Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Makli: Locked to preserve

Makli is a large necropolis near the modern day Thatta, Sindh, Pakistan. It covers approx. 8 Km and is perhaps one of the largest of its kind anywhere in the world. Oldest tombs belong to Muslim rulers and Saints date back to 14 century. Over a million people are said to be burried here. Unfortunately, like other historical sites across Pakistan, Makli too has faced ravages of time and people. Its stones have been stolen and taken abroad for sale; its walls defaced; its bricks used in newer construction; and the ever presence of vandals around the site have damaged it tremendously. So much so that on my visit here in 2007 I found one of the tombs locked by the authorities to prevent more loot.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

On Assignment: Injection for bee sting

Sometimes while photographing you get nasty hits or accidents or nasty bees out to get you down. I got, along with all my family members, a honey bee sting for which I am seen here getting immediate medical attention. No one got seriously hurt that day at New Jatoi village and we are glad we drove home safely.

Actually we were passing mango and peepal trees when the attack came. It was sudden and sharp and almost within seconds bees were everywhere making us run for our life. Before that day I never have had any experience of a bee attack. It was classic attack and we later had a hearty laugh.

Photograph by Sehreen Faraz.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Jatoi forest area, Sindh

I love woodlands, forest areas and trees. More shade more I love them. No wonder than that this walk among the trees at New Jatoi got me such a classy, wallpaper type image.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tire smuggling, Chaman

Tire smuggling, Chaman
Originally uploaded by Ameer Hamza
Smuggling is the best option in Chaman if you want to survive the cut throat competition from various Pathans out there. And for smuggling you need to have guts, some hard cash for the officials, and a sincere single-minded approach towards life and work. Your children should also be great little-smugglers. And indeed there are, if they work on Pak-Afghan border, second in importance to Torkham border near Peshawar, which connects two troubled countries.

I photographed this man carrying loads of tires from across Afghanistan. He was heading towards Customs Office nearby. No wonder Pakistan needs so much International Aid despite so much business. No one pays the taxes. Not these Pathans driving across from Afghanistan. Certainly not the ministers in our cabinet. And surely not our Prime Minister, who did not pay a single Paisa this financial year. Goodness me.

Friendship gate, Pak-Afghan border, Chaman

That's the friendship gate at Chaman border, which connects Pakistan with Afghanistan. There was no such gate, if I remember it correctly, in the year 1999 (when I visited Balochistan with MAJu friends) or in 2001, when I was here again with Umair Rehman, my longtime school friend from the days of St. Michael Convent School. I am not sure whether my memory is serving me right but I think this gate came up soon after America invaded Afghanistan and Pakistan joined the drumming session. Whatever the history I have always wanted to visit this place. And what a pleasure it was to be here finally. Long live Pakistan.

Reading newspaper, Qila Abdullah

I had always wanted this kind of shot for my archive. i don't' know why, but I think such photographs are an essential part of your collection, if you happen to be a Pakistani freelancer. Or living in any similar Eastern nation.

I like the chai ke chainak in green and the piali (cup) and the newspaper spread in front of these two tribal Pathans. And the entire front wall of this shop painted red with Coca Cola. That's the spirit of real travel.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sugar prices hit sky in Pakistan

Sugarcane trolly, Sind
Originally uploaded by Ameer Hamza
This sugarcane filled trolley reminds me of good old days when sugar cost you Rs.30 and people happily had lots and lots of sugar during their tea times. No more.

Zardari government has seen sugar prices climb from Rs.32 in 2007 to a whooping Rs.125 today (11th Nov 2010). And CCP has done nothing to ensure any price bracketing. They have failed to capture the hoarders because apparently most of the ministers of this govt. are sugar barons. And yesterday I heard some govt. person blare that the govt. has sold sugar at Rs.57 / Kg. What a joke!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bargaining for goat, Dhorr

Bargaining is the key to purchasing in any Asian market worth its salt. So goat market at Dhorr - or any other place for that matter in Pakistan - is no different. This age old custom of bargaining combines with Islamic injunction to sacrifice your best animal sees this old man bargaining for a good price to sell his only goat at this wonderful market, which is set every Tuesday year round at Dhorr, a town near Nawab Shah, and famed for its goat. These animals are also illegally smuggled to Afghanistan, India and Iran, all neighbors of Pakistan. And they are exported to UAE and Saudi Arab, thus driving the prices high during Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Azha.

Bhaitak, Dhorr, Nawab Shah

Bhaitak is a traditional shelter built by the Sindhis and Baloch people of Sindh province, Pakistan, for their guests. Many Sindhis and Baloch even accept people as guests they don't know. Their culture demands them to feed and house anyone wandering around in need of food or shelter. Hence, we found this shelter of Haji Hashim, a Baloch, living at Dhorr and an expert in Scrap business as well as in goats.

This is the scene right after we had a sumptous nashta (breakfast in Urdu) of pure Honey, roti, desi makhan (butter), lassi and chai (tea).

Friday, November 5, 2010

Golden Beach, Karachi

Beaches of Karachi
Originally uploaded by Ameer Hamza
When someone talks about beaches of Karachi there is a chance that you will hear the words Sea View or Hawksbay (where there are no hawks left to boot). And there is a chance, one in 50, that you will hear the name 'paradise point'. But there is certainly no chance that you will ever hear the name golden beach. Because no one bothers to either go there or name it.

This beach is the last place in Sindh province where a civilian can go. After that only army men are allowed in. So much for democracy. But this beach is a beauty but beware of Sunday goers.


Go to Mauripur road. Turn right for Hawksbay. Drive straight till you see a certain gate where it says, COASTAL GUARDS / NAVY. Stop dead. Turn left and viola.