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    SIALKOT

    Ok..thats my town. I wasnt born there, and didnt spend most of my life there, but still its my ancestral town, hence its my town. Sialkot is a small city, and draws its importance from the fact that its a border town. Mostly people know it because of footballs, but thats not the only 'cash crop' the city has.
    Sialkot is more known as shehr-e-iqbal than anything else, since Allama Iqbal was born there. He didnt spend much time. Left after doing his Intermediate from Murray College. His house, located in a crowded mohalla, called babeberi, is now a museum, with his belongings, books, items of daily use et al, sitting in for display.
    Cash Crops. Sialkot, proportionally, draws the highest amount of foreign exchange for Pakistan. The exports from Sialkot, which mainly include handmade sports goods, surgical instruments, hunting weapons and leather products generate upwards of 5% of Pakistans total GDP, second only to Karachi. But then again, Karachi is 100 times bigger, which makes Sialkot proportionally a bigger producer.
    Sialkot draws a lot of strategic importance via the fact that its a border town. Our home, which is in the middle of the city, is a mere 18 miles from the border. The mountains of Jammu are clearly visible on a clear day. Jammu is 55 kilometers from Sialkot city. Sialkot is linked to India via a long Line of Control, and a short section of internationally recognized border. Lots of history buffs know Sialkot as one of the main battlegrounds in the '65 war. Remnants of that massive tank battle can still be seen in lots of neighborhoods. Because of its close proximity to India, Sialkot has better reception of indian tv, Doordarshan that it does for PTV. To counter that, Pak Army installed boosters in the cantonment area, which now not only relay PTV and STN to all of Sialkot, but also to India.
    Sialkot was, and still is home to lots of hindus, who chose to stay after partition. There are lots of mandirs still in tact, even they are more of a showcase than a place of worship. Sialkot has a fort, which, some say, is physically the highest point in the city. There is a pre-partition church in the cantonment area which is an immaculate piece of architecture. Sialkot is 80km from Lahore, about 300km from Islamabad, and about 1300km from Karachi. And last, but not the least, Sialkot is the azeemest of all. More things about Sialkot as and when i remember them.

    #2
    ok

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      #3
      very well NYA In addition to Faiz, other celebrities(?) include Zaheer Abbass, Ijaz Ahmed and Zahid Fazal (cricket), Khawja Safdar(chairman majlis-e-shoora) and that hockey great whose name escapes me right now. Maybe someone can refresh my memory..the guy who wore a garland made of shoes after the 72 olympics.
      About sikhs, they dont really come to sialkot, not anymore at least. I believe they go to Nankana Sahib. I might be wrong though.
      Ah yes..Sialkot has fantastic climate, which of course contributes to the crop production as NYA mentioned. Winters are generally chillier than most other cities below the northern areas and summers are not the nastiest either. Sialkot has lots of rainfall, avg. 1400mm annually, second only to Murree, which explains the fertility of the land there. More later

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        #4
        Great, and just in case you need ideas about what more you can tell us to here are some muft ke mashware you could tell us about Sialkotti food, cloths, culture, in-places and ajeeb-o-ghareeb things of your city.
        I’ve never visited Sialkot, but I’ve heard and read about the city, read mostly because of the war, heard cuz my father spent almost all his childhood there – according to him Silakot is one of Pak’s most beautiful cities

        Ok jee tell us more


        Oh abhi abhi yaad aaya - woh there was a song about Sialkot na...emmm something like
        Mundyaa Sialkotiyaa....

        [This message has been edited by sabah (edited February 07, 2000).]

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          #5
          Name of that hockey player is

          Shehnaaz (dont mistake it with female name).

          Our agriculture land is near Sialkoat a village called Aada (ghuan-kee). I last visited Sialkoat in 1991 for the wedding of my cousin. I hardly remember anything about that city but we still have a house in Muhalla Bijli ghar (though its empty for last 20 years now). My mum was born in that city and I spent about two months there when I was about 5/6 years old.

          Altough Sailkoat is the most richest place in pakistan as compared to its population and size and contributes I think the most in gaining capital for the country but government of Pakistan never gave any impoartance to this place apart from paying tribute to Sialkotees for the 1965 War.

          [This message has been edited by Najim (edited February 07, 2000).]

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            #6
            ok

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              #7
              Najim thanks for reminding me of Shehnaz.

              Sabah...thanks for the mashwarey.

              About food, there is no specific sialkoti food to speak of, really, unlike lots of other punjabi cities. I remember whenever we would want to have some novelty food, our closest hangout would be an hour away in Gujranwala. Anyone remember their "chirray"?

