Pakistan Travel and Culture

TAAP Appeal to the Prime minister

November 19, 2014 – 5:47 pm

His Excellency Shah Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Honourable President of Pakistan Mr. Mamnoon Hussain Honourable Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr. Nasir-ul-Mulk


TAAP appreciates His Excellency Shah Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, The Khadim-e-Harmain Sharefain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the steps taken to develop and extend the capacity of Harmain Sharefain for the purpose of Muslim Ummah to perform Umrah and Hajj in large numbers. For this the people of Islamic Republic of Pakistan extend their high tribute to His Excellency Khadim-e-Harmain Sharefain. Moreover the officials of Saudi Embassy at Islamabad and Consulate General at Karachi also deserve appreciation for their day and night hardworking and granting large numbers of Umrah Visa by cooperating TAAP and make it possible for large number of pilgrims to perform Umrah.

Approximately over 8 lac people from Pakistan perform Umrah every year, and most of them belongs to lower and middle class families. Due to the introduction of biometric system, not only the financial expenses of Umrah pilgrims will increase but also increase their difficulties. More over the people from all Provinces, Districts, Tehsils and Villages have to appear for Fingerprints at the centers away from their destination. Due to this system the purpose of Kingdom’s for facilitation to the Umrah and Hajj pilgrim may damage the cause and as such a large number of Umrah pilgrims will not be able to proceed to Kingdom for performing Umrah.

Out of 80% of 20 crore population of Pakistan belongs to the far flung areas from Karachi to Kashmir where most of the people are illiterate and wish to perform Umrah by their hard earned savings.

Therefore, the Umrah and Hajj Operators of Pakistan humbly and fervently request and appeal to HIS EXCELLENCY KHADIM-E-HARMAIN SHAREFAIN KING ABDULLAH BIN ABDUL AZIZ, Honorable President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of Islamic Republic of Pakistan that the implementation of condition of the Biometric system for Umrah and Hajj pilgrims who are the guests of Allah may be withdrawn, the visa policy for Umrah Pilgrims may be made easy and in view of the sensitivity of matter ths condition of fingerprints under Etimad (Pvt.) Ltd. may please be waived for Umrah and Hajj pilgrims.

Travel Agents’ Association of Pakistan
Room No. 115, 1st Floor, Central Hotel Building, Merewether Road, Karachi-75530, Pakistan. Ph : 35682748, 35656022 Fax : 92-21-35214614 E-mail: Website:

Hussain Agahi – A neglected shrine of Multan

August 17, 2014 – 8:05 pm

hussain-agahi-shrineMULTAN: Thanks to encroachments, the shrine of Hazrat Syed Husain Shah  Bukhari, commonly known as Husain Agahi, has gone out of sight if not mind.

The shrine is located at the famous ten Husain Agahi Bazaar – the biggest in the Walled City -to the southwest of the old Multan Fort (Qila Kunha Qasim Bagh). Hie market was named after the saint due to his fabled spiritual prowess that could help any of his devotees to start a successful business.

Dr Muhammad Shafiq of the Bahauddin Zakariya University’s History Department says there is hardly any dependable information about the saint but it is believed that people would invoke his blessings before launching any business. And that he would even indicate the location where the shop was to be established

He was recognised by the name of Husain Agahi after many began to believe in his foresightedness.

Syed Ghulam Dastagir, the caretaker of the shrine, says the saint is famous as “jalali” (wrathful) and his shrine has been constructed and reconstructed many times.

He says the saint was the caretaker of Hazrat Bahauddin Zakariya’s horse. There has been no Urs of the saint for more


than a decade, he adds, Sagheer Abbas, a devotee, says encroachments have made the shrine invisible and people seem to have forgotthe saint. — SHAKEEL AHMAD Courtesy Daily Dawn

The majestic Rawat Fort

August 17, 2014 – 7:49 pm

Among the many forgotten relics spread across the dry and arid land of Potohar Plateau is the Rawat Fort, which lies about 18km east of Rawalpindi on G.T. Road. The etymology of the word ‘Rawat’ is said to trace back to the Arabic word ‘reboot’ which mean ‘sarai’ in Urdu – a roadside inn for travellers. Contemporary historians have also concluded that the building’s design resembles a sarai rather than a fort.



Historically, many of these roadside inns lined the G.T. Road and were used by invaders from Central Asia and Afghanistan. According to traditions, Rawat Fort was built by the Ghakkar tribe in 16th century. The region is also said to have been the battleground between the Ghakkar chief Sultan Sarang Khan and Sher Shah Suri in 1546 AD.

rawat-fort-2 rawat-fort3


The central courtyard of the fort contains mined graves, that supposedly belong to the tribal chief and his two sons, who died fighting Sher Shah Suri. The two main entrances open to the east and the west. The walls of the fort are lined with small rooms, perhaps rented out to travellers. A quadrangular building, resembling a baradari, can also be found within the fort, along with a mosque. However, the original shape of the fort has been modified several times as it has gone under renovation and maintenance.




