Stories about pakistani society

I was never his wife, I was only his slave

“I maybe from a  third world country but I have a heart like you do, emotions like you have, and dreams to pursue. On my first Eid as a married girl, I wanted to dress up and celebrate my new beginning instead of being in a hospital bed recovering from the effects of abuse.” I got married in March 2014 in Chicago with dreams of starting a new life and a future built out on love and trust in my new home. My parents were so assured that they were giving me into the hands of an educated guy; someone who ...

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Dear Pakistani mom, why must I fear not getting a proposal?

Dear Pakistani mom, I am your beloved daughter, slightly spoiled but mostly a responsible, caring individual who would go to great lengths just to see a smile on your face. One who would run to the medicine store to grab some medicines should my ailing grandmother’s health so require. Please remember ‘you’ raised me so. You raised me to be a thoughtful, caring, independent and confident individual. You taught me not to follow the guidelines of learned female helplessness by waiting for the sympathy of my three brothers to get medicine in case I suffered a bout of respiratory infection. You raised me to believe women ...

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I got divorced and remarried, but that is not the problem, the society is

A lot had been said and discussed about the stigma attached to divorce in our society, even on Express Tribune Blogs; hence I do not need to delve much into it. The most ironic yet painful situation occurs when a divorced couple, especially two divorced individuals with children, move on and get married and how they tend to face the challenges set by our society in Pakistan. I have been divorced, but lucky for me, I got married again and have been for the past five years.  He has a son and I have a daughter from our previous marriages. Both of us ...

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Children’s Day: They belong in schools, not factories

Some of us are liberals while others are conservatives; some of us are righteous Muslims while others are humanists. We have created labels and have given birth to unnecessary clashes, but what most of us have failed at doing is work. We are ready to speak but we are not ready to act upon our words. As John F Kennedy once said, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future”. This quote perhaps sums up not only the importance of children, but also the need to turn them into such individuals that our future may be secured, because it ...

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What have we received from the people of Pakistan except neglect and torment?

What concerns me most is a word. It is a simple word that is not heard on the lips of people in most parts of the world, but for me it is a word that desperately needs to be heard more often. Whenever I do hear this word, or say it myself, it stirs emotions that I cannot explain. I cannot do justice to the memories they evoke. That word is Balochistan. I have grown up around politics and in politics. For a daughter of a Baloch tribal leader and activist, politics and life are irreversibly intertwined. The need to understand the ethnic and national tensions ...

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Ariba on the outside, Ahmed on the inside

Greeted by the waiter at a café, nervous yet anxious, I inquire about the girl I was scheduled to meet for an interview. “Ma’am, he is waiting for you upstairs.” The first thought that runs through my mind: HE? There must have been some mistake, I thought. To my surprise, I meet a person I was more inclined on calling ‘handsome’ than ‘pretty’. Surrounded by the strong smell of men’s cologne, she was dressed in a crisp white dress shirt for men, a brown belt and beige trousers. I could see the sweat on her hands that wore a Swatch and carried a Blackberry. Ariba Rizvi, ...

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Dear Pakistani sisters, your suffering is in your hands

Tabassum Adnan became a victim of child marriage at the age of 13. It took 20 years for this woman from Pakistan’s Swat Valley to gather the courage to divorce her husband and end a nightmare of physical and mental abuse. According to a US Department of State press release, this move caused her to lose her home, money and children. But she had no choice but to look forward, and this year she has been awarded the Secretary of State International Women of Courage Award in recognition of her NGO Khwendo jirga (Sister’s Council). [email protected] & @AmbCathyRussell present the brave and amazing 2015 #WomenofCourage. ...

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Can Pakistanis rise to the occasion?

It’s been a while since I last visited Pakistan; long enough that the kids I knew have now grown up to become functional, responsible adults. The friends I made are descending into the middle-age bracket. Many of the relations I had have either passed or are in the late stages of their lives. In a nutshell, a tremendous amount of transition and transformation has taken place as far as my personal life, as well as those I left behind, is concerned. I keep a close eye on a regular basis, thanks to the great tools of technology, on how the Pakistani ...

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Why does marriage equal compromise in Pakistan?

I’m a 24-year-old woman and I am divorced. Yes, you heard right; I’m a 24-year-old divorced woman in a Pakistani society. I got divorced because my husband was suffering from depression, was taking pills without any proper prescription due to which he also had erectile dysfunction. He insisted that his pride and ego were more important than getting treatment and ensuring a healthy marriage. When I tried explaining the benefits of acquiring treatment he became abusive, leaving me with no option but separation. Our society, however, does not believe I made the right decision. Yes, it is easy to sit behind a ...

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A Pakistan for all seasons: Views of a Pakistani abroad

With each passing summer, I become increasingly weary upon hearing the same tired question, “But, are you sure you want to go back this year?” Whether the inquiry is presented by my father, a close friend, or even a concerned relative in Karachi, repetition has made it a mainstay in the uneasy arsenal of those who would oppose my annual visits to Pakistan. Do not misunderstand me – I understand their concern, one grounded in the unpredictable and often hostile socio-political climate of the nation. With the national and expatriate rumour mills alike saturated with horror stories about riots, home invasions, roadside robberies and ...

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