Stories about karachi

Will WhatsApping the Rangers help restore security in Karachi?

The Pakistan Army has been carrying out much needed action against terrorists in a coordinated and systematic manner since General Raheel Sharif took charge. Instead of going for an all-out clean-up operation against criminal elements, the Army higher-ups have taken a cautious approach (keeping the aftermath of the 1992 military operation in mind), taking every step with great care. This time around, there seems to be a genuine effort by the Sindh Rangers in order to establish a connection between the armed forces and the citizens of Karachi. Karachiites can now send a text or audio/video message to the Rangers via WhatsApp to ...

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To Sabeen with Love: A human platform for dreams and aspirations

In 2013, only a few people knew me other than my friends and family. Like almost every other young person, I wanted to do something for Pakistan but had no platform to do it from. So, without telling my parents, I submitted nomination papers to run for the 2013 general elections. When my parents did find out, they weren’t particularly happy or supportive. There were two reasons for this. First: I was risking a stable job at a top law firm. Also, given Karachi’s volatile and security environment in 2013, I was most likely risking my life as well. Second: Perhaps my ...

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It’s about time we talk about suicide

A few months ago, I received a frantic phone call from a friend. He told me his 11-year-old son tried to hang himself. This was not the first time; he had made similar attempts in the past, and also had a history of harming himself. Luckily, the parents had intervened just in time and saved him before it was too late. The father consulted me over the phone – he was broken, and was desperately in search of an answer. He wanted to devise a plan of action that could save his child from further attempts. After many possible interventions, we drafted ...

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Quetta: An outsider’s perspective

The city of Quetta has been in turmoil for years, and with that comes many misconceptions about the capital of Pakistan’s largest province, Balochistan. One such mistaken belief is that while visiting Quetta one must dress in the local attire and avoid any western clothing, such as jeans, so as to not stand out as a non-resident. For someone who has heard these remarks repeatedly, I was extremely curious, to say the least, ahead of my visit to Quetta for the first time, even more so because it is believed that the people of Balochistan do not like the people ...

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Do you qualify? The imperialistic exclusivity of the Karachi Grammar School

Like many Karachiites who get very good results in their ‘O’ levels, I decided that my grades were my ticket to the prestigious Karachi Grammar School (KGS). KGS, you see, practises a vague semblance of meritocracy (and maintains its college admission rate records) by allowing a handful of high-achievers into their hallowed gates at the A-level stage. People nod impressively if you tell them you went to KGS, and in a city obsessed with class and nepotism, the doors of KGS mean opportunity and exclusivity. In short, the school represented to me an elusive and exclusive glamour that I ...

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Grease – The Musical: You’re all I need, oh yes indeed!

Last Saturday, I got to know what it feels like to be truly mesmerised. Sitting there, in that comfortably familiar hall, I couldn’t help but feel awed by the sheer sight that beheld me. It was a performance of Grease – The Musical, a play being presented at the Arts Council Theatre, and I was smitten by the near-perfect artistry that was taking place on stage. While I wouldn’t call myself a theatre aficionado, I have been an avid follower of the on-stage performances and, therefore, it was a treat watching Grease because it was a musical I experienced like ...

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I was raised as a boy

Shamim Akhtar has a small but mighty presence. All of five feet, she holds herself with a self-possessed reserve, wearing a bold red, tie-dyed hijab with lipstick to match. She speaks fast but deliberately, commanding attention. She has always been confident. This confidence, she says, comes from being raised as a boy. The eldest of eight children, Shamim was born in 1983 in Molvi Abdullah Mari, a rural village in the Sindh province of Pakistan. Her family belongs to a Baloch caste, a conservative and patriarchal sector of society where men traditionally take precedence over women. “Life was not easy for me,” ...

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My salon was ransacked on the orders of the wife of a NAB officer

It all started on Tuesday April 5, 2016, around 1 pm, when a client at my salon started to create an issue about a chain – a chain which she had taken off in order to get her services done. She claimed it was valuable, which it must have been, considering she returned to my salon the next day to look for it. At first, she kicked up a fuss over her calls not being answered at 11 pm the night before; please do keep in mind that our closing time is 9 pm. I politely told her that our phones, whether mobile ...

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Will Sarfraz Ahmed prove to be Pakistan’s very own Batman?

Last night, whilst watching The Dark Knight Rises, yet again, I realised the city of Gotham has a lot in common with the Pakistan cricket structure. Batman ends up saving Gotham city. Even when he was completely down and out, he did not surrender; and if the Dark Knight didn’t give up, why should Pakistani cricket fans? In the movie, the mayor of the city was as powerless as the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Shahryar Khan, whereas the bureaucratic structure was as inefficient and incompetent as Intikhab Alam. It was natural, therefore, for every Pakistani cricket fan to look for ...

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It is better to arrive late than dead

It was over a year ago when a terrible tragedy befell a good family. While driving home at night, close to their house in DHA Phase 4 on main Khayaban-e-Badar in Karachi, a middle aged couple was blind sighted by a speeding vehicle. The fierce impact of metal gnashing on metal lasted several seconds, dragging their car sideways for what felt like an eternity. Both occupants were left hurt. The husband, a tall and kind-hearted man, usually armed with a ready smile that I automatically recall when I think of him today, suffered a head injury. Here, he performed one last ...

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