Green is my color, but today I bathed in red

Green is my color but today I bathed in red. Again. I thought I could get used to the blood, but can life live with death?

Green gives me hope, but today you stole it. Again. I drowned as innocent blood filled my veins.

Green gives me courage, but today you brought me to my knees. Not because I feared you, but because of my helplessness.

Green gives me peace, but today it shattered like glass, as little pieces of chaos cut through my flesh.

Green gives me faith, and even today I hold on tight.

I look ahead, beyond the lifeless bodies and the tormented cries.

I look above, through the burdening puffs of misery darkening my skies.

I have faith. And you can never steal it from me. Never.

This is dedicated to my beloved country Pakistan and to the people who died today at the Wahga Border suicide attack in Lahore. I couldn’t come up with much except desperate tears and an emotional rant.

Green and  White are the colors of my flag. Green is for Hope and White is for perseverance. Even though she bleeds now, green will bring back hope. It always does. That is something the attackers will never understand. Kill us again and again, but we will come back stronger. No matter how bloody a canvas your vicious ploys may paint, we will rise. Again and always.


National Blog Posting Month - November 2014

I am participating in the National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) – November 2014. This is an awesome venture of In their own words:

“Every November, thousands of bloggers commit to posting daily. But it’s about much more than getting that post up—it’s about community and connection. It’s also about honing your craft, challenging yourself, and taking your blog to the next level.”

I will write every day of November. This is my second post.

#NaBloPoMo – Day 2



O Canada, We immigrants stand on guard for thee!

If you are from Pakistan, a random suicide attack or a senseless bout of bloodshed are normal in all abnormal ways possible. Usually a few selected cities and areas are targeted and most part of the country goes on with life. However innocent blood is always shed and Pakistan is made out to be a no-go-zone in the international news. This is a tragic reality that Pakistan has to crawl its way through every day. As a new immigrant in Canada, I imagine a life of peace and harmony because let’s face it, that’s a given. Until it’s not. Terrorists attack Montreal and Ottawa and you get served with a vaguely familiar entrée’ on your plate. Smells of disbelief and deja vu jolt your nerves.

The terrorist debate is an endless one. The reasons and causes have been regurgitated and coughed up time and again because admittedly, this issue is not as passive and conspiracy-free as global warming. I am no political analyst and I don’t sip on bubbling hot conspiracies all day long. So I can’t possibly ooze out wisdom here on the why’s and how’s of Terrorism. Nor do I intend to toot Canada’s righteous horn. Canada is not perfect and history of the aboriginals and their ill-treatment is a sad fact. Canada’s history of fighting in Afghanistan and now the decision to fight in Iraq is also debatable. But from a layman’s  perspective,  as a new immigrant who loves her new home, I can’t help but write my concerns.

I have met an overwhelming level of warmth in Canada, not usually in the temperature but in people’s hearts. Specifically in my city where people roam around in beards and Hijabs as casually as do people with western attire. The same applies to people practising their religions. I see mosques, churches, temples. I see people speaking English, Urdu, Hindi, Chinese. I see all the colours of the world painting Canada’s skies with harmony. I never see any heads turning when a seemingly different person enters the bus. Many people will have different versions of this story. But this is my experience and so far it is downright awesome.

When I hear of attacks in Canada, I feel disgusted, angry and then I feel a tinge of fear. Fear of a life that could be different and more rigid than the one I have grown to love. Nagging thoughts of how Canada might make drastic changes in their governance policies cling on. Canada already understands many important facts. I hope this mutual understanding and cooperation continues. Every Muslim is not a rabid animal out to attack humanity. Every non-muslim who converts to Islam is not a cause for a moral and ethical dissection. ISIS and Taliban are not an epitome of Islam. I wouldn’t even brand them as humans. Muslims in Canada need to play an integral role here. To come out and speak against these attacks. To let the world know of their love for Canada, a country that has given them plenty to be thankful for.

The Canadian Prime Minister worries me a tad bit. Stephen Harper talks about strengthening the country’s security laws and regulations. Conservatives now divulge plans to give Canada’s security Intelligence Service (CSIS) more powers to detain “would-be” terrorists. A whole new wave of paranoia promises to crush us. Should students from Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan be wary of applying to Canadian Universities? Should family back home think twice before applying for the Canadian visa? Will feelings of anger and resentment seep into those affected by changed policies? The sick feeling in my stomach returns.

In retrospect, Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau stands firm in the belief that attackers, “will not make the rules about this land we share and they will not get to change us” – the guardian. New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair urges the ruling Conservative party to think before rushing into a rigid security legislation that could permanently damage the inherent openness and flexibility of the Canadian way of living.

The Canada I love is all about freedom and acceptance. It would be devastating to see Canada surrender its existing stance because of the Ottawa shootings, because that is precisely the attackers’ aim – to inhibit normal life and imbue seeds of fear in common people. Even in Pakistan, there is a limit to the fear we show to the world. In fact we rarely ever show it. And that’s where our greatness lies.  Controlled anger and the will to fight on is always a better replacement. Attacks or no attacks, normal life carries on back home with increased vigor and determination. And so it should in Canada too.

