Pakistan Travel and Culture

Hunza Serena Inn reopens for the season 2015

March 3, 2015 – 3:40 am

Hunza Serena Inn formerly Hunza Baltit Inn a fine 4 star standard hotel by Serena Hotels has been opened for the season effective 1st March 2015, after closure due to winter season, Hotel says it remains committed to provide the highest standards of service and the finest product in terms of originality and authenticity and ensure that your stay is always a memorable one

Hunza Serena Inn offers 18 standard rooms, 2 deluxe room and 5 luxury tents, all of which are elegantly presented in a fusion of modern style combined with traditional Pakistani heritage and tradition. The Inn has a reputation of serving the best food in the entire valley and proud to play a part in keeping alive the traditions of the local Hunza cuisine.

Hunza Serena Inn is located at a 2-hour drive north of Gilgit in the ancient town of Karimabad, formerly known as Baltit at an elevation of 2,500m (8,200 ft). The Inn stands in a magical setting surrounded by inspiring snowcapped mountains and offers breathtaking views of Mount Rakaposhi, Diran, Golden Peak, Ultar, Lady Finger and the Hunza Valley.

The Hunza Valley not only provides outstanding natural beauty but it is incredibly rich in culture and history. Hunza Serena Inn offers a plethora of unforgettable authentic experiences for adventure, cultural and leisure travellers, check out some programs designed by Serena to visit & Experience Hunza.

Snowfall pictures of today is just for your information.hunza-serena-in-snowfall


Adrian Gonzalez from Mexico hunts Markhor Trophy in Chitral

March 1, 2015 – 2:49 pm

CHITRAL: Mr. Adrian Gonzalez a Mexican trophy hunter successfully hunted the Kashmir markhor in Toshi Shasha conservancy here.

The permission of trophy costed over Rs. 10 million and the Markhor was aged eight years with horns measuring 40 inches.


Range officer of the local wildlife department Irshad Ahmed told the newsmen that the hunter, Adrian Gonzalez, didn’t waste his time to single out the animal of desired length and physique.

“The Mexican national proved to be an expert hunter as he easily shot down the stout and healthy Himalayan goat from a distant range as the slippery pitch didn’t allow him to move further towards the animal,” he said.

Irshad Ahmed said that this was the season’s first trophy hunting while many more hunters were scheduled to arrive during the month of March. He said that the last trophy hunting had been carried out in the conservancy in March, last year when a German boy, Philips Hermann, had hunted a 43-inch“long markhor.

Mr Ahmed said that wildlife department had set up village conservation committees (VCCs) which helped in the conservation of biodiversity. “It is due to this reason that the population of kashmir markhor has comfortable density in the district,” he added.

The wildlife department official said that 80 per cent of the hunting permit fee went to the local community for their collective development.

Mr Ahmed said that the Mexican hunter was facilitated by the office-bearers of Al-Burhan village VCC Shahzada Sikandarul Mulk, and Shahzada Amir Hasanatud Din.

High altitude police unit set up in Gilgit Baltistan

February 23, 2015 – 8:08 pm

GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan Police Department has established a high altitude police unit in order to provide security to the foreign mountaineers and tourists in the region.

According to a GB police press release issued here on Sunday, initially the unit will have 50 policemen, while as many more will be added in due course of time.


“The high altitude police unit has been established for the first time in GB on the directives of Inspector General of Police Zafar Iqbal Awan,” it said.

A police official told Dawn on the condition of anonymity that the personnel of high altitude unit would be sent with the foreign expeditions who come to GB to scale high mountains of the region, including Nanga Parbat, K2 and other famous peaks.

He said that the unit personnel would also provide security to foreign tourists during their stay in sensitive areas of the region, including the Nanga Parbat base camp. In 2013 militants had attacked a high altitude mountaineering base camp at Nanga Parbat, leaving

10 foreign climbers and a local guide dead.

The official said that after the incident many foreign trekking and expedition groups had cancelled their tours to the region because of security concerns. He said that foreigner tourists usually come to the region in summer season and the police had decided to provide security to the mountaineers to avert any untoward incident.

He said that the high altitude police would be properly trained and equipped.
The statement added that the IGP also handed over 12 high altitude kits to the Diamer SP for the policemen to be deployed with foreign mountaineers attempting famous peaks in the region.

