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Dear Editor

I hope you will like the Photo Feature. Kindly ask your photographers to have a few snaps as suggested in the write up. I suggest the following captions for photographs that are also clues for the photographers what to shoot:

  1. Huddled under quilts the homeless brave the icy and foggy last night of 2001
  2. Men and beast share the warmth at stables
  3. Sleepers in the chill
  4. Undisturbed slumber at the mosque’s doorstep
  5. The cold bites through the meagre blanket of this old man sitting down for the last night of 2001 on a footpath.

These captions are only by way of suggestions. The actual captions would be derived from the photographs produced by your staff photographers.

With my profound regards and best wishes for 2002.

Sincerely Yours



Lahore Law Associates

Office # 34,2nd Floor, Sadiq Plaza, 69 The Mall Road, Lahore-54000, Pakistan

Res: 105-A, Green Acres, Raiwind Road, Lahore 53700, Pakistan

Tel: (W) 92-42 6365582 & 6365583 (H) 92-42 5320985 & 5320986

Mobile: +92 (0) 320 4203491

Fax: (W) 92-42 6365584 (H) 92-42 5320817 (on request)

Email: irm@brain.net.pk

Website: http://www.paktax.com.pk

Photo Feature—Entering 2002 with struggle for survival

In the fog of the night

Dr. Ikramul Haq[*]

LAHORE, trapped in the smoky, icy and deadly claws of a foggy cold wave, witnessed unusual rise in the number of the homeless, who struggled hard to find shelters on the icy last days of 2001. The opening hours of 2002 brought for them extreme discomfort as the mercury continued its downward dip throughout the country. The met offices all over Pakistan recorded some of the lowest temperatures in decades.

In the Punjab metropolis, Lahore, the freezing temperatures and the fog that engulfed the city for the last week largely dampened the festivities over the New Year. Up in the high reaches snow, icy winds and heavy fog disrupted normal life, cutting off huge territorial masses from the rest of the country. There were number of reports of death due to cold and road accidents because of thick fog.

During the lat week of 2001, Lahore registered an average maximum temperature of 12 Celsius, while the minimum average has been a bone-chilling 5 Celsius. On 30 December 2001, the maximum temperature slid to 13.2 Celsius from 16.9 Celsius on the immediate preceding day. This was seven degree below what is considered as normal for the time of the year and the lowest recorded in the last five years. For the homeless and the people living below the poverty line, the ‘cold war” has not been fought so bitterly. With the advent of last night of 2001, their search for shelters and warmth became a struggle for survival.

In some parts of the city where the only available shelter was a traffic divide, the destitute huddle together under quilts and rags or seek the deceptive comfort of doorways. At some places men and beast shared the warmth at stables. All over the city little fires blossomed in lonely defence and old tyres, petrol soaked rags and bits of paper were scrounged for fuel.

While the privileged classes and the rulers enjoyed all the comforts of life and entered 2002 without feeling the cold of the night, for the hapless lot the warmest places on the last icy night of 2001 were the cow stables where the luckier ones staved off the chilly hours by sleeping among the animals. Other found their best source of survival in the railway freight yards, bus depots or under the protective arch of the bridge.

But even for the fortunate ones, there was no escape from the icy surface winds and the pea-soup fog that drifted across the city, driving citizens indoors and traffic of the roads. In fact there were moments especially in the last hours of 2001 and the early morning of 2002, when Lahore resembled a city under siege, battling an invisible army that marched silently down from the skies which according to the experts are so polluted that even the sun shining with full force could not penetrate them on many days. The dawn of 2002 brought a number of warnings for us on the fronts of pollution, terrorism, religious bigotry and economic subjugation etc—all leading to the path of self-annihilation. Are we listening the message of Mother Nature on the first day of 2002?

[*] Dr. Ikramul Haq, a leading international tax counsel, is a well-known author specialising in international tax, press, intellectual property, corporate and constitutional law. Dr. Ikram is Chief Partner of Lahore Law Associates (fax: +92 42 6365584, e-mail: irm@brain.net.pk; website: http://www.paktax.com.pk). He is a member of the visiting faculty of the Lahore Institute of Tax Education (LITE). He studied literature, journalism and law, for his Masters and Doctorate degrees. He has written many books on various aspects of Pakistani law and global narcotics trade, some of which are co-authored with his wife, Mrs. Huzaima Bukhari.

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