How a burger sees Islamabad!

A Burger’s Guide to Islamabad, Paris of the East

by MansoorBashir

Islamabad is a fascinating city-state. Frequent flyers would tell you that it truly is the Paris of the East. As a local resident, I’d noticed that there weren’t many travel guides out there to help foreigners (read: Karachiites and Lahoris) navigate through this exotic and foreign land. Therefore, I took it upon myself to prepare this guide so as to help people explore this amazing city more effectively.
The national language of Islamabad is Minglish, which is a mixture of forced English and, as my Grandpa puts it, tuti phajji Urdu. The city is part of the Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area although Islamabad itself is much better and cleaner than it’s inferior sister city. I have asked daddy several times to have a wall built between the two cities and declare it an international border so as to discourage unwanted people from roaming the streets of our beautiful city.Islamabad is famed for It’s parks, monuments and overpriced cafes.
Above you’ll see a map of Islamabad. I custom designed it to help foreigners navigate through this city. The city is divided into many zones and sectors. There are 3 kinds of sectors.
  • Sectors you should definitely explore.
  • Sectors you should avoid.
  • Sectors you must NEVER EVER go to.
Little Manhattan is the heart of Islamabad. All the sectors in this region begin with the letter F which is short for filthy rich. It is where we, the true citizens of Islamabad, work and reside. We even have our own little Hyde Park in the middle of Little Manhattan. It is where mommy and daddy go for their evening jog after a tiring day at the office or country (read: gossip) club. We even have a cricket ground and tennis courts there. I’ve asked daddy to Invite Novak Djokovic there so we can have our own little Pakistan Open and help Pakistan’s Economy grow. The park is also a great open air studio for young and aspiring photographers, which consists of at least 97% of Islamabad’s population. The lush green park coupled with the Margalla Alps in the background make for some great images. You’ll find at least one cover/display photo of this view on an Islooites (That’s what we call ourselves to sound cool) Facebook/Instagram/Flickr/Website.
Little Manhattan also has shopping districts scattered across all the sectors. The most famous ones have to be Knightsbridge markets. Their official names are Jinnah and Super but we like to call think of them as Knightsbridge because it sounds cooler that way. You’ll find all sorts of modern amenities here such as shiny buildings, modernoverpriced cafes, restaurants, frozen yogurt stores etc. One of my favorite stores is Shams. Here, you can buy all sorts of luxury goods you’d normally find in a gas station convenience store in the US like Dr. Pepper, Pringles and Doritos. Stores like these are a sign of Pakistan’s developing economy and make for some good Instagram pictures when you’re out with friends. The nightlife is most alive here. We like to party all night (Read: until 10 PM) while smoking Shisha and Hashish at cafes.
Little Manhattan’s most posh commercial area is Kohsar Market. We like to think of it as our own little French Riviera minus the Riviera. Here you’ll findoverpriced coffeehouses and fountains that make for a nice spot to sit down and tweet about life and self discovery.
Little Beverly Hills is located to the north of Little Manhattan and is divided from the rest of the city by the Margalla road, barbed wires and watchtowers. It rests at the foothills of Margalla hills, the Alps of Pakistan. All the sectors in this region begin with the letter E which is short for elite. It is where all my friends whose daddies are military officers reside. We can’t go there without special permission from our friend’s daddies because we are civilians. There is also a specific E sector for civilians where my daddy’s Chinese friends and American CIA agents posing as businessmen reside. It is a very serene location to live in as the police doesn’t raid your homes to find illegal narcotics and prostitutes.
Northern Islamabad is divided from southern Islamabad by the Jinnah Avenue. It’s like our own combination of Champs-Élysées, Paris and Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. We like to think of it as our downtown area. There are many tall skyscrapers and wide roads here to photograph with my DSLR. My favorite is the Centaurus. It is like our own Burj Khalifa complex. There is a mall underneath these tall towers that make you feel like you’re in Dubai. Before this mall was built, mommy used to go to Dubai to buy clothes and shoes she doesn’t really need but with this mall, she can save money on airfare and buy more clothes and shoes here that she doesn’t really need.
South of this beautiful road are the G sectors or as we like to call them, little Mogadishu. This is where all my daddy’s subordinates at work live. We don’t go there unless we absolutely have to which is as often as never. There isn’t much to see or do there and therefore, I’d advise all tourists and travelers to avoid this area. Below is agruesome image which tells you why you should avoid the G sectors.
Islamabad - G-9 Markaz - Chand Plaza - Exterior - 001
To the East of Islamabad we have our own Capitol Hill. It is where men like my daddy rule over Pakistan with an iron fist. Democratically, of course. To the south of that we have the Diplomatic Enclave. It is not a part of Pakistan since Pakistanis can’t go there without a visa. It is where diplomats from all over the world live, work and tell men like my daddy how their daddies want them to rule Pakistan.
Islamabad - One Constitution Avenue - Construction Pix - MAY 2012 - 01
To the south of that we have our own Little Palm Springs. It’s where we have our country club. This is where we’re blessed with all kinds of amenities such as a Golf Course, Gyms, Swimming Pools, Restaurants and Booze at a discounted rate because we’re members. This is where my mommy and daddy host and attend dinners and parties with their friends and gossip about their lives. There’s also a Lake Nearby which is like our own Little Malibu. This is where the super elites buy farmhouses to like in serenity from the hustle and bustle of the city and to enjoy their booze in peace. One day my daddy will have looted enough wealth to afford a farmhouse there too.
To the very north of the city we have the Margalla Alps. There are hiking trails there that me and my friends like to trek every other weekend to keep our bodies in shape after spending the previous week munching on luxury McDonald’s and binge watching How I Met Your Mother. On top of this hill we have a restaurant where we like to sit and take pictures of the empire we live in (read: rule) down below.
I hope you enjoyed my brief tour of Islamabad. Hopefully it’ll give you an idea of what It’s like to live here. Hope you visit soon. Please leave any queries or comments down below.