bridge is falling down!
to Sir Ganga Ram
PIFD thesis exhibition catered to a Pakistan
— centred market largely
By Fatima Rahman
The exhibition put on by
the graduating class of Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design (PIFD)
testifies to the creativity, style and hard work of its graduating class that
has set a high bar for future graduates. The exhibition featured an
impressive display of creativity, style and ingenuity in the students’
clothing, jewellery, furniture and textile collections.
The diverse body of work in
the exhibition showed a grounding and appreciation of art forms from all
around the world from the mainstream aesthetic to the avant-garde. The
clothing line displayed by the students incorporated both traditional and
contemporary elements and offered the comfort of convention without
sacrificing their modern edge.
ethnic cultures, architectural movements, and pop-culture and high couture.
One of the collections that stood out was Shahzadey Syed’s designs that
sought to emulate the clear cut, minimalist lines of modern skyscrapers in an
edgy line of monochromatic outfits. On the whole the outfits presented by the
graduating class were based on concepts of inner validation, women
empowerment, meditation, neo-nomadic lifestyle, changing seasons, effects of
drugs and tribal life.
Particularly moving was a
collection based on individual struggles of the designer. It arrested the
viewer’s attention by contrasting vibrant yellows against a backdrop of
rustic nuts and bolts bringing to mind the vitality and joy of artistic
creation that can break through the mechanical mould of the everyday.
The textile designs by the
students were just as innovative and went beyond the usual floral fare that
grace Liberty shops galore. Students displayed textiles that were new and
unique to the Pakistani market and sparked interest of a diverse group of
buyers from Lahore Gymkhana, restaurants, to schools and to the middle and
upper class homes. Student’s designs featured elegant curtains, tapestries
and fabrics that were unique but retained their affordability for their
target markets. The designs were well researched and surveys were conducted
to cater to a Pakistan centered market, though some designs also catered to a
foreign market. One collection that is worth the mention is Maria Shafi’s
display of designer knitwear, which is new to the Pakistani fashion industry.
The jewellery collections
were equally promising and showed the students of PIFD to be well grounded in
traditional South Asian techniques as well as new techniques that have been
developed in the intricate art of jewellery making. Aamina Karim Malik had
created stunning jewellery centered on the theme of fluid and continuous
nature of life. Her collection included exquisite silver pieces garnished
with sapphire and cubic zirconia while her classmate Ayesha Ahmed’s
collection centered on the rawness of nature as she used uncut stones and
pumice rocks to embellish her jewellery. Ayesha Qadeer’s jewellery
collection drew inspiration from ‘bubbles’ and had explored the art of
glass blowing and twisting to make glass ornaments a technique that is new to
the Pakistani market. One of the quirkiest, and in my view the best thought
out collection was Qurat ul Ain Ali’s jewellery line titled ‘Nervous
habits’. The collection recognised the nervous twitch that many of us have
developed and how fingering our necklaces or twisting our rings offer us a
comfort and a refuge. What the jewellery line promises is that we can
continue to fidget without cramping our personal style.
The collections also
offered a critique on the political climate of the country as jewellery
designs that combined
both English and Urdu letters to create a graffiti of words like ‘speak
up’ and ‘Jago’.
Five outstanding graduates
offered us practical, durable and innovative furniture designs. The designs
offered new insight into furniture and highlighted the emotional response
that furniture elicits. Of particular interest was Aisha Masood’s take on
‘green’ environmentally friendly design.
Eucalyptus trees, mainly
used for making matchsticks and tissue paper in Pakistan, were used as the
raw material for creating stylish furniture. The pieces featured came across
as a viable option for coffee tables and even wooden flooring in the near
future. “I would love to have my wooden floor made of wood from Eucalyptus
trees using this technique,” said an onlooker who too was taken in by the
idea. Other displays included classroom design tables, illusion furniture
that aimed to stimulate the brain and furniture that aimed at bridging the
gap between culture and industry.