Inqlab March – Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Demands

August 16, 2014 – 9:01 pm

After marching from Lahore to Islamabad in 3 hours Tahir-ul-Qadri has put forth his demands for the sit-down and has announced that he and his supporters will remain in Islamabad until the following demands are met.

List of his demands-

1. Prime-minister Nawaz Sharief and his ministers must resign and be arrested and investigated.

2.  Current assemblies are un-constitutional and must be dissolved as most of the members are tax evaders.

3. After the dissolution of the Assemblies a national government must made which should cunduct national reforms.

4. Every one who is involved in corruption in the country must be strictly investigated

5. National government must provide rights to the poor people of the country and homeless people should be provided homes and a 25 years interest free loan must be given.

6. Every person must be given bread, clothing, and house.

7. Anyone who does not have money for healthcare government should provide him the necessary healthcare.

8. To eradicate illiteracy from the country all children should be given free education and programs for Adult Education must also be started.

9. Those who do not have resources must be given utilities at half price and low income households must be exampt of tax on electricity and gas bills.

10. Women should be provided with home-based (Cottage) Industries.

11. Difference in the salaries of different scales must be rationalized so that social differences may be eradicated.

12. Terrorism must be abolished constitution should be amended to include a clause that no faction of religion should declare other faction a “Kafir” non-believer. Peace centers must be established and textbooks should contain “Peace & Tollerance” as a subject.

13. Minorities must be given equal rights.

14 In comparison to other countries more provinces must be created Including Hazara & Gilgit Baltistan.

15. Local bodies District governments should be created so that citizens problems can be solved at their doorsteps.

16. He said that only 5 people make decisions of all the people of Pakistan which are the Prime minister, and 4 chief ministers, he said thru National government 1 million people will be Included.

17. No corrupt man should be seated on any government job, here the people in power do not get punishment and poors have to suffer the Jails.

18. Villages must be given development in line witht he urban areas.

19. All government offices must be made non-political and balanced and all departments must be non-political.

Spanish mountaineers set new record in Karakoram

August 16, 2014 – 5:25 pm

spanish-mountaineersISLAMABAD: Three Spanish mountaineers conquered the South Tower of Paiju Peak, establishing a new route on the virgin tower and negotiating a 1,000 metres vertical wall never climbed before.

The Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) confirmed that Alberto Inurrategi, Mikel Zabalza and Juan Vallejo spent a little over a month on the 6,050 metres high peak in Gilgit-Baltistan and scaled it on July 26.

The three climbers and their cameraman David Maeztu had to negotiate the ice during their climbing which was strenuous, technically difficult and dangerously unstable ascending from the base camp at 3,400 metres to the camp II at the height of 5,500 metres on the Big Wall.

“This is alpine climbing in the Karakoram, looking for cracks and rock tips that allowed us to climb up the vertical wall to the last 600 metres of ice, rock and snow leading to the top of Paiju Peak. They hang on their ropes for hours, thousands of feet above the ground, relaying only on the metal nails whose safety depends on the skills to fit them,” said ACP’s member executive council, Karrar Haidii.

He described how they had to scale down to sleep, scale back up the following day and so on, gained yards in the wall to find a point to move the
camp suspended along the wall with nails as high as 5,000 metres and higher.

According the ACP, Mikel Zabalza described the virgin tower as very hard technically. This tower has the distinction of having a downhill component with dangers of falling ice and sometimes rocks. One of those moments of dangers hit the team when a rock came down and hit Juan Vallejo’s left shoulder.

The climbers feared the worst but painkillers and an-ti-inflammatory from the emergency medicine kit were in the hammock camp and helped a little.

“Juan Vallejo was not able to last the long climb to the top of the tower with the snow and extremely vertical and fine edge,” said Karrar Haidri, explaining how a barrier of seracs (blocks of ice bigger than a house) falling chunks of ice continuously prevented access to the summit – 6,610 metres – of the Paiju Peak from that side.

Mikel Zabalza summed it up in these words: ‘It would have been suicide and absurd from the point of view of a mountaineer. The climb took a lot out of us in every way, physically and psychologically,” said one of the climbers in their report.

“We climbed to the very limit, the limit of our strength. We have rested almost nothing during the entire expedition and have come to the base camp with our last breath,” said Alberto Inurrategi.

History plaques to be put up in Lahore’s Bhatti Gate

August 9, 2014 – 6:17 pm

After completing installation of history plaques in the Delhi Gate, the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has taken another initiative to place history plaques in the Bhatti Gate.

Under this new project, every monument, haveli, historical place and historical square from Bhati Gate to the Fort Road Food Street will be named as per its old and historical identity.

Sources said boards containing history of all important places will also be installed on the route. All boards have been designed as per international standards and colours, sources said.

