to play their part as half the population of the country. However, PTI’s record when it comes ...

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Pakistan is not ready for a tourist influx

They say that desperate times call for desperate measures. Pakistan is in an economic crunch at the moment, and with limited options available to bail itself out, the tourism industry could be the much needed light at the end of the tunnel. The recent surge in travel bloggers visiting Pakistan on sponsored trips shows the eagerness of the current government to refurbish Pakistan’s international image. However, this begs the question, does the government have any concrete plans to support the tourism sector beyond just charging a drone and flying it over the mountains? Like any other industry in the world, ...

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Why is the copy culture an ingrained part of education in Sindh?

The culture of mass copying is thriving in Sindh, eroding its education system over the past several decades. As usual, those who suffer the most are the poor students from outlying areas, where access to education is negligible.  Why is this menace still in practice, despite the various legislative and administrative initiatives taken by the Ministry of Education? Legislatively, Sindh was among the other provinces that adopted a bill ensuring the right to education for all in order to claim political fame. Administratively, the Sindh Education Ministry installed a biometric system – the first of its kind in Pakistan – with the aim ...

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Two years in Pakistan made me reconsider my values on parenting

A few years ago, a friend of mine sent me Khalil Gibran’s poem, On Children. Upon reading it, I remember my first thought being, ‘this guy probably didn’t have children of his own’. I was appalled at the things he suggested in his poem. Gibran wrote: “Your children are not your children, They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself, They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.” I got married at the age of 23, and exactly nine months later, I became the mother of a daughter who is ...

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The desi hypocrisy surrounding autism

“Aap ka bacha abnormal hai kya?”  (Is your child abnormal?) The first time I heard the word ‘abnormal,’ I was five. For me, it was an alien word. So when I reached home, I asked my mum what it meant and if my cousin was ‘abnormal’. She just brushed off the question while tending to my newborn sister, not knowing the impact it would have on me later. In light of the fact that World Autism Awareness Day was marked earlier this month, I want to talk about children like my cousin and address the insensitive way in which our desi ...

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Because what do overseas Pakistanis know about promoting tourism in Pakistan, right?

Recently, I found myself posing for a big fat family photograph at a wedding in Lahore, during which I was duly handed one of those decorative desi prop-style labels to pose with. Instead of the usual titles like ‘Larki walay’ (bride’s family and friends) and ‘Larkay walay’ (groom’s family and friends), can you guess which label I was handed? ‘Bahar walay’ (outsiders). As a child of the Pakistani diaspora residing in the United Kingdom, my life has been divided neatly between Birmingham and Lahore, but neither of these two worlds accept me. However connected I may be, there has always been a sense of ...

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Pakistan’s space programme: Achievable goal or impossible dream?

Last year, newly anointed Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry boldly announced that Pakistan would launch its first manned space mission in 2022, and as expected, many people took to social media to voice their amusement. The statement cracked many smiles and it became the subject of much ridicule and cynicism. For the first time in a long time, a Pakistani minister had publicly shown interest in and hinted at developing a space programme. Although space travel may not seem like a necessary concern for a developing nation like Pakistan, the feat would require incomparable resources and in the process ...

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Why schools in Punjab should not bid goodbye to Mr Chips

One of my most cherished memories from my school years is reading the James Hilton novella, Goodbye, Mr Chips. The book tells the heartening story of a seasoned school teacher whom the students lovingly refer to as Mr Chips, a man who is an institution unto himself. Over the course of the story, Mr Chips reflects on the life he has led and hopes that his decades of service as a teacher have enriched the lives of his students.   The enduring popularity of the novel has ensured that it has remained a staple feature in English Language classrooms across ...

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