Stories about Lahore

Zahid Mayo: Breaking the canvas

When Zahid Mayo was studying at one of the most notable art colleges in the country, the National College of Arts (NCA) Lahore, he was a square peg in a round hole. Mayo had dreamed of studying there since he was a teenager and finally managed to gain admission in 2008. But, having come from a small village near Gujranwala, he felt alienated in his new surroundings. His fellow students with their impeccable English and urban ways made him feel like he will always be an outsider. But then again, Mayo was not one to take such things sitting down, and ...

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The day climate change finally made it to the front page in Pakistan

Before September 20th, the last time I marched for the climate was a decade ago outside the venue of the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009. It was a cold, dark day and there had been skirmishes with the Danish police. It was a depressing march and as protestors huddled around bonfires made of banners, I thought it a fitting end to a summit that had failed to deliver a climate deal. The world had not come together to cut carbon emissions as we had all hoped. In fact, key governments bought themselves a few more years until the Paris Agreement. ...

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Will you march for climate change?

I first met Greta Thurnberg, the 16-year-old Swedish school girl who is now inspiring young people all over the world to protest against the climate crisis, back in December 2018 at the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference. Hair tied in two pigtails, she looked much younger than her age, was extremely shy and spoke haltingly in English on several forums at the conference held in Poland. Thurnberg speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference held in Poland Sure, the media was following her around even then, but no one imagined she would become such a huge ...

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#JusticeForHunain: Is this how we ‘discipline’ our children in a ‘civilised’ society?

The recent death of teenage student Hunain Bilal in Lahore only brings to light the tragic reality of corporal punishment among the countless unethical but socially accepted norms in the Pakistani society. Allegedly, Hunain had failed to memorise his lesson, due to which the teacher “punched him repeatedly, grabbed his hair and hit his head against the wall, all the while yelling at him”. As a result, the child collapsed and died on the spot. Hunain’s case is not rare in Pakistan where corporal punishment is considered the best way of disciplining at both home and school. Although a 2014 National ...

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Police brutality: Should we now fear the very people sworn to protect us?

While being tortured by the police, Salahuddin Ayubi asked his tormentors, “Who taught you these torture techniques?” Ayubi, who had been arrested for stealing money from an ATM machine, died in police custody two days after his arrest. Unfortunately, this case of police brutality is not an isolated incident. Pakistan has seen a troubling rise in the number of people who are not only subjected to police brutality, but also die as a result. With little to no action taken against these individuals and only muffled public condemnation, the police continue to carry out these practices with complete impunity. But will ...

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Eidul Azha, a distant dream I am stumbling to push into reality

Eidul Azha, in my mind, has always been a ‘lesser’ Eid. It has always existed under the shadow of Eidul Fitr. As a kid, it seemed ill-fitting to call Eidul Fitr a choti Eid because it held greater significance in my mind. It might be bari Eid for a warm-blooded carnivore like my father but not me. However, this year, I find myself clinging on to this religious event with the ferocity of a drowning man. With each passing year, Eid seems like a distant dream that we are all stumbling to push into reality. The real spirit that animated it ...

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Does Karachi have anything else to offer other than food?

As a Karachiite, not even a day goes by without hearing about the launch of a new eatery in the city. On some days, it’s a fine-dining restaurant presenting an unusual variety of a relatively unexplored cuisine. On other days, it’s a café with a new vibe, interior or facilities. Or on most days, it’s our favourite go-to spot – a chai dhaba. Almost all renowned areas of Karachi are famous for not just food outlets but entire food streets that are insanely popular. Boat Basin in Clifton, Zamzama in Defence, Burns Road in Saddar, Bukhari commercial and Port ...

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Karachi, a story of neglect since time immemorial

Karachi has been a story of neglect since time immemorial. Perhaps the only sincere effort that was done to improve the infrastructure of this great city was during General Pervez Musharraf’s time when the then mayor of Karachi, Naimatullah Khan, and later on Mustafa Kamal, had tried to restore the glory of Karachi. For the first time, the denizens of Karachi watched their city beginning to evolve into a thriving metropolis. The ‘I own Karachi’ initiative, conceived by Kamal and his team, was a brilliant idea aimed at encouraging citizens to be more active and responsible members of the ...

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She waited for him, but she knew

Seher stood by the road, waiting for a rickshaw to appear and take her back home. A young girl stood next to her, quiet as a shadow, still as the summer air of Lahore. Seher didn’t know her but she could see the damage written all over her. She could read through her hard face and unsmiling demeanour. On the journey back home, she kept thinking about that girl.  Seher felt her head churning and the small of her back prickling with pain when she got back home. She was easily tired these days and her body ached more each day. ...

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Abbottabad: The city that once stood against intolerance now welcomes it

Abbottabad, the capital of the Abbottabad District in the Hazara region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), is probably the second most important city of the province after Peshawar. It is a city of many famous tourist spots, as well as one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country. Most importantly, it is a city that prides itself on education, with some of the most prominent universities in Pakistan being found here, including the Ayub Teaching Hospital and the Pakistan Military Academy. Thus, it is not surprising to expect Abbottabad to be a city of tolerance, open-mindedness and acceptance. Unfortunately, this ...

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