Tag Archives: Lahore

Photo of the Day: American Mystic in Data Darbar

Famous American mystic, Samuel Lewis, seen here with the keepers of the Sufi saint, Data Ganj Baksh’s shrine in Lahore (1962).

American Mystic

Photo and details courtesy Nadeem F Paracha, Dawn

THE MAGIC OF HARIDAS LAHORI!

Malik Omaid

BURIED FOR FORTY DAYS; WONDERFUL PERFORMANCES OF THE INDIAN FAKIRS.

Haridas

Originally published in the London Telegraph, August 22, 1880

We are not told whether the Seven Sleepers who retired to a cave in Ephesus during the reign of the Christian-killing Emperor Decius, and only woke up 155 years afterward, when Theodosins II was on the throne, made any special preparation, but probably they did not. Perhaps it was not necessary. Those were stirring times for members of the new faith, and they had little opportunity to grow obese.

But, as a rule, to fast successfully it is said to be necessary for a man to abstain beforehand, and reduce himself more carefully to the required condition by a long course of preparation. Pre-eminent at this art of suspending animation—for an art it becomes—are the Easterns, and most wonderful stories are told of the natives of India, which, whether they powers are due to narcotics or any other process, seem to open up—if true—a wide field of medical study.

Once of the Indian stories, not easily accessible, but of considerable interest on account of the known veracity of the witnesses, will probably be read with interest at the present time, and is inserted here. The author of it was one Hon. Capt. Osborn, and the notes made of his statement, here subjoined, come from an almost unique copy printed from private circulation. Continue reading

Photo of the Day: Neveein Maseet (Deep Level Mosque)

Malik Omaid

Badshahi Mosque may be the crown of Lahore’s heritage but there are dozens of historic mosques in Lahore, mainly inside walled city with amazing architecture. These mosques are not only old but many also have historic importance. One of those is Neevein Maseet of Deep level Mosque located between Lohari Gate and Shah Almi Gate inside Mati Chowk in Dograan Street. This Mosque is 12 Feet Deep from Ground Level .This Mosque was built by Nawab Zulifqar Khan . He was a man from Ladhi Family . This Mosque is one of oldest Mosques of Lahore.
Neevein Maseet

 

Photo and details by Liaquat Ali Vance

Image

Photo of the Day: A Hindu Temple in Sanda

Hindu Temple

The Photo was taken by @ShirazHassan

Eid Mubarak Lahore!

To all the readers and friends of Lahore Nama, Eid Mubarak.
May this Eid bring peace, prosperity and happiness to all of you and above all Pakistan.
Here is some photos of Rainy Eid in Lahore from Social Media.

Lahore Eid

Rainy day Lahore #Badshahimosque Photo by Jahangeer Arain #Instagram

Lahore Eid2

Eid prayer in rain at Badshahi Mosque Lahore, Pakistan Photo by Inzamam #Instagram

Lahore Eid3

Maria Memon says “Spotted in Model Town Lahore : Spare a thought for all these wardens/ police jawans who didn’t get a day off on Eid. “

The Pakistan Diaries by Sudheendra Kulkarni

This Article was originally published on NDTV

 

(Sudheendra Kulkarni is a socio-political activist and columnist.)

Bagh-e-Jinnah is to Lahore what Lodi Garden is to Delhi. Both are iconic parks, laden with history. But the former is bigger and, going by the number of aam aadmi who come there for recreation, less elitist. It was formerly known as Lawrence Gardens, honouring John Lawrence, India’s viceroy from 1864 to1869. Along with his older brother, Henry Lawrence, he played a major role in the affairs of the united Punjab during the British Raj, a saga well chronicled by Rajmohan Gandhi in his new book Punjab: A History from Aurangzeb to Mountbatten.

An early morning walk from my hotel, Pearl Continental, has brought me to Bagh-e-Jinnah. It being the middle of June, the sun is already up and bright. As in Delhi, a city with which Lahore has so many similarities (both have majestic forts, built by Moghul rulers at a time when Partition was inconceivable), it’s hot, which explained to me why there were so few people in the garden. I am a little disappointed, because I have come here as much to meet common Pakistanis as to savour the joy of a morning walk in a garden. My purpose is to have as much of Track III dialogue – conversations leading to contacts between ordinary Indians and Pakistanis – as possible during my brief five-day visit to Pakistan, to complement the Track II dialogue for which I had gone to Islamabad a couple of days back.

For the uninitiated, Track II is that conflict-resolution activity in which some of those who once took part in Track I – official government-to-government talks – but are now retired continue to meet, along with journalists, professionals and peace activists, to seek solutions to the vexed issues between our two countries. Cynics see Track II as a post-retirement opportunity for former diplomats, soldiers, and senior government officials to travel and talk. In his new book Shooting for a Century: The India-Pakistan Conundrum, American scholar Stephen P. Cohen writes about a journalist who sarcastically quipped at an Indo-Pak Track II meeting in Salzburg ‘where the formers were suddenly and most insistently advocating peace': “We ought to extend the age of retirement, because it seems as if once an official retires he becomes committed to peace with the other side.”

But Track II can also disprove cynics by promoting a constructive and hope-giving exchange of views. This was evident at the Pakistan-India Bilateral Dialogue in Islamabad on June 14, organised by the Regional Peace Institute, a non-governmental body founded by Pakistan’s former foreign minister, Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, and supported by Hans Seidel Foundation, a German NGO. I was one of the 14 Indian members of a delegation that was led by Mani Shankar Aiyar. Mani, an irrepressible votary of India-Pakistan détente, argues, notwithstanding all the flak he receives from the critics of this argument, that the official Track I dialogue between our two governments must go on in an “uninterrupted and uninterruptible” manner, irrespective any provocation or unpleasant development. The delegation also included our former external affairs minister Salman Khurshid. The Pakistani contingent comprised former minsters and retired diplomats and officials of the army and ISI, besides a few prominent journalists.

I have some experience of being associated with the Track I dialogue between India and Pakistan, having travelled with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his historic Bus Yatra to Lahore in 1999 at the invitation of Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s then and present prime minister. I had also accompanied Vajpayee on his visit to Islamabad for the 2004 SAARC summit, on the sidelines of which he had an important meeting with Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s then president. That meeting yielded the path-breaking joint statement in which Pakistan gave a commitment not to “permit any territory under its control to be used to support terrorism in any manner”. Continue reading

WRIT PETITION FILED IN LAHORE HIGH COURT TO RESTORE JAIN MANDIR IN LAHORE AND OTHER MINORITY WORSHIPING PLACES THROUGHOUT PAKISTAN

