ISLAMABAD: A lazy Sunday merits a lazy start: perhaps a picnic in the park with the family, watching a kabaddi match go down. With adrenaline levels pumped up a little higher, let’s go for a Ferris wheel ride with friends. Feeling braver? How about a ride aboard the infamous pirate ship?
By the time you are done, the day will be over and you would have more fun than you have had in a long time. Such was the opportunity afforded by a day-long festival at the Fatima Jinnah Park on Sunday.
Hundreds of families, students and other people from all walks of life flocked to the park, where games, food stalls, competition, quizzes and other play areas had been set up for them at the Islamabad Festival 2012.
According to the organiser of the festival, former MNA Mian Aslam, the event was meant to entertain and tell the world that “ours is a peace-loving nation”. Aslam added that they had put up over 35,000 prizes for winning at the festival. The festival was organised by Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan.
Two entry areas were prepared with walkthrough gates --- one near G-9 and the other near F-10.
Most competition stands were set for school children, with quizzes, drawing, speech, football, cricket, volleyball, sports climbing and marathon running being more popular.
At one stall, college students with over 70% marks and university students with over 3.5 CGPA were awarded shields and certificates. “We conducted online registration of students for eligibility, and are collecting result cards on spot as well,” said Abdur Rehman, one of the organisers at the stall.
“I won third prize in chess and it is great to get certificate and a shield,” said an excited Mohsin Siddiqi.
However, humming electric generators and blaring loudspeakers announcing the winners were somehow annoying for many like Maria, who was sitting with her child in the ground. “The loudspeakers are being used frequently on full volume. Besides, there are no dustbins. Litter and wrappers are being thrown openly everywhere,” she remarked.
A social media cell was also working on uploading pictures on Facebook and Twitter. “We have over 16,000 likes on our festival page and have been updating pictures regularly,” said Mohsin Siddiqi the cell in-charge.
NADRA officials made good use of the large public gathering by placing a mobile van to facilitate people on spot and inform visitors about the new ID card.
A separate large space was especially set up for women and girls where henna, stitching, running and badminton competitions were arranged.
Aurangzaib, a government servant who had come with his family, said that the festival is a good initiative in such a tense political and security environment, and provided “a fresh breath for us to come out and enjoy”.
However, he felt “the show is a bit disorganised as there are no washrooms. The ground is all dusty, and there are no signs explaining where particular stalls or designated areas are.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2012.