trend
An affair to remember
Considering the fact that Karachiites have little reason to celebrate, most argue that it is fair to spend on elaborate weddings even in this age of inflation
By Samina W. Perozani
They say marriage is a mind game. If that is true, then weddings are the sporting event of the season. It's really like hosting the Olympic Games, where the preparations begin months, and in most cases, years in advance. From putting things together for the bride's trousseau to scouting the market for the best make-up artists, bridal dress designers and event planners, weddings in the city are an elaborate, time-consuming and costly affair.

culture
Wanted: a banquet and a big bank balance
Barely able to meet their day-to-day expenses,the common man is under pressure to organise a 'decent' wedding along with dowry that often exceeds his budget. Sabeen Jamil elaborates
Unlike other girls her age, 27-year-old Tahira, a housemaid, has still not tied the knot. She has been engaged for years, but her marriage continues to be delayed because she cannot afford to pay the dowry money her groom's family demands. Her parents passed away years ago, and since then, she has been working to earn her way to her marriage.

sexual
harassment
Staying silent no more
A concerned activists' alliance AASHA has been pushing Pakistan's first effort to outlaw sexual harassment in the workplace. With the federal government's approval of the two draft bills they proposed, it won't be long before the laws are introduced thus ensuring a safe work environment
By Aroosa Masroor
With more and more women stepping out of their homes for education and employment, sexual harassment is on the rise, and the federal cabinet's recent decision to introduce a legislation to curb it is being seen as a step in the right direction.

 

The mega surprise that is Dhaka
Karachi is proclaimed to be the eighth mega city of the world, but there is one particular city belonging to one of the least developed countries in SAARC that overtakes it in many aspects: Dhaka
By M. Zeeshan Azmat
I recently visited Dhaka for 15 days and was astonished to learn, for example, that load-shedding usually lasts for just an hour, and no one in that locality had ever experienced load-shedding for more than three hours a day. This is despite the constant rain, which is far more than any rainfall Karachi experiences.

karachicharacter
A spirit that refuses to be crippled
By Ahmed Yusuf
Imtiaz Ahmed Khan is a cab driver like no other. He ferries passengers from one place to another every day with a crippled spine, but there is no way they will ever be able to pick up on it. Khan could have been a victim of the circumstances, but instead he just smiles and says: "I have to dig a well everyday just so that I can drink daily. This is my struggle."

 

 

trend

An affair to remember

Considering the fact that Karachiites have little reason to celebrate, most argue that it is fair to spend on elaborate weddings even in this age of inflation

 

By Samina W. Perozani

They say marriage is a mind game. If that is true, then weddings are the sporting event of the season. It's really like hosting the Olympic Games, where the preparations begin months, and in most cases, years in advance. From putting things together for the bride's trousseau to scouting the market for the best make-up artists, bridal dress designers and event planners, weddings in the city are an elaborate, time-consuming and costly affair.

And why wouldn't they be? A wedding is, after all, only the most important day of one's life, whether you are the one tying the knot or the parents of the bride or groom in question.

So it's not surprising to see people who are usually frugal with their money splurge as much as their bank balance will allow and then some on a wedding. In fact, even as the worldwide recession has hit Pakistan with full force, the wedding business continues to boom like never before, so much that exorbitant amounts are spent on flowers alone.

"We organised a wedding in which the family spent about Rs600,000 on the floral arrangements alone," reveals Mushfiq-uz-Zaman, General Manager, Nizam Event Solutions. "The overall cost for the decoration of that one event, not including the food, was one million rupees."

There are other things, of course, that cost just as much if not more. "I went to a wedding last week which featured some 10 food items, excluding the desserts," shares Nadia, a copy writer at an advertising agency. Zaman explained that such elaborate meals, which in most cases include expensive items like fish, shrimp and partridge, cost anywhere between Rs500,000 to Rs700,000. Of course, the amount of food wasted in such lavish affairs is a completely different story altogether. After all, there is only so much that the guests can eat.

Similarly, make-up artists say that this wedding season isn't all that different this year, with brides pouring in by the dozen every day. In fact, dolling up 18 to 20 brides a day is the norm, says Aliya Tipu of Alle' Nora fame. For someone who charges Rs18,000 to Rs20,000 for her make-up services, that is a lot of money to dole out for a few hours of face time.

