Born To Live

By Sonya Rehman Every so often one comes across stories of ordinary people who wind up doing the extraordinary. Defying the odds and societal expectations, they set out on unchartered territory to seek truth, purpose and meaning from new life paths that may seem rife with risk for some. But perhaps this is what makes … More Born To Live

Is Plus Size Fashion Finally Coming To Pakistan?

By Sonya Rehman Fed up with looking for clothes that fit, two thirty-something best friends from Lahore, Zenab Ali and Maryam Yousaf, launched their plus size clothing brand, The Rack Couture, in April (this year), in a bid to introduce body positive fashion to Pakistan’s thriving fashion industry. From semi-formal, formal and casual apparel, The … More Is Plus Size Fashion Finally Coming To Pakistan?

A New Start-Up Provides Opportunities For Pakistan’s Marginalized

By Sonya Rehman Muhammad Mustafa and Suniya Saadullah Khan are the very definition of a young ‘power couple’ driven by a dream to create long-lasting social impact in Pakistan. Mustafa, a Stanford graduate with a decade’s experience in the local telecommunication sector, and Khan, a rocket scientist who once worked as an engineer with the … More A New Start-Up Provides Opportunities For Pakistan’s Marginalized

Recreating Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan

By Sonya Rehman Since her debut novel, An Isolated Incident (published in 2014), US-based Pakistani author, Soniah Kamal, is currently gearing up for her forthcoming book – Unmarriageable – an endearing re-telling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. But here’s the twist: it’s set in contemporary Pakistan and no, it has nothing to do with … More Recreating Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan

Back To Their Roots: Krewella Talks Pakistan And Collaborations In Their Homeland

By Sonya Rehman         Popular electronic dance music (EDM) sister-duo, Jahan Yousaf and Yasmine Yousaf (of the band, Krewella), revealed that their recent collaboration with Pakistani artistes for the music series, Coke Studio, was “unlike any other creative experience” they had ever had. Teaming up with Riaz Qadri, a classical music maestro, and his son, Ghulam … More Back To Their Roots: Krewella Talks Pakistan And Collaborations In Their Homeland

A Palace Full Of Secrets

By Sonya Rehman A little over two hours, an assorted playlist and insipid coffee (from a petrol station) later, we arrive at our destination in the heart of the historic Chiniot city in Pakistan. Maneuvering through cramped lanes, past sputtering rickshaws, vegetable vendors and furniture shops with their beautiful pieces on full display (side note: … More A Palace Full Of Secrets

Pakistan’s Rising Air Pollution Crisis

By Sonya Rehman According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 4 million of the world’s population succumbs to air pollution-related illnesses on an annual basis, due to toxic air quality levels that go well beyond the standard guidelines outlined by the WHO. As mentioned in a recent State of Global Air 2018 report, “Worldwide … More Pakistan’s Rising Air Pollution Crisis

Coke Studio Explorer Unearths Pakistan’s Hidden Talent

By Sonya Rehman Pakistan’s biggest and most popular annual music platform, Coke Studio, under the banner of its exciting new initiative – Coke Studio Explorer – cuts through the mainstream and brings previously undiscovered music talent to the public eye. Having released a grand total of five tracks this month, each song highlights Pakistan’s cultural … More Coke Studio Explorer Unearths Pakistan’s Hidden Talent

The Story of ‘Salam’ – An Overlooked Pakistani Hero

By Sonya Rehman Having been screened at the Raw Science Film Festival (for which it bagged first prize for Best Documentary Feature), the Mumbai International Film Festival, the Charlotte Asian Film Festival and Oxford University, the phenomenal documentary, Salam, will soon make its way to film festivals in Paris and Barcelona, later this year. Tracing the extraordinary life of Pakistan’s first … More The Story of ‘Salam’ – An Overlooked Pakistani Hero

For The Love Of Classic Cars: Father-Son Duo Restore A Piece Of History

By Sonya Rehman A well-known classic car enthusiast from Karachi, Mohsin Ikram, first came across two decaying vintage cars parked outside the city’s picturesque Mohatta Palace in 1992. The cars, once owned by Fatima Jinnah, the sister of the country’s founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, were gleaming beauties during their glory days, but when discovered … More For The Love Of Classic Cars: Father-Son Duo Restore A Piece Of History

The Tragic Life of a Slain Social Media Star Chronicled In New Book

By Sonya Rehman Released this month, The Sensational Life & Death of Qandeel Baloch, explores the life of one of Pakistan’s most popular social media celebrities, whose life was tragically cut short in 2016 when she was brutally murdered by her brother over ‘honor.’ Based in Karachi, journalist Sanam Maher says that she was keen … More The Tragic Life of a Slain Social Media Star Chronicled In New Book

