A Revised Ode to Lahore

By Sonya Rehman This vague discontent. This strange, lucid dream. Between there and here. Those sepia-toned memories, a known sky, a balloon on your birthday, special shoes, a sibling’s acceptance, your mother’s embrace. The endless stream of cars down each known street, the dark corners of your heart. Those billboards, the way the city grew, … More A Revised Ode to Lahore

Arid University Torturing Stray Animals To Teach Students, Say Activists

By Sonya Rehman Just a few days ago, tweets and videos began circulating on social media about the barbaric practice of animal torture and experimentation currently underway at Pir Mehr Ali Shah (PMAS) Arid Agriculture University in Rawalpindi. It is being reported that scores of perfectly healthy stray dogs were picked up from the streets … More Arid University Torturing Stray Animals To Teach Students, Say Activists

An Anthropologist’s 20-Year Quest To Document Pakistan’s Ancient Rock Art

By Sonya Rehman Pakistani anthropologist, Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro, is a man on a mission. Having spent over two decades tirelessly researching art and culture in Pakistan, Kalhoro stands as possibly the only Pakistani who has documented the country’s most ancient rock art, some of which can be traced back to prehistoric times. With eleven … More An Anthropologist’s 20-Year Quest To Document Pakistan’s Ancient Rock Art

Artist Wardha Shabbir On Connecting The Dots In Her Beloved City

By Sonya Rehman Since she was a child, Wardha Shabbir would often watch her mother meticulously tend to their garden which was often full of pretty foliage, including a vegetable patch and also a mango, guava and pomegranate tree. In her free time, Shabbir’s mother would draw little “motifs with very fine lines.” Her mother’s … More Artist Wardha Shabbir On Connecting The Dots In Her Beloved City

In Conversation With Zahra Paracha – A Rising Star In Pakistani Music

By Sonya Rehman Singer and music producer, Zahra Paracha, found her refuge in music from a young age. Having endured a personal setback which affected her deeply for years, the artiste sought an outlet where she’d be able to express herself without fear and judgment. Words felt pointless, almost trivializing her pain, but it was … More In Conversation With Zahra Paracha – A Rising Star In Pakistani Music

The Handbag From Lahore That Made It To Paris Fashion Week

By Sonya Rehman There were many moments during her entrepreneurial journey when Hirra Babar wondered if she was doing the right thing. Even though she graduated from one of Pakistan’s top business schools, fashion spoke to her – it was an exciting field where she could express her ideas – no matter how outlandish – … More The Handbag From Lahore That Made It To Paris Fashion Week

Does Sustainable Fashion Have A Future In Pakistan?

By Sonya Rehman While there have been a smattering of local clothing brands that have attempted to incorporate certain elements of sustainability into their business models, Pakistani fashion still has a long way to go before the fashion industry endeavors to shift towards eco-friendly, fair and ethical practices. “Sustainability has become a buzz word nowadays,” … More Does Sustainable Fashion Have A Future In Pakistan?

The Wonderkid Making Waves in Pakistani Music

Hasan Raheem was in fifth grade when he experienced the tangible magic of live performances. Standing on stage and belting out lyrics to a popular dance track by the British-Indian band, RDB (an acronym for rhythm, dhol and bass), Raheem felt his heart surge with excitement as he watched the crowd leave their seats to … More The Wonderkid Making Waves in Pakistani Music

Wake-Up Call: How A Fashion Designer From Bannu Devoted Herself To Making Pakistan Kinder To Animals

By Sonya Rehman Sarah Gandapur is no stranger to the world of glitz, celebrity and red carpet hobnobbing. A familiar name in local fashion in the early 2000s, Gandapur has seen it all. From showcasing her fashion label at local and international fashion shows, collaborating with some of the biggest names in the local fashion … More Wake-Up Call: How A Fashion Designer From Bannu Devoted Herself To Making Pakistan Kinder To Animals

New Skin

By Sonya Rehman I wonder how long this will last. This being suspended in the sludge of the past and the present, this strange rebirth, this being thrown into the deep end where only the strongest stay afloat… Time sputtered and squeaked to a halt as we – each of us – switched into survival … More New Skin

New Children’s Books Highlight Pakistan’s Overlooked Heroes

By Sonya Rehman In a bid to bring overlooked personalities and topics to Pakistani classrooms, the Education Justice and Memory Network (EdJAM) has spearheaded eleven children’s books that have been written and designed by local writers and illustrators. From rising stars in Pakistan’s political sphere, to the country’s forgotten heroes, climate change, animal rights and more, the books offer … More New Children’s Books Highlight Pakistan’s Overlooked Heroes

