Tag Archives: Lyari

2 alleged Lyari gang members killed in encounter

KARACHI: Two alleged members of a Lyari gang were killed in an encounter in the area on Sunday, Express News reported.

In a joint raid by police and Rangers, security personnel entered a hideout in Chakiwara area of the neighbourhood to arrest two wanted criminals.

The alleged gang members reportedly opened fire at police and tried to escape, however, were killed in retaliatory firing.

The deceased were wanted by police for last two years in various criminal cases.

Security forces also recovered ammunition from the hiding place.


Calling the curtain on Lyari Film Festival

KARACHI: 

In a town often marred by violence, the Nosach Films Academy recently organised the first edition of the Lyari Film Festival (LFF) in collaboration with the Women Development Foundation Pakistan (WDFP) and the Karachi Youth Initiative (KYI).

The four-day-long event, which began on September 17, was aimed at training the youth of Lyari in the craft of filmmaking. More than 40 short films were screened at the festival, most of which were produced by Lyari residents themselves.

LFF saw a good turnout on all four days, as people from different walks of life showed up for the screenings. “One of my friends screened his film on the third day and I was very excited about it,” said Owais, a student of Mass Communication at a university in Karachi. “I would go out of the way to support any good cause coming out of Lyari, especially if it’s promoting arts and culture,” he added.

The driving force behind the event was students and faculty members of the Nosach Films Academy, which was established in 2010 with the support of KYI to provide the youth of Lyari training in filmmaking. The final part of their training required them to either submit a short film, feature film or documentary, which, if selected, would be showcased at the festival along with other submissions. Among the films that have been screened at the festival are Jalebi (not the upcoming feature film), Sheermaal, Wheels and 2×1=2.

Notable celebrities, including silver-screen legends Mustafa Qureshi and Nadeem Baig, graced the event with their presence. Qureshi, who was the guest of honour on the opening day of the festival, spoke about the Pakistani film industry. Lamenting over how Pakistani cinema has suffered during the last few decades, he encouraged budding filmmakers to take initiative and make films in all languages and on diverse topics.

“Upcoming filmmakers should make films exploring new themes and topics. I encourage them to make films in different languages such as Balochi and on topics such as Lyari,” said the acting virtuoso, who is known for his stints as a villain. “We need people who can tell our own stories because, eventually, they will shape our identity on a global front.”

Qureshi commended the efforts of the organisers and was full of praise for the people of Lyari, referring to them as “treasures we never made use of.” Baig lauded the aspiring filmmakers, stating, “It is heartening to see such quality work being done as these youngsters are the next generation of filmmakers who will put Pakistani cinema back on the map.”

Ahsan Shah, a graduate of the Nosach Films Academy, whose documentary Wheels and short film Azmaan were screened on the opening day of the festival, commented on the obstacles he faced during the process of filmmaking. “The people of Lyari are full of ideas and full of talent, but there is a serious lack of equipment and resources. Despite that, we are producing quality content,” he said, adding,“My request to people is that don’t give us resources, give us a platform and we will prove our mettle.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2014.

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Reprisal death?: Army man kidnapped, slain in Lyari

KARACHI: 

An army man was kidnapped and killed allegedly by gangsters in the crime-infested neighbourhood of Lyari on Thursday.

“Lance Naik Tariq Younus was allegedly kidnapped by gangsters on Wednesday and his body was found dumped near the Old Slaughterhouse area of Lyari on Thursday,” SSP City Shiraz Nazir told The Express Tribune. The victim was a resident of Hazara Colony, Lyari and posted in Sindh Regiment at Hyderabad.

Tariq Younus, who was home on leave, had gone to a nearby market to get his cell phone repaired when he was kidnapped by the alleged operatives of the Baba Ladla Group.

“We have information from many sources that Baba Ladla group’s Sikandar Siku, Lala Orangi and Sohail had kidnapped Younus and they were seen by people at Tannery Road,” the SSP said.