On   20th May 2014 a Writ Petn   SYYED MOHUMMED JAWAID IQBAL JAFREE OF SLARPORE  versus STATE through CHIEF SECRETARY , GOVT OF PUNJAB AND OTHERS (INCLUDING PUBLIC AT LARGE) was filed at Lahore High Court   .. Writ Petition 13953 of 2014.
It was Preliminarily heard by MR JUSTICE Mansoor Ali Shah.
HE ORDERED THAT NOTICES ISSUE TO RESPONDENTS , AND THE cHIEF secretary (HIMSELF NOT A JOINT SECRETARY OR SECTIONN OFFICER) HEAR JAFREE PERSONALLY ON 26TH MAY Monday AND PASS A SPEAKING ORDER WITHIN ONE MONTH.. THE WRIT WOULD BE HEARD FURTHER ON 26TH June.
==
The Writ also asks that national hero Shaheed BHAGHHAT SINGH be honoured with highest national honour NISHANE PAKISTAN and Post Office ordered to issue commemorative stamps, even though he is Sikh.
The Writ by Syyed Iqbal Jafree extensively quotes Constn and the Holy Quran; that places of minority worshipfulness are cultural heritage which should not be discriominated against or maligned.
I copy of the Writ has been mailed to Shri  Mahendra Kumar Mast in Chandigarh.
There is much apathy re minorities in india and Pakistan. They must now  wake up and strive for progress and change and prlogressivity orientation.
I did receive a phone calls from some Jain Trust in Bombay moments before I appeared before Lahore High Court Justice Mansoor ali shah re this matter.
But no further call.
All expenses of this Writ were borne by THE SHAHZADI MUMTAZ JAHAN TRUST. If any Indian organization or individual wants to take part in  this Litigation they must sent POWER OF ATTY to Jafree (who charges no fees) , but it must be legalized by Pakistan High Commission OR by some Pak Embassy elsewhere.
Next Court hearing is 26th June.
Regards
BARRISTER SYYED MOHUMMED JAWAID IQBAL JAFREE OF SLARPORE AND SUMMA-SATTTTTA, Senior Advoc Sup Ct of Pakistan , PC
MA LLM PhD HonLLD FRSA Paris Biennale Laureate.
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LHC WRIT   ———–OF 2014; Jafree versus State (Religion)  RE FREEDOM OF RELIGION, FILED 19TH MAY 2014
BISSMILLAW :: URGENT FOR  TUESDAY, the 20th MAY 2014  (OFFICE NOT TO S V P  WASTE  TIME)

IN THE HONOURABLE LAHORE HIGH COURT, LAHORE

(Public Interest) Farze Kaffaya Application              ……….         WP _______________/2014

BARRISTER SYYED MOHUMMED JAWAID IQBAL JAFREE OF SLARPORE, BRIGHTON, PACIFIC PALISADES and SUMMA-SATTTTTA (“JAFREE”),( (General Counsel: THE SHAZADI MUMTAZ JAHAN TRIUST ( A WAKF ) + GEOFFREY+KHITRAN, (PUBLIC INTEREST LAW FIRM))) , 11 RIGHTEOUS CALIPH OMER (RA) PLAZA, ONE MOZANG ROAD,  VICINITY OF THE SACRED JAIN MANDIR . LAHORE-54000, PAKISTAN. …………………                                                                   Writ PETITIONER / INFORMANT/  AND  APPLICANT.

Versus

(1) THE STATE, through THE CHIEF SECERETARY, GOVT. OF PUNJOB, LAHORE, PAKISTAN;  (2) THE FEDERATION through THE CABINET SECRETARY, GOVT. OF PAKISTAN, ISLAMABAD-44000;  (3) THE SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF RELIGION, GOVT. OF PUNJOB, CIVIL SECTT, LAHORE-54000; (4) THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL, PAKISTAN POST OFFICES, GOVT. OF PAKISTAN, ISLAMABAD-44000;  (5) AAAAWWWWWAAA -AAAMMMMMMNNAAAAASSSS  (Public- at- Large) Properly (as Proper Party):        RESPONDENTS.

VERIFIED , SOLEMN AND VERILY -SUCCINCT  POST-NEW NATIONAL JUDICIAL POLICY IMPLEMENTATION  MERITORIOUS  APPLICATION FOR ORDERS AND DIRECTIONS AND  DECLARATORY JUDGMENT ++ HONEST-TO-GOODNESS HOLISTIC AND GENEROUSLY-THOUGHTFUL  JUDICIAL RELIEF/ REVIEW  PLUS  JUSTICE-WITH-LOVE (ADDL BILL EHSAWN) CONCERNING FRUCTIFICATION OF  FREEDOM OF RELIGION OF VULNERABLE / WORTHY MINORITIES  ((( ( E.G., THAT JAIN AND HINDU MANDIRS/ TEMPLES AND  THE SIKH  GURDAWARAS  IN  THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF PAKISTAN BE RESTORED, DECENTLY KEPT UP  AND NOT ALLOWED TO BE ABUSED BY GOONS  (AND SCURRILOUS  EXCUSES NOT MINTED) + THAT ‘MARTYR BHAGHAT SINGH’ – – OUR  NATIONAL HERO FROM LYALLPUR (a.  k. a. FAISALABAD)  BE AWARDED NISHANE PAKISTAN (RETROSPECTIVELY) ++  AND THE  PAKISTAN POST OFFICE   ISSUE COMMEMORATIVE POSTAGE  STAMPS REVERENTIALLY   HONOURING AND   CELEBRATING HIS OUTSTANDING STATUS + AUSPICIOUS  MEMORY )))  AND CONSCIENCE PURSUANT TO CONSTITUTIONAL  ARTICLES 199, 194, 187-190, 2A to 10A, 19, 23, 25, 30-40, 227 (AND PENUMBRAS THEREOF)  AND PER ORDER 27A (NOT answer-ing letters  or not addressing grievances may please  be boldly declared to be unconstitutional and against salient  principles of good governance, such practices  must be unequivocally, at long last,  banned/forbidden ) , SECTION 151, 94 CPC,  READ WITH ARTICLE 164 of PAKISTAN LAW OF EVIDENCE (QANUN-E SHAHADAT), AND SECTION 42  of the SPECIFIC RELIEF ACT ++ OTHER  LAWS , (DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL) OF PAKISTAN. EXEMPLARY INDEMNITY COSTS BE generously AND EXEMPLARILY AWARDED AS ROLE MODEL because conduct and hideous maladministration (in fact machinations and misconduct) have been disgraceful  as well as disgusting. Smug Atty.Gen+ Advs.Gen. have not taken any remedial action because they are (not  Ramday) Patronage and Pelf-Begets no’’merit  illicit appointees.

Typed and conscientiously Filed  by Barrister SyyedMohummed Jawaid Iqbal Jafree without charging any fees or expense, emailpihrights@gmail,.com+ phone 0345 426 6785 or after 3 pm Gulberg Public Interest Law Offices PIHR/G+ 0092 42 3578 5025). Filing costs fearlessly  contributed by The SMJ Trust (a Wakf). {{Time spent on preparing this Writ 24 Hours.}}.

