"The Second Floor" Needs Us.

 The Second Floor, a non commercial venture, is the only space in history of the city which in such a short span of time (App. 1.5 Years) has brought some of the nationally and internationally noted figures, including scientists like, Dr. Atta-Ur-Rahman people of international fame like David Barsamian, countries most celebrated and internationally renowned film makers, writers, poets, artists, social workers, human right activists, intellects, technologists and many others to it’s floors for the people of the city to hear them, question them and even sit over a cup of coffee to exchange thoughts with them, all in an effort to bringing like minded people from all segments of the society together.

 T2F also provided the younger generation a valuable platform to prove and show their talent, with exhibition of their art works, paintings and photographs; musical events, theater performances and Open-Mic evenings for new writers, bloggers and young poets. T2F has been a place for open discussions, a hangout for students for their combined  studies, for book lovers to read from it’s collection of books, for researchers to benefit from the free Wi-Fi internet and a haven for people either looking for an inspiration or passionate enough to inspire others.


Surprising as it may sound this small space tucked away on the second floor of an office building contributed so much in such short span of time to the society that one can’t even start to imagine comparing it with any other such place in the city or even in the whole of country. But today this space in under a threat, a threat which comes from the landlord who wants the space evacuated within a short period of two months time. The threat is real and of much harm to our society, to those who cant afford to buy an over priced pass to an art performance or have the resources or the right links to show and prove their true talent, those whose brilliant ideas have remained unheard of for years, the threat is to us the common people, who are make the largest segment of the society.


Today in DAWN a famous fiction writer BINA SHAH has made this plea to the people of the city to extend their help and support to save T2F, also Sabeen the founder and Director T2F, has sent out a message to the people of this city and all those who are inspired by, care for and support T2F.  


T2F is NOT CLOSING DOWN, because it has never been the money but instead passion, devotion and a strong determination to benefit the society for a better future which brought T2F to life and kept it running, with of course some public support which is now much needed in these hard times, in whichever way possible to save a valuable asset for our society and our coming generations.


 For once lets standup as members of this society for the better of the society, for the people for our selves and our coming generations and save T2F.

19 Comments so far

  1. ameerhamza on January 18th, 2009 @ 11:11 pm

    It is true that T2F regularly provides space to younger and newer artists. And we (PPo / PPA) are a witness to that. I also agree, and the facts show, that T2F has brought together some of the best minds on its tables. But the claim that it is an NGO sounds hollow to me. It clearly appears to be a commercial adventure gone seriously wrong. And it is not paying its bills on time. If it is a proper NGO, as the writer of this post claims, then T2F should be able to provide a solid evidence, a registration number or something akin to prove. Otherwise, it would be a waste of time telling men and women to support a dying NGO.

    I personally would like to see a larger T2F come up soon, with better attitude of its owners, better space, and better media coverage. But before all this I would like to see the evidence that T2F is an NGO.

  2. Jamash (jamash) on January 18th, 2009 @ 11:54 pm

    Your exhibition had been on the walls of T2F, you have been there and seen it all do you really think the sale of a few cups of coffee and sandwiches would cover the overhead running cost of the space and the salary of the staff ?

    But yes you would prefer to sit in a posh café on Zamzama, pay 350 for a cup coffee with a taste of ash rather then sitting at t2f not making a single purchase, yet use the free internet, read a book or two even enjoy an events there for free and yet not thank anyone, because being seen at that coffee shop on zamzama is somewhat a matter of pride, and makes you belong to a certain " Distinct" class but at T2F You are who you are.

  3. fareen on January 19th, 2009 @ 12:27 am

    Ameer Hamza: Give me a break! What sort of ‘profit’ are you insinuating T2F can possibly generate selling ‘tickets’ at Rs100 for world-class events and selling coffee at even lower rates??

    I’m not sure, since I wasn’t there when your art was on display, but sounds to me like you may be disgruntled over what could have been a less-than-favorable response to your exhibition?

    Good grief.

  4. Raheel Lakhani (raheel07) on January 19th, 2009 @ 4:03 am

    Ameer Hamza, are you a frequent at T2F? I guess not. Who in Karachi would offer free events to people? And if you are using their premises for your event, then they will obviously charge something.

  5. barrister on January 19th, 2009 @ 6:23 am

    I somehow knew this was on cards and then the bombshell. That’s what landlord(s) do to you when you sign weak tenancy agreements and when you get established it’s almost “classical”.

    There should be absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind about the honesty and integrity of Sabeen & the rest of the gang who made it happen. And I am sure they will continue with there contribution wherever they move.

    The Second Floor Lives

  6. بستنی (wasiq) on January 19th, 2009 @ 8:19 am


  7. bukhari on January 19th, 2009 @ 10:47 am

    indeed, not a slightest doubt on commitment of Sabeen and T2F..
    Let’s Talk about how to help..

