Stories about ignorance

Because smoking damages a man’s lungs and ruins a woman’s honour

While universities around the world are trying to promote freedom of expression and invest in the development of their students, in the case of Pakistan, higher education institutions are stifling debate, cracking down on any independent thought and churning out automatons by the hundreds. For instance, they are more focused on wasting paper with unoriginal research papers, as former students of University of Engineering and Technology (UET) were recently caught plagiarising a whole paper verbatim and almost got away with having it published. International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) has stopped its students from celebrating Pakhtun culture day, while Punjab University arrested ...

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When Sadaf Kanwal threw her privilege all over the place

I remember the first time I saw an ad featuring Sadaf Kanwal. I was walking past a clothing shop, and I stared into her big bold eyes, encompassing the entirety of a wall. I was thinking about how beautiful she was, and flawless, up on that wall for the world to see. Recently, this same beautiful model spoke about the #MeToo movement on a public forum. “You know aap ke sath #MeToo jab ho, tab bol do. Baad mein aap ko yaad araha hai #MeToo, so I think jab ho bol do.” (You know when you experience a #MeToo incident, say it then. Why ...

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The room of beasts and unspeakable secrets

Mahnaz sat under an ivory sky on the ground outside the library building of her college. A light and wispy summer breeze kept turning the pages of a tattered and well-thumbed copy of Jane Eyre lying at her feet. She had just finished reading the book for the umpteenth time, which was evident from the pages that were all worn and dog-eared, the margins that crawled with hastily scribbled notes, the pastel-coloured post-its that protruded from every page, and the spine that was riven with creases. Every time she finished reading the book, she could not help but cringe ...

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If Sridevi gets more coverage than Syria, that is your fault, not the media’s

Pakistanis are a dissatisfied nation. On a superficial level, they care a lot about issues affecting the Muslim world and want to highlight the injustices being faced by Muslims all over the world. However, this concern usually seems to be a reaction to attention received by other issues. Take for instance, the two recent incidents that occured simultaneously and divided opinions yet again. On the one hand, Syria was being bombed; hundreds of civilians killed as a ceasefire was ignored and hospitals were under attack as well. On the other, Bollywood superstar Sridevi breathed her last, and the events surrounding her death ...

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Ignorance is bliss!

My friend, I do not wish to know, And I’m in no mood, To think of global warming, Or pesticides in food.   Hardwood forests in decline, Endangered pink frogs. Salt or freshwater wetlands, Fast vanishing bogs. Illiteracy, hunger, AIDS, Tsunami, hurricane. Inflation or unemployment, Worrying is in vain.   Dwindling water resources, Or poaching elephants. By God, I’ve no patience for, Futile raves and rants. Let others lead the world from front, For admirable feat. I’ll lead the horde from behind, To a hasty retreat!   I love my unawareness, Ah! Ignorance is bliss! Don’t interrupt my cricket game, I don’t want to ...

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Karachi at standstill as Prince Bilawal comes of age…

One does not have to be an Imran Khan fan boy to realise what is wrong with Pakistan and its ruling class. The primary reason Imran’s message has resonated with the masses is due to their longing and need for this current system to “change”. Today, as the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) prepares to throw one awesome party of their own, I doubt if that “change” will have anything to do with them. It seems that this dog is not willing to learn new tricks at all. It is beyond comprehension, in a country where the capital has been besieged by two political ...

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Why Aitchison?

“Don’t you realise this behaviour is unbecoming of an Aitchisonian?” Mr Zafar Ahmad stared at me. Stress on the word Aitchisonian caused extra ripples of guilt. There is a reason Mr Zafar Ahmad, my housemaster, was stressing on the Aitchisonian angle; he knew it would make me feel like a downcast in my own eyes. And it did. Both of us knew I would not repeat that adventure at least. Aitchison College is in the spotlight these days. Pakistani press is not alone this time because The Guardian, one of the leading British dailies, has also covered the latest issue surrounding the institution’s policy regarding ...

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Are we supposed to stop caring about Palestine?

Blood seeps from a man’s face, his features rendered unrecognisable by the beating he took from that merciless iron rod a few days back. A baby is snatched from the arms of his mother and mercilessly killed under the pretence that he might have ended up becoming a ‘terrorist’ in the future. Fathers are slain, brothers are tortured and mothers, sisters and daughters are raped. This is how an average day looks like for a Palestinian. And now, their land is being trampled upon by a bully of an establishment that is bombing it continually and endlessly. What was once a glorious country has ...

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Dear finance minister, your new budget is killing us

Dear Finance Minister, I belong to the class of ‘common men’; some people also call us ‘mango men’ or ‘aam admi’. Ours is a species that is found in abundance everywhere in Pakistan. If you ever look out of your bullet proof BMW, you will notice one of my fellow beings selling something or the other on a footpath. We are also found polishing shoes, unloading trucks, offering window covers during a traffic signal, pouring hot tea in a cup at a tea stall, pushing a fruit or vegetable cart or driving a donkey cart loaded with a number of things. There ...

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Facing disabilities: Until we do something about it, no one will

Having a disability does not necessarily make you worse off; it simply means you have to do things differently. However, it is sad to say, our society is plagued with ignorance when it comes to meeting the needs of mentally or physically challenged people. A blind eye is turned towards the needs of these people and because of this ignorance we do not realise the fact that most of the public places lack the basic necessities, such as ramps, integral for the physically challenged. Apart from this, very few schools exist for children with developmental delays. In a social setup like this, it is ...

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