A senior official of WCLA said the history of every monument, haveli, historical place and historical square from Bhati Gate till Fort Road Food Street was gathered from authentic books like Naqoosh Lahore Number, Tehqeeqat-e-Chishti, Tareekh-e-Lahore and other archival data. Local residents of the Walled City of Lahore have also been consulted for further authentication, he maintained.

Another senior official said the route included the house of Allama Iqbal, Mohallah Chomalah, house of the legendary singer Rafi, Gurdwara, Oonchi Masjid, the mosque where Peer Inayat Shah Qadri, spiritual father of Bullay Shah, was the Imam. He said that the Fakir Khana Museum and Naqsh Arts Gallery would be marked by placing special plaques.

Bazaar-e-Hakeeman, Tibbi Gali, Sheikhupurian Bazaar and Shajahani Mosque are also amongst other salient landmarks where history plaques will be placed.

He said that special plaques would be set up outside Aziz Theatre, one of the oldest theatres in Lahore, and Pakistan Talkies Cinema, a cinema of British era, to highlight their importance.

Tania Qureshi, Deputy Director Marketing and Media, said WCLA was trying its best to promote tourism through all means and mediums.

“The step will relay information about the places,” she maintained.

Director Marketing Asif Zaheer said, “These boards have been placed to facilitate tourists and visitors. This initiative has been taken up to promote tourism and monuments and important places inside the Walled City. Text on the plaques is bilingual to facilitate all types of tourists i.e. local and international.”

Walled City of Lahore Authority Director General Kamran Lashari told The News the authority was taking initiatives to facilitate tourists and uplift the Walled City. “Previously, we have placed history plaques at the Royal Trail Project inside Delhi Gate. In very near future we will be placing more in the entire Walled City,” he concluded.

Earlier, WCLA restored original names of streets along the recently renovated Royal Trail area in the Walled City. The Royal Trail area comprises important historical buildings including Delhi Gate, Masjid Wazir Khan, Shahi Hamam and Havelis. Officials in Walled City of Lahore Authority said 57 street names had been identified and plates were installed.

6 people on motorbike

August 4, 2014 – 4:05 pm


Teasing the sweet tooth

August 4, 2014 – 3:47 pm

KARACHI: Laddoo, barfi, gulab jamun, churn chum, jalebi … how many sweetmeat, or mithai, varieties, are you familiar with? Which ones are your favourite?

While we have only a few names on our fingertips, there are many kinds of mithai available at sweetmeat shops and sweet marts across the city. Some of these shops aren’t even very big or located in a well-known area. Still it is their speciality in making a certain mithai or the other that earns them popularity.


It may look like some kind of chum chum, but Mohammad Ishtiaq at Dacca Sweets in Gulshan-i-Iqbal says it is something quite different. “Kutcha Gulla, which is more flavour and less sweet. But if you are looking for chum chum, we have something similar but with sweet cream stuffing in the centre. It is called malai karri or malai chum chum though some also call it *malai burger’ ” he says.

kaju-ki-barfiThe shop, opened about 35 years ago, is known to be specialising in Bengali sweetmeats such as paneer barfi, rasgulla, which they pronounce ‘roshugulla’, rasmalai, sandesh and also Dhaka paneer, which is saltish. “Some of the things we sell are also being offered by other sweet marts but customers come from faraway areas for them here to us because they find that others cannot replicate the flavour. Our mithai is made by people of Bengali origin. It’s a rare talent that cannot always be learnt or passed on,” says Abdul Hafeez at the counter.

“But this past Ramazan, wre opened another branch at Ba-hadurabad, which now caters to our Clifton and Defence customers.”

On Sharea Faisal in PECHS Block-6, there is the little Delhi Sweets shop that almost everyone has heard of. Apart from being famous for their halwa-puri and samosa, they are also known for several varieties of halwa. Mohammad Hasnain there says that his most expensive halwa will have to be the one with dates, figs, pistachios, cashew nuts, almonds, walnuts and an assortment of dried fruit all rolled into one. “It costs between Rsl,200 and Rsl,400 per kilogramme but we make it during winter usually as it carries a very warm effect,” he says.

“Otherwise we also have separate halwa for each type of dried fruit. Cashew-nut halwa is for Rsl,000 a kilo.”

At Ambala one comes across Punjabi mithai such as kaiser-pak, which looks like lush grass growing on rich soil. “Well,” smiles Kamil Mohammad Khan, the shopkeeper. “Actually,


it is a layer of kalakand and a layer of habshi halwa topped with khopra, or coconut.”

halwaThough S. Abdul Khalique is famous for several delightful treats, the shop’s speciality list includes pear-shaped malai pera with pistachio filling, nutritious panjiripera and malai
khaja filled with khoya, which all cost Rs620 a kilo.

But their most expensive mithai happens to be the kaju ki barfi or cashew nut barfi. “It’s made from pure crushed cashew nuts and is sold at Rsl,600 a kilo,” says Tariq Iqbal there. “People usually buy it as gifts for ministers.”