Stories about Abbottabad

The mystery behind Sir James Abbott’s bizarre tribute to Abbottabad

If you were to take a stroll through Lady Garden Park in Abbottabad, you would eventually come across a marble plaque on which a rather infamous poem has been inscribed. Simply titled Abbottabad, the reason the poem has garnered a certain degree of notoriety is more to do with the man who penned the poem rather than the poetic styling of the piece itself. This poetic tribute to Abbottabad was written by the very man whose name the city and district still share – Sir James Abbott. It interesting to note that unlike certain other cities in Pakistan which were named after ...

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Abbottabad: The city that once stood against intolerance now welcomes it

Abbottabad, the capital of the Abbottabad District in the Hazara region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), is probably the second most important city of the province after Peshawar. It is a city of many famous tourist spots, as well as one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country. Most importantly, it is a city that prides itself on education, with some of the most prominent universities in Pakistan being found here, including the Ayub Teaching Hospital and the Pakistan Military Academy. Thus, it is not surprising to expect Abbottabad to be a city of tolerance, open-mindedness and acceptance. Unfortunately, this ...

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My road trip to Khunjerab and Skardu via the engineering marvel that is the Karakoram Highway

What can you do in five days? That’s the question I asked when my employers announced a five-day Eid holiday this year. With Eid conveniently falling in June, it was an excellent opportunity to explore the mighty Karakoram Highway. I booked the tour with Karakoram Tours Pakistan, and landed in Islamabad one fine morning for the journey to begin. Upon exiting the airport, I met my guide Mohammad Bashir, a polite Balti man from Skardu, and we began our journey immediately. In this blog, I will take you through one of the highest mountain ranges in the world – the Karakoram ...

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Hafiz Saeed is not Nawaz Sharif but as a citizen of Pakistan he has the same rights

Punjab Home Department has released a report stating that two Pakistanis are the next target of RAW, India’s intelligence agencies. The first gentleman, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, is known to the world as the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. The second man, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, is known to the world as head of Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), organisations blacklisted by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267. JUD and FIF are also placed on the watch list of the Government of Pakistan and are affiliated with another banned organisation called Lashkar-e-Taiba. The report suggests that RAW intends to ...

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Dear Hamza Ali Abbasi, Mahira Khan, Reham Bhabi and Ayyan Ali – Hi!

Open letters are the new ‘in’ thing. Everyone, while not busy taking selfies or engaging in internet wars, is writing them. Unlike personal letters that are addressed to and only read by the person intended, these have a universal appeal. Hence, I decided to write a few of my own, a series of them in fact. Here is the first one: To Hamza Ali Abbasi from an Online Jihadi. Hazrat Hamza Ali Abbasi Sahib, My heart sank when I saw the trailer of your upcoming movie, Jawani Phir Nahin Ani. And it sank even further to the bottom of the very pool you were seen ...

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Why Pakistan is just as beautiful as Switzerland

Pakistan is beautiful, it is utterly blessed! We don’t just say it… it actually is. When it comes to breathtaking landscapes and mind-blowing sceneries, Pakistan is absolutely matchless. You think Switzerland is the most stunning place on this planet? Think again… 1. Gwadar, Balochistan Photo: Parhlo website 2. Bara Pani, Deosai Photo: Parhlo website 3. Neelum Valley, Azad Kashmir Photo: Parhlo website 4. Shangrila Lake, Skardu Photo: Parhlo website Photo: Parhlo website 5. Deosai Plains, Northern Pakistan Photo: Parhlo website 6. Dudipatsar Lake Photo: Parhlo website 7. Fairy Meadows at night [caption id="" align="alignnone" ...

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Is the ISIS really in our backyard?

One day, you see shalwar-kameez clad Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters in Iraq and Syria, and the next day you hear news of their fighters infiltrating Pakistan. Is there any connection? According to the Foreign Office (FO) of Pakistan there isn’t. Obviously. The FO, on Wednesday, denied reports regarding the presence and infiltration of ISIS, also known as ‘Daesh’, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and FATA region. But did this denial ring any surprising bells? After all, the same FO, along with the authorities, was oblivious to Osama bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad for many years, leave aside the ISIS. Yet, one has to ...

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Zero dark thirty: Entertainment, not a documentary

If ever there was an appropriate name for a film, Zero Dark Thirty is it. The title here, which is military speak for the ‘middle of the night’, not only stands for the pitch black hour at which Osama bin Laden was apparently killed by the US Navy SEALs in Abbottabad, Pakistan, but represents the murky nature of the decade long clandestine hunt for the notorious al Qaeda leader.  Zero Dark Thirty highly dramatises these events to create a supremely gripping intelligence film which clicks on multiple levels due to the cold gun-steel style of its director, Kathryn Bigelow (Hurt Locker.)    Yes, it is ...

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‘Firaaq’: When the suppressed resort to terrorism

Since the year 2004, Pakistan has seen its North-West tribal agencies recurrently get bombed by American drones. After a total of around 300 drone strikes, about 3000 people have lost their lives. Though the United States proudly claims these attacks to be instrumental in eradicating the terrorist activities in the region, drone strikes still invite the debate as to whether they actually serve this purpose and this purpose only. More so, a wide majority of Pakistanis─ the tribal population included─ question the casual use of Pakistani air-space by the American military. Though people complain that these attacks ridicule the sovereignty of Pakistan, there ...

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Abbottabad has more to offer than Osama bin Laden

Only months ago, whenever I had to tell anyone that I resided in Abbottabad, I was, more often than not, met with a catatonic pause. Apparently, only geography-buffs knew what this was and even less knew where this was. But then happened the notorious Bin Laden episode, and that spared us the agony of having to go through Abbottabad’s location every single time. However, the dimension of interrogation sported an altogether different angle. Many now seem curious as to what living in Abbottabad is like. ‘Isn’t it dangerous?’ ‘Are there other terrorists too?’ ‘Do you feel secure?’ These are some of the more common questions ...

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