How Can Pakistan Become A Semi Rich Country Like Malaysia?

The past few months have seen a flurry of activity in both the political and economic sphere in Pakistan. The new government has yet to deliver its promise of a Naya Pakistan primarily because of the problems it has inherited. From the price of the dollar reaching new heights and the burden of debts refusing to cease, Pakistan is currently in deep waters in terms of economic stability.
Despite the ever-growing list of problems, there might still be hope for Pakistan to emerge as a semi-rich country like Malaysia.

Although many speculate the CPEC program would help in this process, critics disagree. The truth of the matter is that the success of a country doesn’t hinge on a single factor and definitely not on foreign reliance.

Take Malaysia for example. Mahathir Mohamad played a major part in the part in the development of his country without reliance on Chinese projects although being offered them. Instead, the government devised ways to use the resources available to them (palm oil and tin in this case) and focus on the export of them.

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At the end of the day, it isn’t foreign projects that can help our country flourish economically; it is the government economic and education policies. Pakistan is a country that is blessed with resources and the only way to rise to a semi-rich status is to adequately utilize them for export and trade.

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A Glimpse of Turkey- Part 1

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It was on August 4th, 2014, that I got my first glimpse at the shore of turkey. Despite my groggy state and red eyes that begged me to give them a rest, courtesy of the 5-hour flight from Dubai, I couldn’t help but stare at the vast expanse of the Mediterranean through the plane window. The sun had just come up an hour ago, and the sunlight hit the ocean at just the right angle to give the illusion of diamonds floating in the water. To say I was flabbergasted by the beauty of it would be an understatement.

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Having grown up near the sea for the majority of my life had made me love the oceans, sea, beaches, lake, you name it and I’m pretty sure I would be in love with that water body. So just imagine my state when my eyes laid upon nothing but water as I stared out the window. I could see small ships resembling raisins from such a height. I kept on watching as the ships became denser and the variety increased as well. And finally, I could see the coast of Istanbul and nothing- not even the wailing baby-could have me take my eyes off such a majestic sight.

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Fast forward 2 hours and I’m standing outside the airport with my family, the sun beating down on us with such a ferocity that had me thinking if it had some personal issues with us. I guess you could only appreciate the sun when you’re sitting in a comfortable seat, in a cold environment with a blanket wrapped around you, looking out of the plane and thanking the sun for make it look like barrels of diamond exploded in the sea.

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 Too bad I couldn’t glare back at the sun. I don’t think my corneas would have appreciated it. Anyway, squinting my eyes and assessing the view before me, the very first thing that I noticed was the diversity. Of course, standing in front of an international airport of the world’s most 2nd visited country will make you notice that. But the diversity I noticed was not among the crowds of people rushing past me. No, it was the taxi drivers that caught my eye. I could see people of all skin tones, speaking different versions of Arabic, I saw Chinese, I saw Americans and some South Asians here and there too. Being a big fan of diversity, I felt a smile gracing my lips.

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How Mainstream Bollywood Normalizes Stalking and Sexual Harassment

DISCLAIMER: We LOVE Bollywoood and can’t help but run to the cinema when a new movie comes out!

Bollywood fans are spread throughout the globe, regardless of the nationalities and race. The vibrant colors, storylines, action moves and the setting in which they take place somehow captivates its audience and keeps them loyal. However, there are also downsides to it.

Let’s talk about how mainstream Bollywood normalizes stalking and sexual harassment. You know what type of mainstream I’m talking about here. The one in which a male develops a crush on the female protagonist and even after the female rejects the male, he keeps on pursuing her against her wishes. However, in the end, the female ends up falling in love with her stalker, as her stalker does not back out, having no effect on the female rejecting him.

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Now it’s all portrayed in such a fashion, that the audience enjoys it, realizing nothing wrong with the storyline. Bollywood is famous for producing films like these, and they’re quite popular too! But by doing so, they’re also normalizing stalking.

Coming to sexual harassment, we all know how explicit Bollywood has become. While some of those actions does include the consent of the heroine, others don’t. I’m talking about the early days of the couple’s romance. Where the male is still pursuing the female. Often times, the hero will hold the heroine’s hand or hug her forcefully. But instead of getting outraged, the female protagonist just giggles and runs away, shying. In real life, however, the male would be receiving a resounding slap, am I not right?

