One from the Heart; How Striking Politics Affects Us

Karachi during strike

Have you ever seen any nation perpetually in a holiday mood? Well, we as a nation are becoming adept at staying in the holiday mood. Frequent rather regular strikes, protests, mourning, black days, white days and special holidays have become part and parcel of Pakistani culture. No matter what the cause is behind the strike, who is arranging the protest, why holidays are announced, we are always ready to welcome the day off. Those who dare step out, do so with fear of anonymous terrorists gunning them down. Our attitude is rather blasé. There are those who turn up for work no matter what and there are others who sit back to watch a movie, chat on net, condemn and criticize or simply take rest. Those who keep working even in these circumstance should be appreciated as they look fate in the eye everyday and have little fear of death.

After steady practice, Karachiites have become rather experts in the preparation for being under siege or on enforced holiday. The better prepare citizens always keep their refrigerators filled with eatables to handle any emergency. Most even gear up to celebrate the occasion. Meat for the home-cooked kababs, grocery, fruits, vegetables and bakery and dairy products are usually picked up a day prior to the strike call, so that all at home can sit back in comfort.

Residents of relatively posh and peaceful area such as Clifton and Defence are rarely affected by these routine strikes. They carry on with their regular routines by going about their business as usual. Their offices remain open, and even though their children are not at school, public places like hospitals and shopping centers often remain open unlike other areas of the city even on such days. The poor people who suffer in this political noora kushtimostly belong to the lower and middle class localities. The daily wages earners are the ones who are really hit hard by these maddening strike and shut down calls.    

Suffering silent majority

To find out how public take strikes, I interviewed  people from different segments of society:

Political activist of a leading party said that the whole nation should be thankful to our party and its leadership who provides the golden opportunity to shopkeepers to sell their products at double rates, to vegi-fruit vendors selling out rotten trash on the excuse that everything else is out, to government and private employees, teachers and students taking frequent breaks and to laborers  delaying their projects, charge overtime and demand for extra payments.

The students’ community whom I discussed the issue frankly shared that they get so much accustomed to these strikes that they actually miss them  and yearn for breaks badly if a week passes without any such call. These interruptions always give them ready-made excuse to miss classes, delay assignment and even exams.  

A vacant classroom on a typical strike day

A heart-throb opposition leader advised that it is high time the people in power should accept strikes as basic human right. No one should oppose it since it is a matter of the public’s will. He threatened that the pseudo-intellectuals, human right activists, civil society advocates and opinion leaders should stop criticizing politics of protests and strikes; else they might give a strike call tomorrow in protest.    

In fact, the government and opposition’s battle lines drawn in the country are nothing unusual. It is a matter of their interests at the cost of all the rest.  But this makes it impossible for common people like us to lead a normal life. Once the city of peace and unity, Karachi is now divided… divided into mera tera no go area;  Mohajir, Haqiqi, ANP, PPP centers on the basis of ethnic and racial differences. It’s is a war of interests and power  to get the maximum share of Bhatta, ghunda tax, vote bank rather than anything for the sake of public. So each party seizes its native localities as its conquered kingdom irrespective of the plight of the Karachiites.  

We hold the opposition responsible for Karachi’s destruction, as it follows the politics of protests and behave like roothai sajna while we level charges against the government for its incapability to provide protection to life, property and honor of its citizens. The saddest aspect of the issue is that no one including government, opposition and pubic gives a hoot against the trend.

If we don’t change our attitude now, our loss will be greater than anticipated. After all, we are responsible for the destruction of Karachi and only we can save it.

act, react or suffer

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The Striking Politics in Karachi… No to enforced shutdown, Yes to life!

When I left home in the morning yesterday, I had many plans… plans to attend office, get today’s assignment done, take a class, write a blog, share refreshment and lunch with colleagues and visit my tailor and market on my way back before finally reaching home in the evening…

However, by afternoon I was sitting at home just wondering how to utilize the day to its fullest… thanks to the fear and terror that surrounded the city of Karachi after killings and mourning call that led to arson, target killings and forceful shut down. This is not a new experience for any Karachiite, we get used to this uncertainty and sectarian killings and whenever it happens, we rushed back to  our shelters for the sake of our lives and property and bear another forceful day off imposed on us by the Custodians of the City.

Apart from financial and economical lose the city and the country suffers because of these strikes and protest calls, what turns it rather more painful is the silence, fear, sense of helplessness, darkness and gloom that prevail on the streets and in localities and cause depression and frustration in public.