The new crop of fashion
designers from PIFD promised to be interesting and innovative artists that
will join the fashion industry. The thesis exhibition was judged by notable
art and fashion personalities Salima Hashmi, Aram Naeem, Amin Gulji, Nilofer
Shahid, Kamiar Rokni as well as faculty members of PIFD, Principal Hina
Tayyab and Yasir Waheed. The exhibition stirred considerable interest in its
visitors and they will look for bolder and better designs from the next batch
of PIFD designers.
— Photos by Zoya Luqman
Who says Pakistan is a
backward nation; its natives live in the past and have no concern about their
future? On the contrary, I think they form one of the very few nations who
are always thinking of the future. What’s happening today and what they
have left behind is hardly of any significance. It’s the future they
target, and when it arrives it becomes present, and goes waste due to the
disregard they have for it.
From a barber to a general
store owner and an academician to a businessman or a civil servant, every
other person has unique forecasts and prophecies to make. They attribute the
information they have to some very well-informed source, a person presumably
too close to the people who matter or take a decision or even the
decision-makers themselves. How did they get access to these people is always
Those who don’t boast of
their connections claim to have God-gifted instincts, an inner eye or
intuitive powers to see in the future or experience to analyse existing
situations and foresee what lies in store.
But the most conspicuous
and vocal are the people who make predictions out of habit. I remember a
distant relative who made a prediction at a wedding dinner back in early
2009. Addressing a group of 30 or so guests during the stereotype photo
session with the bride and the bridegroom, he had said: “Lo ji Gilani te
gaya.” He was referring to the exit of former prime minister Yousaf Raza
Gilani from power and dissolution of the assembly.
His prediction proved true
but only after a lapse of good three and a half years. I am dead sure the
next time we meet he will walk with his head high and talk endlessly about
his abilities to predict about future. Being an affluent businessman and fond
of having admirers around him even at a financial cost, he will definitely
have many supporters in his camp.
These supporters will come
up with excuses such as “he had not given any timeframe” etc etc but
there would be no one to say these predictions are just like telling a
seriously ill person that he will die before the age of 100, or a child that
he will grow moustache before he’s 25.
Anyways, one thing is for
sure; this “futuristic lot” is not always forcing itself on others. In
fact, there’s a lot of space for them and acceptability among general
public for them. Sometimes they are approached and asked to talk on the
future of politics, country, or the never-ending battles between the good and
evil forces just to kill time but on other occasions for serious business.
Here I would mention the
case of a well-sought-after person, popularly known as Saieen Mehboob, who
was known for making perfect predictions about the matchability of
likely-to-be-wed couples. He was so popular that even marriage bureaus used
to get clearance from him on behalf of their clients. Naturally, he had his
admirers, one of whom was known to me. Someone told me Saieen Mehboob had
been divorced twice. So, I asked his admirer if he could not predict about
his own marriage why do people believe in him so much. The answer that
abruptly came was: “You cannot pick lice from your own hair, but you can
definitely relieve others of them.”
Shocked at this strange
analogy, I decided to abandon the debate and move on to a totally different
topic or he would have come up with another one such as: “You cannot touch
the tip of your nose with your own tongue, but you can definitely taste the
nose of another person.”
A strange irony is that
some people who are insane or mentally unstable are expected to have better
knowledge of future. I have also heard about a mad person who hurls abuses
and invectives at whoever comes to ask him for guidance. A friend told me the
recipients of abuses take them as a blessing and calculate their lucky
numbers on this basis and capitalise on them for a prosperous future. They
simply apply a mathematical formula on the numbers associated with different
alphabets used in the word or words comprising an abusive phrase or phrases.
A person’s maternal relations are undoubtedly an integral part of such
Coming back to the normal
and not so ‘pohnchay huway’ (spiritually endowed) people, most of us
would agree that our talks mostly focus on the likely timeframe of elections,
winding up of the ruling set-up, arrival of pre-monsoon, monsoon and
post-monsoon rains, Pakistani teams’ winning or losing of toss at the start
of a match, falling of the first of Ramzan on whichever date according to the
Gregorian calendar and what not. (This question is asked months before the
sighting of Ramzan moon).
My simple reply would be,
“It’s for the first time I have seen a person so curious to know about
the date when his detention begins. Normally people are concerned about their
date of acquittal.”
