Dr Faiza weds Dr Bilal
Sunday, 26 February 2012
The marriage ceremony of the daughter of Azhar Ali Shah, Dr Faiza with Dr Bilal, was held at Rawalpindi on Feb 25, 2012. This created an opportunity for the 55 PMA members to get together at the occasion. Here are some of the snaps of the lovely ceremony [with thanks to Zafar Iqbal Durrani].
Family of 55 PMA at DeSOM
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Group photo of PACHPAN (55 PMA) veterans at walima ceremony of sons of Lt Col Muhammad Ali Haider Raza held at DeSOM, Lahore on 21 February 2012 - (Thanks Ali Akbar).
Shifting Sher Garh
Monday, 20 February 2012
On the old bank of River Beas, it is a typical Pakistani village where farmers live like rustics in the face of urban attractions. Even the electricity and telephone are a recent phenomenon. But the village has never been out of limelight. Besides heritage conscious people from all over the world, the village is venerated by a large number of devotees. Reasons, a massive mud fort and mosque which were built in the period of Afghan Sher Shah Suri. And, it is the last resting place of Saint Muhammad Ibrahim Daud-e-Sani Kirmani Bandgi.If one wants to absorb the sense of history, Sher Garh is a place to visit. Director Syed Noor has set his film Chooriyan in the background of this village. One has to possess a sensibility shaped in granite not to be moved by the village of past age that has not changed much in last 400 years. In the periphery few van (salvadora) trees, may be as old as the village stand witness to the bygone era. The village is experienced changed due to awareness about various things and agricultural advancements but at a snail speed.
Saint Muhammad Ibrahim is regarded as one of the famous saints of central Punjab. His forefathers migrated from Kirman (Iran) and settled in Seetpur (suburbs of Multan) where Muhammad Ibrahim was born. The family later moved to Sher Garh when Mir Chakar Rind was ruling in the area. The Baluch hero Mir Chakar Rind having refused to help Sher Shah Suri joined Humayun when, after a long exiled Mughal emperor recaptured Delhi and ousted Afghan Suris in 1556. The emperor as a reward conferred a vast jagir including Sher Garh (also horses and slaves) upon him. He ruled this chieftaincy till he died in 1565. Farishta has written, “Mir Chakar Rind was a holder of jagir and commanding hordes of warriors in Punjab.”
Muhammad Ibrahim completed his education in Basirpur and Lahore. Contemporary of saints like Musa Pak Shaheed and Sher Shah of Multan, he got his spiritual blessings from Saint Syed Hamid Ganj Buksh in Uch Sharif before he set about preaching Islam in Central Punjab. Komal Singh Maghyana, a famous landlord of his time who used to keep 1000 buffaloes (hence Maghyana) was one of the first who embraced Islam. Mulla Badauni wrote, “Hundreds of non-Muslims used to convert to Islam on the hands of Muhammad Ibrahim every day.”
Sher Shah Suri built a fort in Rohtas against gakhars. But why the Governor Fateh Jang Khan built the mud fort near strongly defended and fortified places like Dipalpur and Pak Pattan? “It might have been built to guard against thieves and robbers,” says Muhammad Abbas Kirmani, the direct descendent of the saint, once told me. There is no trace of the fortification in the village. The mosque that was built in the middle of 10 century in the village was a fine specimen of Islamic architecture. It had large (100 x 25 feet) main chamber, five doors, five dooms and a wide compound with a well for abolition. The mosque had 30 feet high octagonal minaret in each corner. During the Sikh rule, the mosque was desecrated and damaged and it decayed completely in 1958. Now a new mosque has been built in red bricks at the same place. There used to be a library containing rare books and manuscripts that too was destroyed by the Sikh rule.
It was the shrine of Saint Muhammad Ibrahim that I had come to see at Sher Garh. Among the cluster of old and new houses inside the village is a dominant building of the shrine which is enclosed in a court-yard. It was constructed by Shah Abdul Maa’ali- the nephew of the saint. Upon entering the doorway to the shrine compound, I was taken aback at the sheer tranquility and beauty of the place. This grand edifice with solid masonry and ornate design wrought by artisans and artist centuries ago is one of the fine specimens of Muslims architecture. There are many graves of descendants and devotees and another smaller shrine in the enclosure. People were having food at lounger (community kitchen for free food) in one corner of the courtyard.
