Stories about Lyari

There is no Bhutto left to rebuild PPP, Mr Zardari

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has decided to kick-start its campaign for the upcoming general elections. For this reason, and to prove that Lyari is still its stronghold like it has been in the past, the party organised a public gathering recently in Kakri ground. In a bid to gain local support for the coming local government polls and general elections, the party’s co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari, during the public rally, announced multiple developmental projects. He said that the PPP government will build an engineering college as well as a housing scheme and promised that the people of Lyari will get jobs in ...

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No, I’m not a football fan – bite me Suarez

I don’t follow football! Yes, I don’t have a favourite team – the closest I have ever gotten to it was when I played FIFA video games with my friends or back when Ronaldo had not gotten a hair transplant and was not such a Prince Charming lookalike; oh wait, that’s not the same guy – that explains a lot. By the way, we must limit the number of Ronaldos in one era, so that it’s easy to remember who is who. They are becoming the Khans of soccer. Exactly the way people from Rawalpindi think its cooler to live in ‘Pind’ rather than Islamabad, ...

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Want to learn about the 2014 FIFA World Cup? Go to Lyari, Pakistan’s mini Brazil

It is said that things are not always the same on the inside as they may seem on the outside. Don’t judge a book by its cover. The same phrase can be said for Lyari’s current situation. Lyari is one of the oldest and most densely populated areas of Karachi, where people belonging from different races and ethnicities have been living together for years. However, people need to understand that Lyari’s real identity has been manipulated and the area is wrongly presented as a symbol of terror and fear. It is not as bad as it is portrayed by the media or discussed ...

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Robin Hood, the Pakistani version

I was not shocked at all. The room did not look like that of an informant; adequately lit, curtains drawn, handful of furniture, most noticeable of which was the centre table decorated with an unlit candle. Perhaps he was expecting a power outage; part and parcel of Karachi these days. You would be surprised to know that crime reporting is really not as dramatic as it seems on the one hour investigation shows on TV. And here I was, sitting in front of a person, a man the age of my younger brother, who sat there with more confidence than I could ...

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Dear Diary, the Lyari gang war doesn’t scare me anymore

Day 1 Dear Diary, Today, I was awakened to the thundering noise of gun fires and frequent gapped blasts once again. Despite the fact that this is something very normal for us, the people living in Lyari, I still get scared. These horrific noises still send shivers down my spine and my heart sinks with ever boom. Every time I hear a gunfire shot, I wonder who has been slaughtered in this meaningless gang war going on. Last night, an unknown bullet struck Sara’s father, our neighbour, and he died instantly. I could hear the poor girl screaming and wailing over the loss of her ...

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Karachi is blasphemous, Lahore is not

If blasphemy is defined as ‘irreverent behaviour towards anything sacred’, Karachi is blasphemous; a city where something as sacred as human life is irreverently and disdainfully extinguished. As January limped to a close, three health workers administering anti-polio drops to children were shot dead. Bullet-ridden bodies of three young men were discovered and a police officer was gunned down in a suspected targeted attack. And yet, it is in Karachi, much more so than in Lahore, that a bastion of sharafat (respectability) is present; it is here that strangers smile at you, people say thank you for services rendered or stand aside and allow you to pass. In this ...

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Sindh Festival 2014: ‘Culture’ is not a spectacle to be sold, neither can it disguise past failure

The Sindh Festival 2014 is not a beacon of hope; it is a reminder of just how far behind we are lagging. Perhaps it is because of my deep Sindhi roots, my familial history and my life experiences but I don’t think that the Sindh Festival 2014 is anything worth celebrating. I have lived in Hyderabad for 14 years followed by five years in Karachi and the distinction between the two cities is clear – Hyderabad is more Sindhi centric culturally while Karachi is more of a melting pot. Neither one is better than the other but they are both different. In Hyderabad, spectacles similar to ...

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Lalas are fighting each other…but who is giving them weapons?

“Chachu, I heard three deafening explosions and I have been hearing gunshots for three days now! Dad is not even letting me go to school because of the terrible situation outside,” said my 12-year-old nephew, while calling me from his house in Chakiwara, a part of the gangster stronghold in Lyari. “This time Lalas are fighting with each other,” he continued. Lala, though a Balochi word meaning older brother, is ironically now used to refer to gangsters in Lyari. Once again, Lyari finds itself in the midst of a gang war, at the mercy of a handful of thugs who roam the streets, shooting sophisticated ammunition ...

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From Bano’s eyes

My shirt snags on the bus door as I get off. Ignoring the sniggering young boys looking on unabashedly, I straighten my shirt, wrap my intentionally mismatched dupatta more securely around myself and walk towards the apartments I work in as a maid. Entering the reception area, I notice a new face behind the counter and know that he will ask me who I am and where I want to go. As expected, he does. I reply “201”and he makes the call, “Baji, aap ki maasi aayi hai” (Madam, your maid is here). It’s ironic that the people I work for don’t use ...

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When a child grows up in Lyari

Ferjal Hussain is just three-years-old. I love him a lot. He doesn’t eat or sleep well when I am out of the city. I don’t allow him to go out and play with his contemporaries — though he does insist. We both play at home. I sing him folk songs and share with him the good stories I know. Sometimes, I recite Shah Latif and Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s couplets. He likes ‘lab pe aati hai dua banke tamanna meri.’ I dislike the environment with which he interacts — the abusive language, playing in the narrow streets and the habit of ...

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