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Documenting the human face of Karachi
15 September 2015

New York (Women in the World) – The city of Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and the world’s second-largest in terms of population, has for the past many years frequently made world headlines because of the alarming amount of violence and unrest caused by a weak law enforcement system and oppressive Taliban control. Early in 2015, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) announced that 2,909 people, including some 142 law enforcement personnel from police and paramilitary rangers, were killed in 2014. Honor killings and other incidents of gender-based and sexual violence remain a frequent occurrence, despite the official numbers on such incidents not reflecting the reality of their perpetration, since many women have little faith in the national systems of law and order, and are prevented by social norms and entrenched patriarchal traditions from reporting acts of abuse against them. There are hundreds and thousands of sad stories to tell about life in Pakistan’s financial capital – nevertheless, beneath the violence, crime and poverty, there are just as many positive, inspiring and heart-warming stories that endear the citizens of this turbulent city to people all over the world: through the photo blog Humans of Karachi (HOK) - inspired by Humans of New York created by street photographer Brandon Stanton - Khaula Jamil strives to portray a different, more human, image of Karachi, in which the daily pleasures, worries, routines and triumphs faced by ordinary city dwellers are captured in a single powerful photo.

Women in the World asked Khaula about the challenges she faces as a woman photo journalist in Pakistan, the stories she hears in the field, her perception of the main issues and obstacles faced by women in Karachi and the rest of the country – and much more. The whole interview is available at Women in the World.

Follow “Humans of Karachi” on Facebook and Instagram, and see more of Jamil’s work here