Speaking on the occasion, the police chief said that previously the policemen would use normal uniforms, which were incompatible with special situations on high altitude. He said that from now onwards special kits would be procured and distributed among the policemen to safeguard them against frostbite and other hazards.

Karachi Literature Festival Program

February 1, 2015 – 5:04 pm

Karachi Literature Festival Schedule of events for the year 2015

Dates 6,7, and 8 February 2015
Timing: 6 February: 5 to 9 p.m. 7 and 8 February: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Venue : Beach Luxury Hotel, Karachi

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Politics and Personalities of Pakistan:

In Conversation with Najam Sethi Moderator: Agha Ghazanfar JASMINE HALL Kitabi Chehre se Facebook tak: Reading in the Age of TV and Social Media

Haseena Moin, Amjad Islam Amjad, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Zaheda Hina, and Neelofer Abbasi Moderator: Syed Nusrat Ali AQUARIUS HALL He Sang to Our Souls: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Pierre Alain Baud and Nomanul Haq Moderator: Ali Sethi ROOM 007 Book Launch:

Where Worlds Collide: Pakistani Fiction in the New Millennium by David Waterman Muneeza Shamsie Moderator: Framji Minwalla Book Launch: Koozah: Naye Likharion ki Kaawishon ka Intikhab Compiled by Zahra Sabri Maniza Naqvi and Bilal Tanweer Moderator: Harris Khalique PRINCESS ROOM Book Launch: Ballet in the Cane Fields: Vignettes from a Dominican Wanderlogue

Moderator: Omayr Aziz Saiyid TULIP I RED TERRACE Homage to the Artists Marjorie Husain, Amra Ali, Nighat Mir, and Noorjehan Bilgrami Moderator: Durriya Kazi SUNFLOWER ROOM The Art of Bookmaking-Activities with Children Age Group: 5 to 12 years Presented by Oxford University Press

11.15 a-m. • 12.15 Pm. MAIN GARDEN

Book Launch: Benazir Bhutto: A Multidimensional Portrait by Anna Suvorova

Zafar Hilaly, Hussain Haroon, and Syeda Abida Hussain Moderator: Victoria Schofield JASMINE HALL

Can Local Cinema Travel Globally?

Arshad Khan, Sanjay Iyer, Munizae Jahangir, Meenu Gaur, and Tisca Chopra

Moderator: Mazhar Zaidi

The World as the Author Sees it

Aakar Patel, Benyamin, Mohammed Hanif, and Alex Preston Moderator: Sarah Humayun ROOM 007

Book Launch: Fade into Red by Reshma K. Barshikar

Zakia Sarwar Moderator: Arshia Sattar Book Launch:

Baltistan: Apricot Bloom byTariq Alexander Qaiser

Moderator: Iftikhar Salahuddin PRINCESS ROOM Working with the Printed Word Ritu Menon, Ameena Saiyid,

Afzaal Ahmad, Marc Parent, and Karthika V.K.

Moderator: Asif Noorani TULIP/REDTERRACE Book Launch: Rebel Angel:

Asim Butt

Nafisa Rizvi, Zarmeene Shah, and Amean J.

Moderator: Sabeen Mahmud SUNFLOWER ROOM The Art of Bookmaking-Activities with Children Continued

12.30 p.m. -1.30 p.m.


An Eloquent Truth: In

Conversation with Jugnu Mohsin

Moderator: Sahira Kazmi


Book Launch: The Unquiet Ones:

A History of Pakistan Cricket by

Osman Samiuddin

Murad Moosa Khan and

Nadeem F. Paracha

Moderator: Kamila Shamsie


Book Launch: Why I Write: Essays

by Saadat Hasan Manto by Aakar


Nauman Naqvi and Kamran Asdar Ali Moderator: Fahd Ali ROOM 007

Sindhi Afsaana jo Saun Sial

Imdad Hussaini, Manzoor Kohyar, and Akhlaq Ansari Moderator: Sahar Imdad PRINCESS ROOM Cultural Diplomacy Christopher Merrill Moderator: Shayma Saiyid TULIP/REDTERRACE The Future of the Nation in Art Adeela Suleman, Hajra Haider Karrar, Saira Sheikh, and Rashid Rana

Moderator: Quddus Mirza SUNFLOWER ROOM The Art of Bookmaking-Activities with Children

1.30 p.m. – 2.30 p.m.
2.30 p.m. – 3.30 p.m.

