Freedom matters


PHOTOS BY HAYA FARUQUI

PHOTOS BY HAYA FARUQUI

Lahore

Ayesha Hasan happened to be in the Taxali Gate area last weekend. She heard some men on the corner of the street shout, “andar!” The women, and some transgender men, standing on the doorsteps instantly hid behind the doors. When her and her friend passed the street she heard them shout once again. This time they yelled, “bahir!” and the women reappeared shortly. That’s when she decided that she has to talk to them about what freedom meant to them, caged in this small street for years. But not many were allowed to speak to her. They don’t like unannounced guests, or those who ask too many questions.

“Freedom for me is to be married, have a family, kids and a respectable job. I want to marry and settle in life, own a small house. If you offer me a job, I will serve you for life. I want to get out of here.”

Zohaib, 40 – Brothel owner

“Freedom? What difference does it make to me? There is no freedom in life when you cannot say no when you want to.”

Noor, 23 – Sex worker

“Freedom is to be able to send your kids to school without fearing for their lives. I wish there would be strict arms control in Pakistan, and no one would carry guns.”

Rehan, 36 – Musician, table player

“To live with respect; I dream of days when people will talk to me with respect. Call me, Ms Natasha. But this can never happen, never. Freedom can never come to us.”

Natasha, 18 – Sex worker

“I will be free the day I will not have to turn my back towards you when you ask me for my photograph. For now, I will
have to.”

Asiya, 24 – Transgender, entertainer

“What’s freedom in a cage I live in? My body and mind are both caged. Independence Day, especially, is an imprisonment.”

Maria, 19 – Transgender, entertainer

Karachi

This Independence Day Haya Faruqui takes you straight to the streets of Karachi. In asking people what independence means to them, and the changes they’d like to see in Pakistan, she discovers some heartening stories, and a few cruel realities. In the spirit of the day and what it stands for lets vow to do our part in changing Pakistan for the better

“The country should be cleaned up. We should be free from diseases, and water should be clean.”

– Ruksana, Caretaker

“The first thing we need is justice. In a country where there is justice, that country always thrives. People here should be given justice.”

– Hussain, Teacher

“The people of Pakistan should be understanding and have love for one another. They should be compassionate. They should have sensitivity for each other, and no one should feel lesser or more than the other.”

– Salma, Worker

“People here are dying because our basic needs are not met. They should be afforded the basic necessities of life, and there should be justice in Pakistan.”

– Arshad, Worker

“There should be two political parties which are national and who should work towards a better Pakistan. In five or six years Pakistan will become the best. I pray for the Christian community in Pakistan day and night.”

– Rafiq, Office assistant

“We should all celebrate Independence Day, and we should be free. Wear nice clothes, every child carry a flag, there should be prosperity for all. Humara Pakistan zindabad!

– Sakina, Maid

“Electricity, water and gas systems should be improved. Transport is a huge problem, people sit on top of buses and sometimes have accidents. The leaders of the nation should think about these problems. They get our votes so that they can serve the nation. We should also change ourselves.”

– Allah Dita, Bus driver

“All corrupt people should be locked up in jail and the police should be improved — that is how Pakistan will become a better place.”

– Mujeeb, Shopkeeper

“We should keep cordial relations with one another. I pray for a day where we all meet each other with nothing but genuine happiness.”

– Shoaib, Shopkeeper

“To make Pakistan better we need better leaders. The situation in Pakistan should be better, that is the biggest thing. We are all fed up of the water and electricity system here, and now they have stopped transport also .”

– Akbar,  Bus driver

“There should be more work, there should be better work, and everyone should get enough food and water.”

– Shamshaad, Maid

“If all corrupt politicians are put in jail, the new generation will not be inclined towards corrupt politics after seeing the example of their predecessors. The old generation should help end corruption.”

– Zahid, Shopkeeper

“I pray for prices to be lower, the situation in the city to be improved and for a better environment. Here all you see is dirt, I hope it is cleaned. This is how the environment is made. We should all be mindful of cleanliness.”

– Nasir, Shopkeeper

“We should all support one another, maybe this will also win independence for Kashmir.”

– Rakib, Shopkeeper

“The first thing is for our government to be strong, and for the people to be fair to others.”

– Ethesham, Waiter

“I pray for intelligent leader who runs Pakistan successfully.”

– Saeed Mir, Cook

“The country should be cleaned up. We should be free from diseases, and water should be clean.”

– Hameed, Driver

“Pakistan can’t change overnight. Of course the system should change and the situation should get better, but one man can’t change everything. If every man is honest, and understands his duties, then one by one we will all change for the better. Kehte hein keh chirag se chirag jalta hai, aur ishi tarhan poora Pakistan behtar ho sakta hai.”

– Tahira, teacher

“We are all free. In my village everyone can go anywhere they like and no one says anything to them. This is what independence means to me, being able to do anything they want to do with good intentions. What Pakistan needs is for terrorism and corruption to be diminished.”

– Rabnawaz, Cook

“Freedom means for everyone to have equal opportunities and rights. I wish I could have been educated like you. I wish I didn’t have to work in my old age.”

– Habibullah, Chaatwala

“There should be peace in Pakistan.”

– Malik, Driver

“I love Pakistan the way it is, it is perfect.”

– Ali Raza, Cook


Original news : http://tribune.com.pk/story/1158883/freedom-matters/