10 things I hate about Lahore

Published: March 18, 2012
Lahore has too much to see and too much to eat. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Lahore has too much to see and too much to eat. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

1.   The noise. Lahore is perhaps the only place in the country where your ears are subjected to a jumble of scratchy Ataullah Khan Esakhelvi tracks, choruses of paunchy men hurling colourful abuse, religious sermons, nauseating Bollywood tunes, the roar of vehicles and generally shrill Lahoris. All in one go.

2.    The state of the roads pales hopelessly if compared with those of Karachi and Islamabad. The last time I checked, Lahore aspired to be a world-class city. With roads like these, I better check again.

3.    The traffic. Cars are to Lahore what sheep are to Australia. And the drivers are part of the problem. Dear Lahori driver, you won’t die of a cardiac arrest if you just let my car pass by. And since I’ve already judged you by the look on your face, you don’t need to prove you are a filthy snob by your reckless driving.

4.   The cultural anaemia. The city is steadily losing much of the cultural appeal it was once so envied for. And to get the record straight, staging ‘Ishq Day Annay’ in Alhamra and showing ‘Nasha Jawani Da’ in Laxmi Chowk don’t really count as cultural activities. Okay?

5.   The renaming. As much as I respect Jinnah, I am still partial to Lawrence Gardens in place of ‘Bagh-e-Jinnah’. Race Course Park, GT Road, Jail Road, Davis Road, Queen’s Road, Krishan Nagar and Gaddafi Stadium, all have been brought under the axe of renaming. Give us a break!

6.    For a city of its standard, Lahore offers humorous, almost comic modes of public transport. Deafening rickshaws, colonial-style tongas, grimy wagons, crowded buses. Is a decent metro transit system too much to ask for?

7.    In Lahore, there’s an overwhelming populace of (self-proclaimed) hip hunks and trendy divas. Had you been in Abbottabad, we’d have probably laughed you off. But since you are in Lahore, you can easily get away with your visually agonising sense of style by simply calling it high fashion.

8.    Lahore’s living history is being destroyed. Partly by the people who so romantically pen down their phone numbers on the walls of historic structures, and partly by the authorities who keep on limiting access to more and more of those structures. And I always thought that every Pakistani had equal rights to our collective heritage. Well, some dreams die young!

9.    Lahore has too much to see and too much to eat. And no matter how much you extend your trip to the city, you always run out of time. Or worse still, stomach space.

10.    Lahore, despite points one to nine, is still Lahore. And it doesn’t need to prove itself. Or change itself. That’s why all those from other cities eventually fall in love with this city of sin and splendour, and cannot help feeling a tinge of harmless jealousy. And then we end up writing pieces like this one.

Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, March 18th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (56)

  • Blues
    Mar 18, 2012 - 12:02PM

    Thankless person.


  • Lazarus
    Mar 18, 2012 - 12:11PM

    Can I write one on Tribune? Recommend

  • Mar 18, 2012 - 12:16PM

    Despite all the wove, Lahore is Lahore. We love Lahore. Long live Lahore


  • sars
    Mar 18, 2012 - 12:20PM

    why not summarize points 1-9 and re title this ” the one thing i love about lahore?” positivity people!


  • maria
    Mar 18, 2012 - 12:35PM

    umm, that’s just a stupid piece. Recommend

  • Khuldun
    Mar 18, 2012 - 12:42PM

    So many I Hate articles.

    Negativity all around. We should blame no one but ourselves for this mental state of mind we have put ourselves in. Positivity and optimism goes a long way in the social health and mental relaxation of an individual and a nation.


  • braveheart
    Mar 18, 2012 - 12:46PM

    4th and 9th are best , but if “lhore lhore ay to karachi uska shohar he, jitna bara lhore he utna to khi me gulistan e jauhar he”


  • Rao Amjad Ali
    Mar 18, 2012 - 12:48PM

    Not your fault, you just don’t know Lahore!


  • honey
    Mar 18, 2012 - 12:52PM

    none of the points was worth reading except the last one


  • sick of this nonsense
    Mar 18, 2012 - 12:53PM

    Sigh. People kindly understand what the writer is trying to say. He loves Lahore and its splendor.


  • Kashif Shamas
    Mar 18, 2012 - 12:56PM

    You can actually value Lahore once you are away. I really miss colors of Lahorie life. No comparasion to Lahore.


  • Qais
    Mar 18, 2012 - 1:13PM

    bohat bewafa shehar hay…….worse memories…


  • SoAndSo
    Mar 18, 2012 - 1:13PM

    I have to agree, I don’t like Lahore as well. I am claustrophobic and can’t stand the congestion. That’s why I like a place like Rawalpindi or maybe Islamabad. Because if you had lived in a house in Rawalpindi (or Islamabad) which is on the top of a hill or on a relatively higher altitude, you would be having a great view of the place around you and you would literally feel that you’re on the top of the world. I lived in 5 such houses (during my 7-year stay) in Rawalpindi which had amazing views but I had to shift to the congestion of Lahore for academic reasons and I am not liking the place. I can’t wait to graduate and go back to Rawalpindi.