The Satirical Pen: In Conversation with Mohammed Hanif

Moderator: Navid Shahzad

JASMINE HALL Compassionate Karachi

Karen Armstrong (on Skype), Pervez Hoodbhoy, Jameel Yusuf, Ishrat Husain, and Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui Moderator: Amin Hashwani AQUARIUS HALL Khayali Shakhs say Muqabala:

In Conversation with Kishwar Naheed and Book Launch: Intikhab-e-Kalam: Kishwar Naheed compiled by Asif Farrukhi Moderators: Muhammad Ahmed Shah and Anwer Sen Roy ROOM 007

Announcement of the KLF Peace Prize Winner PRINCESS ROOM Uncovering History: In Conversation with John Keay Moderator: Nauman Naqvi TULIP I REDTERRACE Art and the Market Sameera Raja, Zohra Hussain, Amin Gulgee, and Abid Merchant Moderator: Saira Sheikh SUNFLOWER ROOM Creative Movement for Children with Nighat Chaodhry
3.45 p.m. -4.45 p.n

Shayer e Awam: Habib Jalib

Asma Jahangir and Aitzaz Ahsan Moderator: Mujahid Barelvi JASMINE HALL Crossing Genres: Transmuting Fiction into Drama Kamila Shamsie, Framji Minwalla, Arshia Sattar, Alex Preston, and Nimra Bucha

Moderator: Muneeza Shamsie AQUARIUS HALL Book Launch: Gender, Politics, and Performance in South Asia compiled by Sheema Kermani, Asif Farrukhi, and Kamran Asdar Ali Jamil Ahmed, Andrea Backhaus, and Shayma Saiyid Moderator: Rumana Husain

ROOM 007

Book Launch: Changing India:

A Muslim Woman Speaks by Iqbalunnisa Hussain Tahera Aftab and Salima Ahmed Moderator: Arif Zaman Book Launch: Urdu Afsanay Intikhab: Syed Rafiq Hussain and Intikhab: Naiyer Masood compiled by Asif Farrukhi

Masood Ashar and Intizar Husain Moderator: Ghazi Salahuddin PRINCESS ROOM IOWA Silk Route Residency Programme

Bina Shah, Shandana Minhas,

Sridala Swami, H. M. Naqvi, and Kavery Nambisan Moderator: Christopher Merrill TULIP / REDTERRACE Crossing Boundaries, Blurring Borders

Quddus Mirza, Sadaf Malaterre, and Frieha Altaf

Moderator: Zarmeene Shah SUNFLOWER ROOM Readings from Our Shaikh Sa’di:

A Selection from Gulistan and Bustan and The Simurgh and the Birds: A Selection from Mantiq-ut-Tayr by Shaikh Farid ud-Din Attar by Fahmida Riaz
5.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.

Freedom’s Niece: In Conversation with Nayantara Sahgal Moderator: Salman Tarik Kureshi AQUARIUS HALL The Changing Face of Pakistani Politics

I. A. Rehman, Asma Jahangir, Syeda Abida Hussain, and Sahar Shafqat Moderator: Mahtab Akbar Rashdi ROOM 007

Book Launch: The Closed Valley: With Fierce Friends in the Pakistani Himalayas and Wrestlers,

Pigeon Fanciers, and Kite Flyers:
Traditional Sports and Pastimes in Lahore by Jurgen Wasim Frembgen

John Keay

Moderator: Asif Noorani PRINCESS ROOM Book Launch: The Emergence of Socialist Thought among North Indian Muslims (1917-1947) by Khizar Humayun Ansari Babar Ayaz

Moderator: Nomanul Haq TULIP / REDTERRACE History and the Histories of Art H. M. Naqvi, Durriya Kazi, and Madeline Amelia Clements Moderator: Seher Naveed SUNFLOWER ROOM Dosti Kitabon Sey by Khaled Anam
6.15 p.m. – 8.15 p.m.

