Stories about women in Pakistan

A ‘Pink’ bus for women, really?!

Recently in Lahore we were graced with the news of the arrival of our very own ‘Pink Bus’. The purpose of this bus is to rid, albeit momentarily, the female population from the roving eyes, slippery hands and insensitive tongues of the male population; to give women ‘harassment-free-travel’. WHAT? Although the effort is admirable and shows that the government’s thinking is on the right track, the solution, a Pink bus, is a complete sham. The mere fact that the authorities thought it appropriate to introduce something like this should actually offend women and yet we sit there smile, look pretty and let the big, tough, muscular ...

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I am a woman and I can carry my own luggage, thank you

An airport can be a good starting point to begin learning about the culture of any country. Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport is much the same. I was motivated to write about this seemingly trivial topic because of the sheer frustration that I felt on arriving at this airport. The experience left me wildly exasperated, and what I am about to give you is a microscopic account on the matter to make you understand my ordeal. After a 12-hour flight from Canada, as I was making my way towards the baggage collection point, I saw a string of porters looking out for potential ...

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Bloodstained honour is not honourable at all

More often than not, I come across distressing stories about women  who are beaten, tortured, maimed, and in some of the worst cases, killed by male (and sometimes even female) members of their families. It never fails to surprise me when I learn that many of these cases are on account of an honour that was supposedly ‘stained’. This ‘staining’ hence serves as an excuse for people to resort to violence – violence against women, in particular – which has always been a global pandemic. One of the most recent of such horrid stories, or so-called ‘honour-killings’, occurred in Darra Adam ...

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Rape is NOT cool

The 21st century has no room for patriarchal societies. The social structure of Pakistan has been moulded, formed and structured in a way to undermine issues of “the other gender” and feminism has no traces other than low-scale campaigns, most of which have been in vain. We have become a society immune to news of loss, tragedy and horrors. Every day, the bright screen in the corner of the room brings news of bombs, murders and countless tragedies, all of which pass us by in our own self-created apathy. The recent issue of rape in a street of Lahore has ...

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The rishta rat-race that destroyed my friend’s life

They say if opportunity does not knock, build a door. Our society takes this philosophy a step further when it comes to marriage for women. If love does not knock of its own accord on our doors, they manually construct a loving family by finding the perfect arranged marriage that both sides can approve of. Often, this approach actually works. Experts claim that in several cases, arranged marriages are far more likely to lead to lasting affection than love marriages. But the period leading up to an arranged marriage in Pakistan – days when relatives go around “looking for a rishta” – is nothing ...

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