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The Conocarpus

Hello to everyone in the Metblogs world. 

I have just joined the Metblogging team for Karachi, so would like to present a short introduction before I go on with my post. I was born in Karachi,  left it when I was 18 to go abroad, lived little more than half a decade abroad, and am now proudly calling myself a Karachiite again. I am an engineer by profession, however I have an avid interest in the city. Especially in its architecture. You can see a website I made at www.historickarachi.com which showcases the heritage of our city. Since this is my first post on metblogs, I would like to start on a somewhat lighthearted note. Lets talk about the Conocarpus. 

More specifically, the Conocarpus Erectus — a tree that has taken over Karachi like a storm! A tree? well yes. Karachi’s climate is rather hot and dry. It does not rain here much and there is not a lot of vegetation that can survive here easily without much help and still look fresh and green. Not the Conocarpus! This is one tree that has made its presence felt in the city over the last two years. You can see it everywhere now… especially greening the areas around Shahrah-e-Faisal and Karsaz. But also in many different areas. Bin Qasim Park, Beach Park, Khayaban-e-Hafiz in DHA, University Road near Askari Park, etc. etc. Not sure how it got here, but most probably the CDGK had some part to play in introducing this species to Karachi. And some of us can be pretty resistant to such new stuff… I heard a rumor going around recently that this tree causes diseases :-O  Nope. Nothing can be further from the truth. Maybe we should spend a minute and understand it more…

Conocarpus on the Karachi waterfront

Conocarpus on the Karachi waterfront

Conocarpus Erectus is not really a tree, but a rather large woody shrub growing up to 40 feet tall. It originates in North America from the edges of swamplands in Florida, which is why it has often times been confused to be a mangrove. It is not a mangrove though, but is a very hardy plant that can survive the hot weather, bad air, bad soils and frequent droughts associated with urban environments very well. Its leaves are very thick and leathery which help it retain its health in the heat, and the plant also grows very well in saline soils. In fact, its salt tolerance is so good that it has been used for the reclaimation of salinity damaged lands. All these qualities make it an ideal plant for Karachi.

Conocarpus has also been used in other regions of the world. This tree-like shrub can be trimmed in a lot of ways and is often used for road-side medians, parking lots, screening hedges, and other landscaping purposes. Kuwait is one country that has made extensive use of the Conocarpus for its landscaping. Another is Hawaii, where it is so prevalent now that it has become naturalized. 

In Karachi you can find the Conocarpus in a lot of areas. Particularly in DHA, the soil is naturally very saline (since most of it is reclaimed land) and Conocarpus thrives in DHA much better than any other trees. It has been used to particularly good effect on Khayaban-e-Hafiz where a lot of people have used it to screen their houses from the road. It has also been put to good use on roadside medians on Shahrah-e-Faisal and in the Karsaz area. On the water-front road now, the CDGK has planted lots of saplings where it should be able to grow very well. In fact, it may be a very good idea to plant it all over our beachside. That would make it look very attractive. 

Conocarpus grove in front of Dolmen City

Conocarpus grove in front of Dolmen City

If you are a greenery fan, I would suggest that you should introduce yourself and your neighbourhood to the Conocarpus. Make sure that you keep individual trees at least 5 feet apart so that they do not smother each other. Some watering may be helpful in order to help the plant take hold, but otherwise, it should do pretty well on its own. Here’s to a greener Karachi!

 

Venue Changed: Mission Rescue Pakistan – Relief Camp

I just received fb-mail that venue of Relief Camp has been shifted from PAF Base Faisal to Park Towers because of Security Reasons.

For any further queries you may contact on following number:

Numbers:
Fawad Afridi: +92321-2437256
Naveed Mansoor: +92334- 3893330
Talha: +92321-2007664
Arshad: +92321-8227388

Or FB event page:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=86430380805

Helping the Internally Displaced People of Swat | Carlton Hotel 15-17th May

Voice of the Civil Society

Voice of the Civil Society

The Voice of the Civil Society (VOTCS) earlier organized a hugely successful mass letter campaign to the President, PM, CJ and COAS protesting against atrocities committed against the people of Swat and other areas.

The time has come to support and help our countrymen in a more consolidated manner. These are citizens of Pakistan, who are desperate and living under miserable conditions in camps and make-shift abodes. Visualize an environment where they don’t have a roof over their head and no basic needs (food, medicines and education for their children) being fulfilled.

PLEASE DON’T LET THE TALIBAN’S TURN AROUND AND TELL THE IDP’S THAT THEY WERE ABANDONED BY THE CIVIL SOCIETY!!! We have done the easy part by lodging our protest to the relevant authorities against the Taliban’s, but the actual people suffering need our help. So here is the plan;

Donation camp at the Carlton Hotel – Karachi, from May 15 to 17 of May, 2009 (Between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m).

They will be collecting the following items for the internally displaced people (IDP) from Sawat, Buner and other areas who are pouring in to Islamabad and other areas. WE WILL BE MORE AFFECTIONATE TOWARDS INDIVIDUALS, WHO OFFER CASH DONATIONS!!!!!
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Mission Rescue Pakistan – Relief Camp | 16th & 17th

Mission Rescue Pakistan

Mission Rescue Pakistan

MRP is organizing Relief Camp for Swat Refugees in collaborations with Pakistan Air Force on

PAF Base Faisal & at Delton’s (main kh-Shaheen)
on May 16 & 17th.

