Stories about Lahore

This chaand raat and Eid, give the women a break!

As a long and exhausting month of Ramazan (because of the extreme heat) comes to a close, I am rather grateful for the lavish sehris and iftars I have been blessed with to complete this journey. Every year, Muslims around the world wait for this month to not only repent for their sins but also for the chance to indulge in delicious food at sunrise and sunset. However, only the privileged get to experience this side of Ramazan. There are thousands of people out there who fast with just the intention to fill their stomachs, uncertain of whether they ...

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Mehrbano’s dreams, Saleem’s desires

“Abba I don’t want to get married. I want to study and become a doctor. You can’t do this to me. Abba please!” “Be quiet!” “Abba, I promise I won’t disappoint you. Saleem goes to school too, why can’t I?” Abba struck Mehrbano full in the face. That stunned her into silence. She saw her father’s placid eyes scintillate with anger. His eyes unnerved her. His eyes made her feel like a small little girl again. Mehrbano’s defiance crumbled and she agreed to meet her suitor. Saleem was sweating profusely, as the sun beat down on him, relentless. He threaded his way through the ...

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Why didn’t Adnan Sarwar stick to Zenith Irfan’s original story for ‘Motorcycle Girl’?

“This isn’t a tale of derring-do, nor is it merely some kind of ‘cynical account’; it isn’t meant to be, at least. It’s a chunk of two lives running parallel for a while, with common aspirations and similar dreams.” When Ernesto “Che” Guevara wrote these words for his memoir The Motorcycle Diaries, one of the ‘two lives’ he was referring to may have belonged to Zenith Irfan, whose biopic Motorcycle Girl premiered last month. Irfan was 11-months-old when her father passed away, leaving behind a trail of unfulfilled dreams and a spray of handwritten letters. He had pined for an ...

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Imran Khan is right, Pakistan should have more than four provinces

Whenever I make any comments about Pakistan having more provinces and smaller units, the reaction is always the same, “You want to divide the country? Are you a RAW agent or what?”  So when Imran Khan promised the creation of a South Punjab, it was a pleasant surprise to hear him say something intelligent for once. Imran made this promise recently as he welcomed turncoats from South Punjab into his party; defectors who enjoyed the perks and privileges of being MNAs for the past five years while saying nothing about creating a new province, until now. While supporting the demand by the Janoobi ...

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When did dancing go from a form of art to a taboo, dishonourable act?

I am blessed to enjoy rhythm in my life, and blessed to have parents who put no restrictions on my body’s movement to music. I grew up as a typical uninteresting teenager; music blaring from my room, no matter what time of the day or night it was. I was so obsessed with music that even my telephone conversations with my girlfriends mostly consisted of singing along to the lyrics of the latest popular songs. All this was made possible due to growing up in a home in Lahore which provided space and privacy without disturbing the peace of other family members. My ...

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Motorcycle Girl will easily ride into the hearts of Pakistani women, but it may struggle at the box office

Adnan Sarwar, who debuted with Shah a few years ago, is back with another movie based on a true story. It is the story of the first female biker, Zenith Irfan, who travelled to Khunjerab on a bike all by herself. Motorcycle Girl is amongst the most awaited films of Pakistan; not just because Sohai Ali Abro plays the lead, but also because the movie is a tribute to women empowerment and tells the tale of how women can do whatever they set their minds to. Motorcycle Girl narrates the story of Zenith (Abro), who works in an agency, and because of ...

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“Safe” public transport for women: He kept whispering his sexual fantasies to me as he masturbated

I am a big advocate for public transport, which is not only an environment-friendly and cost-effective way of transportation, but also the best choice if you don’t want the hassle of driving yourself. However, another caveat of being a woman in Pakistan is the lack of security you feel every time you travel alone.   I happened to travel to Lahore last month for a meeting, and as I usually do, I chose a Daewoo bus for the commute. While I was at the terminal waiting for the bus, I noticed a young man sitting opposite my chair and blatantly staring ...

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How could Gul Bano’s own father ruin her life?

The day was bright, the sun blazing and a sweet smell of blossom swayed in the air. The village of Charbagh was witnessing the beginning of summer. Gul Bano’s elaborately styled reddish brown hair and her emerald green eyes glinted in the sunlight. She wore a green shalwar kameez that matched her eyes, and a white dupatta enhanced by gold and silver threads, to complete the look. Father had told her they were going to meet someone important today. She had asked over and over again who this important person was, and why she had to go meet him, but ...

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In PSL’s ultimate showdown, the mind says Islamabad United, but the heart wants Peshawar Zalmi

For three consecutive seasons, I have supported Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League (PSL). And for three consecutive seasons, my sibling has supported Islamabad United. Throughout every tournament, we have shared banter at the expense of the other’s team; however, Sunday’s final in Karachi will prove to be the ultimate showdown.  Clearly, there is a lot riding on the final. Watching your team win the trophy is well and good, but nothing is greater than winning the rights to mock your sibling for the rest of the year. I have my jokes lined up, but for me to use them, Zalmi will have ...

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As PSL comes home and the stakes run high, who will join Islamabad United in the final?

It is not easy for Pakistanis to make peace with the fact that a majority of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches are being held out of Pakistan. However, this is a bullet they need to bite with a glimmer of hope, as soon the entire event will take place on their home soil. There are no doubts about the excitement level of the feverish fans in Pakistan, presenting the picture of a nation which can put aside its differences for a game of cricket. This is why restoration of international cricket in the country is essential in the ...

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