Why I do not date in Pakistan

Published: August 21, 2010

My first date with a girl in Karachi was not exactly ideal

It was the first time I was visiting Karachi in my life as my family lives Ottawa. I had recently broken up with my girlfriend in Canada before coming to Pakistan, and when my cousins found out they insisted that I find a desi girl here since they are ‘sincere’ and ‘faithful.’

Despite my opposition and discomfort in ‘finding a girlfriend’ in an alien land, my cousin introduced me to a friend’s friend – Maheen*.

My first interaction with this girl was through the cell phone, or text messages to be more precise. After this introduction, we didn’t talk till one fine day in the middle of the night my phone rang. It was two in the morning and I could barely open my eyes, but out of courtesy I attended Maheen’s phone call.

“Hi, what’s up? I hope I haven’t disturbed you?”she said.

“No, it’s okay…” I murmured.

“I have set up a plan to meet you tomorrow, but don’t call or text me unless I do so, because if my bhai catches me he will kill you.” she advised me.

Totally perplexed, I listened to her plan quietly. I was astonished and scared that I was prone to be killed by someone’s brother without having ever met her.

“I can’t come alone. My friend, Zahra will come with me. Do you have a male friend who is single and ready to give her company?” she asked.

“Er… okay, I will manage.” I said, feeling simultaneously amused and confused.

“Fair enough. I will see you tomorrow then, and yes, do get me a Ufone card because I am running out of balance. I love you. Bye!”

I kept sitting silent for a long time, and then asked my cousin who I should take with me to give company to the girl’s chaperon/friend? He ‘arranged’ for another friend of his, Arif who was ‘very popular’ among the females in his college. The idea of being surrounded by so many strangers gave me butterflies in my stomach. I pleaded with my cousins to pull me out of this weird situation, but they told me to put up with it.

The next day, accompanied by this Arif guy, we went to pick Maheen and her friend up from college. As I approached the college gate, Maheen sent me a missed call. I was confused and called her back immediately. “You didn’t get me my balance loaded!” she blurted over the phone. Feeling embarrassed, I told her I would do so once we were off to lunch.

We waited for around 25 minutes outside her college, when two girls appeared from nowhere wearing burqas. I was once again bewildered to see them. They sat in our car and took their burqas off, and I was introduced to Maheen, and another lady. We then drove off looking for food. As we stepped out at a restaurant, Maheen’s phone rang and I saw her going pale as she talked on the phone.

“Are you alright?” I asked her.

“It was my mother, she told me that my bhai is off to pick me up from college!” she cried.

Arif had a bright idea:

“You can go and drop Maheen back to college, while Zahra and I can go for lunch if you guys don’t mind?”

Breathing a sigh of relief, I agreed at once.

Feeling angry yet sympathetic to the poor girl’s plight, I drove back to drop her to college.  On the way, Maheen kept crying and pushed me to drive faster and faster. I got so worried to see her crying so bitterly, I ended up breaking a signal.

What next?

A traffic cop in appeared from nowhere and asked for my driving license. By this point I was infuriated. I gave some money to Maheen and she headed back to college in a rickshaw, and then I called my cousins to help me with the cops. That day I took an oath never to even think of going on a date in Pakistan again.

*names of individuals have been changed to protect their identities.


Muhammad Taqi

A bookworm who runs his own import and export business, Taqi is currently completing his BBA from the European University in Lefke, Cyprus.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Eeman

    Don’t understand the sense of this topic. Recommend

  • maheen*

    seems like a piece from young world.Recommend

  • Abdus Samad

    I would appreciate if you date outside Pakistan. Recommend

  • Abdus Samad

    He has not mentioned that how did he want his date to be in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Amer

    Dude, get a life!Recommend

  • Tilsim

    I enjoyed it, excellent.