Constructed of narrow red bricks, used in upright courses to ensure additional strength, the shrine is located at the vantage point in the village. Being at the raised ground it looks higher than its actual height. The fine quality of marble has been used outside where as inside is decorated with intricate Kashi work.
A devotee was reciting Holy Qura’an in the main chamber. The shrine is in the care and custody of the Auqaf, though the department has not been able to repair even the gold plated pinnacle that needs immediate attention.
The first impact that this monument gives is an emotional one for it is a symbol of cultural identity – a part of heritage. It also has architectural historic, documentary, spiritual and symbolic values.
I managed to arrange impromptu meeting with Muhammad Abbas Kirmani, a progressive farmer, who had graduated from Government College Lahore in 1930. Muhammad Abbas is remarkably alert at the age of 84. Sitting inside the room of his home adjacent to the shrine, Muhammad Abbas Kirmani told me about the family history. He also talked candidly about every thing from agriculture policies to old customs to modern culture. I could not see the hand written Holy Qura’an, though. “It is taken out on the eve of annual mela which is held on March 13,” he said. Besides my differences of opinion on few of the things he said during our frank conversation, I was impressed by the amount of interest he had in variety of issues of the society, his force of conviction in arguments and intellect.
As I drove back on a single way metallic road through the green fields of sugarcane, piled mainly by animal transports and milkmen on the motorbikes, I could not help thinking: I shall have to go back to Sher Garh again. May be to see the annual mela next March.
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
With rather longer prelude, the idea of cyber greetings is undeniably relevant to today, and it is intriguing. Information communication technologies provide an anonymity that allows people to reveal more than they ever would face to face. It also allows temptation to overcome good sense, and the results sometime can be overwhelming. Imagine two persons who came across each other after any one of them seeing online profile of the other and finding it "interesting" makes an endeavor and reaches out to the other online. Both are easily drawn to each other in online exchange of messages, too predictably, and without enough explanation as to why. The whole exchange takes in "real time". And before too long, the causal exchange turns into witty flirtation and may be into full-blown romance between those who have yet not met face to face. Clever combinations of e-mails, live chat lines, explicit emoticons and computer shortcuts, give way to the situation where 'the headstrong-girl-meets-self-sufficient-boy' and the urge to meet may becomes very strong.
The first hurdle was an 8 kilometer long mud gorge made of gypsum clay. Since gypsum is not a hard material, laying rail track on this gypsum floor was a challenge.
The second geological obstacle on this route was the Chappar Rift itself. It is a 5 kilometer wide cleft with hills, as high as hundreds of feet on either side. Look at the photo to the right. It shows how two sides of the Chappar Rift were bridged. If you look carefully, you can spot an approaching train in the photo. Look just above the trussed bridge. The Railway line was laid negotiating and surmounting these natural hurdles. The salient features of the project included almost 2 km of tunneling, a seven span via duct and a 250 ft high bridge. In the photo to the left, this bridge and the viaduct are visible in center of the gorge.
Chappar Rift is considered a freak of a nature. Look at the photo to the left. It shows Chappar Rift from the north. It was formed when a mountain split open in two parts after an earthquake in the area. The nature had carved these two parts so perfectly that from a distance the gorge appeared to be mating parts of a jig-saw puzzle. As the rail track entered Chappar Rift area it had no feasible foundation to be laid on the mountain edge.
To build this bridge, the executive Engineer of the project named Captain scott, borrowed two similar spans which were built out as cantilevers from each side of the abyss. When this temporary span had met in the middle, Scott built his permanent span on top, afterward removing the false work. The whole work was completed without the loss of a single life. The bridge was opened by the Duchess of Connaught on 27th March, 1887 in the presence of Duke, Lord Roberts, and a distinguished company of people. The occasion was marked by the explosion of 20 mines. The bridge was named after the Duchess who praised it as the most glorious piece of work in the subcontinent. From that day on the bridge came to be known as the Louise Margaret Bridge.
