Archive | June, 2013

Sunday Times – Blurring the Line between Class and Crass

23 Jun

The Sunday Times recently printed quite a huge picture of Dr. Shireen Mazari and compared her to Ursula from the Little Mermaid. When things are done in good humour, we can all laugh about them, even when the joke is at our expense. My grandfather always used to say that anyone who can’t laugh at themselves is a bore. But you know what my problem is with the Sunday Times printing this nonsense? When anything unfortunate happens with Taseer’s family, i was extremely vocal in my condemnation. Humanity entails that you respect other peoples’ sentiments despite political differences. So when Salman Taseer was brutally murdered, i wrote an entire piece of condemnation on it. I prayed for his family, that they would be given strength to cope with the nasty things people were saying about their father. People told me to let it be because their father had been a political figure. I had many disagreements with things Salman Taseer did and yet humanity compelled me to speak up against his wrongful assassination. His children deserved my prayers – they had just lost their father and were having to deal with terrible comments justifying his death. I truly felt for them. Hearing negative things about your parents is always hard.

Whenever people argue with my mother or attack her views on TV, Twitter, etc, i encourage such healthy debates and discussions. But to attack her physical appearance is simply a new low. I suppose i can’t blame those who produce such trash – after all, they are the sad lot in this country that think being skinny is more important than having a brain.

Yes, my mother isn’t skinny, and yes, she isn’t tall, and yes, she has green hair. But she isn’t a model. She’s a politician. So next time Sunday Magazine decides to attack her based on her physical appearance, i’d advise them to understand that she is a politician, NOT one of the air-headed, stick-figured producers of Sunday Magazine. Go ahead and criticize her views, oppose them vociferously but when a Magazine so widely read stoops this low, they’ve only displayed their own ignorance.She has 2 children; we’re not isolated from the world. We, too, have to hear abuse against our mother all the time, and we accept that this is a common occurrence because she is a political figure. But to make fun of the way my mother looks in a Magazine read by the residents of the city i LIVE in, is simply unacceptable and disgusting.

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“Bullies? Not our problem.”

12 Jun

You pick up a newspaper, turn on the television and you’re sure to come across some incident of bullying and what a condemnable practice it is. Schools, Pressure Groups, and Universities around the world have advocated their condemnation of this practice and expressed their position on the issue stipulating they have a zero tolerance policy towards such behaviour. I study at one of the top universities in the world, in a city I can truly call my second-home. The University of Edinburgh has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to bullies, but this seems to be the case only on paper. I approached the administration regarding a complaint against a bully, who had been harassing me on and off campus. Having previously ignored malicious statements and rumours spread about me by this third-year student, I finally decided to ask him politely to put this childish behaviour to an end. He, in turn, decided to publicly embarrass me outside the Main Library on campus by yelling at me and passing mocking remarks such as, “I love talking about people. It’s my forte – what’re you going to do about it?” He started provoking me and taunting me in front of his friends making fun of me and making a mockery out of a very serious issue. I thought the guy would show the slightest bit of dignity since I had met him twice before in my life and knew that the only thing he knew about me was my name and that I was the daughter of a politician in Pakistan (since we both shared the same home country). A mutual friend informed me that this boy was previously a student at Karachi Grammar School (KGS) due to which I was under the false impression that he would be respectful and understanding having studied at such a prestigious institution.

After being reduced to tears, mere days before my exams, I decided to approach the University Student Support Office. The Student Adviser was extremely helpful and understanding of my situation. I explained to her how this boy wasn’t just spreading rumours that were damaging to a girl’s reputation in a country that already has a major issue with protection of its women, but that he was posting lies about me on Social Media, right before election time in Pakistan, knowing full-well what the pre-election situation in Pakistan is like. I sent copies of the tweets him and his friends addressed to myself and my mother’s party leadership, to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, in addition to having a meeting with him. After meeting him, I was assured that this would be dealt with, though it meant that a long bureaucratic process had to be utilized. I received an email today (on the 12th of June 2013) simply informing me that there was “no case to answer” as far as the alleged bully was concerned. No reasons were given, except that there was insufficient evidence (which I didn’t understand seeing as how I had sent them copies of the tweets and given them oral evidence as to his actions on and off campus).

The University of Edinburgh’s Administration has yet again proved that their last concern is the welfare of their students. I would suggest they rip up their “code of conduct,” their policies on bullying since these are no more than empty words concealing inaction and apathy. More power to bullies is apparently the policy of the University i study at, and what a shame since it is considered to be one of the top institutions in the world. A student at the University who abused, mocked and harassed another student is apparently is in no violation of the University’s rules against bullying. 

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Suspended Meals Pakistan

3 Jun

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