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COMMON MAN STORIES

Limited access to education and socio-economic class polarization has excluded many in Pakistan from having an opportunity to voice their grievances. CMI believes that lessons of wisdom, error and growth can be learned by all those willing to teach and share their experiences.

Stepping on to the streets of Pakistan and tapping into the vernacular richness on ground, our team interacts with the common man and compiles a testimony to their life. This project covers various themes and topics that are prevalent in the public and private domains of ordinary citizens. Engaging with communities and individuals, this project is a bridge between those who want to speak and those who want to hear.

Anti War Protests

War is not the answer, haven’t we seen Syria and Iraq? Haven’t we seen Afghanistan and Vietnam? And still we haven’t learned. There is nothing glorious about war, this passion for fighting must end. We are suffering from a food and water crises, we are an under developed nation we must take careful steps to...
2 months ago
0
6

Tariq

I am a band musician, I have been playing in a band since I was fourteen years old. My father used to play the trumpet. It is a very odd job as you have to perform in a very mechanical manner. I have always thought that my music is the complete opposite of what I...
2 months ago
0
2

Mukhtar

There is not a single thing that I’m worried about, it’s not that India will attack us, it’s not that china might take over, it’s not that we might run out of water. These are the talks that I’m hearing through the media, in arguments over tea. What I say to this is that I...
2 months ago
0
7

Adnan

If you asked someone of my age what they wanted to become when they were older, They would probably tell you some profession like a doctor, or a lawyer or a pilot. But not me, I wanted to be none of those. I never thought about it like that, never gave my career a serious...
3 months ago
0
13

Ismail

I am a metal worker. This is all I have known, my work has been my companion ever since my father got me this job. My father was also a metal worker and he died of Lung Cancer. This is this risk involved when you’re working with fumes every day. Our job is to cut,...
3 months ago
0
13

Riaz

The drive for honesty is no more, I see people desperate for corruption even though they can earn the right way. When will these people realize that the money earned through hard work lasts much longer than the money earned through lying and cheating? It burns my heart when I see respectable people receive bribes,...
4 months ago
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22

Imran

I don’t believe in this political structure anymore, every government has lied to us and they think that we the people are fools. We have been paying the taxes and bills and we get nothing in return, we have been promised our basic necessities for so long but we never receive them. Our expenses are...
4 months ago
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48

RISAL CHACHA

It was the summer of 1984, Imran Khan came to Lahore for a speech to the public. All my friends were fans of cricket, so as expected Imran was our hero. We all wanted to hear what he had to say to us but we didn’t know anything about his cause and all this PTI...
4 months ago
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38

SHOKI

It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining at its best. We were all gathered at a park to play cricket. The match went on and it was our turn to bowl. I was at a fielding position near the boundary and the ball came flying overhead and went towards the road. I went...
4 months ago
0
34

ILLYAS

I’m from a part of Pakistan where people are still living in barbaric times. I have fled from my hometown because of reasons I shall talk to you about. My family had disputes within themselves, when my father died, me and my three brothers inherited all his land where we cultivated rice. I am the...
4 months ago
0
38

Abdul Rehman

I have a 12-year-old son; he studies in a private school. I got him admitted in a good school even though it was expensive because I didn’t want to compromise his learning. A few days ago I got to know that he couldn’t afford some of the things that his class fellows had. He was...
4 months ago
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44

Ashiq

I have been selling newspapers for almost 20 years now, I remember when the newspaper was the only source for new information. I would set up my stall at 7 AM and all the newspapers would be sold out by 9 or 10 AM. People would come rushing in, excited about the news. They would...
5 months ago
0
50

Abdul Basit

My job is very strange, I form the last representations of people. I write names of the deceased on marble, for their loved ones to recognize the graves. This job makes me think about life after this one. It feeds into my faith, every day it reminds me that this world is temporary. Every time...
6 months ago
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60

Mushtaq brothers (Wahid, Ahmed, Mudassir)

Responsibilities are a hard fact to accept. We work for others, to keep our loved ones happy, to feed them and keep a shelter overheads. Our father lost this fight with responsibilities. He found an escape in powder (heroin) now he’s a drug addict. His only responsibility is catering to his addiction. We have tried...
6 months ago
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66

Riaz (Babu Band)

I am 28 years old, 12 of which I dedicated to playing an instrument. Once you start practicing on a musical instrument, it is a start of a journey, you can go on counting years or months but the process of learning never stops. I learned to play the drums by my father. I’m learning...
6 months ago
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57

Kamran Ali

I’m 27 years old, from a village near Faisalabad. Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a professional cricketer. I had posters of Imran khan, Shahid Afridi and Inzemam-Ul-Haq up on my wall. I grew up playing cricket at a ground near my home in Faisalabad. Whenever I used to bowl or bat...
6 months ago
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53

Hassan Nasrullah

I had a friend named Awais, we have been friends since we were young. It was a feeling of triumph whenever we did something together. And we started off with teasing people as children, then we stated stealing little things from the shop. We would bunk school and make fun of our teachers. We’d cause...
6 months ago
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57

