From my column in Dawn’s Books and Authors:
“For the last four years I’ve been working on a dystopian novel with strong feminist themes that was inspired by life for women here in South Asia and other restrictive Muslim and Eastern countries. In it, the numbers of women have dwindled to the point that there are barely any left; men must share wives and an oligarchy uses technology and torture to maintain their authority over the people. Rather than The Handmaid’s Tale, I was heavily influenced (as a writer in general) by George Orwell’s 1984: Britain has become a totalitarian state that uses surveillance, propaganda, brainwashing and torture to control its people. My childhood and adolescence were spent in Gen Ziaul Haq’s Pakistan, where I saw similar methods used to support the general’s dictatorship and push his vision of an ‘Islamic’ regime.”
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