Beggar at Ghazi Chowk


A Citizen’s Account of The Raiwind Road Protest.

24 Jun 2010

On Raiwind Road, near the outskirts of Lahore, close to the motorway that leads to Islamabad is University College Lahore or UCL. One of the many colleges to rip off acronyms from London and add to the similarities between the two cities.

A few nights ago UCL was hosting Imran Khan (the British/Pakistani Bhangra artist, not the cricketer/social/worker/politician or the Bollywood actor). Khan’s claim to fame is innovative Bhangra that is catchy, with lyrics that are completely ridiculous, hence equally catchy. Perhaps his most famous song, Amplifier, is embedded.


This is one of the rare musical tours happening in Pakistan at the moment, even in relatively tolerant, liberal and fun-loving Lahore.

I was down at Raiwind Road to visit family that lives some distance past UCL, and got caught in a traffic jam on the way back. Two cars had been parked horizontally across the road, and then a few young men went on to light fire to some tires on the one side of the road. Allw e could get was they were somehow against the concert, whether their reasons were religious, political or affiliation with the school could not be known.

As with all protests, besides the fact that they’re holding up the tire industry (I’m guessing tire imports), a little danga-fasad (disturbance) ensued, but no irrecoverable damage seemed to have been done. There was almost no panic on the scene, perhaps some anger, but no panic. This sort of protest is not the norm, but it doesn’t seem to take people by surprise. The most worry I saw was perhaps from my grandmother in the back seat of our car, but even she seemed to think of this as something we were going to run into some day.

We managed to get out somehow in a few minutes (some cars were moved I think), and that was that. It wasn’t a big deal in the news, in fact I’m not even sure it appeared, but I can’t be definitive on that. I had some grainy pictures from my phone to show but my phone’s bluetooth is no longer working. Hafeez Center to the rescue until more.