Pakistan’s Greatest Cities (Part 01)

Pakistan's greatest cities (Part 02)

NOTE: If you are easily offended then you shouldn’t read this

FAISALABAD:

FAISALABAD: At a time when Peshawar was busy making its name in the drug business and Sialkot was going nowhere, Faisalabad was consumed in praising a legend’s works, ‘the’ someone who could provoke melancholy inside you and in the following moment, sprinkle upbeat cheerfulness all over it and serve it well directed, well voiced and in ecstatic tunes. So I’m going to start by quoting this Faisalabadi legend whose songs still provoke the same uncontrollable emotions as they did twenty years ago.

Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan from Faisalabad was a gift to Pakistan, or better-put, humanity itself and no matter what city or country you belong to, you just cannot deny this legend the praises he surely deserves. NFAK had the unparalleled power to make you dance to his immortal beats and then again, he had the words to make you cry. And as far as the cities in this article are concerned, just know that his one quote is larger than Lahore’s entire history and his one quote is deeper than Karachi’s ocean and his one quote is greater than Islamabad’s little existence itself. If I keep on writing about NFAK then I’d end up writing a book (a book if read out loud by a Lahori, no one would be able to understand, well because, it’ll be in English).

What else? Cars.

Faisalabad’s Annual Auto-Show. © Rao Photography

Faisalabad, as the smarter ones know already, is known for its beautiful hot wheels. It is almost impossible to go out in the wide and traffic-less roads (something Karachites and Lahoris are not familiar with) and not bump, figuratively, into a super car. Let it be a Lamborghini gliding in the pleasant air (Karachites can’t relate) of the legendary D-Ground roundabout or some Ferrari just chilling somewhere (see my uninterested tone here? That’s exactly how common Ferraris are over here). You’ll see some super-kewl laundez in their over-modified worn out Mehrans listening to worn out Bollywood music as well. Just know that they are totally not related to us – they are from Islamabad’s twin city Rawalpindi. I wonder how these pindi-boyz ended up in our city. Maybe they just came to see our glorious clock tower strike past 9 PM because, well, they’ve never seen the world past 9 PM in Islamabad now, have they?

Faisalabadis can be a little choosy when it comes to food and why shouldn’t we? For our food is simply amazing, so much so, that I am kind of confused and I am out of words to describe how luscious and fragrant our food is, but hey, at least I am not as confused as Lahoris trying to figure out if they’re eating chicken or a donkey, now that must be tough. Hmmm.

Faisalabad is also known as the ‘Manchester of Pakistan’, which simply translates to the fact that Pakistan simply cannot run without Faisalabad’s huge industrial estates (these industrial estates are larger than Islamabad itself) and these estates help meet almost half of the country’s textile needs.

So it is correct to say that the clothes you’re wearing right now, only if they’re cool, were probably manufactured in Faisalabad so yes, you can thank us later.

And our clock tower, or the ghanta ghar, is famous through out South Asia because of the eight super amazing bazaars surrounding it. And just another fact: Over two-thirds of all these fancy malls in your terrible cities fill their stocks from these eight majestic bazaars. Yes, that’s how awesome they are.

Oh and at the time when Pakistan’s team could not manage to win a test match, a magician came into play, invented a new kind of delivery known as ‘teesra’ and rose to the number one spot in ICC Bowler Rankings and with him, a man took control of the team and took it to the number one spot in ICC Test Rankings. Yes, I am talking about Misbah (who won PSL for Islamabad, Islamabadis can thank us later, last year as well) and Saeed Ajmal. Both of them are from the great city of Faisalabad.

I think I should stop talking now so seal your lips and accept the fact that Faisalabad is the greatest city of Pakistan or some Faisalabadi guy will bury you in his burning insults (jugtein for Lahoris).

 

LAHORE:

Unlike Karachiites and Islamabadis I won’t use the natural topography of my city to define its significance! All baseless arguments cease to matter before three simple words,

“Lahore Lahore Hai”

Lahore has been the center of all eyes in one way or another and it’s because of its lavish culture, salubrious climes, and fertile lands, and to crown it all Lahoris themselves. Oh and it doesn’t smell like wet dogs unlike Karachi. Ironic how they boast about having a sea yet cry out for drinking water! I mean like Array bhaaai go get water to wash your face in the morning and then talk about that sea.

