The Judes of Kasur

I’ve read books over the past that have left quite a significant mark on my life but never thought I would end up penning my thoughts publicly for this one book, a book I picked randomly without even knowing what it was about. However, unlike all those other life-changing books, I haven’t recommended this book to anyone… until now. I still don’t know whether this post is to encourage you to read the book or to raise awareness about the children in Kasur or both. Although I am sure you can’t do one without thinking about the other.

Before I discuss this book, I’d like to draw your attention to what happened to the children in Kasur two years ago.

This is where the story about Kasur children broke out: http://nation.com.pk/E-Paper/lahore/2015-08-08/page-1

Some facts about the incident:

The abuse began in 2006 and continued until 2015. That’s 9 years of consistent abuse that resulted in one of the victims himself becoming an abuser.

More than 250 children were sexually and physically assaulted

These assaults were recorded and sold online

Parents of the children were blackmailed with threat to make these videos public if they don’t pay the perpetrators

Only 2 of these monsters involved in these heinous crimes have been given life imprisonment. The fate of rest is juggling between courts

Life imprisonment, not a death sentence, which I believe is the least of what they deserved

Another fact: these children may never recover from the trauma

Another fact: as per law, you will ONLY serve a maximum of 7 years for all the crimes mentioned above

Another fact: every day over 10 children are abused in Pakistan

Another fact: A prominent member of Pakistan’s ruling party and an ex-minister has been involved in COVERING UP the story so as to aid the criminals

Another fact: The Prime Minister doesn’t give a fuck about your children and he probably never will

Another fact: Child abuse is still rampant and it probably will thrive with politicians like Rana Scum of the Earth Sanaullah there to save the day for the bastards involved

If it were me, they would meet the same fate that awaited the infamous child murderer in late 90s, Javed Iqbal. The judge had initially given a unusual but not undeserving sentence of having him strangled and cut into 100 pieces in front of the parents of the murdered children.

While reading about Jude, Malcom, JB and Willem, I couldn’t not think about all of it. Jude, the smart, brave, innocent Jude and the children of Kasur. Were they to meet the same fate as him too?

Will they get to relive a part of his life, ‘The Happy Years’?

A little life; midway reading the book, I thought maybe the title is about how insignificant we think our lives are if we put into perspective everything that is going around us. But man did I get a shock of my life as the author explained to us what she really meant by the title and I wished she would have just stuck to the cliché.

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Why Feminists Might Not Want to Hang Out With Me

Okay so hear me out. Please do not jump to conclusions and or hate me all because I do not agree with you. Which is why this blog post will be in parts. As my understanding of the subject grows, I will keep adding in.

A recent discussion with a professor on women empowerment and gender development  led me to explore these topics further. These are all my understanding of the topic. There’s a very good chance I might have it all figured out wrong, but there’s also an equally good chance, I am trying to express my preference without sounding disrespectful of those who do not agree with me.

On a broad level, feminism speaks of equal rights for women and men and it is not something that I do not stand for. I do. As someone belonging to the former section of the society, this is a cause very close to heart. I believe women should face absolutely no discrimination in any field, be it their homes, academia, or their professional life.

I do not believe that women were created different from men. I stand against the culture that discriminates between our sons and our daughters. But I also believe it isn’t just the woman who can lead the cause of gender development. I am sorry but this isn’t me implying ‘men need women’ or ‘women need men’ to survive; what I mean is men have an equal role to play in shaping the future narrative on women’s rights. When we exclude men from the equation, we are losing on the core objective of feminism: equality.

Men have played a key role in undermining the efforts of women in society, have been at the forefront deciding what women should and shouldn’t do. But this can change. It will be a painfully long process, but we can get there. Remember, inequality was born out of the single idea ages ago that was fed into everyone’s minds: girls are weak, boys are strong.

It took time, discourse and eventually culture to plant that single seed of what we now are bearing the cost of.

I believe women should have the right to do whatever they want; none of their decisions, may it be how they dress up or who they marry.

I am strongly against the notion that covering your body is repressive. I know I may have touched a nerve with this one. Maybe I have been lucky enough to have met, known, worked, studied with women who were not forced to cover themselves, and they did it all on their own no society pressure, no patriarchy at play: just simple decision taken solely by themselves. Why is that hard to believe?

But do you see where the problem lies? All throughout I, as a female, a member of the society feminism seeks to empower, has been unabashedly trying to apologize for her views. It shouldn’t be like that. If I am to embrace what feminism is all about, feminists also have to embrace me.

Is that possible if I choose to exercise my individual right?

