Lahore – the showcase of Mogul Architecture

I love Lahore not because I was born in Lahore, but for many other reasons as well. I love Lahore for the warmth of hospitality of its people, its richness in diverse architecture, culture and traditions. A city which has been seat of governments of the Moguls, Siks and the British. Located on the famous Grand Trunk Road, a city once skirted by the River Ravi and bordering India on the other end, stands and thrives majestically every second, minute, hour and day of the one’s life.

Talking of architecture, the city is rightly called the showcase of Mogul architecture as one finds remains of Mogul architecture wherever one tours in Lahore. The Badshahi Mosque, the Shahi Qilla (Lahore Fort), the Shalimar Gardens, the Mosque of Wazir Khan and Chouburji (building with four towers) are some of the major marvels of Mogul architecture. But beside these are countless number of small buildings that add to the galore and grandeur of the city of Lahore.

One has to be there in Lahore to enjoy and feel the richness of heritage that Lahore possesses since countless centuries.

View some glimpses of the Mogul architecture at JahoJalal. The details of these can be read in the Landmarks section of my website Pakistanpaedia.

Rehabilitation of the Flood Victims or….

When the floods hit Pakistan last year, everyone hoped that the government would cash on the window of the opportunity opened for it and go all out to rehabilitate those millions who lost their entire possessions when their mud houses crumbled and were swept away by those deadly muddy waves of flood water. The destruction started from the north, and continued down south over the next one month till it finally met the deep blue waters of the Arabian Sea.

As the water travelled down country, people watched helplessly as their possessions, their dreams and their aspirations were being swept away until lost forever. Young girls sobbed silently as their dowries so painstakingly prepared by their mothers were washed away along with their dreams of getting married one day. Little children lost their small fortunes, a few toys or the new shoes their parents bought them after years of savings.

All was gone forever and those “rich” people were forced into tent villages to live on as the government had other plans to make space for the “poor” who often have to go to the capital to attend the sessions of the National Assembly and the Senate. The Capital Development Authority had the land allocated for the brand new lodges for these “poor” representatives of the people, frequently “displaced” to attend the sessions while the PM inaugurates a Rs. 2,908 million project for the poor IDPs in Islamabad a few days back. The project entails construction of some 104 family suites, besides some 500 servant quarters on an area measuring 1.4 acres of land.

As per a rough estimate a simple house can be constructed for around Rs. 1 million and the funds allocated for the lodges could thus provide a shelter to some 290 people living helplessly at the mercy of the rigours of the weather and nature. But none of the people’s representatives have raised a voice about this since it concerns their welfare, not the welfare of the people they represent, a portion of which is rotting in the tents under open sky.

Strange are the ways the people of Pakistan are ruled. Had the same thing happened in a military dictator’s rule, politicians would have made an issue out of it. But now in a true democratic rule, everyone seems to be looking the other way, completely ignoring the promises they made when asking for the votes. Who should now the people of Pakistan turn to for help?

Peace return to Malam Jabba – the Ski Resort

Malam Jabba – the biggest ski resort in Pakistan has seen its good days and bad days. Good days when it was a thriving ski resort for the skiing enthusiasts of Pakistan and even attracted enthusiast from abroad. Located in the Karakoram mountain range and some 40 km from the town of Saidu Sharif in the Swat Valley, the resort was established due to joint efforts of the governments of Pakistan and Austria. Besides ski slope of about 800m with the highest point of the slope 2804m (9200 ft) above sea level, the Malam Jabba Ski Resort was equipped with modern facilities including roller/ice-skating rinks, chair lifts, skiing platforms, telephones and snow clearing equipment. The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation had a beautiful hotel constructed at the foot of the ski slopes.

The bad news came when the ski resort was badly damaged during 2008 when militants took control of the area. After Pakistan Army’s successful operation, and control over the area, the resort is under repair and renovation and is thus closed for the tourists for now.

And the good news again is that the resort has been restored and a 5-days peaceful skiing gala is being organized by the PaRRSA (the Provincial Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Settlement Authority) of the Khyber Pakhtunkwa province from 26-30 January 2011. It may be mentioned here that after cleansing the area from militancy by the Pakistan army, an “Aman Mela (Peace Fair)” was held in Swat in July last year, which attracted over 40,00 thousand tourists beside a huge participation by the locals.

Besides being a tourist and skiing resort, Malam Jabba also assumes significance from the fact that there are to Buddhists stupas and six monasteries that are located close by the resort. These monasteries dating back to some 2,000 years are also an added tourist attraction for the skiers and spectators.

Related Reading: Skiing in Pakistan (Hobby Shobby)
Originally posted at The Fire Within

Top 10 Women that made headlines in Pakistan – 2010

The year brought good news when two female members of our SAARC games squad (left top and below) won gold medals in athletics and Karate. Naseem Hameed became the fastest women of South East Asia when she won the 100 metres women title. The 22 years old clocked 11.81 seconds, 0.12 seconds ahead of Sri Lanka’s Pramila Priyadarshani, and became the first female athlete to win the race in Pakistan’s sports history. Sara won gold for her superb performance in Karate.

Later in the Asian Games, the Pakistani women cricket team won gold for Pakistan and made headlines as this was their first ever victory at such a prestigious sports venue.

Hadiqa Kiani is a famous pop singer of Pakistan, who besides singing takes active part in caring for the poor, socially children. For her love and care for the poor, she along with the famous Pakistan tennis player Aisam ul Haq, was appointed as UN Ambassador of Goodwill.

Angelina Jolie needs no introduction for her superb acting in many Hollywood motion pictures. But Miss Jolie won the hearts of countless poor Pakistani, especially the women and children when she visited the flood affected areas of Pakistan earlier this year. Miss Jolie, dressed in makeup-less attire was seen wading through muddy flood waters and reaching out to the poor and console them and offering her whole hearted support as UN Ambassador of Goodwill.

Asma Jahangir is is a leading Pakistani lawyer, advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and an human rights activist, who works both in Pakistan and internationally to prevent the persecution of religious minorities, women, and exploitation of children. She has also recently become the first female President Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan.

Sana Mehmud is the captain of the women football team of Pakistan. Like the women cricket, she has high hopes to bring glory to women of Pakistan by competing and winning international football events. The star Indian tennis player Sania Mirza hit headlines both in Pakistan and India when she married Shoaib Malik, a Pakistan cricketer, earlier this year.

Dr Afia Siddiqui is a victim of pride and prejudice. Indicted as a suspected terrorist, she was convicted by a US court to 86 years in prison despite the fact that the case against did not have solid evidence and witnesses. The whole Pakistan nations want their daughter back as everyone is of the opinion that a case has falsely been framed against her with lot of loose ends and ambiguous claims.

The last photo in the right column is that of the anguished eyes of the veiled women of Pakistan who make headlines everyday when they are subjected to injustice in a male dominated society.

We do hope to have more females making headlines in year 2011 in the fields of science, technology, and other disciplines besides sports.