    The ‘l love you and hung up’ part was the icing on the cake!Recommend

  • K Z

    Was it a date? I don’t think so…Recommend

  • Ghausia

    Why, why, WHY would you post this here knowing the ire you’d draw? LOL. Very brave of you. I’m sorry, I know it was awful for you, but its just so funny. I just love the burqa clad girls, kissing boys is juuust fine while done under the burqa. LOL. Its why you should stick to what our narrowminded society refers to as the “burgers”, they’re free to date and don’t have all this secretive hassle either, since their family members always know about them seeing people. But I think you’re just going to stick to dating outside of Pakistan now lol.Recommend

  • http://Lahore Saad Farooq

    It seems that ETs idea of success is to pluck any desi brat born and bred in foreign lands and tell him to write something for the boys and girls down here in down town Pakistan. Get a life ladies and gentlemen at the policy making table.

    To be true article was Ok but it was just a narrative driving no where. Bold things do pay off but they should have a focus and conclusion.Recommend

  • Dureshahwar Afroz

    What a useless piece was it, can i get a sense of having such a writing on your blog, Tribune?Recommend

  • http://www.gurumug.com Muhammad Usman Ghani

    Senseless stuff….:@Recommend

  • D.

    I actually understand what this guy is going through. No girls (except maybe a handful) are actually allowed to date/have a boyfriend so everything they do has to be in pure secrecy. Along with that, a lot of them are required to cover themselves and since SOME of them are unwilling to do this, they often take off their hijabs/abayas once they are on their own. Not only this, most girls (in general) assume that once they have gone on a date, they are going to MARRY the guy and hence the iloveyous and everything start right from the beginning. I’d like to stress that I am judging girls who do not wish to cover themselves or the ones who do have secret boyfriends but yes, indeed, the situation described (or some portions of it) occurs quite regularly.Recommend

  • murassa sanaullah

    very true picture of Pakistani style of dating. good work,good satire.Recommend

  • D.

    I am NOT* judging girls.Recommend

  • abid

    stop hating people……ITS IN THE BLOG SECTION not the news so if you want news get the hell outta here.

    nice article….my first experience wasn’t that bad at all ;)Recommend

  • http://ayeshahoda.wordpress.com Ayesha Hoda

    This occurs but you can’t really generalize.

    As for Mr D.’s comment above: “most girls (in general) assume that once they have gone on a date, they are going to MARRY the guy and hence the iloveyous and everything start right from the beginning” … which Pakistan do you live in? the girls described above GENERALLY do such a thing for fun and to rebel; clearly the lady wanted to have a good time and a Ufone card.Recommend

  • http://azizhirani.blogspot.com Aziz Hirani

    “get me a Ufone card”
    hah… very true..Recommend

  • Atif Roz

    Most of the girls in ‘the colleges’ date like this (not experience but observation) and secondly i think everything was going according to plan but it was just badluck that overshadowed the plan.
    Better luck ‘NEXT TIME'(as you are still alive,not caught by Bhai)Recommend

  • http://theterrorland.blogspot.com/ Rehman

    A fresh air to breath in the suffocating Pakistani media… thank you The Express Tribune! Recommend

  • Angelos

    what the hell??? this is what people blog on Tribune now?? No sense at all………..Recommend

  • Naz Ebr

    A sign that Tribune is losing its place in the Pakistani Print Media. How does the newspaper have time for such non-sense articles to publish when the country’s in the state of natural calamity!Recommend

  • SS

    what crap… Recommend

  • Aamina

    I agree with Angelos. And really, I don’t know where you found this girl, but that is not at ALL what Pakistani girls are like. Not the majority of them. Although what D said might be true, regarding the majority of Pakistani girls not being able to date etc, they do NOT act like this, EVER.

    I feel bad for the person who had to go through this, that was hilariously senseless!Recommend

  • SB

    I think he’s just made this story up….Recommend

  • Low Blow

    I think YOUR name should’ve been changed to protect your identity.

