Stories about pakistani society

#MeToo, #JahezKhoriBandKaro, #NotFunny: Lifting the curtain of sexism in Pakistan

Hashtags make a difference, and for campaigns regarding the rights of women, the last one year has seen some important hashtags that made us sit up straight. The most recent one is #NotFunny, an awareness campaign launched on National Women’s Day by the Uks Research Centre, pointing out aptly that enough is enough – that jokes that demean women, perpetuate stereotypes about women and degrade women, are just not funny. Yes Absolutely #NotFunny#shehzadRoy 🖒 pic.twitter.com/JU68kqaxQa — S☆S 🇵🇰🇹🇷 (@jiyyah_shaah) February 25, 2019 For those who consider themselves more ‘evolved’ or ‘aware’, the litmus test can be something as seemingly small as the jokes men ...

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Rescuing the dying reading culture of Pakistan

Pakistani classrooms usually do not encourage questioning amongst students, but can we really blame the classroom for a trait we are socialised into from the beginning? Thus, when I became a teacher, I made sure to always encourage questioning by responding in a positive manner, turning whatever was being formally discussed into a casual conversation. Recently, however, I was asked a question that left me astonished. An undergraduate student in one of my classes, a rather intelligent kid, asked me why reading books was so important. In his words: “We live in a visual world, then why do you keep emphasising reading ...

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#TherapistDiaries: Anxiety, depression and suicide – the realities of forced marriages

She was barely 19 at the time. She sat on a silver throne decorated with floral arrangements with a posture similar to that of a sacrificial being. My emotions in this moment were as artificial as the floral arrangements. I looked over at the 50-year-old man sitting beside her, and could no longer pretend to be happy. Because that’s when it registered – she was getting married to this man. All of a sudden, my conversations with this girl, with whom I had played games throughout my childhood, came rushing to my mind. I also recalled what she had told me just a ...

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Surviving R Kelly in the #MeToo era: Because one victim’s voice is not enough for justice

Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and now R Kelly. Like countless other men, these men were accused and guilty of sexual abuse and assault against women. Here is the situation that continues to baffle many people including myself: when a woman claims she was sexually abused or assaulted, the man in question always tends to deny it. Why does our society and justice system always defend the man? Despite living in a time and society where we want to empower women, why are they not being listened to in the first place? Believe it or not, there are enough people out there who ...

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To squat or not to squat?

I was one-year-old when my family moved from Pakistan to Botswana. Located in Southern Africa, Botswana is about the size of France, with an astonishingly low population of two-and-a-half-million people. We spent most of our time abroad but would often visit home, and at least once a year we visited Karachi, where I was born. Although it had been a few years since my last visit to Karachi, this is a city that always pulls on my heartstrings, and after spending only a week in the city of dreams, I found myself used to the cultural oddities, such as ...

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Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor is not only of unprecedented quality but also a game changer for Pakistan

Over a decade ago, when Commander Safeguard hit TV channels all across Pakistan, it set a new standard when it came to the local animation industry. Later on, 3 Bahadur, Pakistan’s first animated movie, brought some hope that animation is not an entirely forgotten art in the country. Even the Milkateer series was a decent addition to the genre. However, Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor has changed the game altogether, by setting a new standard when it comes to animation in Pakistan. Uzair Zaheer Khan, the director and writer, and producer Usman Iqbal have brought to the industry a ...

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Victim-blaming, slut-shaming, parent-blaming, inappropriate memes – is this your way to demand #JusticeForZainab, Pakistan?

A tragedy has paralysed the nation once again, this time in the form of Zainab, yet another innocent child that we lost too soon. Emotions are high, and rightly so, as people demand #JusticeForZainab, and ask the government and the law authorities to ensure accountability, and for once do their job and deliver justice to the family and to the rest of the nation. Hopelessness and despair prevail at the moment, along with a certain sense of despondency at the state of the country we live in, especially in light of how we continuously fail to protect our greatest asset – ...

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Yes, Mashal Khan’s story is a difficult watch, but it’s a necessary watch to keep us from forgetting

In April, a deranged mob of college students murdered Mashal Khan, an intelligent, curious, and outspoken journalism student, over views and comments that some regarded as ‘blasphemous’. The mob-led murder caught the world’s attention after a shakily recorded cell phone video of the lynching went viral. Just like that, the door had been flung open, exposing the sheer inhumanity and intellectual neglect that constantly simmers below the surface of Pakistani society, even within its supposedly enlightened institutions. In these past few months, many minutes of prime-time were devoted to and much ink was spilled over Mashal and Pakistan’s notoriously inhumane and antiquated blasphemy laws. This week, the story ...

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Our actors are wasting their talent on Pakistani dramas like Sanam

Does anyone miss Fifty Fifty? Studio Dhai and Ponay Teen? It’s the age of Snapstories going viral and two second GIFs primarily providing the fodder for comedy. I have often tried to watch some comedy serials on television but it’s difficult to tolerate them for more than five (10, if you’re really that starved for entertainment) minutes. That’s all the more reason why I feel terrible when I see a talented comedian like Osman Khalid Butt playing regressive, emotional, and clearly messy roles like Haarib in Sanam. In the recent episode of Sanam, Haarib berates Aan (Maya Ali) for not picking up her phone because her mother just had ...

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The son of an MPA raped me: Will I not get justice?

Last Friday night, Sofia Shahid, a woman from Bhatti Colony in Rahim Yar Khan, filed a report with the Saddar Khanpur Police alleging that she had been raped by Qamar Khan Rind, the son of Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) MPA Nawaz Khan Rind. Ms Shahid was interviewed by various local news channels while she was at the police station. She described how she was kidnapped from her house (along with her son) and raped by Qamar while his accomplices stood by. She also told reporters that the police were not cooperating with her and were yet to register her complaint. While this matter will hopefully ...

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