What do you feel when you wake up one fine morning, pick up the newspaper and find a photo on the front page of burqa-clad women picketing in favour of discriminatory, distorted, so-called Islamic laws?
Your first reaction is to bang your head against the wall (in case you’re really worked up on the issue). As you don’t intend to do literally anything of the kind, you let the moment pass.
Why can’t we have men friends the way we have women friends? A volatile question indeed, that often puzzles a friend of mine. She thinks women can have friendship with men.
What she means by friendship is a relationship based on mutual understanding and care and sharing of interests and ideas — minus motive, sans desire. Just like a relationship that exists between two female friends.
Published in Dawn, Karachi, Pakistan on 13 June 2001
Teenage solid waste managers pedaling bikes, ferrying collected stuff in satchels. Neatly dressed executives driving air-conditioned Honda Civic. Green-turbaned, bearded, lanky young men, walking towards seminaries. Common womenfolk attired in shalwar qameez and duppata on their way to market, offices, educational institutions. Small traders talking on mobiles, steering Suzuki pick-ups. Young boys chatting at cyber cafes. Girls in designer’s jeans strolling in select areas. Women with hijab congregating at home or in five star hotels for dars. These are but few outer manifestations of lifestyles of contemporary Pakistani society, to be exact, contemporary urban Pakistani society.