Stories about conservative

Why have the Pakistani liberals forsaken Gaza?

Now’s the moment for a liberal to decide if he truly stands for the principles of liberalism, wherever applicable, or if he’s simply saying the opposite of what his conservative uncle shouts at the dinner table. Operation Protective Edge, involving a military superpower descending upon a small strip of land that Palestinians have magnanimously been allowed to squash together into, has gathered supporters from the unlikeliest quarters. There has been an intense debate over the asymmetrical nature of the ‘conflict’, parodied to perfection by the consistently liberal political comedian, Jon Stewart. Others, like Bill Maher and Joan Rivers, jumped ship. They gladly adopted the ...

Read Full Post

Where did Jinnah’s Pakistan go?

On August 11, 1947, certain words echoed in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan with much emphasis. “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”  These words were proudly stated by none other than the founding father of our nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. After 66 years of struggle, sacrifices and long-fought battles to procure democracy in Jinnah’s Pakistan, ...

Read Full Post

Where did Shab-e-Barat go?

Shab-e-Barat used to be my favourite festival. Yes, ‘festival’ and like all festivals, Shab-e-Barat was entertaining, fun and spiritual. And for a crazy kid growing up in Lahore during the 80s and 90s, it was probably a little adventurous and unsafe too. The local marketplace would host tens of stalls selling all kinds of fireworks known to man. All the kids in the neighbourhood would save their pocket money for months to be able to buy their fill of patakhay. The most popular fireworks included the Anaar (a fountain of fireworks), the Hawaiyaan (rockets) and the Bum (bombs, but not the kind that would explode and destroy half a city ...

Read Full Post

I am a Pakistani woman and I ain’t no damsel in distress

Our Pakistani dramas have a good fan following in Pakistan as well as abroad. Many of my friends, visiting from different countries, make sure to add DVDs of Pakistani dramas to their shopping list, every time they visit Pakistan. Our dramas have a sensibility that the ‘saas bahu’ (mother-in-law and daughter-in-law) feud-based Indian dramas lack. I personally believe that Indian dramas have no thought or concept behind them. However, the way Pakistani women are portrayed in our dramas is also objectionable. Let me describe the types of women you come across in our dramas. 1. The middle-class girl, who has a love interest within the ...

Read Full Post

Is it too risky to become a Pakistani rock star instead of a banker?

My accounting teacher back in O-level (Grade 11) gave us an example of how conservative and hypocritical our Pakistani society can be. She said there are certain tribal areas in Pakistan that are against the education of women and would oppose it on every front. But when one of the girls from their area would end up becoming a successful doctor they would proudly exclaim, “Ye dekho, humara larki doctor ban gaya hai!” (Look at that, our daughter has become a doctor!) I have realised this attitude is not just restricted to the tribal areas. Pakistanis do not recognise or appreciate good things while they are ...

Read Full Post

My university, NUST, grooms to minimise differences

The dress code at NUST (National University of Science & Technology) has cooked up quite a storm and as a student at the prestigious institution, this is what I have to say: “It was an overreaction.” The match that struck the flame was an image of a student fine notice stuck to a bulletin board at the university. This image, detailing what the students were being fined for, went viral. I admit that the grammar used in the notice was less than satisfactory including the terms ‘wearing tight’, ‘no dopata’ and so forth; but this error has been unfairly used to ...

Read Full Post

Great grades mean nothing if you don’t have a chaperone – or a Y chromosome

Meet Maheen*: a hardworking final year A’ Level student. By hardworking, I mean that when Maheen received a B in Chemistry, having lost out by a mark, she stayed back in the library for hours on end every day for three weeks, to finally get an A in the finals. It’s that kind of hard work that translated into 14 As in her O’ Levels, seven of which were A*. Naturally, she had straight As in her AS Levels. She is the kind of girl that you assume will apply to the best colleges. But Maheen is not calling the ...

Read Full Post

Bol: Speaking silence

Shoaib Mansoor’s Bol is brutally honest. Based on the stories of Hakeem Sahib’s Sunni-Syed household of seven daughters, the movie adeptly focuses on gender issues at large, dwelling on tensions between fossilised cultural practices and new ones, speaking well to tensions underlying many South Asian households. With reports on the status of women’s rights in Pakistan doing rounds, Mansoor’s social commentary is timely for villages, towns and cities across the country. Before the screening for human rights activists and politicians at a small non-commercial setting in Islamabad on June 11, Mansoor told his female audience that this was every Pakistani woman’s ...

Read Full Post

Iqbal: Beyond poetic catchphrases

Yesterday was the death anniversary of one of Pakistan’s prominent national heroes, philosopher and poet Allama Muhammad Iqbal. Dr Riffat Hassan wrote a wonderful piece on how Iqbal’s ideology and message has been excluded from national discourse. I would like to echo that sentiment; today’s generation feels no connection to Iqbal’s ideas. Every once in a while, I see a couple of his lines on someone’s Facebook status but that’s about it. Pakistanis know nothing of the man beyond a few catchphrases. His ideas are important to understand, question and reflect on, because we have all grown up in an environment ...

Read Full Post

Modern conservatives: Proud Muslims wear their faith

The Islamic dress code, the head-scarf for women and the facial hair for men no longer signify rigidity or old school thinking. They never did. Take a walk in the park and you will sense an independence of spirit. Many of those whom I observed were free of worrying about what others would think. They are attuned to a Higher Being that helps them be independent in their choices, creative and constructive in their professions and full of joy and nurturance in their relationships. In the park In the children’s play area in the F-9 Park, one often sees women working out on ...

Read Full Post