Nizamat: Ambareen Haseeb Amber Anwar Shaoor, Kishwar Naheed, Sahar Ansari, Imdad Hussaini,

Amjad Islam Amjad, Afzal Ahmed Syed, Sabir Zafar, Sahar Imdad, Fatema Hassan, Shaukat Abid,Tanveer Anjum, Attiya Dawood, Ajmal Siraj, Harris Khalique, Aqeel Abbas Jafri, Sarwat Zehra, Inaam Nadeem, Kashif Hussain Ghayar, Zulfiqar Adil, and Salman Sarwat
8.30 p.m. – 9.00 p.m.
MAIN GARDEN Presentation on Indus Raag: Music Beyond Borders

MAIN GARDEN Concert by Fuzon Band
11.15 a-m. • 12.15 P*m. 1 1 12.30 p.m. -1.30 p.m.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

10.00 a.m. -11.00 a.m.
MAIN GARDEN Book Launch: The Political Imagination by Nayantara Sahgal and Out of Line: A Literary and Political Biography of Nayantara Sahgal by Ritu Menon Moderator: Aamer Hussein JASMINE HALL

Sindh Sagar aur Qayam-e-Pakistan: In Conversation with Hamida Khuhro Moderator: Aitzaz Ahsan AQUARIUS HALL Making A Better Pakistan— Screenings of Short Films by Faryal Malik, Alizeh Kohari, Azhar Shan, and Ayoub Mallah followed by Award Ceremony Sabeen Mahmud and Khalid Mahmood Moderator: Pervez Hoodbhoy ROOM 007

Iran—A Story of Emperors and Kings

A Presentation by Iftikhar Salahuddin Moderator: Khalid Mir PRINCESS ROOM Dialogue of Rhythm and Movement: In Conversation with Nighat Chaodhry Moderator: Shayma Saiyid SUNFLOWER ROOM Storytelling by Amra Alam
11.15 a m- ~ 12.15 p.m.
MAIN GARDEN PTV aur Aaj ka Drama

Samina Ahmed, Aamina Sheikh, Sajid Hasan, Sania Saeed, Samira Fazal, Haseena Moin, and Neelofar Abbasi

Moderator: Raju Jamil
JASMINE HALL A Traveller’s Tales: Lahore say Yarkent tak with Mustansar Hussain Tarar

Moderator: Asghar Nadeem Syed AQUARIUS HALL Vitality and Violence: The Chaos that is Karachi followed by Book Launch: Karachi: The Land Issue by Arif Hasan et. al

Nasreen Askari, Maniza Naqvi, and Rumana Husain Moderator: Kamran Asdar Ali ROOM 007

Book Launch: Qurratulain Hyder’s Andaz-e-Bayan Aur edited by Jameel Akhtar

Azra Abbas and Ameena Saiyid Moderator: Arfa Sayeda Zehra Book Launch: Nau Lakhi Kothi by Ali Akbar Natiq Moderator: Mohammed Hanif PRINCESS ROOM Sab Lai o Gohar: In Conversation with Fahmida Riaz and Book Launch: Intikhab-e-Kalam:

Fahmida Riaz compiled by Asif Farrukhi Harris Khalique Moderator: Mujahid Barelvi Meray bhi hain Kuch Khwab: In Conversation with A. Sean Pue and Book Launch: I Too Have Some Dreams: N.M. Rashed and Modernism in Urdu Poetry by A. Sean Pue Asif Farrukhi

Moderator: Sarah Humayun TULIP/REDTERRACE Collector’s Choice

Shakil Saigol, Sherry Rehman, and Muhammad Zeeshan Moderator: Sameera Raja
SUNFLOWER ROOM Dosti Kitabon Sey by Khaled Anam
12.30 p.m. -1.30 p.m.
MAIN GARDEN Looking into the Corridors of Power: In Conversation with Syeda Abida Hussain and Book Launch: Power Failure: The Political Odyssey of a Pakistani Woman Moderators: Irshad Abdul Kadir and Hamida Khuhro JASMINE HALL

The English Language Literatures of South Asia: Do They Interact with Each Other?

Sadaf Saaz Siddiqui, H.M. Naqvi,

and Ritu Menon

Moderator: Muneeza Shamsie


The Constitutional Right to

Education: From Access to Quality

Learning for All

Mosharraf Zaidi, Arfa Sayeda Zehra, Ishrat Husain, Zobaida Jalal, Sabrina Dawood, and Ameena Saiyid Moderator: Baela Raza Jamil ROOM 007

In a Time of Tragedy: Book Launch: A Season for Martyrs by Bina Shah

Moderator: Victoria Schofield PRINCESS ROOM Mental Health in a Troubled City Ayesha Mian, Naeem Sadiq, Haroon Ahmed, and Saadia Quraishy Moderator: Murad Moosa Khan TULIP/REDTERRACE From Other Perspectives Argentinian, Dutch, and Austrian Ambassadors Moderator: Fawzia Naqvi SUNFLOWER ROOM Creative Movement for Children with Nighat Chaodhry
1.30 p.m. – 2.30 p.m.
2.30 p.m. -3.30 p.m.