Police had killed a ringleader of the Baba Ladla gang in the area on Wednesday night and the murder of the army man could be in retaliation for the police action, he said. Police and Rangers have begun a search operation in the area following the body’s recovery.

In another incident unidentified armed men shot dead a doctor at Korangi No 1.5.

According to Zaman Town SHO, unidentified assailants came on motorcycle and gunned down Abul Aziz, 42, in his clinic. The police official said the doctor practiced alternative medicine and had shifted his clinic to Korangi from Shah Faisal Colony a few months back.

The Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) has condemned the unabated targeted killings. The spokesman for the party called the incident a failure of the Sindh government and the law enforcement agencies. “Dr Abdul Aziz was a Shia from Gilgit which is why he was targeted,” said the MWM spokesman Ali Ahmer.

Armed men shot and injured a police constable, Mumtaz, and a passer-by in Juna Market. He was having tea at a roadside stall when assailants targeted him and fled unchallenged, said a police official.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2014.


Political games: Upset with PPP, Lyari looks towards PTI

KARACHI: The residents of Lyari have become increasingly disgruntled with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leadership due to the ongoing operation in the neighbourhood and are showing support for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), The Express Tribune has learnt.

These new wishes of the Lyari residents came to the front when a large number of them made an appearance at one of the PTI sit-ins on Sea View earlier this week. During the 2013 general elections, PTI was the second largest party to emerge from Lyari as it managed to secure those votes that were considered ‘silent’.

However, PPP leaders have denied they are feeling the pressure. “No, we are not going to join PTI,” MNA Shahjahan Baloch told The Express Tribune. “There is no pressure from any side but from the general public who are not happy with the ongoing operation,” he explained.

Meanwhile, sources said that the PPP leadership is unhappy with the participation of the Lyari residents in the PTI sit-in. It was also learnt that a few of the local PPP office bearers, including Adnan Baloch, who contested the PS-111 seat from Lyari, have been suspended.

“The party has taken aggressive action against Adnan,” claimed a PPP leader from Lyari, who wished not be named. “Why should we continue our support to the PPP?” he asked. “There is huge pressure from the public. We have to decide whether we are with the people or with the party.”

PPP Karachi division general secretary Najmi Alam admitted that they have taken action against Adnan Baloch. But the PPP will not be disturbed if a few people decide to join PTI, he said. “Lyari is still a PPP stronghold,” he added.

As far as the residents are concerned, they feel they should have a say in the party they support. “There are people who support Imran Khan but that does not mean decisions should be imposed over the people,” said a young man from Nawa Lane, Muhammad Shakir.

Another man standing outside a paan shop near Aath Chowk, Sheraz Baloch, claimed he was already supporting the PTI. “I cast my vote in favour of the PTI and will be happy if the party takes more interest in Lyari,” he said.

But there were others who were loyal PPP supporters. “Those who are joining the PTI are not part of Lyari,” claimed Abdullah Khan who lives near Mirza Adam Khan Road. “A majority of the people still support the PPP and, if you see any anger, it is all because of the wrong policies of the [PPP] leadership,” he explained.

The people who call the shots in Lyari are, however, hinting otherwise. “We’ll join the PTI soon,” claimed Habib Jan, the senior activist of the PPP and the convenor of Friends of Lyari, while talking to The Express Tribune. “Uzair Bhai [Peoples Amn Committee chief] is also on board on the issue,” he added.

Habib recalled how the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz wanted Lyari to join their party before the May 2013 elections but they voted in favour of the PPP. “It was a big mistake,” he said.

PTI has confirmed that Imran Khan will visit Lyari whenever he comes to the city, claimed Habib. “We are in contact with the PTI leadership and the PPP leadership is not happy with this decision,” he said. “Why should we continue to support the PPP, which has always ignored its voters?”

