Monthly Archives: April 2012

When things strike close to home – Pakistan’s stance on Sectarian violence


You know the feeling of carelessness when you hear the news? The idea that ‘such things’ happen to other people and not us? Yeah I am a living example of that. Every day on the telly you come across stories of people being chopped up and thrown across the city, murdered in cold blood, attacked with acid, and you think, that’s so sad. And then you change the channel.

That’s me. That has always been me. The continued spate of violence in our lives has made us immune to the most ghastly of criminal stories. And we find it very easy to digest them, along with the biryanis and niharis which we usually consume for dinner while watching these bulletins.

Back to the point, the recent wave of terror raising a chill down the spine of most people I know is the Shia genocide. On a steep rise with no intentions of slowing down, people across the country are being murdered gruesomely just for being Shias.

While the country already sees so many people being killed regardless of their religion, what baffles the mind is that we as a nation have simply stopped caring. Hardly getting a peep out of anyone, me included these murders continue. Everyday in Quetta, members of the Hazara community come under attack. Pilgrims from Gilgit Baltistan are made to stand in a line while their ids are checked and then shot point blank.

And what happens? A curfew during which these savages roam free while the grief stricken family members are under lock down and cannot even give their loved ones a proper burial. This is happening very regularly now. And while I am very aware of this, knowing how huge the danger is, I am also immune.

Karachi sees its fair share of sectarian violence. Very recently three lawyers belonging to the Shia sect were gunned down right in front of the court house. Extremely saddened I took to a social networking site Twitter to protest. But what I found was that many of the most respected Twitterati found it more compelling to protest against Maya Khan and her date catching brigade than raise a voice against this blatant murder.

Absolutely disheartened, I realized, that raising a voice against sectarian violence is not something this country feels important.

The recent weeks have seen protests against this genocide across the country. In Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi hundreds of thousands of Shias took to streets to protest against the killings. No media coverage was provided. What I got to know was solely through following relevant people on Twitter.

And once more back to the point, while news like this terribly disheartens me, I didn’t think they could strike so close to home. Whenever I hear of targeted sectarian violence in Karachi my heart skips a beat. Who? Where? When? How? Are questions running across my mind. Was it someone I knew? Was it someone I called brother, uncle, cousin or just knew through someone? 

Even if I don’t recognize the name, I can almost hear the cries of those who can. Nobody can realize the actual danger until they experience it themselves.

Stories of such violence are our dinner table conversations. Whenever we gather we talk about how a neighbours cousin was shot dead in front of his house, or how so and so’s son was killed. We talk about how dangerous it is to live in Pakistan now. We exchange duas for our protection. We tell each other which routes to take and which ones to avoid. It’s a ritual now. We all then part hoping none of us have to actually resort to those measures.

And so goes on the life of the immunized. And for the last time, back to the point. While I consider all Shias to be a unit, one family, still when you don’t know people personally there’s only a limit to how utterly helpless you can feel. So  I didn’t think things would ever strike so close to home. But they did.

I saw on the news a story of a very young man, in his early twenties being shot right outside his home as he waited for his ride to work. While extremely saddened I didn’t recognise the name, and so saying a silent prayer went back to doing what I was. It was only until late that my mother informed me that an aunt’s son had been murdered, the bubble burst. I vaguely remembered him. Seeing him sometimes in religious gatherings like Majlises. Worse I remembered he was two years younger than me. His life was just starting, and someone took it from him.

For the sake of not going too emotional here, I will stop here. The point I have been trying to make unsuccessfully throughout was nobody is safe. Nobody. And now I find it almost offensive to expect help from people who just don’t care. The protests are no help either. Pakistan is not a country where protests can make a difference, at least not in this age. If something has to be done, the people in power need to stop condemning these acts and actually do something. We on the other hand, need to stop looking up to them for help and look out for each other instead.

Our most powerful weapons, are our Imam Zamins, and duas. We cannot stop these acts by force, because contrary to what most think, sectarian violence in Pakistan is ONE SIDED!

