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Showing posts from March, 2015

Fighting misogyny

I recently saw a very powerful play, Jan Se Mann Ki Jai Ho, on the plight of women in India and around the world. It dealt with various aspects of gender inequality but the most compelling part was the one on female foeticide. The monologue of an unborn baby girl was sensitive, emotional, overpowering and tragic at the same time. I don't think there was anyone in the audience – male or female – who did not cry at the end of that monologue. It reminded me of my own country, Pakistan, as well.

When a girl child is born, we often see family and friends with sad faces, saying things like: ‘Challo koi nahi, agli baar insha’Allah beta hoga’ (It’s okay. God willing, you will give birth to a son next time). In many local hospitals, the hospital staff do not ask for bakshish (tip) when a girl child is born out of ‘pity’ for the family. Girls are seen as a ‘burden’ on the family. Even though we now see more working women in urban areas in Pakistan, many of them face sexual harassment at th…

Selective accountability

Pakistan has a new Senate Chairman, Mr Raza Rabbani. Pakistan’s democracy has not always resulted in the best leadership taking charge of important portfolios, but Mr Rabbani known as ‘Mr Clean’ and a thoroughbred democrat from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is a perfect choice for the post of Senate chairman. On the other hand, the new Deputy Chairman Senate Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri, senior leader of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) is from a rightwing party. We will see how this pans out for the future of the Senate. A progressive chairman and a regressive deputy chairman in the Senate is a reflection of our society and democratic process. Pakistan voted out a progressive party, the PPP, because it could not deliver on economy and governance. We voted in a rightwing party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), because many people believed it would lead to economic growth. Unfortunately, the PML-N has hardly done anything to improve the economy.

It is said that our p…