The Railway line served as an laternate route to Quetta for about 55 years. On the night of July 10, 1942 there was a flash flood in the area which swept away the scree bank in the Chappar Rift. With the scree slope washed away there was nothing left for the railway to be laid upon. It is said that water level reached upto 30 ft in the mud-gorge area and it caused wide spread erosion of rail foundations.
Now that which was once my domain,
References and Acknowledgements:
1. Couplings to Khyber by P.S.A Berridge, 1968
2. Hundred Years of Pakistan Railway, M.B.K Malik, 1962
3. Mr. Iqbal Samad khan, ex CEO Pakistan Railways, for his email/verbal account of Chappar rift travel
4. Mr. Nick Lera, for many of the photo of this article as well his email account of Chappar Rift travel. He also corrected some of the mistakes I had made in an earlier write-up of this article.
5. Mr. J.F. Andrist for his email account of Chappar Rift travel.
6. Mr. Jeff Bounds for his email account of Chappar Rift travel.
7. Afghanistan Railways: A dream coming true
8. Mike's Railway History
9. Chappar Rift Photo Album - A collection of photos that appear in this article.
If you want to learn more about Pakistan Railways, then feel free to join the 'Pakistan Railway (PR)' discussion group. Everything and anything related to PR is discussed here e.g. preserving of Pakistan's rail heritage, steam locomotives, sharing of photos and news, time tables etc. You can join the discussion group here.
Lahore School Alumni Homecoming - 2012
Monday, 13 February 2012
Related: Lahore School Alumni Homecoming 2012
Labels: Lahore School of Economics
Sunday, 12 February 2012
Rancorous ruminations flood her thoughts, engulfing her mind with pernicious vengeance. May you die a painful death. May you burn in Hell forever. Bitterness overflows from her very soul.
But when she catches sight of you, her angry accusations are shoved aside, the disgusted sneer quickly wiped away. Suddenly, she is all-smiles and pretended interest; arms stretched open to receive you; warm, loving words flowing from her lying lips.
She hates you. But she does not tell you.
Know though that many others are aware. She has meticulously catalogued your faults for public access and retrieval. They all know. Believe me, I’ve heard the rumours too.
And yet you seek out her company and simper at her false praise, stubbornly refusing to see her for what she is. How can you not acknowledge the spiteful allegations? Do you not notice? Are you fooling yourself?
Or are you hiding mutual animosity beneath that cheerful veneer?
Ah, you see, I sense the truth.
You hate her. But you do not tell her. Two can play this game.
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You golfer, see this
Saturday, 11 February 2012
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From Karachi Chapter
Thursday, 9 February 2012
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I Live on Your Feedback
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Misbah-ul-Haq: The Most Successful Test Cricket Captain
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Things may change tomorrow as they always do. But today the cricket records read Misbah-ul-Haq as the most successful cricket captain of Pakistan. The criteria being somebody who has captained Pakistan in atleast 10 test matches and has the highest winning percentage. Following is the list of most successful Test cricket captains of Pakistan under this criteria.
