Stories about rights

Dear elites: Your servants have rights, treat them like humans

As a result of my ancestors having achieved affluence, my early childhood years were relatively privileged – spent in an expansive house in Peshawar with my siblings, pets, pomp and delusions of grandeur. We had many servants – someone to cook the meals, someone to bring the dishes to the table, someone to drive and maintain the cars, someone to wash the clothes, someone to sweep the floors, someone to feed the dogs, someone to trim the hedges and someone to guard the gate; all of whom collectively pandered to the nauseating imperial sensibilities that dominated the lifestyle of the rich. Having the ...

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12 Years A Slave: A peek into the dark history of the US

While my friend and I were having coffee, he shared an interesting observation with me: “I always wondered why the black people were unable to overcome the practice of slavery in the United States through revolt?” I pondered for a few seconds and replied,  “Hasn’t this always been the case when it comes to dynamics between oppressor and oppressed? It is not just the physical scare that prevents a revolt, but a psychological one.” 12 years a slave is a film based on a book written by Solomon Northup, a ‘free negro’ in 1853. In 1841, Northup was living in the state of New York, alongside his wife and two ...

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Hangu drone strike: Broken American promises, dead Pakistani citizens

Drones would be easier to understand if we were to put ourselves in the others’ shoes. Imagine you are a resident of FATA – a land which you probably feel is barely more than a colony of Pakistan. You are deprived of your most basic rights and facilities, such as education. You reside in a backward region still governed by the obsolete and inhumane Frontier Crimes Regulation, where the writ of the tribal code ‘Pukhtunwali’ is above all. It is not the easiest life, so you try to seek sanctuary at home. Things seem to be okay until a trigger-happy cowboy sitting in ...

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Global powers have to stop playing political chess with Syria

It has been quite a while since the people of Syria began to assert their rights and demand freedom from the clutches of dictatorship. However, as time passed things have taken a turn for the worse. Although the initial uprising was inspired by Syrian neighbours – both, immediate and distant – unfortunately, this simple and just assertion was turned into a global issue by the Big Five countries in the United Nations. These nations played politics at the cost of innocent human lives and even Muslim countries have shown helplessness in stopping the ruthless and continuing massacre of Syrian civilians. On the one hand is Bashar ...

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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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When not being able to afford dowry can lead you to kill yourself

What would you say to five women, who are all fairly above the ‘marriageable age’ and yet have no good prospects in sight? Yes, I know that phrase pretty well. ‘Haye bechari!’ (Oh, the poor thing!) But it’s alright. Four of these five women don’t have to worry about marriage anymore. That is not because they have found feminism. It’s not because they found someone to take care of them or to love them or hold on to them without the greed of a dowry or a fancy wedding. It’s not because their father has won a lottery and suddenly became the richest man ...

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Google should ban Pakistan

For a journalist, perhaps nothing is a greater violation of human rights than the denial of access to information. In the case of Pakistan versus YouTube, I think the government’s nine month ban on Google’s video-sharing website is really the limit of regressive and, in the eyes of any global citizen who accepts the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, unethical and illegal behaviour. I hold out no hope of sanity or assistance from the new government in this case. It is clear that in a country as fragmented along the lines of ‘haves’ versus the ‘have-nots’, ‘extremists’ versus ‘the rest’, the ban ...

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Congratulations on your inhumanity

Congrats on this morose day to you, Where the sky is a shade of gloomy blue, And birds rarely sing perchance, they attract glee, While everyone roams around in utter frenzy.   Congrats to you and your sterile emotions, To your faithless love and your empty notions, To your lifeless joy and your proud modesty, To your useful religion and your puritan negativity.   Congrats on having a mind cunning in all might, Congrats on having a heart colder than ice, Congrats on ruining houses, destroying love, And posing it to be a commandment sent from above.   Congrats in losing the little warmth left in you, In being cleansed of all human feelings too, On ...

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Let overseas Pakistanis vote!

In a grand gesture, the Election Commission of Pakistan granted 3.7 million foreign-dwelling Pakistani nationals permission to vote in elections. Huh? I had never realised that this was a privilege, rather than a right. As with all shows of benevolence, however, there is always a catch. Excluded from this group are just as many Pakistanis who hold dual nationalities; in order to be eligible to stand for office or to be allowed to vote in Pakistan, they must surrender their non-Pakistani citizenship. Being in this particular boat, I’m inclined to ask: what, exactly, gives you the right to take away my rights? By definition, a ...

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Pakistan and India do not care about Kashmiris

Ejaz Haider, in his recent opinion piece in The Express Tribune entitled ‘Some realist advice for Hafiz Saeed’ raised many a points about conflict, water, Kashmir and India–Pakistan. I am no fan of Hafiz Saeed, nor in any way do I condone his acts, but some realism was missed in Mr Ejaz’s article. “The Indus Waters Treaty has worked very well so far,” he states. Worked well for whom, dare I ask? It may be working well for India and Pakistan but can the same be said about Kashmiris, the people who had the first right of use on these waters, a right which stands deprived for ...

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