Stories about victims

Education will not end wife beating, Pakistan needs a cultural shift

Domestic violence – a truly horrific term, to which only its victims can truly relate, is another one of the many plagues Pakistan suffers from. Honestly, I had never thought much about it. I knew what it meant and I knew it existed but that was the extent of my thoughts on the matter, probably because I have never experienced or witnessed it and so I could not relate to it. Or probably because, like so many of us, the bubble of my privileged social setup never gave me a window into this terrifying reality that engulfs many women. But the biggest ...

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Ladies, the Tehelka sexual assault victim is one we should all learn from

Last month, a young reporter from the news magazine Tehelka, was boarding a lift when she was followed by her Editor, Tarun Tejpal, and assaulted. This happened again the following night and she escaped the lift on both occasions. In two weeks time, the girl emailed the Tehelka management and asked Tejpal, one of the most influential men in the Indian media, to issue an apology. He did it twice, once personally and later officially. He admitted to his crime. The girl’s courage, to over-come the hideous incident and demand her right is commendable; that too despite Tejpal’s attempt to blackmail her earlier. This ...

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Disaster victims are boring, lets cover Bollywood instead

Did you know that the estimated number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is around one million according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)? Did you know that another 1.5 million were affected by floods this year according to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)? There are 1.2 million people in Pakistan urgently in need for winter items this season. I am quite sure that most people are unaware of these statistics. This is because the content on TV channels is driven by sensationalism which is essential to win the ratings race. Hence, we only ...

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Dear leaders, if you can’t protect drone victims, let the K-P government do it

Dear Mr Rana Sanaullah, Shahbaz Sharif and Pervez Rasheed,  I write this piece in response to your criticism over the NATO supply blockade by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government. Although Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members would give complicated arguments regarding dignity, terrorism and radicalisation against your views, my focus is relatively simple. Just take a look at the picture of Nabila Rehman showing a drawing she crafted over fear of drone strikes. Nine-year-old Nabila Rehman shows her drawing on drone strikes at the start of a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters Gentlemen, I do not know if drones kill terrorists. I ...

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Munawar Hassan, our fallen soldiers and citizens ARE martyrs

Some time ago a small, market town in England called Wootten Bassett attracted national and international media attention. The town was granted Royal Patronage and even US President Obama appreciated their actions. The people of Watton Basset showed honour and respect to their dead soldiers, who were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whenever the bodies of British troops were brought to an air force base and they passed through this town, the townsfolk showed their respect with spontaneous gestures; businesses stopped, passersby lined the pavements, taking off their hats and standing in silence. The honouring of the fallen soldiers by the people of ...

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When not being able to afford dowry can lead you to kill yourself

What would you say to five women, who are all fairly above the ‘marriageable age’ and yet have no good prospects in sight? Yes, I know that phrase pretty well. ‘Haye bechari!’ (Oh, the poor thing!) But it’s alright. Four of these five women don’t have to worry about marriage anymore. That is not because they have found feminism. It’s not because they found someone to take care of them or to love them or hold on to them without the greed of a dowry or a fancy wedding. It’s not because their father has won a lottery and suddenly became the richest man ...

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Kenya mall attack, and how our leaders let us down in Peshawar

A mother and her two children lay hidden under the cold meat counter of the supermarket, terrified of being discovered by the militants that had just taken over the premises. The mother had been shot in the leg and needed medical attention immediately, but her first priority was ensuring the safety of the children. So when the terrorists made an announcement that if there any children alive in the supermarket, they would be allowed to leave, she made the decision to stand up and announce their presence, even though it could mean certain death for her. Her four-year-old son Eliot’s protective instincts ...

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What Pakistan can learn from the world to protect its rape victims

All of us sat before our computers and our TV screens in the past year to see the different cases (the high-profile Stuebenville, Ohio rape trial, the India gang rape case in December) that had grabbed headlines all over the world. This brought back into action public discussion about rape and the corresponding legal protection for its victims. Recently, in what was perhaps a very positive move against sexual violence, the British police arrested a man due to his online threats against a feminist campaigner, Caroline Criado Perez, after she succeeded in her campaign to get Jane Austen’s picture on a ...

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Meet the families of the kids who died in the Gujrat van tragedy

“Olaad ka ghum bardaasht nae hota” (It is impossible to bear the pain of losing your children) I have heard my father say this quite often. However, since I don’t have any children of my own, I never understood the intensity of emotions behind this statement until I visited the families of the children who lost their lives in the Gujrat tragedy. A fire that broke out in a private school van took the lives of at least 14 innocent children and a teacher. My class had been instructed to visit these families by the director of our institute. On our way ...

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LDA fire: Victims not rich enough for your time?

It was our first day back at school after the election holidays. Everyone was anxious and impatient to share their stories. Amidst the rowdy crowd, my classmates and I sat in a laboratory and exchanged our political views on what had happened and what could have happened when we noticed something strange. One of my class fellows, Jehan* sat next to us unusually quite. She lived on campus and had gone home to cast her vote during the holidays. Her abnormally silent behaviour worried us, so we asked her what was bothering her. Upon our inquiring, she said that the ...

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