The narrow streets and wide havelis of ‘the heart of Pakistan’ – the Walled City of Lahore, speak of a spectacular past. What makes Lahore important is its aura: its way of life, people, poets, artists, landmarks, etc. Unfortunately, Islamabad is not old enough to have that aura and Karachi’s aura isn’t really the kind of aura I’m talking about here.

The Pakistan Resolution or the Qarardad-e-LAHORE ,not Qarardad-e-Karachi, was passed at Iqbal Park, Lahore on 23 March 1940. This event united cities like Karachi in the south and Peshawar in the North into one Pakistan and is marked by the famous Minar-e-Pakistan and thus, we can assume that Pakistan came into being partially because of Qarardad-e-LAHORE. Point made.

The Mughal City of Gardens has beautiful yet important sites like the Lahore Fort also known as the Shahi Qila, Masjid Wazir Khan, the thirteen gates, the Badshahi Mosque which is one of the largest mosques and can accommodate 55,000 worshipers at a time (probably the entire Islamabad population) and the tomb of our national poet Allama Iqbal. The Wagha Border where hundreds of people visit to watch soldiers parade and the flag lowering ceremony every evening between the border security forces of India and Pakistan, however, this ceremony might not be a greater attraction than seeing a Karachiite roam around on the roads at night and use his phone without the fear of it getting snatched or simply an Isloo guy out of his house after 8:00 pm.

Lahore’s Badshahi Mosque

A visit to Lahore can be a pleasant shopping experience, yes I’m talking about Emporium and Packages and Mall of Lahore, for both the burgers and the paindoos from Karachi as we have everything from Anarkali to MM Alam and from Liberty to the Defence market.

While Gujranwala has its tikkay, Karachi has its nehari (or lets just mention their sea again), Peshawar has its Namak Mandi and Islamabad has its burgers cough cough. Lahore has it all except for elaichi and aloo in Biryanis, how dare Karachi disrespect Biyrani like this! From the famous food street with its scenic beauty and typical dishes to the aroma of coffee in sector Y or the MM Alam itself, Lahore can satisfy your taste buds for sure. Karachiites and Islamabadis have found out about the donkey meat but oh there’s no Ayesha Mumtaz there to warn Karachiites about the sewage water they’ve been having. Sad how all privileged Isloo kids can either go to Monal or the one and only Hotspot.

While many would define Zinda Dilli as hospitality, someone who has visited Lahore would simply define it as Lahoris. Lahore is also known as the Zinda Dilan-e-Shehar while Lahoris in general are known to be lively people. We express and celebrate this openly with no holds barred and perhaps a tad too enthusiastically. Lahore remains abuzz with activity even in the unwonted of all hours unlike Islamabad following the 8 to 8 daily schedule or Karachi for they can’t really go outside at night as they may come back home without a wallet or a phone or maybe not at all.

It’s almost a disgrace to even compare our LUMS and Aitchison College with institutions in Peshawar and Sialkot or even Islamabad so I’ll just move on.

Top 10 schools of Pakistan
Aitchison College, Lahore – One of the best colleges in South Asia

Lahore ‘the city of artists’ has given birth to poets and writers like Hassan Ali Manto, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Imtiaz Ali Taj and great actors such as Fawad Afzal Khan, Shaan, Reema Khan, Ali Zafar and Atif Aslam. Honestly speaking, aren’t these the same people who are acting as the pillars of Lollywood and our music industry today?

Talking about politicians, Lahore is home to country’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the most popular leader Imran Khan of PTI and I’d like to mention that Lahore has nothing to do with MQM or Altaf bhai, blame Karachi. Thanks.

Sports – today, when people from Karachi, Sialkot, Peshawar or Islamabad try to make a comparison, it is understandable, to some extent, but why is Faisalabad flying so high? It doesn’t even have a team in PSL. LOL. Lahore, on the other hand, gifted the nation with Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad. Tennis? Aisam ul Haq Qureshi. Yes.

And Lahore remains devout to its faith amidst the harmony between Badshahi Mosque, Gurdawara Dera Sahib and Krishna Mandir. The shrine of Data Ganj Bakhsh Ali brings many to Lahore and this is what connects us the whole of Pakistan spiritually.

