Stories about Pakistani women

An evening with the Girls in Green

Since the success of the Pakistan women’s cricket team at the T20 World Cup, there’s been a lot of interest in these young women. Who are they? Where do they come from? And what is it that’s made them overcome so many obstacles to become sporting heroes to millions of Pakistanis of all ages? We had a chance to ask them these questions at The Second Floor, where Girls at Dhabas had arranged a meet and greet session with seven current and former members of the team and their coach. Captain Sana Mir, Nain Abidi, Batool Naqvi, Ayesha Zafar, Javeria ‘Jerry’ Khan, Muneeba ...

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Why isn’t Pakistan rooting for our #GirlsInGreen?

Sana Mir wants to prepare a team that is capable enough to do without her; in other words she is ready to hand over the reins to her predecessor on the heels of arguably the biggest win of her international career. Not many male Pakistan cricketers have cared about preparing heirs to their throne in theory, even the ones who have ‘ruled the world’ have left a gaping leadership hole after leaving the game. Sana is hence different and she has perhaps already leapt frogged most of Pakistan’s male cricket captains by achieving what all of them collectively haven’t — a ...

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Imran Khan hasn’t carried balls since he stopped playing cricket

(Author’s note: Blog and blog title refer to cricket balls only. Puns not intended). Here we go. Another day, another Imran Khan statement reflecting a worryingly right-wing mind-set. This much is clear: Like the countless who voted for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) in the last General Elections, I shall not be voting for a political party that is full of so much hot air it should be floating around the world, that holds a country hostage through street politics, that is both outsmarted and manipulated, that consistently panders to the single biggest threat in the history of this country: the religious preachers. There is a ...

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10 Pakistani women who beat the odds every time

When Allama Iqbal lyrically waxed, “Wujood-e-zan se hai tasveer-e-kainaat mein rang,” (The colours of the universe are there because of the existence of womankind) He was grossly underestimating the effect women have had on the universe; for there’s a lot more to women than just the imparting of colours. Pakistani women have always been beacons of hope and struggle and have been leaving their marks in every field; on national and international grounds. Among all the other lies media feeds the world about Pakistan, our women being incessantly confined to their houses is one raging stereotype. I belong to a family of strong women; none of ...

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It is not okay to compromise on abuse, even if you’re married!

“Admi hay, esay tou keray ga.” (He’s a man, so he’s bound to behave like this). I must have been five when I overheard my mother say this to a female relative. I had probably heard it before but was too young to remember. Last week, a shocking report by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) revealed that 53 per cent of teenage girls in Pakistan believe that their partner hitting them is justified and  girls aged 15-19 believed refusing sex was an acceptable reason for wives to be beaten by their husbands. This is not surprising but it is painfully tragic. In our country ...

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If you think the niqab is a choice, think again

In my recent article, ‘Our national dress is the shalwar kameez, not the niqab’, while examining countries in and around the geographical vicinity of the Middle East, I lamented the loss of cultural riches such as art, music, various religious festivities, as well as heritage sites like ancient temples and monasteries to a single fast-spreading inflexible ideology. To drive the point home, between a dozen countries, I compared various cultural garments with the full single-colour veil called the niqab, also known as the abaya or the burqa. The contrast was startling. On one end were 12 aesthetically delightful national dresses varying ...

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Sheraniland: Sharia law needs saving from Mr Sherani

In the past 15 years alone, Pakistan has made great strides by introducing numerous laws to help embolden and empower its womenfolk. Unfortunately, for Pakistan’s women, putting pen to paper only creates the law. It doesn’t actually implement that law. Nor does that law act as a shield against Pakistan’s powerful yet disillusioned institution of bearded clerics with an agenda. Take for example, the current chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Maulana Sherani, whose favourite pastime (when not fist fighting other maulanas) is undoing centuries of incremental change in women’s rights with a quick brandishing of the religious zealot’s favourite weapon: the mighty, all-encompassing and all too frequently misinterpreted torch of Sharia law. To be ...

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Living with postpartum depression in Pakistan because a woman’s honour depends on it

Earlier this month, we learnt that famous Hollywood actresses Hayden Panettiere and Drew Barrymore are suffering from postpartum depression and it is due to their courage of opening up about their experiences with this acute illness, why the world should start talking about this issue further. And I couldn’t agree more. I agree that the world should not only start, but should have been talking about postpartum depression and the severity of this illness for a long time coming. The illness, depending on its severity, is experienced by women all over the world. Some are fortunate enough to live in places where this illness is ...

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YOU are perpetuating rape-culture and don’t even know it yet

For far too long we have subjected women, particularly victims of sexual violence, to our ignorance and insensitivity ingrained in our speech, linguistics, culture and even laws. The sad fact is that even after the promulgation of the Women Protection Act 2006, efforts still need to be made to challenge the horrendous rape culture we are embroiled in. A rape victim is someone who has been subjected to a violent, non-consensual and invasive violation of her body, reducing her to a mere object of satisfaction, lust and vulnerability. The marks of the crime are far more than physical. Many victims consider ending their ...

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How can I complain about men staring at me when I’m not wearing my dupatta?

“Hawa mein urtaa jaaye mera laal dupatta malmal ka!” This takes me back to a cherished childhood memory. My twin sister and I would use Ammi’s dupattas and sing this song, while dancing clumsily on our spacious terrace, as the dupattas flew behind us in the air. A dupatta was once considered as an integral part of our dress code, specifically in the Indo-Pak subcontinent. The long, flowing scarves covered the women’s hair and chest, and were considered as a symbol of femininity. It used to differentiate our women from those belonging to the western society. Unfortunately, over the decades, the influx ...

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