Stories about crowd

Imran Khan, Tahirul Qadri and Sheikh Rasheed: Recipe for disaster?

In January 2013, Dr Tahirul Qadri, author of a renowned fatwa against terrorism, held Pakistan’s capital hostage for several days while making a categorical litany of demands that had to be met within 15 minutes by the government “or else”. It was a four-day-long drama but the crowd of 25,000-60,000 remained remarkably peaceful. A similar carnival is coming to town again. This time not only does it feature Dr Qadri and his followers, but the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Shiekh Rasheed and the Jamaat-e-Islaami’s (JI) alliance as well. It’s a peculiar bunch but that is often what makes the carnival more appealing – one ...

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The Prado effect

Adam’s story I backed out of the driveway, closely monitoring the environment around me. This was the first time I was driving such a large vehicle and it was safe to assume that there was a very steep learning curve with regards to keeping the jeep on the road. “I need to pick up something for Natasha.” Amir squeaked from the backseat. There were around five people sitting atop each other. I nodded, glancing towards the road ahead before putting the jeep in gear. A slight tap on the accelerator and the monstrous engine roared to life, launching the vehicle onto the road. Sitting behind ...

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Did you know that Pakistan won the ODI series against India 8 days ago?

On February 23, 2014 the Indian cricket team had come to Pakistan despite prevailing security problems in the country. That seemed like it would be enough for the match to make headlines and draw crowds of spectators to the venue – the National Cricket Stadium in Karachi – but the crowd was thin and the media presence was non-existent. In the third and final match of the three-day One Day International (ODI) series, Pakistan came up to bat after India had put up a target of 365 runs in 40 overs with nine batsmen out. Pakistan’s score picked up quickly and they were ...

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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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The missing red cape

Qadri is no hero, though in the manner that he swept in and out with thousands on his side, one wonders where he hides his red cape. One also wonders about the source of that unswerving confidence. Anyone would agree that his arrival was anti-climactic – where was he when the nation was crippled without electricity and gas, when food became entirely unaffordable and when democracy was beginning to feel like the wrong choice? What has prompted his untimely bulletproof ‘revolution’ now, just two months ahead of elections? Surely, he could have stepped in when the election commission was being ...

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Can’t have it your way

I once worked as a customer service agent for a reputable airline out of Chicago’s international airport. My job was to board the aircraft and resolve issues like lost children, racist groups and controlling wives and suited men throwing tantrums. I saw people of all breeds. Because Chicago is called the Windy City, flight delays due to weather were frequent. One night, a 7:00pm flight was given a 12:00am departure time. Passengers screamed and roared and we repeatedly apologised. Close to departure, the flight was cancelled. “I regret to inform you, Flight 2345 has been cancelled. We apologise for the inconvenience. Please ...

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Of Pakistani weddings and vulgar mujras

“The highest happiness on earth is marriage.”  William Lyon Phelps Last week, my sister and I attended a wedding. It was beautiful, well organised and we were enjoying ourselves thoroughly to the songs being sung by the singers sitting in front of the crowd. The couple being wed was seated on the front couch and their elated faces were evidence to their happiness. When the song ended, I was taken aback by the sudden blaring of vulgar Indian item songs reverberating in my ears; looking up I was absolutely appalled to find a transgender person in a mere red bra and a mini skirt standing ...

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Pakistan versus South Africa from a spectator’s perspective

As soon as you land at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka, you will not miss the celebratory environment set all around you.  You can see immediately that the nation is celebrating the T20 World Cup. The posters, banners, advertisements, leaflets, and everyone you meet will all convey the same message; the games are on! The famous Ranbir Kapoor advertisement on the T20 runs on national television approximately 1,000 times a day with a tag line being adopted by most cricket fans that goes like this, “Yeh T20 cricket hai, na tameez se kheli jaati hai, na tameez se dekhi jaati hai!” (This the ...

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SuperOver thriller: Pakistan vs Australia

Roars erupted within crowds on the streets and mixed emotions of tension and excitement filled the air in my room just as the last over of yesterday’s hair-raising match began. With Razzaq picking up the ball and looking at it, the nation knew that they were in for something truly special. Pakistan had won the toss and elected to bat in this super over of the 2nd T20 against Australia. After scoring 151 for four, they handed it to Australia who managed 142 runs by the 19th over. They needed, thus, 1o runs to win in six balls. Just as Razzaq began to run-up ...

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Let’s hope your heart keeps going on and on

If you were Jack and I was Rose, you would have sacrificed your life to save mine, said a woman to a man sitting on my right at the cinema. Arif, you would have saved me, right? It’s a Friday and I’m watching Titanic in 3D.  I’m slouched in my cinema seat, trying desperately to blend into the surroundings – anything — in order to avoid the romance unfolding on my right. Onscreen Jack is convincing Rose not to commit suicide, but all I could think, “Way to put Arif on the spot, woman.” Picture the same cinema an hour later. ...

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