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