Stories about karachi

“So, what’s Pakistan like?”

The old man had the most startling blue eyes, the kind that glittered in a wizard-like way. He was a contractual worker fixing some room in the building where I work, and I met him in the kitchen over my morning coffee. He asked where I’m from and widened his eyes. He didn’t comment on how good my English is, but how American my accent is (which I take no offence or pride in – it’s not the two years of Master’s in St Louis but all those American movies and TV shows I watch). And then he asked me ...

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A Lahori’s first visit to Karachi

This summer, I had the chance to pay a short visit to Karachi – a city I’ve never had the opportunity to visit before. Soon after landing and taking a cab to the hotel, we started hearing stories of locals out and about in the city. This aged driver, who drove us to our hotel, told us how, for the last few months, Karachi has been a lot more peaceful because of the Rangers’ operation. He also said, “This operation should be extended to the entire province to ensure complete implementation of law and order.” That driver was not the only one who felt that the Ranger’s ...

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Will Karachi ever receive the same affection as Lahore?

With state-of-the-art bus stops, multiple lane roads suitable for the most developed countries and educated traffic police to remind one to put on a seatbelt, the chief minister has done well to clean up the most metropolitan city in the country—Karachi. Suddenly, the daydream is broken with an ear-piercing horn from behind. The traffic light turns green, or at least appears to be, as the cars in front start inching forward. To be honest, it’s difficult to see through the cloud of smoke emitted by the Lal-Kothi-bound bus. As one throws the car into drive and honks at the stationary Flintstone ...

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Is America just a glorified third world country?

I slept the night Donald Trump was elected president of the United States (US). Not out of a sense of peace, but a resigned knowledge that nothing I did now would stop the waves and currents of history. I didn’t know the outcome, and I almost didn’t care; because whatever happened, ordinary Americans would have to deal with it. I was one of them, whether I liked it or not. My friends had stayed up after midnight, watching the election coverage on their laptops. “Look at how many states are red!” my friend Amina exclaimed, horrified. “The Republicans are leading the House (of Representatives).” She was worried and ...

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Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is the reason the state of education in Pakistan is so bad

I recently came across an Urdu newspaper in which the date was stated to be October 32, 2016. Apparently the editor didn’t know that October has only 31 days, and it can’t ever have 32 days, not even if Imran Khan wants it and threatens to lock down the whole world if it is not done. Teachers of English in our schools are not qualified to teach, which is why most Pakistanis routinely add an apostrophe before an “s” even when it is not required. Education standards have deteriorated drastically. I usually come across such phrases as “his” husband or ...

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I was assaulted by the Rangers for taking a picture

On October 24, 2016, on my way to IBA University for a class, I encountered a horizontally parked ranger’s mobile on Shahrah-e-Faisal (at co-ordinates 24.851588, 67.032374). The flow of traffic had halted, and I was running short on time. I decided to take a picture of the scene so I’d have evidence to prove why I was late, to my teacher. A ranger’s official, upon witnessing this, rushed to my car immediately, grabbed me and started pulling at me. He dragged me out of the car and snatched my phone. More Ranger’s personnel gathered around me and without any justification, ...

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Why are places like Espresso and Dolmen Mall so averse to live music?

I’m standing at Alexanderplatz in Berlin, hearing music from three different directions coming from street artists who have set up their hats. One plays under a bridge, another next to a shopping district and a third outside a beer hall. I’m not sure which one to listen to when I get an urgent e-mail from Marium Kamal. Marium is an artist and a fine arts teacher who, in her free time, manages Shikari; a small indie duo who play only original Urdu and English songs in Karachi. I met her and the band quite cosmically at a coffee shop on my ...

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Can we please talk about Quetta?

Can we talk about Quetta? They called Quetta the fruit garden of Pakistan, once. You read about it in your social studies class as the ninth-largest city in Pakistan; it was a capital, and capitals are revered. But no one ever talked about Quetta outside of textbooks. Monday night, October 24, 2016, cadets at a police training academy in Quetta awoke to a terrorist attack that killed 61, and injured more than 120. The dead bodies piled up, young men in the prime of their youth, young men that fall in the same age bracket as our brothers and sons, our husbands ...

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Yes, you can actually go turtle-watching in Karachi

Whenever one thinks of travelling within Pakistan and prospective vacation spots, the northern areas of the country are what come to mind. Scroll down your Facebook wall and Instagram feeds and the pictorial storyboards will corroborate this stance. Unfortunately, with the prime goal of running away from the heat and the general lack of interest in exploring our diverse culture, heritage, environment, and wildlife, we often ignore the treasures that our southern region has to offer. We often ignore the treasures that our southern region has to offer. Science has proven that there is a delicate balance between the wildlife and their habitat, ...

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I had a traditional education in a convent and I loved it!

A few months ago I came across some photographs of my old school taken in the 1920’s. What was amazing was that these photographs showed the school just as I remember it. St Joseph’s Convent School for Girls is a private, selective school in Karachi, Pakistan. It was founded in 1862 by Belgian nuns. Today there are around 2000 students on roll. It’s an all through school. What do I remember about my time at the school? Well, obviously my friends. Many of us are still in touch with each other. When we meet we are the same happy-go-lucky, giggling teenagers we were at school. We ...

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