Stories about feudalism

Amidst feudalism, Umme Rabab marches bare foot to fight for justice

Umme Rabab, a 20-year-old advocate from Sindh, went viral on social media recently after a video of her walking barefoot to and from court was shared widely. The young woman’s family – grandfather, father and uncle – were murdered by powerful tribal chieftains belonging to the Chandio tribe of Sindh; influential men who are serving as MPAs in the Sindh Assembly. Despite being advised to not pursue this case against ‘influential men’, Umme Rabab has taken it upon herself to fight for what is not only her right – justice for her family – but what is right in the ...

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The ECL fright: ‘Freedom of movement’ or a history of politicians ‘getting sick’ abroad?

They say an artist uses lies to tell the truth. Pakistani politicians, or may be politicians in general, use the truth to tell a lie. Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan recently tweeted, questioning politicians on why they find being on the Exit Control List (ECL) so upsetting. He was responding to the critique over placing Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) politicians’ names on the ECL. Why are some of our lawmakers so scared of the ECL? Why are they so keen to go abroad? There is so much work to be done by politicians in & for Pak – the land ...

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The rise of ‘aam shehri’

With the General Elections only a couple of days away, politics is in its prime – rallies are being held, politicians are still being convicted and disqualified, and the ludicrous valuation of assets are making waves on national television and drawing rooms alike. Unlike 2013 though, excitement beckons with the launch of mainstream candidacies by fresh challengers, who are mounting pressure against the status quo. Jibran Nasir, a popular social activist, is taking on age-old tested candidates, prospectively Pak Sarzameen Party’s (PSP) Fauzia Kasuri and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Dr Arif Alvi in NA-247, Karachi. Photo: Facebook/ Jibran ...

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Dictators like Rodrigo Duterte need to be careful when they “joke” about using rape as a weapon

The world works in strange ways and the more things change, the more they stay the same. After decades, nay centuries of conflict, it seems the world had finally turned the corner in the 90s. Yes, there was a lot still to be done, but we seemed to be moving in the right direction. The cold war had ended, the European Union (EU) took concrete shape, and globalisation was taking root all over. Free trade and the communication revolution were turning the world into a global village. Perhaps for the first time in human history, democracy and human rights were regarded as supreme and inviolable in ...

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In Pakistan self-preservation takes precedence over loyalty to the nation

Many today will be looking back at the two fateful days in our history that share a common date – March 23rd. The first of these was in 1940 on which the Lahore Resolution was adopted, calling for the formation of a separate state for Muslims in the Subcontinent. The second was in 1956 when the Dominion of Pakistan became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan with the passage of our first Constitution. The past is all well and good. And much will be made of it today. But the questions that we really need to be asking, as the years ...

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We’re celebrating Pakistan’s Independence Day, but are we really independent?

On August 11, 1947, a newly-formed Pakistan held its first parliamentary session. The purpose was to draft a constitution. During this session, Pakistan’s founding father Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah famously reaffirmed the pluralistic values the new nation had been founding declaring: “You are free, you are free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or any other place of worship in the state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” This year will mark the nation’s 69th year ...

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Mian Iftikharuddin: The stranger in the house

On March 29, 1953, Mian Iftikharuddin said that it was regretful that the Army had stepped in to control the anti-Ahmadi riots, that the government had “shown a way to coup d’ etat” and hoped that “the Army will (sic) be relieved of its extramarital functions” A statement made by a person with clear vision of a democratic future for his country, which appeared on the map of this world with name of Pakistan. One man who stood out more than the others in his quest to transform the newly formed state into a modern, democratic and secular society was Mian Iftikharuddin. He was ...

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Why are we banning Maalik when it’s a fictitious portrayal?

A lot has been said and discussed about the newly released Lollywood film Maalik. For me, there were two things about the film that made me want to watch it. Firstly, the fact that it was directed and written by Ashir Azeem, popular for his super-hit drama serial Dhuwan. Secondly, the tagline of the film ‘Main Pakistan ka shehri, Pakistan ka Maalik hun’ (I am the citizen of Pakistan and the owner of Pakistan) which made me realise that this film was definitely going to have more substance to it rather than a typical masala movie. I decided to watch it at a local cinema. After a few days, the ...

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Be your own Maalik, be Pakistan’s Maalik

Ashir Azeem, who has many accolades to his name, be it director, actor or writer, was given the label of a patriotic entertainer after his popular drama serial, Dhuwan. His directorial debut movie, Maalik, has been amongst the most anticipated movies in Pakistani cinema due to the popularity of his previous drama. Maalik is a tale that every citizen can identify with in one way or another. It has various stories within the entire plot. The main story line revolves around an SSG officer, Major Amjad (Ashir Azeem) who starts a private security company after having faced a major tragedy in his life. What may have seemed ...

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12-year-old, for sale

I woke up in the middle of the night feeling a little wet between my thighs. Frightened about what it was that was happening to me, I sensed an uncertain feeling of guilt and shame creep up my spine. I live in a small room with eight other family members, so the first thought, after the panic, that came to my mind was, what if one of them saw me with these marks on my clothes? I picked up a lantern and rushed out of our bricked, one-room house, into the cold night. A strange sensation in my stomach wouldn’t ...

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