Will Uber end up destroying Careem as well?

As a young, 20-something, independent woman living in Lahore, I have made it a point to sustain my life and expenses all on my own. I do still live with my parents, but there is not much I rely on them for except their unwavering and unconditional love and support. This means I take care of my own transport, whether it is to travel to and from my workplace or frequently to run personal errands. A few years ago this was much harder as services like Uber and Careem were not available, but with their wide availability now, it has ...

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I was 6 when I was sexually abused, repeatedly, in my ‘safe space’

I am a person who is currently in his early 40’s. When I was around six-years-old, I was sexually abused, repeatedly. This is my story. At the outset, I would like to acknowledge that the inspiration to write this blog came from Nadia Jamil, the famous television actress who last year revealed the harrowing abuse she had suffered as a youngster. I, however, do not have the courage to disclose my identity or to publicly share my ordeal as she did. So by no stretch of the imagination am I trying to emulate her. She is much braver and a far ...

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For creative spirits like Fayaz, Pakistan is where innovation crashes before it takes off

“Has it ever been done before?” “What do you think of yourself? Some genius that planet Earth has never seen? You’re too self-obsessed, dude!” “Had it been so simple, somebody would have done it already!” If you list the most destructive lines to kill innovation and out-of-the-box thinking, I am quite confident the aforementioned sentences would make it to the top 10. Regardless of time and place, people who come up with ideas that challenge the status quo in any field are initially ridiculed, and then face collective disapproval and extreme discouragement. It boils down to the stage when the one who ...

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#TherapistDiaries: Old age and the game of betrayal

The mere sight of my dad’s shivering hand gives me heartbreak. He has crossed 60, and hence the strength of his body keeps drifting away every once in a while. My mom, in her 50s, struggles with circadian rhythms due to her increasing age. Her screen time – YouTube and Facebook mainly – has increased in the past five years. She bonds with us and her friends over puppy videos and babies-gone-funny posts. There is an innate air of sadness about old age. We are powerless creatures in a number of ways. It is both, our infancy period and old age ...

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“He has a girlfriend”: When I unknowingly became the ‘other woman’

We met at a friend’s party. I knew everyone there, so I was curious when a new person walked through the door. All of us talked, hung out and drank. He asked for my number so he could ‘make sure I got home safe’. He sent me a text the next day. That’s when we started talking. It was just friendly at first, and then started to get flirty. He was nice, studying medicine in the Caribbean, funny; it was all going well. We hung out a few times and it started to become something more than just friendship. I ...

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Don’t invite child abuse victims if you can’t be sensitive or respectful towards them, HRPC

I was in attendance at the ‘Conference on the Protection of Childhoods’ that was held on March 17, 2019, at Al Hamra Hall, Lahore. The first conference of its kind held in Pakistan, it was organised by Human Rights Protection Centre (HRPC) and Positive Pakistan. On paper, the conference was supposed to provide a platform for change and awareness for the public on child sexual abuse. The panel had acclaimed media personalities, government officials and even a retired justice from Australia, Dr Robyn Layton, who has spent all her life working for child protection and women and children rights. On paper, ...

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#SayNoToWar: Airstrikes, blackouts and bunkers – that was my childhood

Learning new vocabulary and songs on the first day of school is a part of growing up; it’s a part of childhood memories. When I recall my memories, they are a little unusual. They are of war; the war of 1971 when East Pakistan was attacked. The lyrics of some of the ‘askari naghme’ (patriotic songs) sung by Madam Noor Jehan, such as Ay watan ke sajeeley jawanon (O brave men of the country) were the first to be embedded in my mind. Words like anti-aircraft, missile, trenches and blackouts were some of the first ones I learned in the English ...

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6 reasons why you need to distance yourself from that ‘friend’ of yours

When you hear the word abuse, what do you think of? A man physically abusing a woman or a person who isolates and belittles their romantic partner? What needs to be discussed more is how friendships can also become abusive. An ‘abusive friend’ may seem like an oxymoron because we are taught that our friends mean well and do what’s in our best interest. Like abusive romantic relationships, abusive friendships start out looking great on paper. You meet a new friend, who compliments you a lot and is eager to hang out with you. The same person who said that ...

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#TherapistDiaries: Unmasking the paedophile

What would you call an adult who abuses children for sexual and/or romantic gratification? A paedophile. According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), a child is a human being less than 18 years of age. Going by the CRC’s definition, the global authority for all mental health practitioners, the American Psychiatric Association, has set a particular criteria to diagnose someone as a paedophile. Paedophiles can be exclusive or non-exclusive. Exclusive paedophiles are the ones with sole preference for children for romantic and/or sexual relationships, while non-exclusive paedophiles have a preference for adults as well. The perpetrators ...

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As a person who was almost radicalised, I urge Britain to accept Shamima Begum

The events of 9/11 were not restricted towards the US only; they changed the whole world, including the thoughts of my generation. I was merely an 18-year-old who had recently finished college back then and was looking forward to pursuing journalism. This was not the era of electronic media in Pakistan, so the only way we could get updated was by relying on cheap newspapers. With the kind of content I went through during the first couple of years of the Afghan war, anyone my age would have easily fallen prey to the menace of extremism and militancy. And ...

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