Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy 50th Birthday – Islamabad!!

National Monument
Time not only passes – it flies. It only seemed yesterday that as a child I went to Islamabad in 1996 to see the new capital of Pakistan – then just six years old since its commencement in 1960. And today, the dawn of 2010 makes it 50 years old. 

When I recollect my memories, I vividly remember that my eyes widened in awe when for the first time I saw the 2.5 miles road leading from Faizabad to Zero Point. We had then come to spend our summer vacation to our new house in F-6/4, just close to the the Chinese Embassy. We boarded Waljis VW coaster – the once famous commuter service between Islamabad and Rawalpindi and sailed through the Islamabad Highway with hardly any traffic. In those days there were very few people with cars and mostly people traveled through commuter services. 

Once settled in our new house, the official residence of my father who was then heading the Interpol. And we soon got to move around. A few names of importance then were the Melody Cinema, Aabpara market, Siraj Covered Market (our favourite – now I hear it is being demolished for some other project), Hotel Shehrazad (later converted into the offices of the Foreign Office) and of course the Shakarparian Hills. I still remember our trip to Shakarparian from where we saw the panoramic view of Islamabad. We also saw the saplings planted by the foreign heads of the states on the hilltop.

Today, Islamabad is a different place. It is crowded, more beautiful and developing. It has huge parks (the Fatima Jinnah Park, said to be one of the biggest in South Asia). The Constitution Avenue houses the PM’s secretariat, the Supreme Court and the Diplomatic Enclave. Two other places from where Islamabad’s panoramic view can be seen are the daman-e-Koh and Pir Sohave, both located on Maragala Hills on the same road. But for going up to Pir Sohawa, you need to have a powerful car as the gradient is too steep from Daman-e-Koh onwards. And of course there is Faisal Mosque which is visible from all corners of Islamabad. Recently, the construction of the National Monument (pictured above0 has added more grace and glory to the Shakarparian Hills complex. The National Museum in the Lok Virsa Complex in the foothills of Shakarparian Hills is yet another place one must not miss out.

Islamabad today is lush green and a place worth visiting. It has come a long way and is developing fast. The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has announced an elaborate plan to celebrate the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Islamabad. Be part of some of these.

So Happy 5oth Birthday, Islamabad!!

My Photography (Taken from Flickr: Jalalspages )
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