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Islamabad will never be the same again
07-30-2009, 08:26 AM
Post: #1
Islamabad will never be the same again
People visiting the capital after a long time are in for a shock

Thursday, July 30, 2009
Myra Imran


The notion that Islamabad would never be the same again is fast becoming a reality as some of its landmarks have disappeared from its face giving way to multi-storey commercial plazas and roads.

One such spot that no more exists on ground but still lives in the heart of people is the Siraj Covered Bazaar in G-6 that was brought down, the quiet market place is now a future site for a commercial plaza.

The bazaar was once considered to be the best spot to shop for household things and also one of the most famous shopping places for foreigners.

The attractions the place offered were numerous — it housed Islamabad’s biggest fish shop where one could find literally any species of fish from Salmon to Red Snapper and from Pomfret to Prawns.

Similarly, the vegetables often sold slightly higher than the going rate, were guaranteed fresh, as were the poultry products. The market also had one of the town’s leading tailors doing business besides top grocers and picture-framers. All of them have since moved to different markets.

The Nafdec Cinemas in Blue Area, a short distance away from the Siraj Covered Bazaar, where once echoed the voice of James Bond would come down too. This is going to be another heartbreaking scene for those who were frequent visitors to these cinemas. The coffee shop inside the complex used to draw people from far-off sectors, so good was the product and so great the atmosphere.

It was not just the coffee though — the movies screened were often the stuff from the top drawer, no wonder that people thronged the cinemas, on weekends more so. Those were the good old days — no fears of a bomb going off here or an explosion wrecking the peace there.

But gone are those beautiful days, gone too is the thick creamy coffee, as the complex awaits the monstrous machines to pierce through the very walls once adorned by pictures and posters of movies being played and attractions yet to come. Although the death of these twin cinemas came years ago — the complex today presents a picture of a ghost house where a 25-storey building is likely to come up.

Ironically, no tears were shed and no voice was raised to protect these landmarks to keep alive the old look of the city along with the new development plans.

Along with these two most prominent features of the city, there are those smaller landmarks that too have disappeared with time. An old tower-like milestone along the AK Fazal-e-Haq Road that stood there for almost four decades has fallen victim to development. Also gone are scores of the old bus stop sheds that could easily have been preserved and protected.

Petty as they might appear, protecting them would have provided a glimpse into Islamabad’s past to a generation in the fast lane. Going fast is exciting, going slow and stopping by to look around is even more thrilling but only if there’s something worth looking at!
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