Armed with a double major in Finance and Arts from Franklin & Marshall, a liberal arts college in the USA, the Karachi native worked as a hedge fund consultant on Wall Street till 2009. It was his sister who inspired him to make the drastic change in careers.
“She was a director and a staunch supporter of Pakistan. She convinced me to quit my job and take up a course in visual arts so I could assist her in her projects. When she passed away in 2009, Ashraf took it upon himself to make her dream come true. “She wanted me to be an ambassador for my country. I’m doing this for her.” - Bilal Ashraf for Destinations Magazine.
For those of you who are unaware, Qandeel Baloch is a Pakistani woman who was very big on social media and was often critiqued for posting “racy” or “inappropriate” content that was disapproved of by the South Asian (but mainly Pakistani) community. She was murdered by her brother because he thought she was bringing dishonour to her family, although people believe there might be another side to the story since photos of her were released with a mufti (Islamic scholar). There are actually people justifying this “honour killing” because they believe murdering somebody is justified as long as it’s to restore honour to the family. This absolutely appalling and despicable mentality runs rampant in South Asian communities and it needs to be addressed. Women’s lives are not yours to take, control or assign worth to. Unsurprisingly there are Pakistani men who support this murder because they too view women as property and objects they own and can choose to dispose of when they feel like it. To these men, and all men- women are not your possessions. You do not have the right to us, to our lives. It is a sad day when this needs to be said but the fact is, South Asian communities hold this disgusting mentality that it is justified to fucking kill someone if you think they are behaving inappropriately. Our lives BELONG TO US. I am so tired and sick of these communities that are brainwashed and fed the same sick attitudes and beliefs. I am really fucking tired of people using religion and the idea of retribution from God to control and police women’s behaviour. It is absolutely a Muslim problem and it is absolutely a Hindu problem, and above all- it is a South Asian problem. Policing and controlling women’s behaviour to what men believe is appropriate is a very large problem in our communities and we need to acknowledge that the way these men do it is using religious beliefs that come with Islam and Hinduism.
The Derawar Fort is a large square fortress in Bahawalpur, Punjab. The forty bastions of Derawar are visible for many miles in the Cholistan Desert. The walls have a perimeter of 1500 metres and stand up to thirty metres high.
The fort was built in the 9th century AD as a tribute to Rawal Deoraj Bhatti, a Rajput sovereign king of the Jaisalmer (in modern day Rajasthan, India) and Bahawalpur areas.
In the 18th century, the fort was taken over by Muslim Nawabs of Bahawalpur from the Shahotra tribe. It was later renovated by Abbasi rulers, but in 1747 the fort slipped from their hands owing to Bahawal Khan’s preoccupations at Shikarpur. Nawab Mubarak Khan took the stronghold back in 1804.
“The legend of Anarkali – the beautiful courtesan who seduced the Mughal Prince Saleem only to be entombed alive in a wall for her transgression by Salim’s father, Emperor Akbar. The history of Anarkali, that heaving, bustling maze of congested streets and tiny shops located outside the Lohari Gate, can be traced back to colonial times.
Lahore’s oldest surviving bazaar was once the center of culture and style; and remains a popular shopping destination even today… Vibrant and chaotic, Anarkali Bazaar embodies Lahore’s spirit of grandeur, contradictions and co-existence. Amongst shops selling everything from stationery to hand embroidered khussas to fresh nimbo paani, you’ll spot architectural styles derived from the various eras to have shaped the city’s cultural ethos – from Mughal to Sikh to British” -Destinations Magazine