Islamabad: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (Part 1)

Posted on February 26, 2007
Filed Under >Mast Qalandar, Environment, Food, Travel
Total Views: 136326


Mast Qalandar

I returned to Islamabad recently, after a long absence, and was able to look at the city, once again, with a tourist’s eye. Before I get used to it and start taking everything as given, I thought, I should put down my impressions about the city: the good, the bad and the ugly.

First, the good. (The bad and the ugly will come in subsequent posts).

For those not familiar with Islamabad, when the city was built, in the early 60s, its various localities, or sectors as they are called, were given meaningful and interesting names like Mehran, Shalimar, Ramna etc., each name from a different province of Pakistan. For some inexplicable reasons, these names went out of use and were replaced by impersonal, and rather bureaucratic, names like E, F, G, H and I, which are further divided into 1, 2, 3 and so on. That is why you hear of E -7, F-6, F-7 or G-6, G7, G8, etc. I think it was Khalid Hasan who once said that the addresses in Islamabad sounded like computer commands. How true!

E and F sectors are closest to the Margalla hills and therefore considered more “prestigious” while I sector is farthest from the hills and closer to Rawalpindi. There is a running joke in Islamabad according to which E sector is for the Elite, F is for First class citizens, G for General public, and I for Idiots who think they live in Islamabad but, in fact, they live in Rawalpindi. Obviously, it is one of those classist jokes that are found in most cities all over the world.

I have also heard the comment that Islamabad is a city without soul (whatever that means). Also, that it does not have history, architecture, and culture like Lahore and does not have the quick pulse and energy like Karachi. Probably all this is true. But Islamabad has something that more than makes up for all such deficiencies. It has geography! Geography that is difficult to match by any other city of Pakistan or, for that matter, by most capitals of the world.

By geography I don’t mean elevation above the sea level, which in Islamabad’s case, incidentally, is a healthy 1700 feet. Nor am I talking of its latitude, which is 330 something – same as Atlanta, Georgia or Long Beach, California. It is Islamabad’s proximity to the Margalla hills that makes it a unique and a beautiful city. The city is so close to the hills that, on clear days, it seems as if you could touch them. They provide such a spectacular backdrop! Not only that, the hills also provide the numerous wooded trails for trekking and picnic spots. Plus, and this is a big plus, because of the hills, its elevation and latitude, the city has a cool, crisp and comfortable climate for 6 months of the year, and guaranteed clear blue skies for 5 days a week – on average, that is.

And, as if for embellishment, the Margalla hills occasionally wear a light coat of snow, some say every 7 years. The last time it snowed on the hills was in 2004. It looked spectacular and lasted long enough for me to drive to Pir Sohawa (25 minutes) and take a few pictures. And yes, unlike Karachi or Lahore, the city never gets swamped after rain even though it rains pretty heavily at times (45 inches annually).

The hills are also a haunt for wildlife. It’s not uncommon to see monkeys coming out of the woods in the morning, crossing the Hillside Street in sector E-7, and sometime even jumping over the boundary walls of the houses in search of food. At night wild boars and jackals freely roam the wooded areas of the city scavenging for food. It makes Islamabad one of the few capitals of the world, if not the only one, where humans and wildlife coexist peacefully.

By Pakistani standards, Islamabad has excellent infrastructure – good roads, dependable electricity and telephone service. Above all, it is green, clean and free of the chaos seen in many of the Pakistani cities.

Talking of chaos, Islamabad has got itself new traffic police, which looks good – and is good. Unlike its sleazy and sloppy predecessors, the new police are serious, professional and polite. And they seem to manage the traffic pretty well. (I hope it stays that way).

Islamabad does not have shopping malls or large department stores — (yet!). It has interesting markets or bazaars in each sector, which resemble more like the old Middle Eastern souks. They are convenient and can be fun to visit, particularly in winters in the evening. The young Afghan boys frying potato chips (French fries), roasting peanuts or popcorns or preparing tikka kebabs in their tiny stalls or selling beads and trinkets on pushcarts in front of IT stores and video shops present a delightful mixture of old and new. The bookstores sell an amazing variety of books, ranging from Barack Obama’s new book The Audacity of Hope to Reading Lolita in Tehran to Behishti Zewar by Maulana Ashraf Thanvi.