  8. seskey on January 19th, 2009 @ 11:53 am

    @topic – being landlord myself, I feel sorry for the tenant i.e T2F and more sorry for the Landlord, instead of appreciating and encouraging the effort of NGO they want the place vacated. Legally their right cannot be challanged.

    I can extend – offer 1800 Sq ft place on 2nd floor of my building OFF Shahrea Faisal near Masjid Roomi, with an standby generator & 24/7 security, at 50% subsidised of the ongoing rental of the area if owner’s of T2F can produce a legitimate proof as an NGO and minimum of 3 humanitarian projects completed since they came into being.

    minimum period of rental lease 3 years extendable with mutual consent at fixed rent. KWSB, Local Govt taxes extra as applicable.

    Say what else!

  9. بستنی (wasiq) on January 19th, 2009 @ 12:29 pm

    only 3..? this is so easy….
    1.zeb & haniya
    2.Mr saad haroon and
    3.a chess game played by the…

  10. Tazeen (tazeen) on January 19th, 2009 @ 1:52 pm

    Ameer Hamza is truly a gem.

    Looks like no one bought his pictures at T2F and he had to vent at the management.

  11. HZL (huzefa) on January 19th, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

    Hmm.. I dunno why you guys are blasting off on Ameer. He has a valid point.

    T2F should clarify if its for-profit or an NGO. Non-commercial I don’t think is a proper legal status. And it should do so for its own benefit. It can legally accept donations etc.

    I however see more benefit in it being a commercial venture or in better terms, a social enterprise. But a social enterprise is still an enterprise.

    I mean just cause you make a profit doesnt mean you can’t re-invest it in your society improvement activities and participate in charitable activities.

    And to make it profitable, I would suggest they re-think their business model and services portfolio.

    It doesnt seem right to ask people to patronize your establishment just cause you do good things, you’ve got to provide value for money too (to survive). I personally didnt see that at T2F.

    Just my 2 cents.

  12. sabeen on January 20th, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

    @Ameer Hamza: While you are welcome to your opinions, it’s alarming that you should state "it is not paying its bills on time" or question our validity as an NGO. You are most welcome to come over and see our registration papers.

    @Raheel: Hamza was not charged anything.

    Everyone Else: Thank you for your support and encouragement. Stay tuned for progress reports.

  13. sabeen on January 20th, 2009 @ 3:25 pm

    @HZL: We are an NGO registered under the Societies Act of 1860.

  14. rockfella25 on January 20th, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

    @ Sabeen Mahmud,

    I have been to your place a couple of times, it wis a nice place for literary meetups and i truly enjoyed the experience and truly hope you find a permanent location really soon.

    I love what you do and have a few suggestions for you in case you are open for them:

    Whatever grievance ameerhamza might have with T2F, I think a very valid question is being asked repeatedly but is not being addressed properly.
    It would be best if you could put here the REGISTRATION # of the NGO Peace Niche so that whoever wants to check it out then can themselves.

    2. Since you are on a limited budget and looking for a (subsidized) rental place again, its best to bring in a new member on your team who is a bit more business oriented so that you would not have to face any problems with the rentals once your place is up and running once again.

    3. I loved your old place, but it besides the regular meetups and talks, it was not much to meet someone over coffee as the ambience was quite dull and school like. I hope you guys do it differently with the interior design work this time.

    Hope you take these in a positive light and looking fwd to seeing you back in action soon.

  15. بستنی (wasiq) on January 20th, 2009 @ 10:33 pm

    progress reports…? oh my god!another karan and nandni serial in the making…

    @sabeen…i may be from a different planet than yours but I like your determination….count me in.

    p.s:if worse comes to worse….allow me to be the first to offer you free cup of tea and samosa’s.

  16. balma on January 20th, 2009 @ 11:29 pm

    I was at T2F few weeks ago one afternoon (week day) and found it to be a very interesting place. Reminded me of good ole coffee shops in my good ole college days. I like trendy places too (I am bit shallow), but places like T2F are needed in Karachi.

    oh, I hate Starbucks. I hope they never make it to Karachi.

  17. بستنی (wasiq) on January 20th, 2009 @ 11:42 pm

    everything not needed here is loaded on the afghan transit at karachi ports…starbucks toh problem hee koi nahein hai…lol!

  18. Zag (surferzag) on January 21st, 2009 @ 1:47 pm

    I hope T2F lives on and I do hope it moves to a better place. I am assuming a ground level cafe will do more business than one on a second floor. More visibility will attract more people to it. I have met many people who would be the ideal customers of T2F but didn’t had any idea what and where it was even though they pass by it everyday.

  19. dilkadr on February 4th, 2009 @ 10:40 am

    I am sure, Karachiites will respond to this situation as they used to, and will save one of the novelist ideas prevailing in this city of free spirits.

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