Stories about sexual harrassment

Shoaib Mansoor’s most anticipated movie, Verna, is yet another example of his anger towards social injustice

After hits like Khuda Ke Liye and Bol revived Pakistani cinema, Shoaib Mansoor is all set to return with another potential box office hit, Verna. Directed by Mansoor and produced by Showman Productions, the trailer has already amassed more than a million views on YouTube since its release. #Verna Trailer – 1 Million Views on YouTube!!! A film by Shoaib MansoorReleasing on 17.11.17#HUMFilms #Shoman #MahiraKhan pic.twitter.com/I9UAEIpFz4 — Verna The Movie (@VernaTheMovie) October 19, 2017 Not only have Mansoor’s previous films been considered monumental for Pakistani cinema, he is also the brains behind classic drama serials in Pakistan like Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Fifty Fifty and Ankahi. It is thus unsurprising that news of ...

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Tooti, saari ki saari mein

“She sat there, a queen on her heavenly throne, radiating beauty that I had never witnessed before. She seemed flawless, perfect, an embodiment of purity yet powerful enough to evoke awe and wonder. Her hair is a rich shade of black, short but swaying because of the light breeze coming through a slightly ajar window. Those luscious locks complimented her beaming skin. Her straight-edged nose made her look regal, as if any moment she’d place a tiara on her head and walk around with authority. She commands respect; there is an aura of sensuality about her. I can smell her; I can feel her and ...

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The reactions to Qandeel’s death reveal no understanding of feminism in Pakistan

They call her a prostitute, a sex object, a joke and other degrading insults in an attempt to discredit her. They assume that because they deem her to be all of the above, she cannot at the same time be empowering women and/or herself. A fatal flaw is, thus, exposed in their argument in that she is struck down for what women (and men) across the world celebrate her for: her courage, tenacity and fire to be whoever she chose to be in a society that (literally) stifles freedom—especially freedom of expression. As I reflect upon this week, many voices ...

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Why can’t Pakistani men stop staring at women?

The four and a half months I spent in Turkey as an exchange student were the best part of my life. But after a while of living there, I had already started to miss my family and friends and couldn’t wait to be back with my loved ones in the country where my home existed. But there was something I had forgotten about my home country. The day I was flying back to Pakistan, while waiting at the Istanbul Airport’s lounge, I realised what I had forgotten and what was awaiting me in Karachi. The excitement of returning home slowly began to fade ...

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Why is India denying women protection from marital rape?

In India, marriage is often regarded as a license to have sex; and that’s not entirely in jest. In a country where public attitudes towards sex are typically very conservative, marriage provides a socially sanctioned outlet for their sexual energy. In addition to being conservative, India is also a male dominated society where in vast swathes of the population, women have very little say in the direction their lives take. Men are responsible for most major decisions and women are expected to meekly cooperate. The combination of deeply ingrained patriarchy and unsympathetic state machinery puts Indian women at a severe disadvantage. However, education, economic progress, ...

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I do not think my female friends should come back to Pakistan

“It is hard being back. It’s like every decision I make is not my own. I cannot even walk on the streets or go out late without my mom worrying. And do not even get me started on the questions I face about my marriage plans.” These words from my friend, who recently returned from her graduate degree in the UK, have become a recurring theme in my conversations with all my female friends going back home to Pakistan after living abroad. I currently happen to live in New York, with quite a few graduate students from Pakistan. And I do not want ...

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Did Nawaz Sharif just wake up to honour killings in Pakistan?

When it comes to the barrage of crimes against women, Pakistan ranks among the highest in the world. Such crimes against women include violence (sexual and non-sexual), trafficking and murder in the name of “honour”. While no crime is worse than the other, the regularity with which honour killings occur in Pakistan is especially harrowing. As a matter of fact, more than 1,000 women die from honour-based killings every year. These are just the reported cases. Think about how far the number would jump up considering the fact that most of the cases of violence against women go undocumented. Despite the uniformity of these crimes, ...

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More power to the women and less to the dupatta

Recently, I came across an article that seemed to propagate the indispensable role of ‘dupattas’ in our ‘cultural dress code’. I was amused by the fact that the article, which stressed on preserving Pakistani culture, began with an Indian song featured in the movie Barsaat, which was released in 1949. If I’m not mistaken, it was sung by the famous Lata Mangeshkar. So much for celebrating our own culture. What was most appalling about the article was the fact that it was propagating the idea that men stare, ogle, and gawk at women because they do not cover themselves up with dupattas. It quoted ...

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Tortured, beaten and raped: Is sexual terrorism ever going to end?

It’s a matter of grave concern and great sadness that in the 21st century, despite all the world’s advances in technology, science, society and economics, violence against women remains endemic. In fact, one out of three women around the world is a victim of gender-based violence: domestic violence, sexual assault and rape, sexual harassment, honour killings and many other permutations of this crime play out in millions of homes, workplaces, streets, villages and cities in every part of the globe. Violence against girls and women is rightly called one of the greatest crimes against humanity, occurring across all nations and cultures, ...

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A woman was stripped naked by Indian officials in Kashmir. And we will blog about it. Again. In vain.

On June 19th 2008, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that included the following statement: “Rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide.” The resolution also mentions, “Women/girls are particularly targeted by the use of sexual violence, including in some cases as a tactic of war to humiliate, dominate, instil fear in, disperse and/or forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group.” Just a few years later, circa 2015, in Indian-occupied Kashmir, a woman was stripped naked by five men – including one army official. It was the district of Udhampur ...

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