We have the Alhamra Arts Council for the Performing Arts, the School of Fashion Design and the Lahore Fashion Week. Renowned designers like HSY, Qasim Yar Tiwana and Khavar Riaz are Lahoris themselves.

Being found from inside a forest, we expected Islamabad to have the largest zoo but oh our zoo, Lahore Zoo, is not only one of the largest zoos, it is the second oldest as well. Have a problem? Simply visit the Hafeez Centre.

Lahore Lahore hai, maybe because we feel no shame in celebrating our culture as we have Basant in spring, the Festival of Lamps, Mela Chirangha, the National Horse and Cattle show and the annual army parades.

Oh so you’re talking about having that yellow Lamborghini in Faisalabad, um, find us hundreds of limousines there? Oh and we have metro and orange train as well. Hands down, the best public transportation yet.

I don’t know if it’s the Dolmen Mall, the stinky atmosphere, the sea, the mountains or the fake accent that makes a city modernized or simply its standard of living. Talk about Urdu, Karachiites killed it with their “mainay kya kara bhaai”. Talk about English, try again Isloo burgers. All I know is that Lahore is the perfect balance between traditions, cultures and modernization.

Let me summarize everything I wrote in just three words:

“Lahore Lahore hai”

 

KARACHI:

So, why is Karachi the best city of this nation? Let’s just say that Pakistan would have failed to exist if it wasn’t for a KARACHIITE – Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Yes, you’re welcome on his behalf. Needless to say more, all your arguments are now irrelevant and pointless, such as your sea-less lives.

Karachi is Pakistan’s largest city

Karachi, also known as ‘The City of Lights’ because unlike Lahore it has electricity and unlike Islamabad it does not shut down and die at 8 PM sharp. It’s the city that never sleeps, step out at 3 AM and you could still have a lot to do – something that is uncommon elsewhere in Pakistan. The city is also known as ‘Mini Pakistan’ since anything any city can name to possess, Karachi has it better. The LARGEST city of Pakistan is where the founder lies still, its province possesses one of the oldest civilizations in the world (yet Lahoris, Faisalabadis and Islamabadis couldn’t civilize themselves to this date) and we have a beach. Sorry to the rest of you all.

The city is known for being the country’s chief seaport and industrial centre, a transportation, commercial and financial hub and not for terrible accents and fascinating food cough donkey meat cough. Come to Karachi and have proper food sometime,our Burns Road will surely satisfy you and not feed you a dog, promise! We also have enough gas for 28 million people and you.(The donkey has really started getting to you all; some of you have started resembling one too) P.s: I’m not a racist.

Let’s talk about sports; Shahid Afridi – the world record holder for the fastest ODI century is a Karachiite, and everyone globally knows what rank Mr. Afridi holds in the hearts of MANY. Others such as Sarfaraz Ahmed, Moin Khan, Jalal-ud-Din, Rashid Latif, Khalid Latif, Hanif Mohammad and Owais Shah are also Karachiite cricketers. Now for hockey, our national sport; Sohail Abbas, Hanif Khan, Shahid Ali Khan and Hassan Sardar are also Karachiites. The late Shahlyla Baloch, who was, as we all know a role model for the female youth and a game changer was a Karachiite. And Lahoris, congrats on the last place in PSL, twice.

Now for Art; one word- Sadequain. Nothing I can say does justice to his work. Others include: Anwar Maqsood, Fahmida Riaz, Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi, Tanvir Phool, Zehra Nigah, Haseena Moin, Syed Qasim Mahmood, Khalique Ibrahim Khalique, Ibn-e-Safi, Shaista Suharwardy, Ashfaq Hussain, Dilawar Fiqar and Jamiluddin Aali just to name a few.

As we all know, the most genius politicians were and are from Karachi, take Shaheed Benazir Bhutto for example, the first female PM of Pakistan and the daughter of the nation. Then there is also the Quaid’s sister Fatima Jinnah, former PM Shaukat Aziz, former mayor Syed Mustafa Kamal, Farooq Sattar, Nusrat Bhutto, Babar Khan Ghauri, The Zardaris, and of course Pervez Musharraf. Did I mention our sports minister the country has been drooling over? Yes, Muhammad Bux Khan Mahar is an example of Karachi’s good looks (something Lahoris are not familiar with). Enough of the already obvious, let’s get down to the real deal.

