A Mosque for all Seasons

By Sonya Rehman Endearingly referred to as a “mole on the cheek of Lahore,” the glorious Wazir Khan Mosque, situated in the heart of the city, dates back to the 1600s. Established during… Continue reading

From War came Art

By Sonya Rehman I realize this has been said/written about before, but the ‘war on terror’ (and what followed, till date) has made Pakistan an intriguing, exciting country for foreigners to understand and… Continue reading

Get The Business Started

By Sonya Rehman Hassan Iqbal Rizvi and Saad Shahid are currently the hottest young entrepreneurs in Lahore giving the city a jolly good dose of pop art and retro funk fashion. Their start-up,… Continue reading

Daughters of Lahore

By Sonya Rehman On a cloudy weekday this month, sisters, Afshan Ejaz and Noshi Ejaz are putting together a modern-looking clay pot at Shehrezade Alam’s workshop in Lahore. Alam, Pakistan’s acclaimed female potter… Continue reading

It All Started With a Chappal

By Sonya Rehman British menswear fashion designer, Paul Smith, was in hot water this month. His smooth, jet-black leather sandals with their zany, strawberry pink trims, initially advertised as “Robert” on Smith’s website… Continue reading

Akhlaq Ahmed: A Voice of Pakistan

By Sonya Rehman He was a well-known playback singer of the Pakistani film/music industry; with hits such as Sawan Aaye, Sawan Jaye, Sona Na Chandi, Saathi Mere Bin Tere, and others, the late… Continue reading

When The Lever Breaks

By Sonya Rehman This month, while cabbing it on a windy weekday in Dubai, the lever finally broke. A few weeks ago, a friend had tagged me in a sound clip on Facebook,… Continue reading

Ghosts in Shells

By Sonya Rehman Earlier this month I wrote about intimacy and how the notion of it is fast becoming the Holy Grail of our times, the unreachable, yet ultimate need/desire of our emotionally… Continue reading

Pakistan’s Controversial Dolphin Show

By Sonya Rehman Pakistan’s first-ever “Dolphin Show” opens to the public on the January 15. To be held at the Maritime Museum in Karachi, the organizers were due to host the event last… Continue reading

On Intimacy

By Sonya Rehman Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, ‘Don Jon’ is a pretty good movie. In a nutshell, the movie depicts the modern dilemma of love, lust, and attraction; skewed emotions thanks to the… Continue reading

Desi by Design

By Sonya Rehman This month, the Daachi Foundation – a not-for-profit initiative that aims at promoting the local arts and crafts – hosted a wonderful art exhibition at Lahore’s glorious Tollington Market. On… Continue reading

I Am Not A Beggar For Love

By Sonya Rehman I am not a beggar for love, Not a pauper, So don’t give me your hand-me-downs, They don’t work, They never will, I am strong, see, A woman of the… Continue reading

The Rise of the Alpha Female

By Sonya Rehman It’s crazy how many beautiful, intelligent single girls/women I come across in Pakistan, particularly in Lahore. All of them have great jobs, maintain good figures, have this worldly way about… Continue reading

“Allah rung laavay”

By Sonya Rehman They are everywhere. Those heavy-set Gods of the highway, those mammoth trucks in their entire jazzy splendor. The swirls, the motifs, the colours, the patterns, the tigers, the peacocks, the… Continue reading

My Brother, My Hero

By Sonya Rehman Barely two weeks ago, my brother was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – a type of cancer which affects the body’s lymphatic system. From August onwards, he developed a nagging flu-like… Continue reading

Chayn: Helping Victims of Domestic Abuse

Founded by a 23-year-old Pakistani, Hera Hussain, Chayn  – a website for Pakistani women who have been victims of domestic abuse – was launched this year with the help of 70 volunteers across… Continue reading

Morning Show Muck

By Sonya Rehman While I have come across snippets of local morning shows on the tube every now and then, while channel surfing, I decided to watch a couple of morning shows for… Continue reading

Pakistan’s Invest2Innovate Taps into the Nation’s Entrepreneurial Talent

By Sonya Rehman Last year, five hopeful social entrepreneurs came together for Plan 9, the PITB’s (Pakistan Institute of Technology Board) Tech Incubator, in Lahore, Pakistan, to present their start-up ideas to a… Continue reading

