Is Pakistan Safe for Female Vloggers and Social Media Stars

Only foreign female vlogger Alex Reynolds lost purpose was brave enough to highlight the issues and painted the real picture about women travelling in Pak, but was censored at Pakistan Tourism Summit organized by Atif Khan attended by Ex-PM Imran Khan. I abandoned Twitter long ago but this piece by @samirashackle is worth coming out of the shadows – a deep dive into the strange mélange of white saviorism, political propaganda, and who knows what else that drives western travel influencers in Pakistan.

After being censored from the summit, she decided to voice her concerns through her channel and present the speech she initially prepared for the event. She said: “If a voice is silenced in one place, it can simply appear in another.” She raised her concerns that in a country of 200 million people not a single local travel influencer is being featured in this summit to talk about the real issues? Is the country ready and is anyone willing to actually talk about it critically asked lost purpose in 2019? Pakistan is about to take off, but is the country ready? Is anyone willing to actually talk about it critically?

Disappointingly we had to cut the material about the tourism summit in the end, but still great to have your perspective. Hope you’re well. Sadly. That is the one drawback of this great piece. Appreciated your video about it Alex. Also this piece in dawn. The Pakistan Tourism Summit features international travel bloggers, but where are the local influencers? Don’t get the message to be honest. If you wanted to present Pakistani dissident or western favored journalists of Pakistan then it makes sense. No country is perfect and nether Pakistan. Other wise it’s just another attempt to malign Pakistan due to some personal agenda.

A story that captures a lot of things about the influencer market. “Although she was often referred to as a blogger, she didn’t have a blog.

Every time a solo gori vlogger visiting Pakistan narrated her experience as “safe” and best for solo female travelers, I saw hundreds of hyper Patriots in the comments rejoicing and claiming that this is the real face of our country & our women are safest in the world. They also belittled the experiences of local women by saying “Ye tou bus Mulk ka naam kharaab kar rahi hein” .. lol as if those who lived here their entire lives know nothing but a random foreigner on a 5 nights trip are better representative of the country! Today, that image is shattered too! A foreign vlogger, Arabella was gang r*ped while visiting Dera Ghazi Khan! And as per reports, the perpetrators were not just any deranged fellows but men who ran a tourism page, portraying a “soft image of Pakistan”. The country stands at the lowest on the scale of gender parity and our passport has maintained its “4th worst passport” position consecutively. Next time, before you worry about the image, worry a little about those who are actually destroying it by their actions! Punish those who broke trust in her innocent eyes.

Oh nobody believes the safe for women narrative, every day you witness something or the other either around you or in the news, among the worst places in the world for women to even step out, not saying that their homes are safe. All my life I heard about Baloch traditions which give utmost respect to women & guests. She is both, a woman & a guest. They demolition not only image you talking about but the Baloch traditions too. They deserve most sever punishment. Most of these ‘image building tourists’ are sponsored by ‘powerful’ circles who believe their unquestionable power has the capacity to do anything they wish. A shithole cannot be made a paradise through sponsoring ads and tourists and making songs as if there’s no misery.


Dania and Amir Liaquat True Story What Happened

Dania is a victim of not only Aamir Liaquat but also of her parents who knowingly married her off to that monster. It doesn’t matter if she is under 18 or above 18, given the power dynamics within desi households, & between her & Aamir, state needs to take responsibility for her.

There is so much that needs unpacking here. Class difference, gender disparity, deprivation, lack of agency to name a few. Sure, she will get away from Aamir, but do we have a mechanism where women can get away from parents who don’t keep interests of their daughters a priority? Why state is responsible for their khula? They themselves are responsible for it and no one else because actions have consequences.

Well the thing is that had her parents not married her to him, then people would had said parents should let the girl use her free-will. Let it be enough tht parents been supportive either way. Stop bringing ones own wrong decision on others. Let the person take his/her mistake with an acknowledgement. What about 11 crore Rs. haq mehr that Amir Liaqat has agreed to give her in case of divorce? If parents are against love marriage, problem. If parents oblige with girl’s choice, again problem. Parents obliged with Danias choice. It was a business deal. Gain gain from both sides. Larki and parents got lottery. Amir got sasti fame and limelight.

She is accusing him of domestic violence that needs to be check immediately. This man is in dire need of help. People please stop speculating nonsense. Does she really strike you as one who would have listened? Innocence? That comes at a terrible price in this world. I agree with a lot of what you said, except that the state needs to be held responsible/accountable. Surprised how they got in contact with aamir liaqat? It was a business deal for her parents.

