#48 – Do Takkay ki Baatein (Part 1)

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For this episode you need 2 things – familiarity with Pakistani dramas, and a grasp of Urglish – that is Urdu + English. This one is a group discussion, all about Pakistani dramas and it is Part 1 of a 2-part discussion. We have 3 very enthusiastic drama-watching guests. Our main focus was to discuss Mere Paas Tum Ho, which was a major hit drama that recently finished in early 2020. We also dove into many other dramas and topics including the state of women in Pakistani society and other controversies in our media.

Our 3 guests for this episode are Myrah Shafiq, Manahill Shafiq, and Hamza Farooq.

Hamza is a returning guest – born and raised in Miami, U.S. but very close to his Pakistani side- and first appeared on Episode #41 – Sea View in Miami. Myrah and Manahill are both sisters and both new guests on the podcast. Myrah is living in Germany, and Manahill is living in the U.K., and both are born and raised in Pakistan.

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#47 – UN Development in Pakistan

Today’s guest is Ignacio Artaza – Resident Representative at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Pakistan.

Ignacio has more than 20 years of experience in development cooperation and humanitarian aid. He has served as the UNDP Country Director in Egypt, and has held various positions in UNDP since 1999 – including in New York, Moldova, Sudan, as well as in the occupied Palestinian territories. Before this, he worked with Doctors without Borders in emergency relief operations in Ecuador, Iran, and Mozambique. Based on all this, it’s safe to say he is extremely well-traveled and brings an incredible amount of experience to his post as Resident Representative at UNDP Pakistan.

Ignacio has been living in Pakistan for a number of years. We will be asking him questions about his experience during his time here, and Ignacio will also give us insight into what UNDP is contributing for the betterment of Pakistan.


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#46 – Ex-Muslim (Part 2, Ali Rizvi series)

This episode is Part 2 of our 2-part series with Ali Rizvi, 37 year old from Washington D.C., U.S. (born in Pakistan) In the last episode (#45) Ali told us about how his search for identity lead him to atheism. In this episode, we ask him for specific questions to understand his mindset – questions like how did he explain this to his family and friends? What if Islam was the right religion? Where do you get your morality from, if you don’t have a religion?

Disclaimer – this episode may not be suitable for the easily offended, as some content may be sensitive for Muslim listeners. However, our goal with Ali was to keep the conversation as respectful as possible, but also allowing him to express himself and to share his thoughts of various Islamic concepts.

#45 – Lost Muslim Identity (Part 1, Ali Rizvi series)

This episode is Part 1 of a 2-part series discussion with Ali I. Rizvi, 37 year old from Washington DC, U.S, but born in Pakistan. Ali is a documentary filmmaker and video journalist – he also was one of the few journalists who worked on the Panama Papers story. Ali is also an open Ex-muslim and Atheist, originally born as a Shia Muslim.

In this first part of the series, we talk to Ali about his life story, and how he became the person he is today. He especially discusses how 9/11 impacted everyday Muslims and Pakistanis like him, especially those living in America and the west, and how the years after 9/11 instigated a search for identity afterwards.

See more of Ali’s work on his website: https://www.airizvi.com/

To see the Library of Congress report regarding the apostasy laws by country, click here.

#44 – Online Dating Horror

Iqra, 26 year old from Brampton, Canada, speaks with us today about her various weird and unfortunate encounters on Muzmatch, a popular Muslim dating app used by Pakistanis. Apps like Muzmatch and Minder are quite powerful and often useful, having helped many people find their significant other and get married. However, a lot of ‘bad’ folks are on these apps too. Married people (usually men), trying to hide their first marriage. People looking for hookups. People looking for time pass.

The other podcast mentioned in this episode is ‘Serial’ – a true-crime podcast that covers an entire nonfiction story over one season. The first season of Serial covers the case of Adnan Syed, a Pakistani American convincted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999.

#43 – Barcelona

Nosherwan Abbasi is 20 years old currently living around Barcelona, Spain. He moved to Spain earlier in 2019 for his studies. About 5 months before this episode, Nosherwan reached out to us on Instagram and shared a voice note about how his homesickness for Pakistan brought him to this podcast, and he wanted to discuss and share his life with us on Pakcord.

We discuss our individual stories living life away from home and getting on our feet, and of course we spend some time discussing Spain and the lifestyle there.