    Watch out for the writer’s next gripping article, “How I spent my summer vacations.”Recommend

  • Jameel ur Rasheed


  • Sjay

    Just a question…. have u ever considered finding a “loyal desi girl” in Canada? If indeed you accepted the premise that girls of Pakistani heritage are somehow more loyal than “gori girls”,… then wouldn’t it be logical to assume that you could find the same loyalty in a Pakistani girl in Canada, with slightly less hurdles to jump through perhaps. Also wouldn’t she be more geographically desirable considering you could indulge in DATES instead of DATE?Recommend

  • Nasreen Ghori

    The article describes the changing values of our culture, though, in a lighter tone. Mr. D and Ayesha are right. For most of the girls in Pakistan start of dating means marriage in the end. Some times parents themselves encourage their daughter to have “friend” or turn a blind eye over such a relationship as suitable proposals are not easily available.

    But not all girls are sincere in a relationship. Majority of middle class girls (esp. Lower Middle class ones) do not get enough pocket money, and they want to make most out of a relationship. Similarly not all boys are sincere (not in this case). Majority of the boys want to have good times (they like to go on date with girlfriends but want to marry a girl untouched, unseen by any man) and girls desire a better lifestyle. So in most cases its ‘give n take’. :)Recommend

  • http://iwebuniversity.com Hunain Ali

    haha :)

    well, trust me mate..Never even think about dating here again..thanks for cheering me up :)

    you did a great job !!!Recommend

  • hakeem

    good article…washing undies in the middle of roadRecommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    haha! That was so funny. The poor guy must have been caught by surprises as people here in Pakistan have this preconceived notion that whenever someone comes from abroad, dating is an essential part of their lifestyle, and was therefore bombarded with the urge to try a desi date.

    P.S: Blogs can be about anything.Those who just cannot digest humor may go to some serious stuff like the opinion section, the national section, world etc? Why do they have to land on such articles when the name and image of the article itself suggests it is related to that taboo element of the society? If you just cannot DIGEST humor, become choosy instead of wasting your time commenting negatively on others’ posts and demoralizing new writers.Recommend

  • http://telecomnewspk.com/ Jamil Arif

    I don’t understand this article .. whats the readers point … Pakistani girls are not for date or he is not deserving to have Pakistani girl as girl friend>?Recommend

  • saher

    cant stop laughing!!! totallly senseless but yes this is what our young gen is doing .. complexed…. many of the 16 yr olds get into a depression if they don’t have a bf… totally senseless but thats the truth .. Recommend

  • O.R

    Crap!.,.. Tribune wats dis ? wherr u guyz r heading towards? plz keep the standard of writing up…Recommend

  • Atif

    I will not stereotype. You obviously didn’t hang out with the right crowd. I grew up there and had very progressive and wonderful time there. Right company is very important dude. You can’t expect to have a beer with OBL!Recommend

  • The Prodigy

    Arif had a bright idea:
    “You can go and drop Maheen back to college, while Zahra and I can go for lunch if you guys don’t mind?”

    Now that is what I call a true Pakistani spirit! :D Nice post dude!Recommend

  • SundusK

    While your article is funny, I would like to assert that this generalization will get you nowhere. There are all sorts of people everywhere and it doesn’t necessarily indicate that all girls in Pakistan are like Maheen*. One may find many abaya clad girls amongst the migrant communities in UK, Canada or US who are up to no good. In either case i still don’t understand why parents from US,UK or Canada flock to Pakistan every summer or winter break to find a perfect shareef Desi girl for their ABCD or BBCD lads ! Recommend

  • The Prodigy

    @SB, kahen aap Maheen, Arif, ya Zahra mein se koi ek to nahi? LOLRecommend

  • Hassaan Zia


  • Desert

    Oh well, happens, nothing new or out of this world.
    The girls aren’t to be blamed but parents. If you want your child to lead a healthy life you shouldn’t impose unnecessarily restrictions on them else their name too would be included in some article like this one.Recommend

  • Desert


  • Salman Malik

    wasted my time to be honest!Recommend

  • Noor

    Lolz… a useless but nice fun stock in these days of depression.
    I wonder where are those girls who ask for BALANCE….. Recommend

  • Mahvesh

    Hahaha, I love the ‘get me a phone card’ and ‘I love you’ bits! That is such an apt portrayal of what ‘relationships’ here are – use the boy/girlfriend as a present-giving driver and an ATM machine.