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LHC WP———–2014, JAFREE versus STATE (JAIN)  RELIGION FILED ON 19th MAY 2014, Part 2

               Respectfully Represents Your Petitioner in Performing Farze Kaffaya and as personally  Aggrieved and Affected  Party               T  H  A  T:

1.  PARTIES:  Applicant Jafree (an affected party as vakeel and mussawere and scholar of cultural heritage)  is a denizen of Pakistan, a Muslim (and direct descendant from Holy Prophet Mohummed, S A W,  (“The Highest Jihad is Speaking Up before Powers That Be!!”)  as well as Caliph Imam Ali K A W); he is distantly also  related to The Righteous Caliph Omer RA who said ‘an acceptor of wrong is worse than the wrongdoer’. Furthermore,  has been a lawyer/barrister/ vakil + mussawere of/f and  in Pakistan and abroad for over 55 calendar years with the grace of God treating advocacy as a noble calling, and calling a spade a shovel. As an artist and aesthete (he visits architectural / interfaith / cultural heritage of nation/s; more so in his nuclear neighborhood). He is the one and the only Paris Biennial Laureate , left  in the Asia-Pacific-Africa Triangle.  Obtaining justice in Pakistan had become, pre-NNJP,  practically quite  uphill since circa 1985.  (B) Respondents and other parties are well described (which took over SIX hours to type ought) and addresses for Service of Process are given on page 1.  Supreme Court of Pakistan has lately  repeatedly directed (and even its obiter dicta must be obeyed as a matter of Rule of Law and Access to Justyice) that minorities’ rights cannot be violated. And no one is above the law. Albert Einstein declared : IF I WERE TO REMAIN SILENT, I’D BE GUILTY OF COMPLICITY.  (C)  Let’s practice what we were preached and what we have been preaching (tolerance towards other faiths and religions). Vakil means facilitator of Justice-with-love (i.e.. Addl Bill Ehsawwn).  Islam gave the world concepts of Due Process of Law (Bill Haaq) and Rajoo (Writs Error Coram Nobis and Vobis) and Equal Protection of Law for one and all without discrimination or Segregation, Make-Believe or Double Standards. (D)  In stead,  our Establishment (in all wings of Government of Pakistan) greedily got intofor the sake of  race  Plots, Peccadilloes, Pelf, Patronage, Progeny-Peddling, peacocking  Promotions , Protocol pursuits, Pettiness Pandering, Plentiful  Plots ,  and Perverting Procedure, Poly-Plotting, P’Ring,  paralegal Piri-mureedii, Preposterous Propaganda, Pestering Pomposity, et al.

2. (A)CONTINUING CAUSES OF ACTION: Today, we are accurately  being chided by the civilized societies of the global village  as nothing but a  Failed, Rogue and Dangerous, Terrorism-Oriented  State. ‘Buy the People’; ‘Far The People’ and ‘Off the Peapull’, in practice. ©  In Gujranwala opening butchers’ shops in a Jain Temples takes the caKKKe. Architectural and cultural heritage of Pakistan is being dismantled, distorted and maligned.  This is forbidden by religion and by our Constitution.  Jafree sent thousands of complaints to various authorities since 1985. No reply. Arrogance and double standards permeate. Jafree learned (verbally)  that few years ago Chief Minister of Punjob Mian Shabaaz SharrReef allocated some Rs 20 Lakhs for repairing The Jain Temple, but the public  moneys were corruptly usurped and squandered by the staff.  (B)  Our Holy Prophet ( s a w)  and Jafree’s most venerable  ancestor Prophet Mohummed (P b u h) and the Holy Quran state that there is no compulsion in religion and Prophet Mohummed (P b u h) used to routinely  allow followers of other religions/ faiths to perform their religious duties in the Mosque, because all  temples/ churches/ pagodas/ temples/ mandirs and synagogues are all places of God All Mighty not anyone’s personal or personnel or professional property, Realty® or reality.  The Jains are peace-loving and non-violent hardworking  people. Also parsees, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs  (please, do recall Holy-man MahaGuru Nanak Dev Jii enthusiastically   performed two hajjs by foot, but he righteously  became significantly  disappointed/ irritated by our moolah-oriented  mulLAWS). Furthermore,  Jews or The Others ( discrete Minorities) who in/voluntarily  left Pakistan due to political exploitation or intolerance (by our socalled Elite nouveau riche segment) have committed no wrong against Pakistan. Quaide Azam Mohummed Ali Jinnah must be turning in his grave. (C)  Jain Mandir near Jafree Law Offices has been grossly violated, debilitated and politically-sponsored  LAND mAFIA and Sir Nawazzz SharrrrReef (BA HonGCMG, previously also claiming to be MA+ LLB)  aficionados have opened up garbage and other commercial and untenable  shops there. Similar and other  Jain Mandirs in other parts of Pakistan have been and are continuingly being  desecrated and violated (See the  Documentation in the accompanying Documentation). Similarly churches, pagodas, other places of non-Moslem worships have been commercially exploited and are being  wrongfully and maliciously being constantly and continually desecrated which is intolerable as  crying shame and constitutional wrongs (OUTRAGES).  In  other civilized countries such matters are vigorously  litigated by law Officers, here the  ‘’’ Ganges flows upside down’’’ and in reverse, and far worse.

GROUNDS  : The  pernicious misconduct, obstinacy  and callous maladministration of Respondents 1 to 4 and their subordinates and colluding  colleagues are  illegal, unconstitutional,  mala fide and disastrous,  militate against    good governance , common weal and public interest (see page 1). Attorney General and all Advocates Generals have failed to respond affirmatively or to provide any relief whatsoever to date in spite of countless requests. They don’t seem to be interested in  common good or good governance, but pine for  personnel promotions and personal loyalty to their nouveau riche, greed and territory/TURF control and constitutes blindly following the current  ‘fiendish-ing’   Overlards. That goes beyond Just Expectations, Margin of Appreciation, Doctrine of Subsidiarity as well as all tenets of Good Governance and  Proportionality. It makes no sense whatever  and in fact is disgraceful and beyond redemption and suc h callousness is bringing bad name to Pakistan as well as Islam. This must now be nipped if Pakistan is to survive. Discrete and vulnerable minorities asre suffering immeasurable and incalculable harm is being catered and being done. All affirmative equities weigh in favour of providing actual substantive relief.

