105 years later, Allama Iqbal’s Shikwa and Jawabe Shikwa are still raising significant existential questions

Kyun ziaan kaar banun, sood framosh rahoon Fikr-e-farda na karun, mahw-e-ghum-e-dosh rahoon Naale bulbul ke sunoon, aur hama tan gosh rahoon Hamnawa, main bhi koi gul hoon ke khamosh rahoon Jurrat aamoz miri taab-e-sakhun hai Mujh ko shikwa Allah se khakam badahan hai mujh ko (Why should I play the part of the loser and refrain from seeking what I can gain? Why shouldn’t I think of the future, instead of mourning the losses of the past? Why should I listen to the woes of the nightingale? My friend, I am not a flower who will remain silent It is truly my poetic ability that gives me the courage ...

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Procreation as a form of oppression: Why I don’t want to have any children

I have always been repelled by the idea of having kids of my own. It has always felt like too much responsibility for a non-committal person like myself. However, many of my friends seem puzzled by this decision of mine. “But you treat children as a therapist, and you’re quite good with them! What’s the problem then?” they ask. But does someone have to hate children in order to not want to give birth to them? You can be exceptionally good with kids and still not want any of your own. However, it’s always hard not to notice the look ...

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The Naya Nothing: Imran Khan talks of women empowerment while Faisal Vawda tells women to go back to the kitchen

Politics in Pakistan has oft been marred by misogynist comments, passed on by smirking alpha-males. Over the years, lawmakers were found indulging in questionable conversations that included queer, sexist subjects such as the femininity of a woman, to the character assassination of female political workers and the riot of superiority. There certainly has been no stone left unturned. This vile talk was perpetrated by political bigwigs including the infamous Nawaz Sharif, Khawaja Asif and Rana Sanaullah amongst others. There is silver lining for IK, Tractor trolly & newly acquired dumper can b used for hauling political garbage..no additional effort/expense — Khawaja ...

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They said I was a paedophile, a prostitute, sick in the head, all because I loved a younger man

I was in the 10th grade when a friend of mine told us that she was in love with this guy who was a trainee pilot and was six years older than her. Quite frankly, it did not strike me as anything unusual since my own parents have an age gap of around eight years between them. And if anything, such age differences are deemed desirable by our society at large. I was also fully aware that my friend was mature and knew what she was doing. At no point in that conversation were the intentions of the guy doubted. ...

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To squat or not to squat?

I was one-year-old when my family moved from Pakistan to Botswana. Located in Southern Africa, Botswana is about the size of France, with an astonishingly low population of two-and-a-half-million people. We spent most of our time abroad but would often visit home, and at least once a year we visited Karachi, where I was born. Although it had been a few years since my last visit to Karachi, this is a city that always pulls on my heartstrings, and after spending only a week in the city of dreams, I found myself used to the cultural oddities, such as ...

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I lived with anorexia for 15 years, and no one could help me

I developed anorexia when I was 19. I was going through heartbreak and an existential crisis. I wanted to discover God and also rebel against my liberal background. I wanted to find a purpose for my meaningless existence, and a career on which I could stand on my own two feet. But my parents didn’t understand any of this. My father was too busy with work and I never really spoke to him; my mother was also too busy with her own life and could never understand me, while my brother was studying abroad and had his own life. While ...

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It all started with a so-called wrong number

I come from an open-minded household; however, my beliefs about relationships and marriage are very traditional. I disapproved of love before wedlock and looked down upon affairs and relationships. I got married young to a man much older; he became my friend, lover and confidant. Even after having children, we are inseparable. It was only when I found out about my husband’s affair that I broke down and my whole life seemed like a lie to me. I still chose to forgive and forget considering my values did not allow for a divorce and I chose to stay with him. ...

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Remembering Sir Syed Ahmad Khan on his 201st birth anniversary: “I did not understand the value of time”

In the aftermath of the War of Independence of 1857, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan (1817-1898) emerged as a key leader of the Indian Muslim community, being a thoroughly modern Muslim in a thoroughly pre-modern age. He is credited for originating the Two Nation Theory, founding the Aligarh Movement and being a founding father of Pakistan. Less celebrated are his achievements in providing a modern, scientific and rational interpretation of Islam and the Holy Quran, as well as his debates on culture that – in the face of stern opposition from fundamentalists and detractors – sowed the seeds of enlightenment ...

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#MeToo: I was 8 when he taught me that a woman’s body is everyone else’s but her own

“Dekh ke aahangar ki dukaan mein Tund hai shu’le, surkh hai aahan.” (See how in the blacksmith’s forge, Flames leap high and steel glows red) I was 15-years-old when I wrote a letter to my father. I was struggling at school, getting into trouble in the neighbourhood and fighting with my siblings at home. You know the usual teenage angst. I wrote, “Dad, I know what S* uncle did. I remember everything. I need help.” The week after, my father insisted that I attend a family friend’s wedding with him. At the wedding, he asked me to step outside the hall for five minutes. ...

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Why I wanted to abort my baby

The facade of life; how extraordinarily amazing yet deceiving. A dear friend, living an apparently ideal life shares her story: I had a love marriage, and since this is looked down upon in general, we faced a lot of opposition from both our families and friends. This eventually led to a lot of resentment, and my once beloved husband forgot that he fought so hard to have me in his life and let everyone mistreat me, so much so that I myself was not sure if love really existed between us anymore. Three years and two kids later, a girl and ...

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