Stories about social media

Silence of the lambs: Pakistan is doing its fair share for the Rohingya refugees, but what about India and Bangladesh?

One wonders what is more appalling – Myanmar’s systematic genocide of its Muslim minority, or the inexplicable manner in which the world stayed numb while a small country, wielding hardly any politico-economic clout in international affairs, went about openly violating all norms of international law. Let us forget about the world for a second, what exactly has the “Muslim Ummah” done to stop the killings of our Rohingya brethren? It is because of the inaction of Muslim governments in times like these that the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) is often referred to as “Oh, I see”. If Muslim countries had ...

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Is Sarahah just another way to put people in their place, without telling them it’s you who has done so?

It feels as though nothing under the sun will ever be new again. The movies are all sequels or reboots, the series all follow similar story arcs and the tech world is glutted with the same kind of boring distractions. The latest fad on our smartphones is a ‘new’ anonymous messaging application called Sarahah, and it promises nothing more. One makes an account, posts the link onto various social media websites that one is in the habit of using, such as Facebook, and your ‘friends’ can send you anonymous messages. Sarahah is essentially an honesty app that gives people the courage to ...

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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. ...

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Instead of invoking patriotism and jazba, #CSNationalAnthem portrayed disrespect and injustice

It’s become common practice for brands to associate themselves with humanitarian work and patriotism in order to gain extra mileage in the public eye. Recently, Coke Studio launched its own version of the national anthem. Considering that it had the likes of Shafqat Amanat Ali, Ali Zafar, Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Ali Noor, it should have been a beautiful rendition, but it was anything but that. I have quite a few issues with this version of the national anthem. Firstly, I find it ridiculous that they thought it was okay to call it the #CSNationalAnthem and not the Pakistani ...

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Dear sexist men, your privileged gender is not an outcome of your “biological” qualities, but of social conditioning

Recently, I wrote an article based on two recent videos which went viral. The main idea behind the article was to showcase two outstanding individuals who challenged gender stereotypes instead of conforming to society’s prescribed gender roles, going on to live their individual dreams. For me, these individuals are heroes and, in fact, trailblazers as they have challenged socially constructed stereotypes. These stereotypes play a large role in determining what is expected of men and women from society. By spelling out these expectations and enforcing them through upbringing and cultural norms, men and women are often regimented into different roles and hence, destinies. These different roles also largely account ...

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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 ...

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My crime, you ask? Being a fan girl and expressing my love for Chris Martin

This is a message for all those people out there who have been frowned upon for having a difference of opinion; for the people who raised their voices and were brave enough to take a stand against a social evil, but were shunned by the benighted individuals of society. Here’s an honest piece of advice – fight for your cause and do not back down. Most of you must have read the article about me being harassed by a man for expressing my love for my favourite band, Coldplay. My crime, you ask? Being a fan girl and expressing my love and affection for Chris Martin. My fan ...

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#IStandWithEdhi: Making a video defaming the Edhi Centre is easy, but can you be as selfless as Edhi?

I recently came across a distressing video on Facebook where a woman with perfect makeup and a dupatta pinned to her head was going on about something she felt strongly about. I wasn’t bothered by her appearance as such; I was actually concerned about what she was saying and who she was saying it about. The woman was standing outside the Edhi Centre and talking about the filth and cruelty she had witnessed there. She said it was better to kill people rather than keep them in such conditions. After giving an emotional speech for around three minutes, she showed a room with inadequate bedding and some children sitting inside. ...

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Dear Imran Khan, if you’re going to blame Najam Sethi for Pakistan’s defeats, then praise him for their wins also

I was a teenager when Imran Khan, one of the most famous cricketers our country has produced, lifted the World Cup in 1992. I remember watching the match with my family and how they yelled with joy. I remember the euphoria I felt when I went outside to the nearby liberty market to witness what were unimaginable levels of fervour and joy. People were dancing and performing bhangra. The streets which had been almost deserted during the match, as everyone was glued to their TV screens, had suddenly become overwhelmingly alive. Cricket is such a uniting force in Pakistan and for those brief moments, from Karachi to ...

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Brilliant badmashi: How Nehal Hashmi got away with retracting his resignation

“The people who are trying to hold us accountable, listen closely. You shall not be spared.” These were the ominous words of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) leader and future candidate for villain in a Bond movie, Senator Nehal Hashmi. Hashmi was referring to the joint investigation team (JIT) which had been tasked by the Supreme Court to further investigate Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s financial holdings, which has been the subject of the Panama Papers controversy in Pakistan. It was slightly embarrassing for Hashmi that Nawaz asked him to resign from his senators seat for his comments. “The prime minister has declared Nehal Hashmi’s speech as an irresponsible one,” said ...

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