I thought feminism was all about giving power to the woman, but when you are unwilling to respect someone who disagrees with you, even though they too DO INDEED try to reject the daily stereotypes associated with their gender, try their best to raise above the puny level society allots them, they are still looked upon with scorn.

quotes feminism gender women

.……to be continued

A Memorable Visit to the Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC)

Our last education minister in the “very democratic” Zardari government was Sheikh Waqas Akram. He, as you may all know was attributed for sending a super clear message of the education crisis in Pakistan when his own degrees were confirmed as fake.

Here he is with our Honorable Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif who has described him as “a respected and educated politician.”

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Source: http://tribune.com.pk/story/520938/election-politics-aswj-fumes-as-sheikh-waqas-akram-joins-pml-n/

Ok so they made a mistake. So what if our education ministry was under the rule of someone who faked his own degrees to rule the education sector of the nation? You may also question why I am digging out skeletons from so long ago today. Well it all started when a few weeks ago I visited the esteemed Inter Board Committee of Chairmen office to get an equivalence certificate for my O and A levels degrees.

Before embarking on the long, and what I definitely knew to be a hectic journey, I sought help from my most trusted friend Google about the procedure of getting the equivalence certificate. My friend told me that the office of Inter Board Committee of Chairmen Lahore is located near the Ganga Ram Hospital and it provided me with a helpful map with directions on how to get there. However, for probably the first time, my friend could not help me with the procedure of filling the application form. While the first half of the application form is easy to fill, the second half was extremely baffling. However, I printed the form out (IBCC officials provide the form free of cost, but better to get it printed from elsewhere than stand in queues at the IBCC office for hours just to get a copy), filled half of it and took it along with the rest of the mentioned requirements. It was upon arriving at the Inter Board Committee of Chairmen office that I found that someone, an angel I am sure, had pasted a sample application form on the window of the office. So people like me worrying what to put under “Accreditation status of Institution along with name of Accrediting Authority”, you can copy off from the information from the sample.

What has forced me to write this long tale is what I saw at the IBCC office. According to IBCC’s website, they claim they process 12000 applications on an annual basis. While I highly doubt this number, what I am still more concerned about is how none of these 12000 applicants spoke about the miserable condition of the IBCC offices. When I entered the building, I was too shocked to even believe that this is part of the Ministry of Education.

As they say a picture speaks a thousand words, and I took 8.

The Grand Entrance

The Grand Entrance

The IBCC office is located inside the building of BISE Lahore

The IBCC office is located inside the building of BISE Lahore

The staircase leading up to the IBCC office

The staircase leading up to the IBCC office

Motto of IBCC: Save Paper, Write on Walls

Motto of IBCC: Save Paper, Write on Walls

Stairway to Hell

Stairway to Hell

IBCC Stationery Store

IBCC Stationery Store

I don’t know what room this was but the day I went to submit my application, it was closed but  someone opened the door to this room and no one bothered closing it. It was open even after a week when I went to collect my equivalence certificate.

I don’t know what room this was but the day I went to submit my application, it was closed but someone opened the door to this room and no one bothered closing it. It was open even after a week when I went to collect my equivalence certificate.

I can’t even describe the awful stench around the staircase leading upto the offices.

I can’t even describe the awful stench around the staircase leading upto the offices.

 

Why, in all this time since it has been established, no one questioned why the government has refused to furnish the offices or even bothered to shift the office that is host to thousands of students every year?

Then I got my answer, this same ministry was being governed by someone who faked his way into it. In all the years he ruled, they could not bother to confirm whether he was even eligible to rule the most important division of the economy, what would make them worry about the wretched condition of one of the many offices that come under their jurisdiction?

It is my humble request to the current Honorable Minister of Federal Education, Engr. Muhammad Baligh ur Rehman and my Honorable Chief Minister of Punjab to kindly visit this department that is considered the backbone of the Education Ministry in Pakistan. Pick a day; go there without intimating them of your arrival and see for yourself, how students suffer each day standing in lines at the mercy of the most unhelpful staff on the planet.

For those applying for an O/A level equivalence the following are a must to bring along:

  • For urgent cases: Rs. 3000 for O level certificate + Rs. 3000 for A level certificate (5 working days)
  • For normal cases: Rs. 1500 for O level certificate + Rs. 1500 for A level certificate (more than 5 working days)
  • Application form (take a printed copy JUST IN CASE)
  • Your recent passport size photograph (or not so recent)
  • Copy of ID card
  • Copy of Mother or father’s ID card
  • Original O/A level certificates
  • Two photocopies of O/A level certificates (they only require one, but you never know when your bad luck hits you)
  • A black pen
  • Lots of good luck

I lost all the songs I wrote for you

Well they are all gone. The songs I wrote. And it made me realize. Need to start documenting them where they will (hopefully) never be accidentally deleted by yours clumsy.