Pakistan Unveiled
Pakistan is a country of contradictions - full of promise for growth, modernity and progress, yet shrouded by political, social and cultural issues that undermine its quest for identity and integrity. My bimonthly column "Pakistan Unveiled" presents stories that showcase the Pakistani struggle for freedom of expression, an end to censorship, and a more open and balanced society.
Bina Shah is a Karachi-based journalist and fiction writer and has taught writing at the university level. She is the author of four novels and two collections of short stories. She is a columnist for two major English-language newspapers in Pakistan, The Dawn and The Express Tribune, and she has contributed to international newspapers including The Independent, The Guardian, and The International Herald Tribune. She is an alumnus of the International Writers Workshop (IWP 2011).
  • photo via Flickr user: Vikalpa | Groundviews | Maatram | CPA
    On Killing the Messenger

    Some of us choose to write things that may only offend family members, because we believe our blood ties will save us from their retribution. Others choose to take the risk of provoking religious extremists because they believe the risk is worth it.

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  • Muslim women at prayer. Photo via Flickr user: PnP!
    Gender Apartheid: The Real No-Go Zones

    Instead of zones based on Muslims and non-Muslims, Muslim communities have no-go zones for women. These no-go zones have existed for much longer and been much more accepted than the fictitious no-go zones of Paris or Birmingham.

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  • Profiling, security checks, and long visa applications all come with holding a Pakistani passport. Photo via: Wikimedia Commons.
    Traveling While Pakistani

    Even if all traces of the poliovirus were to disappear from Pakistan tomorrow, we Pakistanis would still approach levels of near-insanity every time we have to travel abroad.

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  • Muslims around the world have been outspoken against ISIS. photo via Flickruser: Montecruz Foto.
    Not In My Name

    Muslim leaders all over North America have been vocal about their condemnation of extremism. But all the condemnation, disavowals, and apologies seem to be disappearing into thin air, heard and witnessed by nobody.

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  • A Pamela Geller ad from 2012. Photo via Flickr user: Steve Rhodes
    Freedom of Speech, or Freedom of Hate?

    What effect does Pamela Geller’s continuous slander of Muslims really have on public opinion at large? Does the public dismiss her ads as more propaganda for a distant war, or do they have the power to actually turn people against Muslims and deny them their humanity?

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  • Shahid Mahmood
    Amplifying the Ludicrous

    Bina Shah speaks with Canadian-Pakistani political cartoonist Shahid Mahmood. His work has been censored in Pakistan and he has received death threats from the Taliban. Mahmood gained notoriety in 2004 when he was stopped from boarding a plane for appearing on a “no-fly”list.

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Fearless, Ink.