A story of my road trip from Lahore to Sialkot and back in one day

Why do we procrastinate?
July 17, 2011
More Monday Blues and Torrential Rains!
August 10, 2011

Whatever happened to Trees? By Fareeha Qayoom

By Fareeha Qayoom

a conifer tree


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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Fareeha Qayoom
Fareeha Qayoom
Publisher and editor-in-chief of Tkfr.com and former print editions of The Knit-Xtyle Fashion Review (tkfr), a trade newsletter for the textile and apparel industry of Pakistan. In short, Publisher, editor, and a blogger. In addition, she has served as Managing Editor of MIT Technology Review Pakistan, print and web editions (2015-16). Total of 7 editions were published under her leadership by ITU, Punjab's first public technology university under the license of MIT Technology Review (USA). She has also managed Value Mag in the same capacity, a real estate and lifestyle magazine for Value TV - 2008-9. Published freelancer for The News on Sunday 1994-96. Fareeha has over 21 years of solid management experience – of managing brands (like Harley Davidson, Munsingwear, Chaps, Chaps Ralph Lauren etc.,), Retailers (like Target, Mervyns, Kohl's, Marks and Spencer etc.,), customers (VPs, Product Managers, Unit Managers, and Buyers), and products (apparel - woven, knits, men's, women's, children's, Print and online publishing units), projects, teams, and processes, information, content, and data, staff, vendors, and time. Versatile and adaptable with international exposure, communication and language skills (oral and written), and a consistent track record of achieving company targets and objectives, plus a MA in Political Science from Punjab University, a MSc in Economics from La Salle University, Louisiana, USA, and a BA in Economics from Kinnaird College for Women.


  1. More reading?

    The Importance of Trees

    Trees help us breathe and provide a home for quite a few diverse kinds of animals and insects. They are the largest and longest living organisms on earth. To grow tall the tree has become a miracle of engineering and a complex chemical factory. It is able to take water and salts out of the earth and lift them up to the leaves, sometimes over 400 ft above. By means of photosynthesis the leaves combine the water and salts with carbon dioxide from the air to produce the nutrients which feed the tree. In this process, as well as wood, trees create many chemicals, seeds and fruit of great utility to man. Also, trees provide refreshing shade.

    Apart from the above, trees are effectively the lungs of the environment. They take much of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen via photosynthesis. They also store carbon in their roots, trunk, branches and leaves. Carbon makes up 50% of the weight of the wood in a tree. Therefore, the greenhouse gas load is reduced and effects of global warming are also brought down. Further dead trees that get buried in soil eventually provide fossil fuels like coal, gasoline products, etc. Among all, trees have an indisputable role in bringing rain to earth. Moreover, they provide a cover over the top surface of earth preventing excessive heating up by solar rays.

    Trees provide the human species with a constant supply of oxygen. This oxygen, which humans in turn utilize for survival, is produced through trees as they intake various amounts of carbon dioxide, which humans exhale.


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  2. The importance of trees
    Wednesday, December 06, 2006
    By Peter Leo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Still the heart of palms

    One of the upsides to global warming: By the end of the century, Pittsburgh could well be an ocean resort, overrun with retired seniors from Greenland weaving their golf carts around swaying palms. Until then, we’ll have to settle for the Phipps Conservatory to eyeball a magnificent palm. Or go to some hellhole such as Miami or Los Angeles, while they’re still above water.

    For a while there, it sounded as though Los Angeles was getting rid of its famous palms. Not so, says John Pomfret of The Washington Post. L.A. is simply limiting the planting of one palm species — the tall and scrawny Mexican fan — but that announcement, coupled with the city’s program to plant 1 million non-palms — oaks, sycamores and other reliable shade-providers — was enough to set off a round of media obituaries about the iconic palm.

    But it is true that palm trees aren’t doing the job. Despite its balmy weather, L.A. is practically bald. Only 17 percent of the sprawling city is covered by tree canopy; the nationwide urban average is 28 percent. Throw in all that pavement, and you have what experts call an urban heat island — in L.A.’s case, the world’s hottest. The city’s average temperature has increased about 1 degree per decade. In the 1930s, 100-degree summers were unheard of. Today, they’re normal.


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  3. Benefits of Trees

    Mikael Dam

    The Benefits of Trees “The wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more”
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Perhaps because of their constant presence, most of us rarely lend much thought to the importance of trees in our lives, communities, and histories. We may take them for granted, or see them as mere decorations. Trees, however, are a vital and nurturing force. They benefit our environment, provide us medicines, and inspire myths and stories. One of the best ways to realize the importance of trees is to imagine our world without them.


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  4. Sarah says:

    Nice point. I enjoyed the drive from Lahore to Multan on the GT Road with beautiful tall old slender but robust trees providing shade every now and then. They were lined right alongside the road bounds unlike trees aligning the motorway which have been planted quite far from the broad highway. The GT Road trees reminded me of my school history lessons regarding how Sher Shah Suri had planned the Grand Trunk Road, and lined it with trees to provide shade for people who wanted to take a break and rest.

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