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Annam Lodhi

Islamabad, Pakistan
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About Annam
Annam Lodhi is a freelance journalist based in Islamabad, Pakistan.
She received the Agahi Award, in 2020 and 2021, in the categories 'Data Journalism' and 'Inclusiveness', respectively. She writes for national and international publications and is currently a student of MSc Development Studies at NUST, majoring in Social Work with a keen interest in gender.

Her experience ranges from being a beat reporter, content writer, researcher, data journalist, and investigative reporter to being a social media manager, satirist, social activist and social worker.

Annam focuses on the intricacies between gender, culture, tech and climate change. She is also interested in incorporating data in her stories and turning boring data into human interest stories. She prefers long-form and investigative features.

You can reach out to her at ***************.
English Punjabi Urdu
Feature Stories Research Investigative Journalism
Politics Current Affairs Technology

The Upcoming Elections in Pakistan: Shehbaz Sharif's Moment of Truth

04 Apr 2024  |  thediplomat.com
The article discusses the political landscape in Pakistan ahead of the elections, focusing on Shehbaz Sharif, the candidate from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and former Chief Minister of Punjab. It covers his political career, achievements, and the development projects he has initiated in Punjab, such as infrastructure and education reforms. However, it also addresses the corruption scandals involving his brother Nawaz Sharif and the PML-N, including the Panama Papers leak and subsequent disqualification of Nawaz Sharif from public office. The article questions whether Shehbaz Sharif's record in Punjab will be enough to overcome the party's tarnished image and whether he can win the trust of voters in the upcoming elections. The journalist, Annam Lodhi, provides a detailed analysis of the challenges facing Shehbaz Sharif and the PML-N, including allegations of corruption and regional disparities in development within Punjab.

Shamed and sidelined for too long, plus-size women in Pakistan are now speaking up

04 Apr 2024  |  scroll.in
The article discusses the issue of body image and fat shaming in Pakistan, highlighting the narrow beauty standards perpetuated by media that idolize thinness. It features the story of Zehra Husayn, who founded the Facebook group Plus Size Pakistan – Xera | Curvy & Co to create a body-positive community for plus-size Pakistani women. The article also touches on the experiences of other women facing body shaming and the societal pressures to conform to certain body types. It mentions the role of the media and the fashion industry in shaping beauty standards, with a nod to the fashion label Generation for promoting body diversity. The article underscores the importance of self-acceptance and the need for a broader definition of beauty that includes all body sizes.

The Best Climate Tech of the Year: MIT Technology Review's Breakthrough List

04 Apr 2024  |  technologyreview.com
The article discusses the '10 Breakthrough Technologies' list by MIT Technology Review, focusing on three climate tech innovations: super-efficient perovskite tandem solar cells, enhanced geothermal systems, and heat pumps. The author assigns each technology an awards-season style accolade, highlighting their potential impact on climate change mitigation. The article also touches on the challenges of commercializing these technologies and their current progress. Additionally, the article briefly mentions other topics such as the state of offshore wind power, the hottest year on record, fusion research, coal production in India, wastewater heat recovery, seabed mining in Norway, and the rise of Chinese automaker BYD in the electric vehicle market.

Why then is the CDA so adamant to shut down Islamabad's khokhas?

04 Apr 2024  |  sochwriting.com
The article discusses the recent actions taken by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to shut down small kiosks, known locally as 'khokhas,' in Islamabad. It explores the reasons behind the CDA's decision, which may include urban policy enforcement, aesthetic considerations, and regulatory compliance. The impact of these closures on local businesses and the livelihoods of the khokha owners is also examined. The article may delve into the public's reaction, potential legal battles, and the broader implications for the informal economy in the city.

Ah! To be young and carefree again, full of optimism for the future.

04 Apr 2024  |  geo.tv
The article is a personal narrative of a woman's transition from an optimistic teenager to a mother struggling with societal expectations and mental health issues in a desi society. The author discusses the ingrained cultural norms that dictate a woman's role as a caregiver and the overwhelming responsibilities that come with it. She shares her own experiences with pregnancy, motherhood, and the challenges of managing a household, which led to her suffering from 'mom brain', anxiety, and depression. The article highlights the prevalence of postpartum depression in Pakistan, the lack of adequate psychiatric resources, and the societal stigma surrounding seeking help. The author eventually finds solace in online support groups and emphasizes the importance of self-care and professional help for new mothers.

