Stories about father

The expat

Hammad Khan, a young aspiring Information Technology (IT) professional from Karachi, moved abroad leaving behind his family and friends in the search for a better future. The young man acquired a bachelor’s degree in IT and joined a US-based software company; his arrival in the USA was like a dream that had come true. Hammad planned on staying in the US for about ten years, so he could make enough money to settle down comfortably in Pakistan. As the son of a civil servant – who could only manage to earn himself a one-bedroom apartment after his retirement – Hammad aimed to ...

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Children who make plans

There are always children who make plans, For what they’ll become when they grow up, What profession to get into, what home, and what family they’ll have, What they will do in the world, when as adults they show up.   There was this child, 12-years-old Who was named Vladimir Kovaskin, He was the son of a rising merchant, Whose progress to higher ranks was being seen,   He wanted to be higher than his dad, And become a business owner, He wanted to move to Ukraine, And there become a father,   But first, he hoped to go to a big college, For which he was saving money, To take up studies in economics, To manage ...

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My father was 1984’s long-forgotten Shahzeb Khan

My father was murdered in Karachi in 1984. He was shot dead. Some 28 years later, Shahzeb Khan met the same fate. Cause of death? They were trying to protect a woman’s honour. My father, Syed Rabbani Zamir, was trying to prevent the harassment of an unknown woman at the hands of a Saudi naval cadet who had come to Pakistan for training and was shot dead. My family pushed long and hard for justice and ultimately it was served. The offender was court-martialled and ended up serving some time in jail as well. Regardless of what happened to the culprit, the end result was the same ...

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Stolen: A cop ‘car’naama

This year Iqbal Day fell on a Friday and the entire country had a day off, excluding the ever-privileged car thieves in Karachi. I went to offer Jumma prayers with my father in my old, beloved car. When I left the mosque feeling elated after the long, long prayers, little did I know what was in store for me. When I didn’t see the car where I had parked it, it occurred to me that something had probably gone very – very wrong. My car was gone! Could someone have stolen it? Who would steal a car as old as mine? Gosh! I hope ...

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A love drowned, a life washed away

Safina gazed at the stormy sea, watching the sombre night sky light up against flashes of lightening outlining a dramatic assembly of clouds. Rain poured from the sky accompanied by drumbeats of thunder, blurring the beam from the lighthouse. She had lost count of the nights spent by the window, gazing at the sea. A ship’s horn sounded in the distance, signalling her husband’s return home after two months. On that misty night, the ship had sailed into view, making for the harbour. As Safina watched from the window, the ship glided into view, visible only because of the lights. She ...

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Fathers are humans too

Fatherhood has been a very esteemed title in the world for a long time. Almost every civilisation had some sort of nobility associated with fatherhood. Fathers are seen as strong, diligent protectors. They are the supermen to their children. But how much of this is based in reality? Well, I would like to share my tale of becoming a father, just as an example. It’s been a little over a year since I became a father. My baby boy is growing up fast and every minute spent with him seems like the best time of my life. Just like every child, he’s learning new things ...

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Can the jirga and women co-exist?

A loud screech from the speakers drowned out the last word of the lecture ─ the word which happened to be ‘peace’. Nervously, the girls leaned forward to make sure they missed nothing else. They were to write an essay. Their teacher, her voice thick with distaste, pronounced the words, “…the existing judicial system and its failings, and how the jirga can help…” But the rest was lost again as a throat was cleared explosively, and the azaan burst onto the airwaves. Shifa rubbed hard at her eyes. Damned if she did and damned if she didn’t, this was the gist of her thoughts ─ ...

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If I euthanise my mother, will I be forgiven?

She can’t speak, she has no concept of reality and she is not living anymore. This woman who just exists now is my mother. Nine years ago, after a terrible car accident, my mother went into a coma, leaving three children at the mercy of a heartless world. I was only 15-years-old when this happened and my younger sister, Aiza, was just five. Aiza couldn’t even comprehend where her mother had gone. It was earth-shattering to see a once vibrant and lucid mother’s sad transformation. My father devoted all his time and efforts to fill the gap my mother’s sudden loss had left ...

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Malala Yousufzai: My ‘small video star’ fights for her life

I had the privilege of following Malala Yousafzai, on and off, for six months in 2009, documenting some of the most critical days of her life for a two-part documentary. We filmed her final school day before the Taliban closed down her school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley; the summer when war displaced and separated her family; the day she pleaded with President Obama’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, to intervene; and the uncertain afternoon she returned to discover the fate of her home, school and her two pet chickens. A year after my two-part documentary on her family ...

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Daddy’s little girl: My last love and her first

Daughters are precious. Seems like yesterday when I took mine into my arms for the very first time; it’s been 17 months already, and time seems to have no intention of slowing down. At the office, I just can’t wait for the day to end so that I can enjoy the sound of her laughter, the sight of her cherubic face, the touch of her little arms wrapped around my neck, the taste of the half-eaten saliva-soaked potato chip that she lovingly shoves into my mouth, and the smell of watermelon-flavoured baby shampoo in her hair. Every day that I ...

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