Tag Archives: cricket

Tragedy in Lahore

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

The Sri Lankan Cricket Team was attacked by unknown gun men earlier today.  According to reports,  up to 8 Sri Lankan cricketers are injured.   One is seriously injured and might not make it. Several of the policemen guarding the cricket team have also been martyred.

Whoever it is is killing off Pakistan slowly but surely.  For all of our bold claims that “cricketers and sportsmen have nothing to fear”,   from today onwards no cricket team or any other sports team will ever visit this country.

Sri Lankans won the World Cup in Gaddafi stadium in 1996.  That was a different era.  Lahore and Pakistan in general was a safe place to be.   Lahore was buzzing with foreigners and no one thought for a minute that they could be attacked.    Now even Pakistanis are scared of going out. Is there any turning back?   Is Pakistan going to unravel in face of forces of extremism, terrorism and fascism?

We don’t know who did it.  We don’t know which “foreign” hand was behind it.  What we know is that no one can manipulate a people who are not ready to be manipulated.   We must take stock of this situation, before we lose our homeland for ever.

Today we stand yet again with our heads bowed down.  We apologize to Sri Lanka and its cricketers who came to Pakistan when no one else dared to.    We apologize for being a nation of cowards and freaks who haven’t been able to put our house in order.

Sin and the City

By Saad Javed

Amidst its layers of histories and cultures, with its contrast of crumbling monuments, bustling food-streets, sprawling gardens, broad avenues with rickshaw trumpets, red sandstone colonial buildings, serene canal-cum-dynamic-public-bathtubs, labyrinthine old quarters, high rise glass and steel towers and ancient city gates, Lahore has so many pleasures to offer, so many virtues to display. And so much to hide. To hide and to nurture, the biblical seven cardinal sins…

Lust

He arrived at the famed Salahuddin haveli and saw that the party was in full swing. Familiar to the quarters, he found his way through the dancing, swinging bodies and managed to be served with the right blend of whisky. And he saw her first over the top of an ambassador’s bald head. Continue reading

Lahore: Return the GOR Park

By Ahmad Rafay Alam

Several formalities need to be completed before Shabaz Sharif can once again assume the administration of this province. But this hasn’t deterred the former chief minister from letting all and sundry know that he’s back in town and that he means business. What this also means is that the previous government’s grip over the administration of the Punjab— a vice like noose that wound its way from halls of the secretariat, through every police station in the province and into the vaulted halls of the Lahore High Court— is slowly but surely loosening.

During the past few years few, if any, have uttered a word about the fate of the small triangular park that stood in the heart of Lahore’s leafy GOR-I residential district. Turning into the GOR at the intersection of the Mall and Davis Road, it stood outside the chief minister’s official residence and office. At some point this once round-a-bout was converted into a triangular “green” island. Then, to ward off the children, loiterers and die-hard cricketers a fountain was added to the middle of the island (It didn’t work: the marbled floor around the triangular fountain not only provided an year-round pitch, it gave local cricket enthusiasts three pitches instead of one.)

Regardless of whether or not any of these measures worked from keeping the great unwashed out of the line of vision of the high and mighty, the point is that this little bit of green in the middle of GOR— in front of the provincial chief executive’s nerve centre no less— was a park open to the public as a utility area. And even when over zealous policemen keeping watch at the CM’s office managed to chase away the children, loiterers and die-hard cricketers, the little island was another little example of the beauty tucked away in GOR. Continue reading

Lahore’s Lawrence Gardens

I am homesick so I am posting an old piece on the majestic Lawrence Gardens of Lahore.

Lahore ‘s Lawrence Gardens, baptised the Bagh-i-Jinnah in the post-independence era, represent the quintessential Raj ethos.Lawrence Gardens

Built primarily for the sahibs and memsahibs, the park has managed to maintain its dream-like beauty for a century and a half. The colonial maps drawn up in the mid-nineteenth century show that eastward of Charing Cross, Gardens existed on the right. In the place of the Freemasons’ Hall, there was once a ‘circular garden’; and what is now the Lahore Zoo was another park called the New Garden.

This was followed by the Agricultural and Horticultural Society Garden, which was the original name of the city’s beloved Lawrence Gardens. The Agriculture Horticulture Society of India established it in 1860 and years later, in 1904, the department of agriculture assumed maintenance responsibilities.

Since 1912, approximately seven acres of the park have been managed by the Government College, Lahore. To this day, it maintains a delightful botanical garden replete with a greenhouse and experimental fields.

The annexation of the Punjab in 1849 and the successful control of the 1857 uprising in many regions of northern India resulted in the consolidation of the British Empire. Due to its strategic location, the Punjab was central to the architecture of the colonial power. Lahore was to become a major outpost of the empire. Therefore, the sahibs had to create social and cultural spaces for themselves in otherwise unfriendly and unfamiliar surroundings. A garden in the heart of British Lahore was essential.

True to the colonial policy, the new garden would be a continuation of the Mughal tradition of creating baaghs as the aesthetic expression of self-indulgence. This project, however, was to reflect the expanse of the Empire. Thousands of saplings of different exotic species were imported from many colonies around the world. By 1860, all the necessary preconditions – such as identifying and acquiring hundreds of acres of land – had been met. Continue reading