My daughter, 3 asked me yesterday why parks and shops were closed and why couldn’t she go out to have rides and buy a balloon. I found it really difficult to  explain the situation without threaten her that there’re bad/angry people outside who are beating anyone going out. My elder son, 9 was rather worried about his next paper and kept asking if the schools were closed or opened… again uncertainty and delayed rather dubious announcements about educational institutions and offices bother everyone concerned.

I often think about emergencies especially how people manage to take their patients to hospitals, deceased to graveyard and travelers to destinations on such black days. And then the agony of those who schedule their weddings, engagements and other parties and plan them for months with hefty expenses and wide involvement.   

I often feel sick finding myself switching TV channels relentlessly to satiate my curiosity with aggressive discussions and debates, visuals of agony, terror and vandalism and breaking news that aim to break viewers nerves if not the news at such occasions . These aimless talk shows and news bulletins contribute a great deal to urge me to migrate anywhere from Pakistan, The fighting politicians, angry hosts, sensationalized news and dramatized coverage snatched my last hope and belief in my homeland and its future.

I might cook Biryani, watch a movie, finish the half-read novel or rather opt to arange my scattered cupboards and do the household chores in absence of maids, however, such long, sad and empty days never cherish me or anyone sensible around. I feel like a house arrest in a city under riots that seize the humdrum of life in the metropolitan like Karachi. Often wonder, how the daily wedges earners dare such days in this inflation.

You might consider it the problem of the people in power and politicians,  might be able to get momentary escape through a movie, book, sport, daily chore or pastime, but the fact of the matter is that it spoils the peace of mind and pace of work completely and it usually takes a day or two to come back to normal life.

There is no doubt that protest against atrocities, target killings and terrorism should be registered at every level irrespective of caste, class and racial difference but taking revenge from the city by shutting it down completely after any such incident is neither fair to Karachi nor to its residents. So let’s register your protest if you are against these wheel jams, shutter-downs and violent strikes. On the other hand, if you are in favour of it,  share your logic to make us understand…

You Poor Silent Majority! Suffer what you Deserve…

I visited Passport office yesterday at Awami Markaz, Karachi and had one of the worst experiences of my life . I had to make and renew my and my family members’ passports so we reached the office at 8:30 am at the advice of well wishers. To my surprise i discovered that the relevant bank branch where we had to submit the passport challan wouldn’t open before 10 am so we had to wait and till then face intimidating approaches of various agents roaming around freely at the premises, offering their services for swift processing to all and sundry. One just wonders when we will be able to get rid of this candid culture of commission rather corruption even for legal and routine tasks such as passport and NIC issuance or transfer of property etc., without hassle.

We, like many others, who refused to hire agents for shortcut and opted to go through proper channel, had to suffer the tedious process of collecting and submitting challan fee in long queues, moving up and down with children and aged family members to complete the multiple rounds of processing. Our actual trial began in passport office. It was a congested over-crowded place with rude staff and indifferent officials who turned deaf ear to the plight of public. Both men and women, ranging from all age-groups, class and localities tried maintain their sanity while juggling around small cabins and counters to be photographed, interrogated for data entry and gone through bio-metrics before finally registered and issued receipts for passport collection a month later in routine course.

What is most disturbing was the cruel attitude of the office staff and consistent mishandling. The person on the data-entry counter seemed to be looking for an excuse to raise an objection and refute people’s applications on one pretext or the other after 5 and 6 hours wait. It could be anything from your expired father’s name, NOC from office, Old manual ID card, husband’s name, nikahnama or any other major or minor details that provided him this excuse.

There was no system or sequence since people were called out randomly irrespective of their serial or token numbers. One can obviously notice the racket that allowed swift entry and clearance of applicants entered through commission agents or on personal contacts and links. On applicants’ protest for random processing  and slow functioning, one officer who had scolded numerous people irrespective of their age, gender and status, ironically commented “we have a new software that processes senior citizens earlier than others? Do you mind! ”  He even threatened some candidates to stay quiet otherwise he would not entertain them.

What is extremely painful was the cage like congested office with crowded counters and limited seating capacity in the humid summer day where men and women of all age and groups were flocked like animals and children especially little ones were crying non-stop due to congestion, humid and crowd. People suffered silently and with mild complaints due to the fear that any open protest or criticism might trigger the furious staff and deprive them to get their passport in time. I noticed it’s the same fear that turns most of us into s silent (deaf & dumb)  majority and keeps us suffering with a wish that a mesiha would come one day to change this corrupt system while the rest of us yearn for a blue passport and green card to fly abroad and live a peaceful and fair life away from corrupt Pakistan.