T H E R E F O R E

(i) Relief humbly  requested above (also see Overleaf)  be granted (on standing and other aspects,  please See   MALICK versus MALICK [1925] 52AC 145 (Privy Council upholding Nagpur High Court judgment; Objective Resolution is the  grundnorm: PLD 1990 K 342)) generously, inter alia,   by virtue of  a DeclARATION PRELIMINARY AND PERPETUAL. The Honourable Court declare the rights, responsibilities and duties of the Parties (this is the current mode of providing holistic  relief – – without beating about the bushes or Bushes and Barrick Hussein Osamas (Obama so written in Kenya) in all Common Law an d other civilized jurisdictions). (ii)  Respondents be commanded to protect the Jain Mandirs and other places of worship of discrete and vulnerable minorities (belonging to Islamic or any other faith).  (iii) The Jain Mandir, near Geoffrey and Khitran Law Offices close to Old Anarkali and Lytton (Janazgah) Roads in Lahore  be suitably  repaired and restored; (iv)  and the Jain Mandirs in  Gujranwala be ordered  vacated most expeditiously  and appropriately  restored. More so the CRUEL AND UNUSUAL “PUNISHMENT” (FOR PURPOSES COMMERCIAL AND dispensing  POLITICAL ARROGANCE, Might is Righteousness) Butcher Shops opened in Gujranwala  Jain and/or Hindu Mandirs/Temples  be closed and destroyed and Jains be allowed to visit these mandirs and perform their rituals,  ceremonies and  carry out traditional cleansing operations. (v)  A Jain pandit or Temple-keeping person be allowed to reside in each province of Pakistan to look after their mandirs and temples. No shops, other operatrions should remain IN  THESE and other places of worship.  (vi) And respondents’ worsening inefficiency and  habit, under colour of law and otherwise,  of not answering letters (violates inter alia  Sections 23,24,27 of the General Clauses Act, and p. 578, Volume  VI, Muariffe Quran published by the University of the Punjob)) be declared to be unconstitutional and against public interest and common good.  (vii) Court Proceedings be ordered  officially tape-recorded. (viii)  Further, other and additional Relief be granted. (ix) All places of minority worship and other sacred places of offering  prayers  should be restored gradually and looked after. (x)  The Honourable  Court unequivocally declare the religious rights of Minorities of all religions and declare Sectarianism, blasphemous  or prejudicial practices as illegal and reprehensible , to wit: subject to severest  sanctions and actual  punishment for  Contempt, obstruction of justice, sabotaging of the Constitution and other penal proceedings and sternest  penalties and exactions. (xi) to me your faith, to me my faith (God in Holy Quran, 109:6)+Let there be no compulsion in religion, Quran 2:256 + Surely the noblest amongst you is the most knowledgable, Holy Quran 49:13. + So vie with one another in  good works (Quran, 5:48) + God does not like harsh accusations except by the wronged, Quran 4:148-149.  (xii) (a)  Always go too far .. for that is where you will find the truth:  Albert Camus.(b)  Truth shall make you free (Saint John)

Jafree, most humbly,  offers to prove up all of the above per Pakistan Law of Evidence Order (Qanune Shahadat) which includes innovative  telltale Article 164 as part of the law of the land.

  • Before concluding Applicant humbly but responsibly  reminds the  Honourable Court that our Holy Prophet, peace be upon him,  calibrated : The ink of a scholar is worthier than the blood of many-splendoured martyrs.
  • Great and Righteous Caliph (then concurrently  the Chief Justice of the biggest Empire of that time on the face of the Good Earth) HaZrat Umer RA warned : EVEN IF   A DOG ROAMS  HUNGRY ALONG THE banks of  RIVER EUPHRATES,  I WILL BE HELD STRICTLY  accountable and fully  RESPONSIBLE. HE STRONGLY and sternly   CONDEMNED HYPOCRISY AS THE LEAST FORGIVABLE OF SINS. THAT SQUARELY  APPLIES, MUTATIS MUTANDIS,  TO THE BANKS OF  our own  DOMESTIC  RAVI… NOW – –  what a shame – –  THAT  HALF OF THE COUNTRY’S  INNOCENT DENIZENS  ARE GOING WITHOUT PROPER MEALS A DAy .
  • MashawLAW :  Our Judges of the superior judiciary  are the highest paid in tax free overall terms  ( their remunerations inluding  multifaceted perks and privileges of all kinds  worth taxfree many  Millions a month besides salary + retirement benefits and new plump positions and prestige after Retirement)  in the history of mankind. Besides and beyond that  it is their inherent and innate  duty AND RESPONSIBILITY   to  actually and fearlessly provide nothing less than COMPLEAT AND HOLISTIC  justice across the board to one and all .Moreover,   HONESTLY all residents, denizens and citizens of Pakistan must  respect REAL  merit and GENUINE  tacqva.
  • There exists  no reprieve, forgivance,  immunity or impunity for In Justice = injustice. No one is above the law except God. We, all of us in the Legal Calling , ought ethically and conscientiously   serve as example makers, as upfront  role models and guide the world by setting examples. We cannot walk with our heads high by operating as functional ostriches. The religion of our massive majority demands sacrifices and speaking up, giraffe like performance without fear or favour .. to do Right with all kind of people. This was not being done pre-NNJP.

Oral arguments will, inshawLAW,  be made which the court which  is requested and most  welcome to officially Tape record the proceedings. Incidentally work stoppages/ closures and Hartalls are illegal and anti-Islamic as obstruction of access to  justice and sabotaging of the  Constitution. A wrong is a wrong is a wrong by any other name or nomenclature. It must not be acquiesced in or encouraged as a public relations device of running with the turtle and  haunting with the greyhounds. It is dreadful and disastrous. We have to turn the page and make a paradigm shift from newfound and past practices.

Respectfully Submitted:

AGGRIEVED PETITIONER/ APPLICANT SIMULTANEOUSLY  GENUINELY-PERFORMING FARZE KAFFAYA  AS AN OFFICER OF THE COURT AND AS NONSTATE ACTOR (PER ARTS. 2A-7, 9, 10  OF THE CONSTITUTION)       THROUGH

PRO BONO PUBLICO    COUNSEL    ::   BARRISTER SYYED MOHUMMED JAWAID IQBAL JAFREE OF SLARPORE AND SUMMA-SATTTTTTA’      ASC PC     1382    “A WORLD CLASS PUBLIC INTEREST Lawyer” per Honorable Lahore High Court…

CERTIFICATE OF COUNSEL :

All administrative or other remedies have been explored and exhausted  over last  5 years. No other  relief is available or proficient and efficacious. The CVourts must take the bull by the horn. This is first writ on the subject per instructions. Counsel’s  discounted fee as Indemnity Costs is U S  $786.92 only  per hour. Income tax is voluntarily and promptly  paid by this Ethical counsel within 48 hours of receipt of any fees or Indemnity Costs. Fees are not banked abroad. SO HELP ME GODAS PAKISTAN IS DROWNING IN indigenously-manufactured  ‘IN’ INJUSTICE (“In” is fashionable, currently trendy). The world ridicules and mocks us with  lamentable derision and distrust. Extremis malis .. extrema remedia!! I thank God that am not one of those (totally power crazy- in actuality  pygmies) who share  or can claim any sanctimony or  ‘credit’ or plots for any part in that dismal  outcome. I have faithfully practiced law as a noble calling against oddest hurdles  by not making speeches or begging patronage and  plots and favours for pogeny/ partners but by means and virtue of  (to borrow an apropos   Urdu expression) “cutting the stomach of my own nuclear family”. Abuse of merit in our God-fearing  Country has reached mega-proportions which invite the wrath and qehr of God All Mighty;  and nation’s traitors are  roaming scott free,  are being seen on the scene by proliferating companions (since the Bhutto days and nights)  modern day jajuz ‘n majooz maligning/ victimizing  the  innocent country,  decent/ virtuous  countrymen and worsening our conscience under stress for the sake of  their naked lust for power,  shameless turf control, perverse territory-snatching (previously plots in every town with false affidavits and 11 ft tall clout touting  and worsening perversion of power)  and furthering  murderous, hate-filled  bad Faith.