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You may argue that this is all for entertainment purposes, and should not be taken so seriously. But take a moment and think about what effect this is having on the younger generation and even this generation? Many kids, especially in India, grow up seeing Bollywood movies. Kids pick up a lot of things and some of them stay with them throughout their life. If they constantly see the male aggressively pursuing the female, while getting creepier by the minute and instead of perceiving it as a bad thing, the kid’s family is actually laughing at those scenes and songs? What impact does this have on the kid’s mind? He thinks it’s perfectly normal to do that in real life, paying no heed to the fact that the woman has said no the first time around. But to still stalk her until she falls in love with him. To touch her or lightly brush his body against her own, and think of it as romantic, and not sexual harassment.

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And since Bollywood is spread throughout the globe, it’s affecting all the younger generations out there. This could be one of the reasons for the alarming increase of rape cases in India. It’s time Bollywood stops this, and instead make movies which are positively inclined. Make people realize the power of the word NO and empower women. To start objectifying women and start treating them like a vital part of the society.

 

Girl Crush of the month: Hania Amir

In recent times, new faces have popped up in the Pakistani media industry. Naturally, the millennials are now taking the spotlight. While big names like Mahira Khan, Imaan Ali and Shaan are still relevant and will be for a while, I anticipate a lot of the new comers’ time in the limelight will be short-lived.

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Enter Hania Aamir. This young woman of only twenty years of age has quickly rose to fame not only because of her adorable dimples but her incredible debut performance in the blockbuster Pakistani film, Janaan.

Being one of the younger A-list celebrities, Hania also knows her way around social media quite well and has a large fan base on Instagram that constantly keeps her relevant. I, personally, find at least two or three pictures of her on my Explore newsfeed even though I haven’t even followed her!
There’s just something about Hania that makes her special and is my Girl Crush for the month of December. The girl always seems so full of energy and vibrancy. She’s always on her feet and is now in the process of shooting an upcoming film Parwaaz Hay Junoon in which she is set to star besides big names like Hamza Ali Abbas and Kubra Khan.

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Fun fact: for those who have been avidly following Hania even before her inception as an actress (even before her small role in the Sunsilk commercial!) know that she was popular on ask.fm and had a large following¬ based entirely on her witty answers – what an all-rounder!

Singapore – From my eyes I

Those who know me personally, know quite well that I love and respect Singapore a lot. Although I am not a citizen myself, I find myself defending Singapore every where I go and with every one I speak to.

I first visited Singapore in 1995 as a tourist and while travelling back from Singapore I made a little innocent wish of being able to visit Singapore again. I never knew that I will get married to someone 4 years later who lives in here. I moved here in 2009 after I got married and 8 years later, its become home now. Yes, I love pakistan but I respect singapore deeply.

In this post I will only speak about cultural and religious freedom that I have here.

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Singapore is a multi cultural country with people of all religions living with harmony. It’s main languages are English, Chinese, Malay Bhasa and Tamil and the citizens comprise mainly  of Chinese, Malay and Indian origin. The main religions here are Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism and there people from all religions are allowed to practice their own religion in their own way as long as they do not interfere in any one else’s practices.

I have spent a chunk of my childhood in UAE and some time in UK for my studies. Although I have never really faced serious bullying in my life directed particularly towards me but I have been called ‘Bloody Paki’ and treated as an inferior muslim for being a pakistani Muslim rather than being an Arab. But a lot of people might be unaware but I’m protected by law in Singapore against such discriminations. No one can call me names due to the way I look (the color of my eyes, my hair or my height can’t be commented upon), I can roam around in shalwar kameez the whole day without being worried about someone being judgemental,  I can sue someone if their dog touches me (yes, this muslim sensitivity against dogs is highly regarded), halal food is readily available and I can even pray publicly in a park without being stared at. Also, the Muslim laws of marriage and inheritance are being looked upon by the Sharia courts of law.

And the best thing about living in Singapore is that we have lots of public holidays too: 2 each for each of the 4 main religions which also ensures that we do not have to worry about going to work on Eid day 🙂

* the beautiful picture of Sultan Masjid is not mine but taken off the Internet. Sultan Masjid might be the most famous masjid of Singapore as it’s a popular tourist destination but there are lots an lots of masjids and some of them very beautiful and majestic in terms of their architecture. The Islamic schools (medrasaa) are in abundance too masha Allah.

