Pakistan Diary

By Farzana Mumtaz

I was recently in Pakistan invited for a conference on Kashmir and peace in region. The conference was held in capital city Islamabad. The visit to that part of the world gave me a feeling how things are much different  in a place when watched from own perspective rather than from secondary sources . As soon as I entered Lahore the city presented its glittering and historic looks. The people were also nice with culture not much different from the Indian side of Punjab. Lahore as a historic city is home to many attractions. Pertinently,  Lahore has successfully maintained its historical touch. Prominent attraction of Lahore city  is the historical Minar-e-Pakistan (literally “Tower of Pakistan”) a public monument located in Iqbal Park which is one of the largest urban parks in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. The tower was constructed during the 1960s on the site where, on 23 March 1940, the All-India Muslim League passed the Lahore Resolution, the first official call for a separate homeland for the Muslims living in South Asia, in accordance with the two-nation theory.

Another must see location is the  Badshahi Mosque  or “Emperor’s Mosque” . This historical mosque was built in 1673 by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in Lahore, Pakistan. It is one of the city’s best known landmarks and a major tourist attraction representing  the beauty and grandeur of the Mughal era

Pertinently, the construction going on metro train suggests that Lahore is trying to make a perfect match of history with modernity. Many beautiful gardens and canals add to charm of Lahore combined with the beautiful markets.

The lush green city of Islamabad is treat to watch in terms of cleanness and attractive forest cover which proves why it is among the best capital cities of the world. Daman-e-Koh, at an altitude of 3000 ft, is a viewing point and hill top modern garden in Islamabad and a very picturesque spot. The entire area provides panoramic view of Islamabad.

Another major attraction is the Faisal Mosque (also known as Shah Faisal Masjid) which  is an exceptionally large and unique mosque in Islamabad. Centaurus Mall is one of Islamabad’s hottest attractions. The Centaurus is a mixed use real-estate development in Islamabad, Pakistan. The project includes a mammoth mall, 36-floor hotel, three 23-floor residential and office towers

People by and large are friendly. The average and literate Pakistanis want freedom from extremism and do not buy much into extremism as they feel it has hurt their country a lot. Shia and  Sunni divide is not to be seen as  many families  consist  of shia , sunni members  without any animosity and living in harmonious relationship.

The constituency of peace is also quite handsome in Pakistan and  wants peaceful resolution of issues. One meets many youth who want to carve a positive image of Pakistan .The pulse on ground is that coming years are going to be crucial for Pakistan as it tries to secure a victory in battle against terrorism.

Overall, the journey to Pakistan was an enthralling experience.