Singaporean Photographer Edwin Koo: Views from Pakistan to Kathmandu

By Sonya Rehman Describing himself as an “accidental photographer,” Edwin Koo is an award-winning Singaporean documentary photographer who produces work that is striking and evocative. So much so that his body of work… Continue reading

Filmmaker Focuses on Water and Warming in Northern Pakistan

By Sonya Rehman This year, an Italian-born filmmaker, Niccolo Piazza, is preparing to release The Karakoram Anomaly, a documentary examining life, culture and heritage in Baltistan and the Hunza Valley, locations in Pakistan’s… Continue reading

Pakistan: Fighting Terrorism with Tourism

By Sonya Rehman In June, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) militants bombed and attacked the home of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah – the Founding Father of Pakistan. Situated in Ziarat, and well-known for its… Continue reading

New Pakistani President named as Taliban stage jailbreak

By Sonya Rehman Pakistani lawmakers have elected a new president, just hours after a Taliban attack on a prison break saw hundreds of inmates freed. Mamnoon Hussain, a textile magnate, was elected to… Continue reading

Mother, Daughter Preserve Art Form in One of World’s Most Volatile Places

By Sonya Rehman From beautiful coasters to colorful tiles, stunning table tops and other accessories, Pakistani entrepreneur, Farhana Asad, along with her artisans, has been producing meticulous works of art that involve the… Continue reading

In New Delhi, a Transplanted Trinidadian Pursues His Kathak Dream

By Sonya Rehman They say art has no boundaries, and in the case of Quincy Kendell Charles, the saying couldn’t be more apt. A native of Trinidad, Charles was only 15 years old… Continue reading

Kachee Goliyan – Pakistan’s very own Marvel/DC Comics?

By Sonya Rehman While a handful of Pakistani animators, such as Mir Zafar Ali, Asim Fida Khan, and Wajid Raza, among others, stand as living, breathing Hollywood success stories, Pakistan’s animation industry remains… Continue reading

Meet Ghani Chaudry, the Pakistani Tailor Who Conquered Savile Row

By Sonya Rehman For 14 years, the reputed Pakistani tailor Ghani Chaudry worked on the legendary Savile Row — the famous street in London’s Mayfair district whose bespoke tailoring services can be traced… Continue reading

The Lost Generation

By Sonya Rehman I think our generation’s lost the plot. Let me explain. For the past 2-3 years, I’ve been noticing far too many friends of mine seeming increasingly dissatisfied with their lives.… Continue reading

BBC Urdu: A Conversation with Sairbeen Hosts Erum Gillani and Nosheen Abbas

By Sonya Rehman This year in February, BBC Urdu launched Sairbeen , a current affairs program broadcast on the local Pakistani television channel, Express News, with a team of all-female Pakistani presenters. The… Continue reading

A Pakistani in Hollywood: A Conversation with Faran Tahir

By Sonya Rehman Pakistani-American actor Faran Tahir is no stranger to Hollywood. From roles in productions such as Iron Man and Charlie Wilson’s War to Star Trek and beyond, he has also guest starred… Continue reading

Freeing Omar Khadr: An Interview with Guantanamo Bay Activists

By Sonya Rehman Since February, 130 of the 166 detainees at Guantanamo Bay have been on hunger strike, which has now surpassed the 100-day mark. Realizing that the only way to get the… Continue reading

The Reluctant Fundamentalist: Reflections on the Post-9/11 World

By Sonya Rehman Filmmaker Mira Nair’s adaptation of Pakistani author, Mohsin Hamid’s novella, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, seems to have been released at the right time. Nearly twelve years after two planes ripped through… Continue reading

Aamna Aqeel’s Insensitive Fashion Faux Pas Sparks Controversy in Pakistan

By Sonya Rehman Pakistani fashion designer Aamna Aqeel  has come under fire of late. In a print advertising campaign featured in a local Pakistani glossy magazine, Diva, a svelte model dressed in the… Continue reading

The Women’s Movement

By Sonya Rehman Born in Mashhad, Iran, my Great Grandmother, Shaukat Nasrullah Khan was addressed as ‘Nani Joon’ by her granddaughters – Nina (my Aunt) and Geethi (my mother). ‘Joon’ in Persian means… Continue reading

Pakistan’s Elections: A Personal Experience

By Sonya Rehman This year, on the 11th of May, I voted. As a Pakistani citizen, I voted for the first time in my life. My polling station was a quick five minute… Continue reading

