Category Archives: Nature

Saving the Capital

The recent decision of the Supreme Court to order closure of a multinational food chain restaurant in Islamabad is path-breaking

It has become a cliché to praise the Supreme Court of Pakistan these days. Clichéd, because many partisan agendas find resonance within the all-embracing spectrum of judicial activism. Those who have been critical of judges turning into activists must rethink their misgivings. While the dangers of such blanket approval of the workings of a state institution are apparent, it is still a welcome change in a country known for its culture of impunity. This is why the recent decision of the mighty Supreme Court to have ordered the closure of a multinational food chain restaurant in Islamabad’s ill-designed public park is path-breaking.
First of all, the fact that a municipal matter reached an overburdened superior court speaks much about the dysfunctional executive that manages our lives. That the court had the wisdom to uphold the rights of ordinary Islamabadites marks a new beginning which, if taken to its logical end, would mean that all public spaces in Pakistan should come under intense judicial scrutiny. Lastly, the court’s effort to enforce accountability could very well turn out to be a new beginning in our murky public affairs.
Effective municipal management requires that we revisit the urban governance frameworks that are now outdated to handle the population growth, changed needs of the population and dwindling state capacity to enforce regulations. Notwithstanding that Islamabad is fifteen kilometres away from the real Pakistan, the management practices are no different from the rest of the country. Essentially, the Islamabad saga reveals a case of serious governance failure. Continue reading


Filed under Islamabad, Nature, Pakistan, public policy, Rights

Civilizations (Mirrors of Our Existence)

From years of our travel
We look back
Upon these civilizations,
From years of adventure
We look back
Upon these civilizations
From days of our inheritance
The lands and its cultures
The old forms of languages
The mystery of Universe
The old journey taken
By humans and nature together
As they traverse
From place one to another,
In harmony and disarray
As we born and die
From on to another,
As we love and hate
The old circumstances
And situation, intertwined
Through languages and its art,
The trails, lost and visible
As we look back
Upon these civilizations
The old mirrors of our existence

As transference takes place
From one culture to another,
The old social composition, in view
The old need to survive and preserve
Through the feathers of time, curious!
All what we do, all what we gain
There is past, it carries the stains
Of our existence, into the future
To the people and the times they lived
Of lasting impressions and moments
The old intrinsic nature remains,
To pursue, through intellect and reason
The nature’s gift, to exercise
As we look back
Upon these civilizations
The old mirrors of our existence

As we evolve, as we discover
Ourselves, in paint and paper
Through fields of literature and art,
In science and technology
Owe we all portion of our success
To this past, to these trials of humanity
Lie there in the wilderness,
The old landmarks, hidden
To what we lost, and how we lost
As with each fleeting moments
Remains this search to refine
Our history and times we live in;
Those episodes of mankind
Of their gains and losses
In display, throughout the pages of time
As we look back
Upon these civilizations
The old mirrors of our existence

Remain the search, remains in place
The old journey to discover
To seek answers to these questions
The very fuel and catalyst
Driving us forward,
Of languages and cultures
The journey is one,
For truth and purpose,
Some seek it through art,
Some with hands of science
And some through spirituality
To reunite with ourselves
To discover purpose of our creation
Through the landscapes of time
As they learn to strive in their endeavor
Through the old blocks to the new
As we find ourselves on these trails
Of humanity dispersed in wars
And through famine and disease
As we look back
Upon these civilizations
The old mirrors of our existence

As we look back
Upon these civilizations
The old mirrors of our existence
Not the landmarks or the time
The old metaphors of this correlation
But the humans and the journey
Through pain and despair
Through elation of whispered butterflies
To find what is theirs, to discover
What lies, as the hands turn to gold
From the old manuscripts to new
As the earth shifts its burden
As the old clocks go backwards
As we look back
Upon these civilizations
The old mirrors of our existence!



