Stories about social

Suicide – an easy practice in Pakistan?

Being privileged enough to have access to a number of wire services, I stumbled upon a rather disturbing figure: There were at least 10 suicides this week across Pakistan according to these sources alone. The reasons for suicide were varied. A 22-year-old swallowed poisonous pills due to a domestic dispute, a young man took his life after killing two women and injuring four others over a matrimonial dispute, a security guard shooting himself within the limits of Bahadurabad police station because he wanted to marry someone, and a youth committing suicide after being reprimanded by his parents in Sahiwal. The reason ...

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Profiling Muslim men is unjust, unworkable

It is commonly understood that mainstream media creates, processes and disseminates information which determine our beliefs and attitudes and, ultimately, our behaviour.  Consistently displayed messages create a false sense of reality and produce a consciousness that cannot comprehend or even worst, willfully rejects the actual conditions of everyday life. Many have argued that these manipulative messages become the ‘instrument of conquest’, by which the ruling elite tries to make the masses conform to their objectives. By using ‘talking heads’ that explain, justify, and sometimes even glamorise the prevailing conditions of existence, mainstream media secures popular support for a social order that ...

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Do you have what it takes to be a society aunty?

Aunties are the essential thread that holds the delicate fabric of Pakistani society together. In fact, it’s quite surprising that a proportion of our country’s defence budget isn’t allocated towards the Aunty Brigade. ‘Society Aunties’ are the crème-de-la-crème of the Aunty Brigade. Deceptively formidable, they are armed with snubs, icy stares and an ammunition of feline comments. Beautifully groomed, dazzlingly arrayed, and possessing razor-sharp social finesse ‘Society Aunties’ reign drawing rooms, ballrooms, and fashionable weddings. Just don’t make the mistake of addressing them as ‘Aunty’ especially when they appear 39 and Botoxed while their classmates are getting hip replacements. Have you ...

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Social Network: Share, recommend and poke this

Recently, I had the good fortune of being able to catch the latest cinematic venture by American filmmaker David Fincher. He is the genius mind behind films such as Seven, Fight Club, the Zodiac and the multi Oscar nominated film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for which he even received an Oscar nomination. His latest venture, “The Social Network” brings to the silver screen the story of Mark Zuckerburg and the founding of Facebook, a social networking website which in a matter of years would forever change the world that we live in. The film tells begins from the sites ...

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You Like me, you Like me not

“Man kills sister on court premises.” 9 people like this. “Explosion in Peshawar mosque, 3 dead.” 28 people like this. “Twin suicide attacks at Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine.” 230 people like this Doesn’t this appear disconcerting to you? It was alright if you ‘liked’ my pictures or comments. But must you like everything? Is that the only form of reaction left online? Yes,I know you don’t really like it, in the true sense of the word’s meaning. You hit the only button available for appreciation (besides the one for tweets). But that’s how it appears to readers. Am I the only one ...

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Fundamentalism versus pluralism in religion

”The principle of movement in the structure of Islam” (Allama Iqbal, Reconstruction of Religious Thought In Islam) Religious fundamentalism has been described in various terms and jargon; however the most compelling description of fundamentalism when we consider the topics of knowledge production and social practice is’ the virtual absence of historical scholarship, liberty and rationality.’ Fundamentalists are by no means inclined towards force but they do deny the call for reform and change, arguing that religion is unchangeable hence any interference by human beings through manipulative means of interpretation is an adulteration of the purity of faith. In one clear ...

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Screaming from the margins

Persecution doesn’t always have to be physical. I cannot even begin to imagine the horrors of being physically abused, which is a daily reality for millions of women (and men) all around me (although the threat of that too is omnipresent), but there is a more subtle kind of persecution that absolutely none of us escape. Being a woman is bad enough, but if you are a woman and a hardcore feminist (and perhaps a few other progressive things along with that), well than god be with you. Don’t get me wrong: It’s not a women versus. men thing. I almost wish it ...

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A collective approach for good

Growing up, I’m pretty sure that most Pakistani kids never heard, “Mera beta, social entrepreneur banai ga!” I’m also pretty sure that most kids in the Western world would have never heard that either. Social entrepreneurship is still a fairly new concept in the developing and developed world, and since the term is often associated with non-profit or voluntary work, it doesn’t seem to sit quite as well with individuals looking to make a significant chunk of change or parents who would prefer that their children become successful businessmen, lawyers, doctors or engineers. And who can blame them? The ...

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When will our politicians learn?

In an exclusive interview on Express 24/7’s “Witness with Quatrina”, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague revealed that Britain was dedicating a majority of its aid to Pakistan’s flailing education sector. Noting that Pakistan currently faced an “education emergency” he said the country had plenty of capable people and strong assets, but lacked the capacity to educate them, and hence utilize their potential. I wish that Secretary Hague could have stayed in Pakistan for a few more days, because then he would have seen what our “education emergency” really is. Not of just shortage of funding or capacity – its credibility. According ...

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Pakistan in the grips of shisha epidemic

Shisha also known as waterpipe, hubble bubble and hukka is a centuries old habit. Unfortunately in recent years its use has increased all over the world including Pakistan. Previously its use was limited to older people in villages but now it is being promoted in all major cities of Pakistan. Every day new shisha cafes are opening up and our youth is using it without realizing the dangers associated with it. Most five star hotels have opened up shisha corners at their restaurants. Reality check In shisha, tobacco is served to people mixed with certain flavours. Research done in the UK last year ...

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