BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Date of Submission



Dr. Faiza Mushtaq, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


This research project investigates how experiences of growing up during the gang war in Lyari in the period between 2008 to 2014 impacts the everyday lives of its young men and women today.

To answer this question, this research adopts an ethnographic approach involving participant observation and in-depth interviews. A qualitative method was employed to understand participants’ experiences and snowball sampling was used to access them. All participants were between the ages of 17 and 35 years and belonged to Memon, Quraishi, Pathan, Baloch and Urdu-speaking backgrounds.

The research produced two key findings. First, identity continues to be a contested domain in Lyari, so that its residents are employing their agency today to debunk the narrative of a violent and criminalized Lyari that is a legacy of the gang war years. Self-identity today relies on a dichotomy between the past and present, so that present identity – be it ethnic, youth, gender or geographic identity – borrows its legitimacy through its contrast with the past. Secondly, while the gang war may be over, the afterlife of violence continues to exist in everyday life in various forms. It dictates patterns of love, with current relationships often finding their roots in past fear. Streets continue to evoke memories of trauma and reproduce the same symbols of prestige that were established in the gang war years. And power continues to have negative connotations because of the memories and experiences attached to it from that violent era of Lyari.



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