Transaction or Transformation in Film and TV

Tisca Chopra, Ali Saleem, Sanjay Iyer, and Mira Sethi Moderator: Omayr Aziz Saiyid JASMINE HALL A Dramatic Presentation of the Stories of Manto and Intizar Husain by Feryal Ali-Gauhar Chair: Intizar Husain Moderator: Asghar Nadeem Syed AQUARIUS HALL Gul Chandni: In Conversation with Zehra Nigah

Moderator: Masood Ashar ROOM 007 Mirror of the Mind: In Conversation with Aamer Hussein Moderator: Bilal Tanweer PRINCESS ROOM Book Launch: Kitab-e-Muntashir: Ye Natamam si Eik Zindagi jo Guzri hay by Musadiq Sanwal Mohammed Hanif and Wusat Ullah Khan

Moderator: Hasan Zaidi TULIP / REDTERRACE War Within

Sajjad Ahmed, Hajra Haider, Sonya Schonberger, and Yaminay Chaudhri Moderator: Quddus Mirza SUNFLOWER ROOM Storytelling by Khursheed Hyder

Purani Kahaniyaan, Nayi Dunia:

32 Tales of the Thrones

Intizar Husain, Arshia Sattar,

Arfa Sayeda Zehra, and

Masood Ashar

Moderator: Kishwar Naheed


Atam Katha: In Conversation with

Amar Jaleel

Moderator: Shah Muhammad


ROOM 007

Can ‘Creative Pakistan’ undo ‘Unstable Pakistan’?

Jude Kelly and Sherry Rehman Moderator: Peter Upton PRINCESS ROOM Book Launch: London, Sydney, Tokyo by Mujahid Barelvi Moderator: Rumana Husain Kal kay Angaray Book Launch:

A Rebel and her Cause: The Life and Work of Rashid Jahan by Rakhshanda Jalil

Ritu Menon, Kamran Asdar Ali, and Zaheda Hina

Moderator: Kausar S. Khan SUNFLOWER ROOM Book Launch: Intikhab-e-Kalam: Zahida Khatoon Sherwaniya Compiled by Fatema Hasan Moderator: Fahmida Riaz Book Launch: Educational Crisis and Reform: Perspectives from South Asia by Abbas Rashid and Irfan Muzaffar Sajid Ali

Moderator: Ghazi Salahuddin
Rashid Sami, Khaled Anam, and Shanaz Ramzi

Moderator: Hina Khwaja Bayat JASMINE HALL

Dastaangoi: Tilism e Hoshruba and Extracts from the Works of Deputy Nazeer Ahmed

Fawad Khan and Nazarul Hasan of NAPA


The Legacy of Scheherazade:

Women and Fiction

Bina Shah, Shandana Minhas, Reshma K. Barshikar, and Mira Sethi Moderator: Framji Minwalla ROOM 007 Char Janam ki Katha:

In Conversation with Satyapal Anand

Fatema Hassan Moderator: Harris Khalique PRINCESS ROOM A Celebration of Literature and Art Festivals

Sadaf Saaz, Razi Ahmed, Karthika V.K., Ameena Saiyid, Jude Kelly, and Ulrich Schreiber Moderator: Asif Farrukhi
6.15 p.m. -7.15 p.m.
MAIN GARDEN Closing Ceremony:

Speeches by Ameena Saiyid and Asif Farrukhi

Readings by Zia Mohyeddin
7.30 p.m. – 8.00 p.m.

3.45 p.m.-4.45 p.m. 1

The Complete Performer: In Conversation with Bushra Ansari

Moderator: Nimra Bucha

I q.oo p.m. – 6.00 p.m. 1
Serial aur Soap: Rung Badaltay Dramay

Neelofar Abbasi, Sahira Kazmi,

8.00 p.m. -10.00 p.m.


Popular Classics: The Raag-based Love Songs of Pakistan by Ali Sethi
* The Programme is subject to change without prior notice due to last minute cancellations and other contingencies.

Build a better future with Australian Award

February 1, 2015 – 3:55 pm

An Australia Awards Scholarship is your opportunity to help drive the development of Pakistan and build strong links with Australia.

