Stories about Lyari

Once a neighbourhood of gang wars, Lyari’s Girls Café is helping women reclaim the streets

Among poorly-designed, bullet-riddled houses, there stands an immensely eye-catching building right in the heart of Lyari. This three-story residential building painted in striking shades of blue, pink and green is not a sight that can go unnoticed. The street, once most widely known for its vacant houses and gang war tussles, now hosts a place that welcomes hundreds of young girls and women from every nook and cranny of the area. This place, inaugurated around three years ago, is known as the Lyari’s Girls Cafe (LGC) where girls and women gather daily to learn, teach and share ideas, both long-standing and innovative. ...

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“Abey kaale”: It’s not only Sarfraz Ahmed

I grew up in a neighbourhood near Civil Hospital. Being a government hospital, it was always thronged with people – most of them belonging to the poorest segment of the society – who come in bereft of hope to get their loved ones treated for free. Civil Hospital was more frequently visited by residents of Lyari, a squalid area that is home mostly to the middle, lower-middle and poor segments of our society. Now, if anyone has seen the denizens of Lyari, they know that most of them differ from others in their looks in certain ways. Their complexion ...

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Suhai Aziz Talpur: Celebrated worldwide but mocked in her own country?

A week ago, three armed men attacked the Chinese consulate in Karachi. Before they could reach the diplomatic staff inside, the militants were killed in a police operation led by SP Suhai Aziz Talpur. The encounter also resulted in multiple casualties, including two visa applicants and two policemen fighting on the frontline. From CNN to Reuters, the news made rounds worldwide. Talpur is being glorified as the daughter of Pakistan, representing the face of bravery and women power. Restoring Talpur pride, her pictures are being juxtaposed alongside Faryal Talpur, who is currently embroiled in a money laundering case. Chinese media too is in ...

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The diaspora of Naya Pakistan: The time is ripe for us to pay back to the motherland what is due

Some years ago, summer of 2012 to be precise, I hosted an informal morning tea for Maleeha Lodhi, and while discussing the upcoming 2013 elections, she said to me, “It is not the Pakistan that this diaspora may have left 20 years ago, it’s a different Pakistan. The public is more desperate, the crises are much more and the conscious awareness that every vote counts is on everyone’s mind.” Hence, to me, her statement implied that Imran Khan was going to be elected prime minister in the 2013 elections, but history tells us a different tale. Imran fell, and with ...

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The political catch-22: How will PTI help Karachi if PPP stands in its way?

The General Elections held over a week ago broke the shackles that had bound the city of Karachi for so long. The public came out and voted for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and rejected the mandate of two powerful political dynasties that have ruled at the federal level for the last three decades. Not only this, the public voted out the most prominent and influential party of Karachi, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). The city of lights has been voting for the Altaf Hussain-led MQM in all kinds of elections, be they general or local body. However, except for the brief tenure ...

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Like mother, like daughter: Aseefa Bhutto Zardari should be the future of PPP, not Bilawal

In many ways, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has been a progressive political force for this country. The development and implementation of a democratic constitution by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (albeit flawed); the party’s staunch opposition against dictatorship; the fact that PPP gave Pakistan and the Muslim world its first female prime minister – all these factors have portrayed PPP in a forward-thinking, amicable light. Hence, it comes as a shock that a party that was led by a woman for more than 20 years is finding it difficult to provide her daughter a nomination ticket for the General Assembly. Recently, it was ...

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Dear Shehbaz Sharif, what makes you think “Karanchi” wants to be like Lahore?

Shehbaz Sharif’s pre-election visit and recent comments regarding “Kiranchi”, stereotyping an entire community, seem to have created some ripples in an already charged up political environment in Karachi.  At a time when Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) is badly fragmented; Pak Sarzameen party (PSP) is cementing its position in the upcoming elections; Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is an utter failure even after two consecutive terms in Sindh; Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is suffering from several in-house ticket issuance problems, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is trying to fill up the current void by Shehbaz’s visit to Karachi and quite recently, a jalsa in ...

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Why isn’t anything being done about the 10,000 ghost madrassas in Sindh?

Sindh, the southern province of Pakistan, has always been an epicentre of progressive political parties which keep a close check over the spread of religious militancy and violent extremism in their constituencies. Even though Sindh has been a secular and progressive region, where Sufi traditions have never let the militant mind-set prevail, the province still supports tens of thousands of madrassas (Islamic religious schools). There’s just one problem: many of these supposed madrassas don’t actually exist. A meeting, between the officials of Sindh, held in May at the chief minister’s house in the provincial capital of Karachi, was told by the inspector general ...

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Will Uzair Baloch be treated as a political ally or gangster?

After the arrest of Uzair Baloch, numerous questions have arisen which must be answered by those relevant to his political and armed existence in Lyari. I have personally been a part of various meetings which hosted Uzair Baloch as chief guest. These meetings included audiences with the likes of political individuals and renowned journalists. Surprisingly, these individuals have great relations with the gangster from Lyari. In a strange twist of fate, I had a personal encounter with this infamous man. I, along with a few of my friends were attending a Baloch cultural day in Lyari. During the event, I received a ...

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Can ‘Shah’ box its way to the top?

Pakistan is a land of talented and gifted people. We have people who have made something out of nothing. With barely any resources available, various Pakistanis have outdone themselves in recent times and have brought pride and prosperity to their motherland through their hard work and sheer determination. Shah is a movie which is based on one such individual, who rose from the cluttered streets of Lyari in Karachi. He rose from nothing and became the pride of Pakistan, but eventually, he was reduced to a mere memory in the minds of Pakistanis. Shah is a story based on true events about the journey of Pakistan’s famous national ...

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