Obviously, this habit of
worrying and talking only about future will not go easily. So, as a first
step, why don’t people divide their time equally and talk simultaneously
about their past, present or future? Thinking about tomorrow is not bad but
why waste time on things which are not in one’s control.
*Play: Anwar Maqsood's 'Pawnay
14 August' at Alhamra, The Mall till July 17.
'Vision in Light' opening today at Nairang Art Gallery. The exhibition will
continue till July 20.
*Pashto Poetry Reading and
discussion at Café Bol on Friday, July 20 at 7:00 pm.
*Photography Exhibition at
Alhamra, The Mall till July 18. Its Pakistan's first ever Forest Photography
Exhibition organised by Engro Polymer & chemicals.
*Comedy Junction: at The
Knowledge Factory (TKF) every Sunday at 7:30 pm till July 29.
*Faiz Ghar Summer Cultural
School till July 13 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.
*Urdu Baithak/Sing along
sessions: "Story hour" for children 5 years and above every Sunday
from 5.00 to 6.00 pm at Faiz Ghar.
*Ballet Basic Course till
July 30 at The Knowledge Factory (TKF).
A pedestrian bridge
in Shahdara, in place for over a decade, is corroding and with the monsoon
already here, it poses danger not only to all who walk over it but also those
who pass by it. Hundreds of automobiles pass beneath this pedestrian bridge
daily. With rusting ends and corrosion spreading to the girders that support
this bridge above the ground, time can only tell the fate this bridge will
With the recent collapse of
the pedestrian bridge in the Harbanspura area in Lahore which claimed the
life of a truck driver, are we certain that such an accident will not occur
To report this to the
authorities concerned TNS contacted a number of people in different
departments such as LDA, TEPA and City District Government, only to learn
that the maintenance of these bridges is nobody’s responsibility in
“Such a case has not come
to our notice yet. Moreover, the Lahore Development Authority is no longer
responsible for any overhead pedestrian bridges. The ones we installed on
Ferozepur Road have been removed due to safety concerns. The authorities
dealing with overhead pedestrian bridges nowadays are the City District
Government Lahore (CDGL) and the Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (TEPA),
so might as well ask them,” explained an official of the LDA who refused to
reveal his name as he clarified the position of his agency.
There are several questions
that remain. Why is there no one particular department or agency responsible
for the maintenance of such overhead bridges across Lahore?
The LDA, TEPA, The Ring
Road Construction Authority and God knows what, are all simultaneously
‘supposedly’ looking after the maintenance of overhead bridges spread
throughout the city. If so many agencies are simultaneously responsible for
maintenance of these overhead bridges, an overlapping of responsibilities is
bound to occur. At the end nobody is held responsible.
Only after installing these
bridges on the Ferozepur Road did our government realise they were more of a
threat than a utility. Is tax-payers’ money worth such experimentation?
A TEPA official Zaarak Khan
explained, “The contractor is responsible for the maintenance of these
bridges in the first year. After that we take over. Our officials visit these
bridges from time to time, and in some cases, citizens have even reported
mishaps which have alerted us.”
Khan failed to specify how
often the bridges are inspected. He insisted TEPA alone wasn’t responsible
for monitoring the condition of the bridges; rather construction companies
and sub-agencies also monitored these bridges.
The government must fix
responsibility on one department so that facilities installed today do not go
waste tomorrow. After all, prevention is better than cure.
With neon strip
lights, groovy graffiti on the walls with LCD television playing bollywood
pop videos and hip-hop music beats in the background, this is what my eye
captured as I entered a local shisha café situated in Lahore. Inside the
lounge-like cafés, sweet fragrant smoke filled the air.
There I met a shisha
addict, Mustehsan Raza. For Raza ,18, smoking shisha is a perfect way to
unwind in an evening. “Trends on how to spend our leisure time are now
changing everywhere. The choice on why we do what we do is because of the
need that we feel at the moment. I come to a shisha lounge because it’s the
perfect way to socialise with friends and relax.”
He ignored the fruity
shisha flavours and ordered a stronger, traditional pipe – one with less
scent and more tobacco.
