Feb 18, 2009 - published work    17 Comments

Pakistan’s cultural renaissance

The third installment of what future holds for us.

What quips, quirks, snafus and scandals does Pakistan’s future hold? Tazeen Javed time travels to 2019 and blogs about what makes the Land of the Pure tick – or is it explode? – in the coming decade.

April 1, 2019

KARACHI: The wait is finally over. After a tussle that lasted for over a decade, 2019 will see the second installment of the fashion week being held in Pakistan. The idea first surfaced in 2006 and Karachi did come up with a fashion week in 2008, but it fizzled out after just one event. In a time like this, when major fashion capitals have wrapped up the idea of actually having a fashion week as obsolete and most big designers have taken to use holograms to showcase their ware, the fashionistas in Pakistan seems quite excited about being able to claim that they too have taken part in/attended/organized an event where fashion reigns supreme.

Several reasons were cited for this decade-long delay: security concerns in the country, infighting in the fashion council of Pakistan. But the most pertinent reason was that there were only three models who were at least five feet, eight inches tall – a standard that is followed everywhere in the world except Pakistan. As one cannot have a fashion week with just three models, we kept delaying the event. It didn’t help that no new girl joined the fashion industry in the past decade because of threats from various jihadi groups. Now that the militants have all fought and killed each other, things are much calmer and a new breed of models have joined in to make the fashion week a possibility.

Of course, the fashion industry is not the only one that has gained momentum after the jihadi burnout. The film industry is also in for a revival and is attracting financing from all over the world after Shaan was declared the most prolific actor of all time. He has continued to work throughout the jihadi period and single-handedly ran the film industry while in exile in Timbuktu. He recently returned home and was interviewed by none other than Oprah who is visiting Pakistan as the cultural envoy of US President Condoleezza Rice. Shaan has not only worked in more than 4,000 films as the leading actor, he also wrote, produced, and directed at least half of them. He is also the only actor known to have played the proverbial college boy well into his fifties. As all his films required him to be involved in a blood bath before the credits rolled, he is being considered to become the spokesperson for the National Blood Donation Drive. As he only wanted farm fresh ketchup to be used for blood in all his films, he is also responsible for introducing tomato farming and the ketchup industry to the dusty deserts of Timbuktu. Members of the Association of Tomato Growers and Ketchup Makers in Timbuktu came all the way to Lahore to pay tribute to the legendary actor, secretly hoping that Oprah would also give them a two-minute slot in her show.

The music industry is not far behind either. All the bands that were underground for the past decade have finally seen the light of day and are making themselves heard. Although they were underground for political and security reasons, they took their state of being underground a little too musically and all they now produce is hard rock and grunge – the type of music underground bands have been associated with in previous years. The only performers of good old pop music are the children of pop musicians-turned-naat khwaans who have been busy selling their Naat and Hamd CDs and DVDs for the past dozen years. Pakistan has also seen a surge in rap and hip hop music after the successful debut of the first female Pakistani rap artist Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari, who was nominated for two Grammys last year. Bhutto-Zardari is the daughter of the slain former prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto and longest elected president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari (11 years and counting).

Apart from all the new and exciting musicians, the only band to have lasted this long is Noorie. When contacted, Ali Noor – the lead vocalist – said that the reason the band survived is because all band members hail from his family. In the past, they have had band members who were not part of their family, but they could not survive the family-like atmosphere of their jamming sessions. Currently, the band comprises of Ali Noor, his brother, his nephew, his son-in-law, and his nephew’s mother-in-law. After all, it is all about loving your family and your nephew’s mother-in-law.

The sole person to whom this positive and much-needed change can be attributed is our young and dynamic Minister for Cultural Affairs Asifa Bhutto-Zardari. When asked what made her work so hard for the revival of the performing arts, she said it is in her blood. With a sister who is a rap artist and a cousin who is married to Hollywood royalty, performing arts and its promotion at all levels is a cause very close to the minister’s heart. Like Ali Noor, our esteemed minister also believes that it is all about loving your family.


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  • wow…Fantastic.
    Though I hope that this never happen …

    ‘and longest elected president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari (11 years and counting)’

    Honestly speaking, thats alot of creative writing and in quite short time

  • girl, you honest-to-goodness rock!

    i have my bets on michelle obama though.
    love the idea of shaan stranded in the deserts (deserts? dear you have one wild imagination) of timbuktu and jj’s gorgeous offspring gracing our charts in the future.
    ameen to noori and zardari sticking around till then.

    anyone against a wee bit of nepotism is heartless. 🙂

    ps. how many facelifts will oprah have had by then? or better, weight gains and plummets?

  • Wow, you’re on a creative overdrive aren’t you?

    Is this a daily feature? I guess Dawn should feature these as a weekly coz, you might just run out of pun, satire and people to pick on 🙂

  • Supe,

    this is 2019, i think Republicans would have assumed office by then.


    I have to do five blogs for first five days of dawn’s new website launch uskay baad se ravi chain likhta hai

  • Love the last para, Tazeen.

    So Bakhtawar is a Grammy-award winning rapper, Asifa is the cultural minister – what about poor Bilawal? what has become of him in 2019?

  • “pop musicians-turned-naat khwaans”
    LOL – wonder who you’re talking about…

    “US President Condoleezza Rice”
    Youch!!! I hope that’s never true…. ugh. But I guess it could be worse… it could be “President Sarah Palin” UGGGHHH!! Talk about taking women backwards.

    Nice post, Tazeen. I like your take on things. 🙂

  • Great post Ms. Tazeen.

  • Congratulations !!! you are now the final authority on Imran Khan It was so so correctly advised by Hanif Mohammad. Just curious though is he always talking only about religion and criminal system or accountability and corruption still features in his priorites (I read that initially in one of our Indian newspapers)

  • That was an interesting article and you write very well. You know how to develop the interest.

  • these five blogs are going to be some sort of mythical blogs that people will ask each other about in the future – did you read it back when it came out?

    really really good stuff…

    hopefully, your 2019 predictions would be as true as orwell’s 1984.

  • Really good stuff =).

  • NICE 1 buddy….

  • well said, Tazeen!
    its all abt loving ur family indeed :):):) absolutely great laughs here!

    seriously, r u on some ‘Creativity Booster’ pills ???

  • Kalsoom,

    read the 2021 update, BBZ is the PM.

    Karachi Khatmal,

    you just made my day. Orwell is one of my all time favs.


    I wish someone was selling those pills, i have had tough time churning one everyday.

  • condoleeza rice president. Looks like American got the taste for presidents who are not only highly qualified but also of darker tone.

  • U r funny!!

  • quite a laugh.
    improbable…and yet, so very much hoped-for !
    the zardari=11years thing…doesn’t look like a possibbility, eh?

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