Stories about People

The title of the ‘ugliest’ species on earth goes to… us

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder – it is relative, it is virtue, it resides within one’s heart. Beauty is also kindness and love. But is it really? For all practical purposes, is it really? Lizzie Velasquez’s cyber bullying ordeal 10 years ago was living, breathing proof that all the oft-repeated phrases about beauty being a trait of deeper dimensions are nothing but falsehood. People who found her pictures online were unaware of her medical condition, a rare congenital disorder that prevents her from gaining any weight and expedites her aging process. They found her physical features queer to look at, hence the harsh judgment ensued. ...

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Beth Jata Hon Mitti Pay Aksar: A tribute to our lonely wanderers

The outlook of the working class around the globe and Pakistan in particular has changed dramatically over the past 20-30 years. People are coming out from the comfort of their home towns and moving to bigger cities and foreign countries for jobs and education. But this comes at a cost; a large number of these people have to stay away from their families and friends for extended periods of time, and that changes a lot of things; from their personality to their lifestyle. Beth Jata Hon Mitti Pay Aksar (I Often Sit on the Soil) is a narration of such lives, something most the ...

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Are there too many cooks in Coke Studio’s broth?

It’s that time of the year again, when the most anticipated musical project of the country hits our screens and is seen dodging the pressure of incredulous expectations attached to it. Coke Studio is back with its ninth season and will stick around for the next two months – all the while retaining an essential chunk of our national narrative. People will love it, hate it, love to hate it, and hate to love it – but everyone agrees there’s nothing quite like Coke Studio. Here are my two cents on the first episode of the current season. 1. Sasu ...

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How would you describe Pakistan in one word?

People usually see Pakistan under a negative light, they describe it as unsafe, backwards, and hopeless; the list could go on. But when we went around asking people to tell us one word that described Pakistan for them, they didn’t have a negative word to say. We didn’t encounter a single person that had an unpleasant thing to say about our country. Maybe it’s the spirit of Independence Day that brings patriotism in the hearts of our people, or maybe its the jazba that has always been there, but never discovered, or maybe their words are the truth. One thing ...

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Why did we have to rely on Brandon Stanton or Kim Driver to portray us positively?

Brandon Stanton has done a great service to Pakistan, but what have you done for your country? Of late, my Facebook newsfeed projected a new Pakistani face every morning, credit Humans of New York (HONY), and a wonderfully fascinating story to go with it. There were moments I sat crying, moments of awe, moments of elation, moments of gratitude to Stanton for projecting to the world an image of Pakistan that is so awesome in its depth, humility, reality, humanity and simplicity. His wrap-up titled ‘A final word on Pakistan’, and the parting shot of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ (seven beautiful little boys) inspired a comment on ...

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Anti-FIFA graffiti in Brazil: Could Pakistan ever protest against cricket?

The first time the World Cup caught my interest was when the official theme song was being selected. The competition between Shakira, J-lo and Pitbull was worth following because no one could predict what the amazing musicians could have up their sleeves. Although I was utterly disappointed, when Pitbull and J-lo released their unimpressive and clichéd We Are One (Ole Ola) – which was eventually selected as the theme song of the tournament – Shakira’s powerful and colourful LaLaLa Brazil 2014 was refreshing enough. I still have it on my cell-phone. On repeat, might I add. This time, my attention was caught by the FIFA World Cup ...

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The worth of being a Karachiite = Actually worthless!

Being a democratic country, Pakistan is governed by the National Assembly comprising of elected representatives from all over the country. The very essence of democracy is that all citizens are considered and treated as equals with equal rights and opportunities given to all of them. The total population of Pakistan is currently said to be 182, 490,721 out of which around 23, 500,000 lives in Karachi which means that almost 13% of Pakistan’s population are Karachites. Although the last census was conducted in 1998, the data used here is based on estimates in 2013 calculated through the population growth rate as accepted by the ...

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Karachi is blasphemous, Lahore is not

If blasphemy is defined as ‘irreverent behaviour towards anything sacred’, Karachi is blasphemous; a city where something as sacred as human life is irreverently and disdainfully extinguished. As January limped to a close, three health workers administering anti-polio drops to children were shot dead. Bullet-ridden bodies of three young men were discovered and a police officer was gunned down in a suspected targeted attack. And yet, it is in Karachi, much more so than in Lahore, that a bastion of sharafat (respectability) is present; it is here that strangers smile at you, people say thank you for services rendered or stand aside and allow you to pass. In this ...

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Rich people, doing rich things in poor Pakistan

It has been 65 years since Pakistan’s independence. During this period, Pakistan has seen a lot of transition. From Ayub Khan’s industrialisation to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s socialisation, to Ziaul Haq’s Islamisation to Musharraf’s enlightened moderation and war on terror, we have had our fair share of ideologies and doctrines. Being a 22-year-old, average Pakistani guy who hasn’t seen most of these periodic transitions, I can naively (and safely) assume one similarity between all of them – the class divide in our society has remained unchanged throughout these six and a half decades. Every now and then I come across drawing room discussions where people, ...

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Lahore is the best city in Pakistan!

Every city or town in Pakistan is famous for one thing or the other. However, for us Lahoris, all arguments cease to matter before our simple motto – Lahore Lahore ae (Lahore is Lahore). Here are a few reasons as to why I’d choose Lahore over any other city in Pakistan. Data ki nagri Pakistan is very fortunate that many great sufi saints lived in this part of the world and all our major cities have different shrines. But not many cities have a title like Data ki nagri. The shrine of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh Ali Hajveri brings many to Lahore and keeps many connected to the ...

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