Stories about son

Welcome to the paradise on earth…

Welcome to the paradise on earth…  Welcome to the valley where rivers run red with the blood of innocent young men, Where a mother waits endlessly for her missing son to come back, Where a father shoulders the coffin of his teenage son. Photo: Haris Khan  Welcome to the paradise on earth… Welcome to the valley where the majestic mountains bow in sorrow, Where entire villages are gang raped by tyrants who crush the dreams of the nation under their boots, Where thousands of children are buried in unmarked graves,   Welcome to the paradise on earth… Welcome to the valley where freedom of speech is for ...

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I want to live in a Pakistan where women support women

I once had dreams of building a successful career as a legal professional. I pursued this dream all the way up to studying for the Bar-entrance-examination. However, our society expects a girl to get married as soon as she crosses puberty – before she can make any serious effort to pursue a career. Eventually, I too had to succumb to pressure and tied the knot half expecting a career shift from the court room to the kitchen. Initially, things worked like a charm and I was blessed with a home that I could proudly term my ‘heaven’. Yet I couldn’t curb ...

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Is it too risky to become a Pakistani rock star instead of a banker?

My accounting teacher back in O-level (Grade 11) gave us an example of how conservative and hypocritical our Pakistani society can be. She said there are certain tribal areas in Pakistan that are against the education of women and would oppose it on every front. But when one of the girls from their area would end up becoming a successful doctor they would proudly exclaim, “Ye dekho, humara larki doctor ban gaya hai!” (Look at that, our daughter has become a doctor!) I have realised this attitude is not just restricted to the tribal areas. Pakistanis do not recognise or appreciate good things while they are ...

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When we were too poor to afford Blue Band margarine

I still remember the day that Blue Band margarine was introduced to Alamdar Bakery in my home-town of Quetta, Pakistan. The glossy silver packaging and the light blue printing stood out among all the other butter in the bakery’s refrigerator. However, I refrained from taking an interest in this new product since I was well aware that my parents would not be able to afford it. I continued to consume the inexpensive Liaquat Makkhan for breakfast even after the older brother of the baker recommended Blue Band with great zeal; I consoled myself by thinking that he was just trying to improve his sales. As the weeks ...

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Unimpressed and unmoved by Bilawal Bhutto’s speech

Bilawal Bhutto’s speech at Karachi’s Karsaz on the sixth anniversary of the unfortunate Oct 18, 2007 bombings has created quite a stir. As a son who lost a brave mother to rabid radicalisation, one feels that the emotionally-charged display of passion in front of an audience of die-hard jiyalas was all but natural, and perfectly anticipated.  Towing the line of populist politics introduced by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Bilawal did a good job with a crowd that seemed to be only following half of what their 26-year-old chairman conveyed. His body language apparently conveyed the remaining half, complete with waving fists ...

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My mother’s last words to me

I wrote this a few days after my mother passed away today on October 2, 1989. I have carried it with me since not knowing if what I wrote was meant only for me.  As the memories of that night flood me again, I feel that the heaviness of carrying it for so long has made me weak. I also don’t know when I might join her (and my dad), and this true story will go down with me. I suppose by sharing this with you I can tell you what a fine woman she was and how all she ...

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You and your cursed tongue

“Rashid, nooooo! Stop! For the love of the Almighty, stop!” My incessant pleas fell on deaf ears. By now my voice had transformed from a high-pitched wail to a dry, hoarse moan, stuck deep in my throat. I watched helplessly as he picked up that shovel, desperately trying to free myself of the fetters. I could see his thick-shouldered frame shifting laboriously from the mound of earth to the deep grave-like trench dug in the ground. “I told you, your tongue was cursed!” He grumbled, his voice dripping with frustration. I had to do something, but what? I tried to wrestle my way out ...

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Eid shopping and memories from Swat

Swat: I grab my white parrunay (veil) and handbag, and ask my younger son to hire a rickshaw for us. It’s the last week of Ramazan and my clothes for Eid are still lacking a lace here, and a button there; my elder son wants shoes while the younger one wants to a buy a shirt like the one his friend at school has. As the rickshaw races towards Cheena market – the local market where almost everything is available that a woman might need for herself and also for her kids – I see life at its full swing. People of ...

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When the Okara police made a father and son rape each other

It was one of those foreboding nights; the power had gone out and I was sitting on the roof on my charpai. With the atmosphere already grim from stories of jinn possessions and cannibal witches, my cousin launched into a narrative about the increasing number of violent crimes in the area and the complete and utter ineffectiveness of the police, who seemed more and more interested in exacting bribes and satisfying their sadistic tendencies. As the discussion grew heated, I discovered the true extent of the latter. Police in our area had become notorious for brutalising their captives no matter what the crime or proof of ...

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A ‘thank you’ we forget to say

She wakes up at 5:00 am. She has to make breakfast and pack a snack for all her children before they wake up for school. She makes a boiled egg sandwich for her daughter, a fried egg for her son and a cheese omelette for her youngest son. Without wasting a minute, she sets the table and her eyes fall on the clock that strikes 6:00 am. She panics and curses under her breath, “Oho! Museebat, I am late again!” Scurrying to the rooms, she wakes each of the boys up with a kiss on their foreheads. They squirm and whine in an ...

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