Stories about city

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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What is Karachi like?

Karachi is to Pakistan what Pakistan is to the rest of the world – a place of contradictions! It is a really difficult task when one has to explain this city to a person who has only been exposed to it via the media. However, deep down, I enjoy this task. So on one Friday morning when there was not much work to do, I received a question from an anonymous blogger asking: What is Karachi like? Instead of sending a brief textual reply, I did this: Well… Karachi is lame, Photo: ONLYINPAKISTAN.TUMBLR.COM Yet it makes sense. Photo: Humans of ...

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Bring the Army to Karachi!

Recently issued statements by the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain and the subsequent debate on the floor of the National Assembly have brought forward a plethora of concerns for citizens of Karachi. The ruling party, Pakistan Peoples Party, instead of giving hope and a plan to stabilise the worsening law and order situation in the city, has started pointing towards the 30-year-old violent history of this beautiful port city. Instead of showing resolve to eliminate criminal elements, the information minister for Sindh government, Sharjeel Memon, accused the MQM of hatching a conspiracy alongside the Pakistan Army. Allegations are ...

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Before and after: Chaand raat in the city of lights isn’t the same

Chaand Raat, 1995 Lights, camera, action, food! After thirty days spent in prayer, fasting and being on our best behavior, Chaand Raat is finally here. Our emotions about this joyous night vary from excitement to contentment and relief to gratitude. It’s time to let loose, put on your favourite henna design, iron your spanking new clothes, and paint the town red with family and friends. The city shines with colourful qumqumay (small light bulbs), while the roads are flooded with cars blasting loud songs in celebration. Women gear up in glittery outfits and put on matching bangles; then go out to shop for ...

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Our Lady of Fatima Parish: A wonderful church hidden in Karachi

Over the years, Karachi has become more of a commercial pothole. Buildings are constructed in the most unexpected yet absurd places, while dhaabas (tea shops) and hotels sprout like shrubs in every nook and corner of the city. It has become congested and overwhelming.   It is due to this hotchpotch that many citizens remain unaware of the great architectural brilliance that lies hidden deep inside the city. One such building that is overlooked is a church called Our Lady of Fatima. This beautiful structure lies sandwiched between Anklesaria Hospital (near the Garden area) and the infamous Gul Plaza shopping mall. The ...

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Pakistan, where security and justice are only illusions

Public security measures taken in Islamabad are often regarded as anathema. A few years back, the police checkpoints and barricades around the city made our once-serene little town look more like a sister city for Baghdad than Ankara. Of course, recent rains temporarily made the capital resemble another one of its sister cities — Venice — but that’s a separate story. The checkpoints around town have fallen in number over the last couple of years, and especially since the new government came in, but the large barricades outside some offices, schools and embassies remain, despite the fact that most of these ...

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Twenty things I love about Lahore

Lahore and I have always had a complicated relationship. The city can plunge me deep into an abyss of depression at will, yet it’s the sole antidote to depression I know of. It reminds me of various people, family members and others, who passed away; yet it’s a place that still makes me want to live. I would choose Lahore over any other city of Pakistan if given the choice. So it’s only after 20 years of my acquaintance with Lahore, countless memories, ample experiences and an article in The Express Tribune Magazine entitled ’10 things I hate about Lahore’ (which ...

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Lahore, how I love thee

I may not have seen the whole world yet, But I have seen a lot of it. Sure, I left my heart in Paris, Yes I lost my self, Wandering the sloping streets of San Francisco True, my mind found solace at the top of Mont Blanc Yet, my soul will always belong to Lahore The city that still captivates me, like no other Maybe I’m biased; maybe it is nostalgia, But when I am in Lahore, my soul is alive, The whole city pulsates with unabashed life The sounds of New York, The lights of Hollywood, Even the grandiose of Las Vegas, Nothing, Nothing compares to this city of my childhood, The city where my soul ...

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Why I love public buses

Let me admit that no matter how much I hate Karachi’s public buses, deep down inside, I like them too. Of course, I can’t stand the stench, the over-crowdedness and the awkward stares I have to face. But I must say that I am in love with the sheer experience it has to offer. First things first, the fare is incomparable. Try any other mode of transportation, no matter where your destination is, buses are the cheapest means to get around the city. Once you figure out the timings of buses and their particular stands, catching a bus is not ...

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Kashmir: When the dogs came marching in

In ‘When the Ants Came’ (Leiningen Versus the Ants) Carl Stephenson (1893-1954) pitched Leningen against the invasion of mighty ants that ‘are the size of a man’s thumb consuming everything in their path and can pick the flesh of a horse in six minutes.’ Stephenson wrote (the invading swath of ants is), “Ten miles long, two miles wide – ants, nothing but ants!” Replace the ants by dogs and you have this story replicated in Kashmir, without of course any Leningen to fight this invasion. The invasion of dogs in Kashmir may have already started; on April 23 at least 51 people were ...

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