Stories about karachi

Risks of writing an authentic book in Karachi

I’ve been writing since I was in my mother’s womb. According to her, I never kicked – but she felt constant scribbling on her tummy. I probably came out of her holding a novel called My Nine Months in the Womb by Saba Khalid, which she probably threw away because it was too graphic for her Jamaat-e-Islami sensibilities. While girls were playing with Barbies, I was busy picking up my favourite books, cutting out the author’s name, putting my own name instead and then pretending to be the centre of attention of my very extravagant book party! By the age of eight, I had written ...

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Dear Khaled Hosseini, will you be Kashmir’s saviour?

Dear Khaled Hosseini, I regularly follow your page and have read all your books. I must say, it’s been an honour. Recently, I saw a short video, some narrations, and a few pictures of your work regarding Syrian refugees. I am impatiently awaiting a detailed account and I am more than desperate to uncover the reality about the Syrian refugees. Being a Kashmiri and residing in Karachi and Lahore, I dare invite your pen to a misery which is larger than the academic and legal definition of a refugee. The United Nations (UN) probably calls them Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and hence the title drops to a lower ...

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#CricketComesHome: With tears and jubilation, the cornered tigers are back with a bang

“Ugg raha hai dar-o-deewar se sabzah Ghalib! Hum bayabaan mein hein aur ghar mein bahar aayee hai” (Greenery is growing out of the doors and walls, Ghalib I am in wilderness and spring has arrived at my house.) In his remarkable yet slightly partial treatise to the game in Pakistan, The Wounded Tiger Peter Oborne identifies two events as being game-changing in the history of the sport in the land of the pure. First was the ‘Test match’ victory over the touring MCC side in Karachi in 1951 which established an Abdul Hafeez Kardar-led Pakistan side as a force in international cricket and ...

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Is Pakistan capable of protecting its minorities?

The recent attack on the Ismaili Muslims in Karachi brought a lot of things into perspective. Firstly, it exposed the ineffectiveness of various military, rangers and police operations, and, secondly, it unveiled the dangers our minority communities are exposed to. But seeing this attack in isolation would not be of any help. We need to understand how religion has facilitated the state and, by extension, the militant organisations over the past decades and how it has led to the conundrum that we find ourselves in now. The first time Islam came to serve the government was in 1953, for Mumtaz Daultana, which led to ...

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The baba near the seashore

He was 14, as he walked alongside the beach, barefooted, with his slippers placed under his armpits. The powdery sand tickled between his toes as he walked, until the dry soil met the wet mud and eventually the water. He was one of the few people in the brightly lit city of Karachi who would wake up before dawn and come to the beach. He had his reasons to do so. He would wake his aged grandfather up for the morning prayers, prepare a bucket of warm water for his ablution and make tea for him after he was done praying. He would then catch ...

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Between the buns: A brief history of Karachi’s love affair with burgers

Armed with a hundred bucks and an appetite to match, a bunch of school kids still in uniform converge on their favourite burger joint on Karachi’s Boat Basin. Even before walking in, a distinct aroma fills their nostrils; the perfect way to kick off the weekend on a hot Thursday afternoon. After placing their order, they wait on remarkably uncomfortable chairs and pass time by discussing the classroom cutie. Soon, food arrives. Drenched wrappers are torn off and the first bite sends them on a short trip to burger heaven. As long as Karachiites from my generation can remember, there have been ...

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Is Pakistan a failing state?

More than 45 people are shot dead in cold blood by six or eight armed men, who reached the spot on motorcycles. At practically every traffic signal in Karachi, one can see armed policemen stopping motorcyclists, checking the vehicles’ papers and letting them go after extorting some money. Yet on the day of the mass killing, no one stopped the killers, while the police station nearby was nearly empty. Isn’t this a glaring sign of failure of the state? Dr Bernadette Dean, who had been living in the country for many years and was advising the provincial government on revision of syllabi, received death threats ...

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Why MQM wants Dr Ishratul Ebad to resign

The demand by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Dr Farooq Sattar for Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ebad to resign is just another proof that the political parties, and in this case the MQM, don’t understand their own political system that they chose to call ‘democracy’. The reason why this demand has come after so many years of Dr Ebad in office is a charge sheet prepared by Sattar a few days ago during a press conference, where he said that Dr Ebad had failed to meet people’s expectations, as the murder of innocent civilians in the urban areas of Sindh ...

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Six questions to ask after the #SafooraBusAttack

A couple of days ago, Karachi witnessed an unprecedented act of barbarism when a bus full of Ismailis – one of the most peaceful community in Pakistan – was targeted and shot at, resulting in the deaths of 45 people, with numerous injured. My heart goes out to the victims and their families in their difficult time. As soon as the attack took place, commiserations, condolences and compensations began to pour in from all over the country. However, I feel that it is useless now to even listen to what our leaders have to say, since they repeat the same message ...

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From APS victims to Sabeen Mahmud: Honouring all who have been taken away from us

I write this from the #IamSabeen vigil at Do Talwar. It has been 17 days since I have been present here daily from 8pm to 9pm. I come to celebrate Sabeen, to grieve her death, to find comfort in fellow protesters and to tell the world that I have not forgotten her. Photo: Nadra Huma Quraishi/Karachi Heart Beats #IamSabeen Facebook page Perhaps all that they gather, the people who stream by, is that I lost someone that meant a great deal to me; enough that myself and others are compelled to come here every day. No, she meant even more than ...

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