The purpose-built flower markets in sectors F-6 and F-7 are not only convenient but delightful places to visit. And they are not expensive. A stem of gladiolas costs only 10-12 rupees as opposed to 2 to 3 dollars in New York. But if you betray an “Amreeka-palutt” demeanor you might have to pay more.

One of the greatest pleasures of living in Islamabad, that is, if you love outdoors and nature, is being able to go trekking in the Margallas. There are numerous trails leading to different peaks. Walking through the woods, especially in spring or early summer, and listening to the silence of the forest, broken only by bird sounds or an occasional rustle in the bushes caused by a surprised fox, can be an intoxicating experience. Wild fragrance of acacia, pine trees and sanatha shrubs pervades the air. I tell my friends that you could get a “high” on forest fragrance. Some jokingly suggest that the “high” I am talking about probably comes from the marijuana that grows wild and in abundance in the woods of Islamabad.

There is even a purpose-built and dedicated biking track going through a wooded area. But I have not seen many people biking on it. I guess there are certain things “self-respecting” Pakistanis won’t do. Biking is one of them. (Carrying anything heavier or larger than a briefcase is another.) It’s a cultural thing, I guess.

Another fun place to visit is Daman-e-Koh, a picnic spot at a height of 2,400 feet above sea level, but only 10 to 15 minutes drive from the city. Daman-e-Koh was always there with its white dome visible from everywhere in the city. The dome belonged to, and still does, a restaurant that served indifferent food. But recently the place has been transformed, thanks to the Capital Development Authority (CDA), into a delightful picnic spot, with a nicely landscaped park furnished with plenty of benches, paved paths, and decent and fairly clean public toilets (something uncommon in Pakistan) and a generous car park.

For amusement, you have golf carts that take picnickers for a short ride around the park. You also have the usual Bandar walla, his monkey in a cap greeting the visitors. Also, there is (this is unusual) a Pathan musician in his flamboyant kulla serenading the visitors with his rubab (a string instrument). People seemed to be more attracted by his presence than by his music.

Instead of one restaurant, Daman-e-Koh now has three: an upscale restaurant named Café Lazeez, the old domed restaurant now improved and moderately priced, and a fast-food restaurant. Cafe Lazeez is built as a thatched hut with a large open terrace that has a fabulous view of Islamabad, the Rawal Lake and the surrounding mountains. Eating here, at this height, is somewhat like eating in the restaurant on Eiffel tower, in Paris. The difference is that tikkas and sheesh kebabs (reshmi kebabs, as they call them) at Cafe Lazeez are out of this world. Not being a great meat eater myself, I ordered the only two vegetarian dishes on the menu that day: paneer palik and masoor ki daal, served with fresh rotis from a tandoor. I cannot wait to go back there again. The bill for two persons? Rupees 600 including tips! Only US 10 dollars! The lack of a glass of wine that you would get on Eiffel Tower is made up by the incomparable desi food and, as I said before, the forest fragrance!

Note: The bad and the ugly will come later in a separate post. All photographs are by the author.

51 Comments on “Islamabad: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (Part 1)”

  1. DB9 says:
    February 26th, 2007 1:42 am

    ISLOO IS THE BEST… Cant wait to get back. By the way flowers in NY r more than $3, like $9.99 for a dozen is considered a great deal. Plus in clubs u can pay $10 for one rose, especially when u r sending it to a chick, crap…

  2. ahsan says:
    February 26th, 2007 1:59 am

    Dear MQ,

    Nice post. I have already seen your earlier posts and all of them had been full of colour and beauty. I do not understand how can you present the BAD and UGLY as you intend to do. I suppose you will be writing the good part (does it exist?) of the BAD!

    The first time, I visited Islamabad, it was in 1979 and the first and only question that my wife asked was “where are the people?”. Now that lack has been filled and the soul of the city is well established.

