By Syeda Irum Fatima
After a long time when I started my journey back to the capital of Pakistan from Thailand, my face was gleaming with joy and my gestures were well-depicting feelings of my heart. And why not? After all I was returning to my homeland, Islamabad, after spending 15 years in Thailand.
Finally, after all these years I am in my paradise “Islamabad” which is the ninth largest city of Pakistan. Before leaving Islamabad in 2000, I travelled to many places that are visited by majority of people with their families especially on weekends, for instance: Rawal Lake, Lok Virsa Museum, Margalla Hills, Pir Sohawa, Shahdara Garden, Daman-e-Koh and National Museum of Natural History.
At that time Islamabad was only like a suburb or small town which offered people its lush greenery, serenity and a place to relax and refresh. People would mostly visit Islamabad to take a break from their hectic lives and enjoy the simple scenic life.
But fast forward to 15 years, Islamabad is a different place. I am totally amazed to see so many changes in my own city. The innovative infrastructure, new buildings, parks and recreational areas, shopping malls, all has truly transformed Islamabad from the city it was in 2000.
The first thing that caught my attention was the Rawalpindi – Islamabad Metro bus launched on 4th of June, 2015. The program launched by the Government of Punjab uses e-ticketing and Intelligent Transportation System wand. I have heard the metro buses offers numerous facilities to the passengers such as air-conditioned travel, high-speed internet for free from the comfort of their seats.
Another great addition to the city is The Centaurus – the tallest skyscrapers in the city with 41 stories and all three linked by a shopping mall.
Designed by British architectural firm Atkins, the three skyscrapers also houses corporate offices, residential apartments and a 5-star hotel. The Centaurus Mall, one of the biggest malls of Pakistan, is located over four-storey which has around 250 shops. All the major national and international brands such as Khaadi, Gul Ahmed, Junaid Jamshed, Outfitters, International Watch Company, Stone Age, Charles & Keith, Hush Puppies, Sputnik Footwear, Nike, Cambridge, Cougar, Mango are present in the mall.
Located in the heart of Islamabad, the Centaurus Mall is truly an iconic retail, entertainment, and lifestyle destination for the residents and visitors alike.
I still remember the days when I used to visit others shopping areas of Islamabad such as the Beverly Centre, Chanab Plaza, Kohsar Market and Jinnah Super. But even after the opening of Centaurus Mall, all these shopping destinations still retain their credibility with decent rates.
Before leaving Islamabad, D-Watson Chemist, Shaheen Chemist, and Best Price Shopping Centre, were some of grocery stores that would come to my mind but now my friends tell me about Metro Cash & Carry, Barsa Cash and Carry and MCC (Madni Cash and Carry) are the most. All this makes me feel so proud and happy that my city has developed so much that here in Islamabad too I have access to almost all the facilities that I availed in Thailand.
Other new attractions of Islamabad such as Pak-China Friendship Centre, National Monument of Islamabad, Lake View Park, Monal Restaurant have also added to the beauty of my city. And the best part is that all these modern changes have not disturbed the lush greenery, scenic beauty of Islamabad. The charming combination of old and new Islamabad has made me fall in with Islamabad – all over again.
All these wonderful developments and positive changes in my city, Islamabad, have filled me with great hopes about the future of Pakistan. I am hopeful that all regions of my country Pakistan will progress at such pace and our people will lead peaceful and happy lives in a developed environment.
Syeda Irum Fatima is a motivational speaker who loves to travel and is working as a CSR.
She holds a degree in Mass Communication and has a deep passion for writing.