More hype to Christmas festivities than Quaid's birthday in Islamabad.


ISLAMABAD -- In Islamabad, we have markets and five star hotels dolled up with Christmas decor. Kohsar market in F-6 sector has twinkling lights at every turn and inside the Marriott and Serena hotels, you get to hear Christmas songs. It is amazing and heart touching to see that this holiday that is celebrated by Christians, has become popular amongst Muslims too, and has a way of making everything around you seem lovelier than usual.

Personally, I feel it is just another day off from work, but from a cultural point of view, I think it is over-hyped. Five star hotels have an array of lavish food on this special day. Their menu reads: Brie and cranberry parcels, roast turkey, beef stuffing and mushroom roulade, spiced pumpkin cheesecake, Christmas Pie Sundae and so much more.

There are other places around the city that really turn things up a notch and make the holiday season more festive and my favourite one is Kohsar market. Christmas kiosks spring up and the elite can buy everything from non-alcoholic eggnog to Christmas trees and all these kiosks are right next to a mosque. With the passage of years, Islamabad has truly embraced Christmas more than Muhammad Ali Jinnah's birthday, which also falls on the same day.

December 25 is celebrated widely amongst Muslims too, but not as our founder's birthday. Friends host Christmas dinners and parties, while Quaid-e-Azam feels like that neglected middle child whose birthday never became as a big deal as that of the eldest sibling. I do think we should take a moment to thank the founder of our country who gave us a separate homeland where we can freely embrace different cultures, religions and celebrate diversity on our own terms, while still keeping in account the feelings of the minorities.

He was certainly one of the greatest leaders that the Muslim world has witnessed so far, a role model for leadership and enlightened patriotism.

I happened to visit the Marriott over the weekend and was stunned to see the Christmas decor. My three-year-old daughter was mesmerised by the magic of Christmas and exclaimed 'mummy , Santa is coming!' Courtesy YouTube and Instagram generation, she will grow up in, she knows of Santa Claus and refuses to acknowledge that it is not real despite my insistence.

It is worth noting that behind Marriott's extravagant and lovely...

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