They’ll be requiring following items:-

  1. Tents
  2. Clothes
  3. Kitchen Items
  4. Food

Members, who want to help & support through Cash please note down the account number:-

MRP (Mission Rescue Pakistan)
Account Number: 005028071-001
Bank: HSBC (Schon Circle Branch)

For any more details please feel free to contact us.

Facebook Event

Numbers:
Fawad Afridi: +92321-2437256
Naveed Mansoor: +92334- 3893330
Talha: +92321-2007664
Arshad: +92321-8227388

Anti-Talibanization Campaign

Arundhati Roy, the booker prize winner and activist is in Karachi to show solidarity with Pakistani women in these difficult times and to be a part of “Women to Reclaim Public Spaces”. This programme is a protest against Talibanisation in general and especially to women, artists, and minorities and is being organized by Women’s Action Forum, Karachi Chapter. They are having a protest/meeting in Karachi Press Club right now. Tehrik-e-Niswan will be presenting a presentation there along with other expressions from various personalities.

KESC mars Premiers League fun

There was a time not long ago when almost every street in Karachi was hosting its own game of cricket every evening. Young and old alike, would use rocks as makeshift wickets and would draw a line for the crease. Street cricket had its own set of rules.

But as Pakistan’s cricket team surrounded itself in controversy, the youth of Karachi discovered a new passion. Soccer! The rocks now mark the goal. Football fever has taken Karachi by surprise. What started as a cult like following of European clubs, has now actually pervaded all stratas of society. Universitites may or may not have a cricket team anymore but all universities now have a football team, and regular inter mural competitions continue to keep these teams competitive.

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Imran Khan banned from entering Karachi for the 4th time

Well its all over the news, Imran Khan has not been allowed to board the Lahore to Karachi flight as per the instructions of the Sindh Government.

Which ever political party you may belong to – the question that must be asked as to why should citizens of Pakistan NOT be allowed to come to Karachi?

Rightly then it has been asked – Is this city run by a government or a mafia

Go Figure – let the comment circus begin :)

VII and the Unmarked Guard Car

vii-and-unmarked-police-carToday while driving home I was practically bulldozed by these two vehicles rushing down Shahrai Faisal with absolute no regard for traffic or people crossing the roads. We here in Pakistan are quite accustomed to being shoved off the streets by these VVIP [or VVuIP very very Unimportant people] convoys. But what surprised me was that this Toyota surf was practically unmarked and the guard car trailing hot on its tail providing thug coverage to this menace on the street was also unmarked.

The lead car sported a large stencilized VII on its back, while the blue guard car trailing hot on its wheels had no markings at all. The guard car was a Toyota Hilux painted blue to mimic a usual police escort vehicles but apparently the car neither carried any policemen nor had any visible markings to be an official police car. The guards in the back carried some hefty weapons and were visibly furious at the surrounding traffic ‘for not providing them the right of passage’ [??], one of the guards was in a casual white shalwar kameez while the other sticking his gun out the side was in a plainclothes grey shalwar kameez uniform

Im sure it wont be too difficult to find out who actually operates this illegal convoy – without doubt it is the work of the powerful and mighty who ‘can get away with it’

Sea View sewerage

Every saturday I and my friend end up at Sea View for a walk minus everything else but clothes and shoes. No watches, no mobile and no other luxuries. But the presence of raw sewerage going into the beach makes us sad. Sadder still that not many people take note of it until they can actually smell it. Even then the registration of their protest is mild at best.

We, the Karachi wallas, have gotten used to the atrocities committed in our city in our name. Yet, as citizens, we do nothing and try nothing.

Plastic bags, excrete and people peeking pan are some other issues which need urgent attention. Otherwise, this beach would soon resemble Lyari naddi.

Interactive Workshops, April 2009

Iqbal Academy Pakistan is offering a series of weekly workshops about concepts related to the works of Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal. Participation has been kept free this month too, but due to limited space, please register yourself in advance and be there in time (seats will be given on a “first come first” basis).

Resource Person:
Khurram Ali Shafique, author of The Republic of Rumi: A Novel of Reality

Venue: Teachers’ Development Center, 129-G, P.E.C.H. Society, Block 2, Karachi. Phone: (021)4392949

Timings (for all workshops): 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Contact for further information: Dr. Hena Javid henajawaid000@hotmail.com
Program

Pakistan: past, present, future – Saturday, April 4

This is an introduction to the history of Pakistan through concepts derived from the writings of Iqbal. The workshop takes you through the story of Pakistan through activities and discussions in order to explore how the founding fathers foresaw the destiny of Pakistan and what opportunities can be found through our shared experience.

Consensus literature – Saturday, April 11

Art and literature is usually categorized as “high” and “popular”. This workshop introduces a third option: “consensus literature”. How is it different from our common perception of literature, what can we learn about ourselves through it and how far does it go in showing us new options for our future? These are some of the issues which are being addressed here.

Collective ego in popular media – Saturday, April 18

“Achieve a real collective ego,” said Iqbal in the Presidential Address after outlining his concept of Pakistan. In what ways has our collective ego unfolded itself through popular media? The answers might surprise you.

The Valley of Wonderment – Saturday, April 25

The recent history of Pakistan seems candidly similar to “the Valley of Wonderment”, the sixth valley in the journey of the birds towards Simorgh in the classic tale by the thirteenth century Sufi poet Sheikh Fariduddin Attar. Can a better understanding of the sixth valley help us discover new perspectives about our present situation and find innovative solutions? Find out in this advanced workshop especially designed for those who have attended any of the first three.

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