Stories about difference

There is no difference between Christmas and Eid

Tis’ the season to be jolly! December always comes with great tidings; winter chills, hot chocolate, numerous holidays and an opportunity to make new resolutions. And along all this, it also brings the joyful day of Christmas. This day is an embodiment of religious beliefs, which celebrates a miraculous event and a time of togetherness. Two billion Christians all over the world celebrate this day with great spirit and felicity. As a child, the idea of Christmas for me was all about decorating Christmas trees, receiving presents and Santa stuffing himself down a chimney. I used to be most excited about meeting Santa ...

Read Full Post

Why is Pakistan a pariah at the Lord’s Cricket Ground?

Being out of place is a funny feeling – it’s nothing unbearable but it always keeps you outside your comfort zone. For an expat Pakistani, life in the UK is fraught with pangs of this feeling. This is usually evident during the festive season of Christmas when you are always in a dilemma as to whether you should celebrate Jesus’s birthday – with all the commercialism thrown in – with your neighbours, friends and colleagues or refrain from it due to differences in Muslim and Christian beliefs about Jesus Christ. Usually, one does well to acquire a middle ground. This year, however, I decided ...

Read Full Post

Can an older woman marry a younger man in Pakistan?

“I got a very nice proposal,” said a friend who was at a stage in life where she wanted to settle down in marriage. “But there is an issue. I am 31. And he is 26. I am five years older. I really like him but my mom says that in another five years mein uski maa lagoon gi (I will look like his mother). I will have to say no,” she said with resigned acceptance. But fate had other plans. The “boy” liked the “woman” very seriously it seemed. He pursued her. Her heart relented. They got married and are now in the seventh ...

Read Full Post

What is the difference between dictatorship and democracy in Pakistan?

Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer is often referred to as the butcher of Amritsar who opened indiscriminate firing on the crowd at Jallianwala Bagh in 1919, killing hundreds of peaceful protestors. Nearly a century later, when we have evolved into an independent country governed by Muslim leaders, his ghost lives on. In the recent barbaric incident of State brutality, the Punjab police opened fire on the workers of Dr Tahirul Qadri resulting in the death of eleven innocent civilians and over eighty others injured. The dead included two women as well, one of them pregnant. TV footages revealed how the government machinery ...

Read Full Post

What it means to be a ‘Pakistani’

A few days ago a good friend of mine, living abroad, asked me a question: “What do you think ‘Pakistani’ means?” The question threw me aback, partly because it was unexpected and partly because I couldn’t think of an immediate answer. A myriad of images flew around in my head in an instant; from the hustle and bustle of Karachi’s Empress Market, to the textures of the Anarkali bazaar in Lahore. But my friend’s question went deeper than just images and feelings. I found myself trying to truly explore what the concept of being ‘Pakistani’ entails. EMPRESS MARKET. PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA Looking at it purely ...

Read Full Post

The ‘place’ for women is not just ‘the kitchen’

The term ‘male-dominated society’ does not mean (against common misconception) the subjugation of women to physical violence or having biases towards them. However, to say that it is nothing will also be a gross understatement. The term basically means an opportunity to attest and exhibit supremacy, in any form. Even a demeaning nod at the idea of an achievement by the opposite gender is as derogatory as the worst form of it may be. One doesn’t have to advocate ‘feminism’ or ‘masculinity’ to believe in gender equality – this only gives birth to more sexism. Sexism, like racism, should not be ...

Read Full Post

#WearThatYouCare: Put on those blue denims and support Rare Disease Day today!

My mother passed away exactly seven years ago. She had Huntington’s chorea which she fought for 15 years and it eventually took over her ability to talk, walk, speak and breathe. Huntington’s disease is a neurodegenerative genetic disorder that affects muscle coordination and leads to cognitive decline. The disorder affects the brain and eventually damages mental and motor function and control. The word ‘chorea’ is a Greek word meaning dance since quick movements of the feet or hands are comparable to dancing. Disorders such as these are genetic which means that the patient’s offsprings have a 50% chance of inheriting them. For children of ...

Read Full Post

The coal and energy crisis

A million dollar question today: why are Pakistanis facing prolonged load-shedding when there is no difference between the demand and supply at 22,797 MW, according to the Pakistan Energy Year Book, 2012? The share of oil and gas in power generation is 64.2 per cent while hydel is at 29.9 per cent and 35.2 per cent of the total electricity is generated from imported furnace and diesel oil. Natural gas contributes 29 per cent to power generation and Pakistan is currently producing 4.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of gas while the demand is six bcfd. This non-renewable source of ...

Read Full Post

All hope died with Shahbaz Bhatti

As I write this, the body of Shahbaz Bhatti is being flown to Faisalabad for burial. He has been dead for three days. As expected, Rehman Malik has claimed that the assassination was Bhatti’s own fault and not the interior ministry’s. The government has called it an act of terrorism, condemned it and is observing three days of mourning. The maulanas of two mainstream religious parties have issued lukewarm condemnations on TV but have refrained from actually meeting the minister’s family. But none of the leaders have so far said a word about the blasphemy law that has been used as an excuse ...

Read Full Post

Leaving home: Clouded judgement, or a blessing in disguise?

A friend wrote a blog recently about his accidental encounter with journalism where he mentioned he had moved out of his house because he had developed some differences with his mother. The only thing most readers took away from that entire piece was what could have possibly gone so wrong that the ‘poor guy had to turn away from his family’. Drama – it’s what we crave. Without it, life just seems so bland. Several comments on his post said the same thing, “Try making up with your family,” and so on. No one focused on the fact that the move had ...

Read Full Post