    Dude, it’s not that dating here is all like that, you just ran into someone who believed in relationships being the sole way of getting some free stuff. Maybe it’s time to change crowds! Recommend

  • Muhammad Taqi

    Well lets see first of all i’d like to say i wrote this article just to see what kind of comments i get on it. And I agree with Sarah if you don’t wanna read this stuff please go on somewhere else. Learn to appreciate others work Please, if you can’t then you got a problem my friends.Recommend

  • Muhammad Taqi

    Well Mr. Salman if it was waste of time why did you even step into this blog in the first place i think reading your comment was a waste of time.Recommend

  • Muhammad Taqi

    Miss Sundusk, I don’t think families fly over to Pakistan to find a desi chick for their kids. Its just what you guys think because as far as i know all my friends are married in USA and Canada or where ever. And i don’t think i would come to Paki to find a desi chick for me as well. Recommend

  • Time Value

    Further, its personal exp of yours, no need to get out something unnecessary from it. Either share or make it blog. . .Recommend

  • SundusK

    Errr….what do you mean by ‘thats what you guys think’? Btw if you end up with people like Maheen* then I don’t know what to say about the sort of people who introduced you to her in the first place…that says alot about the company you hang out with in Pakistan. And loosen up dude ! hv the heart to openly accept criticism/suggestions/feedback. Recommend

  • D.

    That’s Miss D, folks :)Recommend

  • Ghausia

    I’m always the first to criticize blogs on senseless topics, but come on, this was hilarious. I know at least one regular blogger on ET who writes for the sake of inane writing and has zero ethics or journalistic skills. Compared to her, this was a breath of fresh air, and made me laugh for five minutes on a very crappy day.Recommend

  • Ubi Ali

    i liked both these parts!

    “I have set up a plan to meet you tomorrow, but don’t call or text me unless I do so, because if my bhai catches me he will kill you.” she advised me.
    Arif had a bright idea:
    “You can go and drop Maheen back to college, while Zahra and I can go for lunch if you guys don’t mind?”

    why dont i date in pakistan, lolxRecommend

  • Aliya

    I agree with the earlier comment – your “date” really doesn’t say much about the company you keep. Frankly, if you were willing to start a relationship with someone you had only shared a phone conversation/sms with, it doesn’t say much about your discerning skills either. Recommend

  • ayesha zia


  • http://cervet.blogspot.com Cervet Cahn

    …and whats the point?Recommend

  • One In 140 Million

    It wasn’t very appropriate of you to pick up a girl from her college in the first place… Besides judging by your description of the girl’s behavior, we can safely assume she was nothing more than a docile teenager, probably going through an infatuation phase… Recommend

  • Madiha Mustafa

    hehehe…wow..nice…loved the article..and as 4 the comments above…guys chill..not all gals are like that so please dont blame all of gurl community for just a few :)))Recommend

  • http://www.alphaza.blogspot.com Murtaza Ali Jafri

    Great topic; failed to meet expectations.

    Completely underwhelmed. Recommend

  • http://www.salmanlatif.wordpress.com Salman Latif

    //It seems that ETs idea of success is to pluck any desi brat born and bred in foreign lands and tell him to write something for the boys and girls down here in down town Pakistan. Get a life ladies and gentlemen at the policy making table.
    To be true article was Ok but it was just a narrative driving no where. Bold things do pay off but they should have a focus and conclusion.//
    Ditto, Saad! Recommend

  • Omair Anwar

    I have never seen a more stupid and useless article and I have never seen even stupider people taking out the time to quip about the Pakistani Woman’s stigma in dating in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Potentially mean

    ha ha what was that!!!Recommend

  • Morbid Isolation

    This bloke here is a juvenile non-writer with no concept of the paradigms of the written word. I mean I can understand the differences in the dating culture but such exaggerated rhetoric either makes him a ‘wannabe burger’ or ‘will-be maila’ with zero analytical skills and his philosophical modus operandi probably goes down into the negatives.