I just hope that we realise our strength as public, voters, citizens, consumers, clients, students, parents, buyers, employees and teachers…  we must realise that we can’t  get respect in a golden platter with this indifferent attitude… we need to earn it through collective approach, honest intention, fair action and one voice… a voice for fair, just and honest Pakistan BUT the question is that who is ready to take first step, raise first voice and register first protest even if it costs us a reaction… Isn’t it worthy to live one day bravely than suffer throughout? Besides when there is collective demand for social justice, fair play and basic rights then will the corrupt, dishonest and opportunists have courage to suppress it… I doubt! azmaish shart hai,  kiya khayal hai …!!!   

LAWN MANIA

A typical view from one of the lawn exhibitions

Are you one of the victims to the Lawn Mania or more appropriately Lawn Exhibitions Craze…?

Do you annoyingly get distracted by the popped up weekend lawn exhibition announcements, attractive models glanced from the glossy magazines cover? Did a familiar model and famous actor capture your glance on roads while driving through king size billboards sprawling all over the city and perhaps country since the last breeze of winters… if yes, believe me you are not the only victim that is lured by morning shows, TV commercials, print ads, digital announcements, roadside banners and billboards to name a few.

I don’t mind seeing the native lawn industry flourishing flirtatiously but I do mind the cut throat prices that transform lawn into an elite class fabric with some additional embellishments, embroidery and bits & pieces in the name of sleeves, back, front, ribbons and accessories.

You just wonder what to buy when you get an ordinary lawn suit at the cost of Rs. 1500 to 2000, a weekly income of a clerk and daily wedge earner … the same lawn suit that used to cost around Rs. 350 to 500 only two years back.

Go for a better brand, print, material or even an outlet and you need to double your budget to do some purchase.

If you are a working woman, you count before you spend … at least the time, tears and sweat you shed in earning the thousands bucks which can buy you a few comfortable dresses to dare the summer heat while looking trendy at the same time. And even if you are spending the lawn shopping allowance you get from your hubby, parents or friend, you might wonder if you need another series of argument and emotional blackmailing to spend summer in style.

Change, Revolution, Social Justice, Welfare State, Roti, Kapra aur Makan … all seem slogans to the shrinking middle class stepping down to merge into the swelling lower class that fights to survive everyday…. Everything from daily commodities, eatables, utilities, education, health, transportation, housing and clothing become unaffordable to the people of Pakistan.

The new fashion fad of designers’ lawn, branded accessories and foreign franchise might make crème de la crème of the society look and feel better but it neither increases the purchase power nor the income of the common people of Pakistan. What it simply promotes is the class difference, complexes and frustrations between the haves and have-nots.

So ladies you like it or not… say no to the lawn phobia, stop getting mad after each brand exhibition call and strive hard to be a part of the crowd… Rather count your budget, spend wisely and make intelligent choices. You still have some options… thanks to Classics, Rawaj, Mausummery and other less expensive brands. At least, I’ve made a promise to myself… no lavish shopping spree to condemn the trend at my level. After all these lawn suits will wash in the same laundry and look-alike after a few wash so no to commercialism, no to consumerism and yes to mental peace…

No to lawn mania...!

Poles apart…!published in Dawn Magazine

“Kya zamana aa gaya hai, aik hamara dor tha…”You might have heard such expressions uttered by your parents and grandparents frequently without realizing the fact that after a decade or two you will be saying the same words to your young ones. Generational difference is often mistaken for generation gap. If the modern young lot is known as the MTV generation and mobile and media maniacs, it’s because of the era in which they live.Whatever we are or whatever we do is actually the reflection of the age in which we are born and brought up. Circumstances give birth to movements, pave the way for changes, advancements and mould human psyche accordingly. The modern generational change is quite universal. One can find stunning similarities between Pakistani and foreign trends and attitudes, thanks to the blurring boundaries, a result of technology and media expansion.

As Dr Salahuddin Kazi, associate professor of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre and a social scientist shared Pakistanis can be categorized into four broad generations.

