Stories about Rawalpindi

Man behind ‘Red-brick blocks’

The efforts of Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, famous not only for his street politics and outspoken nature, but also for his generosity towards educational institutions for girls in Rawalpindi, are laudable. The logic behind the presence of a Sheikh Rasheed Block at almost every school or college for girls in the constituency of NA-55 is not known to many, especially since these blocks aren’t found in any colleges for boys. Sheikh Rasheed won in the elections held this year. Sheikh Sahib mentioned at a prize distribution ceremony at Viqar-un-Nisa Post-Graduate College for Women a few years back that his colleague(s) brought several ...

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Kalyan Das temple: An abandoned shelter for the blind

A trek through the old areas of Rawalpindi reveals many examples of ancient architecture; silent testimonies of our heritage, narrating tales of our past and stories of our land. Unfortunately, these exponents of our history are in a state of utter neglect. And a cry out for immediate attention by the authorities is much needed. In the middle of the area that is commonly known as Kohati Bazaar, one can see the dome of a temple which is almost hidden by the high walls of an academic institution. Here stands one of the beautiful, historic landmarks of the city: Kalyan ...

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Lawless lawyers:From heroes to hoodlums

The black coats have been Musharraf’s most potent opponents since his return, just as they were during his time in office. And while it is admirable that they have taken the initiative when others seemed somewhat hesitant, the ugly scenes witnessed in Rawalpindi on Tuesday would suggest that they have gone a step, or several, too far. Musharraf’s supporters had reportedly turned up in large numbers as he appeared before a court in connection with the Benazir Bhutto murder case. Lawyers were also present, although they claim not in the same numbers. After some sloganeering, a melee broke out between the two ...

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General elections and Rawalpindi

The general elections are around the corner. Although an actual date for the elections has not been announced by the government, every politician is trying to complete development projects in his/her constituency. As a resident of the federal capital, when I look towards neighbouring Rawalpindi, I see elected officials in every constituency focusing on development projects. The urban parts of the city seem to have emerged as a major hub of the PML-N, which is probably because the Punjab government has executed a number of important development projects there since coming to power. Sometimes, being a resident of Islamabad, I cannot help ...

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Two toffees a day – enough to feed this seven-year-old

My friend and I were eating a burger on a Saturday evening, when a seven-year-old boy interrupted us. Boy: Bhai I’m hungry, please buy me something to eat. Me: Allah ke hawalay!  Khaaney do! (For God’s sake! Let us eat!) Boy: Bhai, I’m hungry! Ameer: How do we buy you food? We are students, we don’t have extra money! Boy: Bhai, at least buy me a burger? Ameer: Haven’t you heard what we said? Go away. Me: Ameer, wait! I took out a Rs5 coin from my pocket and handed it to the boy. Me: Take this and go! Boy: Will this be enough to buy a burger? I ...

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Pakistan’s long forgotten Hindu temples and Gurdwaras

The partition of India was based on the premise that a Bengali Muslim would be able to identify with the sorrows and issues of a Punjabi Muslim more than a Bengali Hindu. Of course, that was a vicious and diabolic notion because I believe that culture and heritage stand above religion. I recently visited the dilapidated temples and gurdwaras of Rawalpindi and realised that the city still sings of her secular past. The entrance to a temple in Gunjmandi. Photo: Shiraz Hassan In the early 19th century, the British made Rawalpindi the central seat of military power as they aimed towards Afghanistan. This was in line with ...

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Rawalpindi’s fading history and phantom streetlights

How do you navigate a city based on a description from 65 years past? How do you guide yourself with landmarks that don’t exist anymore? And what do you do when the idyllic description of the city is confronted with the stark, present-day reality? That is what happened to someone I met this week. My grandfather bought what would become our family home in Rawalpindi from a close friend, a Sikh, who had chosen to migrate to India after partition. A lifetime later, that friend’s granddaughter made her first trip to Pakistan, for a pilgrimage to the Gurdwara Panja Sahib in ...

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The baby eaters of Holy Family Hospital, Rawalpindi

Undoubtedly, one of the most horrific and gruesome images that can be conjured up is a newborn getting feasted on by rats. This kind of disturbing image is usually seen in the most macabre of horror movies, but as it turns out, reality in Pakistan even surpasses the most bizarrely fabricated fiction. An infant, born to Rahila Bibi, was severely bitten by rats this Sunday at the gynaecology ward of the Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi. News reports state that the surviving newborn, barely a day old, has visible rat bites on his face, neck, ears, and other areas of ...

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Public transport woes

I like travelling by public transportation. It’s an entirely subjective declaration for which I don’t find a lot of support. A major part of my public transport experience is based on intra- and inter-city travel in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The public transit system here, much like everywhere else in Pakistan, is not run by the government. Rather, it’s owned and operated by private transporters. I’ve been a commuter for almost seven years now. I still try to travel by public transport every chance I get. I have my reasons. The most common form of public transport in the twin cities is the ...

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Infrastructural speed breakers in Punjab

Residents of Rawalpindi have continuously been facing traffic problems primarily due to deteriorating state of roads in urban areas. Massive traffic jams occur at peak hours on Benazir Bhutto Road, Mall Road and Saidpur Road. The government finds little sense in constructing flyovers on different intersections of Benazir Bhutto Road. This is in spite of the fact that the smooth flow of traffic at the main artery of the city is severely hampered. The long-term and feasible solution to traffic in the garrison city lies in adding new roads to the existing infrastructure rather than solely focusing on Benazir Bhutto Road. ...

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