Stories about city

Connecting our cities not just with flyovers but with people

What do you want Islamabad to look like in 2042? If there’s anything the geography component of O’ Level Pakistan Studies taught me, it was to appreciate my city. One of the chapters was “Population in Pakistan”  full of sketches of villagers moving to new cities. A friend underlined one reason given in the textbook for rural-urban migration: Bright lights. “Of all things, that’s why people migrate?” she asked with a bemused laugh. But that is true to some extent as Karachi is a city of bright lights. Take a ride at night and the billboards will prove this. Is your ...

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Karachi violence: Gunshots on bus U-10

It is frightening to even think what one human can do to another. Getting late for work in the morning, on March 27, I was unaware that my city was already bleeding when I jumped onto a bus called the U-10. We were motioning slowly and gradually until we reached a spot near Tipu Sultan road. From nowhere, a man appeared in front of the bus with a gun in his hand and yelled out to all the passengers, to get off the bus. In a gust of panic, people started rushing out and the driver giving in to fake assumption motioned ...

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Lahore from Karachi eyes

After spending seven great days in Lahore, I am convinced that Lahore, being the cultural hub of the country, is one of the most beautiful cities of Pakistan. I applaud the chief minister of Punjab, who despite having a barrage of flaws in his governance, especially with regards to health, education and law and order sectors, has successfully been able to maintain the beauty of this city. Unlike any other provincial government, the government of Punjab makes a conscious effort to give beautification the priority that it deserves by strictly adhering to a no-graffiti policy; hence we are greeted with beautiful and clean walls as seen in ...

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Kohli: The future of Indian batting

India has always produced exquisite batsmen from Viswanath to Vengsarkar, Azharuddin to Tendulkar; from this pedigree, another star has emerged that shines brighter than the other young guns around. Virat Kohli has set himself apart from his contemporaries with such dominant performances that India’s batting future seems to be secured. Actually, in the last few weeks we have had a glimpse of that future twice; once, when Kohli led India to a successful run chase in Australia, chasing 321 from 36 overs. And again yesterday, when India completed their highest, Kohli was at the ...

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Protocol phobia in Punjab

During present week the Punjab government remains occupied to provide red carpet reception and protocol to visiting Turkish guests and Lahorites had to face unprecedented traffic congestion, lack of civic facilities and travel hindrance. Although Istanbul Mayor Dr. Kadir Topbas was a distinguished guest in the city, the inconvenience faced by city folks because of the elaborate protocol accorded to him was above tolerance level. Topbas was offered a VVIP protocol with signal-free movement, high security apparatus and lavish banquets. The protocol was against the stipulation of the blue book, a document which decides the level of protocol to be ...

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What I learnt about life in Karachi

When you first come to live in Karachi, you are a bit anxious about how things are, and often get frustrated easily.  Slowly, however, you learn how to work the city. Here are some small lessons I have learned: Never talk to society women about where to buy lace; they’ll never shut up.  In fact they’ll talk so much about tailors and boutiques, if you could tap all that energy through some scientific magic, you’d have several gallons of petrol. If you see a woman who gets unusually animated when talking about her tailor, run for your life. Never get upset with a waiter who brings you your samosa with his fingers underneath ...

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The city of prose

Madiha Sattar, a writer based in Karachi, in her recent comment on the Karachi violence complained about ‘the mythology of the city’s not-so-distant golden past’ that is evoked whenever the times are dark and roads bloody:  Those of us not old enough to have worn hipster saris to nightclubs here in the 60s and 70s, are frequently subjected to misty-eyed reminiscing about a city that was once apparently safe, cosmopolitan and liberal, a magical place where one could drive around late without racing home to avoid a hold-up and people were far too polite and open-minded to be too fussed ...

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Chand Raat in the city of lights

In Karachi, chand raat is one of those nights that you just do not want to miss. The city of lights turns in to the most joyous, bustling and happy cities. From Zamzama to Nazimabad, shopping centers are inundated with excited families, all preparing for Eid. In fact, Karachites are so adamant on celebrating Eid in their typical fashion, that they do not let anything get in their way. I remember a couple of days ago when about 15 people were killed here. Despite this, the city was bursting with life and shopaholic women. When it comes to shopping in the ...

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I am a death toll, please tell my family

I am a Pathan My family lives in Swat, I’ve come to Karachi looking for work without knowing anyone in this big city. I started my struggle six months ago. Back in Swat I have a family, a pretty wife and four children. I want to send my children to school but can’t afford it. The economy in Swat is bad; there is no work which is why I’ve come to Karachi. They say it’s a big city and everybody gets something or the other according to their naseeb (luck). Well, I’ve come here to try my luck too. After a long ...

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“Firing in Saddar! Turn on the TV!”

I live near Saddar, and every single act of violence that affects Saddar affects me too. I was waiting for my mom to come pick me up, obliviously laughing with my friends over some lame joke, unaware of what I was going to go through in the next ten minutes. I was at my school, waiting for my mom to come pick me up – and for a second, I thought I’d lost her forever. A guy came rushing up to us and said: “Firing in Saddar! Turn on the TV!” Normally, being a helpless Karachiite, I would have watched the news and ...

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