The residents are, however, taking these developments with a pinch of salt. “There are not ideological but personal differences [between the PPP and the PAC men],” said a shopkeeper from Nayabad, Abdul Aziz Memon. “The politicians received the support of the criminals before the elections and now the criminals are trying to get the support of the politicians,” he explained. “I don’t think the PTI will get a warm welcome if such people join the party.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2014.


Life in Lyari: Made of honour

It is hard enough being a man in Lyari, Karachi — one of the oldest and most contentious neighbourhoods of the sprawling metropolis. It is a different story altogether if you are a woman trying to make it on your own in this area which is rife with gang wars, violence and poverty.

But if you spend enough time in the winding lanes of this misunderstood neighbourhood, you will find women with extraordinary courage and willpower, rising above stereotypes and taking charge of their own destiny. While some of them are supporting their families from the confines of their homes others are leaving their comfort zones to face life head-on. In either case, each of their stories is an insight into the beauty of the human condition of survival. Their capacity for gratitude is a reminder that being content is a choice.

Nur Bibi, 75

My brothers tell me all the time to stop working at this age and rest. But I tell them that I will earn and provide for myself. I will not run to my brothers. I believe in being self-sufficient.

Nur Bibi or Nuratun, as she is commonly referred to in her neighbourhood, has always been single. And it has made her fiercely independent, she claims. Nearly 40 years ago, she set up a small shop outside her house where she sells chips, cookies, candies and paan to earn a living. Even though she was the first of her kind, many women have since followed suit and set up their own shops in the area.

Yasmin, 57

Yasmin, a single mother of three, sits outside on her roof stitching her neighbour’s clothes for which she will earn around Rs200. PHOTOS: SARA KHATRI

I raised my children alone and worked hard to provide them with an education. That is my biggest achievement. My ideology is never to be dependent on anyone — not even on my children.

A husband who provides for you and takes care of the family was a luxury Yasmin never knew since her husband never bought a penny home. Hence, she set up her own business and started selling homemade ice cream to support her children. The business grew over time and Yasmin transformed two of the rooms in her house into a production space and hired an employee to supply the ice cream to stores across the city. After 15 years, however, the business had to be shut down in 2006 due to rising costs and worn-out machinery. To supplement the income, Yasmin also started a pickle business, which found a market in Dubai. Together, the earnings from both ventures helped put her children through school. Having fulfilled her duties as a parent where all her children are now independent, Yasmin keeps herself busy these days by stitching clothes for people in the neighbourhood.

Anila Nabbi Buksh, 35

Anila Nabbi Buksh, sits on her roof to escape the long hours during a power breakdown. She is surrounded by her four children, each fighting for space closest to her while she works on her colourful, embroidered pens that are sold for Rs200 each. PHOTOS: SARA KHATRI

There’s a song by Shehzad Roy, in which he says “uth baandh kamar kya darta hai, phir dekh khuda kya karta hai.” (Get up, brace yourself and proceed without fear. Then see how God helps you). These lyrics are etched in my mind as it is the truth.

When 22-year-old Anila got married to a strict, conservative and highly reserved man, she made peace with a life of subservience. Seven years later, an accidental encounter with the principal at her children’s school changed her mind in the most unexpected ways. The school which believes in educating mothers along with their children taught Anila the important lesson of self-respect and equality. This brave step came with risks but it worked in Anila’s favour; her husband appreciated her newfound confidence and their relationship evolved into one based on mutual respect. She also began contributing to the household income by selling brightly coloured, embroidered pens, proving that a woman can do anything as well as a man, if she sets her mind to it.

Gulnissa, 39

Gulnissa leans against the wall of her house as she narrates her story. PHOTOS: SARA KHATRI

If anyone is going through a tough time, I tell them to have patience and pray to God. Screaming, whining, complaining or fighting won’t get you anywhere. Do good and the same will happen to you.

