Stories about honour

Dear Ayesha Gulalai, instead of honouring our roots and culture, you have disgraced every single Pakhtun woman of Pakistan

Dear Ayesha Gulalai, I am neither a political worker nor do I support any political party. What’s even more interesting is that I am not a fan of Imran Khan either. I am a young Pakhtun woman who has been following the Pakhtun tradition and culture since I was a little girl. My parents have always guided me to stand up for my rights and speak up against any kind of harassment in the male-dominated society we live in. Brought up in a conservative traditional family, I have always been reminded to uphold the respect of my family and most importantly, ...

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Tooti, saari ki saari mein

“She sat there, a queen on her heavenly throne, radiating beauty that I had never witnessed before. She seemed flawless, perfect, an embodiment of purity yet powerful enough to evoke awe and wonder. Her hair is a rich shade of black, short but swaying because of the light breeze coming through a slightly ajar window. Those luscious locks complimented her beaming skin. Her straight-edged nose made her look regal, as if any moment she’d place a tiara on her head and walk around with authority. She commands respect; there is an aura of sensuality about her. I can smell her; I can feel her and ...

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Sang e Mar Mar: The sorry tale of honour in Pakistan

Pakistani dramas have always attracted massive audiences. Their quality and subject matter has always been above par – especially if we consider the dramas that have been produced by our Indian counterparts and compare them with the likes of our classics such as Ankahi, Dhoop Kinaray, Aanch, Tanhaaiyan, Dhuwaan, Alpha Bravo Charlie, Uroosa, Parosi and many more. Since our entertainment industries have always been in some sort of a competition, it is safe to say that India wins with Bollywood and Pakistan wins with its dramas. Armed with strong scripts, excellent performances, crisp production value and acute directorial skills – ...

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Guys, we can no longer have an opinion on chicken handi

Liberals in Pakistan watched with envy as Hamza Ali Abbasi pretended his account got banned every time he wanted attention to further his political career. It is undeniable that Mark Zuckerberg personally stalks Hamza Ali Abbasi on Facebook. A fact further corroborated by life sized posters of Hamza Ali Abbasi at the Facebook headquarters. It is rumoured that Mr Zuckerberg created Facebook only to obtain semi-nude pictures of Hamza Ali Abbasi from his Moulin Rouge days.   The time for conservative propaganda is over kyunkay naya zamana aya aur saath cybercrime bill laya (a new era has arrived, and it has brought the cybercrime bill with it). The government ...

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A special place in hell is not enough for women like these

Two or three days ago, a young woman was accosted by an older woman for ‘not wearing appropriate attire’. You can see what the poor young woman was wearing here. Not that that’s important. But, anyway.  This older woman harassed this young lady (who wanted her identity to be protected, so we’ll call her MJ) and continued to touch her despite her requests. She later threatened MJ, stating that she ‘knew her license plate’ and MJ threatened to lodge an FIR against her and eventually the woman’s husband, a seemingly more neutral fellow, managed to get his wife to apologise ...

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Aashi: The struggle of a transgender in a man’s world

Honour is taken as the sole prerogative of men in Pakistan; but a transgender managed to set a higher example of self-respect and honour in our narrow minded society. Aashi, a 45-year-old transgender from Lahore is struggling against all odds in order to support her family by herself. Her family consists of an elderly mother and a bedridden brother. Aashi makes a living by working as a tailor but things were not always like this. Aashi, a 45-year-old transgender from Lahore is struggling against all odds in order to support his family by himself. When she was born, her family accepted her ...

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Maria Toorpakai’s life sings like a Khaled Hosseini novel

Cut off my locks….my pretty black locks…. Throw away my frocks….my pretty bright frocks…. I will ditch my bangles and my dainty shoes…. I will run as a boy and let myself loose…. They will spare my life if I turn into a boy… And if I remain a girl, they will kill my joy… Birds of a feather flock together. But if you aim to fly high, you have to leave the flock first. Such a bird is Maria Toorpakai. Her life is nothing short of a Khaled Hosseini’s novel; the war struck her home town, the high profile political family and the strangest dream ...

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In Pakistan, we have 13-year-old rape victims

The terrible news of a 13-year-old girl, raped and impregnated by her teacher in Larkana, Sindh, breaks the heart over and over again. The only good thing about this is that the teacher has been arrested, and has confessed to the crime (now that the child is four months pregnant). A powerful essay talks about how nobody in the government has taken notice of this case. Worse, the community blames the victim’s family for not protecting her “honour”. Supposedly they should have protected her “honour” by either never letting her go to school in the first place, or by killing her as soon as they ...

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Why was Nirbhaya’s most vicious and barbaric rapist set free?

The gang rape on that fateful night of December 16, 2012 sent shock waves across India and the world. It was not just the brutality or brazenness of the assault that was terrifying, but it was also the fact that it happened in the heart of the country’s capital, right in the midst of its usual hustle and bustle. It wasn’t perceived as a stray incident of rape in an isolated outpost, it was an assault on the people’s sense of security. Middle class India identified with Nirbhaya, and a society that is normally divided over most issues suddenly coalesced in ...

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From Mathira to Sunny Leone: Stop blaming women for rape

Why does rape take place in the first place? Rape incidents from different parts of India make headlines that spread with alarming frequency throughout the nation. There are many who believe that this matter is a social malaise. Most of these ‘thinkers’ are from the field of politics. What happens when a quack becomes a medical practitioner? He exposes himself to public ridicule. The reasons behind rape are reconstructed by the politicians. They blame everything but fail to dig deep into the dichotomous social structure and the patriarchal mind-set of the society. A senior communist leader, Atul Anjan, stated, “If the condom ads like this are shown ...

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