Stories about bribery

Is it a crime in Pakistan for a boy to drop a girl home?

A few days ago, as a friend was dropping me back home after dinner; we were pulled aside by the cops on main Khayaban-e-Shahbaz road in Defence, Karachi. No dark corner or shady alley but while driving smack in the middle of a bustling road. While we pulled over the car, the men in uniform, (who in all likelihood belonged to the Darakshan police station since the area falls under that jurisdiction) asked my friend to get out of the car. As expected, he was asked to produce the required ‘kaaghzaat’ and give details of our whereabouts. Upon inspection and failing ...

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“Badshaho, we saw you kissing the girl”: To make a quick buck, the police will accuse you of anything

Going out with friends was a simple routine for me. It never bothered me whether I was going out with guys or girls since I never thought it to be much of an issue. However, in just one encounter, the Pakistani police taught me all the things that can go terribly wrong while going out with male friends. It was just another day when I went out with two of my friends from university. One of them was driving while the other sat in the front passenger seat and I took the backseat. We drove to a café located on ...

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Stairway to power

Tamim’s cigarette was nearing its end. He saw students clamouring out of the examination hall, laughing and sharing examination horror stories. He searched their happy faces for a sullen, sunken face that was probably dotted with paan spots. When he saw Zahid’s face, he raised his hand to beckon him. They bumped shoulders in greeting and Zahid filled his lungs with smoke and let out a breath of relief. “That was horrible.” “I’m going to fail. We’re both going to fail.” Tamim stared at his classmates gathering near a car and putting on what seemed to be new sunglasses. “Who cares? Math never helps ...

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I want to be part of the corruption brigade, don’t you?

As a Pakistani, I really want to be a part of the corruption brigade; after all, it is the biggest business in this country, right? Recurrent news about the level of corruption in Pakistan explains that in the past four years, people in power can easily pocket around Rs8.5 trillion!  This encourages me to focus on a single point agenda to pursue ─ how can I become corrupt? I guess majority of the Pakistani youth is also thinking along the same lines. Apparently, there is no need to think of another option because this one is the most convenient. Pursuing another career ...

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Why I will never leave Pakistan

I have been robbed twice at gun point. On an almost daily basis I witness the gross negligence or ignorance towards the concept of civic sense. Traffic cops more often than not are more interested in lining up their pockets with ‘chai paisa’ (money for tea) rather than implementing the traffic laws and regulations. The festive season in this country sees a surge in prices rather than a celebration of the occasion. Our current government doesn’t carry the best of reputations and is widely thought of as corrupt. The remaining political options consist of an idealistic autocrat, a tried and tested party from ...

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I walk the line

If you are standing, have ever stood, or in the future plan to stand in a line in a government office – read on. But, first, let us establish who you really are. You are someone waiting in a line, of people with strikingly diverse dialects and personas, to get your driver’s license or ID card. You belong to the educated, upper-middle class of the country. You ardently hope to see this country ‘change’. This is why, when your father or uncle offered to place a few calls to save you the trouble of waiting in line,  you chose to abide by ...

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