For Pakistani journalist, Seattle news scene is a breath of fresh air

Late last month, a bomb ripped through a train station in a small town near Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province in southwestern Pakistan where I started my journalism career. The loss was colossal: the blast killed eight people while maiming more than 25 others. But it was no big news for Pakistani media. Instead, […]
Jul 24, 2012

Seattle Muslims prepare for long Ramadan days

Fasting for 17 hours a day is no walk in the park. But it’s that much harder when the person sitting next to you is eating a cheeseburger, or a succulent slice of pizza. Or, for Mohammad Ismail, there’s that tempting looking Starbucks on the way to work. Born in Pakistan, this is the second […]
Jul 20, 2012

Pakistani immigrant finds a taste of home at ‘Afghan Cuisine’ in Federal Way

When my friend Kathleen invited me to a Afghan Cuisine and Banquet Hall in Federal Way, the first image that popped into my head was of the ubiquitous Afghan restaurants in Peshawar, Pakistan, where I lived before I came to Seattle. Millions of Afghan refugees fled to Northwest Pakistan after the Soviet War in the […]
Jun 13, 2012

Microsofties with global roots give back

The last couple weeks have seen one former Microsoft executive become the Prime Minister of Mali and another hatch an ambitious plot to mine asteroids. Expanding from our rainy cradle in the corner of the country, the reach of our massive hometown software company transcends borders (and even outer space apparently). But some Microsoft employees […]
Apr 30, 2012

Guilt by friend request: How the war on terror came to my facebook

My finger froze over the mouse as I squinted at a blurry photo of a young Pakistani man holding an AK-47 on my Facebook page.  “Confirm friend request,” the cheerful blue font suggested. I closed the window and sighed, saving the decision for another morning. The obvious answer here—the one I got from everyone I […]
Feb 27, 2012

Jimmy Carter at the World Affairs Council: Not your grandfather’s American Exceptionalism

The lights are low and excitement high at the Paramount Theater in downtown Seattle.  Murmuring gives way to whistling and foot stomping and finally shouting and thunderous applause. A smiling white-haired man steps onstage.  No, it isn’t Bono or the Boss, it’s former President Jimmy Carter, and Seattle loves him. I knew three things about […]
Feb 6, 2012

Search for authentic Pakistani food leads to the Kebab Palace in Redmond

Chicken handi is the dish that defines Pakistani food for me.  The first time I tried it I was sitting on the roof of Cuckoo’s Den in Lahore–a former brothel famously converted to an eccentric restaurant with a romantic nighttime view of the Badshahi Mosque.  I remember the sweat-soaked shirt plastered against my lower back […]
Jan 31, 2012