Stories about karachi

A social pariah even in Maryland – all because I am Shia

After almost two years, I returned to my old home town in Maryland. It was a small town and when I had lived there, nearly 40 Pakistani families resided in the area; most of them were from Punjab and a few were from Karachi. Many of these Pakistanis were physicians, pharmacists and businessmen. My husband was also a physician; hence we had anticipated many similarities within the neighbourhood. However, soon after we moved in, I realised how wrong we were. Even though I made a few good friends, I never felt wanted in the neighbourhood. The reason I left Maryland in the first place was the ...

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New Quetta Super Sharjah Hotel: The dhaba monopolising the chai, paratha market!

Did you know that there is a chai ka dhaba (tea cafe) in Karachi that has four branches in one of the most affluent parts of the city? Similarly, were you aware of the fact that this said cafe has only three items on its menu and it operates from 6:30 in the morning till late in the night? No? Well then, don’t be disappointed; I didn’t know these facts either. In fact, there was a lot more I didn’t know about this peculiar cafe, until I decided to investigate and find out more. Photo: Saadia Tariq Almost every other morning, as I ...

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Trigger happy in Karachi

I grew up in a city where guns were unheard of. People moved about freely. Neighbours, family and friends dropped in without informing. Gates were left open and doors unlocked. We were taught never to point a gun at anyone or even threaten anyone. We were repeatedly reminded of guns being a matter of life and death and a grave responsibility. The only exposure we had to guns was when we went up North during summers. Over there, a man was not a man unless he had a gun hanging on his shoulder as carrying guns signified manhood. Pakistani laws ...

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Of Ghani’s greed and our gullibility

Greed is a disease that infects us all and there are plenty of scoundrels in Pakistan who take innocent people for a ride. However, as people have become more aware of these scams and are less gullible now, these lowlifes have evolved and become more sophisticated. What I will narrate below is perhaps one of the most high-tech and elaborated scams I have come across so far. I, myself, was about to fall prey to this fraudulent scheme and hence I know about its logistics first-hand. Fortunately, we had the common sense to understand, at an early stage, that something was wrong with the scheme ...

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The day the Taliban attacked my father

Death is very different from finishing a novel; both symbolise the end of something, the emotional attachment to both is poles apart. One similarity, however, between the death of a good person and the end of a good novel is that both leave a mark on your life. It’s hard to realise the importance of some people, until one day you wake up to find out that those people are no more in your life. I understood this reality on June 26, 2013. It was a very strange, sad day for me and my family. The day started like any other. My father, a ...

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Cyber impersonation, don’t just let it go, trace them!

With the increase in usage of social media in Pakistan, we are also witness to the trend of ‘cyber impersonation’ – often a dangerous crime. This is a common method used by harassers and can do irreparable damage to the person or organisation the victim is attached to. However, there are options available if you are a victim of digital impersonation. Here, I would like to bring forth a case that took place recently. Mr Uroojuddin Ansari, a resident of District Central in Karachi, became the victim of cyber impersonation by one of his colleagues who made a fake identity for Ansari on Facebook and ...

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Stop using flashing lights, sirens and fake number plates, it’s illegal!

Karachi suffers from a serious law and order situation. Along with criminals, some of the rich and powerful citizens and state institutions also challenge the law for their own advantage. A number of private and government vehicles are illegally using emergency flashing lights installed on the roof or hidden in the front grills of their cars. They are seen casually flashing these emergency lights and impersonating as police vehicles, using the conventional red and blue colours. These cars are seen driven rashly, and the drivers continuously honk and harass others in traffic. Some of them are private vehicles with families sitting inside and one wonders what emergency ...

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PPP wants Sindhi Hindus to vote for them, but won’t protect them!

On March 16, 2014, while Pakistan’s Hindu community celebrated Holi, the country witnessed an unpleasant incident in Sindh’s Larkana District, where a frenzied mob turned violent following a rumour that a member of the Hindu community, Sangeet Kumar, 35 – reputed to be a drug addict – had desecrated the Holy Quran. In Larkana, after the incident, people wanted to harm the accused man but the police and rangers, somehow, managed to take him away to a safe location. After his safe escape, however, the angry mob attacked and vandalised the Sindhi Hindus’ dharamshala (community centre) and also partially damaged a Hindu temple in the same ...

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What it means to be a ‘Pakistani’

A few days ago a good friend of mine, living abroad, asked me a question: “What do you think ‘Pakistani’ means?” The question threw me aback, partly because it was unexpected and partly because I couldn’t think of an immediate answer. A myriad of images flew around in my head in an instant; from the hustle and bustle of Karachi’s Empress Market, to the textures of the Anarkali bazaar in Lahore. But my friend’s question went deeper than just images and feelings. I found myself trying to truly explore what the concept of being ‘Pakistani’ entails. EMPRESS MARKET. PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA Looking at it purely ...

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A FRESH! prespective at the Amin Gulgee Gallery

This evening I attended the launch of an unusual art exhibition in Karachi at the Amin Gulgee Gallery. It was called ‘Fresh!’ – 64 artists under 30, and showcased the art of yes, you guessed it, 64 young Pakistani artists from all across the country. Source: AminGulgee.com John McCarry, coordinator of the gallery, told me that Amin had attended an exhibition in New York at the New Museum called ‘Younger than Jesus’, which showcased artists all under the age of 34. “Why not do something like that here?” wondered Amin. So he found two co-curators, Raania Azam Khan Durrani, founder of the Commune Artist ...

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