Category Archives: Civic

Model Town Lahore:The Best Planned Localities of Pakistan

Posted by Raza Rumi

Owais Mughal writes about Lahore’s delightful Model Town. Incidentally, I grew up in Model Town and still remember the old house surrounded by shady trees and the noisy birds.. Am cross-posting the excellent post below:

Model Town is designed in the shape of a square with major roads dividing it into blocks vertically, horizontally and diagonally. The area of Model Town is 5.9 square kilometers (or 1463 acres). The center of the square shape is a circular park. I don’t know the exact dimension but somewhere I’ve read the circumference of this circular park is more than 2km. Besides the obvious symmetry of design, what else has always attracted me to Model Town’s planning is its generous allotment for green areas and parks. Almost 19% of model town’s area is alloted to parks. Another 4% area is alloted to plant nurseries and playgrounds. This ratio of open area (23%) to residential area (56%) is hard to match in most of the well-planned localities of Pakistan.

More here

Lahoris still being fed unhygienic food

* Food outlets continuing to sell adulterated and substandard foodstuffs despite recent Food Dept operation
* Chief food inspector says punished violators still operating due to shortage of employees to follow up on cases

By Afnan Khan (Daily Times)

LAHORE: Adulterated and substandard food is still being sold at various important markets of the city as the District Food Department’s recent operation to shut down food outlets selling hazardous foodstuffs could not make a significant dent on the business, Daily Times learnt on Saturday.

The department was supposed to clear all the major localities, including Gulberg, Model Town, Shadman, Garden Town, Barkat Market, Lakshmi Chowk and Gowalmandi, from adulterated and substandard foodstuffs to ensure the provision of good quality food to citizens ahead of Ramazan. Continue reading

At last, someone’s put two and two together

We’re all familiar with the effects commercialization has had on the city.  Traffic congestion has worsened, increasing noise and air pollution.  At last, the Environment Protection Agency Punjab has realized that commercialization has serious affects on the environment.  Already we consume the most polluted air in the history of the city.

I pray that someone notices this bit of news and acts on it.  So far, the Chief Minister has promised “mega” development projects.  And we know what that means: more roads and more space to commercialize.

To read more about the effects of haphazard commercialization (other than the standard traffic congestion stuff), have a look at UET faculty Obaidullah Nadeem and Dr. Razwan Hameed’s haphazard-commercialization-in-lahore-obaidullah-nadeem1 on the subect.

The devastating rains in Lahore

LAHORE: The city witnessed partial rain on Thursday, while the other parts remained dry. Rain was recorded in Model Town, Shadman, Walled City, Jail Road, The Mall and Mozang. Continue reading

Volunteers to educate Lahoris to keep city clean

By Afnan Khan

LAHORE: The government has appointed a number of volunteers at various public places in the city, under a programme to create awareness among citizens to keep the environment clean, in accordance with international standards.

The move can be made a law to maintain cleanliness in the city and the people caught throwing garbage could be fined, as practiced in developed countries.

A number of volunteers carrying dustbins and literature highlighting the hazards of throwing garbage in public places have been deployed at different places especially on The Mall. The volunteers have been trained to convince citizens not to throw all kinds of garbage such as polythene bags on roads. The volunteers have been trained to offer dustbins to people so that they may dispose of garbage. The volunteers wear grey and yellow uniforms and are paid Rs 6,000 every month and remain on duty at their assigned spots till night.

DCO: District Co-ordination Officer (DCO) Sajjad Ahmed Bhutta told Daily Times that the campaign aimed at educating people about the hazards of throwing waste on roads and public places, which affected people’s health and the environment. He said the volunteers were initially going to be deployed on The Mall on a trial basis and if they were found making a difference, similar teams would be deployed at other public places across the city, such as the Racecourse Park, Model Town Park, National Park and Kalma Chowk. Continue reading

Funny slogans on cars becoming common in Lahore

Funny slogans on cars becoming common in Lahore

* Cars’ back screens also being used to spread agenda, preach to people * PU Centre for Clinical Psychology director says such youngsters are neglected and seek fame

By Ali Usman

LAHORE: Youngsters in the city seem to be in a race to impress others through the writings on the rear screens of their cars, as most cars in the city have some message on them for others.

