Stories about minorities

Transgenders in Pakistan: An identity card hasn’t accomplished anything

We, as Pakistanis, have a profound lack of empathy for individuals that suffer from a Gender Identity Disorder (GID). These individuals have, perhaps, faced the severest form of discrimination from among all the minorities in Pakistan since ages, and unless a change from within emanates, would continue to be harassed for years to come. Though I am not a writer by profession, a recent incident in the shacks of Rawalpindi forced me to write this article. While purchasing groceries with a relative, I came across Aashi and Heer, two transgender people living in a hut nearby. As they entered the store, they were frowned ...

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So many Hindu and female doctors! What is happening to Pakistan?

There are some things you can’t help doing – like talking to fundamentalists. I know many of them and almost all of them are convinced that non-Muslims want to harm Muslims. One such person, whom I have known for 25 years and who can’t compose a simple sentence in English (despite having two master’s degrees) thinks that since Pakistan was made for Muslims, those who are not Muslims should not be allowed to have jobs (unless there are no Muslims available, as for instance in jobs like cleaning up lavatories). This man is deeply concerned about the growing number of Hindu doctors in Karachi’s ...

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I left the US because of their hatred towards Muslims… this is my story

I was born in 1982, in the beautiful American city of San Jose, California. A proud patriotic Muslim American, my dad would decorate our house with lights every Fourth of July. Fast forward to the year 2001, when I got admitted to one of America’s top medical schools – the Harvard Medical School in Boston. Moving from San Jose was hard. I stayed in the dorm. Every morning, when I went to take a shower, I saw a sticker on one of the bathroom mirrors on my floor that said, ‘Whoever is a friend of the Muslims is a traitor of Christianity and ...

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Ancholi blasts: When will we remember that the white in Pakistan’s flag represents minorities?

Another bomb blast; another attack on the Shia community. The blast in Ancholi, Federal B Area was so loud that my windows shook and the children woke up even though I live miles away. I shudder to think what must have happened to those near its epicentre. I have walked in those streets, bought things from the stores now destroyed, spoken to the residents in years past and played cricket with one of the dead victims. Now it has been reduced to rubble and dust, and become another statistic in the growing litany of acts of violence against a besieged minority. The true ...

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My Christian house help: Pakistan never wants its minorities to succeed

Pakistan’s fertility rate is likely to drop if women marry at an older age: that argument stands on its own considerable merit, because a young woman is likely to conceive more easily and often at this most fertile time of her life, but other factors also contribute to the high fertility rate. In Pakistan, children are not just a source of joy, but necessary pillars that support parents in the parents’ old age. This is true of all cultures, but it acquires an imperative urgency in societies like ours. Insaan Masih is a young man of no education but an innate sense of ...

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When the Presidential election is more important than the Parachinar blast

Pakistan is a rather strange place. If you are unable to fast because you are unwell, you can end up with a black eye and maybe a few broken ribs. This is courtesy of our informal, yet thorough and self proclaimed moral police marching down the streets 365 days of the year; they are the ‘righteous’. However, if you want to join in the Ramazan festivities beware that shopping for iftar in a local market or going to a mosque may become a gamble on life.  The twin blasts in Parachinar yesterday, left at least 50 dead and around a 122 severely injured. ...

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When eating in Ramazan means asking for a beating

With the holy month comes an all encompassing wave of piety – dairy companies’ fuss over how their milk will make Iftar a more spiritual experience and television actors don designer shalwar kameez to host Ramazan transmissions. Yes, Ramazan is very festive in our part of the world. Amidst these merry happenings, a video went viral, recently. A man was beaten to pulp in Karachi for eating during this sacred month. The video showed him bleeding profusely as a few fretted around him and a camera man struggled to get the best shot of his blood smeared face. It was a ...

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Deported from Israel for being a Muslim who visited Pakistan

Destination: Israel Purpose: To visit Jerusalem and everything within it which ‘drives men mad.’ I had spent months preparing for my trip to the country with the primary aim of visiting Jerusalem and seeing the great historical landmarks such as the Al Aqsa mosque and Wailing Wall. I had purchased clothes appropriate for the sweltering heat of the Middle East, booked my flight well in advance and converted almost all of my remaining savings to Israeli Shekels in an almost hyperactive state of eagerness. It was in this mood that I reached Ben Gurion airport on the morning of the 24th of ...

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Pakistan bleeds with Hazara blood, do you even care?

“My heart cries tears of blood for the Hazaras… #ShiaGenocide, when will we wake up?… What has Pakistan come to?! Oh God!!… This country does not deserve to be called “PAK-istan”…” These statements are clichés. They mean nothing. They have no purpose. They’re just uttered to make ourselves feel good about atrocities which we mostly can’t, and usually won’t do anything about. At least 46 people died yesterday. How many of us cared? 18 people died in Peshawar yesterday. How many of us bothered to find out three kids died in that attack? How many of us had the apathy to find out that the doctors ...

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You voted and you won!

Dear Pakistan, When you walked into the polling booth, you didn’t vote for an individual party or a candidate; you voted for Pakistan. Congratulations on winning! This was one of the bloodiest electoral contests in memory, yet you persisted. The past five years for you were engulfed with markers of dissonance: The unforgettable lawyer’s movement, the NRO crisis that threw the nation in turmoil, Salman Taseer’s unfortunate murder, the Abbottabad fiasco, Memogate and the expulsion of Ambassador Haqqani, the atrocity at Sallala and the resulting NATO supply route blockade, the disqualification of former prime minister Gilani, Malala’s shooting and the subsequent outpour of ...

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