    [quote post="580"]At night the wild boars and jackals freely roam the wooded areas of the city scavenging for food.[/quote]

    Do they visit the Holy Places also?

    [quote post="580"]The lack of a glass of wine that you would get on Eiffel Tower is made up at Daman-e-Koh by the incomparable desi food and, as I said before, the forest fragrance![/quote]

    The eating and drinking go together but one can not be replaced (or made up) by the other. No food can replace a good glass of wine. Also, the forest fragrance is a fake replacement to wine. A glass of wine has a mutitude of qualities beside aroma! A good and spicy food will remain delicious even without wine.


  3. Asad says:
    February 26th, 2007 3:01 am

    You didn’t mention Pir Suhawa which is at a much greater elevation than Daman-e-Koh. The view from there is even better. I just visited it yesterday. :)

    I think Islamabad is the perfect city mixing the old and the new era. There are a lot of projects going on such as road expansion and underpasses which will solve the city’s transport problems. However, the cutting of trees for this development is painful to watch since greenery is a feature of Islamabad.

    Islamabad is probably one of the most beautiful capitals in the region (Central Asia, South-east Asia).

  4. ayesha says:
    February 26th, 2007 4:55 am

    I am diehard Lahori living in Isloo for the past 6 months. And the thing I noticed the first time I came to ‘live’ in isloo (have visited it earlier a number of times) was that there was no hustle and bustle that characterises lahore! It was so regulated, so desensitized! And I admit it took me a few months to get over that. And I still miss lahore – that remains my lament. But there is a lot I enjoy about Isloo too – the hills – those margallas! Love the view and I am fortunate to live very close to them – going out for a walk in the evenings is a pure treat and no less! And then the bookshops! The litter the city and i do love it for them – the city is heaven for any book-lover. : )

    As to the question of the city lacking a soul, spirit – its a very young city – that sort of identity only develops over time. So its rather unfair to castigate the city for lack of a soul.

  5. Shahran Asim says:
    February 26th, 2007 8:02 am

    I am typical karachite who lived have lived in islamabad for two years due to my job . lived in F-11 and used to frequently go to F-10 markaz which was ofcourse at that time was becoming a new market. I loved drinking soup and eating french fries from there.On sundays I used to pick up my Dawn newspaper from the market as in 99-2000 there was no local edition of dawn.

    Sometimes we would go to peer sohawa ,a great picnic spot and ofcourse. I loved driving on highway shahrah as it had nice slopes and trees on both sides.Roses and Jasmeen gardens, Shakar parian were all great spots. Icecreams at hot shots, papasalies pizza and then famous afghan restaurants, melody market, jinnah super,super market are some more places to look for.

  6. Ahmad says:
    February 26th, 2007 8:15 am

    Common men think Islamabad isn’t Pakistan. Rulers think that Pakistan is only Islamabad.

  7. Moeen Bhatti says:
    February 26th, 2007 8:54 am

    I am from Lahore but I lived in Islamabad for 2 years in early 80s; that ISB was diff. than the present day ISB. I remember the only eating place after 9 PM was Holiday Inn and the city was more peaceful and cleaner than today. Having said that, I still believe ISB is a beautiful place and I have always loved her evenings.

  8. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    February 26th, 2007 9:35 am

    If Lahore is Lahore, and Karachi is Karachi then why is it that Islamabad is “Isloo”. If Lahore is our lament then what is Islamabad; our aversion. Are we ashamed to call the city by its proper name because it was named after our religion.

  9. Adnan Ahmad says:
    February 26th, 2007 9:37 am

    During my recent visit, I too was amazed to see wild life in and around the city. It is so unlike any other big city of pakistan. The air was much cleaner than karachi and lahore.. and unlike my previous visit of more than a decacde ago I think for health and various other reasons you mention islamabad is a much better deal. (Tragically karachi has literally become a grabage dump compared to islamabad and even lahore). On the flip side I think the city still shuts down way too early. During last evening of my 4 day stay we made a last minute unannounced visit to a relative around 10pm and it was embarrasing to see their entire street sleeping in pitch dark. It almost seemed like fajar time. In karachi the evening actually starts around then.