Having to play the role of both parents did not come as a surprise to Gulnissa, who was abandoned by her own father at a young age. After her husband’s repeated disappearances — for years at a stretch — she decided to step up to the challenge for her five children. She worked in people’s houses, sold homemade food items, stitched and embroidered clothes but never gave up. Today, she proudly claims that she did everything she could to provide for her children.

Maha, 35

Maha parks her van as she brings children back from their respective summer schools to the designated pick-up spot.  PHOTOS: SARA KHATRI

My father used to beat up my mother in front of me. I couldn’t tolerate it so I stood up and screamed. I was the first one out of my 12 siblings to stand up to him. I decided that I would not live my life in fear.

Three years ago, when Maha’s alcoholic husband left her, she did not waste time dwelling upon life’s injustices. Instead, she did the following: file for a divorce, get custody of her three children and learn how to drive. Soon enough she saved up enough to buy a used van and began working as a school bus driver for The Kiran School in Lyari. Today, the job makes her enough money to pay for her children’s education and provide for her family.

Shahzadi, 49

Shahzadi deals with a customer who has come to her seeking help, while other women in the room patiently wait for their turn.  PHOTOS: SARA KHATRI

I do this for God and God helps me. As long as I can, I want to help others and be self-sufficient.

Shahzadi, who has been working as a spiritual healer for the past 18 years, does not charge a fixed fee for her services, leaving it to the clients to pay as they please. She claims that the work often takes an emotional toll on her and is hard to manage with her familial responsibilities but Shahzadi says she will continue her work until people need her.

Fatimah Bai Jatarn, 52

Fatimah Bai Jatarn organises the merchandise she has been collecting to sell on her next business trip. PHOTOS: SARA KHATRI

It was always my dream to get a new house from my own earnings. And I did it. It gives me a lot of happiness to just look at it — it is a living proof of my hard work and dedication.

The ability to see a vacuum of resources as an opportunity is perhaps an entrepreneur’s greatest strength. And Fatima Bai Jatarn had plenty of that. She set up her business by travelling from Karachi to inner Sindh regularly to sell clothes to women who cannot leave their villages and brings back hand-printed ajraks to sell in the city. Jatarn claims she has never had any problems despite having to travel long distances for work and being surrounded mostly by men. While most seasoned businessmen shy away from payments in installments, Jatarn has used that as her edge over other suppliers. And her strategy seems to have worked. Currently, she is planning to expand her business to India and has already made a few trips across the border.

Aan Bibi, 65

Aan Bibi relaxes in her sister’s apartment as she takes a trip down memory lane and reflects on her life. PHOTOS: SARA KHATRI

Women should first become strong and independent before they start thinking about marriage. It’s better to be alone than to be married and live a life of misery.

It was Aan Bibi’s dream to see her eldest daughter in a doctor’s prestigious crisp white coat. For years, she sold homemade sweetmeats, stitched and crocheted to breathe life into that dream. But as fate would have it, she lost her firstborn to an accident. Meanwhile, she also struggled with her son who refused to acknowledge her efforts as a parent and turned to his father who had abandoned them years ago. Despite all the challenges, Aan Bibi braved on. Now she wants other young women to learn from her experiences and advises them to learn to support themselves before starting a family.

Taj Bibi

Taaj Bibi sits in the middle with her sisters, Maa bibi (left) and Aan bibi (right), as she sells fried items at Baataan Chowk, named after their mother, Baataan, who initiated this venture almost 50 years ago. The wall writing behind reads, ‘Roti, kapra aur makaan, maang raha hai har insaan, ulfat roshni sub ko kaam, maang raha hai har insaan.’ (Food, clothes and shelter is the need of the hour for every man, but love and enlightenment is equally important) PHOTOS: SARA KHATRI

Regardless of whether you have a brother or a son who can support you, your own earnings are your own. Nothing is more satisfying than that. If you earn yourself, it’s a comfortable life because you are not answerable to anyone.