My prayers are with every single one of you. In Pakistan and abroad.


Day 4 – Fashion Pakistan Week 2012


After a star-studded Day 3 of Fashion Pakistan Week 2012 that nearly blew people away, expectation for day 4 were unusually high. With the bar set so high, people were left questioning what could day 4 possibly offer that would top day 3. By the end of the night, however, too much was left to be desired.

Completely off the schedule, the show started very late. With too many people trying to be a part of the event, security was extra tight, and made one wonder, if day 4 too would contain pleasant surprises. Alas.

Sana Safinaz opened the show with their collection. The label that needs no introduction, the collection included glittering shades of gold, greens and purples. The evening gowns in silk and chiffon gave off an eloquent look of pure luxury. One of the most well received brands, Sana Safinaz once more displayed why people all over the world love their designs so much.

And then, the never to happen before occurrence in a fashion show! Models clad head to toe in black ‘abayas’ took control over the ramp, clutching in their hands some very ‘Tapulicious’s bags. Yes, Tapu Javeri had done the unthinkable! He, for his showcasing got models to dress in burqas, to highlight his leather bags. That wasn’t a necessity I believe, because no one could steal a look off the bags anyway! With Nazia Hassan playing in the background, even Freiha Altaf made an appearance in an abaya clutching a very Tapulicious bag.

I am afraid it all went downhill from there. There were some surprisingly highpoints, but not enough to save the night for being a disappointment. Up next was Abdul Samad. Ah! Abdul Samad. While I am sure his heart lies in the right place and what he did was all in good faith, the end result came back to bite him…. in the behind. He based his entire collection on the great man, the founder of Pakistan Quaid –e- Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. No one was sure what exactly to expect from him, but once unveiled, so many comments, and not good ones.

His showcasing opened up with Zaid Hamid in the background. And people actually applauded. That was the second never to happen before occurrence in one show on the same night! Ejaz Aslam appeared on the ramp sporting a very fake mustache and wearing a black velvet Sherwani complete with a turban. I am guessing Quaid-e-Azam wore that to someone’s wedding? Not sure. What followed suit was simply horrifying and also in a tiny way reminded me of my grandfather in his ‘I am out to hunt’ pictures. There was one Jinnah’s lawyer inspired ensemble too, that included a wig and the gown they give prefects to wear in school. The suits were sharp and possibly the only thing that saved Abdul Samad’s showcasing from heading towards utter doom.

After committing a possible blasphemy against Jinnah, Abdul Samad walked the ramp with Sajad Hassan as Liaquat Ali and Mohmmar Ranaa as Quaid-e-Azam. I was left thinking if I was infact at Pakistan Fashion week or the theatre play ‘Pawnay 14 August’ featuring these great men.

Iman Ahmed’s Body Focus Museum now replaced the ‘Jinnah’s fashion museum’. The collection appeared as if it took heavy inspiration from Grecian goddesses. Models draped in pure elegant whites took over the ramp. The palette used by Iman Ahmed was mostly black and white with very little hint of color. She did go overboard with the goddess-y look, making the models wear dresses that looked like tents.

After a long break, as the show resumed Deepak Perwani’s ‘Before Sunrise’ was showcased. Elegant dresses, glamorous sarees, what was there not to love. The palette wasn’t too screaming in your face bright. With his classy evening gowns Deepak Perwani showed the world how it is really done.

By this time I believe the highpoint of the night had already come and left. Feeha Jamshed was next. She dedicated the collection to her late sister killed in an unfortunate accident. The idea was very moving, but left the crowd utterly depressed. The slow moving, tribute paying models, coupled with the rose petals all gave off a very ghastly impression. By the time it was over, I was just sad.

And finally Honey Waqar. Bright, shiny and over the top designs described the complete collection. Shimmery dresses with huge roses everywhere were a little intimidating, and not very easy on the eyes.

