Stories about Rawalpindi

Nullah Leh: A solution for one, a solution for all

A continuing theme in the management of the twin cities has been misplaced priorities. Where water and sanitation, two interrelated issues that are basic requirements of a healthy life, remain low on the list of priorities, bigger roads, the need for which can easily be eliminated by the introduction of a genuine public transport system, seem like the single focus. Aeschylus, a Greek playwright widely regarded as the father of tragedy, once wrote, “By polluting clear water with slime you will never find good drinking water.” Case in point, Rawalpindi’s famous Nullah Leh. The Leh, probably the city’s most recognisable natural landmark, ...

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Pindi’s Orwellian water crisis

With fuel and electricity shortages already rampant, one of the least surprising local stories in recent weeks was that water is in short supply in the capital and Rawalpindi. The latter has a much more acute shortage, around 15 million gallons a day or 26% of total demand. While an inexact measure, working on the assumption that one in four Pindi residents doesn’t have any water, one can get a better grasp of how bad things are. One may wonder, quite justifiably, why nobody saw this coming. Well somebody did and for once, it wasn’t just the experts, but the government. In ...

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Bhoja Air crash: We are accessories to murder

Please refrain from shedding tears or feeling remorse for the unfortunate victims of the Bhoja Air crash. As painful and heart wrenching as this episode is, I’m afraid we have no right to feel sorry or pity for the departed souls and their loved ones. This may seem harsh, but it is the truth; we are all culpable in what is brazen murder. We are the ones that are allowing these airlines to operate within our borders; we are the ones that are tolerating unethical business practices that all too frequently imply cost cutting at the expense of the public ...

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Drugs are not the only problem

Drug use usually starts as a form of rebellion, be it against mom and dad, your own friends or society as a whole. Ease of access only increases the likelihood that someone will make an uninformed decision and light up their first joint, smoke their first bong, or worse, pick up their first needle. Pakistan is historically a hashish-smoking nation, with records of the cannabis-derived substance’s use going back thousands of years. Although some would try to deny it, drugs, at least soft drugs, are part of the local culture. From bhang and charas up to opium, Mother Nature’s gifts ...

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The spy that ‘danced’ me

Hip hop diplomacy, was given the same reception by Pakistan’s security agencies that the music style initially got from its home country. Though FEW Collective’s show in Islamabad did get a good reception from those in attendance, everything since then has gone downhill. First, the troupe was picked up when policeman in Rawalpindi caught them photographing critical security installations – the Regional Tax Office (this quite obviously being the year they finally meet their targets). Barely a week later, their show in Lahore got called at the last minute, because of what was either a No Objection Certificate (NOC) related problem, or ...

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Liberty must trump security

How safe is safe enough? As terrorist attacks have hit nearly every major city in the country over the last four years, this is a question that almost nobody has asked. We now accept random police checkpoints, and intrusive security measures at places that were once significantly more open. A small price to pay for security, some might argue, but I only have one question: for how long? Exactly when will it be safe enough to take them all down? When there are zero bomb attacks in the country? We have had several months of those. A whole year, maybe? What ...

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Hijab, or else…

The recent attack on the MC Model Girls High School in Rawalpindi is no less than a national tragedy. When 60 men, armed with iron rods waltz into an educational institute to mete out violent justice against women and children for not ‘dressing moderately’, it is a low point in the very substance of a nation. When an armed mob of religious vigilantes entered the school they did more than just beat innocent children and teachers. They instilled fear in every female student, in every girls school, and in the mind of every parent of a girl. The fact that ...

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Journey on Scum Express

Travelling by train always fascinates me. I always compare it with the journey of life, as there are a lot of things in common between these two journeys. We wait for the right time for the train to arrive, look for the right place to board,meet new people, spend time with them and on reaching the destination, say good bye to them. A couple of weeks ago, I was at the Lahore Railway Station waiting to board the train to Rawalpindi. I always travel at night so that I can reach Rawalpindi early in the morning and spend time roaming around ...

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The Capital Vulture: Pindi in 3D

“No cigrahtt.” “But…why?” “No.” “Ok…so can I just leave my pack with you-” “No!” This is usually the sort of scene that awaits me at Cinepax, the crown jewel of Rawalpindi. Because Islamabad proper doesn’t have any massive entertainment venues, we have to leave the city for a movie. Still, Cinepax is no longer a novelty (thank God). People are getting accustomed to going to the movies; they’re learning to behave themselves. The crowd has become tolerable. Yet some issues remain unresolved. Not allowing gum and lighters I understand – there are Rawalpindi sociopaths out there who’re fond of pyrotechnics and sticking masticated Juicy Fruit wads ...

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10 reasons Islamabad isn’t lame

Islamabad, although valued highly by its long-term residents, is often criticized by people who have moved here for personal or professional reasons. “It’s like a ghost town,” a recent arrival commented. While a long-time resident remarked, “Islamabad is a place for retirees. Anyone younger would go crazy there.” I have heard mixed reactions from tourists. I often hear acidic remarks like “Islamabad has a lame and depressing social scene and I prefer not to socialize here,” and “the nightlife is sleazy and full of shady old uncles.” But there is much to love in this sleepy, young town. One visitor remarked: “I was ...

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