The oldest one, which he calls the silent generation, comprises people born between 1920 and 1940 with an average age of 75. They are the people who witnessed partition of the subcontinent and the creation of Pakistan, the 1965 war and rebuilding of a newly independent state. They can be called a proud generation known for their hard work and selflessness. Since the group witnessed Ayub Khan’s economic growth era and a triumphant battle of Pakistani army against India on the regional front, they have a lot of respect for authority and leadership. They strongly believe that slow and steady wins the race. So ‘get ready, take aim and fire’ is the motto of their lives. Our grandparents in their seventies are the true representatives of the silent generation who love nostalgia and accentuate the golden era with expressions like Kya zamana tha …

The baby boomers succeeded the silent generation who contributed to a high population growth with plenty of children after the second World War. Born between 1941 and 1960, the generation has an average age of 55 years. According to Dr. Kazi”It’s basically a self-centered group, whose members always thought and talked about themselves. Though hardworking, yet unlike their parents they didn’t experience economic prosperity and progress in the country. On the contrary, they still have the humiliating memories of the 1971 war in Pakistan and the Vietnam war in America that caused a complete distrust of authority and gave birth to the rebellious hippy culture all over the world. The common man of their era was attracted towards flowery, colorful and unconventional lifestyle. The Beatles and rock music garnered mass appeal and pseudo democracy with slogans like Roti, Kapra, Makan reflected the awami mood of the era. Though the baby boomers believed in getting ready before taking aim, they’re more impulsive than their predecessors.

Dr Kazi titles the people group born between 1961 and 1980 as the generation X. He declares them the most interesting but unpredictable lot. Sub kuch chalta hai is their dictum. They are credit card lovers who first spend, and then worry about the payment. The Iranian Revolution, Pan Islamism, the rise of Islamic and family values, MTV culture, multimedia revolution, video games and lust for information and entertainment are the highlights of this class that gave birth to a fun-loving, highly competitive, impulsive and most discontent age group. They believe in fire, fire, fire, fire … as in video games. They have neither the time to think nor the patience to take aim. They love short cuts and instant results. Thus one can witness young executives at high positions.

Then comes the generation Y, consists of the youth born between 1981 and 2000s. They have many features of the silent generation. They get ready and then fire like their wise ancestors. Cell phones, the Internet and advanced communication technology have distinguished them from the previous group and influenced both their personal and social lives. They are the intended team players with group thinking. Thus most of them prefer to play team sports and work in groups — a particularly increasing trend in the US.

Here one can predict Eugenics as the possible future generation. They may have the best of mental and physical qualities. But in this respect the question that raises its head is: can they be better human beings? Can scientists assure a better future for this world through their genetic endeavors?

The categories above rather seem to me broad generalizations made to understand different eras and the people associated with them. Whatever age we talk about we can see that people are more influenced by the social, cultural and political environment than by the make-up of their genes. Generational differences can be witnessed in every age group. However, generation gap can be avoided by different groups if they respect each other’s individuality and freedom. All of us learn with experience. We pass through several stages in life. Every age has its own demands and charms, but one can’t understand it unless one experiences it. So Which generation do you belong or rather relate to and how do you think about changing times and values… Do you wish to travel back or forth in time to experience and explore the golden past or rather the bright future? Share what you bear…!

FITNESS FEVER IN THE FAIR SEX

beauty lies in health & fitnessA well furnished, glass-wall, airy gymnasium with a number of women attired in colourful, smart costumes, doing exercises on machines and on the floor to the rhythm of popular beats… It’s not a scene from any Hollywood or Bollywood hit; rather it is a routine sight in one of the many fitness clubs, mushrooming in Karachi recently.

 A few years back gyms, sports and exercise were considered elite class pastime. Physical fitness was identified as a luxury enjoyed by the rich and the celebrities who have enough time, money and energy to waste. For a common person, it was a foreign territory, but the way media popularized once alien trends popular and transform our long-rooted convictions is tremendous.Apart from designers’ clothes and cosmetics’ brands, the common educated women of our country have become increasing health conscious – thanks to several fit and fine type tele-shows. 

 The rapid growth of sports complexes, gymnasiums and health clubs in different localities with high-sounding offers and claims are a reflection of the emerging trend. Some of them are really good, offering yoga and aerobic classes in well-equipped centres under highly trained instructors. While others are just a source of earning money, making a fool out of women and are dangerous to their health as applying faulty methods such as rapid weight lose, special diet plans and syrups that assure instant fitness.