Rediscovering Pakistan’s Cultural History

By Sonya Rehman 43-year-old photographer, Maria Waseem, attributes her passion for documenting Pakistan’s heritage through photography as a “gift” from her mother. While growing up in Mangla, Azad Kashmir, Waseem recalls watching her mother develop photographs in a darkroom set up in their house. At the time, Waseem’s mother was working on her college thesis and … More Rediscovering Pakistan’s Cultural History

Meesha Shafi Turns Up The Heat With Her Latest Song

By Sonya Rehman Released this month, Meesha Shafi’s latest song, Hot Mango Chutney Sauce, is every bit a sizzling ditty with a killer music video to boot. But don’t be fooled, as always, with Shafi’s music – it has a strong message woven into its fun and very danceable, electro pop tune. Produced by Abdullah Siddiqui, a young electronic … More Meesha Shafi Turns Up The Heat With Her Latest Song

Her Ode To Lahore

By Sonya Rehman When the Covid-19 crisis hit last year, 28-year-old Ifrah Khan turned to a craft that she had enjoyed practicing for years as a hobby. During the early months of the pandemic, she desperately needed to ground herself and find some solace in art. For Khan, jewelry-making has always been a process that … More Her Ode To Lahore

Weighing In On The Future Of Pakistani Music With Zeeshan Parwez

By Sonya Rehman Always ahead of the game, Zeeshan Parwez has worn many hats throughout his fascinating career in Pakistan’s music scene. While some would have remained in their comfort zones, Parwez has continued to push the envelope, as a musician, video director and an animator. A cerebral, humble and hardworking artiste, Parwez’s purpose lies solely … More Weighing In On The Future Of Pakistani Music With Zeeshan Parwez

Crafting Minimalist Jewellery With A Touch Of Heritage And Folklore

By Sonya Rehman Designing jewelry for a little over two decades, Puja Bhargava Kamath’s pieces are a glorious balance of understated design and traditional aesthetic, with a strong emphasis on craftsmanship. Having steadily made a name for herself in jewelry design through her label, Lai, the New Delhi native (currently residing in California), works with master … More Crafting Minimalist Jewellery With A Touch Of Heritage And Folklore

In Her Daughter’s Memory

By Sonya Rehman From organic block printed saris and skirts, to intricately embroidered ethnic wear, the Lahore-based fashion start-up, Aman Kay Rang (translated from Urdu as the colors of Aman), brings traditional crafts and clothing to a local market saturated in a mélange of eastern and western ‘fusion wear.’ With an exciting color palette, including a distinctive … More In Her Daughter’s Memory

Unveiling The Beauty Of Pakistan: One Photographer’s Lifelong Quest

By Sonya Rehman There’s something about Mobeen Ansari’s photographs that take one by surprise. Whether landscapes of ethereal valleys, snowcapped mountains, architectural wonders and heritage sites, overlooked regions, to the faces that inhabit them, Ansari brings a unique sensitivity to his work that is at times lacking in travel photography. Born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, the 34-year-old is … More Unveiling The Beauty Of Pakistan: One Photographer’s Lifelong Quest

I’m Not Here

By Sonya Rehman I’m not sure what I’m grieving. But there’s a mass around my heart that has seemed to dull the feeling-ness of things. It’s a bit clunky, but it’s something that I have grown accustomed to for a long time. When life – correction, my perception of life – gets overwhelming, I begin … More I’m Not Here

Does Freedom Await Kaavan, ‘The World’s Loneliest Elephant?’

By Sonya Rehman On a weekday, the vicinity outside the Islamabad Zoo (once known as Marghazar Zoo) is crowded with families and their children milling about, buying toys, snacks and drinks from the kiosks set-up near the entrance. However, the zoo’s bright yellow main gate is closed and every now and then, hopeful visitors walk … More Does Freedom Await Kaavan, ‘The World’s Loneliest Elephant?’

The ‘Flower Craft’ Artisan From Hazara

By Sonya Rehman Throughout her life, Naseem Akhtar had a natural inclination towards hand embroideries. As a young woman, she would stitch gorgeous cushion covers in her free time, while also experiment with crochet work. However, when she got married, Akhtar and her husband were struggling to make ends meet. It was around this time that she … More The ‘Flower Craft’ Artisan From Hazara

How One Scottish-Pakistani Designer Is Helping Sustain Traditional Needlework In Chitral Valley

By Sonya Rehman Growing up in Edinburgh, Scotland, as a young Pakistani, designer Adil Iqbal consistently felt driven to connect with his roots. What did the Pakistani identity entail? And more importantly, what did Iqbal’s own identity encompass as a Scottish-Pakistani born to immigrant parents? It was these very questions which inspired Iqbal to begin … More How One Scottish-Pakistani Designer Is Helping Sustain Traditional Needlework In Chitral Valley