    Also, when it comes to Lahore’s cuisine, its no different from what I have eaten anywhere else in Pakistan except perhaps for the halwa puri.


  • Jawad
    Mar 18, 2012 - 1:15PM

    You’re misinformed and feeding only on stereotypes. Some of your points are true, no doubt. But it isn’t as bad as you make it sound like it is. If a foreigner or a potential tourist reads such things and changes their mind, I’m sure i’ll put the blame on you and only you.


  • Waqar
    Mar 18, 2012 - 1:17PM

    Its not your fault … Havent you seen ring road (karachi can not even dream of that)
    And that is just one part !!!)
    Get a life and talk only if you know
    Nd last lahore lahore he te karachi ode kool vi nae !!!!!


  • Mar 18, 2012 - 1:19PM

    Alas! Nation full of segregators.


  • Zohra Ilyas
    Mar 18, 2012 - 1:22PM

    In a pure, innate Lahori short tempered way, I was about to regard it as a worthless piece and move on shrugging it off, till I read point 10!! It made my heart smile!! :)


  • Parviz Sani
    Mar 18, 2012 - 1:23PM

    This article is a good example of free press,I love Lahore &cannot be compared with any city of Pakistan.


  • Waiting
    Mar 18, 2012 - 1:43PM

    @sick of this nonsense:
    Don’t hold your breath waiting for this lot to figure that out


  • Zeta
    Mar 18, 2012 - 2:06PM

    Lahore is fastly developing with new high quality highways and suburbs in outer limits. You just didn’t bother to really see it

    Lahore Lahore hai aur jinney lahore in wekhiya Ou jammiya he nahin


  • Waqar Hasnain
    Mar 18, 2012 - 2:37PM

    I fully agree. You are right on spot. The saying : the tragedy of life is not what we suffer, its rather what we miss: is correct for people of Lahore.


  • Majid Urrehman
    Mar 18, 2012 - 2:41PM

    Guys chill! I made this page many years back. Recommend

  • Bilal Burki
    Mar 18, 2012 - 3:16PM

    Pedestrian article! Rather umb.


  • Mar 18, 2012 - 3:21PM

    Get a grip!!


  • Zain Naqvi
    Mar 18, 2012 - 4:00PM

    Just one question the reason for writing all this?
    Sure we are not San Francisco, but still too much food, tongas, references to stage dramas?! Seriously ?! Comparing one city to another on the basis of its have’s and have not’s should be considered geographical and cultural blasphemy.
    Its about time we move away from negative criticism and start exploring what still keeps this city together after all the crap it has taken post 9/11.
    As for the last point thank you but what was new in that, tell us something about Lahore that would change our perceptions for a greater good.
    Thank You,


  • ayesha azeem
    Mar 18, 2012 - 5:01PM

    But I still Love LAHORE…MERI JAAN……………


  • arslan
    Mar 18, 2012 - 5:21PM



  • Mar 18, 2012 - 6:51PM
  • Babloo
    Mar 18, 2012 - 7:07PM

    Lahore has changed immeasurably. My great grand father was professor/shashtri of Sanskrit at Punjab university , Lahore 90 years ago. Can you imagine that ? Sanskrit at Lahore university ?


  • Mar 18, 2012 - 7:19PM

    *”The city is steadily losing much of the cultural appeal”

    “Lahore’s living history is being destroyed”*

    Does that makes u feel pity or to hate such a great city of Pakistan?


  • Ifrah Mirza
    Mar 18, 2012 - 7:30PM

    Dear Express Tribune,

    I’m appalled at the level of writing chosen to be printed. Freedom of expression is something we all endorse but a piece of writing that is without ANY thorough analysis is regrettable. I am a reader from Islamabad which makes me non-biased towards this article. Commenting on a city such as Lahore requires much more than what has been put up here!

    Losing cultural appeal…like seriously ?


  • Raza
    Mar 18, 2012 - 10:02PM

    This is simply lame. I was born and raised in Karachi; have been numerous times to Islamabad, and I went to Lahore for studies, and I loved it, and still do. Your points are mainly invalid; and if they’re designed to somehow appreciate (as seems to be potentially implied in # 9 and 10), then it doesn’t come off in the least. And fyi, the state of roads and transport (ever checked the Daewoo bus system?) in Lahore is the best in the country.


  • Ahsan Zeb
    Mar 19, 2012 - 12:42AM

    Ahhh! i feel quit pity on reading commnts lyk “wothless piece, misinformation, misstatemnt of facts, pedestrian artcle etc.”
    y has ths bcm our natnl habit to jst crtcse for nothng? wrtr has jst gvn his views abt lahr and all the matrl it contain are straight facts.
    in #1-8 the writer has jst lst down wtevr he’d obsrvd abt lahore and wd8 any doubt lahore is v noisy, congested n havng wrst publc trsprt systm.
    and the last two points actuly shws the writr’s deep love n affiliatn for da splndr, style n cultr of ds livg cityRecommend

  • Mar 19, 2012 - 1:14AM


    I hope you don’t make a mistake of writing all those ten things you hate about Karachi. Suun lia?!