A less-known civilization, the Gandhara, once thrived in the very heart of South Asia

29 Aug 2023  |  voicepk.net
The article by Annam Lodhi discusses the neglect and potential loss of Pakistan's Gandhara civilization heritage due to rapid urban development. It focuses on the Shah Allah Ditta caves in Islamabad, which are under threat from modernity and lack of public awareness. Despite recognition by the Department of Archaeology and Museums, challenges such as land ownership with the Auqaf Department and the Evacuee Property Trust Board hinder conservation efforts. The article highlights the indifference of locals and tourists to the historical significance of the sites, as well as the lack of government support for maintenance. Cultural experts and international scholars emphasize the global importance of Gandhara artifacts and advocate for the preservation of these sites for their religious, aesthetic, and economic value. The article concludes with concerns about the impact of new developments on the natural beauty and historical integrity of the region.

The Single Mother and the State

05 Apr 2023  |  Soch Writing
The article discusses the challenges faced by Areeba, a single mother who moved to Pakistan with her daughter Komal, conceived through sperm donation. Areeba encounters difficulties in obtaining Pakistani citizenship for Komal due to the National Database & Registration Authority's (Nadra) requirement for paternal information, which reflects the country's patrilineal approach to identity. The article also touches on the legal and societal implications of assisted reproductive technology and surrogacy in Pakistan, referencing the Federal Shariat Court's ban on third-party assisted reproduction. It highlights the legal hurdles single mothers face in Pakistan, such as the potential declaration of a child as illegitimate and the lack of legal precedents for such cases. The article concludes with Areeba's concerns about the future and the potential risks of challenging the system in court.

The Curse of Victim Blaming in Pakistan's Fight Against Sexual Violence

05 Apr 2023  |  eurekastreet.com.au
The article discusses the prevalence of sexual violence in Pakistan, highlighting a recent case where a woman was gang-raped on the Motorway in Lahore. It addresses the issue of victim blaming, both by the public on social media and by law enforcement officials. The article cites statistics from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and a non-profit organization, Sahil, to illustrate the frequency of rape cases and the high percentage of perpetrators who are family members. The author, Annam Lodhi, also mentions a survey indicating that women have become more fearful since the incident. The article criticizes Pakistan's legal and justice system for its low conviction rates and failure to support survivors, calling for a cultural shift away from victim blaming.

From Cricket Captain to Legislator: Imran Khan's Political Journey

01 Apr 2023  |  thediplomat.com
Imran Khan, leader of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), has been a prominent figure in Pakistani politics for over two decades. Transitioning from a celebrated cricketer to a politician, Khan has built his political reputation on anti-corruption rhetoric and philanthropy, including the establishment of the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital. With Pakistan's upcoming democratic transition of power, Khan's PTI is a strong contender, particularly in Punjab, the most populous province. Khan's political career has been marked by opposition to corruption, U.S. drone strikes, and advocating for talks with Islamist extremists. Despite setbacks, such as the PTI's boycott of the 2008 elections and a failed protest against Nawaz Sharif, Khan's stance against corruption gained credibility after the Panama Papers leaks implicated Sharif. The PTI's governance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province has seen legislative achievements and initiatives like the Billion Tree Tsunami Project. However, challenges remain, such as the lack of electricity in many schools. Khan's future as a potential prime minister raises questions about his ability to implement his anti-corruption narrative on a national scale and manage Pakistan's international loan obligations.

The Rise of Feminism in Pakistan: A Journey of Courage and Resistance

08 Mar 2023  |  Eureka Street
The article discusses the rise of feminism in Pakistan, particularly through the lens of the Aurat March, an annual event marking International Women's Day. Despite the cultural resistance and accusations of being anti-state and against Islamic norms, the movement has gained momentum, sparking nationwide conversations about gender roles and women's rights. The author highlights the challenges faced by the movement, including social media harassment, legal petitions to ban the march, and public vandalism of feminist art. The article also covers an incident on a talk show where a cleric verbally abused a feminist, leading to a media group suspending his contract. The author, Annam Lodhi, emphasizes the growing feminist mobilization in Pakistan and the slow but hopeful change in societal mindset towards women's issues.

