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#StopJahezkhori : UN Women Pakistan

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KARACHI: This Thursday, Geo News Morning Show with Abdullah and Huma made a statement to stigmatize dowry, through an advocacy stunt involving Pakistan’s popular film and drama star Ali Rehman. 

Earlier last week, Ali Rehman made the surprising announcement through a video on his Instagram feed that he was getting married. He then invited the entire nation to his wedding, which was to happen live on national TV. Ali, however, did not disclose who he was getting married to.

The celebrity finally revealed his shocking “bride” on a segment of the Geo Morning Show – from the doli, instead of a bride, appeared ‘dowry items’ that Ali was getting married to: a sewing machine, car keys, kitchen appliances, and gold jewelry amongst other such items. 

The stunt was part of a campaign initiated by UN Women Pakistan to discourage the practice of forced dowry and related violence. It showcased how this practice makes a bride synonymous with material things like utility items, cash and gold. The expectation of giving dowry to the groom’s family has been burdening the families of girls with the pressure of spending more than their means and, in many cases their entire life savings, on their daughter’s wedding. Many marriages in Pakistan involve the transfer of dowry from the bride’s family to the groom’s and often brides are punished for not bringing enough dowry items through emotional abuse and bullying, deprivation of basic needs, and even to the extreme of killing with stove-burnings which are shown as accidents.

Also participating in the show to provide insights on the issue of dowry violence were Saman Ahsan from UN Women Pakistan, and Saman Jafri, former parliamentarian who worked on drafting a bill on dowry violence to be presented in the National Assembly. The well-known religious scholar, Mufti Muhammad Naeem was called on the show through a video call and gave the message that demanding dowry is not acceptable in Islam. A special message from Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology, Dr. Qibla Ayaz was also aired, who stated that: “Islam categorically discourages the practice of demanding or expecting dowry from a bride’s family. Islam strictly prohibits showing-off of wealth, extravagant spending on weddings and other ceremonies and burdening the bride’s family with demands of material good.” 

In 2012, UN Women and SACHET conducted a study that found that “Dowries are often a monetary deal between two families: the bride’s family that fulfils the demands and the groom’s that makes demands. Such cultural arrangements completely violate the dignity of women and the quality of their personal relationships.”

With this campaign, UN Women aims to not only highlight the issue but also discourage the practice by portraying it as a form of abuse. They’ve coined a new Urdu term ‘Jahezkhori’ with the aim to stigmatize the practice and change attitudes and behaviors towards it. The campaign goal is to encourage people to demand an end to the dowry practice by stating #StopJahezkhori

Ali Rehman’s stunt was the launch of a detailed campaign that will be followed by inviting civil society members, celebrities, bloggers and influencers, beneficiaries from rural communities and people from all walks of life to support the cause. The campaign took over conventional and social media news as henna laden hands were displayed with a symbol saying Jahezkhori Band Karo (Stop the Dowry Practice). 

This campaign aims to transfer the stigma from those who are put under pressure to give dowry in return for marrying their daughters, to those who feel entitled to take dowry and to perpetrate violence if their demands are not met. 

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In Conversation with SOCH the band

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SOCH the band, comprises of two immensely talented musicians, Adnan Dhool and Rabi Ahmed. The duo offers a unique, fresh and soulful approach to their earthy music.

Adnan Dhool at the helm, with his gritty vocals, complemented by Rabi Ahmed’s guitar rhythms. With their thought provoking lyrics, Soch takes us on a journey, hitting on to the harsh realities to the raw emotions of life. Within months of the songs release, Soch’s first ever single “Bandeya” – it received major mainstream radio airplay of which the World-wide release was done in collaboration with Indya Record and was first exclusively aired on 9x Network in INDIA and bagged #2 on ARY Musik and Oxygene and remained in the charts for over 8 weeks.

So we decided to dig deeper and ask the talent behind the band a few questions about how they got together, where they see themselves going in the future and also their experience singing for Bollywood.

1.Tell us a little about how this band was created? 

This band was created by me (Adnan Dhool) back in 2005 when I wasn’t even sure about it . A few years later in 2007, my partner Rabi Ahmed joined in and since then it’s been going wild and strong 

2. The song Avari in Ek Villain was sung by you guys, how was your experience singing for Bollywood?

 It was definitely a great experience working across the border with some of the well known names. Not only did it bring pride to us but an award too.
Being nominated for IIFA in itself is a huge privilege.

3. How did that make you feel? 

A privilege if course, see it’s the biggest award show in Asia and the world knows about it, fans all across wait for it so it was a major break and an honor for us as well.


4. How many times have you been featured in Nescafe basement? 

Twice, season 1 and season 5, and it has been a splendid experience. We feel so much pride to be part of the Pakistani Music scene especially when we are on the brink of a musical revolution.

5. What was the story behind your sensational hit Bol Hu? 

There’s isn’t any story but the thought is to connect with your Rab while going through the toughest phases of your life when you aren’t sure about things and experience a constant defeat, then you need to create your own world and see what that brings to you.

6.If you could jam with one musician, dead or alive, who would it be? 

The one and only Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Sahab

7. Any advice for the rising stars of Pakistan?

Just stick with your own original sound instead of copying others. Originality and candid, raw emotions will be your road to success.

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#BossLady: SHE MAKES IT HAPPEN!

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CO-FOUNDER OF SOUCHAJ, A PASSIONATE DESIGNER, DOTING MOTHER AND DEDICATED WIFE, MEHR KHAN IS THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF TODAY’S MODERN AND ALL-ROUNDER WOMAN.