Taj Bibi and her two sisters have been working together for nearly 40 years now. Ever since they were children, they accompanied their mother, Baataan, to work who was the driving force behind this venture. The trio would come to the food stall each day and sit there from early morning till late into the evening, taking turns cooking. The food items on their menu including cholay, samosay, pakoray, machli ke chawal (rice with fish) and jalebi are famous in the area and have come to be known as ‘Taaj bibi ke Baataan.’ The sisters claim that it is a good line of work and has kept them comfortable over the years. Now, their only dream is to go for umrah.

Laal Bibi, 50

Laal Bibi cooks in a little corner of her house. She cooks food in large quantities, which is later sold for breakfast and dinner. PHOTOS: SARA KHATRI

Life is very difficult for single, divorced and widowed women but the key is to not lose hope. Keep trying, focus on your children and give them an education. That is the most important thing.

When Laal Bibi was married off to a gambler with an alcohol and drug-abuse problem, she had no option but to look out for herself. She stayed up long nights and started a food business from the confines of her house. She would cook in large quantities at night and sell it during the day. In her spare time, she also began working as a home-based masseuse for babies, a skill passed on to her by her grandmother. The journey has been tough but when she looks at her 10 children, whom she has supported singlehandedly, she feels that her efforts have not gone in vain.

To deny that being a woman in Pakistan is a tough call would be akin to burying your head in the sand. But to be surrounded by women across the country who no longer resign themselves to their circumstances but brave on with their morale and heads raised high, makes the fight a tad bit easier.

Sara Khatri is an aspiring clinical psychologist and who is passionate about photography. 

Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, August 24th,  2014. 


Azadi Dharna: Lyari residents join PTI sit-in on fourth day

KARACHI: 

Dozens of men and women from Lyari joined the Paksitan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Azadi Dharna at Sea View on Saturday evening as the sit-in entered its fourth day.

The Lyari’ites arrived in apt style. A young man, wearing a Neymar football jersey, beat the dhol as the men and women cheered as they joined the main sit-in, the party’s songs blaring from their speakers.

Burqa-clad Saima, a resident of Baghdadi, Lyari, claimed she had come to the sit-in because she believed Imran Khan would get them justice. “The party’s name, Tehreek-e-Insaf, speaks for itself.” Seated beside Saima, an elderly woman, Khatija Qazi, demanded she be given a party flag. The women lambasted the parliamentarians from the area, saying they had done nothing for the people. “The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has only given us the gift of dead bodies,” said Qazi.

The Lyari residents came down hard on the Rangers, claiming that dozens of young men had been picked up, tortured and later killed in encounters.

The participants from Lyari had arrived in a bus and five cars. A man accompanying them, Kamran Baloch, said that they have lost all hope in the PPP and the PML-N.

“Nawaz Sharif started the operation which resulted in innocent Baloch being killed. Imran Khan should speak for the rights of Lyari’s residents.” They said that there was no gang war going on in the locality and called for the PTI leader to listen to their demands and help resolve their issues.

Meanwhile, PTI workers in district Central also converged at Hyderi Market in North Nazimabad on Saturday evening to show solidarity with the Azadi marchers. Women, children and men carrying PTI flags and placards gathered at Sharae Shershah Suri – the main thoroughfare of North Nazimabad.

“We are here to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters who have been protesting against the corrupt system for many days,” said Wali Khan, a local PTI activist. “We think if we can’t join them at Islamabad at least we can give them moral support.” The police and Rangers vans were also present to ensure security.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2014.


Dancing in the streets: Lyari celebrates as Germans triumph over Brazil’s bitter rival Argentina

KARACHI: 

In almost 15 days’ time, they would be gathered here to pray on Eid. Today, they were here at the Eidgah to celebrate something just as important to them – the World Cup final.

