TBTT Digital Postcard

Today I learnt a new statistic. 95 percent of aggressive behaviour, harassment, abusive language and degrading images online spaces are aimed at women. This is a global phenomenon but one that can be and is overlooked. After all, when we think of violence, it is physical assault that comes to mind. What takes place in the worldwide web does not immediately seem as destructive as a blow on the head. Think again. Continue reading ‘Rising out of the Web’

Photo Courtesy: Jamal Ashiqain

When I was invited by activist and political blogger, Sana Saleem to talk to women at flood relief camps set up inside Sindh in the district of Thatta, I was quick to accept. I went to around eight camps that day as part of a team of about twenty professionals including dentists from Baqai Dental Hospital and a military entourage to ensure the group’s security and organised delivery of sustenance. Some housed as many as three hundred survivors, while another was less of a camp, and more of a community of thirty huddled on a dry patch of flat land, taking shelter under their charpais. Continue reading ‘Marginally less invisible’

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When I was in Bonn, Germany in June for the Deutsche-Welle-arranged Global Media Forum conference on Climate Change, one of the keynote speakers was a 12-year old boy. Felix Finkbeiner of Plant for the Planet, a climate protection network for school-age children, acted on an idea he had three years ago to plant 1 million trees in Germany, succeeded, and has expanded his campaign to 70 countries. In his speech at the GMF, Finkbeiner claimed that in another 50 years when he visits the museum with his children, he would be embarrassed to point out the time of their grandparents (our present), which would be called the ‘carbon age.’ Continue reading ‘Beyond the deluge’

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As Fatima Bhutto or @fbhutto said on Twitter on August 2, ‘And the president buggers off to Europe on a five star jaunt. Typical. Violence hits Karachi this evening too.’ I would not put it in exactly the same words, and am not a great fan of the author/aspiring Daughter-of-the-East, but it must be said that she has a point. President Asif Ali Zardari’s trip to Europe is exactly the sort of thing that makes Pakistanis wary of their political leaders. That and also a massive unrelenting propaganda campaign vilifying politicians while glorifying the military, which can be traced to the establishment as far back as the seventies. But really, Mr President, was this trip necessary at this time? Continue reading ‘A time for governance’

The AIBs


I am humbled to report that I have been asked to act as a judge at the 2010 International Media Excellence Awards run by the Association for International Broadcasting.

From the AIBs website:

‘These awards – now in their sixth year – are unique in the field of international media.

The AIBs offer both peer and external review of entries and are also independent of any commercial influence. The AIBs are highly respected in the international TV and radio industry. This is reflected in the large number of high quality entries that are submitted by broadcasters and independent production houses on every continent. These companies recognise that winning an AIB is an important – and rare – accolade.’

You can find my profile here.

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After participating in the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum Climate Change Conference 2010, I began to question what makes thousands, tens of thousands Pakistanis leave their villages to come and work in the cities. They arrive with dreams and aspirations of making better lives for themselves, their families, and future generations. These men and women end up working for minimal salaries (as low as 2000 to 10,000 rupees a month) in harsh conditions for decades. What was driving them out of the village and into the city? Continue reading ‘Testimonials Part 1: Aslam’s story’

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The attack on Data Darbar has left Pakistanis shocked. It is not because of a high death toll or the magnitude of the assault — we have seen much worse over the past decade — but due to the site itself. Data Darbar or the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Syed Ali bin Usman Hajveri is the country’s most popular and best renowned. It attracts a massive amount of people everyday from all strata of society. One of my first thoughts on hearing of the suicide explosions that left around 40 dead was that nothing is sacred anymore, and I have seen this thought resound. The Darbar is a landmark in Lahore. More importantly, it is a symbol of a side of Islam that is dear to Pakistanis, especially in these times. It is the liberal peace-loving religion of the Sufis, the mystics and indeed, generations of the subcontinent. This Islam that many believe to be the true aspect of the religion has been and is under threat by the pervasive, rigid Wahabi Islam, funded by the Saudis and used by certain political parties for their gain at the expense of this country and nation. Continue reading ‘Nothing is sacred anymore’