Still, those who can, continue to do so, an even those who can't pay through the nose to celebrate with some semblance of style. Farhan, who lives in Federal B. Area and works as a dispatcher for a private firm, said the total cost of his sister's wedding (held earlier this month) was about Rs300,000. "I make Rs8,000 a month. I had about Rs100,000 in savings, so the rest I borrowed from a money lender," he reveals. Why couldn't he work within a budget? "Because I wanted to do whatever I could to give my sister the wedding she wanted," he explains - even if that meant borrowing money at a high interest rate and putting up his house as collateral. "Besides," he adds "you have to preserve your izzat (dignity) in front of people."

Often, saving face at weddings is what pushes many from the middle and low income groups into doing the unthinkable borrowing money. People talk. And at weddings, they talk a whole lot more than they usually do. From verbally dissecting the arrangements to turning up their noses at the food, weddings breed gossip from all and sundry, so the hosts do what they can to stop tongues wagging. "It's very hard to please everyone at a wedding, but even then you have to try," says Fariha, who got married last year in a non-descript marriage lawn in Model Colony.

Fariha says that while she did not go to top designers or make-up artists (she got her outfit from Jama Cloth Market for Rs10,000 and had her make-up done from an obscure salon for Rs3,000), her parents still spent a good Rs200,000 on her wedding. Fariha says that since her father is retired, money was hard, so he took a loan from his brother to pay for the wedding. "What else could we do?" she asks.

There are many others, of course, who are doing reasonably well professionally but still find themselves buckling under pressure to wed their children or siblings in style. When it comes to coughing up the cash to meet the costs, they do the needful by taking personal loans from banks. "I cannot tell you how often we get clients who want a loan because they want to get their children married," said a loan recovery official of one of the largest banks of the country. "But we have to consider if they will be able to pay back that money. If they don't meet our income requirements, we refuse to give them a loan," he adds.

Nasir, who works for an engineering firm, seconds that. According to Nasir, when he went to get a loan from the bank to meet the added expenses of his son's wedding, his application was rejected because his monthly salary was not enough for him to be able to pay off the loan. "We had to sell off our second car," he said.

Given the pressure to put up a show for family and friends, it's only fair that parents (and siblings) of the bride and groom borrow and sell assets.

Or is it?

Mohsin Sayeed, noted columnist and fashion critic, doesn't think so. "It's silly to copy someone, take a loan and then have a lavish wedding. One should have the courage to admit that one doesn't have enough money to go all out and then organise a simple wedding."

Sayeed feels that it is about time people took responsibility for their actions instead of asking those who have the money to spend to cut back on their expenses or apologise for what they have. "Not only this, but we, as a society, have few reasons to celebrate," adds Sayeed, "so does it seem fair to take away this as well?" It is perhaps for the same reason the salaried class is willing to spend just as much to celebrate this one big day in the best manner possible.

Saeed, however, believes that it is also possible to work within a budget for a wedding people just need to learn to put their foot down and not give into 'temptations'. But what about those who spend like there's no tomorrow?

"Well, if they have the money to spend then why not? What's so wrong with that?" he asks. "All over the world, there are people who can spend a great deal on their weddings, so why are we quick to criticise those who do the same in our country?" he maintains.

Be as that may, individual responsibility is also about not encouraging certain trends in a country that is on the brink of an economic meltdown not to mention the looming threat of war. We may have few reasons to celebrate but still, one must draw the line somewhere even if that means cutting back just a wee bit on what promises to be an otherwise extravagant wedding.

 

Wanted: a banquet and

a big bank balance

Barely able to meet their day-to-day expenses,the common man is under pressure to organise a 'decent' wedding along with dowry that often exceeds his budget. Sabeen Jamil elaborates

Unlike other girls her age, 27-year-old Tahira, a housemaid, has still not tied the knot. She has been engaged for years, but her marriage continues to be delayed because she cannot afford to pay the dowry money her groom's family demands. Her parents passed away years ago, and since then, she has been working to earn her way to her marriage.

"The dowry money must not be less than Rs300,000," says Tahira. That's the amount the bride's family gives in our community."   

Tahira sounds sad when she says that some girls in her community those who were blessed enough to have parents to pay off their dowry - got married 15 years ago. However, she is glad that by June next year, she will be one of them too.    

"All these years, I have saved enough to for the dowry, along with a decent wedding and meal for some 100 guests," she says with pride. She is surprised when asked why she has to serve food at her wedding when she can barely afford her dowry.

