Time warped.

time warped

Being someone who was born and raised in Islamabad, the recent plethora of construction, development, drive towards being a metropolitan just make me sad and angry at the same time. What happened to the Islamabad that was there say 5-6 years ago. The map has changed, you barely see the small roads you used to now. I honestly can’t differentiate sectors because to me they all look the same or maybe it’s the roads that run through them. I miss turns, I sometimes can’t tell what road to take to go home even when It’s just one straight road. I’m not saying development is a bad thing but there was something unique about Islamabad that slowly and alarmingly is just depreciating to a level where the smoke, rubble, bridges, under-passes and towers will over-shadow the green Islamabad that was. Seems like eons now. I fondly remember when we used to live in G-9/4 me and my mother would walk around g-9/3, g-9/1 and back home. It took us an hour and we’d see the same faces, the same khokha, the same “secret building” which I thought was cool because of the satellites and stuff. And now, walking there is considered a cardinal sin. Road blocks, security checks. It seems like a fortress rather than the place I used to walk everyday. And it just makes me wonder what the need for all this was. True security is an issue but doesn’t a “democracy in books” mean that the people are to be taken care of. These road blocks just jam traffic, cause nuisance to people who after a long day at work just want to get home without any complications. Getting stopped and asked for documents is even worse considering the same police walas see you everyday. But they’re just doing the job they were assigned to do so to speak.

7th avenue, 9th avenue, whatever avenue. It may streamline traffic but it has made the Islamabad I loved crap. In all honesty I miss the citibank chowk with the four roads and the signals where there were hardly 10 cars in the waiting. I remember at the zero point signal my dad used to stop even if our car was the only car there. And now the zero point interchange has changed the scenery. Whatever happened to the signal we stopped at just to see the white dove?. And now the white dove is usually covered with political slogans and kudos to Mr Rehman Malik or countering terrorism in Pakistan by one of his many chamchas. Islamabad is now in my humble view a city fortress where the rich and famous rule and the not so rich and certainly not famous people suffer. Tower upon tower. When will it all end? Where did the serenity go?! where on earth is the peace? Even haji restaurant eating areas are smaller because of a new tower being built. Hehe. That is in my view a major loss for Haji restaurant is a prime restaurant which too has lost it’s charm because people just won’t let them be.

I guess time changes everything and the crux of my rant was that the Islamabad that “Was” in my view is and will always be better than the Islamabad that “is” and “will be”. Give me a peaceful sector not a Centaurus. Give me a good khokha not a telecom tower. Give me a small but calm road, not an avenue where there is nothing but chaos (literally). To think this small semi-path/street will no longer be in a few years time makes me even more sad.

Time warped or plain simple conforming to social needs and adhering to the principles of the rich.famous.moustached.demented?

15 Comments so far

  1. Irfan (unregistered) on August 30th, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

    Awesome! … :)

  2. Saima Asad (unregistered) on August 30th, 2009 @ 11:33 pm

    Bravo! Hashim.Islamabad is and will always be my favorite place on the globe. I love its peace and serenity and I totally agree with you that we need a peaceful sector and clam roads in Islamabad which used to be its signature identity. There are better ways to develop a city somebody should tell this to CDA!

  3. IUnknown (unregistered) on August 30th, 2009 @ 11:58 pm

    more “gifts” of democracy are to come, after US marines.. Just wait for them brother. Just WAIT!!

  4. Furquan (unregistered) on August 31st, 2009 @ 4:45 am

    This rant has made me realize how different Islamabad has become since I moved to the US. Everything that I held near and dear to me in this once suburban paradise is now shattered by urban development. Peace and calm can never prevail in this fast evolving earth if we replace every tree with a lamp post and cover every green left with tarmac. In my belief, corrupt political influences and underfunding of Environmental Watchdogs is to blame. I can only pray for a miracle that will bring color back into this once gorgeous city.

  5. JayJay (unregistered) on August 31st, 2009 @ 5:33 pm

    Nothing is static. Change happens. Sometimes out of necessity, sometimes by force, sometimes by desire. I like a progressing, developing Islamabad. It is changing with times. It is no longer a small town of 1970s or 80s. Being a living city it is growing. It not unlike seeing a cute, soft and ever smiling baby growing into a professional man of 40 who is pot-bellied and balding.

  6. A for [pine]Apple (asmamirza) on August 31st, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

    the problem is traffic is still not streamlines as it should. I still thing instead of a hefty costly flyover a good round about may have solved the situation.

    Secondly, the killing of green belts … aaah.

