Stories written by Zofeen Ebrahim
Zofeen Ebrahim is a Karachi-based journalist who has been working independently since 2001, contributing to English dailies, including Dawn and The News, and current affairs monthly magazines, including Herald and Newsline, as well as the online paper Dawn.com. In between, Zofeen consults for various NGOs and INGOs.
Prior to working as a freelance journalist, Zofeen worked for Pakistan’s widely circulated English daily, Dawn, as a feature writer.
In all, Zofeen’s journalism career spans over 24 years and she has been commended nationwide and internationally for her work.
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“If I return to Afghanistan, the Taliban will kill me; I’m prepared to stay in a prison in Karachi than face those ruthless people,” said 24-year-old Afghan refugee, Sabrina Zalmai*, referring to the recent crackdown on hundreds of Afghans residing without proper documents in the metropolis, who are being arrested and then deported back to Afghanistan.
Terming the recent international donors’ conference held in Geneva a “success” after Pakistan was able to secure 10 billion US dollars, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has promised “every penny” of the pledges will be used towards rehabilitation of flood-hit people.
Last week, for at least six days, hundreds of flood-affected villagers from around the outskirts of Pangrio, a sleepy town in the Sindh province, blocked the main artery – the Thar Coal Road – connecting Badin to neighbouring district of Tharparkar – not allowing any traffic to pass.
The heavy and incessant monsoon downpours across Pakistan in the last two months have triggered floods wreaking havoc across the country, submerging entire villages and vast tracts of land and entrapping people. Anything coming in the way of the relentless water is being destroyed, including roads, bridges, and standing crops.
“It was like a heavy burden had been lifted, and I could breathe easier,” said Irum Khan, a polio worker, recalling the cloudy, gloomy, winter morning of January 28, 2022, when her supervisor announced Pakistan had not reported a single case of a child afflicted with polio since January 27, 2021, when the last time a polio case was reported from the province of Balochistan.
The mauling, groping and tossing of a young woman by a crowd of between 300 and 400 men in a park in the eastern city of Lahore, in the Punjab province, may have caused a wave of country-wide disgust, but speaks volumes of how unsafe public spaces are for Pakistani women.
“If I fall into the hands of the Taliban, not only me but my family will be killed,” said AB, 23*, who worked as a broadcast journalist for the past seven years and is a well-known face on the television screen.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has been making sure that all foreign dignitaries visiting the country get their hands dirty. With a shovel and a watering can, they are invited to plant a tree for one of the largest reforestation initiatives in the world — the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme or TBTTP.
October 13 began like any other day at the Lal house as Raja Lal and his wife Rita Raja left for work at 7:30 am.
"I made the usual breakfast of anda paratha (egg and flat bread) and told my eldest to lock the door from inside," Raja, who works as an ayah in a school, told IPS. Their 13-year old daughter, the youngest of their four children, did not go to school that day as her school shoes no longer fit and her parents hadn’t bought her a new pair yet.
Little did they know that that day was the beginning of a nightmare for the Lal household. Their daughter would then allegedly be "abducted, forcefully converted and married in just one day”, Lal, a Christian, told IPS.
A former Pakistani child bride, who was wrongly accused of killing her husband at 13 and subsequently spent almost two decades in prison, is making history by being the first victim of a miscarriage of justice to seek compensation from the state, say legal human rights experts.
Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar, the coordinator for Pakistan’s National Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Eradication, has sleepless nights thinking about what needs to be done for his country to eradicate polio.
"He struck his head, his side, his stomach and went on hitting him. When Hunain said he could not breathe, the teacher slammed him against the wall, saying, 'Being dramatic are we?’" This is the eye witness account from a classmate of 17-year-old Pakistani student, Hunain Bilal, who was allegedly beaten to death by his teacher after he failed to memorise his lessons.
Gulab Shah, 45, is having sleepless nights. He and his family are worried about their imminent migration from their village in Jhaloo to a major city in Pakistan, thanks to the continued ingress of sea water inland.