Pakistan’s gaming industry is the perfect fit for women

17 Nov 2022  |  dailydot.com
The article features an interview with Faryal Maryam Hussain, the founder and CEO of Oddsock, a female-led 2D game design studio in Lahore, Pakistan. Faryal discusses her childhood experiences with gaming, highlighting the gender disparity where her brother was allowed uninterrupted game time while she was expected to do chores. The article touches on the broader issue of gender inequality in Pakistan, where cultural norms rooted in patriarchy often dismiss gaming as a frivolous activity for girls, who are instead encouraged to learn domestic skills. The piece suggests that this gender bias is prevalent in the gaming community in Pakistan, with female gamers not being taken as seriously as males.

The challenges of exclusively breastfeeding in Pakistan

02 Aug 2022  |  images.dawn.com
The article discusses the personal experience of a mother in Pakistan who chose to exclusively breastfeed her child for 18 months despite facing opposition, lack of support, and missed work opportunities. She shares the challenges of finding safe and private spaces to breastfeed in public and the absence of lactation specialists in hospitals. The author emphasizes the benefits of breastfeeding, both for the child and the mother, and the societal pressures to switch to bottle feeding. She also highlights the lack of infrastructure and support for breastfeeding mothers in Pakistan, including in professional settings. The article advocates for better support and education regarding breastfeeding and encourages mothers to make informed choices that suit their circumstances.

European NGO uncovers 15-year Indian disinformation campaign

24 Dec 2020  |  globalvoices.org
The Brussels-based NGO EU Disinfo Lab has released a report detailing a 15-year disinformation campaign by the Srivastava Group, a Delhi-based network. The group, led by Ankit Srivatsava, has been involved in creating over 750 media sites and purchasing 400 domain names to spread pro-India propaganda, impersonate NGOs and scholars, and undermine other countries, particularly Pakistan and China. The Indian news agency ANI has been implicated in disseminating this disinformation. The Srivastava Group has also been linked to lobbying efforts at the UN and organizing protests. The report has led to a war of narratives between India and Pakistan, with both countries accusing each other of spreading fake news and engaging in subversive activities. The EU Disinfo Lab has called for action to sanction those abusing international institutions, but no direct evidence has been provided linking the network to the Indian government.

Plastic banned in the capital but will it save the environment?

Over 265 fake local news sites in more than 65 countries are managed by an Indian network, designed to influence the European Union and the United Nations by criticizing Pakistan, revealed researchers at EU DisinfoLab.

The company claims to have sold 1.4 million cases of beer and the same number of cases of all other alcoholic beverages in the past year.

Cross-dressing raunchy comedy is thriving, even in a conservative society.

The world has stopped, but domestic abuse hasn't

31 May 2020  |  Eureka Street
The article highlights the plight of women and children in Pakistan who are trapped at home with their abusers during the COVID-19 lockdown. It emphasizes the disproportionate amount of unpaid care and domestic work performed by women, as reported by UN Women, and the lack of recognition and assistance they receive. The article also discusses the increase in domestic violence cases and the challenges faced by victims in seeking help due to societal taboos and inadequate support systems. Human rights activist Nabila Feroz is quoted, urging the government to take serious measures to prevent and address domestic violence and to provide financial support to women workers. The author, Annam Lodhi, calls for a better world post-COVID-19 where women can freely seek legal and medical aid without fear of repercussions.

Islamabad's Women's Day march was met with violent opposition from conservative agitators

13 Mar 2020  |  globalvoices.org
The Aurat March, a protest for women's rights in Pakistan, faced violence and opposition during its 2020 iteration. Organized by Hum Aurtein in various cities, the largest event in Islamabad, known as the Aurat Azadi March, attracted over 3,000 participants. The peaceful protest was disrupted by right-wing groups who attacked the marchers with stones, bricks, and chilli powder, causing injuries. Despite having permission, the march was also impeded by the Islamabad Police. The Women's Democratic Front held a press conference demanding an independent judicial inquiry into the attacks and the lack of security provided. They also questioned the Deputy Police Commissioner about the omission of the stone-pelting incident in the official report (FIR). The march concluded with performances and the singing of the Aurat Anthem, highlighting the societal complicity in sexual violence against women.