 Most of the clubs and fitness centres which are located in the posh areas of Defence and Clifton are beyond the range of common women due to distance and exorbitant charges.  But the ones opened in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Nazimabad, PECHS and Tariq Road etc., attracts an increasing number of educated, middle class women with reasonable packages.

 Women Sports Complex in Gulshan-e-Iqbal is one such centre, run by the Karachi Municipal Corporation and is trying to cater to the increasing fitness needs of the women of the city. When the complex started in 1997-98, it had more than five hundred members which are now tremendously reduced in number. The complex offers full-fledged sports facilities including a health club, indoor games, tennis, badminton, basketball and throw-ball courts and a swimming pool but the quality of the facilities are hardly up-to-the-mark due to lack of maintenance and interest at the management level. Being a KMC centre, the fees is quiet nominal and so are the services.

A large majority of its members are local residents. But many also come from Federal-B-Area, Nazimabad, Hasan Square, Tariq Road, Shah Faisal and other distant localities. One of the students of the Women Sports Complex opined, “Our instructor is not professionally trained, neither do they give us any diet chart, nor individual exercise plan, but they are dedicated and work hard to keep their students fit by introducing new steps and improvements shown on TV channels and Morning Shows.

The interesting feature of such centres is the variety of its members. It attracts working women and housewives, young students, middle-aged mothers and grandmothers. I met a practicing lady doctor who wanted to lose her extra pounds, a school teacher who wished to get refresh and revitalise in the summer vacations, a government officer who found relief through yoga after a hectic work schedule, a couple of housewives with school going children who hardly got an hour to reshape their over-weight bodies, old aged women with married children, spinsters and students who are looking for fun and adventure.

 The key motivating factor behind joining such institutions is the desire to look attractive. Some married women said that it was their husbands who encouraged them to join the health club to get smart. Some are there for medical reasons since their doctors suggest regular exercise and yoga for heart, blood pressure, asthma, backache, fatigue, indigestion, menstrual and other disorders.

 Maintaining one’s health throughout a normal age-span brings with it many benefits such as a youthful bearing and outlook, a feeling of energy, beauty, poise, and the ability to relax. Yoga, meaning yoke or union, especially helps to discipline the body, expand the mind freely and bring out the ultimate best in all of us, i.e. the image if God in our hearts.  

A popular misconception is that only fat, out-of-shape or ill people need to exercise. Or it is a professional requirement for showbiz and sports personalities. But the modern urban life style demands that every one of us should devote some time to physical fitness. Especially the youth which spends most of its time with text books and office files? And the rest in front of the computer or television screen. For women too, household work is not enough since it has become increasingly mechanical with home appliances. They need to participate in some sort of sports or activities that give exposure to their pent-up energies and keep them physically fit and mentally healthy.    

So are you ready to chalk out your fitness plan and exercise schedule from today…?   

The role designed for women on tube

She is impulsive, mindless, proud and pretty. Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she never cares about money, nor does she understand the bitter realities of life. One day a Mr. Perfect enters her world and falls in love with her despite her brainless antic. Eventually, he brings her to the right path through his consistent efforts. An age old formula of famous TV plays such as yesteryear’s Shahzori and today’s Kuck Pyar ka Pagalpan Bhi Tha still continue to click with the same theme.

TV is around fifty years old in Pakistan but its characters, especially the female ones, have not yet matured. What it portrays are either angels or devils. They only fall in two categories — good and bad women. A woman in our TV plays is either a sacrificing mother/wife, accepting her husband’s abuse and infidelities, giving up her own life for the sake of her children. Or she is an obedient daughter or sister, dependent on her father and brothers whom she serves like a maid servant and sacrifices her love for the honour of her family, which turns out to be in the best of interest for everyone.

Occasionally the viewers can see a sad widow or a deserted wife on the screen, all of us loved Humsafar’s Khirad. Mostly portrayed as a  pitiful creature, if young, waiting for another man; if old, devoted her life for others.Regardless of her characters on the tube, she is expected to be endlessly sacrificing, extremely submissive, virtuous, modest, religious, traditional, domesticated and at the same time emotional and irrational to get the title of `A good woman’.

On the other hand, when our television projects cunning or vicious women it’s because they have deviated from our tradition and culture. Employed women are usually shown in traditionally female occupation where they are subordinate to men and enjoy little power. Educated women are more or less typecast as ambitious, insensitive and self-centered while the economically independent woman is shown as domineering and ruthless, neglecting her family and children. Middle-aged, well-to-do mistresses are usually as party animals whose sole aim in life is socializing. The only escape for woman is to realise her mistakes and ultimately return to the four walls of the home, reaffirming her innate dependency on men. 

