Stories about civil society

Gilgit-Baltistan elections: The nth nail in the coffin of women equality

Religion has deepened its roots into Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) once again, where the Legislative elections are set to be held in June, 2015. The first symptom of this religiosity is the allegations against various party leaders for using mosques and imambargahs as launching platforms for their political activities. The second symptom is the current unanimous decision of a so-called jirga (local council) which bars women to vote, as it would put the religious, cultural and social honour of the region at stake – according to a report by BBC Urdu. The jirga was held in Diamir, one of the seven districts of G-B. Whereas ...

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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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Lahore blast: When will the barbarity end?

February 17, 2015. Two months and one day after the unimaginable tragedy of the Peshawar Attack, Lahore has been targeted today. Today, at 1pm, a suicide bomber blew himself up right outside the Police Lines in Lahore. So far, as reports have suggested, there have been about eight causalities but the number is expected to rise. Emergency has been declared in hospitals and other prominent buildings. The city has been struck by terror by once again. Only yesterday, I came across the video of the attack in the mosque in Hayatabad, Peshawar. The video sent shivers up my spine. Every gunshot ...

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India is ready to talk about religion. Is Pakistan?

The new Rajkumar Hirani-directed Bollywood movie PK starring Aamir Khan and Anushka Sharma has divided opinions in India. ‘#BanPK’ trended on Twitter, there were protests all over India and religious groups burnt posters of the movie at processions but the movie is in course to be the highest grossing Indian film of all time. India’s silent majority is letting its position on the issue known by supporting the movie. There are no mass protests in support of the movie but the positive reviews online and thousands of people taking to social media to praise it shows India is ready to have the ...

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Ineffective management floods Pakistan… again

The recent floods that have wreaked havoc in various parts of the country should come as no surprise due to the increasing frequency of unpredictable weather patterns and Pakistan’s inability to deal with them. We remain fixated on issues of national security and domestic politics, and climate change and the resulting water crisis remain Pakistan’s most threatening issue. The floods of previous years and the drought in Thar (a few months ago) testify to the growing unpredictability of the weather and ineffective management of the government. Despite efforts to develop the service sector, we remain predominantly an agrarian economy; therefore, the effect of climate change ...

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“I was raped hundreds of times, by the man I was married to”

That phase of her life ended three years ago with her divorce, but 35-year-old Naila* will never be healed of what she went through during the nine years of her marriage. This is a true story; the true story of a woman who suffered a plight faced by so many women. Sadly, the crime committed against them is not even considered a crime. “Every time my husband approached me, it was sheer torture. Sometimes physical, and forever mental and emotional torture. He was physically brutal and wanted me to indulge in behaviour I was not okay with. He never cared about ...

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Pakistan’s Hidden Shame: Exposing child sexual abuse and Pakistan’s ‘see no evil’ attitude

Pakistan’s Hidden Shame, a documentary exploring the widespread sexual abuse of children in the streets of Peshawar, is something one wishes every Pakistani would take time to watch, while imploring his or her own eyes to un-see it. The practice of ‘bachabazi’ (child prostitution), as it’s known around the country, is something most of us are aware of. It is an ignominious fact of life in Pakistan that has blended seamlessly among all the other facts we don’t like to talk about. The statistics are hair-raising. Of the estimated one and a half million street children in Pakistan, 90% have suffered sexual abuse. And for every 10 ...

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Political aims of the public: Know your civic responsibilities first

For most of us, politics is a dirty game of false promises on the part of the leadership. It is used to routinely obscure laws that protect the corrupt and shows the extreme ignorance of politicians. We have certain parameters set in our minds – so and so will be voted for, so and so will be ousted but the same faces will return again. Henceforth, and sadly enough, ‘us’ as a nation and ‘we’ the public, limit our ‘political’ responsibility to casting a vote and critically examining events for the next five (or ten) years, depending on who ascends the ...

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