By Fareeha Qayoom

a conifer tree

I

had to go down to Sialkot on business a couple of months ago – (May 10, 2011 to be precise). I didn’t go alone. There were a bunch of us, traveling in a couple of cars. I was supposed to travel with my boss – luckily or unluckily, depending on your view point, I ran late in the morning so I missed my ride. I had to travel with my QA team. Needless to say, my boss was not amused; (I had to travel back with her and was in the dog-house on the entire way back).

road map of Lahore to Sialkot

Road Map of Lahore to Sialkot via GT Road - Courtesy of Google Maps

While the business trip was routine and not especially memorable – I had great fun on the way, because there was lot to see en-route, especially on the way down – the GT road was a whole new world.

What struck me as especially strange was that there were no discernable boundaries between one city and the next. It was one giant city after town after city. When I was a kid, I remember there used to hundreds of villages between Lahore, Gujranwala and Sialkot – now, it was one large urban sprawl. If there were no signposts along the way, you wouldn’t even be able to tell where one city ended and the other began…it was that difficult.

The Grand Trunk Road or GT road as it’s fondly called is not like your typical motor way. It’s broken, patched up and full of pot holes in places. However, it does the job somewhat adequately. You do get to point A from B in a few hours. Though, you do feel the lack of trees along the way. Oh well, not that our Punjab Government is going to listen but what the heck, here’s my two cents worth. Somebody should plant twin rows of trees along the GT road – please. I am especially disappointed to see that there are no green patches between cities and towns – it’s all one big giant ugly, polluted urban sprawl between Lahore and Sialkot.

Not only would the trees fill your basic aesthetic need and cover multitude of sins and ugliness, they would also help keep the air emissions down to a minimum by passing traffic, clean the air and keep the travelers relatively cool on this hot barren road…not to mention, provide much needed pockets of green between hot spots of pollution.

Hey, is anyone listening?

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A story of my road trip from Lahore to Sialkot and back in one day, 8.8 out of 10 based on 4 ratings