Stories about child marriages

I decided to find another wife for my husband

“If I had another wife, she’d have the house clean and a fancy dinner ready every time I came home,” he said, only half-joking and not for the first time. “Maybe I should just marry another woman. A proper Arab wife.” I looked up at him. “Maybe you should.” That night, I sent a message to several women I knew, asking them to find a second wife for my husband. And then I lay in bed and imagined what this woman would be like, the woman who would make my husband happy, who would be everything I was not, who would be ...

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The flaw in Punjab’s child marriage law

Justice Muhammad Imman Ali has served in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh as well as other high ranking positions as a law practitioner. He is famous for his work on child rights; he has drafted the much known comprehensive law Shishu Ain 2013 Children Act in Bangladesh, and has played a vital role in promulgation of the same. In December 2014, he received the International Juvenile Justice without Borders Award for his untiring efforts towards the protection of children’s rights and juvenile justice. A source of inspiration for me, Honourable Justice Imman Ali has articulated very clearly that the two problems – child marriages ...

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‘Sharing’ rape

The plight of women in Pakistan is a grotesque reality; so shameful that even in today’s day and age most aspects of their suppressed lives are considered taboo for public debate. One such area is the crime of rape, and marital rape in particular, where the latter is still not considered an offence or a wrong-doing in this land of the pure. The Sughra Imam Report which was recently presented before the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice revealed that there has been a zero conviction rate for rape in the past five years and the main reason behind this is the ...

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A French, a German, a British and an awesome Pakistani

“Pakistan? Where are your burqas?” “We don’t wear one”, I gestured to my friends and myself. “Yeah, of course – not on holidays. But you know, the ones you’re forced to wear in Pakistan.” Laughing with disbelief, we shook our heads. “No, we don’t. It’s usually a personal choice.” “But…” his voice trailed off. A pause, and then he threw more questions at us. I spent seven weeks this summer interning overseas. There I was asked these questions, surprisingly by an Indian, a fellow ‘desi’ living only a border apart. Here he was, asking eagerly about how it was to live in a rocky, gun-strewn desert. He was pretty ...

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Dukhtar: A mother’s plight against child marriage

Rarely do movies of such calibre come along that transcend generations and provoke our greater thought process, not because of impressive visuals, A-list actors, extravagant set pieces and locales but because of its strong story-driven narrative – narrative that is deeply entrenched into the harsh realities of life, as opposed to a work of fiction.  Dukhtar too has a potential to lay claim to all of that and then some, thanks to its excellent subject matter. Dukhtar means ‘daughter’ in Farsi and Urdu dialects. The movie is predominately a story about the plights, miseries and ultimately the bravery exhibited by the principal protagonist ...

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Cheaper by the dozen and fasting for two this Ramazan

If you remember in the book ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ (the movie was awful), Mr Gilbraith had the entire family’s (he had 12 kids) tonsils removed on the same day because it was ‘cheaper by the dozen’. The temptation to get the most out of one’s money has always been present; you see the yearning everywhere. Recognising this very fact, market gurus have come up with ‘two for one’ deals which everyone loves, for good reason. I do too myself. You can get useful things like two cartons of diapers for the price of one, two boxes of cereal for the price of ...

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Sleeping with the enemy

Today, on June 10, 2014, Pakistan has officially become the biggest joke in the world. This is the second attack to have taken place, one at and one near the largest airports in the country. It came after an emotional morning in which the world was informed that bodies of seven people, remnants of the first attack, who were stuck inside the cold storage area, were retrieved. This, of course, only happened when the media boxed the eardrums of every politician it could reach. Before that… well before that we were asleep. We did wake up though. For a few ...

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A regular reality check-up

I can’t recall when I first heard the expression ‘ignorance is bliss’ but it never really sat well with me… until now when I wish I could seek refuge in it. As part of my job, I monitor and edit stories from Southern Punjab on a daily basis. I feel oddly possessive about the district pages or ‘Page 15’ of our Lahore paper because somehow over the past few months they have provided me with my daily dose of much needed ‘reality’. Despite living in Pakistan where one is seldom at a distance from the ‘reality’ of terrorism, corruption and ...

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