This issue is a very special issue. As we mark the 70th anniversary of our Independence, leading journalist and socio-political commentator, Nadeem Farooq Paracha presents an overarching view of the seven ages of Pakistan in rich detail, listing key moments of honour and hardship, victory and struggle in the fields of art, culture, sports, music, politics, TV and film that have shaped much of the country’s history and national character through its existence.
In addition to that, there are heroic tales of adventure and captivating journeys of discovery from across Pakistan. In Punjab, there’s the Shahi Hammam, a 17th century public bathhouse dating back to the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. It is truly one of Lahore’s most spectacular historical monuments. In 2013, the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA), in partnership with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, undertook the conservation of this ancient building and restored it to its former glory.
It was an absolute privilege being able to shoot our cover story at the magnificent Shahi Hammam. We meet Kamran Lashari, the man who made it possible. Tasked with preserving some of Lahore’s most iconic heritage sites within the Walled City area, he is someone on a grand mission.
Our cover stars this month are glamorous film stars – the sultry Mehwish Hayat and the demure Urwa Hocane. With their latest movie, Punjab Nahi Jaungi set to release in theaters nationwide on Eid ul Azha, we try and discover the persons behind the personas. In candid conversations, they both talk about who they really are, what they deeply love and what they excitingly look forward to.
Meanwhile, down south in parts of what is now Sindh, between the 15th and 18th century AD, a necropolis was set up. Chowkandi is one of Pakistan’s oldest heritage sites, however, surprisingly not much is known about it except that it possibly houses the graves of prominent warriors and women of the Jokhio tribe. Journalist Madeeha Syed makes another trip to this forgotten land that sits quietly behind a dusty road, in the shadow of tankers parked by squatters.
Seeking adventure, LUMS senior year student, Ahmad Altaf ventures far out into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with an intrepid group of 24 spirited participants as they attempt waterfall rappelling at Sajikot followed by a river rafting excursion at Garhi Habibullah.
There’s more adventure as Zain Mustafa pens a riveting narrative on one of the most intense sports rivalries – the Shandur Polo Festival, where the Game of Kings is played on the highest polo field in the world between the teams of Chitral and Gilgit. And then there is the ultimate road trip that the photographer-writer sister duo, Maryam and Zainab Altaf make from Lahore to Karachi and onwards to Gwadar, an upcoming coastal town that will soon be connecting China through Pakistan and eventually to the warm waters of the Arabian Sea via the colossal CPEC project.
Meanwhile, our stories from overseas should give you major travel goals. Leading journalist and media producer Fifi Haroon visits Florence, home of the Medici family and the Best City in Europe according to Travel + Leisure Awards for 2017, where she feasts on a treasure trove of Renaissance art and architecture, Italian high fashion and Florentine delicacies.
Film actress Armeena Rana Khan hops on a plane to Cuba and it is on this tiny island nation that her childhood sweetheart Fesl Khan proposes to her. Model and style icon, Kiran Malik, summers across Europe while fashion designer, Farah Talib Aziz and team find themselves traipsing across Chiang Mai, Thailand as they shoot their latest collection. There is event planner extraordinaire, Qasimyar Tiwana holidaying in London and indulging in all things English and fashion photographer Mohsin Khawar’s beautiful photo shoot from Budapest, shot against the dramatic backdrop of an historic city.
As JRR Tolkein said, “Not all who wander are lost.” Get inspired and go out!