Sunday, August 20, 2017

No Buses to Stop

There is no second opinion that Karachi being one of the megalopolis of the world lack a good Public Transport System may that be inclusive of Buses & Trains or BRT & LRT readily available in most countries of the world.

Some schemes have been planned in the past and quite recently the launch of the Green Line BRTS by the Federal Government. The details of the project can be found at: http://www.kidcl.com.pk/project-profile/

The project has to be undertaken by Government of Pakistan/ Ministry of Communications as a high priority project as determined by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in their Feasibility Study conducted for Karachi Transportation Improvement Project (KTIP, 2030) in December, 2012.

 

 


















Local Government, (Karachi) initiated a CNG Bus Project but it is almost non existence, and for the same purpose several state of the art small Bus Stops were made along strategic routes.


These Bus Stops are in most cases not being utilized and have been vandalized by the general public. It is a share waste of Taxpayers money. People who have spent millions in the procurement and possible launch of the project should be held accountable. 



While some are only used as makeshifts office of local ambulance services while others are only being used as marketing billboards.


Karachi, needs to have a good Public Transport which is evident from the various Government Reports: https://www.dawn.com/news/1323617

These Bus Stops can be used more effectively but it cannot be done alone, nowadays there is a huge possibility of Public and the Private to work together under the Public Private Partnership endeavors and many people are willing to step in provided the Public Sector is more accommodating.

Keeping Fingers Crossed! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Pye Dogs Occupying The National Museum Of Pakistan

Yesterday on a very pleasant evening of August the 13th, a Public Event was organized by "I AM KARACHI", an organization established by concerned citizens and civil society organizations of Karachi. 
I AM KARACHI aims to collectively rebuild the diverse social and cultural fabric of the city by providing a platform for likeminded organizations and individuals committed to promoting socio-cultural activities and campaigns as vehicles for peace building through Arts, Culture, Sports and Dialogue.

The event was the LAUNCH OF PUBLIC ART PROJECT.
Whereby an abandoned canteen at National Museum has been converted into a public art installation.Volunteers from schools, colleges and art institutes and artist community will contribute to this project. Selected artists including Sabir Ali, Safeer Sandeelo, Hina Tabassum , Sehrish Willayat, Nashra Saleem and Farrukh Shahab has initiated the execution already.

This project is inspired by the Heidelberg project initiated in 1986 by artist Tyree Guyton on the city’s east side, just north of Detroit’s historically African American Black Bottom area. The project is named after Heidelberg Street where the installation started. The inspiration taken is intended to connect and promote this project globally.

I happened to reach the venue early after dropping my younger kid for his soccer practice session, organized under the banner of Karachi United, more about this initiative some other time.

At the entrance there was a guard/individual, whom I asked about the event which he did confirm in the positive. The canteen area, was located on the right side near the entrance, I could see a couple of individuals, one of which I assumed was the Artist Mehreen Hashmi, ensuring that things are organized well.

I made a turn and went towards the parking area located within the premises of the National Museum. There was some arrangements also being made for an event, as some other Tentwalas were busy putting up tent and cleaning utensils. 

I thought that there is still time for the Launch of the Public Art Project, why not see "The National Museum Of Pakistan", as although nowadays working a few yards away within the Sindh Secretariat, I hardly get time to explore or go to such places anymore. 

Moving towards the staircase of the The National Museum Of Pakistan, I saw a pack of wild pye-dogs rushing towards me, I just froze. One of the waiters kind enough hussshhhed the dogs away. I, finally reached the staircase of "The National Museum Of Pakistan".


Upon entering a saw a man, whom looked like the caretaker of the museum, I asked him how come there are so many pye-dogs within the vicinity of "The National Museum Of Pakistan". An article on this have also appeared in Pakistan Times Newspaper article in Feb 2016, Stray Dogs occupy National Museum

He said what can be done there are spaces within the bars that surrounds the boundary of the museum and they easily come in from there, also he said that he can only look out for the dogs that tries to come in within the actual premises gate seen above, and while we were having this conversation he had to hussshhhed the dog away which kept on coming in. 

I asked another person whom was sitting at the far corner enjoying the cool breeze coming in from the grill that how people come and visit the museum. He said, this is how things are, people hardly come and those come are afraid. I inquired whom jurisdiction does "The National Museum Of Pakistan" comes under, he said previously it used to be under Federal Government now it comes under the Sindh Government. 

Well, I said someone should complain about this?, he said there is going to be a function in which the Secretary Culture would be coming, and why not you complain to him. I said in the affirmative, that I will.

I went out to see how the preparation for the main event was going on for which I had come to see, I saw a couple of Tentwalas trying to put up the tent, most probably to camouflage some of the material not to be seen by the elite guests. The time was well above 5:00 which was the official time for the event to start but as there was NO sight of anymore individuals besides the artist herself and a few of her colleagues, and also a light drizzle started so I decided to leave the venue but write about this whole episode. 

I managed to get back to my car with all the pye-dogs sitting and roaming again next to the staircase and place of the venue, where the Secretary Culture had to come. 