The witty, and sometimes smutty, statements on the rear screens of cars are often written to catch people’s attention. Some youngsters also write quotations, and even names of their beloved ones, especially their girlfriends. Continue reading

Lahore Ring Road, a distant dream?

by Waseem-ur-Rehman Khan

The original idea of the Lahore Ring Road (LRR), the largest project of the province, was floated about 25 years back and a number of studies were conducted in this regard. The purpose of launching this project was to provide an alternative transport route to ease the traffic burden in Lahore. It saw many changes in its design – four times in 1992, 1999, 2004, and 2007 -for protecting the interests of some favourites in the government. Perhaps, still another. However, there are still more chances of re-designing the project. The project has already seen a number of changes that resulted in the increase in the cost and delay in the execution of the project. With the passage of each passing day, the cost of the project is an additional burden on the national exchequer. The logic behind these changes in design is to increase the ratio of commission given to various personalities.

In 1991, the World Bank (WB) prepared a feasibility report on 60 kilometres Ring Road. In 1995, the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) presented its Ring Road scheme. However, it was decided to include Raiwind Road and with this alteration the total length of the road increased to 75 kilometers. The feasibility of the Ring Road project was finalised in 1997. President Musharraf performed the ground-breaking of the Lahore Ring Road Project on December 22, 2004. Continue reading

Lahore’s collapsed drainage and some intriguing questions

Ahmed Rafay Alam, the vocal lawyer and urban expert, with a sane and informed voice, left a comment here that needs to be posted for wider reading:

The water we see and experience isn’t because there aren’t any sewers. It’s because there isn’t any storm water drainage.

The low-lying areas of north Lahore were never set out according to plan. The few planned localities (chah miran, do moria area and Shadbagh) have sanitation. But the storm water of the area was meant to be absorbed. But if the natural vegetation of an area is given up to roads and other developments, then storm water has no place to go. Except stand there and make everyone look silly.

In the “posh” part of town, like Gulberg, there was water because the storm water drainage of the area (which was designed in the 1950s and 60s) has been gradually given way to street widening. There is no way to get the water that stands on Main Boulevard after a strong rain except to dig and built a storm water drain. Continue reading

Land of contradictions – ramblings from Lahore

Ahmad Rafay Alam

To say Pakistan is a mass of contradictions is an understatement. We live in a country where powerful politicians don’t need to be elected, where the chief justice is without a courtroom and where army officers, until a few months ago, controlled the Water and Power Development Authority. Recently, I found a Club Class return trip ticket on our national carrier was two thousand rupees cheaper than its Economy Class equivalent. Things are certainly topsy-turvy in these parts.

These contradictions permeate through everything. They exist everywhere. For instance, my journey from home in Lahore’s Upper Mall to the High Court takes 30 minutes, even though all I need to do is travel straight down The Mall. But a journey to LUMS, in the farthest regions of Defence’s U-Block, through the Cantonment and numerous traffic intersections, never takes more than 25.

If you’ve even visited the Royal Palm Golf & Country Club along Lahore’s Canal, you’ve probably noticed the high walls that keep the middle-class residents along Allama Iqbal Road, in the Garhi Shahu and Railway areas and the squatters that occupy Railway land near the tracks off the golf course. But anywhere else in the world, property that overlooks a golf course and country club usually gets picked up by the extremely rich. There must be something seriously wrong in our property development paradigm where land values can be so skewed. Continue reading

10th anniversary of nuclear tests: Lahoris bewildered by re-installation of missile replicas

 By Rana Kashif

LAHORE: Many Lahoris on Wednesday expressed concern over the installation of missile replicas in the city.

“Though nuclear capability is essential for the country’s safety, some other issues need more attention than missiles,” they said. They said the country was capable enough to thwart any foreign aggression, but the major issues were education, health and economic stability. Yousaf Salahuddin, a prominent socialite, said, “To have nuclear capability is good, but the government should focus on graver issues. The people need to have bread, education, health and easy access to justice.”

He said celebrating Yaum-e-Takbeer and installing missile replicas was not bad, but these replicas should be removed after the celebrations. Muhammad Aftab, a resident of Gulberg, said, “It is surprising to see that we have again started installing missile replicas, which were earlier removed. We feel proud that we are a nuclear power, but we have nothing to do with bombs and missiles. We need bread, education, and health.” Continue reading

Pollution in Lahore needs to be checked

  Story Source and Picture

SOLID WASTE management department of City District Government Lahore (CDGL) is heavily contributing in polluting the environment of the provincial capital in one or another way.