These prestigious scholarships have been offered by the Australian Government for over 20 years as a fundamental part of the Australian aid program in Pakistan. As an Australia Awards scholar, you can gain an internationally recognised qualification from an Australian university and have the chance to pursue a career in Pakistan that makes a difference. The Australian Government is committed to your success.

Through study and practical experiences you will gain the skills and knowledge to drive economic and social development in Pakistan.

Your Australia Award entitles you to world-class benefits and support, as you undertake your studies.

When you return home, your membership of the Australia Awards Alumni will provide you with a global network of like-minded professionals and an ongoing connection to Australia.

Australia Awards Scholarships Priority Sectors

Australia Awards Scholarships will be offered to individuals with the greatest potential to drive development in the following sectors:

Public health (including maternal, neonatal and child health and nutrition)

Education (including basic education services and early childhood education) Economic growth (including agriculture, rural development, agribusiness and entrepreneurship)

• Governance

• Mining

– Water resource management

The application process is open and competitive, providing equal opportunity to everyone regardless of gender, ethnicity or disability.

gained a new !perspective to my ‘ ideas about social /development and ‘ understood the I concept of sustainable f development in its true ‘ sense.

‘Now I actually know how to challenge the existing situation, ” said one of the Australia Awards Alumni

So if you want the opportunity to build a better future for yourself and your nation, apply for the Australia Awards today.

Five percent of awards are reserved for people living with disabilities, or for those working with people with disabilities.

High priority will be given to those who have not had the opportunity to study/live overseas or directly/indirectly benefit from the Australia Awards program. Female candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.

How to apply

Both online and hardcopy applications are accepted. Interested candidates are advised to choose only one application submission option.

All applicants must ensure that they fall under one of the four profiles and must meet the profile specific eligibility criteria as outlined on the website.

To apply on-line, please visit

To download hard copy application forms, please visit


Applications for Australia Awards Scholarships open on 1 February 2015 & close on 20 March 2015
For queries write to

Chakwal 100 years on, a school searches for its identity

January 25, 2015 – 8:00 pm

he historical edifice of the Government High School No 1 Chakwal, with its embellished turrets and arches, is today perhaps, the only sign of the school’s rich history and lost identity.

Few remember that this school was once called the S.S. Khalsa High School Chakwal and fewer still remember the great men who laid the foundations of this school.


One of the school staffroom walls, like any other government building in Pakistan, bears the portraits of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal. However, on the opposite wall there is a portrait of a Sikh man, with the inscription: S. Harbans Singh Sistani, founding chairman of the S.S. Khalsa High School Chakwal. Similarly, the portrait of Sardar Chet Singh hangs in the principal’s office.

These men were among the five students of Munshi Sant Singh who founded this school in 1910 and named it Sant Singh or S.S. Khalsa School in his honour.

A marble plaque has survived from the time and with Punjabi words etched in it in Gurmukhi script.

“It says that five students of Munshi Sant Singh built this school in the honour of their teacher,” explained Qazi Baqir Waseem, a Punjabi poet who has also taught at this school.

“Before this school was set up, Munshi Sant Singh used to teach students in Chakwal voluntarily and was highly respected in the area,” Sardar Rattan Deep Singh Kohli, the grandson of Sardar Chet Singh told Dawn from New Delhi.

“When five students of Sant Singh decided to come together to set up a school that would educate students in the nearby villages, they decided to name it after him. The foundation school was laid by five people of the area, according to Sikh tradition of Panj Pyaray (five loved ones), laying the foundation stone,” Mr Kohli said.

He said that many other notable Sikhs of the area made financial contributions for the construction of the school. Since there was no reliable mode of transport for students to be able to reach the school from remote villages, a hostel was also built next to the school.

The hostel is walking distance from the school and today it houses classrooms for 6th and 8th grades.

Mr Kohli talked about his grandfather, Sardar Chet Singh, who was a businessman and a philanthropist.

His friend Sardar Harbans Singh Sistani was also a wealthy man and together the two of them contributed to a number of charitable causes, with education being their prime area of interest. The friendship between them was so strong that they had made each other ‘pagri-badal’ (turban-exchange) friends, Mr Kohli said.

The turban in Punjab is a symbol of honour and Punjabi men exchange turbans as a sign of respect and strength of ties.

“In 1918 when the S.S. Khalsa School was up and running, my grandfather took up the task of building another high school in Munday, our ancestral village,” he said.

