The Pakistani Women You Have Probably Heard About

There’s something interesting, in that facepalm sort of way, about the manner in which the South Asian female form is constructed and seen through the North American media gaze. The characterizations of the South Asian female differ from country to country in the subcontinent, from Bangladesh to Pakistan to India to Afghanistan. Despite these differences, however, their portrayals always rely on what is given to us as the foundation of their experiences and identities: they are victims. And it s … [Read more...]

Friday Links | August 12, 2011

NPR looks at how religious leaders in Pakistan are misleading women about birth control and family planning: Zakaria says being poor should in no way limit having babies. Referencing the Quran, he says, "God will provide the resources and no one will starve.""There are clear instructions in the Holy Quran, in which Allah says, 'We give you food, and we will also give food to your children. Food is not your responsibility, but God's,' " he says.The mufti says the Quran also instructs … [Read more...]

Bhutto: A One-Sided Look at a Complicated Woman

BHUTTO is the definitive documentary that chronicles the life of one of the most complex and fascinating characters of our time. Hers is an epic tale of Shakespearean dimension. It’s the story of the first woman in history to lead a Muslim nation: Pakistan. –Synopsis from the film’s websiteDuane Baughman and Johnny O’Hara’s 2010 documentary Bhutto, which recently aired on PBS’s Independent Lens in the United States, attempts to portray the “Shakespearean” life of Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto … [Read more...]

How Pakistan’s Media is Getting Justice for Mukhtaran Mai

Written by Hamza KhanWith the news of Mukhtaran Mai’s rapists being acquitted, Pakistan’s burgeoning news media have come down hard on the outrageous Supreme Court decision in what can only be described as the fulfillment of their role as the fourth estate in Pakistan’s political system. Every major news station and periodical dedicated their prime-time show and editorial section last weekend to openly flay the Pakistani justice system, and particularly the Supreme Court, for tossing out the co … [Read more...]

An Interview with Nausheen Dadabhoy

The earthquake that shook Pakistan and Kashmir in 2005 killed thousands and left millions homeless. Pakistani-American Nausheen Dadabhoy felt it was her responsibility to give a voice to those affected by the earthquake. Through visits to hospitals and camps, Dadabhoy met Ruqiya and Khalida, two women whose lives had changed due to the disaster.In "The Ground Beneath Their Feet: A Tale of Pakistani Women," Dadabhoy presents the story of these two women, who courageously had to redefine their … [Read more...]

The People Versus Veena Malik

While the state-run Pakistan Television channel (PTV) maintains its reputation as the government channel, a growing number of private channels have a tendency to sensationalize news with their shiny news desks, attractive anchorpersons and modern shows, something I have seen in channels across state lines in India.  The “masala angles” (news with dramatizations of a specific event, particularly involving scandals with the rich and famous) work just as well in Pakistan, turning news or talk shows … [Read more...]

Burqa Woman Blunder? Saad Haroon’s Parody

Parts of the blogosphere appear to be in a tizzy over a recent parody of Roy Orbison’s classic “Oh, Pretty Woman.” Now a hit on YouTube, Saad Haroon’s “Burqa Woman,” tells the story of a young man’s fumbling attempt to woo a woman in abaya and niqab, who, after much cajoling, reciprocates amorously via text message.  Modern technology appears to connect the two lovers in a country where public displays of affection and mixed social gatherings are generally frowned upon.Saad Haroon is a Pakist … [Read more...]