Category Archives: Civic

Lahore Updates 16-10-2014

Dengue virus claims first life in Lahore

LAHORE: A 26-year-old patient suffering from dengue breathed his last on Friday, becoming the first person to have died from the virus this year in Lahore.

Awais was among the 44 patients in Lahore who have been diagnosed with the dengue virus, which has now infected hundreds of people across the country.

The total number of dengue infected patients now stands at 386 in Punjab alone.

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Lahore High Court Upholds Death Penalty of Aasia Bibi

Members of the Pakistan Christian Democratic Alliance march in support of Aasia Bibi, 2010. Arif Ali—AFP

Blasphemy convicted woman’s lawyer vows to appeal the ruling before Supreme Court.

The Lahore High Court on Thursday upheld the death sentence of Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy four years ago, as her lawyers vowed to appeal.

Bibi, a mother of five, has been on death row since November 2010 after she was found guilty of making derogatory remarks about Islam’s Prophet during an argument with a Muslim woman. “A two-judge bench of the Lahore High Court dismissed the appeal of Aasia Bibi but we will file an appeal in the Supreme Court of Pakistan,” said her lawyer Shakir Chaudhry.

Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in Pakistan where 97 percent of the population is Muslim and unproven claims regularly lead to mob violence.

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Trade display: SAARC fair to be held in Lahore

The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) announced that it will organise the 12th Saarc Trade Fair at the Expo Centre, Lahore from January 30 to February 1, 2015.

This will be the third Saarc trade exhibition hosted by Pakistan and first of its kind in Lahore. Exhibitors from Saarc member countries and its observer countries will exhibit a range of products at the exhibition, TDAP press release said.

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PTA unearths illegal gateway exchange in Lahore

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in its ongoing efforts to control grey trafficking unearthed another illegal gateway exchange in Lahore.

According to details, a successful raid against the grey operators was carried out along with Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) team at Nain Sukh and Shahdara areas of Lahore, a press release said on Monday. During the raid, an illegal VoIP exchange comprising of six illegal gateways, 24 ports, one PC, one LCD, three network switches, three routers, three line switches, PTCL modem and hundreds of SIMs were confiscated.

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Hopes dashed along with Lahore food street gates

By Zaheer Mahmood Siddiqui, Dawn Metropolitan, 7 August 2009

Gowalmandi food street gate being pulled down in Lahore. –Photo by Tariq Mahmood

LAHORE: Gowalmandi Food Street that had been contributing to promote the soft image of the country, particularly of Lahore, all over the world during the last one decade or so, finally fell prey to the culture of ‘political intolerance’ on Thursday.

Around 10,000 people, earning their livelihood at the food street, lost their last hope on Thursday when the Data Gunj Bakhsh Town administration pulled down its decorative gates.

Though bosses of the ruling PML-N in Punjab term the demolition operation an effort to remove hindrance to ‘smooth flow’ of traffic, residents of the area believe they have been victimised for their political dissent.

‘In fact, the rulers don’t want continuation of a project which is still being overseen by the people related to their rival party – the PML-Q. The thoroughfare is not a main artery and had become a family spot over the years,’ a PML-Q leader told this reporter on the condition of anonymity.

Another resident who used to earn livelihood by running an eatery on wheels in the food street said: ‘After assuming power, everyone wants to undo the steps taken by their antecedent, without thinking for a moment what will be its repercussions and how many people will be affected?’

‘No resident of Gowalmandi has ever lodged any complaint against the food street,’ he asserted while rejecting the government claims the action was taken on the complaints of the area people.

Critical Mass Lahore, July 2009

Critical Mass -II
It’s time for Critical Mass July 2009

We meet at Zakir Tikka intersection on Sarwar Road in the Lahore Cantonment at 6.15pm on Sunday 26 July 2009.

Critical Mass is about having clean cities that provide mobility and accessibility. Critical Mass is about clean transport. Critical Mass is about putting public good over private interest. Critical Mass is about making friends. Critical Mass is about reclaiming public space. Critical Mass is about showing a man on a cycle is the same as a man in a ten lac car. Critical Mass is about democracy.

Critical Mass
is not an organization. It is an idea. It is about making a statement. Everyone in Lahore knows how bad the traffic is. Critical Mass Lahore is a step towards making our city clean and taking our streets back.

Critical Mass
is an idea. Make it yours.
What do I need to participate in a Critical Mass Event?
All you need is a road-worthy cycle and an sense of fun. Buy, beg, borrow or steal a cycle if you have to, but join the Mass. Come, cycle around Lahore. Reclaim your city, and have more fun than you think!
Where and how else to Critical Mass Events take place?