Filed under ancient civilisations, Architecture, Art, culture, Dance, drama, dynasties, Heritage, History, Identity, Languages, Law, Literature, movements, Music, musings, Nature, Philosophy, Physics, poetry, Politics, psychology

Glimpses into Islamabad’s Soul

Book Review by Fiona Torrens-Spence

Author: Fauzia Minallah

In the past travel writers have been dismissive of Islamabad, passing it off as ‘sterile’ and ‘dull’; somewhere to be got through before visiting the real Pakistan. And the local joke ‘Islamabad, twenty minutes from Pakistan’ also belittles the country’s capital city by implying it is essentially foreign to the rest of Pakistan; a soulless, high rise city full of diplomats and other feather bedded foreigners.

As Fauzia Minallah writes, Islamabad and its surrounding villages have both a soul and an immensely long and fascinating story. It is sometimes hard to locate historic sites and harder still to find information about them so I wish that I had been able to read Fauzia Minallah’s book before living in Islamabad as I know I have seen many sites around Islamabad, such as the prehistoric shelter which can be seen from the Kashmir Highway, and entirely missed the story behind them.

I would recommend any visitor to Islamabad to invest in a copy of her book, particularly if they will be living in Islamabad for long enough to get out and about and explore. The book has the best map of Islamabad and surrounding areas which I have yet seen. The map explains the city’s grid system and how it extends beyond the currently developed areas and shows the location of the places she describes in such a way that it would be comparatively easy to find them on one’s own. (Maps of the surrounding areas of Islamabad were non-existent when we lived in Islamabad which filled me with sadness as I am a very visual person.) Her book also has a very good timeline which puts the sites she describes into a historical framework.

Fauzia Minallah’s book has beautiful photos of Islamabad and reproductions of the paintings of the well-known Islamabad artist, Gulam Rasul illustrating the exceptional beauty of “the garden city” and its surrounding villages. The photography and arrangement of the art work is a tribute to Fauzia Minallah, who is a well known artist in her own right successfully exhibiting throughout Pakistan and Europe. Continue reading

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Filed under Architecture, Books, Environment, Heritage, Islamabad, Nature, Pakistan, public policy

Paradise Found: Pakistan’s Charakusa Valley


Found this racy travel account here – the pictures are stunning and the narrative right from the heart and informal.

Kc_arrive_k7_968__2Our friend Kelly Cordes, who tests gear and writes copy for us, went
climbing in the Charakusa Valley of Pakistan last summer and sent us
some photos to share. Though Kelly and his climbing partner, Scott
DeCapio, were unsuccessful on their attempt at a new line on K7, they
returned with some spectacular images — enjoy!
[Photo: Arrival into base camp in Pakistan’s Charakusa Valley, late August, 2007, with K7 in the background. All photos © Kelly Cordes]
Kc_isb_airport_792_2Arrival at the Islamabad airport. Things look calm here, but generally it’s mass chaos, which sounds intimidating except that everyone’s super friendly. This was my third time to Pakistan – the place grows on ya, in large part because of the incredible people, especially in the villages. In all my travels, nowhere in the world have I been greeted with the kindness and warmth of the people of northern Pakistan. The spectacular mountains feed the attraction, too. Continue reading


Filed under musings, Nature, Pakistan, Travel

Save Thandiani

— Mahmood Aslam Pakistan

Dear friend of heritage and history,

Good news…

Due to your prayers and great efforts government of NWFP has now decided to save most of the buildings which are included in this stream..

Please spread the word among your contacts , friends and media men, so that the way they stopped looting of Patriata forest in the name of “new murree”, similarly they also stop murder of pristine and innocent little Thandiani..

Thank you very much for your time.

Save Thandiani

by Environmentalist

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Filed under Environment, Heritage, Nature, Pakistan

Snow leopard is fighting extinction

From the daily DAWN

CHITRAL, Jan 21: The local population has been educated and made aware of the global importance of the protection of the endangered snow leopard as a result of which people are now much more sensitive about the issue, an official of the Snow Leopard Project (SLP) has said.

Talking to Dawn here on Monday, he maintained that the villagers used to kill the animal by using automatic weapons when it attacked their cattle, but today the situation was quite different. He said that many projects launched to ameliorate the target population had quite positive and encouraging results.

Continue reading


Filed under Environment, Media, Nature, Pakistan