Lahore through the eyes of Karachite

After spending seven great days in Lahore, I am convinced that Lahore, being the cultural hub of the country, is one of the most beautiful cities of Pakistan. I applaud the chief minister of Punjab, who despite having a barrage of flaws in his governance, especially with regards to health, education and law and order sectors, has successfully been able to maintain the beauty of this city.

Unlike any other provincial government, the government of Punjab makes a conscious effort to give beautification the priority that it deserves by strictly adhering to a no-graffiti policy; hence we are greeted with beautiful and clean walls as seen in other civilised nations. This, however, is not true for Karachi, a city where there is more graffiti than there are walls.

The roads, despite being narrow, have managed to accommodate smooth traffic flow with strict traffic laws, all thanks to the Chaudhry brothers for setting a bench mark in the traffic management sector.

The difference between the two cities can be seen from the time of arrival at the respective airports.

In Karachi, when we get out of the airport premises, we are welcomed by huge billboards of Shahi Syed followed by the Sunni Tehreek, Pir Pagara and Sindhi nationalist leaders giving visitors a feel of the political environment in the city that overshadows beauty.

Lahore, on the other hand, has a more aesthetic appeal. The route back from the airport is covered with lush green and yellow mustard fields, shamelessly boasting the beauty and splendour they behold.

Although this is just one of the few good aspects of Lahore, one of the things that would be seen as most commendable by Karachiites, is the fact that a majority of homes in Lahore have low boundary walls around their houses, showing that they are very comfortable with their environment and do not feel threatened by any lack of security.

Karachiites, on the other hand, apart from installing top notch security systems in their houses, not only build high walls but further burglar proof it by setting up broken glass pieces or pointed iron on the rims of the walls to protect their homes from potential thieves.

Lahore is famous for its food street and the deliciousness it offers, evidencing the fondness with which the people of Lahore enjoy their food.

In this case, Karachiites are enthusiastic about food too, but they are more concerned about eating the ‘right kind’ of healthy food than consuming everything for the sake of eating, which is a trait I found amusing about the Lahoris.

Personally, I found Lahore to be too provincial, with a lot of focus on just the Punjabi language and a lot of Punjabi people; however, Karachi prides itself on giving a true cosmopolitan feel to the city. Karachiites speak in English, write in Urdu, think in Balochi and dream in Sindhi.

Perhaps, it would be appropriate to attribute the unity amongst Lahoris, to the fact that Punjabi is the only language, apart from English and Urdu, spoken in Lahore. Karachi, with its complex demographics allows everyone to do whatever they feel is right in the garb of “Karachi is for everyone”.

The people of Lahore love Mustafa Kamal, but hate the MQM although Karachi’s mainstream political party has managed to open offices in various cities of Punjab. They love MQM’s well-spoken work force, organisation and management. While some urban Punjabis do hold a soft corner for the MQM, the majority does not.

But the one trait in Lahoris that impressed me the most was their civic sense. You won’t see them spitting pan or gutka on the roads or elsewhere; you won’t see people littering; they are more conscious of their environment and make an effort to keep it clean and beautiful.

Another interesting thing I observed is that there were hardly any cab services running in Lahore. Initially, I thought that the fortunate city with the help of the chief minister of Punjab would be rich with yellow cabs but surprisingly enough, this was not the case. The chief minister, however, is passionate to resolve the transportation issues for Lahories by initiating various CNG bus programs etc, ignoring the fact that the city bears at least three days off for CNG.

Funnily enough, the curiosity between the lifestyle of Karachiites and Lahoris is very evident, especially  when Karachiites are shown around the city, the Lahoris boast their sky scrapers and shopping malls, all the while, subtly asking whether such things exist in Karachi or not. The cross province communication gap should be something that both cities work toward overcoming in the future.

In short, Karachi is a huge city trying to accommodate multiple cultures; it is fast-paced, pulsating and dynamic. But Lahore, including recent developments in the city’s infrastructure, prides itself on having safeguarded Pakistan’s rich culture and traditions, which may be lost to Karachiites but are reason enough for Lahore to be spoken about and visited.

 

Advertisements

17 comments

  1. Well thats my first ever post for tribune, a comment that i was compelled to make after reading such an article…. however, what you have discussed about khadim e punjab is something i will agree…. but as a fact you might have wasted your time while spending it with wrong people just my observation :), people i know and that too in large figure ever talked compared a few storied buildings poised here in lahore with few storied buildings poised in karachi as a matter of fact there are no such things called sky scrappers in pakistan as yet…. furthermore i have studied almost 16yrs if you count it as education… then seriously i along with a list of people in few 1000’s that have spent almost same time on education may be 2 years less or more i doubt they like MQM at all…. 🙂 and if they give credit to Mustafa Kamal for EVERY public structure built in last 10 years then they might have to get their facts right and need to find out a guy before Mustafa Kamal … my apologize for offensive words or sentences if any, have a nice day 🙂

  2. I spent time with the True Lahoris, who born and raised in Lahore, as far as MQM is concerned you might have heard few bad things about them but that might be the opinion of past, things are changing now. I recommend you to go Lahore again, meet people, talk to them on politics and have your say!

    You’re given another chance!

    1. Disagree Tanzeel !
      Things are still same man. Lahories (whether they are urban educated ones or from the areas rural) have always hate MQM and will always hate them. they will never stop hating them unless they change their way of politics which is based on terrorism, ethnic violence and hatred. but you me and everyone knows MQM will never change their way of politics because the day they’ll do that, they’ll be finished and hence the lahories, punjabies, pashtun, balochi, kashmiri, sindhies they all will keep hating’em forever.

      P.S Loved your piece of writing ! ❤ Lahore Rocks ! 🙂

      1. Respect your point of view but your biasness towards MQM speaks volume, why you picked MQM part and ignored rest of the material tells the whole story of your obsessions with MQM. You can hate MQM but can’t ignore them ; )and thats the strength of Muttahida which keeps you guys confused.

        This is what a common Punjabi thinks about MQM : P

  3. The best thing I liked about the city is the greanry around the roads and i guess this is one of the reasons why summers are better in Lahore than the summers of southern punjab. Will surely go to the food street near Badshahi mosque, and nice photography, the picture makes a beautiful header.

    1. Thanks Mariam, yes Lahore is improved a lot. I wonder why you never visited New food street, its great and culturally very rich. better than the one they had in Chaudries era.

  4. You sure can have your opinion …. But don’t try to tell us what we think about MQM. Liking MQM is your right, but telling others that WE (as in Lahoris) have a soft corner too, is just a blatant lie. It might be your wish but not a fact on ground. So feel whatever you wish but say what’s true and with objectivity.

  5. are you seriously defending MQM, and why do you even care about it? One has got to be insane to have a soft corner for MQM. MQM sucks.

  6. I like the way of your actuality and neutrality towards both cities as a writer,on the other hand as a good reader we must focused on topic and read article neutrally, not Politically.
    In other words read post as a reader or learner not political analyst 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s