Mina Malik-Hussain

  • TPhotos of Sara Tawab Umar, the Assistant Commissioner of Peshawar, have hit the news. She is making rounds of the city with her child in tow. Another photo shows her at her desk, doing paperwork with the baby in her lap. The child’s carrycot is on her desk, which is strewn with toys and ...

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  • TI spent a most edifying day in Faisalabad this weekend at the Faisalabad Literary Festival. It is the fifth year of the festival, and full marks to the organisers for bringing literature and the arts to the city—after all, creative endeavour is fostered by dialogue, discussion and ...

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  • TLife is stranger than fiction. Last week, a fellow mum at the elite, English-medium school my children go to spotted a woman outside our school as my friend waited in her car with her toddler for her older child. This woman parked her own car, stepped out and disappeared inside school, obviously ...

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  • TOne day, I’d really like to see a mob of women going ballistic on the streets. It’s so tiresome how protest after protest we see men running amok, throwing rocks at shop windows, terrorising young men with banana carts, setting private property on fire—all with great ...

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  • TIt’s no surprise that daytime television in Pakistan is abysmal. It seems like across the network board, people have sat down to brainstorm the best ways in which to reduce millions of viewers to drooling idiots by blasting the most inane, thoughtless and frankly crass content possible at ...

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  • TDupattas, in my opinion, have always been a strange and cumbersome addition to a wardrobe. They have some uses—in a pinch, you can wipe your hands on it, use it as a blanket or a pillow, shield yourself from the elements. You can use a dupatta as a rope, a hammock for a baby or when slung ...

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  • TI have done a fair amount of traveling alone, but one thing I have noticed as I grow older and less tolerant of uncomfortable situations is that I appreciate a Lady around. I am grateful that airline personnel in Pakistan will automatically assign a woman to sit next to you on the plane, or at ...

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  • TThese days, in America a judge of theirs who has been nominated for a Supreme Court seat is under investigation. His name is Brett Kavanaugh, and he has been accused of assault by Dr Christine Blasey Ford, a psychologist and researcher. He assaulted her with a friend when they were all teenagers; ...

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  • TTen year old Amal Umer was tragically killed last month when a police bullet hit her while she sat in her car with her family. Her parents were mugged at a crowded intersection full of traffic and people, and the police thought it fit to open fire on the retreating thieves in an environment like ...

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  • TNotes from the Underground was abroad recently—in Istanbul. The seat of the Ottoman empire, Istanbul—formerly Constantinople—is a treasure of a city. The Ottoman empire began with Osman the First and eventually became the most important sultanate in Southeastern Europe and the ...

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  • TIsn’t it so edifying when one’s provincial minister for culture makes it known exactly what he thinks of culture, and it isn’t what one would expect? It really shakes things up for the average citizen who inclined towards the cultural. Usually “culture” and ...

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  • TOne is deeply grieved this week. One is perpetually mourning one thing or another it seems in this country of ours—four years into Notes from the Underground and never a dearth of things to be thinking out loud about. This week, it is again the depths of brutality to which people can sink. ...

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  • TCongratulations to all, we have a new government. Our opposition looks like it is ready to keep a close eye on the majority, the new roster of ministers is predictably dull—so long, brief flicker of hope for more women in charge — and things are settling down. One eternal interest that ...

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  • THappy almost-Independence Day, dear readers! As we crest the wave of seventy-one years of our green passport, cricket team and precarious sense of identity (all closely enmeshed), one likes to take a moment to consider ‘Pakistaniyat’ – a kind of New Year’s resolution; good ...

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  • TFourteen schools, primarily girls’, have been burned down in Diamer. For the geographically unsure, Diamer is in Gilgit-Baltistan and sounds familiar because it is also the site of the proposed Diamer-Bhasha dam, for which most Pakistani citizens have received a polite text message about. ...

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  • TNotes from the Underground is back after a summer holiday! Many things are different, and this is the first Naya column. One feels it should be accompanied with some kind of pomp and circumstance, but one is now used to being in Pakistan, the land of hard knocks—sometimes a bat whacks you in ...

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  • TEthical television shows on Pakistani television have proliferated like rabbits. Gone are the benign days of Tariq Aziz giving away microwaves as the audience dutifully clapped along with the synthesizer going tan-tan. Now we’ve got pumped up game shows, morning shows, talk shows, cooking ...

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  • TIn the children’s cartoon film, “The Little Mermaid”, the evil sea witch Ursula is plotting to trap Princess Ariel, in order to manipulate her father the king into giving up his power to her, Ursula. Ariel falls in love with a human, which is forbidden, and Ursula sees an ...

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  • TChildrearing in desi households is always a group activity. Everyone has an opinion, and feels free to air it. Someone will always give the child a biscuit before lunchtime and obviously at tea-time don’t even try to stop the someone who will be giving the child a sip from their cup. ...

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  • TAnother week, another spate of unregulated insanity. Never a dull moment! The government has finished another democratic term, which is both unprecedented and excellent. Our democratic process is creaking along, whether thanks to the usual peripheral interference remaining there or better practice ...

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  • TAnother year, another Ramzan and many wishes for us all to have a blessed, peaceful and happy one. Only somehow, one doesn’t quite think that the government trusts us to. Why else would they pass a bill like the Ehteram e Ramzan (Amended) one, where now if you are caught eating in public, you ...

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  • TThere seems to be a trend for putting females in the garbage. One is utterly sickened and heartbroken at how disposable a female life is, particularly in this country. As if it weren’t enough to rape them, beat them, marry them off before puberty to men old enough to be their fathers, keep ...

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  • TI have been thinking a great deal about how we Other people. German philosopher Hegel first coined the term, elaborating how the human preoccupation with the Self automatically creates a Not-Self, or an Other. Everyone who is not Me is Someone Else, and that person, that not-me, the un-self, is the ...

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  • TApparently a strain of antibiotic-resistant typhoid is on the loose in Pakistan. This is very, very serious news, particularly for a nation of self-medicating compulsive pill-poppers such as we are. While diseases are all caused by microbes, they are either viral or bacterial. You can catch germs ...

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  • TPakistani Twitter is on fire, and what a glorious blaze of light it is indeed. Girls are coming out of the shadows to finally name their harassers, and it should come as no surprise that there are so many of both parties. Most recently the CEO of music company Patari had to leave the company in the ...

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  • TGloria Steinem once said, quoting Irina Dunn, that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle—in other words, doesn’t. Following Asma Jahangir’s demise many words of praise were said about her husband, and how he was to thank for her great success as a lawyer. One often finds ...

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  • THave you ever been in a position where, after having driven somewhere and are now leaving, some random man begins to wave an arm when you start reversing? You have somehow managed to leave your house, navigate traffic and parked your car quite safely. Now, when you are leaving, someone is trying to ...

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  • TThe Lahore Biennale is full-swing in the city, and it really is tremendous. Top-class artists are showing their work in several different locations across the city, all for free—there are exhibits at the Fort, the Shahi Hammam, the Lahore Museum, Lawrence Gardens, Mubarak Haveli and an ...

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  • TTo mark the international Women’s Day, many people in Pakistan participated in the Aurat March—walks in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad held simultaneously on the eighth of the month to celebrate the global movement for equality, and to show solidarity for women from all walks of life. It ...

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  • TAnother summer, another onslaught of ridiculous lawn. Fashion is fashion and that’s all right, you do what you like with your money, but when did the advertising for lawn become a song and dance that has to be bested each year? There used to be the good old days when you’d just stand in ...

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