Feeling The Music: A Pakistani Band’s Concert For The Deaf

By Sonya Rehman Concerts in Pakistan that are inclusive of deaf individuals are close to none. However, there have been a sprinkle of events that were specifically organized for the deaf overseas. In 1984, for instance, the legendary Prince, once performed to crowd of over 2,000 deaf and blind students at a college in Washington, … More Feeling The Music: A Pakistani Band’s Concert For The Deaf

She’s Standing Up For Pakistani Prisoners Sentenced To Die

By Sonya Rehman In a country where 491 executions have taken place since December 2014, when the death penalty moratorium was lifted in response to the Army Public School terrorist attack in Peshawar, one organization, the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) offers hope for the country’s 8,200 prisoners on death row. Sarah Belal, a 39-year-old human rights lawyer, founded JPP in … More She’s Standing Up For Pakistani Prisoners Sentenced To Die

Pakistan’s Fashion Designers Tackle Stereotypes, Fear and Hate

By Sonya Rehman For a country obsessed with weddings, Pakistani clothing brand Generation’s choice of a marriage ceremony as the theme for a campaign last December appeared unsurprising. But there was nothing regular about Shahnaz Ki Shaadi or Shahnaz’s Wedding, the campaign. Revolving around the wedding of a woman in her 50s, the campaign’s images featured the to-be-married … More Pakistan’s Fashion Designers Tackle Stereotypes, Fear and Hate

10 Tips For Women Travelling to Lahore, Pakistan

By Sonya Rehman Much has been said and written about Lahore’s hospitality and its alluring charm. Known as the cultural capital of Pakistan, Lahore is the kind of city that pulls you into a warm embrace, refusing to let go, shoving morsel upon morsel of delicious grub in your face! Lahoris take their food very … More 10 Tips For Women Travelling to Lahore, Pakistan

Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor Wows Pakistani Audiences

By Sonya Rehman Now playing across Pakistani cinemas this month, the new animated production, Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor, made in collaboration with WWF Pakistan, is not only a visual delight for cinemagoers, but also highlights a crucial issue: wildlife conservation. At the heart of the story is protagonist Allahyar, a young boy who … More Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor Wows Pakistani Audiences

#JusticeForZainab

By Sonya Rehman Zainab Amin’s grisly murder in Kasur this week comes as a stark reminder of where we’re headed as a nation, infact, cross that, we’re already there. After the hue and cry following the 2015 Kasur child porn ring bust where over 300 children were raped and filmed – touted as the largest … More #JusticeForZainab

Tracing Pakistan’s Scrumptious Food Trail

By Sonya Rehman At first glance, Pakistan Heritage Cuisine – A Food Story, is a beautiful coffee table book. Replete with gorgeous photography, the book is an ode to Pakistan, its people and most importantly, to its diverse cuisine. Penned by an entrepreneur based in Karachi, Sayeeda Leghari, and published Markings, a local publishing house, … More Tracing Pakistan’s Scrumptious Food Trail

Specks of Star Dust

Dearest, I love this time of the year. I love how time manages to slow down, only to rev itself up come January. I love the softness of December, the slowness; 31 days to re-assess, replenish and repair. Thank you God, thank you little green martian(s), thank you Aretha Franklin, thank you baby barn owl … More Specks of Star Dust

For Pakistan’s Startups, Challenges Line The Road Ahead

By Sonya Rehman When fresh college graduate Nabeel Siddiqui launched a startup in Karachi in January 2017 with two of his friends to build low-cost, portable housing, his parents thought he was just “experimenting,” and assumed he would turn to a 9-to-5 job sooner or later. Nine months later, he has belied those expectations. His firm, … More For Pakistan’s Startups, Challenges Line The Road Ahead

A Taste of Karachi

By Sonya Rehman Chef Aida Khan incorporates the essence of Karachi cuisine in her culinary endeavours in London. Having grown up between Abu Dhabi and Karachi, London-based former banker, Chef Aida Khan, brings the nostalgic flavours of Pakistan to Shola – Karachi Kitchen, her start-up, that also hosts a delectable food pop-up, Gourmet Karachi Supper … More A Taste of Karachi

You Too?

By Sonya Rehman Apart from two incidents in my childhood, the one that sends chills down my spine was when I was groped in broad daylight at a well-known bookshop in Lahore. I was in my early 20s and till that point; I never fully understood the feeling of being violated. The man was a … More You Too?

Trolling: Pakistan’s National Pastime?