 
 

‘Vande Maataram’ from Lahore

Banday Matram from Lahore

Lahore-Rain and birds

Lahore today

Lahore today2

Photos by Sumair Mustansar Tarar

The famed Purani Anarkali

 

A classic painting of Purani Anarkali, Lahore

A classic painting of
Purani Anarkali, Lahore

Jahangir’s Tomb, Lahore

The tomb of Emperor Jahangir who ruled India 1605-1027, is another jewel in the crown of Mughal architecture. The tomb is situated in Lahore, in Noor Jahan’s old pleasure garden known as Dilkusha Garden. The mausoleum is located at Shahdara on the banks of the Ravi, three miles northwest of the city. in the centre of which stands the magnificent sepulcher of Jahangir, considered by some to be the “finest ornament of Lahore,” and the “most magnificent edifice in the subcontinent after the Taj and the Qutub.”
The combination of red Sikri stone and white marble, an arrangement echoing Humayun’s tomb in Delhi, and a rare treat for Lahore not least for its intricate inlay, is impressive in its finesse and sophistication. Where the external expression is restrained in its dignified simplicity, internally decorative surfaces present you the best of tile mosaic and fresco that made Lahore famous in the whole of the Mughal Empire.
Following are some photos of the tomb “tweeted” by our twitter handle @lahorenama

 

Note: Info credit “ualberta” website, Photos credit “Kasim Osmani”.

Lahore Festivities, Spring and Basant

Spring in Lahore arrives with colorful flowers, joyful traditions, dance, music and what not. And once upon a time there were kites, or better yet the kites used to rule all of the above. They were the main identity of spring.
Just a decade back all of the above said things were prevalent in Lahore. Dance, concerts, and the famous Basant were trademarks of Lahore but as we grew more religious we came to the conclusion that all of these are very harmful. Signboards of “Smoking kills” was replaced by “kites kill” and the much loved music, concerts and dance were always “unethical”. These were spared earlier because of “killer Basant” but eventually we have advanced our celebrations. We have made our festivities more kosher. Apparently, they now only exist in Models floating in Lahore canal.
The intention of this blog was to cheerfully introduce the colorful models and flowers that lighten up the Lahore canal and Mall road celebrating spring. But as I think about it, I cannot digest the irony that our government has taken these smiles, dance and festivities from the living and carved them on the hard board Models!
We willfully lost our heritage and here we are celebrating it on Lahore canal with meaningless floats!

 

Colorful Models lighten up in the Lahore canal as Part of Jashan-e-Baharan festival

Colorful Models lighten up in the Lahore canal as Part of Jashan-e-Baharan festival

Models of various monuments in Pakistan afloat in the Lahore canal for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

Models of various monuments in Pakistan afloat in the Lahore canal for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

 

Models of various animals afloat in the Lahore canal for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

Models of various animals afloat in the Lahore canal for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

 

A model depicting a man and his monkey float in the Lahore canal for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

A model depicting a man and his monkey float in the Lahore canal for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

People observe models erected as part of the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

People observe models erected as part of the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

Models dot Lahore's canal as part of the Jashan-e-baharan celebrations

Models dot Lahore’s canal as part of the Jashan-e-baharan celebrations

Motorist ride past colorful light and models set up for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

Motorist ride past colorful light and models set up for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

Giant coloful models of peacock dot the canal road as part the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

Giant coloful models of peacock dot the canal road as part the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

Models of various monuments in Pakistan afloat in the Lahore canal for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

Models of various monuments in Pakistan afloat in the Lahore canal for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

Illuminated lamps dot  the Lahore canal for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

Illuminated lamps dot the Lahore canal for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

Models of women look over a sea of illuminated lillies in the Lahore canal for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

Models of women look over a sea of illuminated lillies in the Lahore canal for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

Trees along Lahore canal are illuminated as part of the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

Trees along Lahore canal are illuminated as part of the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations

Photos and captions are taken from the Etribune.

Walking Through History | The Walled City of Lahore

Saira A Nizami

The Old City, or the Walled City of Lahore is in the northwestern part of Lahore, Punjab. The visitor is given access to the city by 13 gates, few of them being Bhati Gate, Lahori Gate and Roshnai Gate.

As he visits the Walled City, Razi Rumi shares these rich moments and his thoughts while walking through streets of Lahore:

FortMughal architecture: Lahore Fort’s beautiful wall with original frescoes. Has survived amid history’s atrocities and government’s negligence.

Faqir Khana Museum

Lahore’s heritage: Inside the Faqir Khana Museum, Bhatti Gate. Some of the carpets are from the Emperor Shah Jahan’s era.

Haveli Naunehal Singh

Imagine living in a room with such amazing frescos – A hidden corner of Haveli Naunehal Singh, walled city of Lahore.

Balcony

Wouldn’t you love to have balcony like this? Spotted in walled city Lahore.

Little Girl in Hijab

Met this young girl in walled city Lahore last week.

Wall

Unfortunate graffiti on one of the 17th century walls of Lahore fort. However there is a guy out there who loves US.

Twinkle School

Twinkle Scholar (private) school has great advertising. Also shows what is valued as success.

School in walled city

Clever combination of modern and traditional education: Madrassa Safeena-tul Quran.

Spices

Ready for artwork? Look again, these are walled city Lahore’s colorful spices

Victoria School

A majestic structure that survives the vagaries of time .With those breathtaking frescos — Haveli Nonehal Singh, Lahore

Victoria School2

A hidden jewel in the densely populated walled city of #Lahore. Haveli Nonehal Singh, Victoria School since 150 years.

GraveStone

When I was procuring old plates, saw this too. The guy got the sign made and only 22 years later had to leave Lahore.

Colonial Plate

A spode plate – India Tree- found in the rubble of Lahore‘s colonial past.

Building with the inscription

The half-burnt building in Shah Alam Market tells the story of a bank that was never meant to be

From the foundation stone to the very inch of the complete structure – every building encompasses a journey. But some stories always remain untold like the story of Gobind Ram and Hindustan Commercial Bank. Sixty years since the partition of India and the building with the inscription ‘Gobind Ram Kahan’ and ‘Hindustan Commercial Bank Established 1805′ still remains amidst the hustle bustle of vendors, gold and crockery traders of Rang Mahal in the walled city.

Badar Munir Butt of AL-Sadiq Jewellers was four years old in 1947. Though he faintly remembers the partition violence he has heard stories about Gobind Ram and the building. His shop is adjacent to the half burnt building. According to him, Gobind Ram owned a shop at the ground floor of the present building. Trader of achaar, chatni and sharbat, Gobind Ram’s sharbat was very famous in this area. Supposedly, one of the richest men in this area he was well-respected too. And, with money comes influence. When he, with his family, left Lahore for India he had put the money and jewellery in the basement of this same building. Some years after the partition he came here with Army officials from both India and Pakistan and took away all the jewellery and money that they had kept safe in the basement. To the neighbours’ dismay, the loads of gold and money kept lying there all those years without them knowing about it.

