Vessels from around the world end up in ship-breaking yards to be broken down into scrap. The workers reduce these colossal ships to tons of material which is then sold. It is a dirty and dangerous job.
These vessels were beached so the workers can begin the dismantling process. Workers are exposed to lead, asbestos, and other dangerous toxins. These pictures were taken near Karachi, Pakistan, and Mumbai, India.

From These Hands, published by Phaidon Press, will be published in May. From the foothills of the Andes to the slopes of Kilimanjaro, images document the realities of life for the people working at the source of this familiar commodity - coffee.

Pakistani students formed a human shield around the Holi celebrations at the Swami Narayan Temple in Karachi so that Hindus could celebrate their festival with abandon.

Hindus, who make up almost 2% of Pakistan’s population of around 180 million, are the largest minority in the country. Most of them live in the country’s Sindh and Punjab provinces.

The National Student’s Federation (NSF) carried out this exercise to show their solidarity with Pakistani Hindus, to promote the protection of religious minorities, and advocate interfaith coexistence.

Over the past few years, Pakistani Hindus have raised issues of discrimination, desecration of Hindu temples, and forcible religious conversion of their girls. These problems were in the Indian parliament when many Pakistan Hindus fled to India seeking refugee status in 2012.

“When we showed solidarity with Shias at the Imambargah, Dr. Jaipaal Chhabria joined us and stood alongside us so it’s only fair that as a group, we extend the same courtesy to all Hindus in Pakistan who face a lot of prosecution of different kinds,“ said Fawwad Hasan, General Secretary Karachi of the NSF.

“We are not religious fundamentalists who take religion into our own hands, that is not what we do,” he explained. “Society as a whole has to show change and be a part of that change. If you don’t stand up for someone else’s rights today, tomorrow you will also be targeted and there will be no one to stand up for your rights,” he said.

Pakistan has the most people of African descent in South Asia. It has been estimated that at least a quarter of the total population of the Makran coast is of African ancestry—that is, at least 250,000 people living on the southern coast of Pakistan, which overlaps with southeastern Iran, can claim East African descent. Beginning in 1650 Oman traded more heavily with the Lamu archipelago on the Swahili coast and transported Africans to the Makran coast. As a result, today many Pakistani of African descent are referred to as Makrani, whether or not they live there. On the coast they are also variously referred to as dada, sheedi and syah (all meaning black), or alternatively, gulam (slave) or naukar (servant). The children of Sindhi Muslim men and sidiyani (female Africans) are called gaddo—as in half-caste. The population geneticist Lluis Quintana-Murci of the Pasteur Institute in Paris found that more than 40 percent of the maternal gene pool of the Makrani is of African origin.

     "Mombasa Street" and “Sheedi Village” in Karachi speak to the African presence in modern-day Pakistan. The predominantly Muslim Afro-Pakistani community in Karachi continues to celebrate the Manghopir festival, in honor of the Sufi saint Mangho Haji Syed Sakhi Sultan. Outside the main shrine in Karachi, there is a pond with crocodiles that are served specially prepared food. The crocodiles, which were venerated by Hindus before the advent of Islam and are also regarded with esteem by Africans, have become an integral part of the shrine. Although the Sheedis no longer understand all the words of the songs they sing, they pass along this tradition to succeeding generations.

     Maritime activities on the Pakistani Makran coast influenced the music of Afro-Baluchis, many of whom were seafarers who maintained contacts with eastern and northeastern Africa through the middle of the 20th century. There are distinct similarities between the Afro-Pakistani drumming and singing performances called laywa in the Makran and those called lewa in coastal Oman—songs consisting of Swahili words and references to both East Africa and the sea.

Aashi, a transgender who is Faiq by day and Aashi at night, says,

“Living a discrete life is not everyone’s cup of tea.”