Did you stumble upon your career or was it something that you always wanted?

I used to work in the fashion industry for different high street brands. My husband, Shoaib Khan and my brother-in-law, Junaid Malik, encouraged me to let go of the employee tag and become my own boss. I have always dreamt big and that is how SOUCHAJ was created.

What was your “aha!” moment?

When I finally left my job and decided to work under my own banner.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?

My greatest inspiration has been my better half- Shoaib Khan. He’s been the most supportive person whilst going forward with the venture. He has pushed me to keep going when I thought I had already reached my limits and has constantly helped and supported me throughout this journey. SOUCHAJ wouldn’t be what it is today, without the support and motivation of myhusband as well as Mehak (my sister) and her husband, Junaid Malik.

When was the time you felt completely discouraged and how did you push through it?

I have never felt discouraged but sometimes you do feel low. Nonetheless, we all have moments of inspiration and ways to fuel our creative vibes.

What was the best advice that your mentor gave you?

Don’t listen to what others have to say.

What are the top 3 things you cherish in your life?

1- My parents for being the constant support

2- My son, the shining light of my life

3. Last but not the least, I greatly cherish seeing SOUCHAJ grow every day.

What is the #1 thing that is yet to be ticked off your bucket list?

Scuba diving is definitely on the list!

What does nobody tell you about being the boss?

The biggest misconception everyone has about being your own boss is that you can take as many days off as you want. It’s actually quite the contrary, you can’t take any time off or your brand will suffer! We ourselves are responsible for any success or setback that the brand faces,

*Name one boss lady that you admire and how she still inspires you? *

There are many wonderful women who fall into that category but Victoria Beckham definitely has to be right there. She was named Female Entrepreneur of the Year at this year’s Glamour. There is this thing she said that speaks volumes of her humility, “Many women look up to me as an achiever, but I’m someone who is still learning something new each and every minute.” This really teaches us how to deal with the rapidly rising success of SOUCHAJ, and how to keep pushing forward without getting too ahead of ourselves.

Describe a day in your life

Well it’s usually the same activities everyday. Wake up early in the morning to send my son to school. Take some time out for myself to get ready for work. Reach SOUCHAJ studio with an everlasting sense of passion, enthusiasm, and a new set of goals and aspirations each day. Mehak and I try to achieve the very best we can, for ourselves and for the business, each and every single day. This includes putting in the hard yards with co-workers, maintaining a certain standard of work and assuring quality, giving some helpful suggestions to our precious clients, and what not. The day must end with spending some quality time with the family.

Complete this sentence: To me, a #BossLady is…”

Someone who is bold, beautiful, and stays true to what she truly believes in and aspires to be..

What did you learn from your biggest failure?

Thankfully, I haven’t ever faced a “failure” as such. setbacks, sure, but nothing too serious. However, every minor setback just serves as a reality check for us and urges us to improve and get better than before.

Which world leader would you most like to have dinner with?

The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. I really admire him for how understanding and inclusive he is towards all kinds of people, irrespective of their cast, colour, creed or religion. He is the kind of leader every nation needs in this modern world.

What advice would you give to young girls out there who have dreams and goals like yours?

Keep striving. Follow your dreams. Enhance your passions. Dream big and work hard. There’s no substitute for hard work and effort. Just keep striving and don’t look back, you’ll reach there eventually.

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Ramsha Khan Steals the show in Kaisa Hai Naseeban

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Ramsha Khan has recently become one of the most seen faces on the television screens and it is mainly because she plays different roles effortlessly and with true commitment. One such spectacular performance delivery can be seen in her current drama serial Kaisa Hai Naseeban that airs on ARY Digital.

The drama is centered around a very common yet very ignored social issue of domestic violence and abuse that young girls face at the hands of their in laws.

Ramsha Khan plays the role of domestic violence victim in the drama and definitely nails it.

She plays the character of Mariam, a young girl who is raised with love in her family and suffers mental, physical and emotional abuse after she gets married.

Her role in the drama is extremely difficult but being known for her effortless performance, Ramsha Khan simply nails her performance and that leads us all to completely feel her character. Her acting skills and the way she displays her pain, her tears and her agony leaves a dramatic effect on the audience leading the drama to a greater success.

She speaks about why Kaisa Hai Naseeban is a project she personally felt compelled to do.

Talking about Kaisa Hai Naseeban, Ramsha Khan said that the first time she read the script of the drama, she instantly felt connected to the character and there was no second thought in accepting the role.
There were two main reasons she chose to do the role of Mariam.
First, she wanted to spread the message of women empowerment through her role. Ramsha Khan’s character as Mariam does begin with suffering in silence but when she loses her child because of domestic abuse, it makes her realize that suffering in silence is not the answer and that she must fight back for her rights and her dignity.

That’s when we see Ramsha Khan turn from a brutally suffered victim to a strong woman who is now ready to fight, to speak and to seek justice. And that is the message she wants to spread through her role.

Another reason of choosing the role was the challenge it brought.

The character of Mariam in Kaisa Hai Naseeban is very challenging to begin with. There is a character development within the drama as it proceeds and Ramsha Khan has to first portray a young girl in suffering and later as a strong-willed girl who wants to fight back.

The challenge in the role has definitely brought out the best of Ramsha Khan as she does an outstanding job in carrying both the characters. Her journey within the drama shows epic acting skills and a powerful display of role portrayal which makes watching the drama all the more worthwhile.

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