Stories about Qandeel Baloch

Honour is our national shame, not Mahira Khan

It’s 2017, which means every day one wakes up to a new outrage on social media – it is simply the way of the world now. You pick a side and tweet incessantly until the next outrage-inducing news comes along. Now, normally, I try my best to act reasonable and get some facts before I join the outrage train, so imagine my surprise when I see pictures of Mahira Khan smoking with Ranbir Kapoor, and I immediately begin to judge her. How could I not? Did you see what she was wearing? My first thought was, ‘wow, what a lovely dress!’ What do we have to ...

Read Full Post

So far, Baaghi is authentic and impactful – but will it continue to be so?

Currently airing on Urdu 1 and starring Saba Qamar, Ali Kazmi, Sarmad Khoosat, Irfan Khoosat, Nadia Afghan and Saba Faisal, is a drama called Baaghi. This drama explores the life of Fouzia Azeem aka Qandeel Baloch, the social media superstar who was murdered by her brother in the name of honour. Qamar plays Fouzia Batool – a sparky, witty woman residing in a small village in Punjab. She’s not your average village damsel; she harasses her harassers and talks back to anyone who dare oppress her. Filled with an inviting antagonism and natural charm, Fouzia’s personality is a firecracker. She dances at weddings and sings Noor Jehan songs. ...

Read Full Post

Ghairat: Exploring the orthodox beliefs and customs of honour killings and love marriages

Just when we started to see a glimmer of hope due to recent political events, many of us were given a harsh reality check. We were once again made to see the reality of our patriarchal society. We are once again talking about honour by stooping down to the level of discussing an unsuspecting female’s choice of clothing to become Pakistan’s top female squash player. We are once again associating izzat (honour) with the restrictive codes that women in Pakistan are expected to abide by. I will leave this specific matter until further investigation and evidence from both parties. However, this particular incident has evoked memories of several horror stories of honour killings in ...

Read Full Post

Can Baaghi aptly and fairly portray the layered, complicated and uncovered truths of Qandeel Baloch’s life and death?

The year 1994 saw the release of the biographical film, Bandit Queen, based on the life and times of India’s famous dacoit who went by the name of Phoolan Devi. The director and producer of the film proudly claimed it to be a ‘true story’. However, it was only a matter of time before critical acclaim and raving reviews started pouring in from all quarters. It was then that the Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy picked bones with the movie. She said that making such a movie was trespassing of the vilest degree. Devi was alive when the film was released and yet she was ...

Read Full Post

See Qandeel, all you had to do was die in order for us to stop hating you

Kohl-ridden eyes, polished nails, puckered up lips covered in the defying shade of rebellion; she rapidly rose to fame from the platform of social media. Writhing to the beat of self-promotion, dressed up in the daring fabric of ‘baring it all’, Qandeel Baloch launched herself as an actress, singer and social media starlet (the puritans rhymed it with ‘harlot’). Let us establish one thing before the comment section fills up with accusatory fingers and self-righteous sermons. This is an opinion piece, not a verdict of virtue and sin. All of us first heard about Qandeel through one friend or another, mostly urging us to hate-watch ...

Read Full Post

“Not sons, they are my daughters”

There is almost nothing Aamir Khan touches that does not turn into gold. Not just a shiny, yellow plating but a burnished, solid bar. There is no denying the fact that he is a genius and in this advertisement, he proves it yet again. It is poignant, and it is sweet. It touches upon an age-old, bitter dispute delicately, albeit tentatively. The constant war fought, particularly in the sub-continent, for women’s rights and against male chauvinism continues to grow increasingly aggressive with each generation. In my opinion, it has escalated to the extent that it has desensitised many from both ...

Read Full Post

Terrorist attacks? Sectarian violence? Civil strife? Maybe if we arrest Nasir Khanjan and ban Valentine’s Day everything will be okay…

As a writer of some notoriety, I received a message yesterday including some choice expletives. When pressed about the reason as to why I deserved such “kindness”, I was told that I targeted our Pakistani values with one of my posts. After questioning this person for 20 minutes, my assailant could not name a single value I was targeting.

That is the beauty of blaming somebody over something as intangible as values, honour or image – you do not have to prove anything. You can mask your dislike for something under the pretence of national concerns. My popularity is nothing compared to that of Nasir ...

Read Full Post

This is how women made Pakistan proud in 2016

Many of 2016’s most notable moments were mostly unfortunate, unchecked events of toxic masculinity. From the horrifying tragedy that was Qandeel Baloch’s senseless murder, to Donald Trump’s self-described ‘locker room talk’, and the Council of Islamic Ideology’s (CII) absurd suggestion that ‘lightly beating’ one’s wife ‘as needed’ is permissible, most of us are happy to be saying goodbye to a year riddled with examples of the negative impact rigid gender roles can have on culture. But 2016 also happens to have been quite the year for some Pakistani women. Below is just a handful of a large number of Pakistani women ...

Read Full Post

When Pakistan took one step forward and two steps back

In my living memory, I have seen many years in which Pakistan faced terrible setbacks. Memories of 2007, when former President General (Retired) Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency and then Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, are still fresh in my mind. Likewise, all of us have neither forgotten nor forgiven what happened on December 16, 2014, a day which will continue to live in our collective memories. As this year comes to an end, let’s recap what the year had to offer. There were highs and there were lows, but unfortunately, the latter outweigh the former and by a considerable margin. There ...

Read Full Post

Remembering the ones we lost too soon

It seems like the year 2016 just started a while back, but here we are, just a few days shy from welcoming 2017. A lot happened last year which took us by surprise and shocked us. But even amidst such unpredictability, we were not prepared to see some of the deaths that came our way. Some were lost to old age, some to disease and some to murder. But regardless, they were all taken too soon. Here are some of those names, in no particular order. Peter Vaughan Photo: IMDb Even though he had a career spanning 75 years, ...

Read Full Post