  • ....
    Mar 19, 2012 - 2:58AM

    Hey ET,
    Last years theme was 10 things I hate about..blogs. Could this years theme be 10 things I love about…please? :) Why dwell on the negative when there is so much positive to celebrate!!


  • mrs. khan
    Mar 19, 2012 - 4:12AM

    I would say Lahore does need some “changing”, but more to keep Lahore a glorious place it is, not the defamation that continues to happen by the govt. either not paying attention to the rich history OR their trying to rename things….as you mentioned. I’m not from lahore, but now that is where my heart has lived since 2004. After living there for 2 years I can’t stay away. Every chance I get I take a trip, and yes, no matter how much you extend it there’s more you wanted to do (or eat :-) ) I took this piece for what it is…..and the writer did a great job pointing out what every city has….it’s flaws, and some of those flaws are Lahore’s endearments, and some are just the people not taking care of such an awesome city. Pakistan Zindabaad!


  • Hassan
    Mar 19, 2012 - 4:15AM

    i spent my 4 years in lahore and i hated it back then :) But i have to admit that i got my reasons to love this city NOW and its amazing to go there every now and then as its alot of fun and i have to agree that every time I run out of time to do all that i plan but this is again a good excuse to come back :) thanks for writing this i loved it because i am travelling abroad for a month and still few weeks to go until i land again in LAHORE.


  • GandhiJinnah
    Mar 19, 2012 - 6:52AM

    Can i write “10 things i hate about immature writers”?


  • soniya
    Mar 19, 2012 - 9:12AM

    shutup !Recommend

  • S.F.Ali
    Mar 19, 2012 - 9:16AM

    I like point# 9 :D:D


  • Pakistani
    Mar 19, 2012 - 9:25AM

    Lahore is Lahore..we love it!!!!


  • umair
    Mar 19, 2012 - 9:42AM

    Now there are number of blog writers who just share what they hate, and here i found the true representation of our thinking nation wide- WE ARE MOST CONCERNED ABOUT PEOPLE/ PLACES’ BAD ASPECTS AND IGNORE POSITIVITY- therefore we are lacking in talented people because we drained then by our self.


  • Asad
    Mar 19, 2012 - 10:14AM

    Why is the centre of Pakistan cricket named after a now deceased north african dictator?


  • A. Khan
    Mar 19, 2012 - 10:34AM

    You mean you have ONLY 10 reasons to hate Lahore ?


  • Karachi
    Mar 19, 2012 - 12:51PM

    Lahore Lahore hey. Even i am Karachities.


  • Billoo Bhaya
    Mar 19, 2012 - 12:59PM

    Can you add louts who go around spraying peoples boundary walls as art Nothing could be further from the truth as art is. All over the world where art exits nothing like this has ever been done. Especially on boundary walls of homes. Its ugly. If these are artists are that good they should open galleries to show it.


  • a sialkotian
    Mar 19, 2012 - 2:56PM

    seriously i dont like lhr too fully agreed plus the people are so bad


  • Umar Khan
    Mar 20, 2012 - 11:23AM

    How about this Move out of Lahore?


  • islooite
    Mar 20, 2012 - 11:49AM

    Lahore is amazing but I love Islamabad


  • Umer Saleem
    Mar 26, 2012 - 4:23PM

    I was in Lahore only last month, after a gap of two years and i was amazed to see the progress the place has made in these years. The roads are much more clean, adherence to traffic laws and regulations is way better than I see in Karachi. I completely disagree that the drivers are reckless or “SNOB” by any means, you compare the state of Lahore with Karachi and Lahore is definitely much more clean and sane than Karachi. And since when did too much sightseeing and eating out spots became a bad thing? Most people would appreciate a vast array of options to chose from. Your heading really suits your writing, “10 things I hate about Lahore” because these things are certainly the opinions (biased) of one man and, in no way whatsoever, do they depict the true picture of the city, that is Lahore.


  • Fedupofgovernment
    Mar 29, 2012 - 2:30AM

    May be the guy had seen Lahore in old pictures, to write about the city you need to visit taht city. I think lahore has the best roads alongside Islamabad and the cleanest city of Pakistan (Alongside isl).


  • Ahmed HM
    Mar 29, 2012 - 5:44PM

    Karachi is violent, Pindi / Islamabad are boring, Peshawer is dirty, Quetta is too silent …

    I love Pakistan, I love all the cities …

    But Lahore Lahore hai !


  • Mahi
    Apr 10, 2012 - 2:17PM

    I’m from Islamabad and I’d choose Islamabad over Lahore ANY GIVEN DAY,but yea I admit Lahore is Lahore.Love Live Pakistan:D


  • Mahi
    Apr 10, 2012 - 2:20PM

    @Ahmed HM: Pindi might be boring but Islamabad rocks,never been to Quetta,Karachi and Peshawar thoug,Lahore is also nice but Islamabad rocks,period!


  • Waseem
    Apr 20, 2012 - 1:43AM

    He is mistaking Shiekhupura for Lahore. Poor chap :)


  • Natasha
    May 7, 2012 - 9:52PM

    Okay, so point no. 9 is pretty stupid. Isn’t it great if there’s a lot to eat and see?


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