              Sialkoti mithai is top notch. all sorts.
              Like i said in a previous post, there are lots of remnants still, from the 65 war. I have had the opportunity to visit the international border as well as the line of control, and to this day, the area is marked with deep trenches made from tanks and mortars and grenades and what not. The line of control sees fire exchange on a regular basis. My brother served there for 4 years, and its one of the most precarious spots along our border. On my visit to the international border, we shook hands and chatted with the sikh guards standing on the other side of the chain dividing india and pakistan. Its funny, cause all day long the soldiers sit around and chat, and at dawn and dusk, their mood changes dramatically, where they sneer at each other and parade around in extraordinarily loud mode, since at dawn, the flags are hoisted, and at dusk, they are taken down. Its really fun. If u have the chance to witness this scenario, do so. Wagah border in Lahore is the only place that will allow civilians to get close enough to watch the proceedings.
              Inside the city, there is the grave of the unknown soldier, which lies SMACK in the middle of a narrow street (believe me). Then of course there is my cousin, whose nickname is bomb. We just call him bum, on account of the fact that the day he was born, a bomb landed right outside there house, back in september '65
              Sialkotis have money to throw away. You will see a late model car in Sialkot before it hits the roads in Japan. Siakot has a dry port. They have been begging the govt. for an airport, but its been futile to this day.

              Sialkot is a very close knit city. Families prefer to stay together, to marry within, and to stay in their ancestral houses. The atmosphere in the androon mohallas is such that u cant tell one house from another.
              More later

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                #8
                I saw Sialkot on Danish TV yesterday
                Well that was because of the child labour but the city (where the kids were working) looked like Kharian bazar. Very interesting place haaN.
                Re. Wagha border, been there seen that, and filmed that, that was some experience, crossing the BRB and then standing sooo close to the ‘enemy’, they do the same things, shout alike as if they had trained together. And they are tooooo tall – our Rangers.

                Gujranwala, seen that place their bazar which we then labeled as Pakistan’s dirtiest and hala gula bazar, was like ajaib ghar. One can get everything there – one thing that we didn’t understand (moi sisa and I) was how balke from where do those thele walle and rikshe walle enter the smallie gallies, when two ppl can hardly walk side-by-side.

                What is chirry?

                Why do you want your own airport, not that you shouldn’t have one - Isn’t sialkot very close to the two existing international airports?

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                  #9
                  Sabah...chirray...a chirra is a male sparrow. female would be chirriya It sounds a bit cruel to me, because a sparrow is so small, and they have to catch so many of them to make one 'haandi', but thats their 'saughaat'.
                  Sialkot is a good 3 hours from the closest International airport, i-e, Lahore. Which is the second one ur talking about? Islamabad? That would be a good 6 hours drive away. Anyway, its not the commute. The reason an airport is needed is because Sialkot has a huge export industry, and right now, the exports from sialkot go to Lahore via road, then are flown to Karachi, and from there it is channeled through customs and security before flying it off to its international destination. All consignments exported out have a time limit on them, and more often than not, what happens is that a consignment is sent out of Sialkot to Lahore, flown to Karachi, and then due to the corrupt bureaucratic process, or just plain laziness, it sits at the Karachi airport cargo bay for days, weeks, or even months at times, resulting in a huge delay of the shipment. That results in cancellation of the order from the buyers side, resulting in heavy losses for the exporting company from Sialkot. Having an airport in our backyard would eliminate the red tape that currently stretches from Sialkot to Karachi.

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                    #10
                    Haaa you eat chiRiya? Aww that poor little thing

                    Re. Airport, yeah yeah I see your point. So know that police and other systems are in serious danger, as the chances for changes in them are huge, thanks God, so the problems that you have mentioned will disappear na or atleast some of them?

                    So is that it, no tourist attractions in your city and in-places for young bache and ’cultural centers’ for bhudi rooheiN like me?

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                      #11
                      National and local authorities have always balked at the idea of building anything 'strategic' in Sialkot, which basically includes anything from 'cultural centers' and theaters to highways, bridges and basically any place that can attract attention, all because of Sialkot's extremely close proximity to the border. Sialkot is perhaps the only 'city' in Pakistan to be that close to both a line of control and an international border, and because of that, the probability of quick fire terrorist attacks can be imminent. Hence, to avoid that, Sialkot has always gotten the stepchild treatment. Even the local bigwigs are scared of investing in the city, lest they expose their millions to the govt. So in a way, yes, you can say there arent much tourist attractions in Sialkot to speak of.

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                        #12
                        Akif

                        Thanks a mill for ‘inviting’ us to your city and for this guided tour I hope ke bagi logoN ne bhi kuch seekha hoga, meri tarah



                        [This message has been edited by sabah (edited February 14, 2000).]

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                          #13
                          I have also seen Sialkot not so deeply but my nanhiyal is in Sialkot lehaza aana jaana rehta hai!!!
                          Waisay Allama Iqbal ka Shaheen mairay mamoon kai ghar say nazar aata hai!

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