Now, an insider story, Karachi as we all know is the former capital of the country. Have any of us ever wondered why? So, former president Mr. Ayub Khan, in his words thought that all development in Pakistan was focused on Karachi and he wanted equal distribution. In simple words- Islamabad was and would have been insignificant if it wasn’t made capital, not that it made Karachi any less cooler. So here is Islamabad’s importance in one explanation. Again, you’re welcome.

May I also add, that the best mangoes that you Lahoris are probably stuffing in your mouths right now, are from here. They are called the sindhri mangoes. And yes they make up a lot for the export of this country. Talking about exports/imports, none of you from other cities would know much about them or have your imported goods, such as Faislabad’s cars (the only thing marking their significance) if it wasn’t for Karachi. Many of you export from Karachi, too so sit down.

Karachi’s sea-view

More facts: Karachi generates 35% of Pakistan’s tax revenue, and 20% of the country’s GDP. It is also the media capital of Pakistan, major TV channels etc are head quartered here, and most fashion shows take place here, and movies too. Karachi is also known for its various welfare organizations with Edhi Foundation being the most prominent one. South Asia’s largest choreographed fountains were displayed in Karachi too.

Oh and, a special shout-out to Lahore for being tinier than our mall, Lucky One.

So Lahoris, Islamabadis, Faisalabadis and the rest of you guys can go drown in a sea. Oh wait; you’ll need to come to Karachi for that, too.

 

ISLAMABAD:

Well, where to begin? Being the ONLY planned (and organized) city in Pakistan, Islamabad tends to always impress outsiders with its sheer raw beauty- and it might help that Islamabad has been ranked as the 2nd most beautiful capital in the world too!

Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan

Be it disapproving sneers or lousy arey bhai’s from the people of other jealous cities (looking at you Karachi and Lahore), we Islamabadis take pride in the fact that our city actually looks like a city worthy to be the CAPITAL (Oh wait, Karachi used to be our capital. What happened? LOL) and not some urbanized concrete jungle. Not hearing horribly accented English every single day is a big plus too.

And this goes out to all of those people that call us burgers for speaking English well and not being up all night hanging out (contrary to popular belief, a lot of people do enjoy themselves in Islamabad too), maybe if you guys had ever made the effort to pick up a book instead of going out every night, you wouldn’t have to fake your accent when you speak English in the first place.

Lets talk about cricket, shall we? So the PSL 1 was a huge success, right? And who won again? Lahore Qalandars? Karachi Kings? Sialkot and Faisalabad teams aren’t even a part of PSL. So who won? Must’ve been Quetta Gladiators? Oh come on, it couldn’t have been ISLAMABAD United? Wait; did ISLAMABAD United actually win the first ever PSL? Yes. Islamabad won the PSL. Put it in your head folks and maybe get some sunscreen. It just might help you fix that burn.

Faisal Mosque, Islamabad

You know what’s really cool? Murree. And the fact that it’s like right next to Islamabad is even cooler. You see, we have the luxury of being able to easily go up to Murree, Nathia Gali, etc. when it gets hot – and you know what’s really funny? How the same people who always hate on the CAPITAL come here every summer and enjoy before they zip off to the hills. Lahore’s heat must really be bad, right? I mean as if the whole Donkey is the new Chicken situation wasn’t enough! And Karachi? It’s just sad how they call those things ‘beaches’. I mean, really bro?

Lets talk about malls now. We may have like 2 malls only, I know that’s less, but at least they can be called malls. Hey Sialkot? Let me know when you get your own Centaurus and Peshawar, no you cannot call your Qissa Khawani Bazar a mall.

You know what the best part is? I don’t have to wait an hour in my car just to get somewhere. We don’t have traffic as messed up as Lahore or Karachi. Oh and our Metro is a hundred times better than Lahore’s.

All in all, Islamabad is the place to be. The world recognizes its beauty and worth, so it’s about time you start to do the same. Goodbye.

 

Written by: Shahzaib Tahir Awan, Raina Khan, Damiya Shah, Musa Sherpao, Afifa Irfan Sheikh, Moeed Irfan with Entremuse Editorital Team.

Want us to feature your city in the next part? Simply share what you love about your city at: www.houseofentremuse.com/writeforus

READ MORE: Top 10 Schools of Pakistan
READ MORE: Most Beautiful Women of Pakistan

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