Famous for supporting Brazil, and considering the bitter rivalry between Brazil and Argentina, it was no surprise that almost all who were gathered inside the Eidgah in Lyari were supporting Germany; the enemy of their enemy. The 7-1 loss at the hands of the Germans was forgotten and forgiven, all that mattered was that Argentina should not win.

A roar went up when an Argentine striker missed early on and all present at the ground gasped collectively as the Argentinians threatened to break the German defence.

There were no goals forthcoming in the first half though, and at half-time, the ground started to empty slowly as people went out to buy refreshments. On the other side of the world, in Rio de Janeiro, the World Cup had caused the world to stand still. Here in Lyari, it had sparked it into life.

Those who remained inside the ground talked of how they were sure that the Brazil defeat was fixed; still unable to grasp the reality that their beloved team had been knocked out. They refused to accept that there could be a better team than the Brazilians, insisting on coming up with all kinds of excuses, from political espionage to divine interference, to justify the inexplicable loss.

The second half soon began and the longer it went without a goal, the more restless they became. They feared the worst; that Argentina would conquer Brazil, that it would be their bitter rivals that would lift the World Cup. And then it happened, Mario Gotze scored, and just as the Maracana erupted in relief thousands of miles away, the Eidgah roared with joy.

When the final whistle blew, a loud cheer went up. It was over, Brazil had not won but neither had Argentina – Lyari was happy. And soon, gunshots echoed in celebration through the narrow alleyways and the ground.

The Eidgah, once a graveyard according to the residents, came alive. A few danced, another few shouted ‘Germany, Germany’, others formed a train and walked around the ground shouting whatever gibberish came to their exultant minds, and the Eidgah’ fervent celebrations culminated with German flags being waved around as the supporters slowly left the ground, one by one.

Only a few of them went home though as most went straight to the Cheel Chowk, where a large crowd had gathered. Under the large sculpture of the hunting eagle, they hoisted flags of Germany and Brazil, side by side, it was a victory for both of them as far as they were concerned, and along with it, a victory for Lyari.

In every street of Germany, from Munich to Dortmund, the football-crazy nation celebrated their triumph. Here in this small quaint neighbourhood of Karachi, so did the Baloch.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2014.

 


Three Lyari gangsters killed in 2 encounters

KARACHI: Three alleged gang members of Lyari were killed in two separate encounters with the police and Rangers in Lyari and Old City areas on Thursday.

The two gang members of the Sheraz Comrade group of the Lyari gangsters were killed during a joint raid conducted by the police and Rangers in the Saifi Lane area of Baghdadi, Lyari. The gangsters killed in an encounter were later identified as 30-year-old Majeed aka Steel, and 28-year-old Akhtar.

SHO Khalid Abbasi said that the raid was conducted after they received a tip-off about the presence of some members of the gang in the area. They fired at the law enforcers, who retaliated and killed two of the suspects. Two other suspects escaped under the cover of firing.

According to the police, the deceased gangsters were involved in various cases of target killings, kidnappings and extortion.

Similarly, another alleged gang member of Lyari was killed in an encounter with the police on Mehmood Shah Road within the limits of Napier police station. The deceased was identified as Kashif aka Mota. During routine patrolling in the area, the police received a tip-off about the presence of some suspects on Mehmood Shah Road. The police reached the spot and killed the suspect after an exchange of fire. However, his accomplice escaped.

SP Sheraz Nazeer said that Kashif was a member of the Sohail Dada group of the Lyari gangsters. The gang leader, Dada, used to operate his gang from Malir and was allegedly involved in more than 100 cases of crime. He was killed recently killed in the Old City area by the Anti-Extremist Cell of the Crime Investigation Department. The police said that Kashif was considered a close aide of Dada and was wanted by the police in a number of cases.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2014.

 


Football fever: Brazil’s defeat upsets Lyari

KARACHI: Naseem knew it in his bones that Brazil might not win but he kept his fingers crossed. He wanted Brazil to win with or without Neymar da Silva.