An Iconic Pakistani Fashion Label Is Making A Comeback

By Sonya Rehman Known for its unconventional, brightly-colored digital prints, the Pakistani fashion label, Sundip, was the go-to boutique for women who wanted ready-to-wear apparel which was not only fun, but which also made a statement. For Nafiz Khokhar, jobs left him feeling uninspired and unfulfilled. Therefore in 1973, the young designer was inspired to launch a … More An Iconic Pakistani Fashion Label Is Making A Comeback

From Lahore To New York: The Pakistani Entrepreneurs Behind Atoms

By Sonya Rehman Waqas Ali and Sidra Qasim, the Pakistani entrepreneurs behind the shoe start-up, Atoms, never fathomed how much their lives would change in the nine years since their foray into Pakistan’s – now thriving – start-up scene. In 2011, the young entrepreneurs were still learning the ropes after the launch of Markhor, a shoe start-up … More From Lahore To New York: The Pakistani Entrepreneurs Behind Atoms

The ‘Jewel From Cholistan’ Leaves Behind A Lasting Legacy

By Sonya Rehman The acclaimed Pakistani folk singer, Krishan Lal Bheel, passed away last week following serious health issues. Leaving behind his wife and two children, the arc of Bheel’s career was rich and vibrant, much like his larger-than-life personality. Hailing from Cholistan, a desert in South Punjab, Bheel began his career in singing over … More The ‘Jewel From Cholistan’ Leaves Behind A Lasting Legacy

A Magic Shadow-show

By Sonya Rehman   For in and out, above, about, below, ‘Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show, Play’d in a Box whose Candle is the Sun, Round which we Phantom Figures comes and go. – The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám   We’d been planning on moving to Islamabad for a year. In early 2019, we … More A Magic Shadow-show

This Pakistani Streetwear Brand Is One To Look Out For

By Sonya Rehman It’s hip, it’s edgy and it epitomizes South Asian streetwear. Rastah, an Urdu word meaning path or journey, is a Pakistani fashion label which is swiftly beginning to carve its very own, gritty niche in the global streetwear industry. Launched in 2018 by Zain Ahmad, Adnan Ahmad and Ishmail Ahmad, the founders … More This Pakistani Streetwear Brand Is One To Look Out For

Meet The Sisters Getting Lahore Back Into Shape

By Sonya Rehman Founded in 2014 by two fitness fanatic sisters, Mahlaqa Shaukat and Noor-ul-Hira Shaukat, the popular fitness studio, AimFit, holds every essential ingredient of one day becoming a booming fitness empire in Pakistan. With three branches in Lahore and one in Islamabad, ninety employees, and countless members (‘AimFitters,’ as the sisters like to … More Meet The Sisters Getting Lahore Back Into Shape

Rising Above The Stigma of ‘Sheedi’

By Sonya Rehman Pakistan’s Sheedi community can trace its roots back to East African slaves brought to India by the Portuguese, hundreds of years before the partition of the subcontinent. Marginalized and overlooked for decades, the group has found its commanding, charismatic voice in Tanzeela Qambrani — in the halls of the Sindh provincial legislature. … More Rising Above The Stigma of ‘Sheedi’

A Conversation With Lollywood Screenwriter Nasir Adeeb

By Sonya Rehman With 412 films to his credit, veteran Pakistani writer, Nasir Adeeb, needs no introduction. Having started out as a clerk in the once prolific Pakistani film industry, Lollywood, Adeeb’s early days as a struggling writer were filled with hardships and self-doubt. At the time, the film industry was exceptionally hard to break … More A Conversation With Lollywood Screenwriter Nasir Adeeb

Meet The Photographer Using Instagram To Highlight Culture In Sindh

By Sonya Rehman Emmanuel Mansingh was only 9-years-old when he discovered National Geographic magazines belonging to Christian missionaries in a church in the city of Nawabshah (in Sindh, Pakistan) that his father used to work in. At the time, Mansingh was enchanted by the magazine’s pictures featuring tribes, cultures and communities around the world. “I remember feeling … More Meet The Photographer Using Instagram To Highlight Culture In Sindh

Hitting The Right Notes: Pakistani Music’s Comeback

By Sonya Rehman After refining her craft in music production in Canada for five years, Haniya Aslam, returned to Pakistan last year to pick up from where she left off. A part of the local music scene for over a decade, Aslam thinks that the new phase in Pakistani music, that’s swiftly unfolding, is an exciting … More Hitting The Right Notes: Pakistani Music’s Comeback