Shisha is particularly
relaxing because of the atmosphere in which it is taken. Moreover, shisha
offers a much more wholesome experience than cigarettes, its smokers say. One
session of shisha smoking is said be equivalent to inhaling 100 to 200 times
the volume of cigarettes, according to a report by World Health Organisation.
“If you look at the
impact of taking shisha out of this culture, you’re talking about
disrupting and destroying a whole pattern of community activity,” protests
Raza as he inhales deeply through the water-pipe in which the scented tobacco
is burnt using coal, passed through an ornate vessel.
The sociable nature of
shisha smoking makes it popular amongst young people; especially students.
Surpassing traditional gender stereotypes, shisha smoking is evenly
distributed between both sexes. The reason why shisha smoking integrates so
well into student life is because it is relatively inexpensive and gives an
opportunity to socialise.
Peer pressure majorly
influences such activities, especially for adolescents beginning to gain
independence. Participation in such activities induces a feeling of group
acceptance. Shisha smoking was widely seen as ‘relatively harmless’ which
can be attributed to general ignorance. There is limited knowledge regarding
the long-term medical complications of shisha smoking and its addictive
nature, however, there is increasing evidence showing some serious health
risks. It not only increases chances of cancer, tuberculosis, heart diseases,
infection and bacteria from sharing mouth pieces but also reduces male
fertility. Moreover, it is said some café walas were mixing drugs in shisha
to give a high and were caught doing so which created much hue and cry.
Passive smoking of shisha
is also a common concern. Exposing non-smokers to second hand smoke goes
against their rights as Prohibition of smoking and Protection of nonsmokers
Health Ordinance of 2002 supports this argument by banning smoking in public
places. The definition of public places is often challenged by smokers, but
the Article 2(c) of this ordinance clearly defines it and includes
auditoriums, buildings, health institutions, amusement centres, restaurants,
public offices, court buildings, cinema halls, conference and seminar halls,
eating houses, hotel lounges, other waiting lounges libraries, bus stations
or stands, sports stadiums, educational institutions, libraries and other
such places which are visited by general public.
The Lahore High court on
Wednesday clarified that shisha fell within the definition of ‘smoking’
in Prohibition of smoking and Protection of nonsmokers Health Ordinance of
2002. Smoking shisha is allowed but not in public places. And since shisha
cafe is a public place, the shisha cafes which continued to serve shisha in
rude defiance of the official orders issued by the DCO under article 144 of
Code of Criminal Procedure, need to stop serving it. Café owners led to a
last ditch battle to exempt shisha from ban by proposing that they should be
allowed to serve shisha in enclosed cabins or smoking in outdoor portions but
LHC rejected that petition too.
This judgment is not well
received by shisha smokers and many people anticipate that not serving shisha
in cafes would cause shisha smoking to eventually fade away, ending the
shisha pandemic. However, the cafes are no longer required to facilitate the
smoking as shisha is widely available. It is a sad reality that if they are
not allowed to smoke shisha in cafes the youth will turn to alternatives, and
start smoking in private places such as homes and cars, once they master the
art of assembling shisha.
At last, the
citizens of Lahore woke up to pay homage to a true son of the soil whose
contributions to the city are immense. I am referring to none other than Sir
Ganga Ram, a philanthropist par excellence. Many decades have passed but his
legacy continues to be a beacon of light especially for the people of Lahore.
Ganga Ram Hospital is just one example. Sadly, Lahorites are not aware of the
services of their benefactor. Therefore, it was decided by some people to pay
respect to Ganga Ram on his death anniversary that falls on July 10.
Under the banner of
‘Friends of Sir Ganga Ram’, a handful of people belonging to different
spheres of life gathered at the Samadhi which is located off Ravi road, in
the lane behind the shrine of Baba Chatri Wala.