    Oh by the way, did you hear the news? There’s been a flood in Pakistan, yeah they say it’s pretty bad, 20 million people are affected but I’m sure they don’t have to worry about the dating culture here.Recommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    I usually dont leave comments on any piece that are very negative…But this piece doesnt make any sense…It could serve a purpose for Good web traffic or high comments, but has no cause or vision of writing…..Only meant for a target audience of young teenagers…..who haven’t explored the world besides Pizza, burger, girl friend, and lap top….and lastly, simply insulting girls of our country……Recommend

  • http://www.beautyinnsalon.com Gulshan Munir

    Nice article but it should be more interactive. It seemed liked the body of the article without start and end.Recommend

  • hakeem

    dont you guys recieve sms like “hi i m sara noreen etc nd i m in hospital need balance plz send lota doogi” i heard many boys getting balance by playing galz on fone. and this brother fear is also common. This has a corporate side also Banks use team of one boy and one girl for selling credit cards in a way that girl makes call to potential consumers whereas after customer is “convinced” boy goes and complete formalities.

    On public phones also girls are increasingly being employed for attracting more customers. etc etc

    And look they say its rubbish as if nothing exists in this Haji society. HiposRecommend

  • Khalid Bajwa

    Even if it was true what was the point of this ? Satire ? Comedy ? Some Moral Message, i fail to see none !Recommend

  • 7eba

    It was indeed senseless.Recommend

  • ShaharBano

    Lol! This indeed was funny! I am really sorry to hear about such a bewildered experience but it actually brings forward a few questions; no.1 How old are you? no.2 How old was this girl? Because from the sound of it all it sounds pretty teenage-ish. The adventures of teenage I would say! Dating isn’t that alien a concept in Pakistan any more and nobody eyes you now and say ewwww they are dating! Hence maybe couple of years down the road you should come back, hitch up with a friend (who you have even remote chances of clicking with) and just go out for the heck of it without actually categorizing it as a ‘date’ in actual terms of a date. Who knows you might even end up having a good time?

    P.S: We are already messed up with the Flood and brutal murders. Amidst that corrupt traffic cops and cringing for mobile balance girlies won’t make us look any worse.. trust me on that!Recommend

  • Salman Nathani

    Indeed this is the case in Pakistan .. the girls are so restricted and the boys are given so much freedom !! Such an imbalanced situation in Pakistan. Really Nice article .. I agree 100 %Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/sxahir Zahir

    ahm…that was coool.
    if u r not accustomed to things, you shouldn’t even bother to gamble on itRecommend

  • Hussain

    Wat were you thinking? Do you expect the girls down here to be as openly available as the ones in Canada?..things down here are pretty much open yet secretive :)…and yea…you could have been killed by that brother of hers..Recommend

  • http://www.SocialMediaArt.net Balal Naeem

    Hahaha! This story looks like made up. Its not that difficult to date in Pakistan :PRecommend

  • http://taha.javaid.over-blog.com Taha Javaid

    Nice start but
    Abrupt ending! [email protected]Recommend

  • Salman Rasheed

    A very shallow article. What a waste of time and space. Meray 10 minute lota do judge sahab!!!!Recommend

  • The Prodigy

    Salman bhai, kis ne kaha thha key word “DATE” dekh ke article parhnay ko? :PRecommend

  • Hassan Raza

    Maybe I was able to get the idea of the article. These are the problems that boys face very often or I tell you recently I am being asked to pay some amount to keep up relationship with my girl (The one I loved most). And I am a local guy and not a “Foreign Murgha”. I think you were made to pick the wrong girl too.Recommend

