Changing Face of Islamabad

For the last few months, I’ve noticed a lot of changes taking place in the capital. Initially, I thought these were just due to the summit that took place in January, but these have continued long after that.

A missile that was acting as a monument in the middle of a roundabout near F-10, was taken down after relations with India started to improve. Palm trees sprung up on the road leading to the main government buildings (though this project seems to have failed, given the nature of Islamabad’s climatic extremes) and more recently, road-sides are being redone with new trees and shrubs being planted. The road leading up the Margalla hills to “Pir Sohawa” is now brightly lit and presents an awesome sight from the city below.

Apart from these, I’ve also noticed an increase in entertainment events taking place in this previously quiet and sleepy city. Hordes of people were out for the Basant festival last month around the main park in F-9, the same place where the Islamabad Police hosted an event recently.

An event called “SAF Expo” is underway near the smaller hills of Shakar Parian as well as a fair with rides and other attractions. Even foreign holidays are often celebrated.

During the past week, huge billboards have suddenly gone up around the main roads though they are still empty of any advertisements. I wonder if they are a way to fund all this other development.

All this is great, but I think the authorities should be putting more emphasis on improving the housing situation. With little being done to expand the city, prices of existing land and houses have sky-rocketed. Most people are now forced to live in outlying areas like mine, that don’t fall under the control of the Capital Development Authority and lack basic facilities.

If a viable solution to this issue could be found, I just may consider staying here, but until then, I’ll keep thinking about Lahore, Karachi and all the other places.