DHA is one hot residential area, structured and green with clear zoning, it’s a pleasant living experience
By Fareeha Qayoom
have seen Defence grow right before my eyes. Back in 1985, a friend of mine lived in Sector S – since Jinnah Flyover had not been built yet, she had to travel over the Sherpao Bridge or go over the railway track at the Cavalry Grounds Extension. Unfortunately, the train was always late and traffic always got stuck at the track crossing, I remember visiting her used to be a major chore. In those days, security used to be a major issue too.
People had not started building houses to live there yet and had only bought plots for investment or future construction. We moved to Defence in the early 90s because my eldest sister had a feeling that Defence would be the hot new place to be instead of the societies adjacent to canal like Johar Town, Tech Society etc. The Jinnah flyover still had not been built yet and going to College on Jail Road was again a major obstacle course in those days. I remember I went into a major depression because I felt totally cut off from the world –we no longer had a social life – correction, we had no life! Friends and family didn’t visit our place anymore. I couldn’t go anywhere just like that. Everything had to be planned down to the last detail. Things became better after the Jinnah Flyover was built. It still wasn’t cool in the 90’s – however, people had started building houses and shifting over from the congested areas of Lahore to Defence.
Defence was shaping up, with a beginnings of infrastructure that looked good, however, Defence only arrived in the noughties – yes, our resident oracle had been correct, Defence was the place to be but it took us 20 years to arrive at this point. Now you can call it the hot new place in town. It has become fun to be a resident of DHA.
What I like about DHA
Zoning: The society has loads of by-laws on building and types of building that are allowed and where they are allowed. You will see a very structured development. Public and commercial areas are clearly defined. Public buildings like parks, schools, and commercial spaces like restaurants and shops are grouped together in one area while residential zoning is divided into different sized lots starting from 10 Marlas to a Kanal and 2 Kanal lots.
Infrastructure and Society Rules: DHA society is very active – There is a great sense of community and rule of law. There is a proper road system and traffic regulation system with clearly marked traffic signals on most dense crossings, and a provision for drains – you will never drown in 3 inch rain in DHA like you would in Gulberg (in normal circumstances) or have traffic congestion at any point. The society maintains roads, sprays insect repellent regularly, provides bags for garbage collection and sends a truck daily to pick up garbage from all sectors. DHA is very clean and green. There are neighborhood parks and central parks like Sheba Park. Only Green Rickshaws are allowed in DHA, there is a public transport system and DHA is connected to the city through Gulberg, Cantt and Ferozepur Road and is quite accessible now because of Daewoo bus service, and rickshaws.
Highly Secure: DHA security keeps a check on all comings and goings. They even have a system for keeping a security check on house servants. Unauthorized labor can’t get in. They patrol the place hourly. I remember couple of times, we had left our gate open around midnight, and one of our cars parked outside, they rang the bell and told us to park the car inside and shut our gate!
Convenient and Accessible: Most essential items are very accessible in DHA, you don’t have to go out if you don’t want to – all major banks, shops and restaurants maintain a branch in Y-commercial area, for example, Shezan, Gourmet, Masoom’s Pancake Lounge, Kitchen Cuisine, Gloria Jeans Coffee, Nirala Sweets, Bundu Khan, Gourmet Grill, are some of the hot eateries. Most of the Restaurants do home delivery, McDonald’s, KFC, Little Chef etc. There are some cool shops in the area too – Next Stores, Body Shop, Levi’s, Khaadi, Bareeze, to name a few. There are four departmental stores as well that make Grocery and fun shopping easier – Chen One, Pot Pourri, HKB, and Pace (editor’s note – Pace has closed in DHA. Instead Alfatah has opened a branch here which does brisk business- parking is now the new problem!). A few pharmacies stay open the whole night. There’s National Hospital that’s good for midnight emergencies. There are some amazing academic institutions here too. LUMS is the most famous one, and then there is Beacon House School, Lahore Grammar School etc. All major banks have branches here and are online. You can pay your bills and operate your account practically from your home.
This article was originally published in the print edition of Valuemag, issue 5, September 2008