Class of 2017 Profile: Mohammed Shakeeb Asrar

Mohammed Shakeeb Asrar

Mohammed Shakeeb Asrar

By Silma Suba

 

Mohammed Shakeeb Asrar
Mohammed Shakeeb Asrar

 

When most teenagers in Lahore were probably getting a drivers license, or trying to battle their work at high school, Mohammed Shakeeb Asrar had already become the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Editor-in Chief of Pineapple, a self-published entertainment magazine.

 

“Our aim is to write stories from an angle that questions the status quo,” said Asrar. “(Work) that makes people think about the other side of the story.”

 

In October 2012, Asrar and his friends published the first issue of their magazine. Global corporations, including Nestle, helped them with their advertising campaigns and even funded the magazine.

 

Two stories that brought critical acclaim to their magazine were, “Taliban or Freedom Fighters?” and another story on one of the most important political parties in Pakistan, the Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaaf.

 

Asrar has been interested in magazine writing and editing since he was in the 9th grade.

 

“When my class teacher made me the editor of our class magazine, 9D Times” said Asrar, “I fell in love with the experience. I added pictures, cover art, articles, and enhanced the magazine.”

 

Asrar, now 20-years-old, is a freshman at Northwestern University in Qatar, is pursuing a degree in journalism. He is also the first from his family of four to go to college abroad, making it a really difficult choice for him to make.

 

“There was a lot of family pressure that I had to bear, not to forget the pressure from teachers in my school as well,” said Asrar, “They all said journalism is something you can do all your life as a side job. Do something that will actually get you a good job.”

 

But Asrar was determined. Ironically, the fact that journalism and media studies were so mistrusted in Pakistan, became one of the main reasons that pushed him toward this career.

 

“Pakistan is great where it is now, but it can be better,” said Asrar, “With my degree in journalism, I want to go back and work for my country, and present real stories of my country to the world.”

 

After orientation week at NU-Q and experiencing life in Qatar Foundation’s new residence halls, Asrar says coming to Qatar is the best decision he made.

 

During orientation last week, Asrar toured the campus and sat in on many information sessions, but what he valued the most was the candid, friendly atmosphere.

 

“The students, the faculty and staff are so nice, you can’t just help but feel comfortable,” said Asrar, “Back home, calling your teacher by their first name was unthinkable! Here, it just feels like they’re our friends.”

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