(M – W – L – D – W%)
1. Misbah-ul-Haq 15 – 9 – 1 – 5 – 60.00%
2. Waqar Younis 17 – 10 – 7 – 0 – 58.82%
3. Salim Malik 12 – 7 – 3 – 2 – 58.33%
4. Wasim Akram 25 – 12 – 8 – 5 – 48.00%
5. Mushtaq Muhammad 19 – 8 – 4 – 7 – 42.1%
6. Javed Miandad 34 – 14 – 6 – 14 – 41.17%
7. Inzamam-ul-Haq 31 – 11 – 11 – 9 – 35.48%
8. Moin Khan 13 – 4 – 2 – 7 – 30.76%
9. Imran Khan 48 – 14 – 8 – 26 – 29.16%
10. A.H. Kardar 23 – 6 – 6 – 11 – 26.08%
11. Zaheer Abbas 14 – 3 – 1 – 10 – 21.42%
12. Fazal Mahmood 10 – 2 – 2 – 6 – 20.00%
13. Hanif Muhammad 11 – 2 – 2 – 7 – 18.18%
14. Intikhab Alam 17 – 1 – 5 – 11 – 5.88%
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Jashn-e-Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi (PBUH) Mubarak
Saturday, 4 February 2012
Not long ago, annual diaries along with calendars of the hanging variety, were all the rage with everyone clamoring for a set. Overtaken by the IT revolution and by the trimness of new gadgets, the once much sought diary has, like so many other things has gone obsolete it seems. Yet diaries are brought out every year, and pretty expensive ones at that, but mostly as giveaways by various corporate entities as part of their marketing and promotion plans. And it really is no big deal whether one receives a copy or not. It’s the latest i-pad that matters..
Mahmood Ali Khan Chaudhry (1923 - 2011)
Friday, 3 February 2012
World Cup Fever in Pakistan
Thursday, 2 February 2012
The stage is set for football lovers for the biggest event in history of the game where teams from 32 countries are battling hard to prove their worth, for many players, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Word Cup is taking place in twelve cities in Germany, from June 9 to July 9, 2006 and football fans have gathered there to watch the thrilling game and the rest are glued to different media channels to find what is happening.
The passion for Football is certainly sweeping every one in Pakistan this time, particularly the youth and sportsmen. In addition to conventional media (Radio, TV and Press), for the first time on the Internet, Pakistani football fans are going online to find all sorts of information about the championship, including multimedia content such as an extensive gallery of brief video clips of stars and highlights from games from earlier championships. Many Internet sites have sprung up which are reporting during the matches about every goal, foul, booking or other event out on the stadiums. “The hype this time is of an entirely different order," says Shahid Javed, a student in Business and Information Technology, University of the Punjab.
Earlier football fan frenzy started when the FIFA World Cup Trophy (designed and recently renovated by Italian sculptor and creator Silvio Gazzaniga) was taken on whirlwind tour jointly organized by FIFA and a beverage company where it received a thrilling welcome - 200,000 visitors, some 1,000 articles published and 45 Television shows broadcast in its honor.
The passions of hundreds of thousands of football fans were stirred for three months in 32 cities in 30 different countries. On 5 January 2005, the statuette so coveted by footballers the world over set off in the direction of Accra, the capital of Ghana, before finishing its journey in Italy and Rome on 9 April. Nigeria, Tanzania South Africa, South America, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Argentina, Ecuador, Columbia, Paraguay, Japan, Korea Republic, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Bangkok, Indonesia, Sydney, France, Zurich, Russia, Ukraine, Portugal are some of the places where Trophy was paraded.
The tour gives an idea that FIFA is cottoning on to the idea of an equivalent to the Olympic Torch for football. Two years ago, instead of being carried by athletes to the Olympic Games in Greece, the torch made a tour of all the countries that had hosted the games. This year, the World Cup trophy was taken from country to country before it finally reached in Germany. It is not just visiting the countries which have hosted the tournament, but the idea seems to be along the lines of Olympic Torch.
For Abdul Ghafoor (65-year-old Pakistani), once known as the "Black Pele of Pakistan," life revolves around football. He has found a renewed vigor ahead of the World Cup finals. Mere mention of football and the mega event in Germany which helps him forget his loss of hearing and nearly impaired vision sparks life in him. As the showpiece events approaches, the former Pakistan caption told AFP, “One of my wishes is that Brazil retains its title.” Though away from football ground, Ghafoor still is in touch with the English Premiership and Brazilian soccer.
Lahore School of Economics students are looking forward to the World Cup and when asked unanimously replied, “Brazil are the favorites to win the World Cup. Argentina will try hard for the top honor, but Brazil are the main candidates because of their players’ abilities and because of their recent performances. Tufail Raza says, “I have no doubts that Brazil will keep the title. I wish I could go to Germany to watch the World Cup live in the stadiums, but it is costly for me.”
