Stories about Malala Yousufzai

In the absence of proper governance, is Chief Justice Saqib Nisar Pakistan’s ‘saviour’?

Pakistanis are an opinionated people; from fruit vendors to domestic workers, all are as articulate in politics as any academic or political analyst. But these opinions vary, and they vary drastically on almost every major issue confronting the country. Be it Malala Yousafzai, Imran Khan or even kite flying, we hold extreme, polar opposite views on each matter.  The recent judicial activism of the Supreme Court, demonstrated by the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar, is no exception. There are, as usual, two sides – one fervently supports the actions of the Chief Justice, while at the other end ...

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By dressing as a man to make a statement, Ayesha Gulalai has only belittled countless dynamic women of Pakistan

No one said it was easy being a Pakistani woman. We fight misogyny, chauvinism and harassment on a daily basis in our schools, workplaces and for some, even homes. We are daughters, sisters and mothers but those relationships are not unto themselves. We populate the corporate world, lead movements, teach impressionable minds and raise little people. There is very little women cannot achieve and that forms our identities. It is a small mind then, in my opinion, which tries to fight misogyny by fitting into a box shaped like a man. A mind that has no business representing the multi-faceted and peerless entities that ...

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The horrors of China’s one-child policy

China’s famous one-child policy was meant to be used as a mechanism to control a heaving population, even though it drew much criticism for the draconian method in which it was enforced. Add to the mix a cultural reliance on men being breadwinners and women being a burden on families and, soon enough, a gender imbalance of grotesque proportions started to emerge.The overly populated male population led to the relaxing of the rules by the Chinese government which now allows two children per couple. However, this hasn’t alleviated the problems being faced by a large, male population. There are reports of whole villages being populated by men and women ...

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Pakistan’s soldiers, Pakistan’s army fathers, you carry my name

The delicious bread – Peshawari naan – was longer than I was tall. Seven-years-old, in a sundress and an oversized sunhat, I was a very British child in Peshawar. Hairpin roads, every pothole palpable in our Ford Transit, we lurched into 1975 Pakistan through the Khyber Pass. Descending the Hindu Kush, we finally entered the dusty, garrison town. At the end of the 7,000 miles drive from England, my Pakistani parents, younger then than I am as I write this now, navigated toward our final destination. From my window, I struggled to pronounce the English signposts – for a long time “Pesh-ware” was ...

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Dear Malala Yousafzai, your Nobel Prize is not your ticket to Stanford

It is time for Malala Yousafzai to start considering colleges for the next phase of her education. However, here the queen of education seems to have run into a little snag. Though she has her eyes set on Stanford University in California among other institutions, Stanford has demanded that she demonstrate herself to be academically adept as per US standards for college admission. Not quite interested in her stature as the youngest Nobel Laureate, the university, which ranks number third in the world, has demanded Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores from Malala. SAT is a specialised test of academic skills in the areas of reading, writing, and math required for applying to admission ...

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Gilgit-Baltistan elections: The nth nail in the coffin of women equality

Religion has deepened its roots into Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) once again, where the Legislative elections are set to be held in June, 2015. The first symptom of this religiosity is the allegations against various party leaders for using mosques and imambargahs as launching platforms for their political activities. The second symptom is the current unanimous decision of a so-called jirga (local council) which bars women to vote, as it would put the religious, cultural and social honour of the region at stake – according to a report by BBC Urdu. The jirga was held in Diamir, one of the seven districts of G-B. Whereas ...

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Let your children be Emma Watson, let them be Malala

I recently watched the impassioned speech that Emma Watson made for launching the UN’s ‘HeForShe’ campaign. It was a sincere appeal for a better understanding of the ‘feminist’ movement and its singular goal to establish equal rights and freedoms for both men and women. Now, in total honesty, I have grown up with a very different interpretation of what ‘feminism’ is! In fact, while I have always been taught by my family and have believed in equal rights for boys and girls, I have not really associated this with the ‘feminist movement.’ Maybe it is the word itself…why was it ever called a ‘feminist’ ...

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A letter to Adnan Rashid: Do the Taliban have a bullet for every raised voice?

Dear Mr Adnan Rashid, I am writing to you in my personal capacity, as I’m shocked by what you have written to Malala Yousufzai, my sister by religion. I am surprised that you don’t want to argue whether religion permits attacking a girl or not, and yet, you have the audacity to say that your emotions for Malala were brotherly. In Islam, and in our culture (and I suppose in your culture, too), we don’t support the brother who stands by the attacker when his sister is attacked. In her articles published in BBC Urdu, Malala only wrote about her woes after ...

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Singing the national anthem in a tank top: Worthy of abuse?

The true face of people shows on the internet. Online anonymity has something thrilling about it which makes you say whatever you really want to. Unfortunately, some people (even while not being anonymous) say the cruelest, more hateful things on social media. I tend to always feel a little depressed after going through the comments sections of public posts on Facebook. I know that it is ‘only the internet’ and I need to have thicker skin; still, some things leave me wondering what the people of my country have become. A few days ago, I stumbled upon a video on Facebook. Around ...

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A reply to TTP commander Adnan Rashid’s letter to Malala

Dear Mr Adnan Rashid, Your letter has left me confused. Right after you expressed regret to Malala over her shooting you write: ‘Taliban attacked you, was it Islamically correct or wrong…I will not go in this argument now.’ I wonder if you and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are aware that our religion forbids the killing of any human being unless acting out of self-defence? It preaches nothing but compassion to children and forbids the killing of the offspring of one’s enemies. So, Mr Rashid, how you can even suggest an ‘argument’ when the actions of your party were so vehemently against the teachings ...

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