Located in the mountainous north, Gulmit embodies the values that would make us a better Pakistan

27 Sep 2019  |  images.dawn.com
The article describes the author's journey to Gulmit, a village in the Gojal Valley of Pakistan, and their experiences of the local culture, which embodies values of freedom, equality, and community spirit. The author recounts the formation of Attabad Lake due to a landslide and the resilience of the local people. The Akhuwat Foundation is mentioned as providing microfinance in the area. The Gulmit Carpet Centre, run by local women, is highlighted for preserving traditional carpet-weaving skills. The Bulbulik Music School, supported by USAID, is working to preserve endangered musical traditions. The author also visits Bozlanj, a local eatery, and appreciates the gender equality and respect inherent in Gulmit's culture, contrasting it with the rest of Pakistan. The article reflects on the possibility of a better Pakistan, exemplified by the values seen in Gulmit.

Located in the mountainous north, Gulmit embodies the values that would make us a better Pakistan

27 Sep 2019  |  images.dawn.com
The article describes the author's journey to Gulmit, a village in the Gojal Valley of Pakistan, which exemplifies a society where equality and freedom are inherent. The journey began in Lahore, with a stop at Chilas, and continued to Karimabad and then to Gojal Valley, where the Attabad Lake, formed by a landslide in 2010, is located. The author was struck by the cleanliness of Gulmit, the equality between men and women, and the community's efforts to preserve their culture and heritage. The Akhuwat Foundation provides microfinance in the area, and the Gulmit Carpet Centre, run by local women, promotes traditional carpet weaving. The Bulbulik Music School, supported by USAID, aims to preserve endangered musical traditions. The author also visited Bozlanj, a local eatery, and was impressed by the local cuisine. The experience in Gulmit left the author with a vision of an ideal society where equality and respect are the norm.

Is there a double standard for female Pakistani entertainers?

12 May 2018  |  globalvoices.org
The article discusses the impact of the #MeToo movement in Pakistan, particularly in the wake of the sexual assault and murder of a young girl named Zainab. It highlights the stories of sexual abuse shared by Pakistani celebrities like Nadia Jamil, Frieha Altaf, and Maheen Khan. The case of singer Meesha Shafi, who accused fellow artist Ali Zafar of sexual harassment, is used to illustrate the backlash and victim blaming that women face when they speak out. The article also touches on the broader issue of sexual harassment in Pakistan, referencing statistics from the NGO Sahil and the response from UN Women Pakistan. It critiques the societal and cultural pressures on women, especially those in the entertainment industry, and the political and social dynamics that influence public opinion on such matters.

Media censorship surrounds the Pashtun rights movement in Pakistan

30 Apr 2018  |  globalvoices.org
The article discusses the Pashtun Tahafuz (Protection) Movement (PTM), which is advocating for the rights of the Pashtun minority in Pakistan. The PTM is protesting against discrimination, violence, and extrajudicial killings faced by Pashtuns, as well as issues like the presence of landmines and military checkpoints in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The movement has faced legal harassment, arrests, and a media blackout, with social media being the primary platform for coverage. The article mentions the suspension and restoration of PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen's Twitter account and highlights the broader context of media censorship in Pakistan, including the blocking of news channels and pressure on media houses to avoid covering certain topics. Despite these challenges, the PTM has seen some success, such as the removal of the Watan Card requirement and the return of missing persons. The movement continues to hold peaceful demonstrations and has inspired other ethnic minority groups to join in advocating for their rights.

Long sidelined by pop culture and the media, plus-size Pakistanis are now staking their claim to style and wellbeing

18 Jan 2018  |  images.dawn.com
The article discusses the issue of body shaming and the narrow beauty standards in Pakistan, particularly the challenges faced by plus-size individuals. It highlights the story of Zehra Husayn, an MBBS student who founded the Facebook group Plus Size Pakistan – Xera | Curvy & Co to create a body-positive platform for plus-size Pakistani women. The article also touches upon the changing perceptions of beauty in Pakistan, the role of the media, and the personal experiences of various individuals including actor Noor Bukhari, comedian Faiza Saleem, and fashion blogger Hadiyya Javed. It addresses the psychological impact of fat shaming, the misconceptions about health and weight, and the efforts of individuals and brands like Generation to promote body positivity and inclusivity in fashion.