As per the figures collected from solid waste management (SWM) sources, around 6000 tons of solid waste is generated daily in Lahore, while over 500 tons waste is generated in Lahore cantonment board, model town society, defence housing society and other areas. Sources revealed that out of this 6000 ton of waste, 35 per cent remained on the roads due various reasons including low lifting capacity of SWM, lack of proper training to staff regarding lifting garbage, absence of staffers from duties etc. Continue reading

Pawning the family jewels – in Lahore

Ahmad Rafay Alam

Rent-seeking is destroying our cities. I know that’s a strong statement, but it’s more than deserved. Let me explain.

The phrase “rent-seeking” is an economic term originally identified in connection with monopolies. It has now grown to provide a better understanding of government regulation and, more sinister, abuse of power and privilege. It doesn’t really have much to do with leases, which is where you hear the word rent thrown about quite a bit. It actually stems from Adam Smith’s tripartite division of income, namely profit obtained from investment, wages earned through labour or rent earned through the lease of an asset. Rent-seeking is the practice of making income without the risks (and rewards) normally associated with investment or the toil and effort normally associated with labour. It represents money made without the rent-seeker actually making a real contribution to the productivity of the economy.

Another way to identify the practice of rent-seeking is to examine incidents of when a third part interferes in the availability of an otherwise accessible transaction. In a more obvious context, take the billboards in our cities. Anyone who wants to put a billboard up has to get the approval of the local government authority that regulates the advertising we see in our cities. In Lahore, it is the Parks and Horticulture Authority. The PHA, thus, interferes with the free availability of advertising space in the city and the income it makes from regulating permission to erect billboards is income in the form of rent-seeking. Last year, the PHA netted some Rs350 million in “revenue” collected from the regulation of billboard advertising. Continue reading

Brilliant News for Lahore – CM House to be converted into IT varsity

Monday, March 24, 2008
By our correspondent

The NEWS reports:

 Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Shahbaz Sharif on Sunday reiterated that he would convert the Punjab Chief Minister House into an information technology university after assuming power.

He was speaking at a ceremony held at the Aiwan-e-Karkunan-e-Pakistan to mark the Pakistan Day.

Shahbaz said the dictatorship in the country was on its last legs. He said the country was in the clutches of a dictator just one year ago and no one could imagine he would lose his grip on power. He said the dictatorship “wounded the nation” but now it was time that these wounds were healed.

He said the entire nation had sent a clear message to the undemocratic forces that their time had come to an end. He regretted that the dictator was still conspiring to derail the democratic process in the country. He said all efforts made by the undemocratic elements to derail the democracy in the country would be foiled. Continue reading

Blame game on over Anarkali Food Street’s cleanliness

Abdul Manan and Fahad Baig write in the Daily Times:

LAHORE: The government took no heed of the public complaints regarding the poor sewerage system and unhygienic conditions of the Anarkali Food Street, which has been posing a filthy look for the last many months, Daily Times has learnt.

It has been observed that the food street lacks proper drainage facility, while now and then overflowing gutters and heaps of food waste add to the miseries of the shopkeepers there. For this very reason, foreigners are no longer to be seen visiting the food bazaar, which, now, surely offers all kinds of local ‘specialties’.

There has been a blame game between various government agencies over the cleanliness and maintenance of one of the city’s main tourist attractions. Continue reading

Lahore and Isfahan share the same cultural soul

From the Daily Times

Guest in town: ‘Lahore and Isfahan share same cultural soul’

* Isfahan mayor says city government of Isfahan spends $300m yearly on cleanlinessBy Ali Usman

LAHORE: Lahore and Isfahan share the same cultural soul and the two cities should strengthen cultural relations, whatever their political relations, said mayor of Isfahan, Iran, Dr Saghaeian Nejad.

Dr Nejad was talking to Daily Times on Saturday. His recent visit to Lahore aims at giving practical shape to the cultural agreements signed three years ago between the city governments of Isfahan and Lahore, when Lahore District Nazim Amer Mahmood visited Isfahan.

Dr Nejad said, “Political relations change with the changing times, but the cultural relations bind the nations. Both Lahore and Isfahan have great cultural diversity, historical background and hospitality. There is an old adage that Isfahan is the half world, but I must say Lahore and Isfahan together make the whole jahan (world).”

