Tag Archives: Defence

Foodistan (Lahore, Pakistan)

Irfan Rydhan

Recently, I came back from a month long trip to Lahore – the culinary capital of Pakistan.

Lahore, has a wide variety of cuisine, from fancy upscale Italian restaurants to the simple Pakistani village food and everything in between.

A few tips for those of you who may be traveling to Pakistan soon:

1. Get Your Shots – Before you Travel (Currently Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Polio and Malaria are the main diseases in Pakistan)

2. Don’t Drink The Water – unless it’s Bottled and Sealed (Nestle PureLife is the most reliable brand)

3. Don’t Eat Street Food – unless it is fried up, steaming hot, or cooked well done!  Avoid eating anything cold or something made with water.

If you follow those 3 simple rules, you should be fine and not get sick!

Below is a short slideshow of my trip through “Foodistan” aka Lahore this past February.  I hope you enjoy the pictures, as much as I enjoyed eating all the delicious food:)!

Fresh Butter on hand-made Aloo Paratha (Bread stuffed with Potato) in the Pind (Village)
Fresh Butter on hand-made Aloo Paratha (Bread stuffed with Potato) in the Pind (Village) Continue reading

The Joy of Used Books in Lahore

By Mohammad A. Qayyum
- Newbie Guide to Secondhand and/or cheap books around Lahore –

With the exchange rate ever spiraling away from us, reading English books in Lahore has become a prohibitively expensive past time. Moreover, the type of books in terms of substance and genre – why don’t we ever have original texts when we carry biographies and criticisms of writers is beyond me – is relatively limited. The old ports-of-call like Ferozesons on the Mall, Marwa books next to it and Variety Books in Liberty and the new (the lovely Last Word inside Hotspot in Gaddafi Stadium) tend to be expensive, so the book addict has to look elsewhere for his fix these days.

‘Readings’ on Main Boulevard above all stands as an oasis for the book reading public, a shop by a book lover for booklovers. The prices on new books are relatively low and while the secondhand books collection is now less than before, Readings does keep replenishing its stock. So, a regular visit is often merited. Lastly, and perhaps most significantly, the books available at Readings are not just limited to the old standards of English Literature that are found around town. A lot of the books you get at Readings are not available elsewhere (for any price, much less cut-price.)

The other must visit quasi-new-books bookshop in town is the basement bookshop next to Yummy 36 (behind the Shell petrol station) in Liberty. The owners there bring in containers of books (mostly from Australia) and one gets some really nice bargains. If you are looking for technical, management or computer books, this should be your first port of call. Continue reading

Lahore: Inflation results in ‘dampened’ Defence Day

By Ali Usman (Daily Times)

LAHORE: Defence Day is being celebrated today, however, the traditional enthusiasm is missing from the people because of inflation and the country’s law and order situation, experts said on Friday.

Though the City District Government Lahore (CDGL) has pasted various posters of the martyrs of 1965 at the Town Hall, most Lahoris remained indifferent about the day. In previous years, Pakistan Television (PTV), the state-run channel, used to broadcast special programmes on the day. However, this year, most television channels have not arranged any special programmes for Defence Day. Continue reading

Lahore’s Defence Club has much to offer

“A welcome addition – A club that offers Moroccan, Mediterranean, Thai and Chinese besides local food”, writes Ali Sultan for the NEWS on SUNDAY.”

It’s a hot summer night as we enter the Coffee Shop of Defence Club. Set amidst, a large lush green lawn and overlooking the tennis courts, it’s a welcome addition to the eateries of the Defence Club.

The Coffee Shop’s decor is warm, comfortable and elegant. The cafe is nicely lit; the lights bounce off the wooden floor and illuminate everything in a soft glow. It’s crowded and people, mostly families sit either around small glass tables with wrought iron seats or the couches set in the middle of the place.

The coffee bar is housed in a large cabinet and trained baristas prepare a variety of coffee drinks, made from gourmet South African beans. The cold coffee is not extremely sweet, its cold enough and the tongue can feel a bit of bitterness — the flavour is just right. The Coffee Shop also hosts an assortment — like all other cafes — cakes, brownies, cookies, tarts and hand-made ice cream. What it does have and others don’t, is a Middle Eastern sweet (which looks like a carrot cake) known as a ‘basboosa.’ It’s quite popular and should be tasted, at least once. Continue reading

Skewed urban development agenda

by Ahmad Rafay Alam (from the NEWS)

The priority given to different urban development projects strikes me as odd. Given the extensive road development work seen in Lahore during the tenure of the previous provincial government, it would appear that inner-city mobility was considered key to the city’s future. The billions in foreign development assistance spent upgrading transport infrastructure stands in stark contrast to the opinion, expressed by many a citizen and almost every elected local government official, that the most pressing issue facing the city of Lahore today is solid-waste management. And yet, at the same time, the amounts spent on upgrading the sewerage system of the city pale in comparison to those spent to accommodate private automobile owners.

Why is there such a discrepancy between the urban development people want to see and the urban development they get? A look at the institutions that are responsible for the urban planning and development of the city and the financial and administrative control they wield offers an answer to this very perplexing question. Continue reading

Heera Mandi – The Dream House of the Whores

Courtesy Mayank Austen Soofi

I felt like a bridegroom who had come to pick out one of the three beautiful sisters. Sitting next to each other on a blue sofa, they blushed and coquettishly glanced at us.

An old woman with a straight back and shining-white hair sat down on the floor and talked of the heat and humidity. She had a firm, commanding voice that sliced and rebuked the air with the sharp tanginess of a most refined form of spoken Urdu.

Unlike the brightly-colored and intricately designed shalwaar kameeze (Shalwar are loose trousers and the kameeze is a long shirt) of the girls, the stern woman stood apart in an off-white dress and a white netted dupatta (a scarf or covering for the head and upper body worn by women), carefully adjusted on her head.

It seemed like a cultured Muslim family, but the girls were not sisters. They were prostitutes. The old lady was not a mother looking for suitable boys for her daughters, but a pleasure-house Madam.

We were in Heera Mandi — ‘a bazaar of diamonds’ — Pakistan’s oldest red light district.

Crossing into the Red Light

Mian Naeem, a soft-spoken Lahore-based sculptor and art-critic, had agreed to take me for an excursion to Heera Mandi, a place I particularly wished to visit especially after reading an excellent book by the British author Louise Brown, The Dancing Girls of Lahore: Selling Love and Saving Dreams in Pakistan’s Ancient Pleasure District.

I was in Pakistan to take part in a conference for a visa-free South Asia and was tied up with a series of seminars and speeches during the day. Night was the time to explore the city and Heera Mandi had to be a necessary pilgrimage. Continue reading