Islamabad is no longer the bureaucratic haven that it once was. The bureaucrats with their peculiar swagger are there alright, but they no longer 'dominate' the city. The city has lately been over-run by a motely crowd of the nouveux riches. These comprise the political heavy-weights as well as those who have migrated from affluent cities like Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar. It is a bit like the mass movements of the middle ages when the populations followed the resources. The only difference is that the motive is somewhat different in the present instance. These migrants are not chasing resources, but are instead running away from an environment that is fast becoming inhospitable to their kind.
So, what happens is that the 'elites' take advantage of their affluence to move to safer - if not greener - pastures. Hence the hordes of the rich and famous (?) with their obscene vehicles that crowd the roads and avenues of the once sleepy city; taking the limelight away from the all-powerful bureaucrat, who now considers it prudent to withdraw to the relative safety of the drawing rooms and the (no longer) exclusive clubs.
One by-product of this change in demographics is the vast array of professional beggars that virually infests the city. If you are lucky enough to negotiate the road, dodging the mercedes and BMWs to reach a popular shopping center beggars of myriad shapes and sizes descend on you like a swarm of locusts.
The thing that strikes a visitor straight away is the virtual absence of decent public transport. The powers that be apparently give no thought to the matter of movement of the common man from point A to point B at reasonable cost and/or comfort. What the city now has on offer now is a pitiable fleet of 'minibuses' in various stages of disrepair. These are manned by a class of dare-devil drivers who attempt to pack in commuters like the proverbial sardines in a tin. In addition there are a bevy of 'yellow cabs' - most of them hardly road-worthy - that wander around the city, rudderless and meter-less.
What the city can rightfully boast of is its greenery. The founding fathers, at the planning stage of the city, did a superb job. As a consequence most roads and avenues show a refreshing green look. If only their successors ha some idea of how to nurture, prune and maintain the thousands of trees that had been tastefull planted betimes.
Cleanliness and hygiene are yet another aspect that could and should have been paid sufficient attention betimes. Several natural streams crisscross Islamabad capital territory. Sadly, most of them have been allowed to be clogged because some residents lack civic sense.
The common resident has been harassed out of his wits with the VVIPs cadging whole thoroughfares in the course of theit 'hallowed' movements. The same is case with the police check-posts that have sprouted all over the city like wild mushrooms after the rains. One understands the demands of 'security' of the big-wigs but a kind thought for the lowly man in the street wouls surely be in order.