National mon­u­ments serv­ing as sym­bols of provin­cial, polit­i­cal auton­omy and national integrity, Khy­ber Pass for Peshawar (KP), Minar-e-Pakistan for Lahore, Pun­jab, Quaid’s Mau­soleum for Karachi, Sindh and Ziarat Res­i­dency for Quetta, Balochis­tan are instantly rec­og­niz­able…

By Sadaf Per­vez


akistan is a land of beauty and con­trasts. Com­pris­ing of four provinces (and now a fifth ter­ri­tory called Gilgit-Baltistan –GB– has been added to the fed­er­a­tion which is now con­sid­ered sep­a­rate from FATA) each province has its own dis­tinct cul­tural iden­tity. What word-picture comes to your mind instantly when you want to show a sym­bol depict­ing the dis­tinct cul­tural iden­tity of each province? The answer is pretty easy and every child in Pak­istan can prob­a­bly answer it in sec­onds — Khy­ber Pass for Peshawar,  Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa (KP), Minare-Pakistan for Lahore, Pun­jab, Quaid’s Mau­soleum for Karachi, Sindh and Ziarat Res­i­dency for Quetta, Balochis­tan. These mon­u­ments are not only point of attrac­tion for the tourists but also sig­nify polit­i­cal impor­tance for Pak­istan.

national symbols

Pakistan’s national sym­bols — youth

Pak­istan is home to a num­ber of off-beat des­ti­na­tions. If Karako­ram High­way takes you to a road that snakes its way into China, trav­el­ing to Khy­ber Pass is another excit­ing jour­ney that takes you to the tribal hin­ter­land on the bor­ders of Afghanistan.

Khy­ber Pass, moun­tain pass in west­ern Asia, the most impor­tant pass con­nect­ing Afghanistan and Pak­istan, con­trolled by Pak­istan. The pass is walled by pre­cip­i­tous cliffs that vary in height from about 180 to 300 m. The pass reaches its high­est ele­va­tion at the bor­der between Afghanistan and Pak­istan. Dri­ving on the Khy­ber Pass is a unique kind of expe­ri­ence. Many con­querors and rulers, who came from far off places like cen­tral Asia and Greece, used the pass in the past as the point of entry to the Indian sub con­ti­nent. Trav­el­ing through the pass is like pass­ing through the lay­ers of rocky moun­tain peaks and rugged bar­ren land­scapes.

The Khy­ber Train is another excit­ing medium that you can take on your tour to Khy­ber Pass. The train takes you from Peshawar to Landi Kotal. The train jour­ney is a won­der­ful expe­ri­ence as the train passes through 34 tun­nels and crosses 92 bridges on its jour­ney from Peshawar to Landi Kotal.

Minar-e-Pakistan is sit­u­ated in lqbal Park, Lahore. It was con­structed to com­mem­o­rate the site of famous Lahore Res­o­lu­tion which was passed on March 23rd, 1940, in which Pak­istan Mus­lim League; then the sin­gle rep­re­sen­ta­tive polit­i­cal party of all Mus­lims of India in its his­toric 34th annual ses­sion unan­i­mously demanded the cre­ation of a sep­a­rate home­land for the Mus­lims of this sub-continent. The Minar is a blend of Mughal and mod­ern archi­tec­ture and has been very boldly designed. The foun­da­tion stone was laid on March 23rd, 1960 by the gov­er­nor West Pak­istan Akhtar Hus­sain in the Minto Park, which was later renamed as Iqbal Park, after poet Dr Iqbal who first gave the idea of a sep­a­rate Mus­lim coun­try for the Mus­lims of the British India.

The base is about 8 meters above the ground. The tower rises about 60 meters on the base, thus the total height of minaret is about 72 meters above the ground. The unfold­ing petals of the flower-like base are 9 meters high. The diam­e­ter of the tower is about 97.5 meters (320 feet). The base plat­form is shaped like a five-pointed star and encloses two cres­cent shaped pools. There is a cen­tral spi­ral stair­case ris­ing up with 162 steps. The top-dome of the minaret is made of Stain­less steel inlaid with fine glass pieces.

Quaid-e-Azam’s Mau­soleum The tomb of the founder of Pak­istan Muham­mad Ali Jin­nah is the most famous and iconic land­mark in the mas­sive metrop­o­lis of Karachi, Pak­istan. It is an archi­tec­tural feat of epic pro­por­tions. The Mazar-e-Quaid, or National Mau­soleum, was built through­out the decade of the 1960s and hon­ors a beloved hero and founder of Pak­istan, Muham­mad Ali Jin­nah.

The mau­soleum is made of white mar­ble with curved Moor­ish arches and cop­per grills rest­ing on an ele­vated 54 square meters plat­form. The cool inner sanc­tum reflects the green of a four-tiered crys­tal chan­de­lier gifted by the peo­ple of China. Around the mau­soleum is a park fit­ted with strong beamed spot-lights which at night project light on the white mau­soleum. The loca­tion is usu­ally calm and serene which is sig­nif­i­cant con­sid­er­ing that it is in the heart of one of the largest global mega­lopolises.

Ziarat Res­i­dency Another land­mark which was named as the national mon­u­ment after Jin­nah (Quaide-Azam), the founder of Pak­istan, spent his last days here. The local peo­ple believe that the Jin­nah had in fact breathed his last here in Ziarat, con­trary to the offi­cial reports that he expired in Karachi on 11 Sep­tem­ber, 1948, the day he was shifted there from Ziarat. The res­i­dency build­ing is a majes­tic piece of archi­tec­ture, but peo­ple visit it pri­mar­ily for its asso­ci­a­tion with the leader.

The build­ing, con­structed in 1892, was orig­i­nally meant to serve as a sana­to­rium, due to pres­ence of Juniper Forests in the area, but was later con­verted into the sum­mer res­i­dence of the Agent to the Gov­er­nor Gen­eral. The res­i­dency is embell­ished with Chi­nar (Cedar) trees, beau­ti­ful lush green lawns, cov­ered with grassy car­pets and with roses, danc­ing at the rhyth­mic tunes of wind, all around the gar­den. From there you can have a strik­ing view of the pic­turesque val­ley. It is a two story build­ing with a mod­ern super struc­ture. The fur­ni­ture used by the father of the nation is still pre­served and lies exactly where it was placed in his life­time. ■

This arti­cle was orig­i­nally pub­lished in the print edi­tion of “Val­uemag”, issue 13, August 2009

national symbols

National Sym­bols — Val­uemag august 2009, Lay­out by M. Asif, Lahore Pho­tos by GM Shah

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