Stories about city

Karachi Tips: Uniting people, bit by bit

One day, as I logged on to my Facebook account, I found something posted on my wall that made me smile in a way I hadn’t in a long time. It was a series of one-liners typed in as pictures; One of them said: “If a friend calls you and says “baat ker” it means you have to bail him out of a traffic police incident. Remember that.” I smiled and recalled all the times my friends and I did this. Another message said: “Never whole-heartedly believe your exam schedule. Strikes happen.” Yes, that has happened to me too. So, I opened the page from where ...

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Peshawar: City of death and hope

There was a blast in Peshawar Khyber Supermarket on June 11, 2011 at approximately 11:45 pm, killing 40 and injuring around 100. It was supposed to be one of those peaceful weekends when I’d be chatting with family over a meal or engrossed in an inconclusive talk-show on television. I recall sitting at home, watching television with my family when the sudden sound of an explosion shook us all. It was terrifying and distressing at the same time. Who was at the blast site? How many lives might have perished away in this blast? Many questions rose in my mind but were silenced by ...

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Taking the ‘bad’ out of Nazimabad

At a gathering in DHA a girl walks in. “Hey, how come you’re so late?” I ask. “I just came from… well, really far away,” she says. “How far off?” “You wouldn’t know where it is,” she dismisses in an ugly voice and with an embarrassed face. I press on. “Like what, Nazimabad?” “Yeah, how’d you guess?” She tries to laugh it off. I guessed Nazimabad because I’ve stayed there and I know the ‘distance’. And I wanted her to stop acting weird about it! I should have yelled at her but decided to leave her to her own paranoia. A boy listening in to ...

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Capital encroachment: Laws, promises and a delicious piece of pie

“Silence is a source of great strength” – Lao Tzu As an optimist will confirm, waking up is supposed to be the best part of the day. It doesn’t matter what time you wake up, or what sleep cycle your body follows, waking up full of energy is part of the charm of facing a new day and the new challenges that come with it. So why this weak feeling? Maybe it’s the school up your street. Maybe it’s the office next door. Maybe it’s the VVVVVIP next door (they love their V’s don’t they?), or maybe even ...

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Functional cities need mass transit

Much has been said and written about lack of predictable and efficient public transport system in Pakistan’s major cities – to no avail. Former mayor of Karachi, Mustafa Kamal, who built a swirling network of flyovers and signal-free corridors during his four-year tenure, was smarter than that to realise, and voice, that adding more roads was only a short-term solution. True unclogging of our major cities’ blocked arteries would happen when you remove a significant number of vehicles from the road, which is only possible when you provide commuters with a viable public transport option. But the argument for a mass ...

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Life on the balcony

The number of apartments is growing with increasing population. More buildings usually means less green spaces and a greyer city. Nonetheless, living in an apartment must not keep you away from having a healthy green space. Even small spaces such as a balcony can become a rewarding and refreshing garden of your own. All you need is some planning. What do you want from your garden? Ask yourself, which type of garden you would like to walk into each day? This mostly depends on the space, sun, wind exposure and the irrigation system. But first thing is first. Weight management: Firstly, find ...

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Karachi: The city with a memory

Karachi would be a tour guide’s nightmare assignment. Imagine a horde of overeager Japanese or European tourists, thirsting for scenic, history-laden wonders, wanting to take that perfect Facebook profile picture next to a monument where the fate of the world as we know it today was defined. What do you have? Nothing. The sea, one might argue. Or those lovely dilapidated colonial buildings, Empress Market, the sea, Frère Hall, the sea, Bohri Bazaar, the sea. Add to this, a lacklustre assortment of non-attractions, a cacophony of cars blaring through traffic-choked streets, wilting trees, hordes of beggars at every signal that ...

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To leave or not to leave Pakistan

As a kid, I had made up my mind to not leave this country even if it was falling apart. But then again, the biggest worry at that time was whether it was safe to stay out late at night. Things have changed now and that, too, rapidly and drastically.  Now the situation is such that there’s no guarantee that even when you go to pray, you’ll come back alive. The past few days put things in better perspective. On Monday, while everyone only sang OBL tunes, Karachi was set ablaze. Vehicles were torched as if they were for free, people killed ...

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No more U-turns after this, President Obama

The recent U-turn of President Obama on the trial of the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and four alleged co-conspirators stirs a new controversy. The accused are to be tried by a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay rather than a civilian court in New York. The much-hyped closure of Guantanamo Bay was on Obama’s agenda when he was eyeing the White House back in 2008. But the Gitmo trial announcement came on the same day he officially launched his re-election bid for 2012 on BarackObama.com. Many would call this another disappointment on a long list of Obama’s slip-ups. Although the Attorney General Eric ...

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Karachi: No longer a tourist spot?

It happened a few months ago. I was on a bus, on my way home. Just when the bus reached near Old Sabzi Mandi, no less than twenty people, all belonging to a single family, climbed in. There were many children too, causing a lot of commotion on the bus and making it look like a packed circus ring. I asked who they were and where they were from. One young lady, who said she was hosting all these people said, “They are my neighbours, have travelled all the way from Larkana to see Karachi.” Amazed, I asked, “Why Karachi?” “Oh, they hadn’t ...

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