  • maheenrehman

    what kind of “meli” girls did your cousins hook you up with seriously??Recommend

  • Rzza Bakir

    Nice…… enjoyed itRecommend

  • Rzza Bakir

    Oh and excellent heading for the topic….. Your article has one of the highest views Recommend

  • Usama

    a very interesting read. and it couldnt have been written better =)Recommend

  • Saad

    The best is when she tells him ‘I love you’, before even meeting him! Aaah! So true..so relevant!Recommend

  • kevan

    worst piece of reading ever.
    biggest generalizations ever.
    this piece yells FAKE.Recommend

  • murtaza bashir dar

    This piece pushed me hard NOT TO COMMENT .. but on one side is the miserable condition of my country and on other side is the so called WANNA BEs or ABCD (American Born Confused Desis)whom concern towards Pakistan shows Recommend

  • Samreen A.Khan

    nice job TAQI…! it was a damn correct impression of our immature pakistani teenagers!!
    and i like”Ufone card, if my bhai catches me he will kill you”….Hilarious! Recommend

  • Aatish Ali

    hahahahaha….seriously dude this did not happen anywhere but your imagination. Get done with this stereotypes “burqa, police, school”.Recommend

  • le

    (sorry if it offends) but this is indeed utter non-sense.Recommend

  • Bored

    if this piece is a satire, i must say its not very cleverly written. im assuming the reason this blog got space on ET is bcz its written by a CBCDRecommend

  • h

    Haha poor boy. Although I don’t think its fair to generalise about the entire population based on your one lone experience. We’re not all alike, you know. Not all families have such a harsh view on dating and befriending the opposite sex. In some circles its positively gauche NOT to date :P….oh wellRecommend

  • Imaginations

    That was a just a flirt.Recommend

  • http://journelog.wordpress.com ehsun

    What the !! Seems like another case of ‘who you know’, in plain words “Safarshi” blogger.Recommend

  • Rahim Bhawani

    Useless Article Recommend

  • MissMe


  • omair zeeshan


    Very very entertaining :DRecommend

  • Saira Saba

    i must say childish and wastage of time…. the writer needs to come out of his imaginations and face the real world !!! Recommend

  • `umair


  • Zeeshan

    Man, go spread your DNA outside Pakistan. Why waste time on Pakistani girls? With desi, you spend ten times more effort than you spend on foreigners, and the short-term ROI (return on investment) is prohibitively low.Recommend

  • yaxar

    haha I hear ya bro! and this was just the beg. of it – u shud be glad she left early :pRecommend

  • Azka

    what a waste of space!Recommend

  • Syed Khalid Kamal

    Talking to anyone in Pakistan about anything of significance is an exercise in futility. I have met too many girls in Pakistan who insist after the first meeting that I give them a nay or a yae. If I say yea I am committing myself to them (without knowing any thing about them) If I say nay, well obviously this is the end of the road for relationship.
    Once upon a time I thought that the Pakistani mating rituals are so bizzare that anyone with a failed relationship in their past would recognize the inadequacy and improperity, of the process and would modify their belifs accordingly. Not so, I learned.
    Most Pakistani females have grown up on a steady diet of Bollywood movies and Pakistani TV dramas. Their ideas, expectations and attitudes are a million miles away from reality. The things people hold near and dear in so far as their relationships (talking about man/woman, Boy/girl) have nothing to do with success or failure of these relationships.
    Since this posting is going to generate a lot of mail, I want to let you know that these lines are not authored by an Americanized Pakistani youngster. I am a grown man who had an arranged marriage, raised two fine boys, and got divorced. So I have been around the block a couple of times. Recommend

  • http://nubeals.blogspot.com Nabeel Khalid

    This was amusing, yes, but otherwise a VERY trashy post. IHT – I’ll send you an article that can replace this article because this just tells us a story and has no depth at all. It is written by a person who does less than little to elaborate the local environment and culture, and generalizes the female populace way too much. My request would be to remove this article unless this is IHT’s new standard of writing (for which I can only feel sorry).Recommend