The capital vulture: Tales from Islamabad’s haunted underworld

Published: June 20, 2011
Islamabad is a spooky place, especially at night.

Islamabad is a spooky place, especially at night.

Are you experiencing strange dreams and sensations in parts of your home? Do objects move on their own accord; does the TV turn on by itself; are you hearing disembodied sounds?

Even more macabre: does the bed shake when it’s not supposed to; has your shrieking woken the entire house because, for a few seconds, a tall silhouette appeared and disappeared as quickly as it came?

If it’s YES to any one or more of these, you either need to re-evaluate the effectiveness of your shrink (that or get better pills) or you’ve got a paranormal infestation. Most households in this quiet city keep the faith in option number 2 (there’s always that chachi or khala).

The Islamabad underworld is a network of tales: residents from diverse backgrounds will attest that yes, Islamabad is riddled with the palpable energy of occult phenomenon: sightings of “pichal peris” in the E-7 wilderness; possessions and strange illnesses in F-6; the wandering spirits and jinns of the Diplomatic Enclave. No official scholarly body of text exists to support these- only the word-of-mouth retellings.

The federal capital is located on the Potohar Plateau, home to Buddhist and Neolithic sites, relics and artifacts. This lends more credibility to the sometimes-whispered rumour that residential sectors were built over ancient graveyards. Many Sector F-6/3 residents believe a specific version: that their residences sit on some old and potent hoodoo- an old Buddhist graveyard. We begin here.

Meet Adrian Rieck, 22, a former resident, who wasn’t aware that his old house was located at the corner of two streets that boasted the highest incidences of paranormal or jinn related incidents in such small quarters. Adrian is, and always has been, of a rational and scientific disposition. This is his story:

Adrian remembers the day when, idling on his computer, he heard the distinct sound of a woman crying in his little sister’s room. “It was loud enough for the whole house to hear and my sister wasn’t even home,” he said. The crying stopped as soon as he went into the room and switched the lights on. The next time it happened, Adrian’s mother heard it too. “After that weird things would keep happening in the house but I stopped paying attention because I don’t really believe in this stuff. I asked around the street and people said that an old Buddhist graveyard used to be here.”

Many households in the area have similar stories to tell. “This place is full of jinns,” said Jamshed, a guard in one of F-6/3’s residential streets.

Jasmine Arandia, 28, an F-11 resident, recounted her own experiences with a jinn in her apartment:  She recalled in chilling detail how she woke up one night to see a tall, black pillar of smoke hovering by her bed. “It felt as if it was trying to take my soul out of my feet; it kept saying ‘I’m going to take you.’” Eventually, the family repelled whatever was haunting Jasmine with prayers.

There’s also a deep and abiding belief in disturbed spirits of the dead in sectors G-11 and E-11. Gul Mawaz Khan, 24, claims to have seen the ghost of a little girl appear and vanish before him at a friend’s (who lived alone) in G-11. “He always said the place was haunted by a mother-daughter duo. I just never believed it.”

Islamabad is a spooky place, especially at night; the forests, thickets and trees cast shadows everywhere; the streets are empty; dark mountains loom overhead. It’s no wonder that a sub-culture of superstition has emerged from this eerie natural milieu.

Unfortunately, people aren’t into talking about their experiences much- they think it might make things worse. I say it’s high time we explored the rich folkloric etymology of Islamabad’s underworld before it’s completely lost. So dear readers, I want your stories; whatever you’ve got.

I hope you all sleep well tonight.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • tat
    Jun 20, 2011 - 9:20AM

    I lived all my life there n tht place ws always spooky Recommend

  • Saleem
    Jun 20, 2011 - 10:58AM

    actually it might be happening in the houses build with ill gotten money.Recommend

  • Shah-e Jinnat
    Jun 20, 2011 - 12:27PM

    Without Prejudice:
    To Whom It May Concern
    Of late, myself and some minions have made some rounds of the federal capital and found it an eminently boring neighbourhood. The food is expensive and bland, the taxi service is abominable and impossible to get at times when we like to step out (after Maghrib). Even the women we haunted turned out not to have a single creative bone in their bodies. All they did was scream stupidly instead of doing fancy stuff like slashing their husbands and boyfriends. So we left them to their fates and have moved to Gujranwala where we found everything to our liking. The move’s been good and things are, to use the plebeian expression, ROCKING!Recommend

  • Rehan
    Jun 20, 2011 - 4:23PM

    Honestly, this ghost nonsense is your brain and fear playing tricks on you. If they’re real, WHY isn’t there some solid evidence to prove it, except “oh, you know I heard this, or saw that” etc etc. It’s time we all grew up.Recommend

  • danial
    Jun 21, 2011 - 12:25AM

    Surely this is a joke..? if it isn’t then Rayan here seems to be quite delusional. Recommend

  • Fawad
    Jun 21, 2011 - 9:49AM

    “Gujjjjraaan wala” a better place than Islamabad?? hahahaha, that was a good one for sure :-)

    as for Isb being haunted, well on weekends I stay out late, sometimes till 2-3 am… I never had any problem in E-7, F-6, Margalla hills… I even hiked my was back from Track-3 (Margalla hill – Pir Sohawa) after Maghrib, in total darkness, only with help of dim light of my cell phone… Have a heart dude, its not haunted at all :-)Recommend

  • Sj
    Jun 21, 2011 - 9:38PM

    I wish these paranormal things could attack the presidency and the parliament and get rid of our corrupt politicans !!!!!!!Recommend

  • jawaria
    Jun 22, 2011 - 8:41PM

    all are right on their own places and according to their own opinions i don’t want to contradict anyone…Near to me ill gotten money is the call of everything , furthermore these people has nothing to do worthwhile that’s why JINN of their empty mind attacks over them…Recommend

  • Bobby
    Jul 2, 2011 - 11:54AM

    I wanna hear more ghost stories.Recommend

  • Faani
    Jul 20, 2011 - 7:28PM

    Hey guys, its an awesome article. And no doubt thats ghosts exist in this world as it is also written in our Holy Quran. So as a Muslim we cant deny these things.
    Mr. Fawad’s reply is very much interesting and i think you are very brave because mostly people do not go on trail3 or trail5 after maghrib.
    Well guys i am 28 years old and i was born in Islamabad. I live in f-6 for almost 22 years and then i shifted to G-11.
    When i was 20, because of some financial crises, i started doing a part time job in evening and the job is from 6 to 10 or sometimes 11.
    One night in winter season i was coming back to home. It was 11 pm. There is no one in the streets. I heard that somebody is coming behind me. I look back and there was no one. It happens 3 times again and i just started running from there :D
    Bilkul asy feel hta tha k bohat kareeb koi chal rha ha….n jab mr peechay mur k dekhta tha to awaz band hojati thy.


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