“Being a Pakistani, I expect Pakistan to play and win. May be we will be in the tournament in 2010,” said Ammar Pervaiz, but when Pakistan is not playing, I will still watch the game with concentration and enjoy without accompanying tension and verbal duel of traditional rivalries as are seen in Indo-Pak cricket series.
We Pakistanis are used to kind of sporting atmosphere, with fans rapt to the game, extremely cheering for players and teams,” says Taha Amir, player and an ardent football fan who is currently studying in Lahore School. “What I take for granted at football matches, others are amazed by. It is always a joy to see international tournaments and understand the game. Seeing my favorite stars at their best improves my own game.” That is why football fans from around the world will watch the World Cup even if their own teams are not participating.
Mobashir Ahmad, an ex army football color holder has his 15-year-old son Mubarak who has got the love for the game from his father. Most of his friends play the game in a satellite colony where they live and have a football ground nearby. “I will certainly be following World Cup,” he says enthusiastically. I asked him how many of his friends would be following the World Cup. "Oh, about 20, and my father has invited them to come a watch the matches at our home," was his answer. His father told, “Mubarak’s interest in football is due to my own passion for the game mainly and our stay in cantonments where this game is regularly played.
Mobashir is disappointed that our country is not participating in FIFA World Cup in Germany. For Pakistan he says, “as far as the future is concerned, we have great potentials. Some talent hunt, some sponsorship from public and well as private sectors may take Pakistan in next finals.”
Iran is participating in World Cup. Commenting or Iran, Mobashir says, "I do not think that Iran will win the trophy. Thinking this will be unrealistic, but getting through the group stage would be a fantastic achievement for Iran.
Iran's Croatian coach Branko Ivankovic has been quoted as saying that the team heading to Germany is the "best generation in Iran's football history". We will not go to the World Cup just to make up the numbers," he said after qualifying, "we feel we can beat anyone."
Bitter controversy of Jewish community leaders notwithstanding, Afshin Afshar writes, “Iranians should get their manifestly talented stars to gel as a team and they stand a chance of being the first Iranian side to make the second round of the tournament.”
Despite being among the pick of Asian sides since the 1970s, Iran crashed out of the finals in the first round in Argentina in 1978 and in France in 1998. Iran's only victory in the finals, a 2-1 win against the United States in 1998, sparked delirious street celebrations. “Wizard of Tehran, the Asian Maradona and Asia's "Player of the Year 2004″ Ali Karimi will present the biggest headache to first-round opponents Portugal, Mexico and Angola,” adds Afshin Afshar.”
Great supporting events have different impact on economies too. Remember bazaar closed and low turn-out in offices and educational institutions on the eve of India Pak cricket match across the country in the past. Germany will have upward economic surge due to large number of foreigner fans coming to watch World Cup in the country. On the other hand it is feared that the World Cup finals might have negative impact Asian markets as during the 2002 World Cup (May 31-June 30), the Stock Exchange of Thailand slipped 4.34 percent. In Singapore, when England played Nigeria at the last World Cup, turnover on the market plunged and the Straits Times Index fell 11 points on a lack of buying interest.
“This time we are expecting dwindling sale during the Word Cup. Which is why we are putting up big screen TV for the customers to sit and watch the game,” says manager of a reputed café on M M Alam Road, “football fans are already enquiring about when we will put up a multimedia for the Word Cup as we do for cricket.” Many other cafes and posh eating joints across the city are putting up bigger screen televisions to attract the Word Cup enthusiasts.
Zahir Khalid, good player of his own time and father of two promising football players says, “Football is one of the greatest and most powerful things in the world. It is more than a sport, it is an economical activity. The amount of money and trade passed during Word Cup is remarkable. So many sports retailers, shops, transport channels and restaurants do good business during the championship; football creates many potential jobs for those who have that unique gift. Football gives our children hope and dreams. In places such as Brazil, there is extreme poverty and yet they still worship the beautiful game. Football is a lot more than a game. We should encourage others to become involved in the game. I can see footie fever striking Pakistan like cricket, hockey in near future.”
