The Pakistan Blogistan

Bassam Tariq is a Boing Boing guestblogger who is the co-author of 30 Mosques. A blog that celebrated the NYC mosques during the Islamic month of Ramadan. He lives in Harlem, NY.

Pakistan's longest motorcycle, courtesy of All Things Pakistan

I was in high school when 9/11 happened and the next day I was crowned Ambassador Muslim.  From World History to Geometry class I was defending Islam and 1.5 billion of its followers. Thinking that most of the problems with Muslim were cultural, I divorced myself from all dealings with South Asian culture. At the time, it was an easy cop out to say "Oh its the culture, not the religion." It was only in college did I realize that my Muslim and Pakistani Identity weren't mutually exclusive and they both made the other stronger and more vibrant. When I came to this realization, I knew I had a lot of years of cultural education to make up. And what better place to learn about my peeps than the Pakistani blogosphere? I am highlighting two of my favorite Pakistani blogs.

All Things Pakistan - I am culturally illiterate when it comes to Pakistan. All Things Pakistan seems to be on a mission to educate folks like me and share a part of their Pakistani experience. Most of the people that check this site are expats of Pakistan. Here's a link to where they talk about the Pakistani Eid experience - Eid Adventures in Pakistan

CHUP! Changing Up Pakistan is a great blog ran by Kalsoom Lakhani. While All Things Pakistan deals more with the Pakistani experience, CHUP! gives more of an analysis on hard news. Here is a great article on the sideline discussions officials of Pakistan and India had on during the UN General Assembly Meetings. Her coverage on the Swat crisis is phenomenal, or as we say in Pakistan - A 1!


  1. cool. I’m afghan but I was born in america. I grew up pretty involved in cultural and religious events… it’s true that sometimes confusions arise about which norms are attributed to culture alone and which to religion. a lot of times they mesh, but sometimes you need to step out of your bubble to really see the differences.
    thanks for the links.

  2. I know what you mean, but religion IS culture. It is actually a movable feast of Parmenides. I refer you to our excellent DANLALAN’s thumbnail description:

    Human Culture is everything about human beings that is not innate. This includes, but is not limited to religions, morals, dress, food, entertainment, language, tools and lifeways. Culture has a kind of meta-existence in that while culture would disappear if humanity did, it exists independently of any individual or sub-group within the culture.

  3. Yeah. Getting out of my smalltown, US bubble and seeing some other stuff from blogs like this is awesome.

    I don’t hear much at all about culture in Pakistan, so this stuff is great to learn about the rest of the world.

  4. I know this is a superficial thing to say in light of the post itself, but that motorbike is pretty cool. I’d like to know how the frame was built and what sort of engine + final drive they built for it. It would have to be pretty beefy to carry around half a ton of human weight.

  5. Bassam – supergood boingboing contributions. I have just moved to a predominantly muslim neighbourhood in Brussels Belgium – whilst not being muslim myself; not always easy – but very interesting :-)

    Great reading material!!
    I’ll keep track of your blog!

  6. In case you haven’t seen it already I’d like to point you in the direction of an interesting blog that largely deals with Pakistani culture and politics called It is run by Manan Ahmed, a native of Lahore and recent graduate (PhD)of the University of Chicago. Manan presently resides in Berlin.

    Ed Yazijian

  7. I have never been to Pakistan myself but my grandparents lived in Lahore prior to partition. They were among the millions of Hindus who moved to the Indian side of the line after partition, leaving behind homes, businesses and friends.

    They always spoke of Pakistan as their home, even as they observed with bewilderment, the wars that were fought over a seemingly arbitrary line that suddenly seemed to declare that what was once their home was now enemy territory.

    They never seemed to consider themselves Indians and the others Pakistanis, we were all the same, brothers and sisters born of the same land. They passed that vision down to me and I always feel that visiting Pakistan would be not much different than visiting India. Looking at these pictures and reading the blogs only seems to confirm that.

    I wish more than anything that there should be peace between our people. Perhaps, some day.

  8. @Nidsquid thank you for sharing your story. I have yet to go to India but also feel that it wouldn’t be much different.

  9. Ok, My Belly, you’re crazy…

    But seriously, public transportation in other parts of the world gets seriously imaginative, both mechanically and aesthetically (some of it is quite beautiful), and I have no trouble believing this is the real thing.

  10. I have lived and worked in Pakistan and have many fond memories of the country. I was there with my wife during (and after) the earthquake. It is a wonderful country to visit and, from my own experience, significantly safer than the average Western city. The biggest ‘risks’ are (in no particular order): traffic, pollution, food/airborne infections.

    It is a country of many contrasts.

    To the ‘naysayer’ who believes the motorbike to be a Photoshop job I can say ‘untrue’. It DOES exist, I have seen it myself. Additionally, it is fairly normal to see standard mopeds/motorbikes with an average of five or so people on them. Likewise most other forms of transport with people clinging to the exterior being common.

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