According to an elderly man who owns a shop in the basement of the building.and also one of the oldest residents of the area, Gobind Ram’s sharbat was “famous and if one bought it for one takka, one would reach Amritsar but the sharbat wouldn’t finish.”

All the gates of Lahore survived the violence of partition except the Shah Alam Gate which was destroyed along with other buildings in this area. From Shah Alam to Rang Mahal, this was the sole building that survived and that only because it was a new building. Some myths follow the existence of a trench in the basement that goes to the Lahore Fort.

The branch of Hindustan Commercial Bank for which the new building was made never saw the light of the day. Established in 1805 one branch of the bank was supposed to be opened here in Lahore and Gobind Ram was among the partners.

Majeed Sheikh, a renowned historian, informed that The Hindustan Commercial Bank Lahore was to be one of the five branches of the bank that was established in 1805 and whose first branch was opened in Amritsar. The bank opened in Bengal on January 2, 1809. Two branches were to be opened in Lahore, one here in the walled city and the other in Neela Gumbad. “After 1965 war with India the building was declared enemy property.”

During the partition the present area of Rang Mahal, Suha Bazaar and the adjoining area was a Hindu majority area. A Baowli, a reminiscence of the Sikh history in Lahore, was also situated in this area. The Baowli was destroyed during the partition violence. But some Sikhs visit it even today to remember the long forgotten ghosts. Dr Khan, the Chief Minister of One Unit, got the Baowli renovated during his government. Haveli Mian Khan, also located here, now has almost hundred small houses in its premises. Settlement Department gave the houses on claim while some were built.

Kashmiri Bazaar was the hub of trade in pre-partition days. There was a press and several famous shops in this locality. Being a Hindu majority area the trade and business of this area was also controlled by Hindus. Now the building is encircled by garment shops, gold market and crockery.

This article was originally posted here written by Sarah Sikander.

Image

Lahore Canal

Lahore Canal

Beautiful View of Lahore Canal

Photo by Saad Ahmad Qasmi

Lahore Lore

Mobeen Ansari

Mobeen Ansari’s sensitive photography tells tales of vibrant lives lived out amidst wistfully neglected structures

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History speaks out..

 

Lahore is not my city. This allows me to view it with a mixture of foreignness and belonging; as simultaneous insider and outsider – removed enough to be endlessly fascinated by it, close enough to be able to photograph it consistently. The Badshahi, Wazir Khan and Lahore Fort may be clichéd photographic pursuits but I never get enough of the new angles and insights they afford me each time.

Early morning view of Wazir Khan Mosque

Early morning view of Wazir Khan Mosque

I went on my routine old Lahore photography trips around fajr time each time I drove down to Lahore from Islamabad; had been doing that for a few years, but i wanted to get into the heart of these neighbourhoods, really peek into people’s lives and capture their stories. One day I got lucky. Walking into Masjid Wazir Khan – it was my second time there – I struck up a conversation with the Imaam of the masjid, sharing with him my curiosity about the man said to have built the mosque – Ilm-ud-Din Ansari. Since I shared his surname I wondered if I also shared his lineage. The Imaam asked for my ID card, squinted at my full name and asked me to follow him deep into the neighborhood, into alleys beyond Delhi Darwaaza that I could never have discovered on my own. He knocked at a door and asked for keys, I think to different areas of the mosque; one of these keys he gave to me, of a minaret I had never expected to be allowed to climb, knowing as I did that it is ordinarily closed to all visitors.

Back at the mosque I lugged my heavy camera bag up the high Mughal-era steps. The suffocating dankness of the minaret gave way to a clear Lahori dawn that I observed from a unique vantage point. The height afforded fascinating aerial glimpses into the lives of the residents of the old city sprawled out below me.

Andron Lahore on the occassion of 12 Rabbiul Awal

Andron Lahore on the occassion of 12 Rabbiul Awal

 

Once every week I go to Lahore for work – meetings, shoots etc. So I had gone to Lahore for one night only for a meeting. When I got done with my work I met up with a friend from college who was also in town. Both of us had laptops and camera bags but no car. We had dinner, took a rickshaw to a cinema to watch a movie, and at midnight came out into the freezing and foggy Lahore night. We walked and rickshawed (changing six of them!) till we reached his place, warmed ourselves with some chai and set out for androon Lahore, managing to get there just before dawn. It was the morning of the 12th of Rabi-ul-Avval (the Prophet’s birthday) and the night’s lights hadn’t been turned off as yet. In the eerie twilight glow, before many people had woken up we roamed the labyrinthine alleys of androon sheher and experienced it like never before in the magical hours between sleeping and waking. Why I am so obsessed with going to these places early in the morning is because there’s no rush at that time and you can see history clearly.

run-down houses in Lahore

run-down houses in Lahore

Click here to see wonderful collection of pictures by the writer:

WCLA Holds “Wekh Lahore” — Biggest Amateur Photography Contest

Courtesy: Daily Times, South Asia Revealed, WCLA

68428_720936144607103_739959613_nThe Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) launched city’s biggest amateur photography contest, Wekh Lahore, on Fiday this moth. Large number of Lahoris took to the Alhamra Arts Council to attend the event. WCLA Director-General Kamran Lashari, Communication Expert Tania Qureshi, country’s leading photographers and a large number of people participated in the event.

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The jury included some notable photographers such as Atif Saeed, Abrar Cheema and Umair Ghani; and a painter, Zulfikar Ali Zulfi.

The first second and third prizes were won by Mudassir Madni, Hashim Aslam and Abdul Rahim, respectively. The event was a treat to visitors eyes. They duly appriciated the works of emerging photographers.

1604625_770081949688091_1748367199_nClick here for further information.

Closing ceremony of Wekh Lahore contest was also held at Alhamra Arts Council. Pakistan’s renowned journalist Sohail Warraich served as cheif guest of the ceremony.

Please see details of closing ceremony here:

The Waters of Lahore by Kamal Azfar (A Review)

Review by Iqbal Geoffrey

Dear Kamal Azfar

19252_the-waters-of-lahore-01Reading your book: THE WATERS OF LAHORE has imparted great pleasure and furnished enlightening information; therefore, this note is a symbol and a gift  from my  genuine appreciation while hoping  that you might  arrange its Urdu version  published as a subsidized edition. You may consider adding a separate chapter succinctly describing bluntly in your honest-to-goodness, straightforward style, e.g., what does the government need to do  as well as the  law-abiding denizens in Pakistan (systemically dehumanized by alien or fiendlike Rule of Low and Law off Rulers, though with no signs of Rule of Law in sight) over last five thousand years (and their Sing Along With Mitch cutlery, chumcha cha cha!) in  Pakistan. Now that the Land of the Pure (and helluva halva) has become not only a failed state, but also plundered, oppressed, almost bankrupted, and a Terrorist® state. Gone with the Raiwind are the good old days and inbetweenties glimpsing  any semblance/dynamics of wisdom or micro-iota regarding  Values or Vision. The Hyperbole and intimate Manage a Trois are very-very ‘In’.

