Stories about Rawalpindi

Protection of Pakistan Ordinance: A legal pass to abduct, torture and kill?

“Kaleemullah, 22, was coming out of a mosque in Kallar Syedan near Rawalpindi in June last year when personnel of an intelligence agency allegedly took him away. Son of a retired Khateeb of the army, Younis Farooq, Kaleemullah was found dead in a hospital in Chakwal on Jan 1.” This news was published in newspapers on January 26, 2014. Initially, it was yet another addition to the list of missing persons and the former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry pushed secret service agencies to produce the abducted in court. However, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had promised earlier that he would solve the missing persons ...

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How a group of dedicated friends changed the lives of 150 children

For a country with a population of 180 million, out of which 36 .7 per cent are under the age of 15, the education system of Pakistan is simply disgraceful. Although there is always a hue-and-cry about the importance of education by our leaders, little is actually done to implement the extensive measures that the government claims to pursue. As a result of the state’s negligence and the sheer inadequacy of infrastructure, millions of young children are unable to fight their way out of the poverty-stricken struggle that seems to be their destiny. Pakistan is currently rated number two on the ...

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Support minorities and save St Joseph’s Hospice, they need our help!

I wrote an article on street beggars and how they are more greedy than needy yet we still keep stuffing their pockets by directing our charity to this flourishing business of begging. The comments, numerous ‘likes’ and the feedback I received acknowledged how people agreed with my suggestion of giving charity where it’s deserved – to organisations that truly work for the poorest of the poor. But ironically, we have places like St Joseph’s Hospice in Rawalpindi that tirelessly work for people whose own families are either unwilling or unable to support them due to limited resources. For 50 years, St Joseph’s Hospice has been ...

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Rawalpindi: Parsi places of worship… still exist!

I was talking to the 70-year-old man, trimming grass at the Parsi place of worship, when he said, “I have been working here for more than 20 years and during this time none of the elders or children have ever spoken harshly to me. I am their employee and they are always polite to their workers.” An old gardener tending to the garden at the Parsi place of worship in Rawalpindi. Photo: Shiraz Hassan I guess the old man noticed my intrigued expression because he continued with a smile, “One day some community leaders visited while I was having my ...

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Rawalpindi clashes: Is history repeating itself?

I, vividly, recall the caption of an article contributed by Professor Arnold Toynbee in early 1950’s and reproduced by the daily Pakistan Times, which was a very popular daily of the progressive group. The caption read, “The force that made Pakistan shall unmake it – Religion.” This was most probably in context of the anti-Ahmadi movement riots in Punjab, aggravated to the extent that the ever first martial law was imposed to cover Lahore on March 6, 1953. Prior to that, a riotous mob ignited by Maulvi Abdus Sattar Niazi, had killed a Deputy Superintendent of the police, Syed Firdous Shah, who was a ...

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Rawalpindi violence: Where is our humanity?

It has become a recurring story now. The same news stories reappear on our television screens every Muharram, be it the Ashura procession in Karachi a few years ago, to the one in Rawalpindi this year. Every year when Muharram comes about, there is a little voice inside all of us which warns us to expect that religious fundamentalists, in some parts of Pakistan, will try their utter best to ruin a peaceful Ashura procession. And sadly, this voice usually turns out to be correct. I have been fortunate enough to spend some part of my life in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. To me, these joint ...

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This is what ‘Pakistan’ means to me

Walking or driving around the streets of my country, I can never give words to the mix of feelings and emotions that I experience. Is it the sense of belonging, which I never feel anywhere else in the world? Is it patriotism which brings tears to my eyes whenever I see a little boy running around the streets with a giant Pakistan flag? Driving by the Mazar-e-Quaid waving flags. Photo: Muhammad Noman “Why do you like Pakistan so much?” “Why would you want to live here when everyone here wants to leave?” “What is so good about Pakistan?” These are ...

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Down memory lane: This Eid, enjoy my mother’s recipe of Mutton Dum Piyaza!

Each Eid reminds me of the happy times I spent celebrating Eid as a kid at my maternal grandparents’ house in Rawalpindi some 20 or more years ago. Funnily enough, it was the hustle and bustle the day before Eid that I found most exciting. Being the eldest grandchild, I believed my job was the most important one; to make sure the mehndi was prepared well in advance. This was achieved by constantly nagging my Ammi and khalas. Mind you this was not the instant cone mehndi era, a lot of time and effort was put in preparing dry ...

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Peace talks won’t work. If they kill two, we must kill four

The year was 1989, I can’t remember the month though, but it was winter. I was 13-years-old, studying in Aitchison College Lahore. My late father, a brigadier of the Pakistan army, was commanding the Tenth Corps Artillery which was headquartered at Chaklala, Rawalpindi. I used to live in a boarding facility at the time and would visit our military home during vacations. I can’t help mentioning that those were very peaceful times, although it sounds a repetition in our country these days – everybody who is aged 30 and above says that quite often. I wish we could rewind or invent a ...

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Craving GT Road dhaaba deliciousness? Try this channa daal

Whoever has travelled on the Grand Trunk (GT) road in Pakistan knows what a driver’s hotel or a manji hotel is. Four ideas are the usual elements which make up such a hotel; truck drivers, plenty of manjis (Punjabi for beds), karak doodh patti (strong milk-tea) and affordably epic desi food. These informal restaurants are where all the long haul trucks make in-between stops to eat, drink and rest before heading to another stretch of their tiring journeys. The GT road is South Asia’s oldest and longest road, originally built to link eastern and western regions of the subcontinent. The road was rebuilt by Sher Shah Suri in the 16th century. ...

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