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Gaga: Rest in Peace (b.2002 - d.2010)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Visiting Pakistan

Last time I was in Islamabad (Pakistan) was 2 years ago. In 9 years, only twice have I been able to visit my hometown (Islamabad) and unfortunately, so much has changed that I can NOT recognize the city anymore - the city where I grew up, started my school and spent most of my life.

I have also lived for a little over two years in Gilgit in the Jutiyal neighborhood. I hope to see a better Gilgit than what I left when I was there. On the Internet, I do visit websites about the Northern Areas of Pakistan (NA) or what they now call it as Gilgit-Baltistan Region (GB). A real treat for me was the news of the establishment of their first ever university in Diamer, which used to be a Degree college for boys back in the days. Second news was about giving NA the status of a province - making it the fifth province of Pakistan. It was indeed a good news because this is what the people of NA had been demanding for years. Last but not the least, news of yet another disaster in Pakistan and this time in the NA – it was the forming of lake near Hunza which is drowning in it the small villages in areas like Gulmit etc. - this whole episode started off with earthquake after-effects and then melting of the icy glaciers. At the moment, some 5,000 workforce is trying its best to minimize the damage with the help of the Chinese experts at Karakorum Highway (yes. You are right. The same old - SILK ROAD). Hope that it turns out well. I hope and pray that all the people who have been displaced by this calamity find relief as soon as possible and start their lives with new hopes and dreams. People of the Northern Areas of Pakistan are very hospitable, caring and loving – one of the best - I have come across. They deserve the best.

The third city on my itinerary was Lahore. So far, one of the most beautiful places with a lot to offer to its visitors. Lahore and vibrancy are synonyms. Lahore has a rich history and culture – its museums, mazars (tombs), mosques, malls, murghzar, mohallay (old neighborhoods), minarets, and you name it and they have them - with no comparisons. It has so much to offer that one life is NOT enough...and this is good that one has to go back there again to discover or rediscover - something new every time. Its food, people, architecture, history....is world class! It is rightly called the "cultural capital of Pakistan".

I hope that every city, town and neighborhood in Pakistan prosper! There is so much potential - all we need is a good, dedicated and honest leadership in Pakistan. I would also like to see more and more self-help programs by the people and the NGOs. They surely help a lot where the governments fail.

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