  10. February 26th, 2007 9:41 am

    While spending a few summer months in Islamabad when my father worked there, I realized how much I wanted to be there for summer vacations, but had plenty of the de-sensitized cleanliness by the end of it. I would want to rush home to Karachi, to the street food, the mela bazaars, and the picnics. I missed the excitement, the hustle, the bustle. Maybe things have changed now, but back then Islamabad residents didn’t seem to have a passion for the city – perhaps a trait planned capital cities share. They liked it because it was cleaner and greener, and the elite roamed in Pajeros, but nothing made them feel culturally rooted in the geography.

    That said, I am happy to note that its schools are doing really well and many more students from islamabad schools are now attending top US colleges and universities. The dominance of Karachi Grammar School and Aitchison in that area seems to be history.

  11. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    February 26th, 2007 10:43 am

    Beautiful post (as always) of a beautiful city. Iqbal (national poet of Pakistan) said: “My eyes are not set on Koofa and Baghdad. Visionaries build new”. Certainly Iqbal was speaking of Islamabad when he said that. President Ayub Khan is often wrongfully criticized for having the vision to lay down this beautiful capital worthy of the nation it belongs to. The forest green hills and white building spread is nothing but a picture of Pakistan and its Green and White Flag. Pakistan nation must be proud of its beautiful capital. And one more thing. The surrounding hills have abundance of wild olive trees very common in the mediterranean regions. Mast Qalandar may find few things ‘bad’ here but will be hard pressed to find the ‘ugly’

  12. Aqil Sajjad says:
    February 26th, 2007 11:01 am

    As someone growing up in Islamabad and being in love with the city, I am deeply concerned about the way it is being ‘developed.’ Greenery is being gradually destroyed, and the future of parks is also becoming uncertain.
    The city used to be very clean, but it is getting increasingly dirty and polluted.

    Having said the above, it is still a wonderful city, one that I love most. Its culture of people going to sleep at night (instead of following that famous bird with different sleeping patterns :)) is awkward for Karachiites and Lahoris, but there is something special about it too, though others may not be able to apreciate it.

    Islamabad Islamabad hai!

  13. Ahmed says:
    February 26th, 2007 11:32 am

    You are an exceptional raconteur.
    Since I began visiting here you have given us the story of Hasan Abdal and the Rock That Would Not Stop; the sad tale of Sohni-Mahiwal and The Love That Would Not Die; and now the absorbing story of Islamabad (Isloo to its lovers)-The City That Will Forever Live. For me personally your descriptions and vivid photos have opened the floodgates of memory, for I have seen Islamabad (Isloo) when it was still farmland though formally designated capital.
    More power to your pen (and camera).
    Persnally speaking I will be quite content to forego the bad and the ugly if I can continue to savour the beauty of Islamabad the Good.
    PS: I particularly enjoyed the map of Islamabad at the top of your post. It was a very apt touch.

  14. Eidee Man says:
    February 26th, 2007 12:15 pm

    The lack of a glass of wine

    Haha, I did not know you were ‘Mast’ in that way.

  15. Wanderer says:
    February 26th, 2007 2:01 pm

    No doubt Islamabad is a beautiful and picturesque “town” and this is what makes it unique unlike other big cities.The peace and calm of the Islamabad evenings is a feeling in its own and something to experience than describe.One of our favourite hangouts was a small tea stall on murree road side of Rawal Dam and another one Civil Junction near Jinnah Super.Each city interacts with people in three phases i)Introduction ii)Interaction iii)Conclusion.First is associated with your early impressions of the city,second is your living experiences there and thirdly your opinion about it.Due to nature of my job which involves much travelling i’ve had the oppurtunity of seeing places one can only dream of perhaps on DISCOVERY Travel & Living or National Geographic but to me after a certain period and time all cities start to behave similarly.So i have kept this “move on dude” job here is finished lets try this city or that project.If you wan’t a disciplined and smooth lifestyle,Islamabad is the place for you, to which some frequent visits of Pindi adds the necessary urban life touch and you endup thanking God that you live in Islamabad.Islooites should turn towards more social happenings and opening new places to drop this bored city (sorry!,”TOWN”)tag.There’s much more in life than cars/bikes racing,junk food and movies.How about some music,some literature, some bonfires under the stars,some camping or river rafting.I somehow remember or relate seasons and cities together.If islamabad can boast of lovely evenings no place can match the streets of old walled city of Lahore in summer time and the typical traditional food you find there.Similarly Karachi has lovely sunset and sunrise sights along the beach.The cool nights of Bahawalpur desert and the ruins of forts create another world steeped in ancient romance and history.Snow covered valleys and mountains.In short each and every place and city has its own colors to offer.The more you see the more you become aware that how little you knew .