Critical Mass events are typically held on the last Friday of each month in cities all over the world. For information about Critical Mass Lahore, be at Zakir Tikka at 6:15pm this Sunday 26 July 2009 or visit the Critical Mass Lahore Facebook page ( Important: Be on time!!!

It’s Time for Critical Mass Lahore


The last Sunday of the month is approaching, and so it’s time for Critical Mass. I can’t speak for the others (though I know many share this view), but getting on our cycles and going onto the streets of Lahore sends a powerful message: That the streets are open spaces; that men, women and children can enjoy the city and its many delights safely and without fear of molestation; that cycling is a viable form of transport; that the way our cities are managed is deplorable; and that, most of all, we are having fun in our own city and in our own country.

Come join the Critical Mass on Sunday. All you’ll need is a road worthy cycle and a sense of adventure. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Nadeem Aslam reading from The Wasted Vigil

wasted-vigil1The Wasted Vigil is Nadeem Aslam’s third and most powerful novel yet. It follows the lives of five damaged souls dealing with the repercussions of the “War on Terror” in later day Afghanistan. A work of deepest humanity, “The Wasted Vigil” offers a timely portrait of this region, of love during war and conflict. At once angry, unflinching and memorably beautiful, it marks Nadeem Aslam as a world writer of major importance.

Nadeem shall be reading from ‘The Wasted Vigil’ and answering your questions at the Sayeed Saigol Auditorium on 10th April between 5-7pm.

This event is being arranged by The Last Word in collaboration with the LUMS Literary Society.

Join the peace rally on Saturday

Raza Rumi

Today it is Chaand Bibi – the unfortunate victim in Swat and tomorrow it could be civilisation itself or whatever remains of it in the rest of the country.

The citizens of Lahore and the numerous groups will get together tomorrow to protest on the Mall Road.

This is a chance for you to stand up and be counted against the forces of extremism and aggression who are hellbent on destroying our beloved city Lahore and the country. If we will not raise our voices then we are condemned to be victims of history.
Let us march on the Mall tomorrow, to counter darkness with peaceful protest with OUR STATE MUST FIGHT THE TERRORISTS


Saturday, April 4, 2009


4:00pm – 5:00pm


The High Court/GPO Chowk


Mall Road


Lahore, Pakistan

It’s time for Lahore’s 4th Critical Mass cycling event


The effects of Lahore’s urban sprawl

Yesterday, I posted an article about the LDA’s latest schemes in South Lahore.

Today, I’m posting my column as it appeared in The News:

Behind Lahore’s worsening crisis

Since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team at Lahore’s Liberty Market, nothing seems to make sense anymore. The country and its people appear to be drifting to anarchy and chaos. There is deep political crisis. The presidency has stolen the mandate of the people of Punjab and the Swat peace deal is crumbling at its foundations. A Pakistani Taliban is taking over the northern regions. The economy is in deep slide (getting more IFI financing is not the same as a dynamic economy). Poverty is near 40 percent, and violence, intolerance and extremism are on the rise. Government institutions have failed; others are crumbling fast. The integrity of our armed forces is under question. Even cricket is dead.

We can scream blue murder because it’s broken. We can try and blame one another for breaking it. Or we can set about fixing it. You don’t need to be a genius to do this; or be a natural-born leader of men. You just need to participate. This is our mess. We need to clean it up.
Continue reading


Check out this video of a free volunteer school that’s doing the most unbelievable work in a working class abadi in Saddar, Cantonment.  Watch this to see the amazing philanthropic work of the people responsible for this great school.

You can find out more by visiting the Foundation’s website at

New transport company proposed

Tuesday, December 02, 2008
By Atif Nadeem (writing in The News)


THE Provincial Transport Authority (PTA) has proposed establishment of a new transport company “Lahore Transport Company” (LTC), to tackle various issues regarding public transport in the city.

Talking to The News, sources said Chief Minister Task Force on Improvement of Transportation Chairman Tasnim Noorani on Monday chaired a meeting of PTA officers and office-bearers of the Urban Transport Union. Transport Department Secretary Shehzad Cheema, the additional secretary and traffic planning chief were also present.

