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Sahiwal City ساہیوال – My Birth Place

September 2015, I went to celebrate Eid with my parents in Sahiwal ساہیوال, Pakistan. While visiting and having great time there, I thought to write something since it is my birth city as well.

Let’s have a look at quick history of this small, peaceful and clean city. It was carrying its original name but then in 1865, this city was named Montgomery after Sir Robert Montgomery. Then during President Ayub era, the native inhabitants of this area “Sahi” clan of Kharal Rajpoots reinstated the name to “Sahiwal”

In the west of Sahiwal, 25 KM away, the archaeological site of “Harappa” which was built 2600 BCE. Pakpattan is just 40 KM away where famous shrine of great Muslim Sufi Fariduddin Ganjshakkar is located. He is famous as Shaikh-ul-Islam Shakkar Ganj (1173-1265). This place was visited by Ibn Batuta in 1334.

With nearly Three Hundred Thousand populations, the city has rich history. Two beautiful rivers “Sutlej” and “Ravi” had made this city a center. It is right in the middle of major cities of province Punjab which are Multan and Lahore. Both cities’ International Airports cater the people of Sahiwal. In past, people had to go to Lahore for their International Travels. But now Emirates Airlines has started its operations in Multan, as a convenience, the people of Sahiwal are using Multan International Airport to travel across the world.

It is located on the belt of Agricultural area that’s why it has different kinds of crops. The principal crops are wheat, cotton, tobacco, legumes, potato and oilseeds.

Sahiwal’s cow is famous all over the world like Indian, Australia and most of African countries. City is a breed of Zebu Cattle which is used in dairy production

Since Pakistan has all 4 weathers, Sahiwal’s maximum temperature is 45 C in summer and goes down to 2 C in winter which my parents observed even less than 0 C but officially is 2 C

Sahiwal is a birth place of many intellectuals and players who earned fame. Intellectuals like Majeed Amjad, Attash Durrani, Kunwar Mohinder Singh Bedi Sahar, Munir Niazi and Nazir Naji. Famous Television Anchor of Neelam Ghar Tariq Aziz belongs to Sahiwal as well. This soul has produced cricketers like Mushtaq Ahmed and Manzoor Elahi. Some of the famous Politicians are Rana Muhammad Hanif Khan and Nouraiz Shakoor who has been Federal Ministers as well. Sain Zahoor was Sufi Musician and Emmanuel Neno was Christian Author and translator

One of town in The Great Britain “Rochdale” is twinned with “Sahiwal”. There is a direction sign in Rochdale’s town center pointing Sahiwal’s direction with “Sahiwal 3960 miles” which I am planning to go and see in November 2015 to capture in the shutter box of my mind.

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Scenic beauty at Hill Station Murree

Since I left Pakistan in 2000, I never got the chance to spend much time in Pakistan due to my busy schedule. In April 2010, I had to stay one month back home due to change in Job. It was very hard for a person like me to stay at one place who has always been busy in day to day work. Eventually I made the plan with my family to visit “Murree” which is an exurb of Islamabad.
Nearly a week long trip gave lots of memories. I had seen sunny side of April towards the rain, hail and cloudy mountains. You can imagine when you are nearly 2300 meters (7500 FT) above the sea level and what the wonderful weather could have been on the top.

Murree has been called summer capital of Punjab and have been very attractive place during British rule in 1864. The current capital of Punjab is Lahore.

It’s beautiful drive from Islamabad (60 KM) and further to Murree Galliat region with its scenic view with oak-covered mountains. You can see Murree hills from Bhurban with lush green trees. Further 15 KM you can go to new Murree (Patriata). Another central attraction is “Ayubia”. When I had gone on the top of Ayubia by using the chairlift, I was not feeling like to come down. I remember when I went with my friends on top of Cedar Trees Mountains in Beirut (Lebanon) later in October 2010, I had told them that if you experience the hill stations of Pakistan, you will fall in love and will spend every summer there.

It gave me lovely experience when I had given lots of corn (Challi) to the monkeys. I found variety of animals like leopard, wild boar, foxes and different species of birds.