"It would have brought shame to my forefathers," she says, referring to the custom that deems serving meals at weddings a matter of prestige. "Plus I want to attract good marriage proposals for my younger sisters, which will not be possible if I do not serve food at my wedding." 

Tradition states that an extravagant wedding ceremony and multiple dishes at the event define the status of the host in the society, which is why most families are saving money especially for the occasion. The trend is more pronounced in the joint family system or closely-knit communities, where the pressure to uphold one's 'family status' is intense. 

Tahira is unaware that paying a dowry and serving meals at weddings is officially banned. Like many other offenses, however, successive governments have been unable to check this practice. Many blame the influential affluent class, which manages to grease the palms of the police at the time of the wedding to escape the notice of authorities. As a result, several laws devised to facilitate the poor could not be implemented.  

One example of such a law was an initiative taken by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. In March 1997, Sharif promulgated the Federal Marriage (Prohibition of Wasteful Expenses) Ordinance, which banned the serving of meals at wedding functions arranged outside one's home and allowed just drinks to be served. In 2000, the ordinance was reinforced by the promulgation of the Federal Marriage Functions (Prohibition of Ostentatious Displays and Wasteful Expenses) by the then President Pervez Musharraf.

It did not last long, however, as the ban was partially lifted after a Supreme Court ruling in November 2002, allowing hosts to serve one dish at wedding ceremonies. This ruling did not last long either - people continued to violate the law by serving multiple dishes, and currently there are no restrictions at all, despite the food inflation.

 Similarly, in 2007 a plan was chalked out to discourage the culture of dowry by the then Sindh Minister for Women Development Saeeda Malik of PML-Q. The ministry decided to create awareness about the menace of dowry among the less educated faction, especially in districts of Sindh. Malik explained that the plan was to visit all 18 districts in Sindh and raise awareness with the help of the media and various NGOs.   

She further disclosed that her ministry proposed to revise the curriculum and include chapters in textbooks on dowry being a social ill. "It was a long-term plan that could not be materialised because the government changed," says Malik while talking to Kolachi.  

The new PPP government brought in ministers like Khurshid Shah, Federal Minister for Labour and Manpower, who as revealed in a recent report was caught stealing electricity through a kunda (illegal) connection for his son's wedding ceremony in DHA, Karachi.

It is ironic that at a time when the country is facing a severe economic crisis and power shortage, ministers like Shah and the so-called pro-people government is seen spending millions on extravagant wedding ceremonies at public expense. Tahira, however, is adamant that it would be difficult to change the current trend and strictly enforce the ban on dowry or wedding meals. "No one marries a girl whose family cannot afford dowry or a decent meal at the wedding," she insists.

Tahira's belief may be a generalisation, but it is certainly true that it has led many to violate the law. And when it comes to such violations, the government is not far behind.

 

 

How much did you spend on your wedding and who bore the expenses?

By Abid Hussain

Akbar Rehman, 40, Paan shop owner: "I got married back in 1991 in Dhaka. It was a grand affair but the inflation rate was not as high as today. The entire event cost my parents around Rs1.5 lakhs only."

Sagheer Sultan, 38, Juice vendor: "I was just 17 when I got married back in 1986. Since it was a community wedding in the village the expenses were shared by my family and relatives too. The total expenditure was close to Rs30,000."

Gulzar, 45, shopkeeper: "I got married at the age of 38 because I did not have enough savings for my wedding. But with my increasing age, the cost of a wedding also rose so I finally tied the knot in 2001. The total cost back then came up to Rs2.5 lakhs. I bore all the expenses."

Shahid Usman, 36, Graphic designer: "When I got married in 1997 there was a ban on wedding meals so that saved a lot of money. I took care of the finances, with some contribution from my parents as well. I think the total expenditure was somewhere close to 4 lakh rupees."

Shahida Tasneem, 52, Housewife: "Everything was inexpensive back in 1981 when I got married. My father spent a total of Rs2 lakhs on the whole wedding including jewellery, food, clothes etc."

Hania Jamil, 25, Banker: "I got married in 2006 and most of the expenses were borne by my parents with some contribution from my maternal family as well. Total expenses amounted up to Rs5 lakhs."

