Vox populi

December 18, 2022

We ask people, young and old, what they most like, dislike or even miss about their cities

Vox populi

The traffic is absolutely horrendous; you see no discipline on the roads. This is something I dislike about Lahore. We are in dire need of an effective public transport system. I miss Lahore’s cleanliness. Today’s Lahore is dirty and less green. Earlier, it used to have a neat and refined look.

— M Anwar, 65

Lahore has turned into a dirty city, with a lack of discipline in every aspect, from traffic rules to building codes. The city has witnessed an unplanned urban expansion with a population surge. I miss the feeling of being safe. It used to be a safer city for me as a child; we could indulge in outdoor activities. Now, for various reasons, this is unimaginable.

— H Anwar, 35

I commute by rickshaw. I don’t feel comfortable travelling in public buses in Karachi because I fear getting harassed or mugged. The platform to climb up the bus is very high; these buses are not accessible to old people. Roads have deteriorated so much. I have developed severe back pain from riding rickshaws on uneven roads.

— Farhat Qureshi, 55

I love the fact that Islamabad is green and peaceful. Some people complain that there is not much to do here; that it is not a metropolitan city. I feel that that is the best thing about it. What disturbs me the most is the glaring inequality – slums exist alongside posh localities. But that’s the reality of Pakistan.

— Hania Imran, 18

I miss the peace and calm of Islamabad. There is too much concrete around and it’s increasing with time. We used to fish in its streams, when we moved here in 1973. Now when I see that those beautiful streams are called nullahs, it hurts. I miss watching squirrels and parrots on trees in our residential areas. Now you rarely see them. You can go in any direction and you’ll see new housing schemes.

— Imran Naeem Ahmad, 59

My children chose to study in Lahore; it became their second home. I used to visit Lahore frequently for work. It appeared to be a city that held strongly to its traditions. But now it is a fast-moving city. Now when I visit it, I can barely recognise the city.

Noor Ahmed Mengal, 70

Since my childhood, we made regular visits to Lahore from Quetta during our winter break. It was a city full of historical buildings and the intoxicating warmth of the Punjab. Now it’s a true metropolitan city. Quetta on the other hand has not developed or changed like Lahore has. I returned to Quetta after so many years and things look exactly the same.

— Maliha Mengal, 38

Vox populi