Sardar Chet Singh named this school after his father Sardar Hira Singh. Here too, a hostel, bigger than the one in Chakwal was built next to the school. Today this school is known as Government High School, Munday. Sardar Chet Singh also built a hospital in this village.

The schools built by Sardar Chet Singh were educating
hundreds of students in Chakwal and adjoining areas when India gained independence in 1947 and the independent state of Pakistan was born.

The bloody riots that broke out, forced people to leave their homes and the S.S. Khalsa High School was shut down.

“After the school was shut, authorities turned it into an Exit and Reception Centre where people who were leaving Pakistan for India gathered before they were sent to the other side of the border.

Similarly, Muslim migrants from India were housed here before being allotted houses,” said Qazi Baqir Waseem.

According to him, the S.S. Khalsa School remained closed for two years after which the Government School Chakwal was moved to this building.

S.S. Khalsa’s name was removed.

The school was rechristened Government High School Chakwal.

Later, in 1992 this school was renamed to Government School No.

1 Chakwal.

Sardar Chet Singh and Sardar Harbans were also forced out of their homes and settled in Delhi.

Soon after settling down, the first thing they did was opening another school. They acquired three acres of land in Amar colony, in Lajput Nagar Delhi and laid the foundation of a school which they named ‘S.S. Khalsa Senior School Secondary School (Chakwal)


Although now in Delhi, the name of this new school included the word Chakwal in brackets, paying homage to the beloved homeland they had left behind.

“This new school operates to this day, educating 1,300 students free of charge,” Mr Kohli said.

He said that the school educates underprivileged students and does not discriminate on the basis of religion.

Back in Chakwal, the S.S. Khalsa School educated a number of notable students, among them the renowned Urdu writer Colonel Mohammad Khan, former chief minister of Punjab Arif Nakai and many high ranking civil and military officers. Brigadier Akmal, the current Military Secretary of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, also studied in this school.

The grandsons of Chet Singh – Sardar Rattan Deep Singh Kohli and Sardar Harbans Singh – were invited by the Old Students Association of Government High School No. 1 Chakwal for the school’s centenary celebrations.

When the two men arrived from across the border and saw the marble plaque with the names of their grandfathers, they were overwhelmed by emotion. Today, an international border and hundreds of miles separate them from their ancestral land and the legacy of their grandfathers. They kissed the plaque, unable to hold back their tears.

Meanwhile, the Old Students Association members were somewhat embarrassed.

“We had nothing to show our distinguished guests from India, the original name of the school had been removed, and a market and a bus stand had encroached upon school property,” said one member of the association.

“Sardar Chet Singh and Sardar Harbans Singh were great benefactors. Chakwal owes a huge debt to them which can only be repaid by restoring the school to its original name,” said Yunus Awan, Old Students Association president.

“I hope that one day both the schools in Chakwal and Munday are restored to their original names,” said Mr. Kohli.

SARDAR Harbans Singh Sistani (L) and Sardar Chet Singh (R), the founders of the school. — Photos by the writer

Celebrations of Pak-China Year of Friendly Relations launched

January 24, 2015 – 1:34 am

pak-chinaBEIJING: The celebrations of Pakistan-China Year of Friendly Relations 2015 were launched here Monday at a ceremony co-hosted by Tsinghua University and China-Pakistan Institute.

The event was attended by leading luminaries from China and Pakistan actively associated with promoting friendship between the peoples of the two countries.

The event also coincided with the 5th birth anniversary of Pakistan China Institute.

Speaking to the gathering, Ambassador Masood Khalid said that the sentiment that China is a true friend of Pakistan as it remains deeply etched in the hearts and minds of Pakistani people.

With the relationship having successfully weathered several decades since independence of the two countries, the Chinese, young and old, consider Pakistanis to be their iron brothers and closest friends, he said, adding that the friendship is deeper than the oceans, higher than mountains and sweeter than honey.

In the years to come, he said this friendship was bound to blossom further,remain ever green and reap dividends for our future generations.

Ambassador Khalid said that the two countries had broken new grounds of cooperation. Pakistan and China were working on the mega project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which had become an important policy instrument for regional connectivity and regional integration and was also in line with the vision of President Xi Jinping to revive the old Silk Route through operationalization of Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

The Silk Road economic belt would connect different regions and civilizations, enhance trade, economic growth and common prosperity. By linking the Gwadar Port via the Karakorum Highway with Xinjiang, the economic corridor would prove to be a game changer. Pakistan would serve as a bridge for China with Middle East, Africa and Europe, for its trade and energy requirements.

