FRIDAY, 13 FEBRAURY 2015

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Pakistan’s 69 Twin Cities

Pakistan has 69 twin cities in the world. A country that has 69 twin cities should have immense power and respect the world over, but why isn’t it so? As per myobservation, during Pervez Musharraf’s government the twinning of Pakistani cities with other cities in the world rapidly took place.

I had promised in the previous edition of Akhbaar Peela that I will tell the readers in the next edition that what is the definition of Twin Cities, what’s its concept in Pakistan, and how far it’s successful here? According to my information, after the Second World War cross border projects were initiated with the intention to diminish the feelings of hatred and the impact of war on the minds of the people who had seen theirworld tumbling down as the European Cities burnt and were destroyed in heavy bombardment. The efforts were aimed at promoting love and interest of the masses of the European countries and others involved, and bring them closer ideologically and mentally to one another. In Britain, this ideology is called Twin Town or Town Twinning and in America, North America, South Asia, Australia and Asia the commonly used term is Sister Cities. They are also called Partnership Towns, Partner Towns or Friendship Towns. The former Soviet Union called them “Brother Cities” out of a gestureof friendship or if it made a developmental contract with that country.

I would like to tell the readers that in our country this term is commonly used as “Twin Cities” in a way that Rawalpindi and Islamabad are geographicallyare attached with each other or River Jehlum and Sirayai Aalamgeer, or in Bangladesh are Dhaka and Ghazipur or Israeli City Tel Aviv and Gaza, or in Saudi Arabia, Dammam and Al Khubar, or South Korea’s Seoul and Incheon. In India we can take the examples of Ahmed Abaad and Gaandhi Nagar (Gujraat), Chandi Garh and Mohaali, Lukhnao and Kanpur (UP), Haider Abaad and Skindar Abaad (Andhra Pardesh). There are many geographical Twin Cities in England and Europe; worth-mentioning are Leads and Bradford(England) Manchester and Salford(England), Buda and Pest (Buda Pest is generally thought to be one City of Hungry whereas they are two separate cities), likewise Copenhagen in Denmark and Malmo of Swedenare considered to be Twin Cities due to their geographical proximity. In the United States, Baltimore and Maryland, San Francisco and Oakland (California), Detroit and Michigan(Ontario), Philadelphia and Camden (New Jersey). Wodonga and Albury in Australia, or Canberra and Queanbeyan, in Africa Cairo and Giza, Rabat and Sale in Morocco can also be citied in the same category.

(I would also like to tell the readers of Akhbaar Peela that the concept of Tri-Cities is gettingpopularity, just like Colorado is made up of Stone, Frederick-Fire and Dacono and is called Tri-Town). When the mayor of Istanbul, Turkey, came to Lahore, the media frequently stated that Lahore and Istanbul are also “Twin Cities.”But geographically speaking if we look at the distance between the two Cities, it is 4155.33 kilometers, which means 2,582 miles; in this sense,how are the “Twin Cities”? Here comes the point I mentioned in the beginning of my column that after the devastation of the World Wars,there was realisation of need for promoting brotherhood and affection through twinning cities. This concept gained popularity after the World War II.

The number of Pakistan’s Twin Cities in the world is 69, and Turkey’snumber has crossed over 200.Historically speaking,the first ever Cities to get the status of Twin Cities were Paderborn, Germany, and French City, Lemans, in 836but then there wasn’t any activity.After that in 1905 Keighley Westand Yorkshire of England and French Cities, Puteaux and Suresnes called one another Twin Cities but the first formally written contracttook place in 1920 between Keighley, England, and Poix-du-Norband on the same basis contracts are made.European Union and other concerned countries have played an important role to promote this concept.

In the United States of America the same concept is known as Sister Cities, and the US has more than 2000 these contracts with 136 countries in the world. The basis of the contracts of these Sister Cities is global co-operation with other nations for cultural understanding and economic development.American President Eisenhower worked in the direction to promote people to people contact so instead of governments, citizen diplomacy getsmore acceptance in the world. Another case in point is Pakistan and India,by using the term backdoor diplomacy to improve their ties at the masses level. I am mentioning in this column the list of Pakistani cities that have twinningstatus.

For the convenience of the readers I am also mentioning theyearsin which twinning occurred. Lahore with Istanbul (Turkey) 1975;Sariwon (North Korea)1988; Xiyan (China)1992; Kortrijik (Belgium)1993; Fez (Morroco) 1994; Bukhara and Samarkand (Uzbekistan)1995; Isfahan (Iran) 2004; Mashad (Iran)2006; Glasgow(Scotland) 2006; Chicago (United States of America) 2007; Belgrade (Serbia) 2007; Fresno (United States of America)2007; Krakow(Poland) 2007; Coimbra (Portugal)2007; Hounslow (England), Dushanbe (Tajikistan), Bogota(Colombia), Cordoba(Spain) 1994; Amol (Iran) 2010.

Karachi: Port Louis (Mauritius)2007; Calcutta (India); Shanghai (China) 1984; Hong Long; Jeddah(Saudi Arabia); Tashkent (Uzbekistan); Istanbul (Turkey); Beirut; Dhaka (Bangladesh); Chicago (United States); Izmir (Turkey) 1985; Houston (The United States of America) 2008; Manama (Bahrain); Pristina (Kosovo) 2008; Dubai (United Arab Emirates); Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 2008.

Islamabad: Amaan (Jordan); Ankara (Turkey); Bejing (China); Seoul (South Korea); Venice (Italy)1960; Madrid (Spain); Jakarta (Indonesia) 1984; Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) 2011; Rahim Yar Khan; Abu Dhabi(United Arab Emirates); Cairo (Egypt). Faisalabad; Manchester (United Kingdom)1997; Kobe (Japan) 2008; Cordoba(Spain); Wuhan (China); Kanpur (India); Tabriz (Iran); Los Angeles (The U.S.) 2009; California.

Gujar Khan:Redditch (England) 2003; Damscus (Syria) 2011; Haiderabad; Toledo, Ohio.

Peshawar: Urumqi (China); Makassar (Indonesia); Sanaa (Yemen) 2011.

Multan: Rome (Italy); Konya (Turkey); Banten Province (Indonesia) 2011; Rasht (Iran).Mirpur, Bradford (England); Waltham Forest (England). Skardu,Cortint (Italy). Sahiwal: Rochdale(England). Sialkot: Kaysery (Turkey).

In total our 14 cities have 69 Twin Cities. Lahore has 20, Karachi 16, Islamabad 8, Rahim Yar Khan2, Faisalabad 7, Gujar Khan 2, Haider Abad 1, Peshawar 3, Multan 4, Mir Pur 3, Sakrdu 1, Sahiwal 1, and Sialkot 1. For a long time endeavours have been made to make Delhi the Twin City of Lahore. Both have fundamental similarities in their formation, living style and culture.Only a person who has visited Delhi and Lahore knows that it’s quite difficult to differentiate between the two.Someone from Delhi visiting Lahore and vice versa will get confused whether he is in Delhi or Lahoreor in Lahore or Delhi.Repeatedly movements surfaced to make themTwin Cities; this yet has to be done. It is pertinent to mention that during Pervez Musharraf period sincere efforts were made and many Pakistani cities got twinning. It’s saddening that the present government is hell bent on trying to destroy the City government system because it was given by Pervez Musharraf. We have to keep in mind that for a better urban life this system has to be revived in its original shape and functions.

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