A Break From Karachi!

Lets step aside for a moment and take a look at our city Karachi.

I think of sharing my views with you guys, actually I have just been on a trip to Islamabad and Muree, although I went there primarily for some personal business and not on a vacation to enjoy. I did try take that opportunity and visited the well-known tourist points in Islamabad and Muree. Undoubtedly the places in Muree such as Neelam Point, Bhurband – Pearl Continental, Kashmir Point, the chair lifts and cable cars in Patriata are superbly beautiful. The cleanliness and strict laws of Islamabad and a few worth visiting places are simply awesome. Most importantly the road-trip from Islamabad to Muree is the most enjoyable because of the stunning natural beauty and the curvy dangerous narrow two-way roads cut between the green mountains. Multiple routes connecting Islamabad and Muree are simply unexplainable. Some of you might have been there, but for those who haven’t, let me tell you – I enjoyed the places in the off season, you can imagine what it would be like in the “on” seasons. You have got to be there, take a break from our busy and fast lives and give yourself some good time.

You can see the photos here. I tried to write about the trip while I was there and I did make some posts on my blog, but I lost track in all the traveling and stuff. I was seriously thinking of extending my visit and and spending some more time in Muree, but I had to cut short my tour and get back, my leave was expiring and I didn’t have much cash in hand.

The point in making this post is not to just share my trip details with you, but to actually share what I learned / realized from the trip besides everything. It was a four-day trip from Wednesday till Sunday, on Saturday night I was in the hotel room in Islamabad, I was on the flight to Karachi the next morning.

On Saturday night something came up and I thought I should go out and buy what I need. My hotel was near Aabpara Market (its a busy market). Its 10:30 in the night and what I see amazed me. Every shop was closed, there were just a few people on the street, SATURDAY NIGHT and no cars! I found only a bakery, a medical store and few other shops left open. It was like a day of strike in Karachi! Anyway, I kept walking until I reached the medical store, I just had my dinner so I thought of trying out a meetha pan of Islamabad, and guess what! They don’t have khokas! On the whole road, I walked about 20 minutes, there was no sign of a khoka or any shop from where I could find a pan. May be there was such a shop but got closed as it was “too late”. I don’t mean to portray Islamabad as the “city that always sleeps”, but for me (being a karachitte) it was unusual.

As for the food, the well-known food-street (a.k.a food-court) in Islamabad, for crying out loud! I can’t find a single place where I could get Chicken Biryani. I ate every thing from Pulao to stuff like yellow rice with boiled chicken in the name of my dear Chicken Biryani! The spicy chicken ginger! oh so sweet! and the mini buns by the names zinger burger. I couldn’t find KFC, McDonals, Pizza Huts so common as they are in Karachi, in fact, I never saw one in my whole trip! I realized it when I reached Karachi Airport and saw a big yellow ‘M’ just in front of it along the parking area! :)

All night I was just thinking and comparing the three cities. Besides the natural beauty in Muree and it being an official tourist place, I was just left comparing Islamabad with Karachi.

I came to realize that Islamabad is as good as nothing in terms of Implementation of Law and cleanliness in Pakistan, the underpasses seems to be just a regular natural inclining and declining road due to the mountainous area -unlike Karachi’s underpasses when you bounce off 3 feet in the air while entering one and the drainage cover moves and sounds like its broken into 5 pieces and you just made the 5 pieces 8 with your car, they sometimes also fills up with water too :) .

There is no signal violation, no car on or ahead the zebra crossing on the signal, even the police or government cars being fined for breaking the signal or any road law. There are no coaches or mini buses, “khaan-taiyaara” or “sarko ki malka” -type vehicles on the roads, only 14-seater vans for public transportation. Very few bikes, very very wide roads, proper road signs, minimum chaos on the roads. In short everything is so damn perfect as compared to Karachi and its core and most talked-about problems.

I took my expensive phone with me and I was literally roaming around and showing off :) in the streets in ISB and muree taking pictures and messaging never fearing that a 125 bike will be coming from behind and I’ll be greeted with a shining metal of a gun as a reward to my showoff. Its a lot better in terms of street crimes.

But there is nothing like the life in Karachi! I always thought of myself as a boring person, but I realized that I’m much more fun being in Karachi than anywhere around the country (as far as I have been). You can never have a life that you have in Karachi anywhere else.

Keeping aside the crimes, traffic problems, political uncertainty and every small and major issue, I can bet that once you get a break from Karachi you will realize that we curse the city way too much and how much we are dependent on the life of Karachi. Its not like “aankh aujhal Pahar Aujghal” its like once you get on a “pahar” you will have a much better, clear and true realization of what you have been into and what you have been missing all the way.

I hope that every Karachitte feels and realize what the city Karachi really is and how we are connected to it in every aspect of our lives. Being bloggers, writers readers or any one from Karachi who thinks about Karachi, needs to get a different perspective every once in a while to change our thoughts and views, and probably alter our attitude towards our City.

Its us that is Karachi and its Karachi that is us, a codependent association that needs a little tough outside the box.

