The graveyard of nostalgia
By Shahzad Raza
ISLAMABAD: Many who visit Islamabad graveyard return with strong nostalgic feelings. Several buried there have staged a key role in power politics while others have ruled people’s heart.
A galaxy of poets, writers and bureaucrats sleep in the cemetery, situated in a peaceful corner of the Islamabad metropolis. For over three decades it has accomodated people.
The first grave to the left of the main entrance creates an instant impression for it is the grave of great Urdu poet and scion of Malhiabad State, Josh Malhiabadi. He undoubtedly ruled many a heart with his revolutionary poetry.
His autobiography, Yadoon Ki Baraat, is a masterpiece of Urdu literature. Unfortunately, however, the grave of the poet is hidden behind wild bushes. It appears the late poet is being subject to the same treatment he received during his life.
An official of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), monitoring the graveyard, said there would be no burial in the graveyard from next year. The decision was taken owing to a shortage of space.
After a few minutes walk from the main entrance, one can find the grave of the Urdu short story writer and novelist Mumtaz Mufti. A disciple of Sigmund Freud, the late writer cemented his name in the history of Urdu literature through his accomplished works.
Not far away from Mufti’s grave, lies the body of another Urdu poet, Parveen Shakir. The late poet lost her life after a tragic accident in 1994. Her beautifully designed grave, however, has lost some of her charm. The area surrounding the grave of the late Parveen Shakir is well maintained. However, the land adjacent and graves nearby require considerable maintenance.
Besides poets and writers, people of power including Qudratullah Shahab, Maulana Kausar Niazi, Khurshid Hassan Mir and Altaf Gauhar are also buried in the graveyard. Indeed, the late Shahab was known for his intellectual capacity.
A gravedigger said he has seen more than 10 funerals a day. At times there are not more than one funeral is performed but according to estimates, there are around three burials every day. In order to fulfil local requirements, a new graveyard will be opened from next year, in sector H-11 sector. The authority is in the process of constructing an approach road, fence and other facilities.
The new graveyard covers 80 acres and is expected to meet the requirements of Islamabad residents for more than 20 years. The city’s old graveyard is spread over 50 acres.
There is one deplorable aspect of the old graveyard. In the monsoon season, torrential rain damages more than 300 graves. Indeed, there have been cases where visitors have borne witness to the movement of wild animals and badly damaged graves.