  16. The Pakistanian says:
    February 26th, 2007 3:12 pm

    Thanks for a great account on our great capital city Mast Qalandar. I had the good fortune of living in Islamabad back in the mid 80s for a few years, and I must say at that time Islamabad had only good and great to offer, so I will be really looking forward to your posts regarding the bad and ugly about Islamabad. I still remember back in those days this burger joint “The Black Beards!!” (i’m sure this name has been deemed politically incorrect now) and Yummy 36 ice cream parlor in Jinnah Super Market were the favorite hangout spots for the youngsters for their late night (9pm!!)shenanigans, I hope they are still there. I also once witnessed an Islamabad traffic cop ticketing a Pajero with an “MNA” tag for a violation. I bet that sight is rare these days, as it was in any other city back then. Thanks again for your post.

  17. Deeda-i-Beena says:
    February 26th, 2007 3:16 pm

    I dont know where to start.I have witnessed its growth over the decades. From a purely “Baboo Town” it has been assuming a personality of its own. Like a migratory bird I spend the winters here and enjoy its many wonderful pleasures. Have stayed on business travel when the present Foreign office Bldg. was called Pakistan House Hotel, subsequently named Hotel Sheherzaad. Aab Para was the only place with some small time shops and close by was the only Petrol station walking distance from the MELODY Tikka Kabab shop (Still there).
    Today its population is said to have exceeded a million- and counting. Eids and other major holidays would witness a mass exodus and the city would become a ghost town and a haven for the Robbers. Everyone at Eids would go back to their hometowns as no one living in Islamabad could call it home. The big transformation in this respect is that it now has a permanent population and at Eids or other long holidays NOW the children come and visit you.
    Some interesting features and observations that I wish to share:
    (1)I believe Islamabad must have the highest level/percentage of Literacy and education of any city in Pakistan. In order to be a Daftri or Office boy in the government offices you have to be a matriculate and possibly that should be the case in the private sector. The domestic help would indeed bring down those percentages.
    (2) By the desing of its master plan each “One square MILE” Sector has its own local schools and Colleges. That must contribute to the higher education/literacy rates.
    (3)The Master Plan also provides 5 Mosques for each “one square MILE” Sector and since that number is not sufficient, the highly religious people living in Islamabad have constructed some 80 additional mosques on encroached government land.
    (4) At the few elections that I have observed, I witnessed polling stations empty of people/voters compared to other cities, for example the neighbouring Rawalpindi city.
    I have heard a number of Government officials declaring that they are “Not Supposed” to vote as they are “Impartial” in this process. I have tried to find where does it say and have failed to verify. I personally think they donot wish to be waiting in line to vote among all those “you know who” the Awam. Then why don’t the educated amongst us crying Hoarse for Democracy show up and perform the first step/duty i.e.TO VOTE????????
    (5) The cost of living is perhaps the highest among all the major cities of Pakistan. This is Ironic when we know that the major part of its population is made up from the “lowly paid” government servants. Just watch the Daily Geo TV programme about the market prices of fruits and vegetables etc., for 5-6 major cities and you will be astonished to know that Karachi(being the farthest from where they are grown)IS THE CHEAPEST (and offers better quality produce)while Islamabad IS THE MOST EXPENSIVE (Right in the heartland of production)ALONGWITH Quetta!!!!!!!!
    More on this, maybe, sometime later.

