The trauma of rape

By Zubeida Mustafa

DO we have increasing incidents of rape in Pakistan? Recently a large number of cases were reported of young women — even little girls — being assaulted by men. Some were brutally murdered. There has been an outcry from some women’s groups but the government has remained silent.

The Women’s Action Forum (WAF), which was born in 1981 as a reaction to the punishment announced against a young couple under the Hudood Ordinances, has generally been quick to take note of rape cases. In fact War Against Rape (WAR) was created in 1989 as an offshoot to address this devastating crime.

As a first measure in quest of solutions, WAF organised earlier this month a roundtable at Szabist, the educational institute, with the idea of creating awareness among the youth so that they also get involved in a movement to confront rape. Continue reading “The trauma of rape”

Give the gift of life

By Zubeida Mustafa

HAS the illicit organ trade that gave Pakistan such a bad name in the world of medicine made a comeback? We do know that for about a year after the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act was adopted in 2010 there was a lull and we were celebrating the end of this crime against humanity in our country. But one cannot be sure about that now.

Today reports trickle in that the clandestine sale of human organs is thriving. The scale of the operation is not known but the exploitation of the poor remains unabated.

With such a reputation, it was not really surprising when five days after the bombing of the All Saints Church in Peshawar last month, a website, Agenzia Fides, that has been described as the news agency of the Vatican, carried a shocking report linking the incident with the problem of organ trafficking. Continue reading “Give the gift of life”

Theatre: the way out

By Zubeida Mustafa

THERE is despondency in the air in Karachi. The violence in the city that has resulted in almost 3,000 deaths so far this year has left the youth brutalised.

Many are desensitised and the unnatural degree of violence and terrorism has become something normal for them. Too many will imbibe the criminality they witness around them — unless, of course, something happens to pre-empt this possibility. Others are so terrorised that it is doubtful whether they will ever be able to lead a normal and well-adjusted life. Continue reading “Theatre: the way out”

Pakistan’s social development: the Christians’ role

By Amna Pathan
Guest Contribution

imgWe are all aware of how much the Christian community has done for Pakistan. It has established schools such as ours – the St Joseph’s Convent — all over the country. Hospitals, orphanages, trust funds, even entire villages were founded by the Christians as early as the late nineteenth century.

The Church of England established the Karachi Grammar School in 1847. Thomas French, the first bishop of Lahore, founded the Agra College in 1853. Three years later, The Convent of Jesus and Mary was set up in Sialkot.  In 1861 the St. Patrick’s High School and in 1862 the St. Joseph’s Convent School were established. These were the first of many schools and universities set up by the Christians, who, for the last 160 years have been educating people all over Pakistan. Their students, have in turn, grown up to educate others and spread their teachings. These missionary schools have moulded lives, and that in turn have shaped our country’s history and its future.

Continue reading “Pakistan’s social development: the Christians’ role”

Remembering Sister Zinia

By Zubeida Mustafa

LAST Saturday was World Teachers’ Day. It is now universally recognised that teachers — their ability, integrity, competence and compassion — are the key determinants of the quality of education a country offers to its children.

A good teacher is an asset and to a great extent atones for the flaws in a system that produces shoddy textbooks, schools lacking decent infrastructure and missing library and laboratory facilities. Above all a teacher — who cares, inspires, and is innovative— can transform a child’s life.

So the idea of a Teachers’ Day is a brilliant one. Teachers also deserve appreciation and what better way can there be to boost their morale than recognition from their students? Continue reading “Remembering Sister Zinia”

Making social capital

By Zubeida Mustafa

WHAT should be a matter of concern for educators, parents and civil society in Pakistan is the failure of our education system to produce social capital.

The public sector institutions that cater to the needs of the majority leave much to be desired in terms of quality, access and performance. But the private schools, even the upscale elite ones which produce academic achievers, do not necessarily teach their pupils the skills of community living. Continue reading “Making social capital”