Stories about airport

Zia thought he was going to China to sell his liver, but he didn’t know what was waiting for him

Being a journalist in Pakistan, I frequently come across crimes committed, sentences pronounced, culprits getting caught, and in many cases, culprits getting away. Thought I may not be physically present every time, I rely on certain ‘sources’ within the respective setup to bring forth the facts, if not the whole truth. On July 30th, I was contacted by one of my sources within the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) who informed me about a poor soul and a ring of criminals caught at the airport. I asked for adequate information on the issue, and in response, I was not only ...

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My wanderlust took me to Cambodia, the museum of horrors and mass graves

Back in April this year, I felt really low and sort of depressed, as I kept getting a strong urge to visit a new place, somewhere I’d never been before. I made my way to Google and found that Cambodia offers e-visas for Pakistani citizens. Thus, I ended up applying for a visa on a whim sometime in the evening, and found it waiting for me when I checked my inbox in the morning; the whole process taking only seven hours to complete. My wife and I took a connecting flight, which gave us a six-hour layover in Bangkok. Thankfully the ...

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Paradise from a different perspective: Maldives is more than just turquoise waters and sandy beaches!

Whenever the phrase ‘vacation to the Maldives’ rings our ears, turquoise waters and luxurious resorts instantly flash into our minds. In order to fully utilise their vacations, the general preference of tourists is to spend time relaxing and soaking in the beauty of beaches.  Land of clear waters. Photo: Ahsan Nadeem Turquoise waters. Photo: Ahsan Nadeem Conversely, my idea of traveling and vacationing is slightly different, for my chief aim is always to explore the historical and cultural aspects of different places. Therefore, my very brief yet unique trip to the land of the clear blue waters – ...

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Through the eyes of Ashfaq

If you were to visit the departure floor of Jinnah International Airport between 10 am and five pm on a weekday, you would be awestruck by the melodious sounds created by a blind flute player. Ashfaq is a 42-year-old man who has been at the airport for the last 20 years. Born as a blind child, his childhood was pain ridden, troubled and filled with tales of ill-treatment. As soon as I heard about Ashfaq and his optimistic attitude towards life, various questions came to my mind, so I decided to meet him and find out more about him. When I finally got the chance ...

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Unless PIA is privatised, it will continue to hijack the nation

Having already confirmed with Pakistan International Airline (PIA) my return flight to Karachi a few days earlier, I was feeling relaxed on the penultimate day of my lovely vacation in Nepal, but when I called the Pakistani national airline’s office in Kathmandu to re-confirm my flight, I received a surprise. According to the PIA representative, my flight had been cancelled days ago, and I was to wait another four days to fly to Karachi. As much as I was fascinated by Nepal, I didn’t wish to spend more time in the country. For one, I was running low on cash ...

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Is Islamabad airport really the worst airport in the world?

Imagine the worst airport you can think of. Multiply it by 10. Then multiply it further by 20. Drop the resulting figure in a barrel, and throw that barrel away where the sun doesn’t shine. At the bottom of the crater created by this barrel drop, you will find Islamabad airport. I had the misfortune of travelling via Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport some months back, and I’m glad that has been my only visit to the place. Unless someone holds a gun against my head, I have made it a point to never travel via this airport again. From the ...

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Dr Tahirul Qadri is at it again!

Over 100,000 people poured into the twin cities to welcome the internationally acclaimed cleric and prominent political figure, Dr Tahirul Qadri. The Benazir Bhutto International airport, one of the most vulnerable airports in the country, has been on high alert for some time now, due to the fear of an insurgency attack.  Islamabad’s airport has an extremely limited amount of space to accommodate passengers; with very little parking space and hyped up security, vehicles normally have to queue up outside the airport territory and end up blocking two general lanes of the main road leading to the airport which leads to a lot of commotion. ...

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From India: It wasn’t us, Pakistan!

I was sitting on Facebook when a friend of mine, a very patriotic Indian, messaged me informing me of the airport attack in Karachi. I replied expressing shock and grief, a feeling he reciprocated. We, the educated youth of India who love the music of Atif Aslam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, and have no qualms with Ali Zafar starring in Bollywood movies, only empathise with victims of terrorism anywhere in the world. Terrorism has been affecting our own country since the late 1980s; starting with the killings and forced displacements of Kashmiri Hindus, followed by a series of ...

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Who decides who is a beggar and who is an imposter?

Sameer is returning home from New York for the first time in six years. He passes the immigration counter, gets his luggage and comes out of the airport, relieved that he is finally through with all the hassle. Then, he squints around for a familiar face, anticipating a relative who’d be there to pick him up. Suddenly, he feels a tug on his shirt and peering down, he sees two mud-ridden little girls looking up at him, hand outstretched and wide-eyes brimming with expectation. He hesitates and tries to find some Pakistani coins in his pocket to give to them. While ...

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Air travel: Royal treatment only if you are not Pakistani

I have realised of late that flying is no longer as enjoyable as it used to be, especially transit travel or stop-over flights. This realisation hit me recently when I travelled from London to Islamabad and had a stop-over in Dubai. The journey began well with the flight from London to Dubai well-equipped with the latest gadgets and gizmos; the air hostesses were polite and smiling; and there was a general aura of comfort and relaxation. However, this comfort did not last long and there was a world of difference in the connecting flight from Dubai to Islamabad. The plane itself was ...

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