Stories about strong

Do you know what ingredients are used in locally made fairness creams?

On numerous occasions in the past, heavy fines have been imposed on Johnson & Johnson and other prominent pharmaceutical companies for various offences such as false labelling, poor manufacturing practices, Medicare fraud, and kickbacks. This was possible because consumer protection laws are strongly implemented around the world. Unfortunately, here, in Pakistan, we have no such laws; everyone is manufacturing and selling products without the risk of facing any trouble. It’s in our society that edible items and medical products are manufactured without any respect for the consumers’ health. Let’s look at how these businesses exploit people. Our society denies proper education or vocational training to girls, particularly those ...

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Racism, Islamophobia and… steno-typists?

We’ve all read reports of the Belgian police (mis)identifying a Pakistani man as a terrorist. They thought his cricket bat (wrapped in a t-shirt to protect it from rain) was a rifle. The news was followed by reports that the Pakistani embassy in Belgium has sacked the young man’s father for damaging Pakistan’s reputation. The foreign office issued a prompt denial: “Muhammad Tufail Abbasi, steno typist in the commercial section in the Embassy of Pakistan, Brussels, has been transferred back to the headquarters by the Ministry of Commerce on completion of his four year tenure.” Ridiculous, right? Now let’s talk about something even more ridiculous about ...

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Dukhtar: A mother’s plight against child marriage

Rarely do movies of such calibre come along that transcend generations and provoke our greater thought process, not because of impressive visuals, A-list actors, extravagant set pieces and locales but because of its strong story-driven narrative – narrative that is deeply entrenched into the harsh realities of life, as opposed to a work of fiction.  Dukhtar too has a potential to lay claim to all of that and then some, thanks to its excellent subject matter. Dukhtar means ‘daughter’ in Farsi and Urdu dialects. The movie is predominately a story about the plights, miseries and ultimately the bravery exhibited by the principal protagonist ...

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The logic (or lack thereof) behind the Protection of Pakistan Act 2014

The Protection of Pakistan Bill 2014 has been honoured with the presidential seal and is now officially the Protection of Pakistan Act 2014. We are told it is ‘an extraordinary law for an extraordinary situation’, having the validation of a strong legislature. That the act is a repressive law, impinging upon the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution is a settled matter, discussion whereof is now futile and can be equated with banging ones head against a wall. What we should discuss, however, is the thinking or logic which led our lawmakers providing legal sanction to such flagitious police practices as detention on ...

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Surrendering the title: A stepping stone to Liverpool’s success?

Following a costly error from their skipper Steven Gerrard, Liverpool exposed themselves to all sorts of taunts, trolls and criticisms that were hiding when they were on an unbeaten streak before. Captain Steven Gerrard swerving the ball against Chelsea. Photo:AFP This setback means that the reds’ future is out of their hands and they rely solely on how the opposition teams fare against the Manchester City side. Just like when Manchester United were on the horizons of success there were anti and pro United supporters in the league with Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea fans falling in the former category. Liverpool now tastes ...

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Kholo BC and eight other reasons to lift the ban on YouTube now!

Just as the burning of a book is a sad sight, so is banning of resources of knowledge. It feels as if ideas contained in the treasure of enlightenment are vanishing, as pages turn to ash by the wicked work of flames. Almost a year and six months have passed since the world’s largest video sharing website, YouTube, was banned by the information ministry, after a massive uproar from Muslims across the world took place against the excerpts of the blasphemous film The Innocence of Muslims. The blanket ban on the site, however, has proved to be adverse in numerous ways and many ...

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Ladies, you are NOT doormats, stand up for yourselves!

My grandfather’s voice still echoes in my ears. He used to say, “Be a strong woman. Do not take insults hurled at you lying down! Never stoop to low levels. However, do take a stand.” My grandfather was an intrepid and a fearless man. The man of principles that he was, he never shied away from calling a spade a spade. However, he was dignified and humble too. I never saw him humiliate or ridicule anyone. Yes, he did get angry. Oh yes, he did! But he never stooped low to badmouth anyone and maintained his grace. Those who remember him can vouch for that. ...

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In Islamabad: “You can’t eat here because you are Pakistani”

I didn’t hear about journalist Cyril Almeida’s investigation and subsequent tweets against the restaurant ‘La Maison’ through the news or any blogs he might have written. I heard about it from my friends on Facebook, people who are otherwise active in liberal circles and rightfully vocal against the many injustices of Pakistani society. But the injustice that they were complaining about was Almeida’s outrage that a restaurant in Islamabad bans Pakistanis unless they hold a dual nationality. Read that again. They were complaining about his actions, not the restaurant’s policies. Extremely upset. Heard a rumour of a new restaurant in F-7 that only accepts reservations ...

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A psychiatrist’s perspective on gay and transgender persons in Pakistan

Aab Tak, a Pakistani television station started its transmission earlier this year with a strong statement, ‘Ladies, Gentlemen and She-males’ It did not take long for the station to air a sensational TV show Khufia where the hostess, Uzma Tahir, ignored people’s right to independence and a free life as she bullied them with a television camera. Chasing people frantically on the streets of Karachi, she and her team put hands on people, manhandled them and then barged into their homes with a camera crew to ask the victims of her camera bullying, “Are you gay or transgender?” The saddest part of the show occurred ...

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The Paradox

I am baffled, oh people! I am perplexed, I am strong one minute and weak the next,   I adore my milieu; furtively my hinterland do I detest, I am at peace with myself, only to be hit by unrest,   Perseverance drives me; fatigue compels me to withdraw, I seek perfection, though my eyes only see flaw,   I long for affection; I have just hate to offer, I desire harmony; except with no one can I concur,   I yearn for the joy of life; but I want death to set me free, I wish to face all odds; yet there is a strong urge to flee,   I thirst for my jovial side; ...

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