Arrival to Karachi and Reflecting on Islamabad

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I arrived in Karachi, last Friday, and today, I had my first meeting in Karachi. It was at the USAID premises of the US Consulate. It was a very fruitful meeting and different from the usual. It was a group interview, rather than an individual one. So that was a bit challenging, as I wasn’t used to it. But I enjoyed it nonetheless, although I feel you get more out of one on one meetings. It helps though to get a variety of different perspectives from different areas, in one sitting.

I haven’t had much time to truly reflect on my experience in Islamabad since I got back to Karachi, besides noting some elements of what I experienced in my last post. It has been exhausting and at times I fear I could not do it justice if I begin to sit down and write about it… My time being based in Islamabad and conducting research the past three months was special and I hope I can make use of the experience and data I was able to collect, even if it did not match exactly what I had planned.

Since my last post I had a full week of activities completed prior to leaving Islamabad.

As I noted, I was able to reach the target for the interviews. I completed a grand total of 102. After today’s group interview, it was 107, but it depends on how that may look. I am glad I finished my final interview with an extraordinary woman from KP, who has an extraordinary life story.

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I spent my last day at the Faisal Mosque and Bari Iman, two attractions in Islamabad. The Faisal Mosque was especially important for Muslims. I am glad I spent a lot of time there. I then, had a nice farewell party with friends.

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The next morning, my final morning, I took a final walk through the Red Zone to give my final farewells. I took a lot of photos, selfies and videos. I had the experience of also being “shoed away” by one of the guards at the Prime Minister’s house while I walking by, admiring the beauty of the architecture, and taking a few photos close up. It was interesting, because I was not treated that way just a few feet ahead taking pictures, but the closer I got, they had a problem with it. It’s interesting, because I thought I heard Imran Khan wanted to make the PM House a University.

It was indeed sad to leave Islamabad, and there is more to say and more reflections to emerge, especially between KP and Sindh, (side note: Islamabad area was originally considered Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – more on this later), but glad to finally be here in Karachi to complete the work in Sindh.

Now, I have planned several things to get completed in Karachi, but there is still quite a lot to get done from the meetings in Islamabad as well. Some involving phone interviews, and some data collection requests, as well as transcription and review of all notes, as well as organization of the interviews. This will be an ongoing process while based here in Karachi. And this research has been a massive project overall, and it is nice that I am completing much of what had been proposed except for a few items missing in the data collection. There are also some tangents and deviations from the original proposition. And now I will need to take some time to reflect on the methods of data analysis, what is feasible based on what I have collected and the nature of the interviews, and what is also feasible in the roadmap to measurement, as so many variables will need to be reassessed based on existing data…

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