Stories about men

Women are the weaker sex – so what?

The pervasive staring can be annoying and so can a look on some mens’ faces which says: “she’s just a woman.” While most Pakistani women are victims of inequality, abuse and threats I believe there is a ray of light that often goes unnoticed. In my experiences, many middle-to-upper class women in Pakistan are delicately handled -like valuable, glass objects. They are respected at least outwardly and even allowed to disgrace men in public for initiating eye contact. In spite of the blatant prejudices, should such women appreciate the small advantages they are given in the Pakistani society? On the bus My journey towards exploring the ...

Read Full Post

Kalash: What we can learn from the lost civilisation

My family and I were fortunate enough to spend a few nights among the extraordinary Kalash last summer. This unique tribe is tucked away in the isolated mountain valley of Bumberet, hidden from the rest of the world. Legend has it that 2,300 years ago, when Alexander the Great and his army were pushing deep into South Asia, on their way to India in 327 BC, some of his men remained in the villages of Chitral. As a result the Kalash tribe of roughly 3,500 today consider themselves direct descendants of the Macedonian king. We began our journey along the Chitral-Dir ...

Read Full Post

Women, war and the world

We have had the war on terror, the war on poverty, the war on racism, the war on drugs, the war on Islam, the war on piracy, the war on war, and finally, fledgling but fierce, the war on Express Tribune blogs. These are all proxy wars, phony wars, smokescreen wars which obscure the real conflict, much like a rant from Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho diverts our attention from his team’s failings after he’s lost a match. There is a real war to be fought. The big war. The only war. The war to usher in eternal peace for humankind. The war ...

Read Full Post

Bajaur’s heroes die fighting

To the rest of the world, they were just four names, but Bajaur will pay a heavy price for them. The deaths of the four Maliks and a lashkar chief in the blast that occurred this week in the area was the death of Fata’s voice against terrorists. One of the men who was killed, Malik Munasib, was a light hearted, jolly fellow, whose company would make anyone come alive. He was brave but it took him a while to realise that his fight in Afghanistan against the Russians was a political game, no better than the one being played ...

Read Full Post

Gender apartheid in the Muslim world

Before we had started praying, a man came running towards us from the front rows and forced us to stop. I was out of sorts and felt really embarrassed in front of about fifty men, when they turned around with eyes gazing at us fixedly, as if we had committed an act of blasphemy. “But you are not allowed here.” He took us to a dark, dingy warehouse on the far right. “Pray here,” he said. I looked around. It was a deserted room with unwashed utensils and dirty clothes scattered everywhere. Not allowed? I kept thinking to myself. Why on earth ...

Read Full Post

Fear and self-loathing in Pakistan

When I returned to Islamabad after five years, I realised how much Pakistan had changed. There were security checks at every entry and exit point of the city and uniformed men looked suspiciously at every car that passed them. “Good job,” I thought after seeing them and assumed they were doing their job properly. But then I noticed that most of the drivers they pulled over had a few similar qualities: they were all  men with long beards wearing shalwar kameez. I understand that terrorists are usually in this type of attire but does this give guards the right to stop ...

Read Full Post

On love and marriage: Where did the spark go?

When two people get married, they might safely assume that they can’t afford to mess it up. Or can they? Today, I speak on behalf of all my girlfriends who are pondering the million dollar question: where did the spark go? A flaming start Initially most of us jump into the institution with gusto.  We look at it as a final end to a romantic rendezvous; the stolen glances and time restricted engagements that leave so much to be desired and explored. After marriage, there is an endless amount of time at our disposal and this reduces romantic fervour considerably. Where is the heart ...

Read Full Post

Asad Shafiq: A star in the making

Pakistan’s victory against Australia provided us with some key insights into the 1992 champions’ strengths, as well as, weaknesses. Much has been said about the exceptional bowling performance that was on display from the men in green. It is a well-known fact that it has been the bowling that has time and again provided the team with the ability to excel against the best sides even during periods when we no longer possessed the starpower that we once did. Here, however, I want to focus on the performance of a future star in the making, who has exhibited extraordinary temperament and ...

Read Full Post

What happened to Elizabeth’s daughter?

I know a 40-year-old woman named Elizabeth who has experienced first hand the reality of life as a minority in Pakistan. Every morning , Elizabeth and her 14-year-old daughter used to walk through the narrow streets of their colony to reach their workplace, a double storey kothi located in a posh area of the city. This was the routine of many women from the little Christian colony located near the ganda nala (dirty stream) in Islamabad. During these morning walks, two 40 years old men started following them in a car. They threatened to kill Elizabeth and her daughter if they didn’t ...

Read Full Post

A dummy’s guide to morality in Pakistan

Like everyone else, friends on my e-mail group became very active while discussing the recent media hype about Veena Malik. While the opinions came from a diverse group of people, one irritated friend questioned why people can’t seem to follow basic ‘Pakistani moral standards’. Reproduced below are the top 10 rules on Pakistani moral values that came out as actually being followed in modern day Pakistan: Pakistani moral values 101: Top 10 rules If a Pakistani man dates more than one woman, he is a Casanova. If a Pakistani woman dates more than one man, she is a “loose woman”. If ...

Read Full Post