Hill Park Karachi over the Years and Social Networks of Old Familiar Faces

ھل پارک 1975, PECHS, Karachi
 I went regularly in the mornings during 1995-2012 when my children were growing up. Feeding the ducks and climbing up and down the hilly slopes was the nearest to tracking/hiking children could get in Karachi. I also frequented it during 1980-86 during my engineering and MBA days, and even used to study there too . I still go there some times.
My Khaloo was a regular visitor of Hill Park with his children from 1970-88. While on visit from Islamabad to Karachi and staying at Khala’s place in PECHS has some very interesting time there.

I have observed groups of retired people coming regularly in morning, having interesting, profound and animated discussions in groups during and after their walk. Even having halwa puri nashta on weekends. I have seen the composition of these groups of retired people changing gradually over time. Old familiar faces leaving with time. I distinctly remember an ex VC of KU making a not too positive comment (in around 1998) about these groups of aged people. I wondered what’s his grudge, they are just meeting with each other in the mornings, sharing their experiences and having good time. This gentleman then also eventually retired, and has passed away. I called him a few months before his last, and he mentioned the open park like space around his house that is a source of great epnjoyment to him. I hope he was with a joyful company during his last days.

Here is a Recollection from octogenarian Mr Ashraf Janjua, now residing in USA, copied from his comments below:

Around 1975 I almost daily visited Hill Park in the morning.There was a group of friends most of them senior citizens who would daily spend about an hour together at Hill Park. All these people had different background and varied experiences.
Five of us would have a playing card session on Friday.I was the youngest in the group,and now the only survivor. With so many readers expressing “Like” about my comment, I am tempted to share with them the names of some members of the group:
1:Late Mr Saeed Ghani, famous as seller of quality saris. A generous person.
2:Late Mr Zahid Ali of Fakhri of Printing Press Pakistan Chowk .
3:Mr Yameen, the senior most member with a great sense of humor. Before independence, he was the owner of famous سراۓ احمد پائی in Delhi. He used to tell stories about low paid employees of All India Radio staying at his Sarai.
4:Hafiz Jee :who worked in An Accounts Department of Government was a source of information he got from a Hindu Ved —-particularly on postures.
5:Shah Sahib-An authority on Agriculture and a former employee of FAO of United Nations.A good story teller.
6.M W Gohar a former middle level bureaucrat.who worked in Supplies zDepartment.A well-read person who used to tell stories about lady singers and football game in Calcutta.
7: Sheikh Shaukat from Chiniot. A thorough gentleman, did not survive long the death of his young son in an accident in the USA.
8:Mota Shah Sahib,a very interesting and helpful person .
9:Azmat Ali Calcutta Wale.He was a great fun.He was distantly a grandfather of Alamgir Khan the singer.He had a heart condition.When we visited him in hospital he asked me ,”Janjua ,have you brought the pack of playing cards.”I said yes and we played cards for about 45 minutes.The visiting nurse just smiled.After four days Azmat sahib passed away.
So these are the friends of morning walk I lost over the years:

اے ہمنفسان محفل ما رفتید، ولے نہ از دل ما

FB has provided a great opportunity to me to learn from Mr Ashraf Janjua’s wisdom. He has been Deputy Governor of SBP, ex Dean of Iobm, and my colleague at IoBM when I was Dean there.


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