“I was raised in a conservative family of five in Nazimabad. My father was a government employee and was ashamed of my existence. Since childhood, I had this natural inclination towards floral prints, dolls, jewellery and the likes, and used to imitate famous female celebrities. My family, which included my parents, a younger sister and brother, had initially ignored this tendency in me and considered it as part of growing up. However, it was after the age of 16 that they realised that something was wrong which was now obvious through my accent, the way I walked, my gestures and some unusual biological changes that had started to occur.
This created panic in the family and the very next day, I was standing in front of a doctor who after examining me thoroughly, took my parents to a private room nearby and whatever discussion took place was never revealed to me. All that I remember was that my mother came out with tears in her eyes and my father with a frown on his face, who grabbed my hand and without saying a single word, drove us back home. Everyone in the family was told to keep quiet about it, and I was told to wear baggy clothes and avoid any kind of socialising at school.
I was lucky I was allowed to continue my studies, which I did and managed to graduate in psychology from a college in Karachi and later on a certification in hotel management. By that time, I had grown up into an adult with some obvious biological changes and that’s when my life took a U-turn.
I was asked to leave my home. The same home where I was born in, grew up, played with my siblings, spent some of the best years of my life, and here I was being asked to leave this abode just because I was becoming an embarrassment to the family. I did not even try to reason with my parents because this was a reality that I had to live with and this was just another phase of my life where I had to be strong and ready to take the challenge head on. With a heavy heart, I left my home and my family and rented a small apartment in a commercial area of Defence. For the initial six months, my father supported me financially and occasionally visited me to make sure that I was doing okay.
Each time he visited me, I greeted him with a smile on my face and never displayed any kind of anger or pain that was literally eating me up from inside. After retirement, his income trimmed down to a pension and that was when I stepped out in search for a job. After a month long search, I ended up securing a position at the commissioner’s office in the administration department. Initially, there was plenty of resistance by the staff but then I made an effort to win them over with my no-nonsense attitude and commitment towards my work. There are plenty of transgenders who are working at homes as domestic help, working for the government availing the two per cent job quota and providing services in the fashion industry.
I met this man named Wajid Sheikh who visited as a customer but slipped his business card to me and asked me to call him for he had an excellent proposition for me. Willingly or unwillingly, I did place that call and took his offer. I was to first get in touch with a similar group of transgenders through Mr Wajid and get briefed up on some part time work that they were all involved in. I met Ms Komal, the manager of the discrete community that Mr Wajid was running, and was introduced to a totally new world where I was to use my ‘special features’ and my sexual orientation to satisfy a certain segment of the society which was running into hundreds if not thousands. I was to go with a pseudonym ‘Aashi’ and establish a network of clients through social media and word of mouth.
I became a dancer who used to entertain men at different gatherings and parties. This was initially hard on me for I had belonged to a conservative family background but the pay was really handsome and I gave in. There was no looking back and I quickly reached great heights in this entertainment segment. I now am Faiq by day and Aashi by night. My father and brother have completely broken all ties with me for which I can’t blame them. However, it’s my mother who often calls me to inquire about my health and to see if I’m doing fine. I chose this path myself and will face the consequences accordingly. I still miss my home though and I know for a fact that from what I have become, they will never accept me back so why fret about it. Financially, I’m independent and will even be willing to help them out if they ever need my help.
Had the government and the civil society worked towards incorporating us into this society with equal opportunities for people from our community, I wouldn’t have been selling myself to make both ends meet and live a discrete life. I have to think a thousand times before visiting a doctor during illness and in public places, mothers distance their young ones from us, isolating us further and making a mockery out of our orientation. I have no other way but to use my skills to survive in this jungle of intolerance and narrow mindedness.

“Apart from the excitement of the sea itself, there are many other attractions at SeaView. Horse and camel rides are a famous form of entertainment for all ages. Quad bike rides were recently introduced at the beach; they are the new excitement to the area.

I had a camel ride on the beach with some friends for just 60 rupees. It is quite enthralling. If you sit in the front, like I did, the camel’s standing up for the ride and sitting back down at the end of it to unload you is the scariest!”

(via tahir_chakera)


Nostalgia is a funny thing. It’s like looking through the window of a bullet train passing by downtown of a metropolis at night. You only see the well-lit boulevards and tall skyscrapers while the darkened slums are blurred out of view. Today, when I look back at my 29 years in Pakistan, I can’t remember the pitch dark slums of the late 80s or early 90s. The memories that have remained or those which my brain has chosen to record are the ones where only the metaphorical boulevards and skyscrapers remain.

Before a myriad of Pakistani television channels sprung up, before a number of musical bands with idiosyncratic names popped up, before the ‘with us or against us’ moment, before the Kargil fiasco, before the mushroom growth of satellites across city rooftops and even before silly old cynicism crept into our collective minds, …I remember playing cricket in the streets in pouring rain and in scorching heat…“—Ahmad Hassan.

Pakistan through cricket (Insp.)


The national flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), which once had Pierre Cardin design the uniform for its cabin crew, will now sport local designer Nomi Ansari’s creations after he won a fashion face-off for the honour.

The face-off was staged as a fashion show with some of the country’s top designers presenting their prospective uniforms for the flag carrier at the Runway Collection 2015 held in Karachi on Monday.

Source: tribune.com.pk


The American Embassy of Pakistan in Karachi by Richard Neutra [1959]. As one of the most high-profile names on Pakistan’s architectural namedrop list, the project is an opulent display of the nation’s glory days. The primary building is a long four-story 90,000-square-foot box. It is asymmetrically divided into large and smaller wings, the smaller portion on the north angled a little to the west. The angle formed by that difference also defines the primary entry. Here, a vertical thrust of full-height glass panels and metal rises full-height. This main building is connected to a large one-story warehouse by an interstitial two-story building. This intermediary building, later known as The American Center, originally housed  the cafeteria, reproductive services, and a small “motion picture room.” A secured service yard and covered garage bays occupies the southwest quadrant of the lot. The entire complex is markedly different from other downtown buildings by the broad lawns and extensive landscaping and hardscape features.