Muhammad Sajjad, 42, Newspaper hawker: "I got married in 1982 as soon as I got a job. The wedding expense was mostly borne by my parents, but we took loan from a relative as well that I eventually paid within a year. The wedding cost us Rs85,000."

 

sexual

harassment

Staying silent no more

A concerned activists' alliance AASHA has been pushing Pakistan's first effort to outlaw sexual harassment in the workplace. With the federal government's approval of the two draft bills they proposed, it won't be long before the laws are introduced thus ensuring a safe work environment

By Aroosa Masroor

With more and more women stepping out of their homes for education and employment, sexual harassment is on the rise, and the federal cabinet's recent decision to introduce a legislation to curb it is being seen as a step in the right direction.

The two bills - 'Protection against Harassment at the Workplace' and 'Criminal Law (Amendment)' - have been welcomed by feminist groups, as both laws have now clearly defined sexual harassment as a crime, making it easier for women to report it.

The journey of sexual harassment laws in Pakistan

The need for such a law was recognised seven years ago by activists, who formed an alliance against sexual harassment (AASHA) and worked towards formulating a legislation. The alliance comprises members from six different organisations. According to Dr Fouzia Saeed, one of the active members of AASHA, "The objective of these bills is to create a secure environment for women free from intimidation and abuse of any kind."

Saeed feels sexual harassment is one of the biggest hurdles women face at the workplace, and is adamant that it affects their productivity and subsequently, the country's economy. "The absence of protection under the state law prevents many women from stepping out," she says.

Earlier this year, PPP MPAs Humera Alwani and Farheen Mughal drafted a similar bill on gender harassment with the assistance of several NGOs including Aurat Foundation, but it was returned by the Sindh government in November after a similar legislation was approved by the federal cabinet.

Members of AASHA, however, have not limited their work to the legislation process only. They are seen working at different levels to raise awareness among women against sexual harassers. Here in Karachi last week, AASHA launched its calendar for 2009, which, like its predecessor, features a different type of harasser each month. In 2008, the alliance published and distributed over 10,000 copies of its calendar.

"We want to help women identify such characters in everyday life," explains Saeed. "This will not only enable them to get rid of their fear, but prompt them to discuss their problems more openly and then take action. A calendar is the best way to remind women daily to stay vigilant of harassers around them."

When asked if she has more characters in mind and plans to release a similar calendar every year, Saeed laughs. "There are so many characters out there that we may never run short, but the popularity of these calendars will determine whether we need more."

Currently, members await the parliament's approval for the two bills, both of which have already been accepted by the federal cabinet. Among the cabinet members who supported the bills are Sherry Rehman, Farooq Naek, Raza Rabbani, and Shehnaz Wazir Ali. "But this isn't enough," warns Saeed. "Support across party lines is needed."

Members say that they are hopeful they will receive a positive response from the parliament for the two bills, as they comply with the government's commitment to high international labour standards and empowerment of women. "It also adheres to the Human Rights Declaration, the United Nation's Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and ILO's convention 100 and 111 on workers' rights," adds Karamat Ali, Director PILER and a member of AASHA.

How the law will make a difference

The bill for 'Protection against Harassment at the Workplace' requires all public and private organisations to adopt an internal Code of Conduct, which is aimed at establishing a safe working environment. Women who bring their complaints to bosses or colleagues are often encouraged to hush up the affair, but it will be difficult to do now, believes Saeed. "So far, 600 organisations from the corporate sector have agreed to adopt a code of conduct," she reveals.

In case private organisations fail to take action against harassment, the woman can register her complaint under the said law with an Ombudsperson or the Inquiry Committee established at federal and provincial levels as well.

When questioned about the protection of the female workforce in the public sector and factories, where reportedly more women are harassed, Saeed explains that an amendment in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), 1860, and the Criminal Procedure Code, 1898, will serve the purpose. Although section 509 of the PPC presently addresses the issue of harassment, it is somewhat vague.

"The insertion 509A seeks to elaborate and specify what constitutes sexual harassment and also increases maximum punishment up to three years or fine up to Rs500, 000 or both," says Saeed. "This will make the PPC more effective."

The proposed amendment will also help curb sexual harassment at the marketplace, public transport and bus stops and make women in public places feel safer. Critics argue that the legislation would be difficult to enforce in rural areas, where women are harassed when working in the field, but members of the alliance defend by saying that once the legislation is approved in the urban area, its enforcement will trickle down to villages.