References: https://www.inc.com/business-insider/study-reveals-commute-time-impacts-job-satisfaction.html

Song Credit: Spanish Summer by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Artist: http://audionautix.com/

#42 – “PAGAL”: Desis and Depression

We Pakistanis do not discuss depression enough!

Today we shed more light on a highly important and underrated topic in the desi community: depression and mental illness. Our guest: 32 year old Israa Nasir from New York City. Israa has worked directly with patients in a mental health clinic, and now works within health tech to make an impact in the world of healthcare.

Many folks mistakenly translate “mental illness” to “pagal” in Urdu (hence the title of the episode). We often do not have appropriate words for various concepts, and that is one reason why the topic as a whole is gravely misunderstood in our community.⁣

Why does the desi community dodge this discussion?

In Israa’s experience, there have been three common reasons for avoiding getting help for mental health:

    1. Hospitalization Stigma: “If I have depression, and need medication, I will end up in the hospital, or you will throw me in the crazy hospital.”
    2. Shaming through Religion: “You’re ungrateful to God – your imaan / faith is not strong enough hence you are depressed.”
    3. Secrecy: Brown culture is a very secretive culture – we are taught to maintain and hide ‘family secrets’ or even our own personal problems from others. This often prevents people from visiting counselors.

“It’s also because you can’t see it (mental illness) – it hasn’t been part of our cultural consciousness for too long – it’s very new. People still confuse mental illness and jinns. So it’s a fairly new concept for many people.

I think our depiction of it is also very intense and exaggerated. So if you watch dramas, like the most famous drama in recent times was Humsafar … the mother in law becomes mentally ill, but the depiction they show of her is this… this WILD woman, you know? And mental illness doesn’t look like that. Everyday mental illness looks like deep sadness, social anxiety, and feeling unworthy of love. Of course the psychotic disorders exist, but the depiction of mental health is always as if this person is copmletely out of their mind. So people are afraid, they don’t want to be associated with it, they don’t want to take medication that indicates they have it – they just want to hide it.”

– Israa Nasir
Health Professional

Timeline of Discussion:

  • 0:49 – Introduction
  • 7:43 – Israa discusses her mental health background
  • 10:39 – Israa talks about the mental health clinic where she worked, and adds a desi context.
  • 17:04 – Israa discusses some common barriers or reasons why there is reluctance in the desi community to seek help for mental illnesses.
  • 19:46 – Does ‘imaan’ or faith have to do with mental illness? 24:42 – Common desi misconceptions of mental illness
  • 33:50 – How does speaking to a counselor actually help with mental illness?
  • 36:52 – Israa’s final note about depression & mental illness and what to do if you or your family member may be affected

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#41 – Sea View in Miami

24 year old Hamza Farooq from Miami is our guest today. Born and raised in the U.S., Hamza brings us a purely Pakistani American perspective.

Timestamps of Conversation
1:28 – Introduction
2:00 – Hamza discusses his time going to a Catholic high school
6:18 – Growing up in Miami, and the Pakistani demographics of the U.S.
10:03 – Hurricanes and weather related disasters in the U.S.
18:44 – Hamza’s connection to Pakistan
25:20 – Hamza shares the importance of knowing Urdu even when being born and raised abroad
28:00 – Issues with Pakistani American crowds in the U.S.
37:21 – Impact of 9/11 and gun violence


#40 – Away from Home

Our guest for this episode is 22 year old Hassan Raza from England, U.K. (previously lived in Wales) Hassan moved to UK at the young age of 13. He passionately talks about his Pakistani background and adjusting to life in the UK while maintaining his love for the Motherland.

Timestamps of Conversation:
2:40 – Intro & adjusting to life in the U.K.
17:35 – Would you move back to Pakistan?
25:00 – Political Talk, why do people simply follow their parents when voting?
31:13 – Racism in the UK / US, and how racist are we?

#39 – Jinn Bhoot Stories Again!

Our goal with this is simple: to scare the poop out of you and out of ourselves. And laugh while we poop. Mostly just laugh!

Guests: Muskaan (Night Owls), Noshirwaan from Lahore

Topic: Jinns, Bhoots, Churails, Possessions, Pichal peris, you name it.

Time Recorded: 1 AM in Pakistan.


The Chilling Exorcism of Anneliese Michel” on YouTube by Buzzfeed Multiplayer.

Nausherwan’s Doll Pic: