A face of Pakistan

Posted on November 19, 2007
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Photo of the Day
Total Views: 37367


Owais Mughal

This photo is credited to famous photographer Fayyaz Ahmed.

According to Fayyaz’s notes, he found this subject at the tomb of Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Clifton, Karachi. When he asked for the photo permission, the subject replied:

“Whatever you wish”.

I saw this photo for the first time a few days ago but I keep coming back to it again and again. There is something about this guy’s eyes.

40 Comments on “A face of Pakistan”

  1. NT says:
    November 19th, 2007 11:04 pm

    Intense. Does any one want to know about his thaughts? Not me at least.

  2. Adonis says:
    November 19th, 2007 11:05 pm

    There is certainly something in his eyes.

    I believe it is called the after effects of ‘bhang’.

  3. Owais Mughal says:
    November 19th, 2007 11:06 pm

    NT, yes ‘intense’ is the right word you’ve chosen.

  4. Ibrahim says:
    November 20th, 2007 12:03 am


    Adonis might be right. These types are found on mizaars where they are “worshipping”. Allahu Alam

  5. Eidee Man says:
    November 20th, 2007 12:21 am

    Well, this is what CNN would consider the face of Pakistan,

  6. Sadiq says:
    November 20th, 2007 12:29 am

    His name is “Be-Gham Ustad” …..
    Eyes full of drug after a good satisfying dose of “Charas” …
    But, from photography point of view; a great picture.

  7. hasheesh says:
    November 20th, 2007 12:30 am

    its a jin.

  8. Sadiq says:
    November 20th, 2007 12:34 am

    Eh hasheesh;
    This is not a Jin … This is the after-effect of ‘Hasheesh’ …… i guess you were there …. hahaha

  9. Owais Mughal says:
    November 20th, 2007 1:04 am

    dosto. bechare pe ‘charas’ aur ‘bhang’ ka ilzaam na deN.
    May be his expression is natural. I think the photo is ‘intense’ as one of our commentor puts it.

  10. Faisal says:
    November 20th, 2007 1:15 am

    His eyes are out of sorts… not in sync with his outlook.

  11. Neena says:
    November 20th, 2007 1:51 am

    Very intense photo and expressive eyes!

  12. Baraka says:
    November 20th, 2007 2:29 am

    Extraordinary gaze and face.

    Bhangis generally look dazed, this man looks like he could plumb the depths of your soul.

  13. Nadia Dxb says:
    November 20th, 2007 4:03 am

    Its amazing photo i have ever seen, thanx for sharing!

  14. November 20th, 2007 4:34 am

    Intense face and amazing shot from a photographer.

  15. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    November 20th, 2007 5:25 am

    @Owais Mughal,

    after mure reflection and observing all the
    comments, I came to the conclusion, that
    the chap has all the looks and suspicions
    of very disappointed but disguised leftists.

  16. Qandeel says:
    November 20th, 2007 7:58 am

    The picture is quite similar to the front cover of the September 2007 issue of the National Geographic. This man’s eyes are definitely more intense and piercing. I wouldn’t want to test to see if he can turn me to stone.

  17. Tina says:
    November 20th, 2007 8:26 am

    Well, the others are right…the first thought I had was, he’s a drug addict or mentally ill, definitely not a “normal” look. Dark turban and shawl wrapped near his chin complete the sinister cloaked look.

    Unfortunately this tends to be the stereotypical face of Pakistan for Westerners. I’m thinking of the Newsweek cover right now, too. They’d love that picture. It’s also the sort of thing that is peddled by those pimps of the exotic Other, National Geographic.

  18. Tina says:
    November 20th, 2007 8:29 am

    Qandeel, I posted without reading your comment (or having seen the latest National Geographic). Sorry for basically repeating what you said (but it proves we’re probably right on the money).

  19. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    November 20th, 2007 8:47 am

    Traveling through Pakistan I stop at the ‘Mazars’ when ever I can. To me these places, large and small, present a microcosm of Pakistan. A perfect laboratory to study my own people. You will find perfectly sane and ‘educated’ people of ‘Shrine Culture’ performing ‘Sajada’ at the graves, and then not so sane ones staring at you with a piercing gaze. At these ‘Mazars’ I have seen hundreds of faces like the one shown here.

