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Letters from a Jilted Lover


ISSUE:  Winter 2008

Pakistan is one of the most photographed but least seen countries in the world. Thousands of photographers have passed through here with eyes that are intense but narrow. As a consequence, it is also one of the least understood countries in the world.

Even its citizens have a troubled and contradictory relationship with Pakistan. They lament the state of the country but never stop believing in a better tomorrow. They are frequently overcome by despair, and yet continue to find ways to speak of possibilities. It is a relationship that is heartbreaking and yet ever faithful.

Even those who are forced by circumstance to leave or who live in self-imposed exile, cannot simply walk away, put away the feelings, stop the pain, or block the hopes. It is a turbulent love affair—and, for some, a destructive one.

We all keep coming back though. I keep coming back, looking, seeing, feeling, and making small, personal pictures that are each like a letter to a callous lover—gentle, complaining, asking for nothing, always offering myself, if Pakistan, my beloved, would only answer, only requite my affections.

Karachi: Indigents and pilgrims from the rural areas at a Sufi shrine.
Quetta: Early morning shoppers examining clothing at a city bazaar.
Quetta: Outside a private movie hall and a local restaurant.
Karachi: Children playing inside the Hindu neighborhood
Jalozai Camp, Peshawar: Scene at a school for Afghan refugee children.
Quetta: Young street sweeper outside a local restaurant in the old city bazaar.
Kalat, Baluchistan: Bodyguards for a local Baluchi politician on a cigarette break.
Karachi: Tourists and street vendors on the ocean front.
Multan: Waiting for food distribution at a Sufi shrine.
Shamshatoo Camp, Peshawar: Afghani traders and commuters in the market at the gates of the refugee camp.
Quetta: Local shopkeeper at breakfast.
Lahore: In the back alleys of the old city, people gather around an elder for advice and conversation.
Jalozai Camp, Peshawar: Market scene outside the Afghan refugee camp.
Quetta: Cleaning shops before the day’s rush.
Jiwani, Baluchistan: Kids play amongst the fishing nets.
Lahore: At a flower vendor in the old city.
Lahore: Early morning street scene in the old city.
Gwadar: Outside a local restaurant.
Gwadar: Snack vendor by the sea.
Gwadar: Outside a mosque.
Quetta: Patrons at a local café.
Karachi: Children play in the Hindu mahallah
Jalozai Camp, Peshawar: Market scene.
Lahore: Wandering laborer prepares a smoke.
Jiwani, Baluchistan: Mending fishing nets.
Lahore: At a rickshaw stand.
Quetta: Playing truant in the marketplace.
Kalat, Baluchistan: Prayers at the Kali temple.
Quetta: During an all-city strike to protest killing of a Baluchi nationalist by government troops.
Gwadar: Repairing fishing boats.
Karachi: Street scene near the city port.
Gwadar: At a local mosque, after evening prayers.
Lahore: Indigents at a tea stall.
Turbat: Street scene.
Quetta: Day laborers, many from Afghanistan, take a break.
Gwadar: Children playing in the back alleys.

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