Canada, in the end all I can say is I have faith in you. I haven’t been here long, but my love for you is pure and ever-growing. I understand the impossible situation you find yourself in. This is why I believe you will do what is right for YOUR people. Your people who are Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, etc. Your people who practice their faiths with abandon and live with joy and freedom. You have the right to strengthen and mould your Security and Intelligence capabilities according to the circumstances. But while doing so, I hope you will continue to look out for your people because they will surely stand with you all the way.

God keep our land, glorious and free.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!

(Canada’s National Anthem)


*** follow-up**** In light of the shootings, a social experiment was conducted to determine the Canadian response to Muslims and racism.

“ : “Omar Albach — an 18-year-old student at York University — and two friends — tested Canada’s racial tolerance by staging a charade involving an actor dressed head-to-toe in traditional Islamic garb and another Caucasian actor who accosts him in public.”

This was the end result: ”

I’ve learned that Canada is very tolerant — it’s proven that Canadians have become more tolerant and knowledgeable about who is a terrorist (and who is not) — and just because there is one radicalized person in a sect or religion does not make every person in that religion a radicalized person,” he told CTV News Channel.”

Read more:


Dissecting the mind of a typical Malala-Hater

image edited from creative commons

There`s the fascinating enigma that is the human mind. And then there is the typical Pakistani’s baffling mind. It’s sometimes impossible to imagine the amount of hate-mongering  my country folk can accommodate in their over-stimulated, zealous brains. I always knew excessive chai (tea)-drinking had its repercussions.

This is not a debate on why Malala should be honored for her Nobel Peace Prize. Nor is this a rant on feminism and gender equality. This is an attempt to understand the mind of a typical Malala-hater. What on Earth goes on in their minds? Let’s dissect shall we?

1. Psst don’t you know?! Malala is a CIA agent out to destroy Pakistan!

Admit it. You`re jealous. Don`t be shy. You know you want the limelight. All those years of watching Hollywood movies about the CIA and spies, this fetish has taken its toll on that limited brain of yours. All those years of posing in front of the mirror trying to smile like Tom Cruise, or pout like Angelina Jolie must amount to something, right? You can`t see straight, so you now  live your fantasy through Malala. You can come out of that closet of yours now. I hear there is a rehab for people suffering from `why-does-Malala-get-to-have-all-the-fun`. You’ll ace it!

2. Obama, oops I mean he-who-must-not-be-named also got the Nobel peace prize!

Tell you wait. Let`s make a deal. I will accept this twisted logic questioning the credibility of the Nobel Peace Prize, if you stop eating meat. Or if you are a vegetarian, stop eating vegetables. Because God forbid, many non-muslims and atheists etc. also eat these things. And surely that`s why you discredited Dr. AbduS Salam when he won the Nobel prize for Physics? Surely, he was not a version of the perfect Muslim your bigoted society rants about. Anyway, so I have a new diet plan for self-righteous people like you. Sand. Three tablespoons full, morning, afternoon and night. Pure grains of mother earth, without any western impurities. This could be a good source of fiber and when combined with water it might taste like pudding.

3. Malala is our enemy, America`s friend!

I see where you are coming from. After all, years of pent-up anger and hatred for the US is apparent in your actions and lifestyle. You love to eat at Mc. Donalds. Say what? Oh yes, you only eat Mc. Arabia because obviously it sounds more Islamic. Anything to do with the Arab world is a bump in the upward direction. You buy jeans from Levi Strauss & Co. Oh sorry, I forgot one important detail. You always keep your jean folded from the bottom like a dutiful Muslim. And let`s not forget the American perfumes you buy every year on Valentine`s day for your boyfriend or girlfriend. A beautiful day like that is never complete without your iPhone’s stark image capturing abilities.Lets just leave it at that shall we?

4. Why didn`t EDHI get the Nobel Prize? BooHoo.

Why did the chicken cross the road? What did the ant say to elephant? Seriously, is this your idea of a logical argument? Abdul Sattar Edhi is one of the most honored and respected people in our country and surely he deserves the Nobel Prize and an even bigger honor if there is one. But that is his fate and his destiny. Stop comparing apples with oranges. Go do something productive. Peel an orange, sprinkle some salt and eat it up. Maybe vitamin C will unblock that sinus and help your stuffy mind to think straight.

5. Malala should get an Oscar (Malala = Drama)

Sure. Why not? After all, she acted brilliantly  when she faked an almost-death from an almost-bullet and then recovered after hours of an almost-surgery. Oh but wait. Why do you watch the Oscars? Demonic unicorns and Obama clones sponsor them. Turn off that television of yours will you! Better yet, burn it, before they get to you too!