The portrayal of the female child in the media, especially films and television, is also often disparaging. Girls are usually shown looking after the younger siblings and imitating the nurturing role of their mothers, while boys, on the other hand, seek adventure, solve problems, and follow the role model of their fathers. Women programmes on radio and television perpetuate sex stereotypes and cater to them as housewives and mothers, rather than provide knowledge and skills for their role as economic contributors.

 Media is a cultural force both reflects and affects the social values. It not only shows reality but also modifies it according to the demands of the age. The treatment which is meted out to the fair sex on our television and in other media mirrors the popular attitude towards them. In our country, television is  also used as a tool of state machinery thus it projects certain stereotypes as desired by the people in power to propagate their ideologies and vested interests.

Survey of the women-related literature used in media brings out the fact that all over the world the image of women projected through the media tends to reinforce the traditional attitudes and often presents a degrading and humiliating picture of the fair sex, which is not representative of the present age.The dominant stereotype media images of women are that of less competent human beings, objects for exploitation by men and key to commercial success in this age of advertising.

In Pakistan, women’s image has undergone several unjust projections at the hands of the media. The print media has perpetuated the neglect and damage to women. All magazines and newspapers have special women columns/ pages. Besides there are exclusive female magazines in various languages.  Mostly their fiction sections glorify patriarchy and women’s roles as housewives, mothers and dependents. Atrocities against fair sex, from eve- teasing to wife-battering are portrayed, as routine. The emphasis remains on females being good enough for such skills as embroidery, cooking and home management.

The advertising world continues to use women as sexual objects to peddle its products. Almost all commercials from the one for Dalda oil to that of washing machine reinforce housework as the sole responsibility of women with household equipment advertisements addressed only to women .The media has given tremendous spurt to indecent posters and hoardings which are displayed everywhere, and are crude reminders of distorted images and attitudes to women.

The main problem is that women’s issues are always judged on gender basis. The day our society will give women the status of human beings, the day we will accept their rights as human rights, the day discrimination against women will be identified as violation of human rights, is the day when most of women’s problems will be automatically solved.

Sex & Gender Issues on Media; Media Manipulation Part II as published in Dawn Magazine

is the media manipulation of gender issues a relevant issue in pakistan...?

Explicit sexual scenes have been increased in the mass media world over. From 2000 to 2012, sexual behaviour and sexual suggestiveness increased by 800 per cent in TV programs and films. The average child or teenager today views nearly 14,000 sexual references, innuendoes, and behaviour each year, and less than 150 of those involve birth control, abstinence, sexually transmitted diseases or personal responsibility.

A popular TV channel for young people tells stories that involve sexual imagery 75 per cent of the time, violence more than 50 per cent of the time, and when sexual imagery and violence are combined, the violence is directed against women 80 per cent of the time (Brown & Steele, 1995).

insensitive depiction of gender issues & crimes on idiot box contributes to the increasing crimes against women

While reviewing mass media’s impact on gender issues in Pakistani society, it’s evident that gender-based violence and stereotype media images often lead to aggressive and biased behaviour towards opposite sex, especially in young people. The image of women presented through local media tends to reinforce the traditional attitudes most of the time. She’s ideally presented as a sex object — dependent and vulnerable while men are usually portrayed as aggressive, manipulative and insensitive. An ambitious, qualified and independent woman often appears as a loner and a loser.

The ever-increasing rate of violent crimes including suicide, rape, robbery, killing and sexual harassment obviously highlights modern media’s contribution to our world. Only if one reviews the last year’s newspapers, one can come across thousands of reports exposing gender-based violent crimes on a regular basis. The cases of Mukhtara Mai, Sonia Naz, Marium Bano and Dr Shazia are only a few that were brought into the limelight while many were brushed under the carpet due to the stigma attached to it.

The use of the Internet to traffic women and sell pornography has further aggravated the exploitation of women. Sex trade and tourism can now use websites for their portrayal of women, with the capacity to reach many more websites. The result is an increased number of women-hating websites online.

There is a need for having a gender balance at all decision-making levels within the media industry. Television as the most popular household medium must refrain from presenting women as inferior and exploiting them as sex objects. On the contrary, it could be a useful tool to promote a positive and realistic image of women.