  18. Bundagi says:
    February 26th, 2007 5:34 pm

    I have many wonderful memories with Islamabad…yes it is close to the hills and the mountains, the nights are quiet and peaceful, everyobody knows everyone else…however, the last time i went there what really shocked me was the amount of vehicle traffic on the roads…i remember as a kid when we use to go to Jinnah there was hardly a car to be seen…and now…!!!! Thank God though our traffic police has undergone a lot of major changes and you do see improvement but the traffic is still too much!!!

  19. Roshan says:
    February 26th, 2007 5:53 pm

    I still love my experience of living in Islamabad for almost five years. Though I have been visiting this town since the days of my school life. My romance for Islamabad was much more than for Lahore and Karachi.
    During those five years I had wonderful time there. I love the evenings of Islamabad by going to trail trek or F 9 park and then sitting in Civil Junction at night with friends. Visit to Mr. Books and old book shops in Jinnah Super and eating role paratha in gole market. Going to aab para late at night in summer to drink soda. The zig zag road from jasmine garden to shakar parian (my favourite road). Lok virsa mela and museum. These all are the uforgettable memories during my stay there.
    My last visit in December 06, disillusioned me and I will dicuss it in upcoming (the bad, the ugly) part.

    Thanks for writing such a nice article !
    It helped me to refresh those memories.

  20. Samdani says:
    February 27th, 2007 1:10 pm

    Islamabad is a nice city, but we sometimes forget that for much of the rest of the country it is so very different from where they live that visiting it is like visiting a foreign country. It causes therefore as much resentment as admiration. I am surprised that people are surprised that there will also be the bad and the ugly side to Islamabad. I can think of many but will wait for the next installment of this.

  21. February 28th, 2007 1:16 pm

    [...] You have read about “the good” Islamabad in Part 1 of this post, which, it seemed from the comments, sent some of you reminiscing about the Islamabad that you knew. Well, here is the not-so-good and the ugly side of Islamabad as seen by me and my camera. [...]

  22. Arsalan Ali says:
    March 1st, 2007 1:53 pm

    THANK GOD !! finally someone with something nice to say about Islamabad.Ive been in Karachi for the last 3 years and all ive heard is negative things about my city, as i try to defend it in vain.Its so great to see someone put all the positives in one place. The thing others dont understand about Islamabad is that it does not need to be like Karachi or Lahore to be a fun place. What they call ‘life’ and ‘ronak’ translates into rush and noise for us. There are other, subtle, yet much more charming pleasures to be pursued in Isb.And we dont mind the jackals or the monkeys!Cheers.

  23. The Pakistanian says:
    March 1st, 2007 2:15 pm

    BTW, is it only me who finds the name “Isloo” rather annoying?!

  24. Samdani says:
    March 1st, 2007 3:17 pm

    I also find the term ‘Isloo’ annoying. Too cute and artificial…. but, then, maybe that is what Islamabad is too :-)

  25. MQ says:
    March 2nd, 2007 10:28 am


    [quote]“For me personally your descriptions and vivid photos have opened the floodgates of memory, …â€

  26. Arsalan Ali says:
    March 2nd, 2007 11:51 am


    1)I believe Islamabad must have the highest level/percentage of Literacy and education of any city in Pakistan.

    Youre right abt this fact.Islamabad has a literacy rate of over 70 percent, which is the highest for any city in Pakistan.It can be viewed at the Sindh education dept. website here

  27. Ahmed says:
    March 2nd, 2007 12:53 pm

    Dear MQ:
    You have asked for it!

    Here are two, the first referring to your nom de plume and implications thereof– by Akbar Allahabadi; the second from Ghalib relating to Shahran Asim Sb’s comment about un-neighbourliness, which I can personally vouchsafe. Here goes:–

    1. Hangama hai kyon barpa thorri si jo pi lee hai
    Daaka to nahin daala chori to nahin ki hai
    Oos mai say nahin matlab dil jis say hai baygana
    Maqsood hai oos mai say dil hee mein jo khinchti hai

    2. Rahiyay ab aisi jaggeh chal kar jahan koi na ho
    Ham nawa koi na ho aur hum zuban koi na ho
    Bay daro diwar sa ik ghar banaya chhayay
    Koi humsaya na ho aur pasban koi na ho
    Parryay gar bimar to koi na ho taimar dar
    Aur agar marjayay to nauwakhwan koi na ho.

