All posts by farhanafsar

NR&W 7

Started pretty late on the earth day story. The theme is related to trees and there are old news stories on how Pakistan has an alarmingly high rate of deforestation. The problem was that the facts were pretty old, I had to spend hours looking for recent studies but could not find any. The last local report was published in 2004, an international report in 2011. Then the government officials would not give me their comments, The IG forests told me he would get back to me via email, even though I explained that earth day was hours away. The minister’s office said flatly that they had no plans of issuing a theme related statement. Then one of the guys from the forest department picked up and I got enough material for the story. Filed it just in Time.



On my way to Aabpara, I saw a most peculiar sight. A grown man on skates moving through G-9 Markaz. I immediately approached him and asked if I could talk to him. Shrewdly sizing me up he said “Sorry, no time” and skated away. I learnt that he is 27 years old and is not mentally stable. Apparently, he is a a civil servant. An interesting feature could be written about this person who lives near the markaz. A shopkeeper says he can help me if I wished. Still thinking.


During one of our beat meetings, I had floated the idea of doing a piece on something we likened to a ‘chips cartel’. There are some chips vendors in Aabpara, a major market of Islamabad who look very similar, and I had definitely seen some of them exchange stalls. It would be worth writing on, we agreed, that some people related to each other were controlling a major chunk of chips stalls. So I set out to talk to them, but hit a dead end very soon.

I approached the youngest of them, a boy named Javed who is not more than 15 years old. The bright smile that greeted me provided some hope, but it was unfounded. He immediately directed me to a much older man, who was on the next stall. With this man it was apparent within the first 5 minutes that the replies were well rehearsed.

I did not stop, I went to each and every one of them, 8 in total. I eventually found out that they all belong to the Aqcha district in North Afghanistan but are not related. I had never heard of the city before. However, the younger ones insist that by having migrated they now belong to Attock in Punjab. They are all in Aabpara because they learnt the trade from the same man, who still runs a stall on eastern end of the market.

So, nothing to write about.


Some kiosks that were razed in November 2015 are starting again. The structures still look temporary and might be illegal for all we know. I got the idea approved and went to talk to some stall owners. I could not help but notice that I was eyed suspiciously by them at first. However, they did open up later and gave me a good amount of information. I also came to know that there is a Khoka owners Association, I got the number of their general secretary from one stall owner. As one stall owner tried to insist that he had been reinstated, I felt that there would be no story in the end. However, he later admitted that nothing was official. The same account was given by a CDA spokesperson. Managed to get a satisfactory story in the end.


With the election on Islamabad’s mayor complete. I was assigned to write a follow up. “Make it short, around 200 words”, the editor said. A follow up got published in The News but the notification had not been published on the ECP website. Deciding that I could not write the follow up until I had myself seen the notification, I waited until it was uploaded and then wrote it. Trying my best to follow ethical journalistic practices as well.


Having already got it approved, I started work on the mayor story. Raja Khurram Nawaz’s number was easy enough to find, I got it from his facebook page. He immediately agreed to grant me the interview. After finalizing the date with him, I planned some basic questions. A classmate recommended a call recording app so I wouldn’t miss anything. The interview was pretty smooth. However, I had great difficulty reaching the other candidate. After trying and failing to get his number from various people, I finally got it from PMLN’s website. He took four days to respond, my 14th February deadline looming dangerously closer every day. His secretary once told me “wo tou pura din ghar hi nahi atay”. It was the mobile number that worked in the end, at 9 pm on the 11th of February. It turned out in one of our beat meetings that he is a family friend of a fellow Islamabad reporter. Shows how you need to talk about your story to others. So after two days of constant correspondence via email with the editor, my first story got published along with a co-authored explainer.

NR&W 1:

Plan to start working in and around my area first. Turned out there is a Punjabi cobbler in a nearby market, which is strange because most of the mochis in Islamabad are pathans. I talked to people in my class to find out if they think it is as peculiar as I think it is. They agreed. So I went ahead with the task without permission from the  editor. Talked to the man for about 15 minutes and gained enough material for a decent story.

I then approached the editor, who immediately agreed that the story was worth working on. Still got advised to read a story published on Pakistan Ink last year about a man who searches for metal in Pindi. The only problem with mine is, it might go against the ‘unite, not divide’ rule that we have. But the editor says that with a little caution it would be okay.

PoA 5: PTDC campaign

The task given is to design a 3 ad campaign for PTDC, inviting international tourists to Pakistan.

Three posters will be made, each carrying a different photo. The first photo will be a riverside, the second of a forest, the third of a mountain top. The first poster will say ‘We’re Unseen’, the second ‘We’re Untouched’, the third ‘We’re Unexplored’.

In addition, to attract all kinds of audiences a different quote will be displayed on each poster.

  1. Once a year, Go someplace you’ve never seen before. -Dalai Lama
  2. It’s better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times. -Anonymous
  3. Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown – Gaby Basora

The tagline to be  displayed in green and white at the same place on every poster will read “You’ll wish Pakistan was home!”

PoA 4: Messages from God

The task is convert/modify the idea of messages from God in order to bring more people to the church on Sundays.

A basic modification that I have thought of is to add  the question ‘Why don’t you visit my house this Sunday?’ at the end of every message. This would help set a link between my messages and the objective that I need to establish, so that there is no confusion.

Message 1: I know we’re always in touch, but it would be nice if you spared some time for me. Why don’t you visit my house this Sunday?

Message 2: Praying on the drive home is alright, but you can do better. Why don’t you visit my house this Sunday?

Message 3: I would like to hear you better. Why don’t you visit my house this Sunday?

Our brand is the church.

To engage the audience he hashtag #myhousethissunday would be made viral. Newspapers will need to be flooded with these messages. The messages would have to be displayed in public squares throughout the city, copies of the sign will also be placed right outside the church so that people understand the center of the activity.

In addition, people who are willing to attend the the service will be allowed to obtain free T-shirts from the church. The shirts will read ‘I’m going this Sunday’.


PoA 3: Posters for fashion Label

The task given is to create a 3-poster campaign for a fashion brand, that encourages arts, music and creative experimentation and targets young artists, free thinkers and non conformists. The posters must have a unifying theme.

The first thing that came to my mind with this description in front of me, were a pair of wings. Thus, ‘Wings’ will be the name of the fashion brand. It will serve as the logo as well as the unifying theme. For the tagline, I have selected ‘Wings mean freedom’. To satisfy the criteria of encouraging arts,music and creative experimentation, a small description will be added below the tagline. It will read: ‘To explore, To experiment, To create’.

Taken together it will say : Wings mean freedom to explore, to experiment, to create. This will combine brand name, with tagline and description.

The poster will also contain wings on top, apparel includes Jeans, shirts and shoes. All will be listed on each poster, but the product shown will have its name highlighted. The image of every product will contain the logo, prominently placed.

Wings signify flight and freedom, it shows commonality between the brand and customers by showing that to be truly spectatcular, you need to fly above everything that is ordinary.

Posters are shown below.