I felt bad about the whole experience as people in the world visits Galleries and Museums which tells alot about the Culture, Heritage of the people, but in Pakistan we live where this is considered not a topic of importance. 

Only some philanthropists are trying to do there part in order to promote a little bit of our Cultural Heritage by organizing and supporting events like the LAUNCH OF PUBLIC ART PROJECT. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bakarwal Community of AJK

During a recent visit to the State of Azad Jammu & Kashmir for a workshop, had witnessed the beautiful terrain all the way to Muzaffarabad.
On my way happened to witness the Bakarwal community. 
I asked about them from the colleague of mine who is a resident of AJK. He told me that Bakarwals are nomadic shepherds who roam around the lower part of the Himalayan Mountain region of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir, in search of pastures for their livestock.
Their language is known as Parimu or Hindki being quite different from the Kashmiri and other Dogri languages.
The people are generous in nature. Sometimes they have hundreds of sheep’s in their herd which are protected by Bakharwal Dogs, an ancient working breed of dog found in these areas though there is a rapid decline of this species and it is at a verge of extinction. They also have beautiful horses which carry their basic stuff which is used for making tent and living a nomadic life.

Documenting Bakarwal Indigenous Knowledge:
They have excellent knowledge of the indigenous plants that grow within the lower region of Himalayan Mountain range. They used to trade natural herbs/shrubs in return of food.

As these people are nomadic and fast disappearing due to unprecedented climatic changes within the region. It is imperative that their knowledge of the plants/herbs/shrubs is documented along with their way of life. 


Saturday, January 30, 2016

British Alumni Dinner & Awards 2016

Today,

Witnessed the first ever British Alumni Awards recognizing the achievements of the Alumni that have excelled in specific fields. This year 3 categories were introduced:

- Professional Excellence, Social Development & Entrepreneurship.

A very well organized event at Acton House, British Deputy High Commission Karachi providing the perfect ambiance for a nice dinner and good music.

It provided opportunity to meet some old friends though majority of our colleagues missed the event.

Well hope to see all our gang in the next Alumni Dinner 2017.

Some Glimpses of the event:



Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Tale of 2 Schools

Well, today I went to a fun filled carnival organized by Foundation Public School in their O level campus in Defence, the theme was "Be Creatively Alive" which was an artistic fusion of colours, threads, clay, dance and music. The students performed well, and it sure a delight to see the creativity and enthusiasm of these kids. The kids were encouraging their fellow students with cheers and alot of applause, some witnessing the shows from balconies while some were busy taking pictures from their Smart Phones and DSLR cameras.



As the Defence campus is located near a locality where it is rather difficult to find parking space, so arrangements were made in a school compound of Pakistan Railways. Where you can see alot of boys playing cricket and admiring the rich getting out of their luxury cars going to their children school without noticing the fact, that indeed where they have parked their cars is actually a very old and historic school.

The two opposing school portrays the reality of our society's gap between the have and have nots.
If we do not do something to bridge the gap our society will turn into heartless coal that burns bright in the heat, blackens and burn everything that comes in its way just like the building of the Pakistan Railways Secondary School.





Monday, November 25, 2013

Visit to Kunri, Umerkot Sindh- Kunri Mirch Mandi,

A couple of friends decided to visit Umerkot, the birth place of Akbar the land of the famous folktale "Omer-Marvi". Although myself have visited Umerkot several times for official trips but never had the chance to see the world's famous Kunri Mirch Mandi. 
It was sure a surprise, even before seeing the Mirch Mandi one can easily smell the rich and strong aroma of the red chilies. Myself and my friends along with the local peasant when got out of the car started to sneeze like crazy. The strong smell hits your nostrils and then water comes rushing out of the eyes. The merchants as well as the laborers were normal and were laughing to see us sneezing like hell.
Well, I must say that it is one of the most spectacular site and wish that people of the world can see such a wonder. Another important thing that I want to highlight that in Umerkot the majority of the people are Hindus, and as witnessed from the famous Umerkot Fort, Mosques and Temples side by side with people mingling freely is a sure delight. The world needs to know that Pakistan is a vibrant colorful, peaceful place rather the one being promoted by a few. 

I tell all that if you have not witnessed the  Kunri Mirch Mandi, then you have missed a wonder of the world.






Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Visit to the Shrine of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai and Indigenous Ajrak Maker of BhitShah

Travelled to Bhit Shah to pay tribute the Great Sufi Poet "Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai". Shah Abdul Latif was born around 1689 in the village of Sui-Qandar. He has written extensively on Religion, Philosophy, Tales of Distant Lands, Romance etc. His compilation of writing is called "Shah-Jo-Risalo" During my visit, I also had the opportunity to witness some of the Indigenous Folk Singers, singing tales from the famous writing of the poet. I was amazed to see the instruments used by the Folk Singers, he described to me about the working of the instrument "Tambura" and told me that it was Shah Bhittai who invented it. 

Another important reason for the Town of Bhit Shah to be famous in world map is because of Ajrak (Traditional Block Printed Shawls). To look and learn the basics of Ajrak from the Indigenous People was an unforgettable experience out of this world.