Although I left Pakistan almost a year ago now, I am still in contact with people there. I followed the run-up to the recent election (May 2013) with interest and noticed that many people had placed their hopes in Imran Khan and his relatively new party. I actually did wonder for a time if Shahid Afridi, Pakistan’s other great cricketing hero would throw his hat in to the political arena, but he didn’t, although given his volatile temperament, he would have made things interesting.
Now that Nawaz Sharif is back in the saddle one wonders if things will improve for the ordinary people of Pakistan. I have to say that the Sharif brothers (Nawaz’s brother is governor of the Punjab province) did do some things for the people such as subsidising the price of flour so that rotis were cheaper from the tandoors, and there were fresh vegetables and meat sold cheaply at outdoor markets during the month of fasting – Ramzan – which will be upon Muslims all over the globe in June.
I received some photos today which I thought I’d share on this blog. They were taken in Murree the hill station as it was under the British Raj. Today people from the Punjab plains and from further afield in Pakistan flock there to escape the searing heat. Yesterday it was only 18ºC there. (There is a temperature gauge so you can reassure yourself that it is not as hot as in the rest on the Punjab, located close to the Anglican Church.) A friend also sent me a message, saying that it had rained a few days ago and that was sheer bliss. Living in south Wales at the moment (How Green is my Valley? Depends on the rainfall; but lush verdant green at the moment!) I wish I could send her some of the rain and cold temperatures we are suffering even at the end of May – 6 ºC two days ago!
I loved poking around in the shops that sell dried fruit, nuts and perhaps spices and wondering what some of them are. I didn’t know that there were so many types of date, for example. I found the white ones particularly good!
The thing that most upsets me in Pakistan is seeing small children ferreting around in rubbish to find things that they can sell. I guess the kachnar trees are in flower now, so they can’t scrape a living by selling the much-coveted buds. At least in Muree there are bins for rubbish along the Mall Road, and no unsightly dumps close to the roads as there are elsewhere in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. It upsets me that young children don’t go to school because their parents can’t afford uniforms, shoes and books. Some people set up schools for such children but these are funded by their generosity and that of their friends and not by the state – remember though that Pakistan is a nuclear power. It doesn’t seem to have a reliable electricity source but it has the atomic bomb.
I guess I should stop here as you clearly understand how I feel. Take a look at the pictures here and on my other posts about Pakistan, please. All comments on the blog are welcome.
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