Stories By 'Rafia Zakaria'
When I was little, I read history books, even textbooks, with a great deal of reverence. The record of the past, I thought, must be revered for it represented a sort of truth of the ages, the story that connected to the present. I had no idea that history, like so much else, can be created and laid in service for the accomplishment of this or that political or religious goal.
full story »
THE most famous case in recent memory was that of the little girl in her pink jacket. Seven-year-old Zainab Ansari, the little girl whose face became familiar to Pakistanis for all the wrong reasons, was abducted, then raped and killed, by a 23-year-old neighbour. In the days after the crime, after he had thrown Zainab’s body in a trash heap in the neighbourhood, Imran Ali watched her parents suffer and search. He never said a word. Until he was arrested, Zainab’s parents had no idea that their worst enemy, the killer of their daughter, lived so close to them.
full story »
Few Pakistanis noticed the death anniversary of Fatima Jinnah this Monday past. Even in her lifetime, she had apparently been largely a recluse. The political world had been too much for her, her run for the head of state was a trying if not debilitating expedition that ended in defeat.
full story »
From the outside, Sweden looks like the most equal country in the world. What men do, women do as well. The streets of Sweden’s cities are full of both of them; they ride their bikes to work, they push children in strollers, they do groceries, they work in banks and they work in construction.
full story »
It’s the stuff of nightmares: the sudden arrival of a number of men into the privacy of one’s home, a search, and then a family member taken away. This is what reportedly happened last month to Ph.D student Laeeq Aslam. According to details of the reported event, about half a dozen men barged into his Rawalpindi home late at night.
full story »
It may be hot—swelteringly and terrifyingly hot—in most of the country, but the brisk business of killing women (and some men) in the name of honour continues apace. Some weeks ago, an angry man, mad at his sisters over some domestic dispute, began beating them with a stick. When his 100-year-old grandmother tried to intervene, he began to beat her too. Age is not a factor when it comes to male privilege; when he was done, the century-old grandmother as well as one of his sisters was dead. The other sister lay in critical condition in the hospital.
full story »