Stories about harassment

Is it a crime in Pakistan for a boy to drop a girl home?

A few days ago, as a friend was dropping me back home after dinner; we were pulled aside by the cops on main Khayaban-e-Shahbaz road in Defence, Karachi. No dark corner or shady alley but while driving smack in the middle of a bustling road. While we pulled over the car, the men in uniform, (who in all likelihood belonged to the Darakshan police station since the area falls under that jurisdiction) asked my friend to get out of the car. As expected, he was asked to produce the required ‘kaaghzaat’ and give details of our whereabouts. Upon inspection and failing ...

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I am a Pakistani woman and there is nothing wrong in letting men help me carry my luggage

Recently, I came across a blog titled I am a woman and I can carry my own luggage. By the looks of it, the writer clearly seemed frustrated by how porters at the airport behaved with her and it is obvious that her opinion hailed from her experience. However, she also accused Pakistani men of treating women badly and felt harassed by the porters. This, I think, was a tad exaggerated. I, personally, do not see what the issue was all about. On the one hand, women talk about having equality and stand in line with men but then, they also wish to be respected ...

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Three transgender people employed, well done Sindh government!

As I scanned through the multitude of headlines splashed across some of Pakistan’s e-papers on January 30, 2014 one headline caught my eye. The Sindh government has employed three transgender persons as full-time employees. The only thing that disappointed me was the fact that this issue was not carried across every e-paper and it was limited to only a handful of news reporting websites in Pakistan. The term ‘transgender’ encompasses a wide array of definitions. To put it in the simplest of terms, it is when the state of one’s gender identity does not match one’s assigned gender. This includes a person whose ...

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“Badshaho, we saw you kissing the girl”: To make a quick buck, the police will accuse you of anything

Going out with friends was a simple routine for me. It never bothered me whether I was going out with guys or girls since I never thought it to be much of an issue. However, in just one encounter, the Pakistani police taught me all the things that can go terribly wrong while going out with male friends. It was just another day when I went out with two of my friends from university. One of them was driving while the other sat in the front passenger seat and I took the backseat. We drove to a café located on ...

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Danish rape in India and advice to women visiting

A Danish tourist was abducted and gang raped at knife point in New Delhi last week. This is yet another one of a series of rapes that has shocked India and has shamed us once again. I have compiled a list of pointers that I think would make travelling safer for women tourists in India. Having travelled extensively throughout the length and breadth of the country, I have a fair bit of experience on dealing with problems that women could face while travelling alone or with fellow women. I’ve even made my share of mistakes that could have landed me in ...

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Education will not end wife beating, Pakistan needs a cultural shift

Domestic violence – a truly horrific term, to which only its victims can truly relate, is another one of the many plagues Pakistan suffers from. Honestly, I had never thought much about it. I knew what it meant and I knew it existed but that was the extent of my thoughts on the matter, probably because I have never experienced or witnessed it and so I could not relate to it. Or probably because, like so many of us, the bubble of my privileged social setup never gave me a window into this terrifying reality that engulfs many women. But the biggest ...

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Karachi Sea View: The sun, the sea and … harassment by the police?

A friend of mine was visiting from Lahore and asked me to show him the beach in Karachi. So, on a nice Sunday afternoon, December 1, 2013, I took him to the Clifton beach. He had never seen the beach before and was quite excited. Two of our other friends also accompanied us. I parked my car in the service lane by the beach and we started walking along the promenade. My friend purchased some souvenirs made from seashells for his family and as we were walking back towards our car, we were greeted by three men wearing white shalwar kameezs’. One of the ...

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Tehelka controversy: Can powerful editors get away with sexual harassment?

For more than a decade now, Tehelka magazine has been respected by the media fraternity for its fearless coverage of illegal defence deals, land rights issues, gender equality and communalism. Then, what happened two weeks ago in an elevator of the Grand Hyatt, Goa that not only shattered the reputation of the magazine, but blacklisted it for a long time to come? Tarun Tejpal, the patron of Tehelka, is said to have sexually assaulted a female colleague during the annual THiNK fest that Tehelka organises every November. He sent an email yesterday afternoon to the Managing Editor of the magazine, Shoma Chaudhury saying that he has ‘recused’ ...

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Why do Pakistani men have a roving eye?

What is up with Pakistani males and their need to objectify every female that crosses their path? I emphasise on the word Pakistani because having lived in the West, I have never come across a culture or society where men have such difficulty lowering their gaze.  It is something that has to stop! Not only does it make a woman feel uncomfortable, if not naked, it is an extremely degenerate and distasteful trait in men. Married men, who indulge in it when their wives are sitting right next to them, are particularly loathsome. It starts the minute I land at Islamabad airport right to when ...

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What the Islamabad police did to me and my friend …

I am not a regular blogger and I don’t usually write. This is the first time that I’m using this platform to get my point across and I hope it works. My message is for a wider audience, for it to be helpful to many citizens, especially naïve teenagers.   Last Friday at around 10pm, I was standing with one of my female friends on Margalla Road in sector F-6. We were munching on crisps while standing and chatting when out of nowhere an Islamabad Police patrol vehicle stopped by. Three police guys, two from the Elite Force in their skin tight black ...

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