  28. MQ says:
    March 4th, 2007 2:25 am

    [quote post="580"]“Haha, I did not know you were ‘Mast’ in that way.” [/quote]

    Eidee Man,

    I think I have responded to this before but this couplet of Ghalib came to me as an afterthought. (Ahmed, are you there?):

    Hai hawa maiN sharaab ki taaseer
    Baadah noshi hai baad paimaayee

    The air has wine’s intoxicating power
    To breathe is to take wine in other guise
    (translation by Ralph Russel)

  29. Ahmed says:
    March 4th, 2007 11:02 am

    Am very much here, and enjoyed the apt couplet. Please see above for my contribution.

  30. March 19th, 2007 11:28 am

    [...] In my last two posts on Islamabad (here and here) I talked about the woods and the forest trails that I love so much and take to them whenever I can. [...]

  31. April 6th, 2007 12:31 pm

    Guys, If you want to to know more about Murree, here is a good place.

  32. Muhammad Latif Abbasi says:
    July 15th, 2007 9:32 am


    my comments on this post is that the author don’t have the brief knowledge about Islamabd i.e. history of Islamabad. Islamabad has its history as the shrines of Bari Imam and Pir Mehr Ali Shah, two great sufi lived here. We will convert that history in to Islamabad’s history. As many people know that Imam Bari Abdul Latif Shah had forcast about this city centuries ago. Both Shrines are in Islamabad in Zone I. However your post is full of colour and beauty.


  33. July 22nd, 2007 9:30 am

    salam…well what can i say about Islamabad..i dun care wether its better or not then Lahore, karachi or peshwar..what i care is its SOUL FULL one need to feel….man i love this place…

  34. Jamshed says:
    July 31st, 2007 8:06 am

    Although I dont live in Islamabad (I wish I did) but I have visited the city many times and loved it. It is a beautiful place. All places on earth have good and bad things buy ugly comes from the people who make it ugly…….

    Lets make Pakistan beautiful for a change……

  35. FAISAL BASHIR says:
    August 13th, 2007 9:48 am

    Well…..about my first and last impression was same — it is a dead city with lifeless souls. May be i have not lived there in past 7 years and all i am saying is what i felt in 1999/2000. But being from Gujranwala and having lived in Lahore for a long time, i felt Islamabad is too calm. After 10 at night the only place i could go to was Jinnah Super and even on a weekend it looked liberty market when lahore is at strike. The only good part about Islamabad is that it is clean. May be i am biased about ISlamabd because I am one of those persons who believe that a poor country like ours did not need an expensive purpose built capital and that too near Punjab for it created a lot of problems. Had Karachi been the capital, the political scenario of pakistan would have been different- much better.

  36. Justine says:
    September 23rd, 2007 6:03 am

    Mast sahib, nothing new in changing names. we named our whole cities after “brothers”, ports after invaders. renaming few streets is not surprising, at least to me. thank you for trying to show something possetive.

  37. Saiqa says:
    October 7th, 2007 3:52 pm

    Iam living in islamabad for last 12 years and i have loved every thing if it ever since,it’s mysterious quietness,its heavenly beauty every bit of it is wonderful,i loev driving through the beautiful scenic roads although now there is lot of traffic yet it’s evenings are as calm and cool as ever.LOVE U MY LOVELY ISLAMABAD.

  38. December 4th, 2007 2:01 pm

    man thet was islamabad rocks i have lived there all me life but ihave just moved to england(it sucks!no life at all)and i just cant wait to get back to pakiland…..pakistan zindabad

  39. Atif says:
    January 7th, 2008 7:22 am

    Every city has its own features, why we cannot even digest cities like they are? why we always judge things? there is no comparison to between Islamabad and lahore or Karachi as they have rich cultursal values and a history where as Islamabad was turned into a city, a controlled and planned city, what do you expect????