He said Lahore and Isfahan bore a great resemblance, as both had been the capitals during Ghazni and Mughal dynasties. Jamia Masjid (Isfahan) and Badshahi Masjid (Lahore) look alike in terms of architecture, he said. He said both the cities had shared sisterly relations and the city governments of the both cities had agreed to name their streets after each other’s names. 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

Lahore: The writing on the wall

Ayeda Naqvi (courtesy Daily Times)

Lahore has been ruled by any number of any would-be emperors. Lahore has survived. The emperors have faded. Those who are remembered are remembered for their deeds, not their billboards

Driving down the streets of Lahore, a few days ago, I was struck by an unusual sight. On the wall of a canal underpass, in red, somebody had scribbled “I love you”. There was a heart around the words. So struck was I by this sight that I nearly crashed my car.

You see the past few months I have become accustomed to a very different type of graffiti — vandalism in the name of electioneering. From mammoth-sized billboards with candidates’ faces to political slogans painted on walls, Lahore was “sprayed” by the PMLQ in much the same way that animals mark their territory.

No corner of our city was spared. Everywhere we turned, we were assaulted by these large and vulgar displays. Lahore took on an eerie feel as even beggars’ wheelchairs sported logos. Everywhere you looked, Big Brother was watching you back.

Some people were so disgusted they simply refused to vote. Others were more pragmatic. As a Canal Park shop-keeper said, “We will take their cheques and eat their food but we will not vote for them.” The response was loud and clear: our loyalties are not for sale. No amount of money spent on television advertisements or street campaigns can buy our votes. Continue reading

No parking plaza constructed in seven years in Lahore

I remember that the former Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was concerned about the state of traffic congestion and inadequate parking. Well, this report from the Daily Times should be enough to provide the incoming government, most likely to be a PML-N coalition, to put this in the urgent priority list for improving the glorious Lahore… (RR)

By Muzaffar Ali

LAHORE: Despite tall claims, the city government and the Punjab government have failed to construct a single parking lot in the city to reduce the growing traffic problems, said All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran (APAT) General Secretary Abdur Razzaq on Wednesday.

The officials in the city government blamed the Punjab government for not releasing funds for the purpose. After this, both governments have been asking traders to build parking lots. The APAT asked the Punjab government in 2007 to lease out 14 places for 100 years and said the organisation itself would build parking lots. The APAT general secretary said the Punjab government, however, failed to provide places in this regard. Continue reading

Lahore impressions by a Bahawalpur resident

An interesting article by a writer from Bahawalpur, another jewel of the Punjab province,  on his impressions of Lahore. A few excerpts ….

During my recent visit to this mega-city, I have collected some impressions. The first and foremost is that Lahore has expanded too much. It is such a large city that one cannot be sure where it begins and where it ends. It has so many facilities, but its problems are also gigantic.

The suburb of Lahore is as underdeveloped as many areas of Punjab. A little rain could make life miserable. It is what I had seen when I was returning to Bahawalpur. It was daytime and I could see a glimpse of the towns of my own region in the suburb of Lahore. The industrial units were surrounded by filth. Poverty was flourishing under the shadows of skyscrapers.

“Lahore has the potential to even grow more if it just takes care of itself. It should not expand further and contain itself to certain limits. It should also think about getting smart and slim, if possible,” I thought loudly when the bus was crossing over the Sutlej River. By that time night had fallen. There was some water in the river, but I cannot tell exactly whether it was polluted or clean.

Election 2008: Results of Lahore seats

Raza Rumi

We are listing the results of the election in Lahore – PML-N remains synonymous with Lahore…

NA 118 Lahore –I

Muhammad Riaz of the PML-N won the election by securing 55,900 votes. Muhammad Asif Hashmi of the PPPP got 24,712 while Mian Muhammad Azhar got 11,073 votes.

NA 119 Lahore II
The election was not held because one of the contestants Tariq Banday of the PML-Q had died. Muhammad Hamza Shehbaz Sharif of the PML-N and Muhammad Zakria Butt of the PPPP were also contesting from this constituency.

NA 120 Lahore III
Bilal Yasin of the PML-N bagged the seat by getting 65,946 votes. Jahangir Badar of the PPPP got 34,331 votes while Khawaja Tahir Zia of the PML-N got 4,270 votes.

NA 121 Lahore IV
Mian Marghoob Ahmad of the PML-N won the election by securing 72,028 votes while Aurengzeb Shaafi Burki of the PPPP secured 27,835 and Mian Muhammad Asif of the PML-Q got 7,521 votes.

NA 122 Lahore V
Sardar Ayaz Sadiq of the PML-N got 79,628 votes while Mian Omar Misbah-ul-Rehman of the PPPP secured 24,934 votes and Mian Muhammad Jahangir of the PML-Q secured 10,610 votes. Continue reading