These transportation routes would greatly reduce the distances for China’s trade that is being done through Indian Ocean and the Malacca Straits, he added.

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong said that China-Pakistan relations had become an example of state to state relations. In year 2014, China-Pakistan relations had made great strides. China was now preparing to set up a new Consulate General in Lahore and a Confucius Institute in Faisalabad, in addition to the China Cultural Centre located in Islamabad.

He said both countries looked forward to have further exchanges of visits, to have more high level contacts to promote mutual friendship and cooperation in various fields including politics, economy and people to people contacts.

He said China Pakistan Economic Corridor would be further promoted, particularly cooperation in trade, investment, energy and communications would be strengthened.

He said that a series of activities especially between legislatures, parties, local governments, youth, think tanks, to further promote mutual cooperation giving a solid foundation to build on, had been planned.

Senator Mushahid Hussain, who is also the head of the Pakistan China Institute (PCI), said that the day was special as the year of China-Pakistan friendship was being launched and also the 5th birth anniversary of Pakistan China Institute was being celebrated.

He said that his institute was the first non-governmental initiative of the two neighbours and strategic partners, that took the initiate of introducing Chinese language classes, in holding the first Pakistan, China , Afghanistan trilateral Dialogue and launched President Xi Jinping’s book “The Governance of China,” in Islamabad.

Zhao Baige, Vice Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress, Director of Tsinghua International Centre for Communication Professor Li Xiguang, Zhao Baige, Vice Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of NPC,Zhai Huisheng, Party Secretary and Executive President of All China Journalists Association, Ai Ping, former Vice Minister of the International Department of CPC, Sun Weidong, Ambassador of China to Pakistan, Senator Mushahid Hussain, Chairman, China-Pakistan Institute, Ambassador Sha Zukang, President, China – Pakistan Friendship Association, Prof Li Xiguang, Director, Tsinghua University Center for Pakistan Culture and Communication Studies and Ambassador Masood Khalid were the key participants on the occasion.

Tourists throng Murree to enjoy snowfall

January 17, 2015 – 8:27 pm

ISLAMABAD: Local Tourists from around Pakistan have thronged to Murre to see the Snowfall in in Murree and surrounding hills on Tuesday.

Despite the fact there were no vacations, holiday or weekend, a large number of people, especially from the urban areas of Punjab and Karachi, traveled to Murree to enjoy the snowfall.

The hotels and resorts including Bhurban, New Murree, Kashmir Point, Pindi Point, Mall Road and Ayubia were fully booked.

Galyaat, Hazara and Bhurbhan received more snow as compared to Murree city. All restaurants were packed with tourists and the demand of woollies also went up, as mercury has gone below the freezing point. A great crowd was observed at hotels and place for eatables, where people were enjoying hot food and hot drinks to keep themselves warm. Businessmen and shopkeepers of the city seem happy to see increased business activity. “I am enjoying the weather here,” said a visitor Raza Baloch. “We are spending good family time and the children are especially happy,” adding “Murree has enjoyable entertainment facilities he lauded the civic body for construction of numerous attractive picnic spots.”

Jamshed Ali, a visitor from Lahore, while talking to APP, said Murree has all the facilities for enjoyment. “I am here today with my family and enjoying this awesome weather,” he added. The local administration should develop these areas further with additional facilities to attract visitors and promote tourism, he said.

Mushtaq Ahmed, another tourist from Karachi complained that eatables, woollies and other accessories available there to beat the cold weather were too much expensive. The shopkeepers are exploiting the situation and fleecing the customers, he said.
Meanwhile, traffic police has issued a travel advisory for tourists planning to visit Murree while the hill station is having snowfall. Talking to APP, a senior traffic official urged APP that motorists should avoid using Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)-run and old model vehicles to ensure safe journey to the mountainous resort where people from across the country throng to see scenic beauty of Malka-e-Kohsar. He said the traffic police have stopped movement of heavy vehicles on the roads leading to Murree to avoid any untoward incident as the road becomes slippery after and during snowfall.

He further stressed motorists to use tyre chains as it ensures better road grip, minimising the risk of slipping.

The commuters were perplexed that as various roads had proper drainage system, the rainwater was flowing on the roads, not only damaging them but also creating problems for the commuters. They demanded that the civic bodies should rectify the situation.