Rather remarkably ­– in between the lines — your book reads like art criticism. Moreover, no civilization has ever flourished progressively without first excelling in arts. Within the unfortunate State of Pakistan the ubiquitous coterie of nouveau riche/ deep-pocket riffraff and semi-illiterate politicians (rudderless + ruthlessly on-the-take) compounded by  rabid bureaucrats (low-ranking Machiavellis) are instead coyly dismantling what is left of Pakistan. One in PTI/ one in ML(N)/ one Independent Syndrome. Jinnah must be turning in his grave. Right now we encounter déjà vu of 1999 when forex reserves were miserably down to $400 millions, that too S.O.S-borrowed at exorbitantly high commercial rates. Please propose what needs to be done. I will, in  deeds, state of art illustrate it !!!

As your former GCL  classmate and causa honoris fan, I ought to mention two item thoughts. ZAB (a poet-of-politics deserving criticism in the Surah 26 : 226 Sense) actually was not all that ‘not-corrupt’. When Bhutto visited my Studio (or Clinic for the Sake of AesthE T H I C S) in Central  Park West (at the Mayflower) or later in Beekman Place, NYC 21 , I humbly pontificated  that bigotry must not be encouraged by anyone whatsoever, i.e.,  no one may designate/label or even subliminally  belittle any other person’s faith, nor tempt invidious exodus or determine their faith or stigmatize any school of thought. By Officially (draconically) branding the Ahmadis as ‘non-Muslims®’. He  acted disgracefully and unleashed a  palpable Pandora box mix for our vintage/ perverse (perhaps even worse) halala-smitten/happy Mullah, Moolah and Mega- Mediocrity in order to exploit and plunder. Now chickens are coming home for roasting up Shias. God mentions in the Holy Koran that on the day of Judgment He will judge everyone in accordance with his faith. So Culprits cannot escape exemplary punishment.

Moreover, Bhutto used to boast before his Sitting Ducks that he manifested two personas (euphoria of split personality, I presume); one private (seductive actresses + Invigorated Rooh-e Afzaa + surreptitious verbal  ‘marriage’ with Ravishing Husna Sheikh — where is the Bengal Beauty?? = la dolce vita a la mode at  State-with-dwindling-resources expense account), and The Other his (illusionary) public (= commercial)  personage (Roti, Kappra, Aur Makkan + phony “Liend Reforms” phantom/hype).

During 1969 (when he invited Dr. Zafar Aziz Khan and me), I asked him point-blank why await  becoming the PM to implement his promised and worthy  ‘Land’-Reforms, why not initiate and functionalize/fructify that very day since charity and all good deeds (like justice) begin with home, however, I would simultaneously join him, donate all my existing resources, I am a bit short of being a Kuwaiti Currency Billionaire, I must admit, ‘how short’ is my Tashkent $ecret) : he responded that he  had  a family to support and I retorted on the spot to his sudden surprise:  ‘But; everyone is suffering from that dis-ease’. It turned him pinkier! He become fidgety. Dr. ZAK graciously walked out on him along with me from the debilitated Falettis which was ruining itself after The Oberoi Family had to leave.

The Tashkent Secret” (another Bhutto Bluff!)  simply was that we triumphantly lost that war too.  Mein ne dekha:    also as a citizen of the global village, I felt very sorry for the Motherland, Raftarr Tez Haey – –  mugger Suffer ahissta-ahissta. The cutting-edge bottom-line is  that actually, soon after that Bhutto (albeit innocent  Yatra),  Janab A.K. Brohi,  To err is human, confided  to me  that  Bhutto  would  not win  a  single  seat  even  from  native Sindh..

Since the Dacca  (double entendre , it also means dacoiting in my Penglish) Marrowing of l971, over 300 billion dollars have been money-laundered  illicitly out to offshore havens as sacrosanct nest-eggs. Although I strongly oppose Death Penalty in present day Just Ice Pakistan, as an exception to the rule I humbly favour brutal public hangings of economic Fitna-Fasaad  caterers per the Commandment of God. Caliph Hazrat Omer, RA  condemned hypocrisy as the worst of  sins and calibrated that one who appeases in a wrong is far worse than the wrong-monger.

Our present day  role model  Prime Munster, Haji Sir Nawaz SharrrrReef’s (HonGCMG 1997 violating Art. 254) two sons have  already proudly become British citizens with Right of Abode which re-minds me the brilliant obiter dicta  that MohtrimA Meena Kumari (born in  Mitha Tiwana, District KhushAAB = Good Waters off of  the Chenab River ) lisped in the playback surroundsound of Lata Mangheshkar: Innhi loggounn ne lay liyya dupatta mera…  

Also there exists  a lucid, tell-tale  Urdu  lyric (ghazzal), ahead of its time (as is all art) narrating  requiem for  ZAB during his own lifetime, by the greatest poet of the XX century (albeit from Montgomery), Munir Niazi, RA.  I will appreciate your corrective views about  the aforesaid aspects of some burning issues which are of burgeoning incendiary concern to the common, law-abiding citizenry of Pakistan who find themselves Iraq and a hard placebo.

The long road to ecological justice

We are posting this article by Ahmad Rafay Alam originally published in daily Dawn. In this article, Alam critically evaluates judicial proceedings with respect to the Lahore Canal Road project. The writer urges the government not to squander the heritage of the city for the “.. Canal Heritage Park is part of the Lahori psyche, as much as the Walled City, the Shalimar Gardens or halva puri. Civil Society must understand that as long as the city grows, pressures to sacrifice our heritage must be forever guarded against. The battle is and will remain ongoing…”  

LahoreCANALBefore parting with this judgment, we would like to acknowledge the admirable spirit demonstrated by petitioners’ organization, by those individuals, architects, urban planners, academics and students for protection of city’s ecological and environmental horizons. During hearing of this case, the Court was touched by the rainbow of idealism, of intellect, of architectural ability, of urban development and mental health expertise of graces and youthful exuberance… As long as this spirit is alive, we are sanguine, the authorities and the leadership would continue to be guided by the values of sustainable human and urban development.

— Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, in SMC No. 25 of 2009

Following the September 2011 decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in Lahore Canal Road widening case (SMC No. 25 of 2009), the Government of Punjab wasted no time in cutting down trees to widen the road along the green belt for a stretch of the Lahore Canal. Many could be forgiven in thinking there was little other in the judgment of the Court, but they would be wrong. The widening of a limited stretch of road along the Lahore Canal was only one of 10 directions the Court had given. The first was that the entire length of the Lahore Canal and its green belt “shall be treated as a Heritage Urban Park forthwith and declared so by an Act to be passed by the Assembly…”The Punjab Assembly’s Standing Committee on Housing, Urban Development and Public Health Engineering held hearings in December 2012 where representatives of the Lahore Conservation Society, Lahore Bachao Tehreek and WWF-Pakistan provided input to the draft legislation prepared by the Government of Punjab. Although the law was being prepared in pursuance of the Court’s judgment, there were reservations against the draft, which allowed the Government of Punjab carte blanche, especially on the controversial issue of more infrastructure development along the Canal. Despite these reservations, the Lahore Canal Heritage Park Act, 2013 was passed on 14 January 2013, making it the first urban and heritage park legislation in Pakistan (other parks are protected by notification). It is also a major success for civil society in Lahore and Pakistan. How often can a civil society movement anywhere lay claim to have traversed the full spectrum of activism: from protest and advocacy to legislation and policy?