Ibrahim Chacha

I used to work in a factory in Sialkot, the factory was of leather goods. Back in the day when everything was done by hand, I used to sew leather gloves together. It was a good life, me and my wife a 4 year old son, we were living in servant quarters. All our neighbors...
6 months ago
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51

Mahmood Afzal

My name is Mahmood, I am one of a thousand men that come to the city from far off rural areas, there’s no doubt that I can find more work here. The problem with big cities is that with the increase in work the expenses also increase. I have much more responsibilities than I can...
6 months ago
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51

Amjad Ali Calligrapher

If your work is in a gallery, even if no one likes your work it will get sold for 40,000 Rupees. In a shop like this people aren’t ready to pay even 5,000 Rupees. Selling your art is the hardest thing, it’s like selling a part of yourself. Especially when no one cares about what...
6 months ago
0
58

Baba Abdul Razaq

‘Hamari koi Kahani nahi hai jee; yeh hi hamari kahani hai’. This world is an illusion, everything you see is temporary. We’re born alone and at the end we die alone. I am around 40 years old, I don’t even know my exact date of birth. I have never been married, I have no children,...
7 months ago
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91

Shahzaib Bashir Ahmed

I am a student of M.Com. I always wanted to have a business of my own, and not have to work under someone. I do not have a particular idea for a business in my mind, but I will probably start a business in the import and export of goods. I chose to study Commerce...
8 months ago
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87

Faisal Iqbal

I have set up this stall just because 14th August is right around the corner. I work in the catering business; I have been in the field since 1988. I was in year 7 when I first started working. The happiest day of my life was when my God blessed me with children. The reason...
8 months ago
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86

Shazia

A large part of my life was spent dancing in circuses and weddings. I was around 7 years old when I started dancing. I am nearly 50 years old now and spend my life off of what people give me, as charity. I meet people from all backgrounds. When I go to weddings, I meet...
8 months ago
0
91

Kamran

I am 27 years old, and a father of 2 kids. I recite naats and when I can, I take up work as a laborer. I have cleared the first part of my FSc and then I had to leave. After my father died, I was the sole bread winner of the family, burdened by...
8 months ago
0
90

Baba Yaqub Saeein

I am about 70 years old now. I own a donkey cart and carry construction materials. I will carry anything but garbage. I am a Malang and I need to stay clean. People will mock me, if they see a Malang carrying garbage. I am also known as Baba Chitta Saeein. People started calling me...
8 months ago
0
84

Afghan

I am nearly 25 years old. I originally belong from Quetta, and my grandfather was an afghan refugee. We have been living in Pakistan for the past 70 years. We moved to Pakistan during the partition of India, in 1947. We do not have the refugee cards, consequently, whenever we travel, like the time we...
8 months ago
0
86

Muhammad Sadiq

Let me tell you something, for the poor person, the happiest day is when he is able to earn enough money after a day’s work. We live day to day, when I am unable to make enough money, I accept my fate and go to sleep. There is despair when there is no money, we...
8 months ago
0
88

Pervaiz Masih

My wife died 3 years ago, she died because of dengue fever. My boss had paid for her treatment, but she was unable to survive, it was just the will of God. I have two children, a son and a daughter. My son is training to be a barber, and my daughter goes to a...
8 months ago
0
78

Qamar Ali

I have been working at a paan and tobacco shop for the past one year. Before that I was working in a bakery called, Shimla Bakery. I think about my childhood often; I had no worries back then, I had better plans of future for myself. Now, I have given up all hopes of studying...
8 months ago
0
86

Sufyan Ali

“I used to work in Sheikhupura, in a thread manufacturing factory. I quit about two years ago because it was too far from home. My father passed away when I was 7 years old, I am 17 now. We used to live in Okara before we moved to Lahore. At the age of 10, I...
8 months ago
0
84

Danish Pervaiz Rathore

I’m from Kashmir, which is where I took my matric exams. I failed two subjects. When I had the retakes; Kashmir was inaccessible because of snowfall. Consequently, I was unable to take the exams. Since then, I have not attempted to retake exams for those two subjects. I would like to continue studying, but I...
8 months ago
0
82

Naveed Devinson

“It is difficult to go on a journey alone, especially when someone who was going to accompany you leaves your side.” “I did F.A from Lahore Degree College of Special Education. This was back in 2006. My school days were the most memorable days of my life. I was schooled in Karachi, and used to...
8 months ago
0
75

Common Man Stories – Saigol

Saigol “I am 9 years old. I am a beggar. My parents beg as well. I used to go to school, but then my teacher hit me twice with a stick and ever since, I have not gone back to school. I do not want to go to a school because they will beat me...
11 months ago
0
105

I think it is wrong when women are refused the right to education but that is just the way things are in rural areas – Haider Ali

Haider Ali “I think it is wrong when women are refused the right to education but that is just the way things are in rural areas.” “I am studying in grade 10, I am 18 years old. My parents dream of me serving in the army. It would give me a chance to not only...
11 months ago
0
110