    And yeah I remember when citibank was built, it was probably the most modern looking building with lots of sheeshas that we all loved gazing *_*

  7. Furquan (unregistered) on August 31st, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

    @ JayJay, you are right, progress is a welcome sight in Islamabad. But progress for the sake of progress is only destroying Islamabad’s natural heritage which has been an iconic symbol of the capital since its birth! Progress for the sake of progress is what we see in Karachi, no offense to any Karachiites reading this. Islamabad might have once been the small town of the 70’s and 80’s as quoted by you, but we have yet to travel a long way before we can strengthen our infrastructure, and doing so requires protection of natural beauty to avoid surface runoff’s, erosion, potholes etc. Islamabad was famous as a city where no amount of rain could result in a puddle on the road, but now, sadly, that is not the case. Furthermore, developments in Islamabad have sped up at a much higher rate than it was intended, and after the economic collapse, these projects are now at a standstill, creating more traffic chaos and adding to the woes of pedestrians and motorists.

  8. nyma (unregistered) on August 31st, 2009 @ 9:24 pm

    well…change is inevitable,i miss the old isloo too.the most hideous sight is the underpass tht you see right infront of the citibank building..i mean ok, its a big develpoment, but i know i/we all have suffered whn it was being constructed :))
    and…bravo, i love your blogs.

  9. hashriani on August 31st, 2009 @ 9:26 pm

    Change indeed is inevitable but change can be brought into play more tastefully and by keeping the views of the people in mind. There are more traffic halts over the underpass than there were before it was even there…

  10. Rehmat Yazdani (d1a3n0i4) on August 31st, 2009 @ 9:56 pm

    Well, Islamabad is one of the well planned cities of South Asia and I am sure you would know that its master plan was designed by a Greek Architects firm “Doxiadis Associates”. Ironically, similar to our country’s constitution, Islamabad’s master plan has under gone changes at least 17 times….. Having studied town planning as my undergrad subject, I can say that chopping down trees, reducing the size of green belts for building bridges or widening of roads, planning without taking into account the natural physical features of a locality can not be called ‘ development’. Widening of Roads is not a long term solution for traffic management but unfortunately, our town planners have assumed that through widening of roads they will manage traffic well – does Islamabad need wider roads or better public transport system and an awareness regarding basic rules of being on road etc.

    Besides, all its (decaying/fading )beauty, the city does not portray characteristics of a very humane city to me ( I apologize if I am offending anyone here or hurting anyone’s feeling related to Isloo ) – If you are traveled widely across Pakistan then you will realize how poor is the rest of Pakistan as compared to the ” Islamabad the beautiful and the rich “. I always wonder what Islamabad is offering to the ‘ poorest of poor’ class besides those trapped settlements / Katchi Abadis —– and pollution , would you believe it if I tell you that Islamabad is the second most polluted city after Lahore as far as the concentration of particular matters in air is concerned – yes , the average count recorded for such particular matters is 75 micrograms per cubic metre, against a safety threshold of 35 micrograms……

  11. Mehr (unregistered) on September 13th, 2009 @ 11:09 pm

    i haven’t been to islamabad in ages and if i go now i know i’ll be in for a shock. i always thought it was a place for people who liked peace and quiet and wanted to avoid the cacophony and chaos that inevitably accompanies life in a big city. i say inevitably because it has finally snaked its tendrils into isb, and for those who loved its serenity, im sorry for your loss. a well-written article straight from a true islooite’s heart, good job.

  12. buy lamictal online (unregistered) on September 16th, 2009 @ 12:31 am

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  13. Hasan Rana (unregistered) on September 16th, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

    You just brought me think about what all we are missing now. Its amazing how things are changing and we the people of Islamabad have actually been left aside. Its growing and its beautiful but it was before i will surely miss it. May God bless Islamabad
    By the way the picture you took is of F/6-2 right???

  14. hashriani on September 16th, 2009 @ 5:25 pm

    It’s the start of the school road. When you turn from the 7th avenue towards f-6 super market. It’s this small gali type thing.

  15. emran on September 21st, 2009 @ 3:53 pm

    All these things are very true. There are so many things which I still miss. Its not the same Islamabad which we have seen in 80’s or even 90’s.
    I admit that there is a massive change in the traffic quantity. It could be handled by introducing any good Metro service. I wonder how come its a planned city. If planning is just leaving the green belts between two sectors then BRAVO!! for the City Planners. The French people developed their Metro system in 1900 and we are still not able to think of it even now. I am sure the population of Paris is much more then Islamabad. Can we have such Metro system here in Islamabad?

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