Of Haircuts, Pakoras and Pink Lemonade

For me, growing up as an expat, Ramadan has been largely about celebrating my Pakistani heritage.  Living in Buenos Aires, in the late 80s when Muslim communities were still a rarity, the act of observing and celebrating such an occasion was often relegated to a handful of Pakistanis who were able to brave sundown in the Argentinian capital.  At the time, the country was going through one of its worst economic crises; burglaries and home invasions were rampant and almost everyone had a story to s … [Read more...]

Pakistani Sous Chef Fatima Ali on “Chopped”

After spending the past few weeks delving into President Obama's foreign policy strategies, discussing the Rochdale case and surviving steamy temperatures of over 45 degrees Celsius, I was looking forward to covering something upbeat and inspiring. The appearance of Pakistani sous chef Fatima Ali on Chopped, a cooking competition on the Food Network, provided the perfect opportunity. If there's one thing that I can wax poetic about it is food and while this is not about cuisine per se, it … [Read more...]

Book Review – Obama and the Middle East: The End of America’s Moment?

In Obama and the Middle East: The End of American’s Moment?, a new book by one of the foremost scholars on Middle East politics, Fawaz A. Gerges looks at America's progress (or lack thereof) in the Middle East.  Paying special attention to President Obama's policies in the region, Gerges argues that the United States is losing influence in the Middle East and that President Obama's strategy for the region merely resembles those of past administrations.  Rising world multipolarity and the rev … [Read more...]

“Lost” Girls Are Not Sex Objects – Whatever Their Race: Part II

In light of several interesting comments to my previous post on the Rochdale “grooming” case, I decided a follow-up piece was in order.Much of the furore surrounding the case has been with respect to race and its alleged role in the attack, specifically: does the “Asian” (Pakistani and thereby Muslim) origin of the attackers play a role in the crime? As stated previously, sexual abuse occurs across all ethnic/racial, socioeconomic and religious groups.  Worldwide, women and girls (in particul … [Read more...]

“Lost” Girls Are Not Sex Objects – Whatever Their Race

A group of nine men of Pakistani and Afghan origin were sentenced to jail recently for using alcohol and drugs to “groom” white British girls for sex.  The abuse took place in the town of Rochdale, near Manchester in northwest England.  The men, aged 24 to 38, were employed as taxi drivers, and included a religious studies teacher and a takeaway worker who were indicted for assaulting victims as young as 13 years of age.  Since then, another two people have been arrested in connection with anothe … [Read more...]

Maria Toor Pakay vs. the World

In a 2010 television interview, quoted in a more recent article (I was not able to find an original recording of the interview), Pakistan’s highest-ranking female squash player, Maria Toor Pakay, spoke on the rights of women in Pakistan: “Girls don’t get any rights. They cannot go out of the house. They cannot do whatever they want to do. They get married when they are 12, 14; they are not allowed to get an education. They are not allowed to play sports. They have to stay covered; if they don’t … [Read more...]

Imran Khan on Women

With general elections expected in May 2013, Imran Khan’s political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) or Pakistan Movement for Justice is said to be gaining momentum, if its massive October 2011 political rally is any indicator.  Buoyed by popular support from an empowered youth demographic (36 million people in Pakistan are between 15-24 years old) and women from varying cross sections of society, many Pakistanis are excited about the impending political change that Khan and PTI represent.  … [Read more...]