How George RR Martin predicted Imran Khan’s marriage. And how it will help him become PM

12 Jan 2018  |  blogs.dunyanews.tv
The article humorously suggests that Pakistani politician Imran Khan's recent marriage to Bushra Manika was influenced by the television series 'Game of Thrones'. The author draws parallels between Khan's marriage and the character Stannis Baratheon's marriage to Melisandre, suggesting that both marriages were strategic moves to gain power. The piece is written in a satirical tone, indicating that the marriage was not for love but for the love of political power. The author also humorously warns that weddings in 'Game of Thrones' often end in disaster, hoping Khan's fate will be different. The article concludes by clarifying that it is a work of satire.

Art Langar: A Festival of Joy Amidst Political Unrest in Islamabad

05 Dec 2017  |  globalvoices.org
Islamabad, known for its orderliness, faced a period of chaos due to a month-long sit-in by religious political groups. Amidst this political unrest, a music festival called Art Langar brought joy and celebration to the city. The festival, inspired by the Sufi urs festival, featured art installations, crafts, food stalls, and a diverse musical lineup, attracting over four thousand attendees. Despite the challenges posed by the political climate, the event was a success, offering a much-needed respite and promoting cultural activities. Tickets were priced affordably to encourage student participation. The scarcity of recreational spaces in Islamabad and Rawalpindi is a concern, with advocates like Ammar Khalid of Theatre Wallay calling for more public arts spaces to combat rising intolerance.

How Ayesha Gulalai got abused for saying PTI chief Imran Khan harassed her

12 Aug 2017  |  business-standard.com
Ayesha Gulalai, a young female politician in Pakistan, has made serious allegations against Imran Khan, the chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and a prominent political figure. Gulalai accused Khan of sending her inappropriate text messages, which she revealed after resigning from PTI in early August 2017. Her resignation was based on claims of corruption and misogyny within the party. Gulalai was notable for being the first tribal woman elected to Pakistan's National Assembly and one of the youngest parliamentarians when she was elected in 2013. The full story is available to subscribers of Business Standard Premium.

She Dared to Say Pakistan’s Most Popular Politician Harassed Her. Then Came the Abuse.

10 Aug 2017  |  globalvoices.org
Ayesha Gulalai, a young parliamentarian from Pakistan, resigned from her political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), citing corruption, misogyny, and inappropriate messages from the party chairman, Imran Khan. Her public allegations led to a severe backlash, including threats and trolling on social media. Gulalai's case highlights the broader issue of misogyny in Pakistan, where women who speak out against harassment face victim-blaming and are subjected to smear campaigns. The article discusses the cultural and societal challenges faced by women in Pakistan, particularly in conservative areas like South Waziristan. It also touches on the difficulties of addressing harassment in a patriarchal society and the role of the internet in both empowering and victimizing outspoken women.

I love Indo-Pak rivalry in cricket but music transcends those barriers: Tabla sensation Shobhit Banwait

01 Apr 2017  |  tribune.com.pk
Shobhit Banwait, an IT graduate from Toronto, has become an internet sensation through his tabla covers of popular English songs. He started by remixing songs with tabla beats and gained popularity with covers of hits by Sia, Calvin Harris, and Ed Sheeran. Shobhit was influenced by his family's love for percussion and the musical talent he observed in India. Despite having no formal training until the age of 13, he has a natural affinity for music. His rise to fame began with Instagram's introduction of 15-second videos, which led to his covers going viral. Shobhit aspires to produce his own music and collaborate with great artists. He appreciates the universal nature of music and expresses a desire to unite people beyond national rivalries, as exemplified by his love for Pakistani Coke Studio and his Pakistani fans.

The Friday Times History

01 May 1989  |  thefridaytimes.com
Najam Sethi recounts the founding of The Friday Times (TFT), a liberal and independent paper in Pakistan. The idea was conceived during Sethi's imprisonment under General Zia ul Haq's martial law regime. Sethi faced opposition from the government and was labeled a troublemaker due to his critical publications. Despite the challenges, including a complex bureaucratic process to obtain publishing permission, Sethi and his wife, Jugnu Mohsin, persevered. With the help of connections and some fortunate events, they received permission to publish TFT. The paper's launch was strategically delayed until after General Zia's death, and TFT was finally established in 1989, aiming to stand against tyranny and expose lies.

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