"Once people are convicted, more women will come forward to report their case. This will deter men from harassing them further," remarks artiste Samina Pirzada, also a member of AASHA. While talking to Kolachi, Pirzada revealed that she herself has been a victim of harassment since 1999 after the release of her debut film Inteha. "The film did good business, but the distributors, Mandviwallas Entertainment, did not share the profits with me. I took the matter to court. It has been almost a decade, but my case is still pending. I am being harassed by the distributors because I dared to speak for my right: my money."

The case of Samina Pirzada and that of politician Shazia Marri, who was also harassed in the Sindh Assembly in 2006 by a member of the parliament, proves the gravity of the situation and the need to formulate such a law.

"We need to understand that harassment of women is not limited to a particular class. When a woman in the rural area is sexually abused, her state of mind is no different from a woman abused in a public bus in the urban area," points out Pirzada. "We women want our basic right to livelihood with dignity. If women continue to fear harassment, they will not have the courage to enter the job market and reduce poverty. This law will make them feel safer when they step out."

Only time will tell if this law will prove to be effective or remain limited to statute books like the Women's Protection Act 2006.

-- Photos courtesy AASHA Calendar 2009

 

The mega surprise that is Dhaka

Karachi is proclaimed to be the eighth mega city of the world, but there is one particular city belonging to one of the least developed countries in SAARC that overtakes it in many aspects: Dhaka

By M. Zeeshan Azmat

I recently visited Dhaka for 15 days and was astonished to learn, for example, that load-shedding usually lasts for just an hour, and no one in that locality had ever experienced load-shedding for more than three hours a day. This is despite the constant rain, which is far more than any rainfall Karachi experiences.

Also, unlike in Karachi, all mega shopping malls and other commercial businesses actually close their operations at 8:30 p.m. to preserve electricity. Nearly everyone is aware of what is happening around them, thanks to the Bangla newspapers pasted in plain view on the streets. Locals can enjoy the benefits of newspapers, and save time and money to boot.

The most economical and largest market in Dhaka is the Bangla Bazar. It has lot of varieties of male and female cloths and it easily overshadows our Zainab Market. There is also the New Elephant Market, similar to the Bahadurabad, Tariq Road, except that it provides nearly everything people need on a day-to-day basis. The circular New Market, meanwhile, can be compared to the KDA Market in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, except that it includes a separate section for goldsmiths.

In terms of markets, then, Dhaka may appear to be at level with Karachi, but there are many other areas in which the city is far better. Keeping in mind the poor sanitation, filtered water has become so common in Dhaka that people have avoid using tap water. 

Like Karachiites, Bangladeshis believe that corruption is a major problem in country, especially in the government sector. However, they also proudly say that since 1999, their education department has been totally corruption-free, although they admitted that student politics in higher education system is quite dangerous, with clashes between student wings often claiming the lives of innocent citizens.  

The petrol is sold at Taka 90 per litre and open petrol is available against the payment of Taka 92 per litre. What should surprise many is the fact that the price of CNG is almost near to the ground and it is available in Taka 16.75 per cubic metre. People often travel on the roofs of the trains to avoid paying fares and this exercise is quite common in the villages.

Of course, there are areas in which Dhaka does not surpass Karachi at all. After corruption, citizens cite traffic congestion as the second major issue of the country, with millions of citizens wasting hours in traffic jams, all of which are caused by improper planning, the heavy flow of vehicles on narrow streets, and the mushrooming of hundreds of unregistered cycle rickshaws.

Cycle rickshaws are manual tri-wheelers, and are operated by a man with a paddle, with a capacity for two to three passengers on the bench behind. Vans with a wooden platform are also used to transport up to five people at a time. Both modes of transportation are popular because of their cost, which is nominal.  

Authorities had announced that buses older than 20 years would be removed from the roads, but so far, this has not happened. The problems buses cause is evident in the official statement: "In 2000, buses travelled at an average of 17 kilometres (10.5 miles) an hour, which slowed down to 12.9 km in 2005 and might be reduced to 5.2 km an hour by 2014 if the congestion problems are not solved."

It must be said, however, that there are a good deal of pedestrian bridges, some covering unusually long distances. Authorities recently announced a $5.2 billion fund to improve the transport situation. In addition, the government's 20-year strategic transport plan includes underground trains, motorways, flyovers, footbridges and new roads.