 

 

 

Why, oh why? [Women and Masjid (Pakistani Perspective)]

Growing up in a family like mine, I never realy felt any biases against myself due to my gender. I had the same curfew time and went to the same educational institutes like my brother. I learned to drive pretty much the same time and interesting both of us were taught to offer salah by our grandfather too. In fact, a lot of the times it was my brother who thought I always got the advantage, being a girl, and got away with a lot of things and now wen I think back, I cant really deny that completely 😛

But as I grew older and started going to Pakistan more often (and then later lived there), I realized, things were ‘culturally’ very different from what I had been taught at home and from what I had learned from books. I am not saying that Islam really differs too much between the two genders, but the difference is way too visible in the predominantly so-called Islamic State. You know, as it is said, if you want to understand Islam, look at Islam itself and not Muslims. This saying started to become a reality for me.

Soon, I found out there is not a single masjid nearby where women could go to pray if they wanted to. Funny. Yes, I am a Hanafi and I always knew that Prophet Mohammed (SAW) encouraged women to pray at home but did that mean women are not allowed into the masjid at all? I started digging for answers and interestingly, I found a hadith which says:

Hazrat Abdullah bin Omar (RA) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Do not prevent your women from attending the masjid, even though their houses are better for them” [Sunan Abu Dawood]

Not bad at all! This was all very logical…something I knew already but just didnt know from where it came. Praying at home is better for women but Islamically, men could not prevent women from praying at the masjid. The meaning was straightforward: a masjid is supposd to provide proper facilities for women at masjid and then it is upto the women whether they want to go or not.

Now, talking about fiqh. Hanafis are usually the most strict wen it comes to women praying at the masjid and as it is the predominant fiqh in Pakistan, I really needed to know whether it is something cultural or Hanafis really believe that going to masjid is, in fact, haram for women. I found the following:

Hazrat Aisha (RA) has been reported to have said, “If the Messenger of Allah (SAW) was alive to see what women are doing now, he would surely have prevented them from entering the masjid for prayer just as women of Banu Israel were prevented” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

Now the above is simply an opinion by Hazrat Aisha (RA), not a ruling. It is also of common knowledge that Hazrat Omar (RA) prevented women from attending masjid for prayer as part of the law during his reign without making it part of the religion itself. Futher, the fatwa on this matter must be scrutinized far more carefully:

“It is disliked for women to attend congregational prayers in the masjid even for Eid and Juma prayers, and even for old women attending night prayers, according to the more reliable position in Hanafi School, due to the corruption of time.” [Imam al-Haskafi, Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr, 1/566]

So, again, it is disliked and not considered haram as the common misconception in Pakistan. Further, if you look at the Hanafi rules, you will in fact find various laws regarding how a woman should behave in a masjid if she is having her periods. Now , if according to Pakistani jurists, women are not allowed in the masjid at all, why do we need to talk about wat a women should do if her periods start when she is in the masjid?

And then at times I think, if women are allowed to go freely to markets, lawn exhibitions, fashion shows and social gatherings where men and women intermingle, often (not always obviously) in the most un-Islamic manner, then how can going to masjid be considered haram? Sadly, in a country like Pakistan, even the most religious women often have to miss their prayers because they were either stuck in a traffic jam or were buying essentials at a market. You would be shocked to know that most shopping malls in Pakistan do not even have a prayer room for women and interestingly, most shops remain closed till around 1 in the afternoon.

So what are women supposed to do?

Well, I guess just wat they have been doing so far…prayers can wait!

Afridi is still a Hero

Source: Churaofication from a contact on facebook

Well, now that I am completely over wednesday’s loss, I have started to see things more clearly 🙂 I said that before as well, even wen I was really mad at the team, I cant help it but just love the perfect ‘X’ that Afridi makes with his body but there’s definitely more to it than just the X-factor. He represents Pakistan in the best possible manner: he’s aggressive, emotional, passionate, vocal and very unpredictable. He has great leadership qualities and I seriously think he should be retianed as the captain of Pakistan one-day side till the next world cup . Once Younis and Misbah are kicked out from the team, he can easily bring the young, inexperienced team do a great job under his captaincy. He can bring stability to the young side which unfortunately has to wait till 5 days before a series starts to even know who the captain is. I hope, Afridi, alongwith Waqar Younis would be retained and would be allowed to do their job till the next world cup…something which seems very very unlikely in Pakistan. But I wish, really wish, that for once the PCB would do something in the name of stability.