Stories about prostitution

No, I am not beckoning you… I am just a woman trying to get to work

To you, The driver who sees my loosely wrapped headscarf, jeans and long shirt, and wonders what’s going on; the passer-by who watches me adjust the messenger bag on my sagging shoulder with one hand and cover my eyes from the sun with the other, squinting at something in the distance; the curious men and women on motorcycles, in vans, riding bicycles and on foot, wondering what I’m doing on a street corner, so early in the day. And especially to those who might wonder if maybe, just maybe… Let me stop you right there and say what doesn’t need to be said ...

Read Full Post

Does a porn star have the right to education?

While we read stories about heinous crimes committed against women in our part of the world, it hardly occurs to us that such and even worse crimes are committed across the globe, especially in what we call ‘developed’ and ‘civilised’ countries such as the United States of America. Lest we forget, let’s remind ourselves once more that patriarchy and hypocrisy are unfortunately a universal phenomena. Take for example, the instance of a girl who belonged to a middle-class family in the US. Like any other ambitious teen, she wanted to graduate from her dream school, the prestigious Duke University in ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

Salut to the tenants of the night

Salut to the tenants of the night, Who bend faith and time, Who bend modest climes, Wrapped in a thunder cloud, And reach for the holy grail.   Salut to the tenants of the night, Who put to shame A million eyes in vigil, A sky with the cloudy sigils, Of mercy and benevolence.   Salut to the tenants of the night, When the wild sounds of a cock And a thousand eyes salivate, Raping with uncouth cheers, The only two women who dare To chase the storm for their empty bellies.   Salut to the tenants of the night, Those uncouth ladies – harlots, Who tried their best to hide The blemish and the hair white With rouge and dyes, And streaks ...

Read Full Post

DHA: The hub of ‘open-air’ prostitution in Karachi

It is said that prostitution is the oldest profession. While prostitution is itself a problem, ignorance of such taboos is a bigger problem. Since a few years, Khayaban-e-Shujaat in DHA, Phase 5, Karachi has gained a notorious reputation of being the hub of prostitution. The section of the Khayaban specific to this booming business extends between A-street and Khayaban-e-Tanzeem. Another operating area is at the intersection for the main Zamzama Boulevard. The female sex workers, their pimps, a multitude of auto rickshaws and an ever increasing clientele are a daily affair on this road. From dawn to dusk, the business is in ...

Read Full Post

The dancing girls of Kabul

Blindness takes control and she exhales. She’s been engulfed by darkness and the pleasure of it all just gives her inner peace. She did what she had to. She knew it was all in vain but she can finally feel salvation seep through her being and she feels relieved. She feels death calling her and telling her that it’s time to go – that it’s time to finally let go. They’ve taken away her identity, but they couldn’t ever take away her zeal, her individuality and more importantly, her rebellion. Her bloodied legs tell her to stand; her battered lips ...

Read Full Post

Trading sex on Zamzama

As a regular commuter in this cauldron of mixed sights known as the metropolis of Karachi, I see diversity amidst the cacophony of ethnicity, race, language and cultural values and I also see the growing perpetual prostitution lining the streets of Zamzama – which has perhaps truly evolved as a one-stop shopping district. They say it’s the oldest profession in the world, but come what may in Karachi it seems to be the newest one. Somehow every street has become a rendezvous for a potential client and provider. Women continue to sell their bodies to earn a livelihood; admittedly this has ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan’s got AIDS patients

Acquired Immune Deficiency System (Aids) is taboo in Pakistan. Every time the topic comes up, the general attitude is one of denial with people saying that Aids does not exist in Pakistan. How could it? This is an Islamic country, and the ‘illegal, immoral’ activities generally associated with HIV/Aids are just not a part of our social fabric. According to the National Aids Control Program, about 100,000 Pakistanis are living with Aids. This number is most likely an underestimate as most patients with HIV don’t even know they are infected. One is compelled to wonder where all these cases are coming from. Like ...

Read Full Post

Prostitution in the land of the pure

Whenever I hear the word ‘prostitute’  the first image that comes to mind is an inappropriately dressed woman standing in filthy streets waiting for a client. The discussion on the issue how cruel the profession is to women – their empty, hungry stomachs forcing them to sell their bodies in order to buy bread for the family. But let’s think for a moment; what about all the men, the children, and the teenagers that engage in such acts? In Pakistan, the topic of prostitution is taboo – one that is hardly ever discussed. It is difficult to describe or understand the ...

Read Full Post

Sex for sale: Where are we heading?

On a recent trip to a juice shop in Lahore, my husband and I noticed a huge black Cygnus car stop at the turn across the road. After closer observation, we saw two women, both around the age of 25, dressed in bright silk step into the jeep that careened off. Two other women were left behind. After some 20 minutes, they too stepped into a Camry and sped off. My husband and I looked towards each other simultaneously – we knew what we just saw but did not have the guts to admit what was going on so openly at ...

Read Full Post