Stories about Lahore

Dear Ms Fiza Ali, how can you say Karachi has no culture?

They say the best way to discover a settlement’s “culture” is on foot. Try walking around on a busy street of my city (and yes, I say the “my” with a sense of unapologetic pride and ownership). Try sitting in a bustling chai dhaba here. Try taking a walk on one of its beaches on a crowded Sunday. Try experiencing the sights and sounds and smells of Karachi. Try and shun stereotypes and just enjoy the Karachi experience…. Karachi is the dream of a writer and a photographer and an anthropologist and of anyone who has an eye for detail ...

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Why do you think Pakistan is not a safe place to play cricket?

March 5, 2017 Lahore will be buzzing. It’s Pakistan Super League final day. The match is being played on home soil. Apart from Zimbabwe last year, not one international team has been back since the Sri Lankans were shot at in 2009. That’s understandable. Who appreciates being shot at? But Pakistan is not the only place that cricketers have been unwilling to travel to in recent times. Australia chose not to go to Bangladesh. England were happy to, but Eoin Morgan was not. The 1996 World Cup gave walk-overs to Sri Lanka when the civil war was deemed too big a risk to ...

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PSL Final: What was more important, the game or where it is held?

When Najam Sethi initially announced the Pakistan Cricket Board’s intentions to host the final of the second Pakistan Super League (PSL), it received critical acclaim. Everybody, fans and the administration, realised the need to eventually bring the league back home, but nothing has ever come easily to Pakistan and, similarly, the idea, though appealing seems difficult to execute. Many things have changed since the intentions were first disclosed including an alarming shift in Pakistan’s security situation resulting from series of unpleasant acts of terrorism. Most recently, it was confirmed that the final would still be held in Lahore, with or without foreign players. ...

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I was stabbed 23 times, and yet he walks around a free man

About 10 months ago, on May 3, 2016, I experienced an inconceivable and petrifying incident that changed my life forever. It sends shivers down my spine every time the fateful scene replays in my mind. It was an act beyond the wildest contemplation of any normal being. That one brief moment is etched in my mind like a nightmare I just can’t wake up from. The telephone rang and the voice on the other end of the line delivered a hammer blow. His ears buzzed, his pulse fluttered and he fell to the ground upon hearing what the man said: “Your daughter has ...

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This food street inspired white chicken karhai will leave those desi taste buds drooling for more

As we know, Lahore is well known for its gastronomic treats, and is considered one of the culinary titans of Pakistan. I recently had the chance to visit the city and the famous food street. Upon entering the street, my mouth automatically started watering. The atmosphere was thick with steam, oil, and smoke from the countless karhais loaded with chicken and marinated kebabs on the charcoal grills. Watching the chef add green chillies to the wok was nothing short of torture. But it was one well worth waiting for. As soon as the dish was placed in front of me, I jumped at it. It was ...

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Series 7: Dada Baba and me Part 1 ‘My life from my deathbed’

It was a sunny morning amid the typical mid-summer hustle and bustle on the roads of Punjab. The rays of the sun made their way into my eyes and pierced through my pupils, blinding me momentarily yet almost completely. I adjusted my sight, trying to squeeze my eyes to halt the enforced violation of my personal eyesight space by nature’s brightest star, as a bead of sweat trickled down from my forehead and into the wrinkles around my squeezed eyes. The bus engine roared, and the passengers moved around in unison on every bump. The elderly man next to ...

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Are our traffic wardens the only ones who need psychotherapy?

A recent news piece mentioned traffic wardens in Lahore being given psychotherapy sessions in light of their unruly behaviour. It appears to be a good move on the surface, but is it only the traffic wardens who need these sessions? If one makes a list of the most disliked authority figures in Pakistan, it would have traffic wardens at the very top. This is not a phenomenon that is common to a select few – it is much bigger than that. I remember growing up in Lahore, and learning to drive. Every now and then when I would be out with a group of friends (before ...

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A domestic helper is not a slave. A child is not a servant. #JusticeForTayyaba

Exactly one year ago, a man heard a little girl cry out from the cold floor of a washroom in Rawalpindi. She is a 12-year-old domestic worker in Rawalpindi Cantonment. As the man tries to contact the police, he realises there is no proper method to save a child like that from a family that refuses to understand that such treatment towards young children, or any person, is nothing but inhumane. The man who heard this little child’s cry wrote about the incident in a piece published on January 01, 2016, with the hope that by this year, she ...

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After Benazir, PPP is no longer representative of all of Pakistan the way it used to be

I still remember that moment. I had just entered the Cuckoo’s Den, the famed restaurant in Lahore, overlooking the monumental Badshahi Mosque. That was my first visit to the restaurant and I had brought two of my office colleagues with me. It was early evening and the restaurant was slightly deserted. The phone rang. It was my younger brother on the line. “Raza, where are you? Please come back home immediately. Benazir has been assassinated,” he said in a very distressed voice. I almost fainted as I could not believe the news. I had to gather myself and inform my friends. We all agreed ...

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An open letter to Benazir Bhutto

Bibi, It has been almost a decade since you met your untimely demise on December 27, 2007. It has been almost a decade since the day the country lost one of its greatest leaders. The state that Pakistan finds itself in today may not surprise you. Unlike the others, you had the foresight to see the storm we were heading towards when you spoke of secular values. The state your party finds itself in today, however, will crush you. Your party has always represented the best of Pakistan. From your iconic father, to people of unparalleled substance, brilliance and integrity like Meraj Muhammad Khan, Aitzaz Ahsan, Raza Rabbani, Sherry Rehman and Malik ...

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