Stories about Jinnah International Airport

A Lahori’s first visit to Karachi

This summer, I had the chance to pay a short visit to Karachi – a city I’ve never had the opportunity to visit before. Soon after landing and taking a cab to the hotel, we started hearing stories of locals out and about in the city. This aged driver, who drove us to our hotel, told us how, for the last few months, Karachi has been a lot more peaceful because of the Rangers’ operation. He also said, “This operation should be extended to the entire province to ensure complete implementation of law and order.” That driver was not the only one who felt that the Ranger’s ...

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Karachi, you used to be home

I walk out of the plane and I’m hit with humidity, heat, and a smell that I can’t even describe with words. This is home. The airport is packed as I trudge my way to get my overweight, large suitcases. My eyes are watering, my hair is in a state, and my clothes that seemed so loose back in Rome are suddenly sticking to me as the gaze of almost every male present follows me in a carnal manner.  This is home. I try and relax as I look at the out-dated conveyor belt slowly moving bag after bag until I finally see my own. I push ...

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Through the eyes of Ashfaq

If you were to visit the departure floor of Jinnah International Airport between 10 am and five pm on a weekday, you would be awestruck by the melodious sounds created by a blind flute player. Ashfaq is a 42-year-old man who has been at the airport for the last 20 years. Born as a blind child, his childhood was pain ridden, troubled and filled with tales of ill-treatment. As soon as I heard about Ashfaq and his optimistic attitude towards life, various questions came to my mind, so I decided to meet him and find out more about him. When I finally got the chance ...

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Yes, Senator Rehman Malik, you deserved to be booted off that plane!

There are times when something you dream of actually happens, like Senator Rehman Malik getting booted off that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight. Had anyone else been booted off this way it might not have had the same impact, but with Rehman Malik… it’s like being presented with a large, a very large, box of chocolates, a complete set of Harry Potter books (which are amazingly yet to be read), and a tonne of ice cream all at one go! Oh joy! My salams to the gentleman who took that stand. May you live long in a genuinely better Pakistan, with my prayers for ...

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I fought terrorism last weekend, what did you do?

I promise this blog will not bash Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). My stance on the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is extremely straightforward. I strongly feel there is no room for negotiations because there is simply no middle ground. There is nowhere that the TTP can be met halfway. They have two very clear demands – Pakistan must break off all relations with the United States and Pakistan must accept their version of Shariah law. The first demand might be a matter of foreign policy, but the second is a matter of lunacy. How would these negotiations even go about? What we can do is ban ...

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It’s our own damn fault!

After an attack on Jinnah International Airport just two days ago, you would think we have some practice in dealing with the situation. We don’t; in fact, we just keep getting better at failure. The second attack takes place at the ASF training camp, which is in close proximity to the high-alert, already bruised airport. The events that followed post breaking the news were something to see, perhaps as a training manual for What-Not-To-Do-In-An-Emergency-For-The-Second-Time. Within minutes you felt like you were actually there as reporters tried to take us foot by foot with the commandos holding weapons. It began with a few ...

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Sleeping with the enemy

Today, on June 10, 2014, Pakistan has officially become the biggest joke in the world. This is the second attack to have taken place, one at and one near the largest airports in the country. It came after an emotional morning in which the world was informed that bodies of seven people, remnants of the first attack, who were stuck inside the cold storage area, were retrieved. This, of course, only happened when the media boxed the eardrums of every politician it could reach. Before that… well before that we were asleep. We did wake up though. For a few ...

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Cathay Pacific: The flight unfit for flight

The aircraft, having boarded on time for a 00:20 hours departure on June 15, was on the runway when the captain announced that a technical fault was making it impossible to take off and we had to get back to the base for maintenance. So, okay, approximately 300 passengers on board the Cathay Pacific flight CX2700 decided, these things happen. We should be 20 minutes late but safely in the air soon. Not the case. The aircraft would approach the runway, gather some speed and then turn around to the base. After three hours of maintenance we were off-loaded from ...

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From Houston to Golimar

The abrupt decision to move to Karachi from Houston was distressing. The realisation that it would be a move from Houston to Golimar was even more distressing. The enduring flight bore anticipatory thoughts of what this foreign land would hold for me, if anything at all. Western media had successfully accomplished its goal of tarnishing Pakistan’s image in my eyes. This would be the first time I travel to Pakistan in 12 years after having lived abroad for all of my life. As I walked out of Jinnah International Airport, the putrid stench of the third-world hit me like a sucker punch, nearly ...

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Be alert at the Jinnah International Airport!

For quite some time now, we have been hearing of people getting mugged and deprived of their suitcases after exiting the Jinnah International Airport. This is especially true for the passengers of long haul flights. Usually the victims arrive by midnight or early morning, when it’s convenient for the criminals to strike without being spotted. Recently, when I travelled to Karachi from the US, I noticed that a group of shady looking men were offering help in handling baggage near the pickup area and one of them even picked one of my bags and proceeded to put  in my car ...

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