There were few writers,
journalists, activists, lawyers, etc who made it a point to be there in the
evening. Basically, the idea was floated by Qamar Mehdi and his friend Sami
Sahib. Qamar Mehdi, who is from Lok Rahs, was all praise for the gigantic
services of Sir Ganga Ram. “The Samadhi of Ganga Ram needs to be taken care
of and this spacious space should be used for literary and cultural
activities. It is sad that we have totally forgotten the philanthropy of
Ganga Ram. Few years back, his granddaughter came to Pakistan and bore all
the expenses of the Emergency department of the hospital. “We are still
using the electricity produced by Ganga pur grid station near Okara”, Qamar
Some people of the area
also gathered there on seeing the activity at the Samadhi. Human Rights
activist and publisher Amjad Saleem distributed leaflets and snaps of Ganga
Ram among the visitors. He also spoke briefly about the achievements of Ganga
Ram. There was a consensus among all the participants that the birth
anniversary of Ganga Ram should be celebrated too which falls in April.
Floral wreaths were offered at the Samadhi as a symbolic gesture to pay
homage to the true benefactor of Lahore. Starting his career as an assistant
engineer, Ganga Ram designed Lahore Museum, Aitchison College, Ganga Ram
Hospital, Hailey College of Commerce, Lady Mclagan School and many more. He
purchased acres of barren land and turned it into fertile land by using his
engineering skills. There is a faint hope that more and more people will
start taking interest in the contributions of this giant.
— Altaf Hussain Asad
ticketing to get rid of long queues is not only for Motorway now. If you live
in Lahore’s Cantonment Board jurisdiction you can also enjoy the
e-ticketing to quickly pass through a separate lane at the entry check points
of Pakistan Army.
The sticker system, an
exclusive right of permanent residents of cantonment, was started about three
months ago to facilitate those who live in a well guarded army jurisdiction.
The cantonments of Pakistan
Army are taking special security measures in the wake of terrorists’ attack
on military and police forces everywhere in the country. The authorities are
guarding these areas through special checkposts, scanning every vehicle
entering in the area.
People have to wait for
long for the scanning in the rush hours to enter the cantonment. Now, for the
past few weeks, the residents, after a long time, have been offered this
sticker system to save their time as they, while living in the area, have to
move around and leave and enter the place many times a day, an official said.
This is for both army and civilian residents.
The residents, thousands in
number in the jurisdiction of Lahore Cantonment, are a bit happy because of
this offer of the forces.
“We are suffering from
this security phobia for many years and finally we have got this concession
to get a sticker if we are resident,” says Iftikhar Ahmad, 45, a
businessman and a permanent resident of Cantonment Board. He says the
residents have been calling for such steps for quite some time.
“Since we are living here
and are sure that this security situation will continue as news of terrorists
attacking forces come in almost everyday from different parts of the country,
we have compromised our civic rights to a great extent,” says Hassan Ali,
35, another civilian resident of Cantonment Board. “We have rather been
forced to surrender these rights for their and our benefit. In these
circumstances, I think such facilities are good to some extent to pacify the
affected community living under restrictions and constraints.”
Brigadier Nazeef Ahmed,
Station Commander Lahore Cantonment, talking to The News on Sunday, said they
started this e-ticketing system on residents’ demand to save time on the
entry check points. “E-tickets, started recently, are available on five
main entry points of the cantonment, exclusively to permanent residents and
people whose offices are in the cantonment.”
He says the Board has opted
a proper verification and scrutiny system for the applications to issue
e-ticket. To get the sticker it is mandatory that the person be a permanent
resident or runs his own business in the cantonment and must have the car in
his own name. Currently, e-ticket is being issued to cars only. No motorbike
or any other type of vehicle is eligible for the e-ticket.
The e-ticket is issued for
a year and it takes around 30 seconds to get scanned on the specific lane on
the entry points.
He further says these
specific lanes are just to save time but they are not exempted from any
random or sometime compulsory checking of the car. “We can cheek these
sticker-pasted cars randomly and sometimes the whole lane is thoroughly
checked. Also, other than rush hours like late night till early morning that
lane is also opened for cars without stickers.”
The authority says that at
the moment a couple of thousand stickers have been issued after proper
verification and around 3,000 applications are in the process of
verification. The Cantonment Board has started it on the entry points from
Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Jail Road, Mall Road, Mian Mir and Cavalry