It’s not science fiction and it’s not the nation’s growth story. It’s the rape story we are all living inside of. In this rape story, your female/male/trans body is owned broadly by the state but specifically and practically by your father, and next to him, your elder brothers, and next to them, your uncles and your younger brothers. They decide who to hand over your body to. This new person now has rights to access your body, its seed and its fruit. Sometimes money exchanges are involved in this story. The new owner of a female body takes money in addition to control ...Read Full Post
How can 25 people collectively believe that raping a girl can constitute as punishment for the rape of another?
There is an unholy pestilence infesting the national soul and on July 18th in Multan, it manifested in all its hideous reality. The more one reads up on the incident which took place in Muzaffarabad in Multan, the more one descends into a moral sinkhole where nothing but the purest evil dwells. To punish the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl by a 16-year-old boy, the rapist’s 17-year-old sister was raped by the victim’s brother on the orders of a panchayat. As if that were not sufficiently vile, it has also been learnt that the mother of the rapist ‘offered’ her two older, married daughters to the ...Read Full Post
Wearing jeans or a sleeveless top is “ruining the culture”, but a sari showing the midriff is not, India?
There must be something very special about the evil garment called ‘women jeans’, otherwise why would even the most sagacious men rile up against it? They are certainly not just a pair of trousers in denim fabric, else why would it worry and distract men so much? Perhaps this is the reason why the village panchayat in Rajasthan barred women from wearing jeans along with attractive clothing such as leggings, short skirts and sleeveless tops. Nevertheless, women wearing fully covered jeans with a sleeveless top ruin the culture, but a sari that shows off midriff doesn’t. Besides, it is the tight jeans and leggings that ...Read Full Post
The world works in strange ways and the more things change, the more they stay the same. After decades, nay centuries of conflict, it seems the world had finally turned the corner in the 90s. Yes, there was a lot still to be done, but we seemed to be moving in the right direction. The cold war had ended, the European Union (EU) took concrete shape, and globalisation was taking root all over. Free trade and the communication revolution were turning the world into a global village. Perhaps for the first time in human history, democracy and human rights were regarded as supreme and inviolable in ...Read Full Post
Recently, a friend asked me if I had seen the movie ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. Being averse to things I have no real interest in, I told him I see it every day. Surprised, he asked me what I meant, to which I replied, “In Pakistan, we are all to some level masochistic. Either that or we are just plain servile. How can we be bombed, killed, raped and beaten into submission every day and just go on with our lives as if nothing is happening?” Pakistan has a history of insurgency and violence, which reached its peak during the ‘War ...Read Full Post
The international community has largely ignored the political situation regarding the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar. The Rohingya have been systematically disenfranchised and persecuted in their home state of Myanmar, having been denied the rights of citizenship, worship, marriage and education. Since 2012, the Rohingya have been subjected to numerous acts of violence by the Buddhist majority leading to hundreds of deaths, destruction of property, and a mass exodus of Rohingya with estimates stating that around 100,000 are living in internment camps and 200,000 more residing in unofficial camps in Bangladesh. In 2013, mosques and Muslim-owned businesses were destroyed by a 300-member mob in central Myanmar in a series of ...Read Full Post
India is in the news once again, and for all the wrong reasons yet again. An instance of mass molestation in Bangalore on New Year’s Eve has put the country under the radar. An estimated 60,000 people gathered on MG Road and Brigade road to join in the celebrations ushering in 2017. Reports state that members of the crowd turned unruly and a large number of women were harassed and groped. And as has happened previously, ministers have been making asinine statements while trying to shift the blame from the perpetrators of the crime to the victims. Ministers have been known ...Read Full Post
Unless you’re fairly active on Twitter, and/or have a genuine interest in expat Pakistanis who are active within sociopolitical circles, you might not be aware of who Tarek Fatah is. Originally from Karachi but now based in Canada, he writes a regular column for one of the country’s largest newspapers and has a frequent broadcast presence. In addition to this, he is a staunch critic of virtually everything Pakistan. His criticism of Pakistan has its merits. However there are times where the gap between the truth and what Tarek Fatah perceives to be the truth is larger than the Grand ...Read Full Post
A few months ago, when Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy won her Oscar, I got into a heated argument with one of my friends. His contention was that people like her were ‘maligning’ the image of Pakistan by unnecessarily inflating some isolated incidents. In his opinion, her efforts were just creating negative stereotypical images of Pakistan and which made ‘enemies’ of Pakistan feel comfortable in their hate. In his opinion, Pakistan’s gender related issues were not systemic and were blown out of proportion. “It is just a tiny minority which is indulging in honour killings and it is unfair to present Pakistan in such a negative light”, he argued. Is he ...Read Full Post
Right across the Turkish capital, Istanbul, countless people are huddled together clutching boards and posters in a form of protest. Turkey has been struggling with a number of political problems and most of them are associated with the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in neighbouring war-torn Syria. But this time, unlike the others, this problem doesn’t have anything to do with ISIS but is triggered by troubling issues inside the country. A new Turkish bill has been proposed which pardons men from crime and punishment if they marry the victim they raped. Thousands of women were outraged. Human rights groups were ...Read Full Post