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"Of course I knew this was going to happen...."

Meet Fareeha, living in Japan. She hasn’t spent a lot of time in Pakistan, grew up in Saudi Arabia, and then moved to Japan for her studies to a city called Sendai, and has been living there for 9 years, currently working at a lab while pursuing her PhD.

Fareeha is an avid listener of the podcast herself, and is here to tell us all about her life in Japan. A very fun discussion with jokes and insights! Feel free to follow Fareeha on Instagram – @farri1002.

#70 – Ko-Ko-Korea!

Ayesha Wahidi was born and raised in the midwest, U.S. Earlier in 2020, she moved to Korea for a teaching-abroad program. She shares her experiences in and out of Korea and her perspectives on common life struggles.

Want to get in touch with Ayesha? Email her at wahidi.ayesha@gmail.com

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#69 – Engaged at 12

21 year old Noor-ul-Ain from Dubai went viral on TikTok after sharing her personal traumatic story of an ordinary wedding / shaadi visit to Pakistan gone wrong. Essentially , Noor and her family flew to Pakistan from dubai to attend her cousin’s wedding, and unexpectedly, she found that she was getting engaged against her consent, at the age of 12, by her parents. Her TikTok video has over 1.5 million views as of this recording, and now, Noor is here to share her full story in detail with us, as well as her thoughts and learnings from this story of her life.

Forced marriage of children (particularly girls) under the age of 18 is still a major issue in many countries, including Pakistan. Lawmakers and activists have made efforts over the last several years to alleviate this issue, with some (but not nearly complete) success.

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#68 – Life in Southern Africa

Bilal Junejo was born in Pakistan, but grew up living in the southern region of Africa, namely the countries of Malawi, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Bilal gives us a glimpse of his life over there, including the people, the food, and the places.

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#67 – Life in Japan

Meet Fareeha, living in Japan. She hasn’t spent a lot of time in Pakistan, grew up in Saudi Arabia, and then moved to Japan for her studies to a city called Sendai, and has been living there for 9 years, currently working at a lab while pursuing her PhD.

Fareeha is an avid listener of the podcast herself, and is here to tell us all about her life in Japan. A very fun discussion with jokes and insights! Feel free to follow Fareeha on Instagram – @farri1002.

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#66 – To Sacrifice My OWN Life for Pakistan

Recently TikTok and other social platforms have exploded with viral memes of Pakistani kids taking pledges on stage at a school event. Popular lines include: “To sacrifice my own life for Pakistan!” “I pledge to be a pilot, and help everyone!” These videos have been traced to an event that took place at PISJES (Pakistan International School Jeddah English Section), in 2011. The school has many events that are often meant to promote Pakistani pride. For better or worse, after going viral this particular event has gained international meme spotlight, as well as criticism due to some of the messages.

In this podcast episode we talk to Areej Khalid, who was one of the students at this school and also was present at this event. Areej answers many of the questions on our minds and offers her perspective on the controversy.

Note: this podcast episode exists in video form on our YouTube channel. We strongly recommend watching the video version, as it has more visual context around this topic. Otherwise, you can find the audio podcast links below as well!

Watch this episode on YouTube!

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#65 – The NewsRun

Meet Anam Khan, a Pakistani American currently residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, U.S. She has moved back and forth between Pakistan and U.S. and spent a significant time living in both countries. Anam is here to talk about her startup effort, called The NewsRun, which is a free daily newsletter providing short and simple summaries of all the top news in Pakistan.

In the episode, Anam discusses how she came up with idea, her daily work process, managing work-life balance, and working in Pakistan vs. U.S. You can sign up for free emails from The NewsRun via their website !

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#64 – The History Buff

Satir Ahmed is a 22 year old history buff (fan) currently living in Newfoundland, Canada, for his studies. He has also lived the majority of his life in Qatar.

Newfoundland is an island off the east coast of the North American mainland. The capital of Newfoundland is St. John’s. The island got global coverage earlier in 2020 when a historic blizzard pounded the city with 30+ inches of snow (dubbed “snowmageddon”).

In the episode Satir talks about life in Newfoundland, and shares his perspectives on history and modern issues, challenging some mainstream opinions.

Pictures of the 2020 blizzard shared by Satir.

More pictures and details are available in articles such as this one.

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The Population Crisis

Pakistan’s population has spiked dramatically in just a few decades. The nation had fewer than 35 million inhabitants in 1947. In fact, present-day Bangladesh , then referred to as “East Pakistan”, was larger in population than “West Pakistan”! Today, the country has over 200 million people – growing over 6x since inception. This is not a population increase – it’s an explosion.

The fertility rate is another aspect to consider. It is defined as “births per woman” – ie. the estimated number of children that an average woman will have throughout her lifetime. In 1951, the fertility rate was over 6 children per woman. Many families were exceeding the average – having 8+ children was not uncommon. Today, the fertility rate of Pakistan is 3.4, which is still higher compared to other Muslim-majority countries like Indonesia (2.3), Malaysia (2.01), Bangladesh (2.05), Turkey (2.08), Saudi Arabia (2.34) and UAE (1.42). Pakistan’s fertility rate is also substantially higher than nearly all developed countries like U.S. (1.78), Canada (1.53), U.K. (1.75), Japan (1.37), France (1.85).

In hindsight, the “bache do hi ache” (“just 2 kids are good”) campaign has proven insuccessful in the nation. As of yet, the population boom has seemed to exacerbate poverty. Most families having a greater number of children are not financially well-off. Their children, often growing up to lead difficult, labor-intensive lives, end up having more children themselves in an effort to build a support system and a retirement plan. This has created a domino effect on poverty at a macro level.

The past cannot be changed, but the future can. Many believe that this population boom could be used as an advantage for the country. According to UNDP’s 2018 report on youth, 64% of Pakistan’s population is younger than the age of 30. A younger population entering the workforce could increase economic output.

Will the fertility rate be lowered by a more educated, stable youth, and the increase in women entering the workforce? What are your thoughts?

#63 – The Ertugrul Conundrum

We bring back our old “Do Takkay” squad from episodes 48 and 49 – Myrah Shafiq, Manahill Shafiq, and Hamza Farooq, to discuss the great Elephant surrounding Pakistan’s entertainment industry: Ertugrul. Ertugrul is a popular Turkish show based on the rise of the Ottoman Empire. After PM Imran Khan promoted the show to Pakistanis, the government-owned PTV channel started airing episodes of the show in Urdu dubbing. The show became instantly popular, and extremely well-received by the majority of watchers. Needless to say, the show’s quick rise to fame in Pakistan also attracted critcisim. In this discussion, our guests share their feedback on the show and address much of the controversy around it. The Episode widely switches between Urdu and English; but if that’s no issue and you are up to date on Ertugrul and Pakistani pop culture, this will be a very entertaining listen.

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