Islamabad: A city of unique culture, reticent population

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By Taj Nabi Khan

ISLAMABAD, Feb 16 (APP):The capital city of the country, Islamabad as mini-Pakistan has developed a unique culture of its own with peculiar characteristics to represent almost all communities of the country in different shades and colours.

Majority of the residents here, or you may call them as Islooiites, belong to different backgrounds and professions but they have reserved their peculiar lifestyle and reticent nature as they neither interfere in others’ affairs nor like the same for their own selves.

It was due to central location of the city that the capital was shifted from Karachi to here in early 1960. Initially, only the government officers and a few businessmen were residing in the newly-built capital of the country. But with the passage of time it expanded manifold due to migration and population growth.

The well-planned modern city of Islamabad is a home to many migrants from different regions of the country, political community, foreigners, and diplomats besides common people with cultural and religious diversity.

Located in Potohar Plateau, this city of superb architecture has been blessed with a humid subtropical climate with five seasons – winter, spring, summer, monsoon and autumn. It is surrounded by lush green Margallah Hills on one side and the scenic Rawal Lake on the other.

The city owes its beauty to the facts that it is thinly populated, well structured, planned, and highly developed from almost every angle.

The capital city has several spots of cultural and religious attractions, which reflect its rich history and vibrant culture. Therefore, the Islooiites frequently celebrate the rich cultural heritage in huge gatherings in a number of festivals and entertainment activities throughout the year from foods to arts and music to cultural events.

Due to large number of educational institutions and hostels in the capital, the events are often joined in and celebrated by young and energetic people with their peculiar lifestyle.

The city has numerous walking, hiking, jogging and cycling tracks, public parks and mountains wherein Islooiites daily spare some time for physical exercise as they can be seen either walking in the morning or evening.

The city has lots of visiting spots such as Shakarpariyan, Lok Virsa Museum, Rawal Dam, Margallah hills, Fatima Jinnah Park, Pir Sohawa, Islamabad Zoo, Pakistan Museum of National History, Saidpur village and Faisal Mosque.

Though Islamabad does not have a homogeneous culture as majority of its residents are migrants from different parts of the country, who are living with their peculiar cultural and religious values.

However, this aspect makes the city rich in culture and linguistic milieu creating the possibilities to observe and understand life from diverse perspectives.

Talking to APP, a working journalist, Asghar Khan Askari said that the city had a number of huts (‘khokhas’), offering food stuff at affordable rates.

“People in their free time here also work in their kitchen gardens. The culture of the city is different from rest of the country due to its diverse community and culturally rich festivals,” he said.

A resident of Islamabad, Khalid Aziz said it was easy to make outdoor shopping in mega malls and shopping centres of the city and dining in the hotels with a variety of food cuisines.

He said for culture lovers, the city has established important cultural venues such as Lok Virsa Museum and Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage in Shakarparian.

“The clean and green environment of the city attracts visitors from around the country on special occasions such as national days due to its spacious, peaceful and pollution-free environment”, he added.

Sajjad Ali, who deals in pesticide spray business, said he prefers to stay in Islamabad with his family due to a number of reasons. “Look this city has more healthcare, education, sports, shopping and entertainment facilities. The literacy rate here is very high. You’ll not find people here poking in others’ businesses”, he added.

“This is also an ideal city for learning and exposure of children as it offers the opportunities to interact with people belonging to different parts of the country as well as the international community”, he added.