KRWG

Diaa Hadid

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

When the Pakistani interior minister went to attend a controversial court hearing on Oct. 2, the paramilitary force securing the area blocked him from entering. When he demanded to speak to a higher-up, he was told to wait.

The minister, Ahsan Iqbal, is the nominal boss of that paramilitary force.

In another country, it might just have been an embarrassing incident, a mistake by a soldier who did not recognize a top official. In Pakistan, many — including Iqbal himself — saw it as an act of rebellion.

In a wealthy suburb in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, a group of young Pakistanis veered between laughter and distress as they played a board game that echoed their lives in both funny and painful ways.

The name of the game is "Arranged" and the goal is to avoid at all costs an arranged marriage – and the matchmaker who sets them up. She's known as Rishta Aunty, slang in Urdu and Hindi for a certain kind of middle-aged, busybody matchmaker who knows all the single men and women.

Pakistan's prime minister has warned that the U.S. would be degrading its own capabilities to fight terrorism if it degraded Pakistan's military strength. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi made the comments Tuesday in a roundtable discussion with journalists before he leaves for the United States on Saturday.

Abbasi is expected to address the United Nations General Assembly during his U.S. visit. So far, there are no organized plans to see President Trump, said Abbasi's spokesperson, Musadik Malik.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

The children pile into the stadium in shiny clothes, clutching green-and-white Pakistani flags. Their parents light the area with cell phones to record the event as they scream, chant and cheer, watching soldiers close a gate that separates India from Pakistan.

In the evening ritual at the Wagah-Attari border, near Lahore and Amritsar, soldiers from both countries high-kick, shake their fists, then shake hands – and slam the gate shut.

The music video is set to a catchy tune and starts out with two transgender women in bejeweled pink and red outfits, primping before a mirror. But it soon turns dark. They get disapproving stares in the marketplace and outside a mosque. And while they dance for cash at a bachelor party, the guests rough them up.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It began with a gruesome crime: a 12-year-old girl was raped by a teenage boy in a field in mid-July.

What happened next was a reaction that Pakistan has been sharply condemned for over the years: A tribal council — or panchayat in Urdu — ordered a revenge rape.

Two days after the girl was raped, her brother sexually violated a 16-year-old girl. She is the sister of the first rapist, a 17-year-old boy.

The panchayat that ordered the rape is led by influential landlords who settle disputes according to tribal customs that predate Islam.

What would happen if you married an old custom — matchmaking — with something modern, like the ride-sharing app on your smartphone?

In Pakistan, that happened. Users of Careem, one of the country's most popular ride-sharing apps, woke up last week to this pop-up message on their phone: "Rishta Aunty Has Arrived."