Institute of Architects Pakistan – Karachi Chapter is “Celebrating Architecture”

The Institute of Architects, Pakistan’s Karachi chapter is currently holding IAPEX 2009 under the banner of “Celebrating Architecture”. The Exhibition has studied the latest trends of exhibiting and the big names of the snob land and guest like Ameen J, Yousuf Bashir, Rizwan Beyg are becoming more prominent in this exhibition than architecture itself.

In any country this experiment would have been appreciated.. or already covered 10 years ago.. but the case of Pakistan is that not only are we 10 years late, we are doing something that is completely not of our context.

I don’t mean to be a critic.. but the entire exhibition seems now to be a parade of big labels and names and the common man or lets call him – the middle income group- would find nothing that would be able to capture his “BUDGET.”

We today are a nation that is unable to provide for the 70 percent of its population with decent housing, and the statistics say that it would take us many more years before we can reach that point. So when exhibition like these display topics that are better suited for some other time and place, it really makes me wonder.. HOW ARE THESE PEOPLE- THE FUTURE ARCHITECTS DOING TO DEAL WITH THE REALITY OF THE COUNTRY?

The program included an opening by Shazia Mari, the Information Minister… and what bugs me about this is did we not have enough great architects to celebrate that we need a politician to inaugurate.. which goes to prove my point..that IAPEX is more becoming a publicity stunt than an architectural exhibition…. Oh the closing ceremony has Dr.(?) Ishrat-ul-Ibad as its guest.

The show definitely had some high points too.. The presentation by Dr. Gulzar Haider of Beaonhouse University, Lahore was no doubt a wonderful way to start off the main program but again it lacked our context which he acknowledged and said that this would definitely make a great presentation.

The rest of the program was a big joint drama of how we are letting the old Karachi slip away from us.. and this has become the central theme of this exhibitions.. No one is ready to propose anything new as in a solution.. this time the mass mourning took a new turn when Najaf Bilgrami and Manizhe Ali showcased a film “One way traffic” – a nightmare of 6 min and 23 seconds which consisted of the famous “Bunder Road se Kemari” Song and very bad camera works.. with no conclusion what so ever.

I wouldn’t say that the discussions and there were many.. weren’t amazing. They were.The point that Dr. Gulzar made about what we need to do about Muslim architectural issues like the constructions at and around Kaaba should have been given more importance because these are the topics that are the contemporary issue of Muslim Community.


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I think that architectural community of Pakistan needs to focus more on the region that they have then finding inspiration from outside world. The arguments of bringing arts and textiles and and fabrics are not our arguments.. 20 years from now they might make sense.. TODAY THEY DON’T.

IAPEX has always been a wonderful experience.. but as time goes by, they are losing their touch. They need to get back to the realities of our context and region.

What is Islam?

It is a sad situation that in a country called – or so called – Islamic Republic of Pakistan..that we as a nation lack the knowledge of our religion. Maybe this is the reason that we haven’t been able to fight the war of Talibanization with the weapon of religious discussion itself.

Whenever the argument is given that the Islam of the Taliban’s is right.. it really makes me wonder that on what basis is this being said and done. As Muslims we derive half of our interpretation of Quran and religion from the life and Sun’nah of the Prophet.. so then someone needs to tell me that at what point did this happen in the times of the Prophet?

At what time did women cover themselves up the way they do now with the hideous burqas (veils) that they have chosen to drape themselves in now?

At what time did veiling yourself was radicalized to a point where you even had to cover your eyes completely?

At what time did talking to men become wrong?

When were women not allowed to go out in Public during the times of the Prophet?

At what time were women told not to work or study?

The only way that this could be achieved today is by opening up different schools of thoughts, let it be religious or liberal. to come and research together the meaning of religion and what is it that is right or wrong according to the limits of the Quran?

It is only in religion that we would find the remedy for this epidemic called TALIBANIZATION.

we need to change the minds of people,we need for them to understand what Islam is. And that can only happen when we start to understand our religion again.

Recently, Arundhati Roy was in Karachi to be part of a program held under the banner of “Women reclaiming their place in society” and i asked my teacher who also attended the show about her views regarding this program. Her answer is something that we all should be working on. She said that the time for idealism is long gone and it is now time that we start taking some concrete steps to find a solution to the problems of Talibanization. It is now time for us to chalk out strategies.

Turkey recently did the same. To clear up the years of religious junk, exaggerated by wrong Hadiths and Sun’nah, they asked a panel of Religious Scholars to sit down and separate the genuine ones from the fake ones. This would result in clearing the religious understanding of so many people, and might even open up their minds to realize what is wrong with the Taliban’s version of Islam!

Is it Karma?

Is it really true that what ever you do in this world will one day come back haunting you? no matter how much you try to hide away from it.. it still gets you somehow. Every thing you do in between simply goes down the drain, you keep standing there staring confused, bemused even sickened at times and just looking for answers.

Its ironic to see how drastically things can change in a matter of few moments, a mere gesture or even a phrase can bring years of trust crashing down. And how painful is it to realize that you were at fault all along while you thought just the opposite and accused others for the resentment.

There are times in life when you just cannot speak up due to circumstances, you believe your act can cause anguish for others and you really do care about them, but how would you tell them that? You question your own judgment and decisions, eventually you loose it till you find a solution. How do you do that? This is where karma plays its role… sooner or later you are on the receiving end of your own decisions.

Regrets become a constant… Need a few answers..

Wishing things

Is it really that wrong to wish for something? In life you wish for so many things and there are some that you do get.. but not all wishes have the same significance… for example the wish that “i want to eat an ice cream” compared to ” i want to know where my life would finally take me ” simply holds not much significance.

Sometimes you just want something, and the constant disappointment in the matter can be a reason for great concern for an individual. For example, you like some one and you really hope that you can understand how things would turn out with them.

You want to get into a nice university and you want to get in… and you work hard all your life for it.. and then you end up there.. and the question that might bother a few .. or many.. is “was this worth it.

As humans we all want to know how things would end up for us.. we all wish to know if we would get out happy endings.. cause the irony of life is that you work and dream of something.. and it is the joke that life plays on you.. by twisting and turning the entire thing upside down.