Stories about Pakistanis

The ‘Bara Bhai syndrome’ – taking one family at a time

Recently, an international journal of psychiatry published a report about a new disease – the ‘Bara Bhai Syndrome’. It was discovered during research workshops held in Pakistan and India. The hallmark of this disease has been described as an extreme preoccupation with the duty of providing care to the family, heightened sense of sacrifice and responsibility, feeling of guilt and premature ageing. While the disease has been found to be more rampant in South-East Asia, thousands of immigrants in developed countries have also tested positive for it. The disease typically affects the first-born male child. However, comparable symptoms can also be exhibited by the only ...

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Confessions of a comment moderator at The Express Tribune’s blogs page

The first time I moderated comments, for the blogs section of The Express Tribune, I learnt a sad truth; people have unabashed hatred for one another. I couldn’t believe until I saw it myself. Perhaps I was living in a bubble, I thought we had come a long way from partition and that Pakistanis and Indians had learnt to coexist. I didn’t think that Muslims and Hindus cringed at the very mention of the other. It wasn’t long before, I started moderating comments flooding in from around the world and, my idealistic bubble burst. Our blog readers belong to the educated class. ...

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Talking out loud – Islam needs a reboot

At the very outset, let me clarify that I am neither a religious scholar nor do I have disciplined knowledge about the Muslim faith. The views expressed in this article are purely based on the perspective that one has developed over the course of the past many years. This is by no means a critique of a faith that millions of folks all over the world follow. To begin with, as paradoxical and contradictory it may sound, amidst all this opulent irreverence, the Muslims claim that there is a ‘back-to-religion’ movement the world over, as a reaction to the incessant indulgence ...

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Forced conversions in Pakistan: “Eeshwar kaun hai, Allah bol Allah!”

Scuffles and screams rang through the dark night. They were three and they were burly. They had her in a firm grip with her mouth gagged with a rough cloth. It was probably 11 or 12 o’clock at night. Not very late for a summer night but half the village had no electricity, so people turned in early. Her screams could have woken up the neighbours, if they had any. Theirs was a mud hut in a lone corner of the basti. She desperately tried to make as much noise as possible but it was of no use. The men had ...

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I guess #Nilofar and Karachi just weren’t meant to be…

Nilofar has been messing with our heads and lives for a week now. It’s coming, it’s not coming. It’s severe, it’s very severe. It has weakened and will not be hitting Pakistan directly. It will rain in Karachi, it will not rain in Karachi. Make up your mind, woman! While Sindh’s fate lay in the hands of a “woman”, we, Karachiites waited anxiously for her to grace us with her presence. This anxiousness is quite disturbing might I add. Generally, citizens of a soon-to-be-affected city start making preparations to stay safe during a natural disaster, but not us. No sir, we will go ...

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What is Abdul Sattar Edhi going to do now?

There’s something about Abdul Sattar Edhi that makes Pakistanis feel safe… almost protected, like a child feels with a parent around. He is old and frail and sickly. But he is there. He is alive. And till he is alive, we have hope. We have hope that goodness prevails, and that there exist those we can look up to. With Edhi around, we have an elder. This August 14th, I happened to celebrate Pakistan’s Independence Day with children from the Edhi home who were attending an event held for them. “Edhi abbu got us these clothes for Youm-e-Azadi,” said a 14 year ...

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Put all that meat to good use with some handi kebabs

We, Pakistanis, love our barbeque and our Eidul Azha is incomplete without some form of meaty delight. So, as Eid came, I decided to whip up a saucy dish for my guests. I always loved cooking on charcoal. But if you have limited time and want to serve your guests a good quality barbeque dish, then you can cook this scrumptious delicacy on the stove as well. This recipe was passed on to me by my colleague, Mrs Jabeen, who happens to be a darling and an exceptional cook. A lot of memories are attached with this recipe and I just want to thank her ...

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Pakistani drivers: A nation or a mob?

It is said that the way people drive in a country tells a lot about how disciplined and orderly its citizens are. Well, I realised this on two occasions; first, when I came back to Pakistan from the United Arab Emirates and second, when I returned from Sri Lanka. On both occasions, the contrast in driving patterns was painfully evident. The impatience and desperation of Pakistani drivers and their low maturity level made me feel worried about the future of this nation. I saw people taking the wrong side of the road just to save around Rs10 worth of petrol ...

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The story of Pakistan: I am a dreamer but I am not the only one

We, Pakistanis, are full of dreamers. I say this not just as an expression but after observing it myself. While on my trip to the countryside, I came across many stories and dreams, and I found each story unique in its own way. Here are a few of the dreamers I met along the way… Photo: Salman Javed This is an 11-year-old boy and a proud shepherd. His household income depends on the cattle he grazes. He seemed like a very pleasant child. During our conversation, I found out that he wished to attend school, become a doctor, own ...

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Stop blaming the mother for everything!

The city of Jhang is well known to most Pakistanis due to its affiliation with the Heer Ranjha legend. Located on the east bank of the River Chenab, Jhang has produced people of immense worth, the list of whom is topped by the sole Nobel Laureate of the country, Dr Abdus Salam. However, not many Pakistanis are aware of the head-shaping tradition that originates from this part of Punjab. Having spent a considerable time of my life in my paternal city, Jhang, I’ve witnessed one practice that hasn’t changed the slightest over the course of time: the exercise of shaping a newborn’s head. The locals ...

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