Stories about karachi

When we’re told to “limit ourselves to the imambargah or shift these processions outside the city”

Recently, I came across a post on Facebook which stated the following: “Roads blocked, no mobile networks and markets are closed. Please stop bothering your fellow countrymen and limit yourselves to the imambargah or else shift these processions outside the city, somewhere on highway.” A typical, insensitive and privileged Pakistani comment. But this statement was not the only one. It is not unusual for the Shia community to hear such insensitive comments from Karachiities, whose lives are completely uprooted during 9th and 10th Muharram. Such insensitivity may not be uncommon, but it is hurtful, given the day and the solemnity of the incident being marked in Muharram. The ...

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The women of Kohistan suffer in silence as they search for water that doesn’t exist

Hazoora, a 24-year-old native of Kohistan (an arid piece of land located near Thatta), complains that her hair is falling due to transporting heavy cans of water on her head since she was eight-years-old. She travels approximately one to eight kilometres every day to fetch her share of water, and her body aches from carrying six to seven buckets of water daily for domestic needs. Even her pregnancy did not put an end to her ordeal since water is not a commodity one can live without. This is not just Hazoora’s plight, but the plight of thousands of women living in this ...

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Pakistan does not need more thieves, harassers or mobs – its police officers are doing the job for them

Recently, I came across a news article about senior police officers breaking down the door of a house in Rawalpindi to arrest a murder suspect. The house they raided belonged to the cousin of the man suspected of having committed said murder. In addition, when these upright gentlemen did not find the man they were looking for, they decided to take with them cash and jewellery, worth at least a million rupees, which belonged to the owner of the house. Naturally, the poor victim immediately went to the nearest police station to file an FIR (without which the police cannot investigate a crime) ...

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Why droves of Pakistani women are leaving their misogynistic country

When I started my first job, a cousin told me, “All the noble reasons a woman might have for earning her own living don’t matter. Once you start spending time outside the boundary of your house, you are an outside woman.” I never understood exactly what he meant by “an outside woman”, and by the time I’d grasped what he said, the moment had passed. I believed what he meant was that I was not as respectable as a housewife or someone who does housework and nothing else. An outside woman – a woman thought of like a house cat that becomes a ...

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“Nothing will happen to you as long as you are in this car!”

Born and raised in Karachi, I take great pride in my city of lights. You’ll always find me in the middle of a heated argument (mostly with Lahoris) about why Karachi is the best city in Pakistan. What’s not to like about this place? Karachi has the best food, the best malls, the best people and we also have a beach. Take that Lahore! But it took me four years of living in Lahore to realise that Karachi, as ideal as it was in terms of food and other attractions, wasn’t the safest place to live. Karachiites know the rules of living in Karachi. Do not use ...

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The realisation of a dream – cricket comes home, this time to stay hopefully

There was definitely some fiery magic in the air before Elton Chigumbura, accompanied by his troops, marched on to the newly painted and redecorated Gaddafi Stadium. You could sense that something remarkably huge was about to happen, but the sceptic within you, having grown eight-years-old now, denied you a good night’s sleep. Three words, cricket comes home, evoked emotions that could not be described, only felt. After years of yearning, Pakistan’s grand welcome of the Zimbabwean team was not the biggest breakthrough, but it was historic and a breakthrough nonetheless. Pakistan beat Zimbabwe in the second series of T-20. ...

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Donald Trump’s America is awfully racist and discriminatory, but is Pakistan any different?

Q: Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the biggest racist of them all? A: The human race Recently, I came across a video which showed a young Palestinian-American Muslim mother talking about the struggle of handling her young daughters. This was in reference to race and religion in the current political climate raging in the US. Her talk made me ponder about the truth of raising my kids in the US. And for a moment, it made me second guess my decision of moving to the American shores some 20 years ago.  Welcome to the American world of Donald Trump. A world where race is an issue, where ...

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30 years of pop and patriotism: How ‘Dil Dil Pakistan’ became Pakistan’s unofficial national anthem

In June 1987, an obscure Pakistani pop band, the Vital Signs were contacted by the then 36-year-old TV producer, Shoaib Mansoor. Mansoor had already made a name for himself for conceiving and producing a social satire ‘skit show’ for the state-owned Pakistan Television (PTV), Fifty Fifty. He had launched it in 1978 and it was an immediate hit with the viewers, running for eight seasons till Mansoor shut it down in 1984. Mansoor was teaching at the PTV Academy when one of his students, Rana Kanwal, drew his attention towards a pop band that had been playing at ‘college functions’ (mainly in the Rawalpindi-Islamabad area). They ...

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You should expect nothing

There are days of glee and sorrow, There are days of wonder and freight, There are days of worry, insecurity — Thoughts that you’ve been victimised. There are protruding, menacing, cutting eyes, Staring. They watch your every move. It’s not some higher power or satan or big brother, It’s just all the people who expect something from you. And the days will pass you by. You will find new shores and highways. You will look beyond the roofs of Karachi, and the markets of Lahore. You will breathe in the stink of cities, leaving the Big Apple behind. You will see the world — not really, But it will be enough. They will wonder where you’ve gone, maybe they really do ...

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Quaid’s mausoleum may soon be replaced by high-rises, and we’re not doing anything about it

I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the present Sindh government, like its predecessors, is also selling whatever open land is left in Karachi to interested developers. I’m referring to the most recent scandal, the selling of 30 acres of land meant for the Horticultural Society to the builders’ mafia at a price which is about 1% of its actual value. I wonder if they have ever thought of the fact that one day, all the open spaces in Karachi will be gobbled up and replaced with shopping malls and commercial plazas, and they will have nothing left to sell. So if a man is struck on the head ...

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