Stories about street

Series 1: “Dreams of Lunacy” Part 4 Identity

“I’m going for a sleepover at Salman’s house.” “What?” “Sleepover, ammi.” “Now? At mid-night?” she exclaimed. “Jee, everyone is getting together right now, please, midterms just ended today.” “Okay, but this is never happening again,” she said, as she shook her head. Ghaffar gave her a hug, and got the keys from Zameer, who was awake, watching a Bollywood movie in the servant quarters. He headed towards his Corolla and was soon on the road. There was no sleepover. He just wanted some time for himself and what better than a drive around Lahore, with nowhere to reach and no one to check upon him. He opened the ...

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Pakistan’s Hidden Shame: Exposing child sexual abuse and Pakistan’s ‘see no evil’ attitude

Pakistan’s Hidden Shame, a documentary exploring the widespread sexual abuse of children in the streets of Peshawar, is something one wishes every Pakistani would take time to watch, while imploring his or her own eyes to un-see it. The practice of ‘bachabazi’ (child prostitution), as it’s known around the country, is something most of us are aware of. It is an ignominious fact of life in Pakistan that has blended seamlessly among all the other facts we don’t like to talk about. The statistics are hair-raising. Of the estimated one and a half million street children in Pakistan, 90% have suffered sexual abuse. And for every 10 ...

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No, I am not beckoning you… I am just a woman trying to get to work

To you, The driver who sees my loosely wrapped headscarf, jeans and long shirt, and wonders what’s going on; the passer-by who watches me adjust the messenger bag on my sagging shoulder with one hand and cover my eyes from the sun with the other, squinting at something in the distance; the curious men and women on motorcycles, in vans, riding bicycles and on foot, wondering what I’m doing on a street corner, so early in the day. And especially to those who might wonder if maybe, just maybe… Let me stop you right there and say what doesn’t need to be said ...

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The car I bought

It was approximately 2am and the temperature was about three degree Celsius accompanied by a pitch-dark chilly night. A black coloured two-seater pickup took a sharp turn and then drove slowly into a quiet, murky, dimly lit street. The pick-up drove past the electric pole and pulled up near a house, where two men checked their guns and got out of the vehicle. One of them unloaded the pick-up’s boot while the other proceeded to climb up a 12 feet high electric pole which stood by the boundary wall of one of the houses. Upon reaching the top, the man took in the view of ...

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Street Child World Cup 2014: We gave our street children nothing but they made us proud!

As Owais Ali lined up to face India in Pakistan’s opening match of the Street Child World Cup, 2014, his life must have flashed before him. Here he was standing up for the national anthem in Rio de Janeiro in a prestigious football competition but just some time ago, things had been different. Very different. Like so many others on the cruel streets of Karachi, hustling, doing drugs or simply trying to survive on a daily basis, Owais too thought he would waste away his life and succumb to the fact that he ran away from home at the age of seven after ...

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A 5-year-old girl: The perfect victim for a vile act like rape

Recently, a five-year-old girl was discovered outside Ganga Ram hospital in Lahore. She had been raped and dumped on the street, a victim of a callous man who probably felt he could get away with what he did. And sadly, he is right. Most men who rape or commit sexualised violence in Pakistan do so with complete impunity. The only difference here is that this little girl is the perfect victim worthy of our pity. When a child is raped, societal outrage is far greater than when an adult is raped. Children are innocent and we, as adults, realise we have ...

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When street children can don national colours to represent Pakistan

It was a sweltering Saturday afternoon, when a group of young street children stopped to watch another group of children play football on a playground in New Karachi. The sport had captured their young imagination and they looked at the game longingly. The coach noticed these children – who were seemingly returning from garbage collection – and asked them to join in the football practice. They rushed forth with excitement and realised that the children they were playing with were ‘street children’ as well. This made them feel comfortable and so they played their hearts out. This was a practice session of Street Strikers Football ...

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Peshawar: Where donkeys are heroes

An ambulance, a rescue vehicle or any kind of a four wheeled automobile cannot enter the Aqa Hadi street of Peshawar, making it the most inaccessible area during an emergency. Aqa Hadi is a narrow, close ended and densely populated street in Peshawar. It consists of more than 80 houses of all shapes and sizes. Majority of the people living in this tapered street use cycles and motorbikes as a means of daily transportation, while a few own personal cars, which they have to park in different parking lots on link roads near the Dabgari Garden. Keeping the tradition alive, donkeys are used ...

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City of lights… only during the day

Not once, not twice… but a dozen times I have witnessed the city of Karachi being true to its name. The City of Lights, as it was called, has of late seen more than its fair share of darkness. But wait… there have been instances of the city being alight, trying hard to regain its past glory. It’s quite a pity that that has happened only during the day when it is least needed. At 5 pm at the peak of summer, I was rather upset to see all the street lights near Karsaz and on Sharah-e-Faisal shining merrily as ...

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Port Grand, not so grand

I’m just happy that I got back from the much talked-about Port Grand without any major respiratory issues. The mega entertainment and food complex, where Governor of Sindh Dr Ishratul Ebad claimed people would find peace and comfort, turned out to be quite the opposite. In order to catch up with the rest of Karachi, my family also decided to visit the recreational project that hopes to become a top tourist destination of the country. After having heard numerous positive tales of the food street there, it was only natural that we had high expectations of the place. Therefore, when I ...

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