Omar Iftikhar – Reflecting the world through his pen
“I always wanted to write and to express my thoughts through words was something I feel was my innate skill.”
With bookstores closing left, right and center it can look like Pakistan is a hard country to make a career out of writing but despite its challenges Pakistan has a quite resilient and rich reading and writing culture, you just need to look harder. One person who has through his passion and determination made sure to make a place for himself as a writer is Muhammad Omar Iftikhar. Omar has written over 350 articles and contributed to various English-language publications of Pakistan like the Pakistan Observer, South Asia Magazine, The Frontier Post, Daily Times, Young World and Express Tribune. His writings have also been published in international newspapers such as Gulf News in the UAE. He writes on a variety of topics but his work mostly focuses on geopolitics and international relations with a focus on South Asian nations’ especially Pakistan, Afghanistan and India’s relations with that of the West, apart from politics he often writes film and book reviews for various publications. If that wasn’t enough, after his stint as a Strategy and Planning Executive at Symmetry Group, Pakistan’s leading digital media advertising agency, he is the Assistant Editor of Slogan Magazine and South Asia Magazine.
Omar’s writings have received a lot of recognition and he’s received quite a few awards and accolades, such as an Excellence Award from The Youth Republic in a national contest, Talent Pakistan, for excellence in the field of journalism, Second Position in the US Consulate Twitter Poetry Contest and third prize in the story writing competition by US Magazine, The News. After the selection of his story ‘The Dream’, for the anthology titled ‘Karachi: Our Stories in Our Words’ edited by Ms. Maniza Naqvi and launched at the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) 2013, and his National Novel Writing Month entry ‘Kingdom of Derya’ Omar is also committed to writing a non-fiction novel.
“Being a writer was a conscious decision and a one backed with passion as I always wanted to become a writer. I love expressing my thoughts in words and to create stories out of my imagination.”
Omar hopes his writing will impact both readers within Pakistan and abroad. For the people outside of Pakistan his aim is to make them think differently about Pakistan then they usually do by providing them the right information with nuance and in context to global politics and movements, emphasizing on our unique culture and diverse people.
“I have always written pieces that show the true side of Pakistan, the one that is hidden from the world, especially when writing articles on current affairs.”
In Pakistan, he wants to change the mindset that writing cannot be a profession, only a hobby you can try your hand at on the side. As long as people have passion, work on their craft and keep at it, he believes anyone can be successful in the path that he has taken. He is especially proud of the positive impact he’s having on the readers of Young World, a magazine read by the youth in Pakistan, and hopes to continue giving them the right kind of guidance.
“While writing on topics of personality development for children I feel I am helping all young readers understand the importance of life and how to deal with stress, studies and career.”
Another exciting writing project by Omar is his food blogging platform, Pehla Newaala. The blog features reviews of eateries and the food they offer across Karachi. It also publishes interviews of eatery owners and home-based female chefs.
“I love to write and I love to eat. So, I decided to combine these two as one. The website lets me explore the variety of food being offered across Karachi and write about each with my heart and soul to provide my readers with a value-adding review.”
Omar is truly passionate about writing as a medium to express his thoughts and ideas, the paper allowing him a blank canvas to reflect the world around him. We hope to read more of Omar’s writing and conversation starting work!
Written by Sameen Mohsin