What we have…

What we have, over shadows what we don’t. Let’s accept the fact that Islamabad lacks a few basic facilities that other Pakistani cities do. Pakistanis sans Islamabadis would be eager to listen to what I have to say, if not, don’t care. So here goes.

A Public Library: I demand at least two public libraries open to all public, with a good collection of latest and old books for people to borrow, read, and return. With a nominal fee, one should be able to borrow books and have a quite place to read a book in peace. Except the National Library near the Supreme Court of Pakistan which only serves to be an archive of national papers and documents, has a good auditorium, the common man really doesn’t have anything to do with it. I haven’t heard anyone with a ‘membership’ to that place, so it’s pretty much guaranteed that it’s closed to public access. The Islamabad Club (IC) Library is very small, has a poor collection, and serves only the IC members. The library at the American Center in the northern part of Blue area has had it’s door closed since God knows when, thanks to security issues. But I have heard they had a good collection of books too. Sigh, it too is not accessible. British Council too closed shop and left with minimal staff and operations in Islamabad left. The French Cultural center has a lot of books on art and crafts, and mostly in French or by the French, so it’s relative relevancy drops, too. To say the least, there is no public library of Islamabad of its own!

At least two to four Cinemas and Auditoriums: Being the capital its hard to imagine that we have had all our (marginally functional) cinemas ‘burnt down’ by, well, you guessed it; lets call them over-activists for now. The one at Nafdec was used for screening documentaries from around the world sponsored by the accompanying institute of Regional Studies or something, and they had a good stage too for plays and dramas. The two screening halls at Melody Market G-6 were also a target of arson. Again, the most active screening hall and auditorium in Islamabad remains to be the IC Auditorium, which is sad, not because it’s another IC facility, but for the sheer fact that it is ‘the only’ auditorium cum cinema in Islamabad and it’s way too far off for any sensible drive down and watch activity! No one can compete with Lahore when it comes to stage facilities, and it won’t be hard to imagine if even Faisalabad had more cinema’s than Islamabad. Because we have NONE! Karachi has it’s own cineplexs’. This is the Federal Capital for God’s sakes!

A complete completely public leisure facility: Call it a club if you will, except the ‘Mega Zone’ in F-9 Park which has ridiculously high tariffs and fee, there is no other ‘club’ for people to go and have a good swim at, or a nice little cup of tea with a group of friends on a Friday evening, or workout for a while, or play a game of badminton, or a game of cards, etc. Membership to IC is very limited, even though I have to say their Rs. 500 service charges + Rs. 500 for sports facilities is very cheap. Other places like ‘The Spa’ in F-6 Super Market has only a swimming pool. Hence in general, the places that are there are not complete even if they are there, and have high fee that it’s is better one stayed at home and watched the CJ issue unfold.

Even though Islamabad could out edge all other regional cities when it comes to number of parks, the greenery, no. of walking tracks and no. of biking tracks, etc. People like me who would like more than just enjoy the abundance in greenery have very few places to go. Restaurants too become boring when every week you have only a handful of places to go, save planning out how to spend the few bucks that you are left with from previous outings. The performing-art scene in Islamabad is no where near what it should be, even though I know what kind of performing art scene exists in other cities, at least they have one! What else would our entertainment starved people do other than hold underground booze binges and dance parties?

As Islamabad continues to grow, I am dead sure that the CDA WILL have to provide for these facilities sooner or later, that is IF they care about what the public wants. New roads, fly-overs, under-passes, and sectors are not the only things that ‘make up a city’! Hope someone in the (Capital) Development Authority listens. What are your thoughts?

4 Comments so far

  1. 1967 (unregistered) on June 9th, 2007 @ 5:50 pm

    Grow up Phil…:-) I can understand your frustration on the weekend…Rest assured you’re not the only one.

    But didn’t you know : All things that can distract you from the the path of the lord (yes especially entertainment) are haram…:>

    Do you wan’t to give more target practice to the Jamia Hafsa folks? Yep they would have all the entertainment they want by shooting and thrashing the shit out of innocent people here.

    You already know what happened to the ONLY cinema that we had here.

    Ask for more load shedding, so people can have more hours of “personal entertainment”…;-) It’s a realtively cheap…and readily available solution.

  2. Phil (unregistered) on June 9th, 2007 @ 9:33 pm

    WTF does this mean:

    Ask for more load shedding, so people can have more hours of “personal entertainment”…;-) It’s a realtively cheap…and readily available solution. :S

    I think its Jamia Hafsa people that need to grow up… :) If that happens, most of our problems will be solved. But why the heck are we discussing that?

    With kind regards.

  3. Aysha (unregistered) on June 9th, 2007 @ 10:07 pm

    Man! that’s all?? I have a longer list than you do!

    But I guess until the residents of pakistan in general be more open-minded, trusting and truly responsible in practicing and managing these types of leisure giving amenities. I think were a wee bit faraway from our visions. Till then we just have to entertain ourselves and i think pakistanis are expert at that. Take my sis in law she can virtually write the village census just in case the local govt office burns down.

    Booze?? Party?? I think they are just one sorry group who got together to drown their misery over some dangerously concocted drink. I mean who wants to die and have their headstone say “Beloved Sb. died of boredom at a tender age”. So they’d rather “Beloved sb. died of drowning at a tender age” :P hihihi…

  4. A for [pine]apple (unregistered) on June 10th, 2007 @ 4:32 am

    well I definitely need one cineplex here, it’s been ages since I’ve actually seen a movie with loud cinematic thushes in my ears … as for parks I’m still quite disappointed with F-9 park, had it been lahore’s race course, Islooites could’ve felt more delight.

    Khair … I suggest hakoomat to make Moi-self the caretaker of Islamabad at least for a month and see the changes *day dreaming in night*

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