One idea used both by Deepak Perwani and Honey Waqar was incorporating faces onto the clothes as design. I am no fashion critic but the image just scares the living daylights out of me! If I see someone wearing someone’s face on their clothes, I won’t be able to look at anything else for the rest of the day. If I own one, I would make sure it hangs in the darkest corner where the eyes won’t follow my every move. But hey that’s just me! 


Do not forget to vote for your favorite designer for Etihad’s Most Inspiring Designer Award. Simply visit and like the picture of your favorite designer. The result will be announced on 16th April on Hum TV.

Pictures Courtesy Imagine Ex.


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Day 3 Fashion Pakistan Week 2012


Just like all good things come to an end, so is Fashion Pakistan Week 2012. Day 3 is already over and we are looking at Day 4 in the eye.

So day 3, what can I possibly write about day 3 that would do it some justice? As one by one the designers showcased their collections, people were left gasping for more.

The show was opened with Shamaeel Ansari telling the audience why she has been the number one choice for fashionistas and celebrities for more than 25years. The bold hues, with such intricate detailing made her showcasing a very tough act to follow!

Bani D took the reins from Shamaeel, and contrary to what most thought, they managed to put up a spectacular show. The idea behind their collection was hip traditionalism, something bound to be a huge success with Pakistani youth and seniors alike. The jewellery used to accessorize the dresses was provided by Artel by Bina Ali. I simply loved the head accessorizes which gave the outfit a very traditional yet funky look. Highpoint for Bani D? Sani Saeed walked the ramp completely rocking one of their outfits.

Famous for his close attention to detail, Ahmed Bham presented his collection next. And what better way to start the showcasing, than getting another designer to walk down the ramp for you? Ahmed Bham did just that. Out came Nomi Ansari wearing Bham’s very own design making the crowd go wild. Well known for his menswear, Bham’s designs were all about men embracing their feminine side. Bright orange and floral prints were flaunted by male models. If guys really look that good wearing such prints, I promise not to judge them anymore.

Monsoon/Accessorize came up next. Their designs gave off a very cool, breezy impression. And since their theme was beach inspire, it was all too well. Their outfits ranged from causal separates to glamorous maxi dresses. They also showcased their adorable children collection, with the adorable little models strutting around confidently. I totally loved the golden classical music which accompanied her collection.

After a short break, Maheen Khan unveiled her much awaited ‘Gulaboo’ collection. According to her, this collection came out of her ‘love for Pakistan and all things Pakistani’. The truck art inspired collection was bold and trendy and gave people a reason to talk about. Models wearing helmets walked the ramp wearing one gorgeous outfit after another.

Up next was Warda Saleem. Her Thar inspired dresses used bright, vibrant shades with beautiful ethnic prints. The Ghungroo shoes were simply to die for.

And then, Rizwanullah came up. Unveiling his daring and bold outfits, Rizwanullah showcased his glamorous collection. While some people were not very impressed others clearly looked mesmerized. I simply loved his black gown but not really sure how I felt about the man tights.. The question on everyone’s mind however still was why didn’t he show up yesterday?

And last but so not the least Nomi Ansari. The show stopper, the spotlight stealer! Nomi Ansari very sneakily used celebrities to showcase his designs. Maheen Khan first came out wearing his outfit and it just got better from there. Soon huge names like Hina Dilpazeer, Adnan Siddiqi, Nadia Hussain, Ayesha Omar, Maria Wasti and of course Meera came out adorned in a Nomi Ansari outfit. That was definitely a way to bring the night to an end.

Really looking forward to day 4. You too can join us through live streaming. Simply visit and join the fun!

Pictures Courtesy Imagine Ex. 

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Day 2 Fashion Week Pakistan


So after being completely mesmerized at day 1 of Pakistan Fashion Week 2012, I was more than hyped to attend Day 2, and it could not have been better.

The show started an hour late, which wasn’t very fashionable, even for a fashion show. But as one by one people lined up to take their seats, all was forgotten. I now engaged myself in my favorite people spotting hobby, all the while tweeting it to the world outside, that desperately wanted to be a part of this prestigious show.

While the internet service provided could really need some improvement, the show itself was flawless.