The meeting discussed various matters, including reduction in fares of public transport. Sources said the idea of establishment of Lahore Transport Company (LTC) was discussed with the transport owners which would be run with the cooperation of the transport unions in the city.
Continue reading

A Tale of Two Cities (part II)

by Ahmad Rafay Alam

To paint another picture, there are nine Food Inspectors in Lahore. These are the people that ensure the food Lahoris eat is hygienic. For this important task, there should be 70 food inspectors. Because of the lack of enforcement of food regulations, our hospitals are full of patients with typhoid, cholera and diarrhoea (Pakistan is the second-highest in South Asia for number of child diarrhoea cases). And guess what? When these patients come to government-run hospitals, they find underperforming doctors. The quality of hospitals, basic and rural health in Punjab, which are supposedly decentralised to the local level, is deplorable. Another reason people are streaming into hospital ill-equipped to deal with them is the incredible amount of pollution in our cities, including Lahore. The air quality in Lahore is the worst in history and the World Bank estimates there are some 45 million estimated cases of respiratory diseases in Pakistan each year. To add to this is a rundown water and sanitation system. Because of sub-standard water quality, because sewage pipes regularly leak into water mains, because the sanitation department of Lahore employs only 1,700 men (there should be more than 7,000), the number of such cases can only increase.

What do sanitation, health and air pollution have to do with the Canal Road? Let me explain. In order to even be considered as having safe habitation for its residents, a city must also provide sanitation and health facilities. They are like two sides of the same coin. Without good sanitation and health facilities you cannot be said to have safe habitats. At the moment, Lahore is very lucky. Although the P&D Department of the Government of Punjab issued a report in which it admitted that half of urban Punjabis live in slums and katchi abadis, Lahore is a relatively well-designed city with a relatively lower percentage of its residents living in squalor. But this is set to change. In the next two decades, if our sanitation, health and air quality do not improve, this city will become unliveable. It will stretch from Shahdara to the north-east to the Indian border on the west and halfway to Kasur to the south-west. But, as things stand, most of this area has already been taken over, plotted up and sold by private real-estate developers. By the time the next twenty million people pour into Lahore, these areas – automobile-dependant and without a single environment impact assessment or mitigation measure between them – will be choking under the weight of the urban necropolis they have become part of. Continue reading

Lahore’s proud son: Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia

Internet is simply amazing. I received this excellent article by Ranpreet Singh Bal on Lahore’s great son whose name lives on despite the changes of borders, tumult of history and bitterness of the violence. Many thanks, Bal-ji! (Raza Rumi)

One of the greatest sons of Punjab in the second half of 19th century Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia was a versatile and amazing personality.

His father General Lehna Singh Majithia was one of the Generals in Ranjit Singh’s army, who was an engineer and Chief of the Ordinance department of the Maharaja.

For three generations the family had provided generals to the maharaja’s Army. Majithia Sardars family was so eminent that when Viceregal Durbar was held in Lahore in 1864, of the 603 people invited, Dyal Singh then age 16 was allotted 55th seat and his uncle Sardar Ranjodh Singh Majithia being 103rd.

Anarchist situations that prevailed in Punjab after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839, forced General Lehna Singh Majithia to leave Lahore.

After travelling Hardwar, Banaras, Jagannath Puri and Calcutta the family settled down in Banaras, where Dyal Singh his only son was born in 1848. Continue reading

Lahore remembers October 18th tragedy

Civil society activists light candles at Faisal Chowk in memory of people who lost their lives in blasts at the welcome rally of Benazir Bhutto on October 18, 2007 in Karsaz, Karachi. President Zardari paid tributes to those killed and said it was due to their sacrifices that democracy had been restored in the country..

Courtesy Daily Times

Slimy Ravi

A letter to the editor published in the Friday TImes, Lahore.

The Punjab government would do well to rein in one of its offshoots, the environment protection agency (EPA). The agency has issued notices to almost all industrial units located in the Multan Road industrial area for not observing environmental rules and regulations. For instance, having a soakage well for collection of sewage water in factory premises is against EPA rules. EPA reckons it pollutes the subsoil water rendering it unfit for drinking. Even if we agree that EPA has a point, what arrangements has the Government made to provide a sewage system in one of the oldest industrial areas of the city? The city Government has not even provided drains along the road for collecting rainwater, meaning factories in the low lying areas are inundated during the rainy season.

Sitting in cushy offices and issuing notices to industries for breach of law is one thing, assessing the situation on the ground to understand the miseries of the sufferers is another. EPA could justify proceeding against the industrial units only if the Government had provided an alternate arrangement to manage sewage water. Lastly, how does the Government manage city sewage? Does it have a purification plant? Wasa discharges the sewage waste into Ravi; no wonder the water is nothing but slime.

Mirza Tuftan Baig,


Punjab Entertainment Company dissolved

Mohammad Ali Jinnah once said (on the 11th of July 1947 to a session of the Constituent Assembly of the yet-to-be-formed Pakistan) that the first duty of a State was to protect the life and liberty of its citizens – the classic Magisterial role of the State.

