Stories about domestic abuse

The wider implications of #MeToo and #TimesUp in Pakistan

“Cancelled” – that’s the impromptu public response whenever a known personality is accused of harassment. When Ukhano (Umar Khan) was exposed for alleged harassment recently by multiple women, he was instantly ‘cancelled’ by a significant percentage of people on social media, that is until Polish vlogger Eva Zu Beck shared her experience of working with him. Just because he hasn’t harassed you, doesn’t mean he’s not a harasser In an Instagram story, Beck shared how she went trekking with Khan for two months, during which he never made her feel uncomfortable or threatened at any point. It made sense for her to come out in support of her ...

Read Full Post

Four reasons to watch Kaisa Hai Naseeban

Recently concluded drama serial Kaisa Hai Naseeban is currently basking in the success of being Pakistan’s most watched drama ever. Brilliantly scripted by Samina Aijaz and well directed by Ahmed Bhatti, the heart-wrenching drama revolves around the tragic story of a girl who finds herself trapped in an abusive marriage. Through a thought-provoking narrative and well-developed characters, the show highlights the importance of tackling physical abuse and other domestic wrongdoings. The story centres on the character of Maryam (Ramsha Khan) whose father, Jamal (Waseem Abbas), is eager to get her married, hoping that it will provide her with a comfortable and secure future. ...

Read Full Post

Like father, like son: The abusive and helpless sons of battered mothers

She was in her 90s and her sons had brought her in to get treatment for her depression. As her life unfolded with each therapy session, I got accustomed to her life of long-term abuse at the hands of her husband and in-laws. This was all she could talk about. As we further progressed in therapy, she narrated how her sons were terrified of watching her suffer abuse at the hands of their father. One of her sons was scarred for life with severe anger management issues, while the other had a deep sense of inferiority complex despite accomplishing so much ...

Read Full Post

The scars of her henna

Zarah Hussain, a 17-year-old girl from Lahore Grammar School International, won an essay competition organised by the British Royal Commonwealth Society. This is a proud moment for Pakistan and highlights how much talent we have in this country. We hope she continues her love for words and wish her all the best for the future. The following is the short story that won her the accolade: Red. Gold. Adorned in jewels, henna lacing her fingers with intricate, never ending flowers. And hidden in the henna somewhere would be written the name of her most beloved. A dream she’d dreamt since she’d seen the ring ...

Read Full Post

Cut, cut, cut – sweet relief

The sun was ablaze in an empty blue sky. The city glazed in the dazzling sunshine was bright and yellow and alive. Amal lay supine under the sun, her skin covered in a shimmer of sweat. Today, after work, she didn’t go home. Instead, she came to a park near her workplace. Children and the elderly loitered in the park. Pedestrians skittered and scuttled on the sidewalks. The roads around bustled with cars. All people moved to the ends of their journeys, while Amal was sprawled unmoving on the ground. Air hung lazily in the solid afternoon heat. Amal revelled in ...

Read Full Post

I almost married a man who was absolutely the wrong person for me, all because “log kya kahengay”

About five years ago, when I was contemplating calling off my wedding a mere three months before the ceremony, one of my biggest concerns was what my parents would endure as a result of my decision. To be clear, I wasn’t worried about what my parents would say, as they’ve always encouraged and supported me. No, I was worried about what people would say to them. If you’ve watched Hasan Minhaj’s Netflix special, Homecoming King, then you’ll know the significance of the phrase “log kya kahengay” (what will people say?). These words have struck fear into many a brown kid’s heart, and indeed are what was on my mind during that ...

Read Full Post

The hits and misses from the Pakistani drama industry in 2017

When it comes to Pakistani dramas in 2017, there has been a diverse range to choose from. There are dramas that fray towards the whimsical side, as well as those that have empowering messages about relevant social issues. A conversation about Pakistani dramas, however, is incomplete without criticism on the portrayal of the roti dhoti aurtein (miserable women) of our society. Listed below are the top and flop dramas of 2017 so far: Baaghi The drama is consistently scoring high Television Rating Points (TRP) and gaining a strong word of mouth due to its incredible script. Saba Qamar’s portrayal of Fouzia Batool aka Qandeel Baloch is one ...

Read Full Post

When did I become your favourite punching bag?

Have you ever hoped for silence? Have you waited for minutes, hours and even days for the absence of words, conversation and noise? I find myself here more often than I should. Sitting at my bedside questioning my life and sanity, wondering what path I took that brought me here. A path I question but very well know; the curves and bumps on each and every step. This isn’t a new occurrence, it happens often and every time I tell myself I will soon escape this moment of craving pure silence. I feel like a caged bird, clipped off of her wings and fragile ...

Read Full Post

Big Little Lies delves deeper than rich people and their rich people problems

On the surface and from its trailer, Big Little Lies seems like a trashy (albeit high quality) show about rich people and their rich people problems, with a little murder thrown in. The HBO show is based on Liane Moriarty’s novel  of the same name and is brimming with stars. It’s safe to say that recently, just about everyone has been talking about this show. There are schoolyard squabbles among parents, marriages crumbling from the inside, and glass houses with breathtaking views of the beach. But what the show actually brings is empathy to all its characters, even the ones that start off as clichés. Right ...

Read Full Post

Are acid attacks becoming a commonality in the UK because they are treated as a minor offence?

Picture the following domestic scene: A woman hovering over a tawwa (stove), folding dough balls whilst the gas flame flickers gently under the cast iron. Behind her, a shadowy figure, wanting no blame and careful to hide their presence, opens up the cylindrical lever on the gas supply. Barely an instant passes before the light hits her eyes; eyes which will never be able to see themselves in a reflection in quite the same way. This was the old way, my mother tells me. This punishment for women, for what was perceived to be a social crime (normally domestic), would result in a woman becoming ...

Read Full Post