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HomeGo To PakistanProgressive Pakistani poet, writer Fahmida Riaz passes away

Progressive Pakistani poet, writer Fahmida Riaz passes away

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Here’s what’s happening across the border: Extremists launch ‘house to house’ hunt for Asia Bibi’s family, Imran Khan says Pakistan wants to learn from Mahathir’s experiences.

 Progressive poet Fahmida Riaz dies at 72

Eminent Pakistani poet and progressive writer Fahmida Riaz died Wednesday evening in Lahore after a prolonged illness, Dawn reports. She was 72.

She was known for her ‘revolutionary’ style of poetry.

Riaz was censured for her style of writings by her country’s conservatives. In 1973, the poet was slammed for making use of erotic and sensual expressions in Badan Dareeda, her second collection of verse.

When she was nominated for Kamal-e-Fun award in 2016 — Pakistan’s highest literary award — she said: “In the past, I faced criticism because of my writings. As many as 14 cases, including a case of sedition, were registered against me during Gen Ziaul Haq’s tenure.”

“Now, nomination for the award by the government department really shows that things are changing in the country and we are moving in the right direction”, she added.

Riaz had also lived in self-imposed exile in India for more than six years.

She had translated the works of Albanian writer Ismail Kadare and 13th century Persian poet Rumi into Urdu.

During her lifetime, Riaz authored more than 15 books which were a combination of fiction and poetry.

Riaz was born to a literary family in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh in July 1946 and later moved to Hyderabad in Sindh province because of her father’s transfer.

‘House-to-house search’ for Asia Bibi’s family

Asia Bibi’s family, the Christian minority woman who was acquitted of blasphemy charges by the Supreme Court last month, has claimed that extremists are hunting for them by showing their photos to people, The Guardian reports.

Bibi has been living in protective custody along with her five children and husband since she was recently freed from Multan jail.

John Pontifex, a representative of UK-based Aid to the Church in Need, said that he was in regular contact with Bibi’s family for the past three weeks. He said that the family was frightened.

“They have told me that mullahs had been reported in their neighbourhood, going from house to house showing photos of family members on their phones, trying to hunt them down,” Pontifex was quoted as saying by The Guardian.

Pontifex also narrated what scale of security threat Asia Bibi and her family were facing. “The family has had to move from place to place to avoid detection. Sometimes they can only operate after sundown. They have had to cover their faces when they go out in public. They have had to remove the rosary that hangs from their car rear-view mirror for fear of attack,” he said.

He also explained that it was Bibi’s family’s faith that was “sustaining them in this time of acute danger”.

Many countries, including Italy, France, the UK and Canada have expressed their safety concerns for Asia Bibi’s family but no deal has yet been finalised with the Pakistan government over their extradition to a foreign country.

Pakistan wants to learn from Mahathir’s experiences, says Imran

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is on a two-day official visit to Malaysia, said he wants to learn from Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad’s experiences to steer his country out of the present crisis and transform its economy.

Khan also invited his Malaysian counterpart to visit Pakistan and attend the Pakistan Day ceremony on 23 March in Islamabad, The News reports.

Addressing a joint press conference in the Malaysian city of Putrajaya, Khan said that both the governments were facing similar problems and that he wanted to “talk about how to deal with the crisis and to come out of it.”

The Malaysian PM stressed on the need for shared cooperation which would benefit both the sides.

Clothing brand uses mental illness as marketing gimmick, draws flak

Pakistani clothing brand Edenrobe has drawn criticism for using mental illness as a marketing gimmick, Pakistan Today reports.

Edenrobe released a poster which read, ‘Stuck with my depression, there was no way out. I had to sever bonds with this illness; I had to #knottheblues into submission.’

The advertisement was put up for a new line of products called ‘Knot the blues’ which Edenrobe had launched.

According to the report, activist Urooj Zia claimed the brand tries to “co-opt folks’ trauma and pain” in order to “market badly-designed and terribly-constructed garbage”.

Social worker Marriya Malik also called out Edenrobe for using “mental illness as a tool to sell products”. She said that this profit catering mindset seems to overlook “basic empathy” and the marketing team responsible needed to evaluate this “sick” campaign, according to the Pakistan Today report.

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