Somehow, the previous Punjab Government of Pervaiz Elahi got it into its head that, having solved all of the Punjab’s other problems, the second duty of a State was to provide entertainment – the classic diversion employed by Roman Caesars and others to distract the population from important matters.  Thus the Punjab Entertainment Company was formed and an IMAX cinema planned for the well-to-do on Lahore’s M.M. Alam Road.

Now, about 1.4 billion wasted Rupees later, the Punjab Government of Shahbaz Sharif has seen the light and have decided to shelve the project.

IMAX theatre project shelved

Staff Report

LAHORE: The Punjab Entertainment Company (PEC) has been dissolved following Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s directives on Saturday night.

Director General Public Relation (DGPR) Mohyuddin Wani has been given the additional charge of the company to monitor its wrap-up process.

According to the sources, several politicians and bureaucrats have reportedly benefited from the PEC’s IMAX project, which is worth Rs 1,411.271 million. The officers were drawing hefty salaries and enjoying perks without doing any work, they added Continue reading

LCD Billboards – Why I don’t like them!

1.  They’re ugly and quite often trees are cut to accommodate them;

2.  They are incredibly dangerous unsafe traffic hazards;

3.  They are the source of light pollution;

3.  They are on public land yet the public gets nothing of the million of Rupees that change hands between advertiser, billboard owner and the public authority which collects advertising fees;

4.  They’re meant to be in high-pedestrian areas, but our government has allowed them to be set up in high-automobile traffic areas;

5.  The generators that run them are noisy and are a source of noise pollution;

6.  The generators that run them spew diesel fumes onto the road and are a source of air pollution;

7.  They come with their own security guards (How humiliating a job must that be);

8.  The massive advertising budgets required for billboard advertsing keeps the costs of those commodities high – and the billboards are on public land!!!

9.  They are evidence that city fathers are more interesting in making money than the health and safety of residents.

Note traffic light just below bottom left corner of the screen.

Note traffic light just below bottom left corner of the screen.

Enrique Penalosa to speak about sustainable cities at LUMS




With a fast growing population, and increasing pace of urbanization, Pakistani cities, like many other in the developing world, are facing mounting problems related to provision of municipal services, public transport, land for housing, and the deteriorating quality of drinking water and ambient air, amongst myriad others. Confronted with growing challenges, many cities around the world are re-thinking ‘traditional’ approaches to urban development, emphasizing different priorities and approaches which factor in the needs of the many against those of the few.

To highlight some of the major challenges facing large cities around the world and how these cities are responding, the Environmental Law and Policy Class at the Law and Policy Department at LUMS in collaboration with Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), a programme of the Clinton Foundation has organised a talk by Mr. Enrique Penalosa, world renowned urban strategist and former mayor of Bogota (Columbia) who transformed that City of 7 million inhabitants into a living example of sustainability – building schools and dispensaries, improving transport, increasing public spaces, and reducing crime rates. Mr. Penalosa has been featured in The New York Times, Herald Tribune, PBS Television, BBC and many others and has advised cities throughout the world such as Cape Town, Denver, Berkeley, Seattle, Melbourne, Sao Paulo.

Mr. Penalosa’s talk will be followed by a brief presentation on issues and challenges of public transport and mobility by Mr. Oscar Diaz, Sr. Director of the Institute for Transport and Development Policy (ITDP).

To benefit from this opportunity the LUMS School of Law and Policy invites you to join members of the civil society, professionals, architects, planners, academics and students to the event at 11am on 19th September, 2008 at the Sayeed Saigol Auditorium at LUMS Campus, DHA, Lahore.

Govt okays 16-km expressway for Lahore

Associated Press of Pakistan

LAHORE: In order to reduce the huge traffic burden on North-South axis of Lahore, the Punjab government has decided to construct 16-km-long one-way Elevated Expressway from Lahore Bridge (General Hospital) to Ravi Road.

According to official sources, it will be a one-lane road on raised platform open to downtown traffic at mornings and uptown traffic in the afternoons but it has yet to be decided if it would be workable both ways or not. The authorities planning the Expressway are however very clear that the elevated road will just be one-lane project for either north-to-south or south-to-north traffic. It can also be one way in the morning and the other way in the evenings. The objective of building an elevated expressway is to facilitate commuters to be able to go downtown straight at a non-stop run or go back home after a day’s job. Continue reading

Buying flour in Lahore

LAHORE: People jostle each other while trying to buy sacks of flour at a Ramazan Bazaar on Wednesday. abid nawaz

Do not write on the wall

Mosque, in old Baghbanpura near the Shalimar Gardens

Mosque, in old Baghbanpura near the Shalimar Gardens