Stories about friend

Pakistan’s long distance relationship with Afghanistan will never end

Banaras Khan was eight when he came to Pakistan in 1979, shortly after the Russians arrived in Afghanistan. He was the second eldest son, who crossed the Pak-Afghan border at Mohmand by foot with only his mother. His father had two wives – and he chose to settle down with Banaras’ stepmother in Peshawar. Banaras and his mother came with nothing to a country completely foreign to them. They took refuge with an old Afghan neighbour who was already residing in a rented home in my neighbourhood. His mother borrowed some money in the hopes of starting their life again. She began to ...

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Familiar handcuffs

He could hardly hear him – his words did not even brush his shoulders as they hurried past. His eyes were feeling extremely heavy, not because of sleep or weariness, but because of its on-going conversation with another’s gaze. He was at the bus stop. As his friend sat across, speaking without realising how little was being absorbed, a stranger, who stood silently in the corner, stared directly at him, perhaps even within him. The owner of the gaze appeared to be an old woman, and she wore a long overcoat, but it wasn’t long or big enough to hide ...

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23 reasons why I love Pakistan and you should too!

In a country with a population of over 188.2 million people, a lot can go wrong, but a lot can go right too! Here is a list of 23 things that make Pakistan home. 1. The men Photo: AFP We may belong to a patriarchal society, but not all men are alike. They don’t all suffer from the disease of misogyny. True gems like Abdul Sattar Eidhi, Ansar Burney and Imran Khan also exist in our society, individuals who play a pivotal role in the betterment of society. 2. The women  Photo: AFP Contrary to the patriarchal outlook of ...

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The Why Chromosome

When speaking to a friend of mine on how to treat a lady, I was fairly shocked to find that he hadn’t a clue, really.  There seems to be confusion – a dearth of clear ground rules. When it comes to women, here’s what you should and shouldn’t do.   You should not stare as she walks past, or call her as a cat; Regardless of how she’s dressed, or if she’s thin or fat. Do not undress them with your eyes. Bite your cheap retorts. It’s really no business of yours, if she’s wearing shorts. “She should have worn more modest clothes to avoid catcalls.” Instead, perhaps the men should ...

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Is Sea View a dangerous place?

Relieved to finally be done with our university exams, Asad, my best friend from university, suggested he and I decided visit Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine during our vacations. Since I had plenty of time to spare, I agreed and the two of us decided to go on Saturday early in the morning to avoid any rush. At 8am on Saturday, Asad came over and together we left, on my motorbike, for the shrine. After offering our fateha, we realised thatit was still relatively early and we didn’t have anything is specific planned out. S on our way down the stairs of ...

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Two decades of battling breast cancer

The early 1990s at Franklin Township Public Library, New Jersey – two wonderful mothers separately take their children out for a day of fun and learning, with books. Fully engrossed in story time, one toddler looks up from the reading to meet a stranger’s eyes. It was another child his age, with short black hair and the undeniable look of a similar, intelligent mischievousness. That’s when it began. Our mothers soon became fast friends, and we spent most of early childhood in each other’s company. These were the modest beginnings of my lifelong (best) friendship with AR*. Little did we understand the depth of ...

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Karachi, its violence and the death of a friend

During the second last week of Ramazan, Zia Masroor, a batch mate from my university, Dow Medical College (DMC), was shot dead by armed robbers. He was driving back home after retrieving some cash from an ATM and as he turned into his street and was about to reach home, he realised he was being followed. Fearing the robbers might enter his house and endanger his family, he kept driving on, trying to throw them off track. Moments before he was shot, he made one last call home asking them to shut all doors and windows and to stay inside and be ...

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Happy Birthday, Malala

In a recent social media diatribe (the ones where everyone’s faith is fired up or as a friend once put it, ‘angrily typing curses and calls for Jihad from their mothers’ basements in Bradford’, and anyone against these noble agendas is a spawn of the devil), an old friend descended to defend the ‘good Taliban’, opposing drone strikes and how liberalisation is ruining Pakistani people. It’s almost mathematical; the kind of arguments that pile up in this side of the spectrum. Aafia Siddiqui is the daughter of the nation. Kashmir is ours. Taliban don’t really exist – it’s all a smokescreen because America wants to ...

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Understanding the ‘good Taliban’ and ‘bad Taliban’

Just as social media flooded with a surprisingly positive wave of military operation support, there were a few who did not quite seem happy. One of them, ironically, happens to be my friend. “Don’t be so happy, Sultana. Our government has failed to conduct fair negotiations with them, and with this operation, there will be far worse consequences. You will regret attacking them.” The remark came as a surprise. It made me pause. I stood frozen with a smile from the last moment of unity left hanging in the air. Suddenly, I felt uncomfortable. I felt I was standing face to face with ...

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In Pune: Beaten to death for sporting a beard

Five years ago, in 2009, I was in Pune on an assignment. There, I decided to stay with my college friend, a Muslim, for a couple of days, for I thought it would be a good opportunity to revive old memories and spend some quality time together. But, providence had something else in store for us. On a chilly, dank night while returning from a rotisserie on my friend’s motorcycle, we were stopped by a group of seven people with saffron headbands worn around their brows, armed with clubs, hockey sticks, knives and above all, a flag of a Hindu nationalist ...

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