Stories about honour

The importance we (don’t) give our country

When one thinks about Pakistan, what is it that comes to mind? For some, it’s a land with troubled tribal areas or a cradle for terrorism. For many, it’s a haven for corrupt politicians, backed by a corrupt legislation and a flawed constitution. And for others, it’s just a mistake that Mr Jinnah made 67 years ago. If you ask a young, college-going boy about what Pakistan is to him, he will probably say that it’s, “A country in which I was born, raised and taught the tricks of getting my way in the world either by hook or by crook. A ...

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The hunt for honour

The sun was up and the air was taking a morning nap. The streets ran the regular barking commotion, And cockcrow shrieks were deafening the pedestrians walking by. The birds crowded the sky as if signalling a warning coming by. The surrounding racket favoured their hunt so much, That some even supposed the gods were on their side that day.   Soon, they spotted their prey, Unescorted, alone, trying her best not to be noticed and mind her way. If only I had an invisibility veil, she thought to herself. Praying under her breath on every step to reach home in one piece.   But they were too many, armed with anything strong and blunt They ...

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I want my daughter back

August 20, 2001 – Islamabad airport: I said ‘Khuda Hafiz’ to my 17-year-old daughter, my only child; she was on her way to college in the US. She had the honour of being accepted at Yale University on a full scholarship and like always she had done us proud once again. Tearfully, I hugged her and whispered in her ear, “Don’t come back.” Quick on the uptake, she smiled that sweet endearing smile of hers and shot back, “Abba, you have brought me up with the lesson to have a mind of my own.” She defied me continuously for four years; came back twice a year during ...

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Accuse and abuse

Expect, An elaborate depiction, Of maternal incest, For a giddy evening, Should not be blandly left. Paint the picture, And then, pervert it well. Really, what good is an abuse If not aimed below her belt? Accept, The just Jirga has finally said, For an honour to be reclaimed, Residential access of it, Must be gained. Hold her down, as you spread her around, Snatch it from, where it used to belong. Really, what good is an accusation, Without some perks, Deflowering virgins, For the privileged ones? The post first ...

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A dialogue with my murderer

I am Bano. My mother used to call me Pari (Fairy). I was the only baby girl of my parents. I was killed by my uncle. My father was supposed to kill me but he didn’t have the courage so he asked my uncle for the favour. I was killed in the honour of my family’s good name which I destroyed. I was killed on Eid day. My grave is in my village and I was buried in my Eid dress. My father visits my grave in the dark so that no one sees him. My mother never visits my grave, she can’t make it. My ...

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Why is the value of the Rupee depreciating, your honour?

“Could you please explain to the committee the factors that have resulted in the sharp depreciation of the Pak Rupee recently? In addition, please enlighten the honourable members of parliament about the possible measures the government is likely to take in order to avoid this in the foreseeable future,” inquired the Chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance. This was the moment I had been waiting for since the day I started my research associate-ship in Pakistan’s Upper House of Parliament, the Senate. I was, finally, about to see the executive being held accountable by the representatives of the people. The ...

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Munawar Hassan, our fallen soldiers and citizens ARE martyrs

Some time ago a small, market town in England called Wootten Bassett attracted national and international media attention. The town was granted Royal Patronage and even US President Obama appreciated their actions. The people of Watton Basset showed honour and respect to their dead soldiers, who were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whenever the bodies of British troops were brought to an air force base and they passed through this town, the townsfolk showed their respect with spontaneous gestures; businesses stopped, passersby lined the pavements, taking off their hats and standing in silence. The honouring of the fallen soldiers by the people of ...

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Pakistani blood is cheap, but negotiations with the Taliban is an outrageous idea

A dead major general is nothing to be ashamed of. There are countries in our neighbourhood who have lost their presidents and prime ministers to the violence of dissenters. We ourselves lost a former prime minister and popular leader to bullets. For a country that gave away 50,000 lives, a dead major general and a dead ex-premier are nothing less than souvenirs. Their blood is the symbol of the country’s determination and steadfastness towards the right cause. This is the sad stance that most of us have taken so far. However, now, with attempts to reach a settlement with the Taliban, it can rightfully be ...

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Bloodstained honour is not honourable at all

More often than not, I come across distressing stories about women  who are beaten, tortured, maimed, and in some of the worst cases, killed by male (and sometimes even female) members of their families. It never fails to surprise me when I learn that many of these cases are on account of an honour that was supposedly ‘stained’. This ‘staining’ hence serves as an excuse for people to resort to violence – violence against women, in particular – which has always been a global pandemic. One of the most recent of such horrid stories, or so-called ‘honour-killings’, occurred in Darra Adam ...

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My grandfather died for Pakistan: Celebrating a true hero from 1965

My grandfather fell in the war of 1965 and was awarded the Tamgha-e-Jurat for his service to Pakistan. This medal, bestowed upon my grandfather is a great source of inspiration for me. It invigorates me whenever I see it and excitement and hope overwhelm me even when I feel dejected. Today my patriotism comes from this medal and all the stories it can tell related to it. Now, over 45 years have passed since my family received this great honour, and I am going to tell you about the sacrifices my grandfather made for this beautiful country. My grandfather, ALD Ghulam Mehdi Khan ...

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