It is not our job to judge anyone, only God has access to such knowledge. These are matters we should not concern ourselves with – Muhammad Rasheed

Muhammad Rasheed “It is not our job to judge anyone, only God has access to such knowledge. These are matters we should not concern ourselves with”. “I am 57 years old. I used to work as a painter with the Government of Pakistan. It has been 6 years since I retired. I had to retire...
11 months ago
0
136

The best lesson he gave me; is to treat people with kindness – Muhammad Daniyal Raza

Muhammad Daniyal Raza “The best lesson he gave me; is to treat people with kindness” “I am 17 years old. I study in Government City Muslim School. I am preparing for my matric exams these days. My result for grade 9 is going to come out soon. I have performed well throughout the classes and...
11 months ago
0
188

Kiyun marna aye mandir masjid teh takran, ilm which rab busda – Khawar Gujjar

Khawar Gujjar “Kiyun marna aye mandir masjid teh takran, ilm which rab busda” I am 45 years old. I have three sons. Two of my sons have recently given their matric exams. I want them to study so that they can stand out from the crowd. Do some good for our country. It is wrong...
11 months ago
0
166

Everyone has something to teach, you just need to be willing to learn – Muhammad Aslam

Muhammad Aslam “Everyone has something to teach, you just need to be willing to learn.” “I am nearly 51 years old now. I have 6 children; my eldest son is 25 years old. There have been countless occasions during my life that have been a source of great happiness. Some of the happiest times are...
12 months ago
0
175

I was happier when I was younger – Pervaiz

Pervaiz “I was happier when I was younger”. “I was happier when I was younger. I did not have to work then, all I did was play every day. I belong from Bajaur. My father is a driver, he can drive pretty much everything, from cars to trucks. Last time I visited Bajaur was three...
12 months ago
0
118

I really enjoy studying – Wahid

Wahid “I really enjoy studying.” “I am in second grade. Right now, we have our summer holidays so I am not going to school. The school is in Bajaur; I am here these days to earn money. I will go back once the holidays are over. I really enjoy studying. At school they teach us...
12 months ago
0
150

Kiyun marna aye mandir masjid teh takran, ilm which rab busda – Khawar Gujjar

Khawar Gujjar “Kiyun marna aye mandir masjid teh takran, ilm which rab busda” “I am 45 years old. I have three sons. Two of my sons have recently given their matric exams. I want them to study so that they can stand out from the crowd. Do some good for our country. It is wrong...
12 months ago
0
136

I am the one responsible for its maintenance, but the people who use it have a duty towards the park as well – Ghulam Nabi

Ghulam Nabi “I am the one responsible for its maintenance, but the people who use it have a duty towards the park as well.” “I have been working with PHA for the last fourteen years and I have come to realise that trees are immensely important for us. Lahore is notorious for its heat-waves. When...
1 year ago
0
153

I have been working as a cobbler for as long as I can imagine – Abdul Razzaq

Abdul Razzaq “I have been working as a cobbler for as long as I can imagine.” All I have to say about life is, that nothing is constant. There are occasions when you would be having a very good time, and yet there will be times where you would not be enjoying at all. However,...
1 year ago
0
156

I would rather sleep on an empty stomach than beg – Qadir Muhammad

Qadir Muhammad “I would rather sleep on an empty stomach than beg”. For many, the red light is a curse, but for the 40-year-old Qadir Muhammad it is a blessing. This is the time when the traffic comes to a halt and he can sell his meticulously crafted balloon bicycles. “I was once an energetic...
1 year ago
0
99

I fell off the roof last year in August – Muhammad Basharat

Muhammad Basharat “I fell off the roof last year in August. I was putting up a flag and lost balance.” “My ankles fractured and since then I have gotten my legs plastered from Sheikh Zayed Hospital, thrice. My joints are still dislocated and the swelling has not subsided. I used to drive a rickshaw but...
1 year ago
0
148

I am not capable of saying anything smart – Pervaiz

Pervaiz “I am not capable of saying anything smart.” Pervaiz, 17-years old, has been working at a banquet hall for the past 4 years. His parents work at a brick kiln near Head Balloki and his sister who is 10-years old, goes to school. “I haven’t been to a school in the last 7 years”....
1 year ago
0
177

Women can achieve whatever they want, if they set their minds to it – Rahila

Rahila Women can achieve whatever they want, if they set their minds to it.    In this patriarchal society, a woman’s identity is the name of her father and later, her husband’s. Women here are not granted the agency and individuality that they deserve. That is their right. Over the years, the concept of dependency has been inculcated to...
1 year ago
0
144

If Quran was to be summed up in one word, it would be, ikhlaaq – Jahangir Ali

Jahangir Ali “If Quran was to be summed up in one word, it would be, ikhlaaq” “I have working as a gardener for nearly 25 years. I am married and I have 2 sons and a daughter, all of whom are married. The eldest son works as a gardener as well, and the younger one...
1 year ago
0
160