6. Malala has done nothing to deserve the award.

Let`s make another deal. Why don`t you get shot by a fanatic, get miraculously cured and then speak among the most influential people of the world at the UN for the basic educational rights of girls in Pakistan. You up for the challenge?  Or would you rather sit smug in your homes, cooking up far flung conspiracies that satiate your sadistic inclinations. Oh no wait. You pray 5 times a day, have a mehrab (prayer bump) on your forehead and say MashAllah and InshAllah in every sentence you speak. Bingo! You have the magic ingredients. Who cares if you cheat and lie in your work?Who cares if you make a pomp and show of everything from religious practices to weddings? Who cares if you gossip and spread vicious rumors? Who cares if you slander actors for their profession and then spend nights watching porn? Congratulations,  you are officially a better human being.

Malala, I`m sorry, but can you please hand over your award to the morbid bunch of cry babies our poor country has to tolerate.


Disclaimer: Since the arguments of all cynics of Malala are so random and pointless, it seemed befitting to counter them with equally far-flung and ridiculous notions such as the ones presented in this blog. Those who feel offended can do so by all means. That is the sole intention here, in case you didn’t notice. You know who you are.




Jamila Bibi , I am sorry you had to leave Canada (on deportation, honor killings and human rights)

This is not the story of a helpless woman who fled from her country, Pakistan, because of accusations of adultery and attempts on her life. It’s not about how 65-year-old Jamila Bibi could not put her trust in the legal system in Pakistan.

This is the story of how even after she escaped certain, violent, retribution for allegedly committing adultery, her narrative was lost in the complexity of laws which first protected her and then threw her back to the wolves.

Jamila Bibi sought asylum in Canada in 2007 because her life was in danger after her husband accused her of adultery. She was deported to Pakistan on Tuesday because under the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Jamila was not under any “obvious” threat back home.

Mutilating women, stoning them to death, or any number of methods of honour killings are nothing new in villages or even cities in Pakistan. According to Dr Muazzam Nasrullah, a public health specialist teaching at Emory and West Virginia University, US, “As many as 500 women and girls are killed for ‘honour’ in Pakistan each year, making it one of the most dangerous countries for women.”

Even though there are direct laws against honour killings, the figure keeps increasing every year. From suspecting an affair, seeking revenge for adultery, to handling property disputes by levelling false accusations, motives behind such deaths are plenty while the truth is seldom present.

In Jamila Bibi’s case, it was said to be a land dispute which led to accusations of adultery. Imagine a 65-year-old woman living in a village committing adultery? Isn’t it a bit of a stretch?

But let’s just consider for a second the accusations were true. Does she not have the right to be tried in a court of law? Does she not have the right to a second chance? A chance Canada did give her until this Tuesday, when they sealed her fate by deporting her.

Leaving behind threats to her life, Jamila Bibi used to work in the kitchen of a small restaurant in Saskatoon, and was contributing to the Canadian economy, however meagre the amount. She was safe, at peace and there legally. There are numerous illegal immigrants residing in Canada. And many should be dealt with harshly because of their dishonest claims and antics. Surely no one will mourn their deportation.

In hindsight, this decision of the government makes little sense, especially when both the Office of the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights and Amnesty International had appealed for further review and consideration of her case before the final deportation.

There are many critics of the Harper government in Canada, primarily for his stringent laws on immigration. This incident further breathes fire into the opposition. But, Citizenship and Immigration Minister, Chris Alexander, continues to label the system as “fair and generous”.

Justice Marie-Josee Bedard said,

“The applicant has not presented evidence before this court that could support a finding that she will face risks if she is [relocated] to Pakistan that have not already been assessed on two occasions (by immigration officials).”

What evidence are they talking about? Did they expect Jamila Bibi to pull some strings even though they know she does not come from privilege back in her village? Or do they expect her accusers to now shower her with petals at the airport?

What makes this action of the Canadian government different from the numerous acts of brutality in Pakistan? We all nod our heads and shrug our shoulders when people like Jamila Bibi don’t get their rights in Pakistan, but what do we do when it comes to humanitarian establishments like Canada?

Is Canada to be held accountable if Jamila Bibi is killed in Pakistan, a country which has a continuing history of honour killings?

No one condones or justifies passing on the blame to a third-party. But in this case, Canada chose to get involved. Canada willingly gave Jamila Bibi refuge so now they cannot turn a deaf ear to her pleas. You can’t save a person from fire by drowning her in an ocean.

This is not a plea to let guilty people off the hook or to make undue exceptions in the law.  However, her appeals should have been given more time and consideration. Was that too much to handle for the Canadian government?

In a letter to the UN, Jamila wrote:

“I know my life would be in danger if I am sent back and I would rather have a peaceful death here than be killed for something that I did not do.”

Who is to say she does not deserve a peaceful death?



**This was published on the Express Tribune blog.Some editing has been done by the tribune team.