Stories about protection

The road not taken: Going to Cambridge or getting married

In Pakistan, and in my native language Urdu, woman translates into aurat, which comes from the Persian awrah, meaning “parts to be protected”. Literally, too, in my present Muslim, closed-knit, patriarchal society, women like me are guided — by their fathers, husbands, brothers, sons — to be protected from threats against their body and family honour. While these men encourage “western” trends to an extent — like education at reputable schools, recreational sports, or even temporary employment — cultural traditions halt these prospects after marriage. You are born, our men tell us, to marry fast, and vouchsafe both yourselves and your future daughters ...

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You should know your nikkah nama before signing it

As we approach a certain age (that age varying upon a variety of factors) we are faced with the prospect of marriage. It is a natural part of our lives and marriage is, at least to me, one of the very sacred bonds we share with another person. To marry someone is to promise lifelong companionship for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. It is and should be considered as a journey you take with your significant other. Like all journeys, it must start somewhere and in the case of Muslims all over Pakistan, it starts when the man ...

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My niece is the apple of my eye, but I fear for her

I was reading the paper while having toasted bread with a cup of coffee, and my eyes fell upon a story that sent shivers down my spine – two brothers had raped a 14-year-old girl. I placed the cup back on the table since my hands were trembling and all of a sudden, I was a broken little girl again. I was transported back into the past, the same past that had affected not only my childhood, but my soul – a past where I was loved and was the apple of someone’s eye. But sometimes, love isn’t enough because I still remember. ...

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Will TTP back the ISIS?

Reports from various sources and news agencies are claiming that Pakistan is all geared up to tackle terrorism on a large scale. The question however is: how much can Pakistan really do, with the ongoing operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan, protection of its eastern borders and dealing with internal security affairs? On the other hand, the United States has once again embarked upon a full scale procedure to eradicate the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) in Iraq. The US has confirmed that it is now flying armed drones over Baghdad. Pentagon has claimed that this act is for the protection of ...

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My beloved daughter, do not weep when I am gone

To my beloved Daughter, It seems that today may be my last day on earth, my last day with my family, my last day with you. Today, I managed to get a chance to reflect on all that I have done in my life as a father. It has been pretty interesting, in my opinion. I leave to you my final memories as I prepare for my transition into the life hereafter. The first time I held you in my arms and saw your smile, sweetheart, I felt more blessed than you can ever imagination. I gazed at you, God’s marvellous creation, wondering if you ...

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Protection of Pakistan Ordinance: Always guilty unless proven innocent?

The government tightened the anti-terror legislation of the country last month, as President Mamnoon Hussain approved the Pakistan Protection Ordinance (PPO). It declares all peace-disrupting elements as ‘enemies of the state’ and states protection of life to be the state’s top priority. However, many clauses of the PPO remain controversial. One such clause is clause 14 on burden of proof which reads, “An accused facing the charge of a scheduled offence on existence of reasonable evidence against him shall be presumed to be engaged in waging war or insurrection against Pakistan unless he establishes his non-involvement in the offence.” The drafters of the legislation appear to be ...

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Cruelty to animals is not ‘Living on the Edge’

I recently caught the season finale of Living on the Edge (aired on October 16, 2013) and was appalled by the animal abuse taking place in the show. For those unfamiliar with Living on the Edge, it is a reality TV show in which contestants are given various challenges to see who is the most ‘daring’. It is supposedly Pakistan’s ‘highest rated show amongst music channels’. While many critics consider the language and content to sometimes be in bad taste, my major objection is with the cruelty that the animals go through during these ‘dares’. In the grand finale, amongst other ...

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Prayer leader tries to rape 3-year-old: Just another day in Pakistan

We have all read the headlines:  a neighbour held for child rape in Faisalabad, two teenage girls raped and shot dead in Gujranwala and the latest in the never-ending list of gruesome crimes – the horrific attempt of a prayer leader to rape and kill a three-year-old child while she was at a seminary to study. Such revolting treatment of children in our homeland certainly makes everyone feel sick to their stomachs but one wonders what allowed such a shameful rape culture to prevail? There have been 2,713 rape cases registered since January 2012 according to research by the Awaz Foundation Centre ...

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Sorry ladies, no protection for you

Everyone knows that Pakistan does not have the most efficient of governments. Neither would one argue that our politicians are the brightest of the bunch, nor the most honest. Tales of corruption, incompetence and nepotism are so widespread that the average Pakistani has become immune to them. The common man on the street has enough problems on his plate, ranging from high inflation to loadshedding, and is already struggling to make ends meet, to really care about what the government is doing. In all honesty, we don’t really expect that much from our government. In fact just getting through the allotted five years ...

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Working from home: Basic rights denied

Contrary to popular perception, most women work in Pakistan, and often inside the home in the informal economy. Sixty-five per cent of the female workforce works at home, and a 2009 survey estimated their number to be 8.52 million, although activists suggest it may be as high as 12 million. These workers are not protected by formal labour laws and suffer the legal and social disabilities that are typically associated with this form of work – no rights to minimum wage, no social security benefits, inability to organise in unions and lawfully challenge violations of occupational health and safety (OSH) ...

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