Well, she was an adult who made a bad judgment; why can’t you just swallow it n hope that she will learn from this mistake n won’t repeat the same mistake again.


Sanitation Workers in Pakistan

We end this week with our focus on the plight & suffering of sanitation workers. A sanitation worker suffers from low pay, hazardous working conditions, often resulting in death. Sanitation workers have no safety equipment or protective gear, no health protection and are extremely vulnerable to accidents and health ailments (such as viruses, asthma, skin rashes) due to lack of mechanical equipment. Moreover, poor urban planning in our city.

Land occupation has resulted in impossibility of machinery & equipment to be brought near sites; often workers have to clean the sewers manually. Sanitation workers are continuously ignored in government polices & development initiatives, where large sanitation programs. are developed talking about infrastructure, but don’t include much for workers. 80% of workers are from religious minority communities, facing extensive discrimination-& are often called dirty or unclean.

Often Muslim workers receive contracts, which are then passed informally to minority faith persons. The social attitude & taboos around sanitation work contribute to their marginalisation; even doctors often refuse to treat them. These workers are stuck in an unjust system, where most work without permanent contracts, without minimum wage. While some workers are directly employed by cantonment boards, most are employed through temporary outsourced contracts.

The Sindh Solid Waste Management Board mostly outsources waste & sanitation services to Chinese companies which has severely impacted workers rights where sanitation workers aren’t getting permanent contracts, minimum wage or health insurance. We demand an institution of minimum wage across all waste companies & direct employment of workers by all waste management boards.

We demand provision of machinery for sanitary workers and safety equipment and protocols. Watch this space, as we speak to sanitation workers and release our demands officially.

Could you please pinpoint any specific grievance of sanitary workers where Municipal authorities failed to address?


Best Career Advice You Will Get in Pakistan

I wish someone had sat me down and explained this to me as an 18 year old. I am not going to marry a profession for life. I am allowed to change my mind, get bored and quit. It’s ok to not do anything for a while. Ok to take risks. Ok to be proven wrong, to miss a turn.

A future is by definition uncertain. You can’t, won’t lock it down. Don’t worry about it. Go out and do what you want to do, not what you have to do, or should do. At worst, you will have to start all over again. So? Start over again. Life doesn’t always turn out as we planned. I picked computer science because I thought it would help me prepare for actuarial exams.

Didn’t plan on falling in love with operating systems, optimization methods and compilers in the middle. Didn’t think I would get bored within a year of working as an actuarial student. The things I have had to do to keep myself entertained. Here is what I have learnt. There will always be bills. They will always have to be paid. Do the minimum possible work to pay bills.

Do the most work on stuff you enjoy doing. I wish I had a picture with all of you. How do you find what you enjoy doing? Experiment. Explore. Take risks. Place bets. Ignore the voice in your head. Listen to your heart. Make mistakes. Get into trouble. Try new things. Get hurt. Break your heart. Get laughed out of town. You would be surprised how well some of these work.

I started off as an actuary with a degree in CS. Then become a CS guy who was also an actuary. Sounds about the same. It wasn’t. It isn’t. In the process I pissed off a lot of people who thought I wasn’t playing by the rules. Make up your mind, they said. Pick one side, they said. Color between the lines, they said. In one way the smartest thing I did, which wasn’t by design or intent was to pick CS as my first degree.

It opened up timelines I hadn’t thought about. And I could ignore the rules. Pick paths, options, doors, that open other doors and other paths. That open timelines and futures you can’t think about. Not paths that lead to or into dead ends. You think you don’t have a choice? You always have a choice. You are just not looking hard enough.

I rarely introduce myself as an actuary. I am a teacher, I teach. I build risk models, work in risk. I mentor startups and founder. I shoot documentary shorts. I write.
I am retired. I was a founder. I am a road runner, I run. I don’t play by the rules. Don’t play by the rules. In the end you are the one who has to live with the choices you made. Also regrets. Choose carefully. But remember. At some point in our lives we all look back and wonder, what if we had chosen differently. So will you. Don’t waste bandwidth thinking about it.

I wrote this lines for those of you who walked on this path before you. They were relevant in 2019. They are still relevant in 2021. Choose well my children, choose well. And never, ever be afraid of being wrong. Making mistakes is how we learn. As long as we learn, the more mistakes we make, the sharper, smarter and wiser we become.

Case in point. Picked a DSLR for the first time as a 44 year old. Shot images above and most of what you see on my feed across 7 years. Tried a documentary short at 45. Failed miserably. Tried again. Failed again. Started running after 27 years. Life gives you 2nd chances.

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