BY AZEEM HAIDER
On a freezing February morning in a bustling Soho cafe, I was to meet American-born Lebanese, Afeef Nessouli.
A New York-based CNN reporter, with a focus on Middle Eastern politics, Afeef had recently visited Pakistan on a “no-agenda” trip — today, he was bounding with energy to tell me all about his experiences.
Having grown up in Karachi, I was equally curious to learn what his perception of Pakistan was.
Afeef’s stories were about places even an average Karachi dweller would rarely go to, he met with inspiring people that I wish to meet some day and most of all, he ended up engaging in interesting conversations with the public in ways that I, as a Pakistani, have never been able to.
“Pakistan is a very complex part of the world; its fabric woven with intricate layers of cultures and sub-cultures,” says Afeef Nessouli.
With Afeef’s background in politics, he opened with his biggest revelation about Pakistan:
It’s nothing like how the American media portrays it to be.
His friends too, couldn’t wrap their heads around the idea of him visiting Pakistan.
“Why the hell would you go there? You will get killed,” he was frequently told. Afeef doesn’t blame them; the news on their TV screens and mobile phones tells them so.
“The US media, like in many other countries, just picks up on the most sensational aspects of a region and runs with it for maximum attention, ignoring the many exciting things happening in Pakistan,” Afeef says sipping on his latte.
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