  40. Masroor says:
    January 8th, 2008 3:00 am

    I belong to the first generation of my family, born and bred in Islamabad and can be declared the first in the entire clan who call Islamabad HOME. I spent my childhood years in the Islamabad of 80`s when there was no mess, no crowd

  41. Masroor says:
    January 8th, 2008 3:06 am

    Islamabad is different. You can take it either way

  42. Ali ALi says:
    February 28th, 2008 7:22 pm

    Find Out all these Place through website

  43. nudma says:
    April 21st, 2008 2:07 am

    one important thing u forget to mention is the most important visitor’s site that is LOKE VIRSA . last year i had a chance to visit place. really i have no doubt to say that whole Pakistan seems to submerged in one place………………..that is something to include in GOOD part .

  44. Sarfraz says:
    August 5th, 2008 7:04 pm

    Islamabad is the most beautiful city I know – of course it depends upon the beholder.

    I too wish the sectors had names rather than F numbers.

    I hope that the FDA prevents the development of White House style villas, the fake Roman/Greek columns and the gauche high rise buildings.

    Leave Islamabad beautiful.

  45. docmood says:
    November 2nd, 2008 12:51 pm

    There are some nice pictures of Islamabad at along with activities and tourism stuff.

  46. Azhar Zia-ur-Rehman says:
    March 29th, 2009 10:58 am

    I have lived in Islamabad proper from 1967 onwards but we visited Nurpur and Saidpur as picnic spots even in 1962.

    The spoiling of Islamabad started with the arrival of the Navy and the T&T back in 1973 probably but the best years were the late 60′s. Does anyone remember the APWA Meena Bazaars that were held initially in the CDA nursery and then in the Club?

    We boys used to go hunting with our gus in the area that now is F-6-2 even — we lived in F-6-3. F-7 was jungle. Everyone was angly when the F-7 girls college was constructed out in the wilderness.

    Of course, no mention of Islamabad is complete without mentioning the Islamabad Model School (now ICB G-6-3) and it founder team — Mr. H.H.Siddiqui, Mr. Musafa, Mr. Shahid Shamsi, Mr. Irshad, Mr. Subhanulla and of course Mr. Jinnah (though not a founder). This was probably one of the greatest team of educationists ever. The current head of PAF, Qamar Suleman, is from this school.

  47. May 15th, 2009 11:33 am

    Islamabad is the Capital of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The city was built between 1960 – 1970 to replace Karachi as the capital. The idea of the national capital of Islamabad was conceived by President Ayub Khan (1907

  48. Benawa says:
    May 16th, 2009 1:26 am

    If there is anything about Islamabad that can be described as
    “bad” and “ugly,” I’d rather not hear about it. Let me just
    add another testimonial to this city’s natural beauty:
    “Islamabad is impossiby beautiful these days. Highs in the 70s,
    cool nights, no rain. The sky ia an unbroken blue, and the green hills that ring the town positively shine…

    Locals joke that Islamabad –with its wide streets and nice houses and absence of noise and confusion…is 15 minutes’
    drive from Pakistan.” by Michael Schaffer
    Nov 14, 2001

  49. MQ says:
    May 16th, 2009 5:47 am

    Benawa Sahib: I think you got the current temperature readings of Islamabad a bit wrong. You must be talking of March and early April. Max temps this month have been in the 90′s (yesterday it was 95) and the night temperatures run in the 70′s. But it is dry, and therefore bearable.

  50. chinargill says:
    October 1st, 2009 1:06 pm

    I agree hundred per centre with the author of this ad. I would add that during eid ul fitre and eid ul azha the city give the look of grave yard. all the resident disappear for one week. all shops are closed. the ones who stay behind during eid holidays for duty etc face great inconviniece for purchasing food as all the restaurants and naun bauis are closed.

  51. parker says:
    January 10th, 2011 6:36 am

    i see that you wrote this is 07. what a delightful post – you know islamabad is a mystery to a lot of us (westerners?) and you have presented such a charming and exciting reality. i’m not sure i want to read the bad and the ugly, but your comments are so interesting – thanks

Have Your Say (Bol, magar piyar say)