Shela Chatoor displayed her collection first. As one after another of her luxurious gowns made way down the ramp, astonished oohs and aahs could be heard from the crows. The ‘Shela’ factor so commonly visible in her designs was, was very vibrantly evident.

Next up was Zahid Bashir’s Kuki Concepts. The collection was carefully enveloped around the idea of age old traditions. To keep true to those traditions, Bashir used a variety of fabrics like Chandi pati Banarasi, Tanchoi and velvet. The end result was breathtaking. His collection he calls ‘Uns’ meaning love which he dedicated to his mother, wife and daughter. Very sweet!

Just when I thought what could possibly top that, Ayesha Somaya took the stage. The whole theme behind their collection was the color of love Pink. The ramp was soon overflowing with luxurious and elegant dresses within which a unique blend of eastern and western designs could be seen.

And then there was Next! Originally a British fashion brand, Next has a complete set of clothing, footwear and accessories to its name. As soon as Next took over, I heard someone say, ‘finally clothes I can wear’. And that says a lot about the affordability as well as the overall hip look of the outfits… considering that I was sitting in the media section. However Next also won over the audience with their children collection displayed proudly by models no more than 10 years old! They confidence with which they walked the ramp was both cute and admirable.

After that Rizwanullah was supposed to showcase his collection, but rumor has it, his collection wasn’t complete. So on it passed to Tayyab Bombal. With his menswear Tayyab Bombal certainly stood out from amongst the other designers presenting that night.

And last but not the least, Umar Sayeed. Golly be, what do I say about Umar Sayeed. I was just gaping pathetically all the while his collection was being showcased. The intricate embroidery, the delicate combination of color – the end result? Truly magical. Sayeed once more proved why he is known as a fashion guru in the subcontinent.

And so not a moment too soon the night was over and the dream came to an end. Now you too can be a part of Fashion Pakistan week 2012. Visit Etihad Airways – Pakistan and vote for your favorite designer at the event. To help you choose better, pictures have also been put up.

Pictures courtesy 18% Grey

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Day 1 Pakistan Fashion Week.


Lost and in a daze, I arrived at the Pearl Continental Hotel to take my designated position as a live blogger for Team Imagine Ex / Blue Ex. By the time I left, I was lost no more.

Though the event really tested the patience of those prompt enough to arrive on time, once it kicked off, nobody was complaining.

As rows and rows began filling up with fashionistas and celebrities, the lights dimmed and a loud blare of music informed us that the show had begun. No wait that was the lady on the microphone. And just like that, Aminah Sheikh appeared on the ramp wearing a gorgeous Bunto Kamzi ensemble!

In an instant the online world came alive. Tweets, statuses and blogs about the ongoing event began making their way to the outside world. For the first time Fashion Pakistan Week also opened its doors to everyone through their live streaming which can be viewed everyday through their Facebook Page

After a much deserved standing ovation, Banto Kazmi’s elegant designs gave way to the more futuristic Sanam Chaudhry’s. Now I am pretty partial to Sanam, one because of the delicious cupcake she provided us poor media personnel with, and two, the most talked and tweeted about moment happened during her showcasing. Mathira’s wardrobe malfunction. That’s all I am going to say on that.

The funky neon colors now were replaced with the bolder oranges and reds of Sanam Agha. And soon the ramp was taken over by Ayesha Hashwani and Pinky (Pinx) Durrany.

Arslan & Yahseer provided the much needed eye candy with their men’s collection but the real cherry on the cake was Maheen Khan. They say the best is kept for last. And indeed, Maheen Khan really gave the already spectacular evening the extra oomph which in terms of a social media junkie, made the event the top trending topic in Pakistan on Twitter. (Believe or not, that was my reason for participating in such a glamorous event).

And so while I spent most of the evening with my eyes glued to the computer screen, I did pick out a few personal favorites! Banto Kazmi without a doubt made me drool! The hot hot reds in Maheen Khan’s collection simply took my breath away. And of course Arslan & Yahseer but that’s a different story.

Pictures by Iqra Shoukat

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