Currently, the inter- and intra-city transport system is also in good condition. It was startling to see commuters queuing up for tickets at bus-stops. An even more admirable aspect of bus journeys was the discovery that not only does each bus have several ticket centres at its major routes, it also contains a bucket full with drinking water bottles! Overall, Dhaka is a very pleasant city to visit. It boasts a good number of public parks, lakes and other lush green fields where people, particularly young couples can often be seen. In Ramazan, people are even free to eat and drink and smoke in public places. For one of the least developed cities in the world, Dhaka offers a world of surprises.

 

 

karachicharacter

A spirit that refuses to be crippled

 

By Ahmed Yusuf

Imtiaz Ahmed Khan is a cab driver like no other. He ferries passengers from one place to another every day with a crippled spine, but there is no way they will ever be able to pick up on it. Khan could have been a victim of the circumstances, but instead he just smiles and says: "I have to dig a well everyday just so that I can drink daily. This is my struggle."

Khan was born in 1956 in Rajshahi, the 'second capital' of what was then known as East Pakistan. Educated at the Rajshahi Muslim High School and College, Khan was forced to flee East Pakistan in 1971. After reaching West Pakistan, or simply Pakistan, Khan completed his Intermediate studies privately and took up a job at a company, Shahzadi Patti, where he worked for close to 12 years. He was also employed with Lever Brothers and H. Jays Enterprise, where he formed life-lasting friendships.

It was on the evening of December 21, 2002, when Khan returned home from a wedding ceremony, when all of a sudden his blood pressure rose. Instinctively, he jumped to his feet but then lost consciousness. When he regained senses in the morning, his ears and nose were bleeding and his entire body had been paralysed.

Khan was admitted to Nadeem Hospital near NIPA Chowrangi before being shifted to Liaquat National Hospital (LNH) where doctors conducted Magnetic Resonance Imaging tests. Reports confirmed that Khan's spinal cord had been damaged. Dr Junaid Ashraf pencilled him in for an operation, a process that was testing in itself. "It was on December 23, 2002," he recalls. "Before the operation started, two nuts were drilled into and installed in my forehead. A string was tied to the nuts and attached to a 10-kilogramme weight. The next day, they added another four kilogrammes. The pain was unbearable, but the doctor said that my spinal cord had to be straightened. For the next 11 days and 11 nights, I lay in the hospital bed, crippled with that excruciating pain, and stared at the roof. I could not sleep."

Khan was finally operated upon on January 5, 2003. Plates were installed in place of a spinal cord to protect him in case he fell. After the operation, the doctor told him that while falling over would not damage the spinal cord, there was no guarantee that Khan would ever be able to move again. Khan spent the next fortnight in the hospital before returning home, but was bed-ridden for the next year.

"I lived on the third floor of my apartment complex at the time. Four people would take me on chair downstairs daily where I would sit and gaze at mundane activities with interest. I was both thankful and helpless at the time. Thankful to my family, my son, my friends for being there, and helpless because my entire body had been paralysed."

During this time, Khan had been taking medicines prescribed by the doctor and regular physiotherapy sessions. By 2005, however, he became fed up with his state and made up his mind: he would get a loan from a bank and buy a yellow cab. With the help of a few friends, he secured the loan and paid for his cab in monthly installments. He was determined to drive it himself. "God gave the strength to do it," says Khan.

Given what he had gone through, many could not believe that Khan would be able to drive. "I drove with my family to LNH to meet with Dr Ashraf for a regular check-up. When I told the doctor I had driven to work, he laughed and said I had a good sense of humour." But after the session, as Khan was walking towards the parking lot, Dr Ashraf's personal assistant told him that the Dr Ashraf was waiting at the emergency gate and Khan should pick him up. "I then drove to the medical store near National Stadium. We got off at the store, and he hugged me."

Khan has become a role model for many patients suffering from the same ailment, and the doctor later invited him to a seminar to show others what sheer courage and determination could achieve.

But Khan's journey hasn't been easy. "If it weren't for my family - my son in particular - and my friends, notably, Nashtar Junaid and Javed Humayun, I couldn't have managed it. Whenever I drive, there is no pain at all, but when I park my car and move about, there is excruciating pain. I have become used to it. As they say, God helps those who help themselves. It's just about taking the first step."

The News photos by Athar Khan

 

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