Stories about rights

Are animal rights even an issue?

A couple of years ago, a relative of mine met a government employee whose job is the eradication of stray dogs. By profession, he is a dog shooter. He roams the streets searching for strays, and shoots them on sight. Sometimes the first bullet only maims, and he must walk towards the dog to shoot again. He did not choose this job because it was to his liking; he entered this profession because it was all he could find as a means to feed his own family. After all these years of violence day in and day out, he is psychologically ...

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My friend, the special editor

Walking along Goosley Lane in the New Ham borough of London, I saw a notice on the front wall of a house. “Disabled Person”, it said. I wasn’t sure what it meant but I was curious. “The city council makes a slope instead of the edged curb in front of a special person’s house so that their wheelchair could pass into the house easily. They also place this notice on the wall and if you make the mistake of parking your car in his or her way, you will be fined heavily,” said my host in London. He also told me ...

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Boys want to have fun too

What comes to your mind when you think of Karachi? The magnificent sea , ever-glowing lights , loadshedding, paan gutka and for me – gender discrimination. Yup. life is so not fair for the unfair sex in the capital of Sindh. I would have never noticed such discrimination had I been living in Karachi with my family. It was only when I came back to the city to pursue higher studies that I perceived the stark discrimination. The practice here is that all the trendy hang outs, parks, recreational spots are restricted to families only. As harsh as it seems this would still ...

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Our universities are exploiting us

Before enrolling into my university, I was required to sign the usual hosh posh of documents that institutes require to ensure that they’re protected if the students ever decide to ‘act out’. This also included a written oath which demanded that I would abide by the rules and regulations of the institute regardless of what they were and failure to do so would lead to my expulsion from it. The complete sets of rules were compiled in a book and every student was required to go through them before being admitted. The book itself comprised of the usual assortment of ...

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Confessions of a flawed feminist

“Should they be like us? Or should they be allowed to be different from us? This has been called an impossible choice.” – Leti Volpp I recall tumbling upon Volpp’s particular conundrum while I was working on my Master’s degree at Oxford. My preconceived notions regarding ‘feminism’ had hitherto been limited to the patrician suffrage struggles of Virginia Woolf’s essays, a bit of De Beauvoir and the provocative poetry of Urdu poet Parveen Shakir. At the time I still harboured the naïve impression that merely supporting women’s equality against all those that opposed it made me a feminist, until I ...

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The saddest creature

With not even a single street light on the isolated road and accompanied by highly paranoid parents, my 15-minute ride back from work is one filled with fearful glances in the rear-view mirror, always on the look out for ‘muggers’. So just a few weeks back when the car came to a shrieking halt, followed by gasps, I knew that was it. That dark huddle standing in the middle of the road was going to strip us of all valuables and leave my family in post-traumatic shock. But, to our surprise, our midnight assailant was not armed, had a look of despair, and ...

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Sherani, a quack, nominated as head of experts?

There is a council of Islamic ideology in Pakistan that advises the government and legislative bodies on laws that are repugnant to Islam. Maulana Sherani, a rural maulvi from Baluchistan, without any academic credentials, has been appointed the chairman of the council replacing Dr Khalid Masud, a PhD from Mcgill University. Insani Huqooq Ittehad (Human rights alliance), a body consisting of 30 NGOs demanded that the decision to appoint Maulana Sherani must be repealed because it contravenes the criterion laid out for such an appointment. But the nomination of Sherani to please JUI(F), a belligerent ally, raises concerns. It is reminiscent ...

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Barbarian police

I read on the front page of a newspaper the other day, ‘Cop rapes 5 year old.’ A constable visited a labourer’s house on Sunday in the jurisdiction of Lahore’s Factory Area police and asked him to get a roti from a tandoor. As the labourer left the house, the constable allegedly raped the young girl. On May 19, 2010, Asian Human Rights Commission published a report of a 13 year-old girl, who was gang-raped and tortured by police officials during 21 days of illegal detention. On finding that the girl was pregnant, the policemen produced her before a Session ...

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