Life

 

 

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1.       Historic Beauty

Known as one of the cleanest cities in Pakistan, Abbottabad is nestled in a serene valley in the Hazara region of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.  A one-hour drive north from the capital of Islamabad through 60 miles of winding mountainous roads, the surrounding hills offer humbling views.  The town itself sits along the Karakoram Highway, an engineering marvel that traces a section of the ancient Silk Road and links Pakistan with China through the Himalaya.

2.       A Stellar Safety Record

While the rest of Pakistan suffered from rampant attacks and sporadic uprisings, Abbottabad remained out of the spotlight and far away from the public eye.  The quaint city was always seen as idyllic and, home to three Army regiments, was oft called the safest city in Pakistan.  In fact, Abbottabad never witnessed a single incident that could be broadly classified as terrorism.

3.       Utter Tranquility

It's no wonder that Abbottabad is a popular retirement spot for Pakistani military officers.  Its mild summers and overall agreeable temperatures make it a welcome escape from sizzling Punjab.  With an array of sizeable retirement compounds and vacation homes, people in the city like to keep to themselves.   Abbottabad provides ideal conditions to hide from the world.

4.       Plenty of Foreigners

Abbottabad is a heavily touristed resort town with a plethora of activities for the active wander.  Heaps of outsiders traipse through town towards the 2 mile walk to Shimla Peak or head north for a chairlift ride in nearby Ayubia National Park.  Nobody would think twice about seeing a stranger on the street.

5.       The Words of an (in)Famous Poem

The reemergence of this long-forgotten poem by Abbottabad's 19th century British Colonial general, James Abbott (for whom the town is named - or who named the town after himself) has received poor reviews in the press.  Some have called it the worst poem ever written.  Nevertheless, the poem showcases the kind of giddy excitement for life in Abbottabad that one must feel to write something like this:

I remember the day when I first came here
And smelt the sweet Abbottabad air

The trees and ground covered with snow
Gave us indeed a brilliant show

To me the place seemed like a dream
And far ran a lonesome stream

The wind hissed as if welcoming us
The pine swayed creating a lot of fuss

And the tiny cuckoo sang it away
A song very melodious and gay

I adored the place from the first sight
And was happy that my coming here was right

And eight good years here passed very soon
And we leave you perhaps on a sunny noon

Oh, Abbottabad, we are leaving you now
To your natural beauty do I bow

Perhaps your wind's sound will never reach my ear
My gift for you is a few sad tears

I bid you farewell with a heavy heart
Never from my mind will your memories thwart