Whenever I see Cherries, Raspberries and strawberries here in Dubai supermarkets, it reminds me that how common these expensive fruits were available in Murree at very low cost

Whoever wants to have good break in summer must go and spend good time there

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Toronto – Preferred choice for Immigration

So far three visits of Canada has been made and more to come. Every time I couldn’t manage to visit any city other than Toronto. First time February 2007, I planned to go to Canada, thanks to British Airways who had offered very attractive fare. So had a chance to visit London for another time (Even though been there many times).

-30 °C welcomed me at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Great hospitality was waiting for me in “Brampton”. It is suburban city in the Greater Toronto with more than half million population. Due to snow, didn’t get much chance to roam around but still some memories were enough to be captured in the frame of mind.

Second visit was after 2 years and again Toronto welcomed with -10 °C which was still bearable

Third trip was in July 2013 with ideal weather to see the surroundings of Toronto. A very happening place, one of the most multicultural cities like Dubai where 150 languages are spoken and interestingly 50% residents are born outside of Canada. It is a natural hub of commercial, cultural, industrial and financial life.

The experience of Radisson Hotel Toronto East gave wonderful experience but a bit far from city centre. Just went to Fairview Mall since had to visit some companies due to official needs. Since we wanted to be in city centre so moved to Ramada Plaza Toronto Downtown on Jarvis street. My old colleague and friend Prakash Prabhu was kind enough to spare time and took us for dinner on “Gerard Street”. Whenever I went to Gerard Street, I always thought that I am in Pakistan. The reason was that the shop boards were written in Urdu and you will see culture like our own country. Later we walked and went to see CN Tower. It was great experience to be on the top of CN Tower (Canada National Tower)

One of the major attractions of Toronto was Niagara Falls. I couldn’t go in previous visits due to winter. This time, I couldn’t miss so I chose the best place to stay “Hilton Niagara Falls”. Thanks to them that being ex employee of Hilton, I was upgraded to the Classic Suite on top floor overlooking the breath taking view of Niagara Falls. The memories of walking along the Niagara Falls garden will always be in my mind. As social media freak, I check in Hilton on Facebook and went to my room, Room phone rang, what a surprise, my lovely uncle Sattar Choudhry from New York, who had seen my FB status and called me. Thanks to high tech world where we live in Global Village now

On return, another good friend of mine Aravind Murthy picked us and took for lunch in a Punjabi Restaurant near Brampton and later dropped to the airport.

Next time, Montreal will be the destination to stay in Canada

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Historical & Contemporary DUBLIN

May 2015 gave me opportunity to visit one of another beautiful city of Europe “Dublin” Capital of Ireland. Thanks to Phocuswright who had arranged “Travel Innovation Summit”. Like others, I strongly agree with their slogan “Access to a world of Travel Insight” and by attending the conference “Phocuswright Europe”, it absolutely proved as “Now that’s a Bright idea”.

It was great opportunity to meet Travel industry tycoons under one roof. The Travel Innovation Summit Europe, Workshops, Center Stage and lots of well arranged Net Working events had filled the bucket of my mind with lots of useful information and gave full insight about the new revolutions in the travel industry. BIG THANKS TO Tony D’Astolfo

It wouldn’t be fair if I don’t mention “VistaTEC” who had arranged great Net Working afternoon with detailed visit of “Guinness Storehouse”. Thanks to Mark Flanagan and David (Dave) Ruane

Now let’s talk about Dublin. The Convention Centre is located over looking “River Liffey” and the city with medieval buildings, standing since 13th century. Beautiful weather encouraged to walk around the areas like “Trinity College”, “Old Jameson Distillery”, “National Gallery of Ireland” and “National Museum of Ireland”. Great shopping areas like “Connolly Street” but the main attraction for me was “Grafton Street”. Live shows by young talent on the road side with catching all the public attention. Dublin city is full of beautiful Gardens which gives fresh feelings to the eyes. I call it “Young city” since lots of colleges attract students from all over the world.

It’s not easy to forget the scenic beauty of “Howth” which is located on the top of North side of Dublin. While travelling on the Green color train of Dublin, another train journey gave coastal beauty of “Bray”

Yes, still many great places of Dublin were still to be visited but I promised “Dublin” that I will be back next year with more time to spend and enjoy the beauty of the city.