By Sonya Rehman The internet is increasingly becoming a scary place. Where trolling was once joked about, today it stands as a deadly force, spreading its tentacles far and wide, inciting propaganda, hatred and intolerance. Take the recently ‘leaked’ images of Mahira Khan taking a ciggie break with Ranbir Kapoor in New York for instance. … More Trolling: Pakistan’s National Pastime?

An Ode To Cultural Heritage

By Sonya Rehman As the Aga Khan Cultural Services Pakistan enters its third decade of operations in the country, the organization’s mission to improve socio-economic conditions of rural and urban communities by leveraging the transformative power of cultural heritage has only strengthened. With numerous award-winning projects in the high valleys of Gilgit-Baltistan under its belt, … More An Ode To Cultural Heritage

Pakistani Singer Highlights Trans Lives In Latest Single

By Sonya Rehman It’s a fun and catchy little ditty, but on closer inspection, Madam, the latest single by Pakistani musician, Jimmy Khan, shines the spotlight on a rather grim issue: local society’s apathetic attitude towards its transgender community. But it was only after the song was recorded that Khan started considering highlighting the lives of transgenders … More Pakistani Singer Highlights Trans Lives In Latest Single

Director’s Cut

By Sonya Rehman Local cinema is on the rise, what with the help of independent filmmakers who have brought a number of genres and stories to the big screen. While some have gone the safe, commercial route, i.e. aping formulaic Bollywood productions, others have taken the longer, albeit more offbeat and original path. Through local … More Director’s Cut

Unsent

By Sonya Rehman God listens. God knows. God, within muscle and bone.  In 2014, in the winter of my sibling’s year-long medical treatment, I lay in my bed heartbroken, unable to sleep. The loneliness was piercing, acute. It was only then did my self-imposed single-ness feel like an albatross around my neck. What was I punishing myself for, I … More Unsent

The Man Behind The Minar: Nasreddin Murat-Khan

By Sonya Rehman He wasn’t an ordinary man, and neither was his life. Even though Nasreddin Murat-Khan is largely acknowledged as the ‘architect behind Minar-e-Pakistan,’ his story goes beyond the minar, and far beyond Pakistan. We meet at her childhood friend’s home in Lahore for tea. Meral Murat-Khan, Murat-Khan’s youngest daughter, is soft-spoken and candid … More The Man Behind The Minar: Nasreddin Murat-Khan

Pakistani Music Maestro Teams Up With Grammy-Winning Producer

By Sonya Rehman In perhaps one of the most exciting developments in the global music sphere, a Pakistani classical music giant, Ustad Naseeruddin Saami, will be collaborating on a multi-CD album with Ian Brennan, an Irish-American record producer who won a Grammy Award in 2011 for the Best World Music Album. “[Saami] is a world class vocalist, both virtuosic and soulful … More Pakistani Music Maestro Teams Up With Grammy-Winning Producer

A Platform For New Music Talent In Pakistan

By Sonya Rehman Pakistan’s largest music streaming site, Patari, recently launched Patari Tabeer, a project that has stirred up the local music scene thanks to its unique line-up of artists from Islamabad to Sindh, and beyond. With its sixth and final song soon-to-be released, the project brings unexposed talent from humble backgrounds to centre stage: a tea-seller, … More A Platform For New Music Talent In Pakistan

Reboot

By Sonya Rehman To un-bitter oneself, How lucky to live in a harsh world and nurture a softness, The kind that is never cynical, Wisdom without a lack of trust, Knowing that the sky and the earth, both, are strong enough to support you, carry you through, To un-bitter one’s heart, Such an uphill battle … More Reboot

Against All Odds

By Sonya Rehman In a village in Raiwind, Lahore, a little boy would sit in a basket attached to his father’s bicycle and repeat mathematics multiplication tables that his father would chant aloud for his son to memorise. In the evenings, after a long, tiring day in the fields herding cattle, the shepherd would ask … More Against All Odds

Ringing In 2017

By Sonya Rehman Before you proceed, please know, this isn’t one of those little rosey-posey slice of life pieces on a 30-something man-less, child-less woman looking back on a life riddled with hardships, championing advice on how to survive Lahore, the world, amidst the sharks and serpents. Instead, let me tone down the romanticism a … More Ringing In 2017

Some Girls…

By Sonya Rehman Some girls protect their treasures, With padlocks and keys, While others in tinted cars, With rich city boys, Some girls protect their treasures, In hijabs of fine silk and lace, Tucking away their crowning glory, Some girls, their sapphire virtues, Neatly nestled, chest-deep, Some girls never knew they had treasures to begin … More Some Girls…