“It just has to happen,” said the 14-year-old student. “I’m going to stay up to watch the entire match. They will win. I know it.” He had done everything to ensure that nothing, and he meant nothing, would jinx the team or their expected victory – he wore green, he was carrying a Brazilian flag and had a small wooden bench kept at a prime location to watch the match at the Eid Gah park in Lyari. Naseem and his friends were there at 12:10am getting hot channa and prepping firecrackers which they would light as soon as Brazil scored a goal or more.

His friend Bilal kept telling him that it was not going to happen. “Koi chance hee nahi hai [There’s no way that’s going to happen],” he said. “Brazil cannot win. Inka scene off hai.”

In case you’re wondering, Naseem isn’t a diehard Brazil fan. He supports Argentina. He wanted Brazil to play against Argentina in the final. That, he said, was his dream game. Two of his favourite teams of the FIFA tournament battling it out for the world cup.

Eleven minutes into the match, however, Naseem got up and walked up to the screen. Germany had scored. He couldn’t believe it. Thomas Muller managed to make it past the goalie. Twenty-three minutes into the match and Germany scored another goal. Naseem, now restless could not sit still. “This can’t be happening,” he said rubbing his forehead. “This is like a nightmare.”

Around him, the adults and other children seemed to be falling to pieces. Many of them got on their motorcycles and rode off. Abid Bhai and his friends had a bet going on for Rs5,000, he was sure Brazil would win. After the Germans scored the second goal, he quietly made his way home.

Some residents of the area who were supporting Germany became excited. They knew that if Germany scored another goal, their team would win. Less than seven minutes later the Germans had scored three more goals. Around 29 minutes into the match and the deal seemed to be sealed. The German supporters started making a lot of noise. Some even started lighting firecrackers and dancing. Things became so tense between both teams’ supporters that a fight also broke out. A punch for Brazil and a kick for Germany, it went on for a couple of minutes till people pulled the boys apart.

By half-time, the park which was overcrowded by 1am started looking quite empty.

Naseem sat on his wooden bench contemplating if he should hang around till the end of the match. He was upset as the team he was rooting for had lost before the match was even over. Bilal came around to his friend, put an arm around his shoulders and said: “It’s ok. They didn’t have Neymar but you still have Argentina!”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2014.

 


Floodlights light up Lyari

KARACHI: 

Keeping up with the Fifa World Cup fever, youngster Junaid Tariq and his Azad Baloch FC teammates are participating in the Play for Peace Football Tournament with seven other teams at the dimly lit Gabol Park at the edge of Lyari’s Union Council (UC) 10 and UC 11.

They defeated Lyari Central FC 3-0 to reach the final, while Idea FC beat Lyari United 2-0 to book a 40-minute faceoff against Azad Baloch.

Young footballers like Tariq and Nuzair Ali are undeterred by the late timings of the matches, saying that even their mothers encouraged them to play football.

“It isn’t a problem, my mother wants me to play football,” Nuzair told The Express Tribune.

“We are the best team, and others are a little jealous of us. So we need to win this tournament.”

Meanwhile, event organiser Jihand Shaukat Ali said that local tournaments in Lyari have not been the same since last year, when there was a bomb blast at a street football tournament.

“Mostly it’s just the children or us, the volunteers,” said Shaukat. “Others don’t want to come because they fear a repetition of last year’s bomb blast.”

According to Shaukat, all the club players are under the age of 16 and all of them aim to change their lives. When these children leave the football field, they take away lessons for life.

“It’s not about winning and losing,” explained Shaukat. “Our aim is to teach the importance of teamwork to these children.”

Project Supervisor Fahim bin Tariq further explained the nature of the ‘lessons’ in detail, “When each child passes a ball to another, they are told that it is an equivalent of respecting the other player.

“When they dribble in the field, it stands for improving the self-esteem and when they aim for a goal, it is a lesson for them that in life they need to set a goal for themselves in order to survive.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2014.

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