  20. G-FORCE says:
    November 20th, 2007 12:27 pm

    WOW! Amazing & very very powerful!

  21. D_a_n says:
    November 20th, 2007 2:06 pm

    excellent photo

    charas or no charas…..

  22. November 20th, 2007 5:05 pm

    It is true!

    This picture says a thousand words.



  23. Roshan says:
    November 20th, 2007 5:50 pm

    I agree with Pervaiz Munir Alvi Sahab.
    And I think the eyes in this picture are more prominent or “intense” because of its black and white effect. It might not be that difference in the colored picture.
    Its sad to know that some of us have observed the effect of drugs in his eyes. But this picture reflects more hunger and malnutrition and thats why his eyes look so prominent on his weak face.

  24. mystic says:
    November 20th, 2007 6:52 pm

    Aankhain hi kerti hain sawal
    aankhain hi deti hain jawab

    Ya ilahi ye majra kiya hai !!

  25. November 20th, 2007 8:51 pm

    Let’s compare his eyes with General Zia’s eyes in youtube (right side) video. Are these not same?

  26. NT says:
    November 20th, 2007 10:23 pm

    I tried to track this picture on Flikr. The person name is Khurshid Alam.
    Mera Pakistan, I believe this person’s eyes are breathcatching and I don’t see any signs of hypocricy, which one may find on the picture on the right.
    Thank you Owais Mughal for your idea.

  27. Owais Mughal says:
    November 20th, 2007 10:57 pm

    @ mystic

    woh hai mushtaq aur hum bezaar
    yaa ilaahi ye maajra kia hai

  28. Viqar Minai says:
    November 20th, 2007 11:09 pm


  29. Viqar Minai says:
    November 20th, 2007 11:14 pm

    Well, well, what do you know. I just tried in Google and got a hit. Her name is Sharbat Gual. Here is a link to the wikipedia article with her picture.


    Take a look and compare.

  30. NT says:
    November 20th, 2007 11:34 pm
  31. Zafar says:
    November 21st, 2007 1:18 am

    NG tracked down the girl (now a lady) and it was covered in their documentary aired some time back.

    I tend to agree with Roshan. These eyes may be reflective of recent drug intake but hide the story of the time before that intake started. We should not right off these people out of hand as charsis and bhangis. Afterall these are part of us and in many cases victims of the society and, like others, not victims of their own faults.

  32. Viqar Minai says:
    November 21st, 2007 2:13 am

    Sorry Owais:

    hum haeN mushtaq aur woh bezaar
    yaa ilaahi ye maajra kia hai

  33. ali raza says:
    November 21st, 2007 1:32 pm

    The portrait is drawing intensity from the black and white scheme and the posture of the subject. There is no intensity in his eyes. They are glazed over. He might not even be able to focus on the cameraman in this state.

    I hope no one chooses this as the face of Pakistan. It is disgusting. You want a face for Pakistan, portrait a laborer. We can do without the fringe looser describing us to the world.

  34. November 22nd, 2007 4:23 pm

    looks like he is catching you with his eyes. too freaky

  35. rawdesire says:
    November 23rd, 2007 12:14 am

    I am a face reader!!
    all I can say he is a dangerous person!!
    this guy is psycho!!!
    he can rip ANY 1 OFF!!!
    this guys memory is amazing!!
    he is into black magic master of disguise!!
    he can give u shivers if he looks into your eyes
    u can get scared majority can!!!

  36. NT says:
    November 23rd, 2007 1:12 am

    RAWDESIRE, A nice poem!

  37. February 6th, 2008 6:32 am

    He is a “Charsi”. Not a face of Pakistan.

  38. Qausain says:
    March 23rd, 2009 11:30 am

    LOL @ Web designer

  39. Adam Insaan says:
    May 1st, 2009 4:36 am

    Don`t judge anybody on the face, the skin or the eyes,
    ….only on deeds and behaviour.

  40. Majid says:
    October 17th, 2009 7:55 am

    totally agree with adam insaan.

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