Stories about history

I was not allowed to enter Memon Mosque in Karachi, because I am a woman

A beautiful combination of chaos and serenity: yes, you are now in the most picturesque area of Karachi. An extension of Saddar town escalates towards the lighthouse, a grandiose Memon Mosque situated along the way. I had always seen this huge structure of reds while passing my route to college. I found myself thoroughly intrigued by the long bearded men who would come out of the high floral grilled gate in flocks of white kurtas and shalwars rolled up. A knack for photography has always had me attracted towards architecture that has history attached to it. One fine summer afternoon, following the hues of ...

Read Full Post

The story of Hyderabad, Sindh

Hyderabad is one of those cities where the magnetic pull of nostalgia can be felt to a maximum, owing to the ever glorious landmarks of a bygone era. It is one of those cities where the past silently trudges along with a noisy and loud present. Apart from its new face where it is adorned with high rise buildings, bustling, busy markets thronged with heavy locomotive traffic; there is another face where the past lurks behind colonial buildings, hiding under electrical wires and large hoardings. The same old face can be seen written over the aged, gnarled and wrinkled face of ...

Read Full Post

You can work as a waiter or a driver in the US, but not in Pakistan

My love for Pakistan is unfathomable! From the lush green valley of Chitral to the hustling bustling streets of Lahore, my love for my country has, in fact, grown over time. Pakistan is my home – mom’s food, sister’s amazing chai, random hangouts with school friends, street food, the streets of Lahore; the list of things I absolutely adore about my home is unending. When I came to the US, initially I thought this journey was more like a survival challenge for my existence. I was nostalgic and missed everything about home. But now I feel those things are not missed so much ...

Read Full Post

Why Pakistan should recognise Israel

Sometimes it becomes inexorable and practical to change the paradigms, let the past stay in the past and forget about historical incidents in order to open doors that lead to peace, prosperity and harmony. History documents that Pakistan and Israel are never directly involved in hostility or disputes with each other. However, in showing solidarity with Arab countries and in support of Palestine, Pakistan has categorically refused to recognise Israel as an independent state since its inception. Our history books and widespread stereotypes have played a major role in filling our hearts and minds with hatred against Israel. Considering the cost-benefit analysis and without ...

Read Full Post

Peshawar School for Peace: Making the peacemakers of tomorrow

The barbaric attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, where innocent souls became victims to mindless horror, still resonated in my head like as if it happened yesterday. The incident left me hopeless, broken and bordering on cynicism. However, recently, that hope was rekindled. In the backdrop of security crises and bloodshed, I came across a project in this beautiful city that made me a believer again. I have been to Peshawar as a kid but as I don’t have any memory of it, I would say that this was my first trip to Peshawar. Like any other person visiting ...

Read Full Post

Why is Pakistan a pariah at the Lord’s Cricket Ground?

Being out of place is a funny feeling – it’s nothing unbearable but it always keeps you outside your comfort zone. For an expat Pakistani, life in the UK is fraught with pangs of this feeling. This is usually evident during the festive season of Christmas when you are always in a dilemma as to whether you should celebrate Jesus’s birthday – with all the commercialism thrown in – with your neighbours, friends and colleagues or refrain from it due to differences in Muslim and Christian beliefs about Jesus Christ. Usually, one does well to acquire a middle ground. This year, however, I decided ...

Read Full Post

Can the Pakistani education system stop catering to political agendas please?

The issue of school curriculum has been under discussion in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) for some time now. The 18th Amendment devolved the education sector to the provinces but that has yet to bear fruit, since the leaders who have decided to take up the responsibility of planning a ‘better’ future for the youth of K-P still need to achieve some constructive results. Playing its ‘due’ role, the coalition government in the province wants to change what is being taught to children at schools. The changes desired are within the lines of ‘religious’ and ‘national’ teachings, according to the members. They want chapters on national heroes like Bacha Khan ...

Read Full Post

Why socialists do not brace the Azadi and Inqilab marches

Enough has been said and written about Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri in the recent days, and for obvious reasons. These contentious, yet, influential leaders have occupied the living room space of every Pakistani household via television. Therefore, one is forced to discuss them, whether they like it or not. Surprisingly, out of all the folks of the body politic; socialists or progressives are caught in this discussion. Unlike supporters of the mainstream political parties, socialists operate and deliberate in a sophisticated and academic manner; that is they analyse a movement through their ideological lens and then frame it within ...

Read Full Post

Undoing religious intolerance – undoing the second amendment

Religious clerics in Pakistan celebrate September 7th as a day of victory for Islam and Pakistan. Officially dubbed the “Khatme Nubuwwat Day” or “Finality of Prophethood Day,” many mosques come alive with celebrations this day, sweets are distributed and intense speeches are made in large religious gatherings.  Forty years ago this day, Pakistan passed the second amendment to its Constitution, forcibly declaring the Ahmadis non-Muslim. With the stroke of a pen, the Ahmadis had been snatched of their basic right to self-identity at the insistence of the very clerics who had opposed Jinnah in his rightful struggle. It was this day that Pakistan started drifting away from ...

Read Full Post

How the twin-marches in Islamabad are affecting our economy

Bang! The first bullet shot in Model Town echoed through the streets of Lahore. We may never know what was going through the mind of the man who pulled that trigger or through the mind of the one who authorised it, but what followed was one of the most dramatic domino effects in the country’s recent history. Although Imran Khan will probably insist that it also has something to do with election rigging. Tahirul Qadri’s second coming, the twin marches on Independence Day and the sit-ins since then, resignations in the assemblies, the march into the Red Zone, the use of force by the government as ...

Read Full Post