Jibran meets me at Karachi Press Club, where I used to spend a lot of time when I worked for the Star during the eighties. Even now, I find myself visiting the old sandstone building at the edge of Saddar. Today, I’m here to conduct a formal interview with Akbar Baloch, a photographer I’ve known since I first began working at the Star.
Even though the paper no longer exists and there’s been a digital and television media explosion in the country, people have managed to remain connected. Akbar is showing me another side of Lyari and opening up opportunities to talk to members of the Baloch community, many who have the same origins as the Sheedis in rural Sindh.
“But we are free,” Akbar tells us. “We have the opportunity to educate ourselves and many of us have risen into professional fields.”
His friend, Rafiq Baloch who serves as Secretary General of the Karachi Union of Journalists adds: “My father was a construction worker and I’m a journalist. My children’s lives are different from mine. We often didn’t have food but they are all studying…Contrary to stereotypes, Lyari is not unsafe.”