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…

Meet Pakistan’s Wonder Boys Reimagining Special Education

By Sonya Rehman Taking home third prize at the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Tech-I Startup Competition held at Stanford University this year, WonderTree, a Pakistani start-up from Karachi, is on the road to aiding children with special needs by way of its thoroughly interactive augmented reality games. For Muhammad Usman, the start-up’s co-founder and Chief … More Meet Pakistan’s Wonder Boys Reimagining Special Education

Halwa Poori Is Spicy, Sweet, Deep Fried Goodness

By Sonya Rehman If you’re hoping to polish off a plate of halwa poori, the spicy-sweet, deep fried goodness that’s also the most popular breakfast in Pakistan, make sure you’re ravenous. The Muhammad Ali of all Pakistani breakfasts, halwa poori, conceived in the Indian province of Punjab, is a traditional meal passed down from the … More Halwa Poori Is Spicy, Sweet, Deep Fried Goodness

Deradicalizing Pakistan Through Comic Books

By Sonya Rehman He was an unassuming ninth-grader when he was radicalized years ago by a school teacher to join a jihad training camp. Gauher Aftab, one of the co-founders of CFx Comics, a Pakistani comic book start-up, recently wrote a tell-all article about his brush with Islamic extremism and how his experience led him to wage a different … More Deradicalizing Pakistan Through Comic Books

Our True Test

By Sonya Rehman A day before we picked her up, her brother was killed by a speeding vehicle. He was too adventurous and had strayed from the pack. With her remaining three puppies, the emaciated mother dog had lucked out – she had sought refuge on a green belt near an army check point in … More Our True Test

Discomfort

By Sonya Rehman Privilege can be a strange curse. Removing you from a rawness, a raw, basic kind of living. Privilege can make you cruel, if you aren’t careful. Staring out of your car, with those sad, unfulfilled eyes, you look at the gypsies, their naked children playing with rot, garbage, as the women look … More Discomfort

Lahore

By Sonya Rehman That’s what Lahore does, Lifts you up amidst the old and the new, Qinchis and ricks, Reels in 3D downtown, Flash n’ pomp, the disoriented fake-blonde, Home, hell, Street food whipped in love and grime, Hearts so heavy, Crowns of magnanimity, Streets dogs with God in their eyes, Break, broken, A fat … More Lahore

Notes From July

By Sonya Rehman In their 40s and 50s, my older colleagues tell me I should have strapped on the old ball and chain in my 20s. The older you get, they say, and the more set in your ways you become. I understand that now. But if you maintain your feminine grace, what is wrong … More Notes From July

A Spoonful of Sugar

By Sonya Rehman There’s nothing more soul-satisfying than slicing your spoon through a perfectly round, wobbly-soft gulab jamun set in a sizzling little katori filled with sweet syrup, piping hot. Scrumptious. Decadent. The combination of powdered milk, ghee, sugar, love and heat gives rise to little bites of heaven, and if it were up to … More A Spoonful of Sugar

Eulogy for Sabri

By Sonya Rehman There goes the neighborhood, There goes the phony sense of calm, There goes our disillusionment, There it goes, Revived again, They killed a man of God, A grand man of love, A mighty voice, That would spread out like silver doves, Into the hands of the Beloved, Reverberating in broken hearts, There goes … More Eulogy for Sabri

Cher Pushes For The Release of ‘Kaavan’ – Islamabad’s Loneliest Elephant

By Sonya Rehman From a change.org petition that garnered thousands of signatures, to immense pressure from animal lovers and animal rights activists both at home and abroad, Kaavan, the 29-year-old maltreated elephant in Maraghazar Zoo, in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, was recently unchained after 27 years in confinement. Gifted by Sri Lanka to Pakistan in the 80s, Kaavan’s only … More Cher Pushes For The Release of ‘Kaavan’ – Islamabad’s Loneliest Elephant

Postcards From Pakistan: Can Local Tourism Be Revived?

By Sonya Rehman Nishat Mummunka’s love for the aviation industry was almost instantaneous when she began working at American Express’ travel department in 1973 in Lahore, Pakistan, as a fresh graduate. Soon enough, her passion for all things travel led her to lucrative offers from Swiss Air and British Airways, the latter of which required … More Postcards From Pakistan: Can Local Tourism Be Revived?

The TV Serial That Got Pakistan Talking About Child Abuse

By Sonya Rehman Udaari, a popular new Pakistani television drama serial that highlights a pressing social issue, child abuse, was recently served a notice by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) this month for its “unethical” and “offensive” scenes. A collaboration between a well-known private channel, HUM TV, and a local microfinance institution, Kashf Foundation, the TV serial … More The TV Serial That Got Pakistan Talking About Child Abuse

Documentary On Extremism Banned In Pakistan

By Sonya Rehman Having been screened in over twenty countries and subsequently picking up numerous awards, Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi’s hard-hitting documentary, Among The Believers was recently axed by the Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) in Pakistan. In a notification issued by the CBFC, it stated that “the [production] contains dialogues which project the … More Documentary On Extremism Banned In Pakistan