Stories about citizens of Karachi

Urdu Bazaar: “We have lavish shops for shoes but for books, we can’t even find space on a drain”

Mild sunlight warms the streets tightly packed with books, stalls and rows of parked vehicles. Shops aligned adjacent to each other brim with colourful books meant to appeal to book lovers. The market chaotically mixes the queries of customers and shopkeepers alike. The ancient Urdu Bazaar seems entirely unaffected by the government’s recent anti-encroachment order. Urdu Bazaar is one of the oldest book markets in the subcontinent and almost every Karachi dweller has some sort of memory associated with it. For many, the book market played a pivotal role in their childhood. For some, the market itself was their favourite play area ...

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An open letter to the Karachiites painting the city red

Dear Karachi, Ptooey! Did you know that’s onomatopoeia? A written sound, in other words. Or more precisely, per the Merriam-Webster dictionary: “The naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (as buzz, hiss).” Ptooey! That’s the commonest written version of the sound that is presumably made when you spit. Why presumably, you ask. Well, because the esteemed composers of the dictionary obviously did not travel to our city prior to drafting that onomatopoeia. Why do I say that? Simple. Have you ever spat on a wall here? You don’t have to. You don’t need to. Simply look around and you will observe ...

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Over 400 dead in Karachi and yet we have no plan of action

More than 400 people have died in Karachi since yesterday, due to the deadly heat wave that has laid siege over the city. That’s more than 400 homes struck by tragedy for no apparent reason. That’s more than 400 lives simply wasted away because the local government had no system in place for such a calamity. But then again, when was the last time that we had a system in place for anything? Even in this recent tragedy, chaos ensued. Even hospitals around the city were not equipped to handle the commotion. Jinnah Hospital ran out of ORS and clean drinking water because of the ...

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