17 Comments so far

  1. mqpasta on May 7th, 2008 @ 12:31 am

    I spend Happy New Year night in Islamabad… and you won’t believe we saw empty roads… even when we reached Food court … they guided us to only open restaurant …

  2. hin33 on May 7th, 2008 @ 12:40 am

    nice capture of your trip.. the pics are nice.. oh what memories.. we used to live in isloo land abt 19 yrs ago.. and yea.. at that time all the shops would close down around 8:00 hehehehe

    thats just how it is there…

    i also visited karachi at one point and felt it was much more lively..

    love both cities..

  3. Teeth Maestro (kar_teeth) on May 7th, 2008 @ 1:18 am

    Great report and I think almost all Karachiites would say this when they head up north – but Islamabad folks defer to the argument – If you want to have fun then you need to KNOW people – or else you could die of boredom

    Karachi Rox

  4. adzees on May 7th, 2008 @ 3:09 am

    thats how capitals are like .. People are in federal jobs. They go to bed early, they have their own social gatherings which one can hardly see on roads.

  5. Tariq Khanani (tariqkhanani) on May 7th, 2008 @ 10:02 am

    Karachi roxx
    i remember curfews in 80’s. when the curfew was lifted in kharadar for an hour, the most crowded shop was the pan shop :p
    i also remember rangers shouting salay aik din paan nahein khaen ge tu mar jaen gay

  6. Adnan Siddiqi (adnansiddiqi) on May 7th, 2008 @ 10:33 am

    Good thing about ISB is that you could enjoy all four weather. Something which you can’t in Karachi anymore. I loved Winter in Islamabad(stayed there when temp fell down to 1C in evenings.

    I expressed my experience here:



    Rest, I agree with what Adzees said. ISB is good for politicians and retired old people. :-)-pretty boring =)

  7. Afreen (afreen) on May 7th, 2008 @ 10:36 am

    Good account of trip. Everything boils down to the fact that there is no place like Karachiiiiii!

  8. Adnan Siddiqi (adnansiddiqi) on May 7th, 2008 @ 10:36 am
  9. Adnan Siddiqi (adnansiddiqi) on May 7th, 2008 @ 10:38 am

    Sory actual link is here

  10. cyrenity on May 7th, 2008 @ 11:11 am

    @Nadir, you cant compare Islo and Khi, they are totaly different. even you can’t compare Karachi and Lahore, both are incomparable.
    each of above city is simply awesome.

    @adzees, that’s !!NOT!! how all capitals are. ;-)

    @adnan, mqm exists in every city’s most dirty area, check them out in Lahore,Islamabad,Multan,Bahawalpur,Faisalabad,Rawalpindi, usualy those areas are popular for high crime rate!

  11. Faisal.K (faisalk) on May 7th, 2008 @ 12:04 pm

    Isloo is the most boring place in Pakistan. Its like something out of the twilight zone for a Karachite. Gr8 post!

  12. Syed Johny (johny) on May 7th, 2008 @ 8:54 pm

    Bravoo Bravooo!!!!

    Great Article !

    I has an experience of going to Islamabad Last year, Coincidently also went to hotel near Aabpara MArket, :)

    I had the exact same experience, we were 10 friends ! and were literally lost in Islamabad at 11 o Clock, without knowing the way back from Jinnah Super Market!!

    That renewed my love for Karachi, and made me realize despite all its faults (which now seems less ) Karachi is unique!,

    Also i would like to say, I really missed the Biryani, I felt ripped of when served with a Palao in the name of Biryani,

    Although one thing i felt was missing in Karachi as compared to The cities i visited,(Pindi, Islamabad, Abbotabad) a little lack of greenery,

    Anyways ! Brilliant article,
    It seems like you have narrated my story in ur words :D:D

    Karachi RoXX

  13. Syed Johny (johny) on May 7th, 2008 @ 8:58 pm

    "cyrenity "

    Doctor has changed his ID????

  14. kaasu on May 8th, 2008 @ 5:53 am

    I’ve been a Karachiites since birth and now settled in U.S. I did spend few years of college life in Faisalabad and saw various parts of Pakistan. I would agree life in Karachi is pretty busy however comparing it with Islamabad is like comparing apples to oranges. Islamabad has its own advantages as clearly mentioned in your post i.e. peace of mind, better facilities etc which is hard to find in Karachi these days. Don’t get me wrong, I love Karachi, however I just don’t see this argument fair.

    Anyways good post and I like really the pictures. Keep up the good work…

  15. Nadir (nadir) on May 8th, 2008 @ 1:32 pm

    Just to clarify my point. I’m not intending to "compare the two cities". I’m just comparing the "life style of a typical karachitte from elsewhere"

  16. cyrenity on May 8th, 2008 @ 2:12 pm

    @johny, a !!little!! lack of greenery :O, are u sure?

  17. Syed Johny (johny) on May 8th, 2008 @ 10:45 pm

    @ Cyrenity

    little lack of greenery in Karachi!

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