The History Project: Inspiring Indian and Pakistani Children to Rethink the Past

By Sonya Rehman Three young Pakistanis – Qasim Aslam, Ayyaz Ahmad and Zoya Siddiqui – are providing schoolchildren in India and Pakistan with an opportunity to critically analyze, evaluate and question significant events… Continue reading

Shehzad Roy: Fighting for Change in Pakistani Education

By Sonya Rehman Last month, well-known Pakistani pop star, Shehzad Roy made an appearance at Harvard to talk about music, activism and his new documentary series, Chal Parha (Urdu for: Come, Teach), which… Continue reading

New York Times Correspondent Expelled From Pakistan

By Sonya Rehman Declan Walsh, the Islamabad Bureau Chief for The New York Times, was ordered to leave Pakistan, on May 9, just before this year’s crucial elections. As reported in the paper,… Continue reading

Mangoes of Wrath

By Sonya Rehman Pakistan’s campaign season has never been far from calamity. On Monday, 25 people died after a suicide bomber attacked an election rally in a village in the Kurram tribal region.… Continue reading

Pakistan’s Youth Stirred by Music with a Dash of Social Satire

By Sonya Rehman In Pakistan, young musicians are using music to vocalize their thoughts on the charade that is Pakistani politics. Two bands in particular, Topi Drama and Beygairat Brigade, have recently released… Continue reading

Rainbow Rickshaws: Pakistan’s Vehicles of Peace

By Sonya Rehman They’re bright, they’re colorful and they carry messages of peace. Some 35 multi-colored rickshaws are whizzing around the thriving metropolis of Karachi, Pakistan, as part of an initiative by the… Continue reading

Interview: Pakistan’s Premier Mountaineer on His Passion for Heights and Homeland

By Sonya Rehman “If I were to die early, I’d rather die on a mountain than on a road or elsewhere. To become part of something that you love so much… if you… Continue reading

A Female Journalist in Pakistan: Kiran Nazish

By Sonya Rehman From current affairs to social issues and human interest stories, Pakistani journalist Kiran Nazish has written for Al Jazeera, Foreign Policy, Forbes  and a host of other local and foreign… Continue reading

Pakistan’s Next Malalas Fight for Change

By Sonya Rehman This month, inspirational women, change-makers and leaders the world over came together as part of Newsweek and The Daily Beast’s Women in the World Summit 2013 in New York. The… Continue reading

Justice Delayed in the Shahzeb Khan Murder Case

By Sonya Rehman Towards the end of last December, a 20-year-old was gunned down in Karachi’s upscale Defence area by two young men hailing from well-known feudal families. The victim, Shahzeb Khan, was… Continue reading

Joseph Colony: Attacked and Unprotected

By Sonya Rehman On March 9 this year, a mob rampaged through a Christian neighborhood – Joseph Colony – in Badami Bagh police precincts, in Lahore, Pakistan. The colony was attacked and vandalized… Continue reading

Pakistani Cinema – The End of an Era, or the Beginning of a Revival?

By Sonya Rehman Pakistan’s cinema industry has gone through monumental changes in the decades since partition from India. Located in the city of Lahore, hence the sobriquet “Lollywood”, the carefree, swinging, glory days… Continue reading

Journeys on Canvas

By Sonya Rehman Vivid, dramatic colours, a Maharani, a tiger, a fox, and Moroccan rose sellers – Shirin Sahba, an artist based in China, produces art that is dreamy and ethereal. Her series… Continue reading

The Best Ice Cream in Lahore

By Sonya Rehman The drive down Mall Road in Lahore, Pakistan, is like one long, live-action postcard. The trees, the Mughal architecture left over from the British Raj, the disorderly motorists, the frazzled… Continue reading

Pakistani Duo Zeb and Haniya Cross Musical and Geographic Borders Alike

By Sonya Rehman In 2004, cousins and musical collaborators Zebunnisa Bangash and Haniya Aslam — whose families hail from the city of Kohat in the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — released their… Continue reading

A victim of Joseph Colony, Badami Bagh, Lahore, Pakistan, speaks out

A frenzied mob attacked, looted and destroyed a Christian neighborhood (Joseph Colony) in Badami Bagh, in Lahore, Pakistan, on the 9th of March, 2013. I visited the colony on the 12th of March,… Continue reading