Representation of Pakistan – once a credible footballing nation, grinding its way into Asia's top 10 with players in demand from league clubs in India - in the 2006 World Cup is limited only to sending a few hundred “Made in Sialkot” balls to be used in practice sessions, and the attendance of three Pakistan Football Federation officials at the opening ceremony.
Unlike cricket that can be played on streets, football needs need wider grounds. And there is dearth of open spaces and grounds in our cities. That is one of the reasons that this game has not been popular in the past. But “football craze is picking up here too. There are many ardent fans who are looking forward to the Word Cup, for entertainment if nothing else,” says Mujtaba Haider, manager marketing in an international concern who was on Lahore College University team in his own times. Sports are often referred to as the world’s finest form of entertainment. They are health social and activities that holds the attention of an audience as well as its participants. “Football does it best,” Mujtaba adds”.
On the other side, story is the exact opposite in Holland where the Women for Football-free Netherlands have launched a campaign to get rid of the World Cup. “We are really bored with it. All our guys are glued to the TV, forgetting about us and everything else. They think that women do not understand the game and are only good to serve beer and snacks.”
I don’t think so. And I am going to spend my time immersing myself in the world’s most amusing and impulsive drama: Word Cup 2006. You are invited.
As the passion for football is sweeping every one in the world, fans are logging on to the Internet to find all sorts of information about the championship, why Edmilson of Brazil will miss the World Cup, who is opposing participation of Iran or multimedia content such as an extensive gallery of brief video clips of stars and highlights from games from earlier championships.
Many Internet sites have sprung up which are reporting during the matches about every goal, foul, booking or other event out on the stadiums. "The hype this time is of an entirely different order," says Abid Jamal, a student in Business and Information Technology, University of the Punjab.
The best joint for online reporters and geeky fans is an apartment in Berlin Wilmersdorf that will be the meeting point for bloggers, vloggers and podcasters from all over Europe, meeting to cover the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The weblog weallspeakfootball.com is described as "a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of football fans around the big upcoming event."
"We have a 220 square meter flat with an awesome patio on the rooftop in the center of Berlin," according to the team's announcement. "Our blogger team will blog live for 30 days from the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. We will have the time of our life and the best is: anybody who's interested is invited!"
Another interesting place for Football fans is The FIFA World Cup Fan Park in Dubai where game lovers will be able to watch the thrilling FIFA World Cup football with oscillating emotions in the only venue of its kind away from actual stadiums in twelve cities of Germany.
"The FIFA World Cup Fan Park gives spectators a true stadium experience with a giant 140 m screen, grandstand seating, stadium food and football-themed games and activities for the whole family. Each of the 64 matches will be broadcast live at the venue, which occupies much of Shaikh Rashid Hall at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The Fan Park will reverberate with cheers and chanting from up to 3,000 people, including 1,500 in stadium seats, 500 in the VIP balcony and 1,000 on the indoor football pitch that will double as a seating area during matches," reads a report that came across my desktop.
What is more, Football fans have been searching for information about England striker Wayne Rooney more than any other player, ahead of this summer's World Cup finals, according to new research. The news about the state of Wayne Rooney's fitness ahead of the 2006 FIFA World Cup led to a huge surge in users on Yahoo!
Besides more than 60,000 fans will pack the Olympiastadion in Berlin on June 7, nearly 5,000 dancers will boogie to Oscar and Emmy winner Doug Jack's choreographed routine; Il Divo will sing the "A Time of Our Lives" theme song, with some help from R&B singer Toni Braxton in an Olympic scale ceremony, fans all around will be glued to all media channels for the moment to moment updates on mega event. According to Initiative, a London company that buys media space for advertisers, the Cup's 64 matches will attract a cumulative live TV audience of more than five billion.
What a great idea for connecting with other citizen journalists, and working together to cover a big sporting event. Wouldn't it be fun to hang out with those bloggers and vloggers?
Right now though, Germany is at the forefront of our minds, and as a simulation of that tournament is every bit as welcome (and as unexpected) as a Rooney recovery.