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The preamble to the Act provides “Whereas the Lahore canal and the green belts on both sides of the canal is a public trust and is part of the heritage of the city of Lahore; therefore, it is expedient to make provisions for the maintenance of a salubrious environment and conservation of the Lahore Canal as a heritage park; to preserve the flora and fauna of this heritage park; and to provide for ancillary matters.” The maintenance of the Heritage Park has been made the responsibility of the Parks and Horticulture Authority and an Advisory Committee established to advise the PHA on upkeep and maintenance.

The Act prohibits the construction on infrastructure, felling or damage of or to trees, pollution of water, hunting and use of firearms in the Heritage Park, but allows the PHA to give permission to any of these prohibited acts provided a list of criterion are met.

The Advisory Committee comprises nominees of government departments and civil society. The membership of the Advisory Committee was designed to ensure continuing civil society participation in decisions that would affect the Lahore Canal. However, by allowing the PHA the power to override the decisions of the Advisory Committee, the Act fails to properly value this participation.

The Advisory Committee has so far met thrice and has proposed rules of procedure for itself, has directed the delineation of the boundaries of the Heritage Park and is planning a tree master plan for the park. Once its rules of procedure are set, the Advisory Committee will be in a position to undertake initiatives in the Heritage Park.

canal-road

What has been surprising was the request, recently made at the 3rd meeting of the Advisory Committee, to consider a proposal for additional road-widening and three U-turns along the Canal. The Committee was told such an initiative would improve traffic congestion. However, I have my doubts. If the road widening of last year now requires another Rs. 400 million of infrastructure to “reduce traffic congestion” and Lahore still does not have a traffic or urban Master Plan, then there is grave risk that an ad-hoc initiative will be at the cost of legally protected heritage.

Civil Society must understand that the growth and development of Lahore will forever remain ongoing. What is important is that we give back to the city something that our children and their children can hold as heritage. The Canal Heritage Park is part of the Lahori psyche, as much as the Walled City, the Shalimar Gardens or halva puri. Civil Society must understand that as long as the city grows, pressures to sacrifice our heritage must be forever guarded against. The battle is and will remain ongoing.

The writer is a partner at Saleem, Alam & Company, and member of the Lahore Canal Heritage Park Committee

Bureaucratic Ineptitude Turning Lahore Into a Green Desert

We are cross posting this excellent piece by Salman Rashid:

I was telling a relative of mine about the one dozen different species of birds that nest in my garden (and it’s a one-kanal house) and at any given time the song of twice as many species. He, a retired judge of the superior court, living in Judicial Colony near Thokar Niaz Beg was surprised that there was a total absence of birdsong in their area.

I told him that the birds were missing entirely because of the absence of indigenous species of trees in the locality. The entire colony is choc-a-bloc with all sorts of exotic trees. There is not a single peepul, neem, amaltas, to name only a few.

Ornithologists tell us that Lahore was home to no fewer than a hundred and seventy different species of birds until the mid-seventies. In the latter part of that decade, flight and cabin crews of the national carrier began to flood this unfortunate land with all sorts of ornamental shrubs and trees from the Far East. Ignorant and foolish, these people only had their eye on the huge profits to be gleaned from the sale of this contraband.

That was also the time of the establishment of such residential areas as Iqbal Town and sundry other ‘societies’ in south Lahore as well as of Defense Housing Authority. Vast tracts of real and ancient forest were cleared; roads and housing came up and with them a new forest of shrubs and araucaria – this import being the most popular in those days.

Not that this was the first alien invasion. We had earlier seen the clearing of indigenous trees to plant the Australian water-guzzling eucalyptus and the pretty alstonia. Mark: birds were singularly repelled by both species. However, over the decades, crows and pied mynas (the latter very rarely) have taken to nesting in eucalyptus mainly for want of any other species. But very strangely, I have never ever seen any specie of bird nesting or even roosting in alstonia. The result was that our birds began to leave Lahore for forest and scrub outside the city.

The disease of preferring exotic tree species over our own was matched by yet another sickness: the preference for ornamental shrubbery in place of real trees. One example that I know of is the Anjuman e Himayat e Islam premises in Lahore that was home to many magnificent hundred year-old trees. In the 1980s or shortly after, they were all chopped down by one very, very foolish man and replaced by shrubbery. Thousands of birds that thrived on those trees in the heart of smoggy Lahore were banished and part of the lungs of the city destroyed.

Roads in all the new residential societies were planted with either eucalyptus or alstonia; houses only with some little shrubbery. The 21st century rolled around and we discovered some more useless species to replace our own. This was the age of ficus and ashoka. Today, every new road is adorned with these absolutely worthless trees.

To anyone who understood ecology, this was the making of a disaster. But importers of these exotic species were only concerned with the profits to be had. Having spoken to at least three importers, I have learned that they have not even the faintest clue of ecology. The Forest Department nursery on Ravi Road stocks indigenous plants and sells saplings for one rupee a piece. Twice, the officer in charge, seeing my concern for the loss of our trees, even refused to take any money for the few dozen trees I obtained. Yet the average person will not go there. Instead he will blight his home with ficus.

One importer of exotic species with connections to the ruling party in Punjab has meanwhile become a billionaire selling exotic species. His links permitting him free run with the Parks and Horticulture Authority gives him room to sell exotic shrubbery and miniature palm trees for a preposterous six-figure price. Damn the ecology of Lahore. Lucre is the God and birdsong can go to hell.

We have seen example of these pricey plants in the green spaces leading up to the Saggian Bridge from the Ring Road in north Lahore. The Ring Road in the south and near the airport is similarly blighted. Indeed that vast over a hundred acres of open space in front of the airport is a sad, arid and shadeless desert contaminated with the rubbish of imported shrubbery.

And now recently we were told that the government had uprooted five hundred and some trees to widen the canal road. In the stead of these lost trees, we are being promised ten times more. I assure you that as surely as night follows day and as surely as we have been blighted by a lack of foresight and understanding over the past six decades, we are going to have five thousand imported trees along the canal.

This will nicely put the politically-connected importer of exotic rubbish up by Rs 500 million and Lahore the poorer for birdsong.

The sad thing is that PHA is run by general duty bureaucrats who have no clue of ecology. In any case, a bureaucrat is hand maiden to the political master and what the master says goes. Consequently, bureaucratic ineptitude and sycophantic compliance are killing the birds and turning Lahore into a green desert.