Model Town, Lahore

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Model Town is one of residential suburbs of Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. It is located next to Faisal Town, Gulberg, Garden Town and Township suburbs of Lahore.

History[edit]

Model Town, established in 1921, was the fruition of Dewan Khem Chand’s lifelong dream to see the establishment of a “Garden Town”. Advocate Khem Chand’s unshakeable belief in the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity are the values of cooperation upon which the principles of co-operative societies are founded and also the reason why Model Town was established as and still is a co-operative society.

On Sunday, 27 February 1921, about 200 persons assembled in Lahore's Town Hall under the chairmanship of Rai Bahadur Ganga Ram and decided to establish a cooperative housing society to be named as garden town.

The meeting approved Diwan Khem Chand's proposed housing scheme based on cooperative principles in the suburbs of Lahore to solve housing problems and also to provide improved sanitary and better living facilities for the residents, and thus the government was requested to provide a 2000 acre (4 km²) plot of land.

The residents of Model Town, who owned their spacious houses, were retired judges, rich businessmen, traders and upmarket store-owners. Many high court judges, doctors and engineers had also moved to Model Town from the city. Included among the residents of this best laid-out residential estate of Lahore were college professors and officers of the civil service. The famous communist leader BPL Bedi, who had studied at British and German universities, lived here. His son Kabir Bedi became a famous actor in post-independence India.[1]

Model Town Society[edit]

A preliminary committee of 21 members was formed under the chairmanship of Khan Bahadur Sir Sh. Abdul Qadir to frame the by-laws and to carry out other necessary work in connection with the formation of the society. As a result, The Cooperative Model Town Society Limited was formed and subsequently registered under the Cooperative Societies Act II of 1912 in 1924. The principle objectives of the Society were:

  • To conceive, design, develop and maintain a garden town.
  • To buy or otherwise acquire land, buildings, and other moveable and immovable property.
  • To provide services and construct, manage and maintain works, and other infrastructure of various kinds for the convenience and benefit of the resident members.
  • To sell, mortgage, and lease land, houses, homesites, buildings, and all moveable or immovable property as necessary for carrying out the objects of the society.
  • To build residential houses and other buildings for private and public use and for the convenience of members etc.

On 1 April 1941, the Government of the Punjab transferred 1,963 acres (7.9 km²) situated in Rakh, Kot Lakhpat Tehsil, District, Lahore and the transfer deed was registered with the Sub-Registrar, Lahore, on 25 April 1941.

Grewal's Group served Model Town as a Member in Assembly or as a construction (repair) of Model Town.

Evacuee property[edit]

The Society was declared Evacuee property after the Indo-Pak partition in 1947, as about 1100 out of 1300 members emigrated to India. The case went to Chairman Rehabilitation Committee and they gave the historic decision in 1960 that the Society should pay Rs 100 and all assets and liabilities were shifted back to the Society. It was then placed under the management of Mr. Riaz-ud-Din Ahmad, agent to the custodian for Model Town. On 19 March 1962, 25 representatives of the Model Town Society held a meeting under the chairmanship of Khawaja Hafiz-ullah and discussed the legal status of the Society and further steps to be taken in connection with the reconstitution. As a result, the institution was registered as The Cooperative Model Town Society (1962) Limited, Lahore on 9 January 1963 by the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Lahore Region. New bylaws of the society were registered under the Cooperative Societies Act 1925.

The basic tenets of the society, however, continued to be the same as were originally planned, namely "to promote the economic and social interests of its members, particularly to plan, establish and maintain a garden town".

Taking over by the administrator[edit]

The Society, unfortunately, could not maintain its standards and the management staggered until April 1982 when the administrator was forced to take over the Society. The management of the Society was superseded under MLO No. 856, dated 30 March 1982. The general body and the managing committee were dissolved. All the powers and functions of the managing committee and general body were vested in the administrator. The legal status of the society continues to be a Cooperative Society registered under the Cooperative Societies Act 1925, supervised and controlled by the Registrar, Cooperatives Punjab, Lahore.

Return of the elected managing committee and general body[edit]

Lahore Model Town is a cooperative society based on the cooperatives principles of self-help, self-governance, self-finance and mutual cooperation.

The Cooperative Model Town Society has been under the control of the administrator. After a lapse of twenty years the Supreme Court of Pakistan restored the society in July 2002. Accordingly, elections were held in September 2002 under the supervision of the cooperative department. Members voted to elect a new management committee on 29 September 2002, which consisted of President Khalid Ikram Malik, Vice President Tahir A Khan, and 20 members of the Managing Committee (2 from each block) and five nominated / ex-officio members. This MC was dissolved by the Registrar within 18 months for incompetence. For two years again, the Administrator ruled the Society.

The first managing committee after restoration took over the office on 23 October 2002. This MC worked only for 17 months and the whole Managing committee was packed up by Registrar for incompetence. In November 2005, on the orders of former CM Punjab, Ch Pervaiz Elahi, new elections were ordered. Elections were held in Dec 2005; Col(R) Tahir H. Kardar was elected as President and took over the charge with Tahir A Khan as Vice President. The new managing committee completed many projects and approved its first welfare-oriented budget for the fiscal year 2005-2006. Special attention was given to the development projects in the budget. An amount of Rs. 20 million was allocated for the construction of a Community Centre which remained on papers for many years. Similarly, 15 million were allocated for widening, re-paving and repairing the roads. In order to improve the water supply system, 5 new tube-wells were installed and rusted water pipelines were replaced. An amount of Rs. 10 million was allocated for this project. A new truck and 25 new transformers were purchased to upgrade the electricity system. Computerization of the office records was undertaken and more technical staff and professionals were recruited to improve efficiency.

The society’s administration took up a number of steps for the welfare of the residents:

  • Property cess was decreased from 3.5% to 2.5% of the registered value.
  • Legal heirs were exempted from transfer fees and other liabilities.
  • The electricity rates were subsidized and a relief of over 2.40 Rs. per kWh was given to the members as well as the work members.

Area and population[edit]

Model Town Society is spread over an area of 1463 acres (5.9 km²). This area is further divided into ten blocks (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K). Blocks L, M, N, P, Q, R and S are in the outskirts of Model Town and are administered by Lahore Development Authority (LDA). These blocks were named "Model Town Extension" when Model Town Society sold this land to LDA in return of developmental works.

The breakdown of the total area is as follows:

  • Residential: 819 acres (3.31 km2) = 56%
  • Commercial: 29 acres (0.12 km2) = 2%
  • Roads: 278 acres (1.13 km2) = 19%
  • Nurseries and playgrounds: 59 acres (0.24 km2) = 4%
  • Green area (parks): 278 acres (1.13 km2) = 19%

The total population of Model Town is about 100,000. Model Town Society is a unique housing area in its design and is considered a posh locality of the town. Each block has its own market, playground, mosque, triangular parks, etc., which is a rare phenomenon as compared to other housing schemes.

Model Town Then & Now[edit]

Following the economic liberalization of Pakistan in the post-9/11 era, Model Town has benefited from the remarkable proliferation of social elites in Lahore. Not too long in the past, Model Town was regarded as the establishment's residential dead zone. Taxis and rickshaws were reluctant to come to Model Town due to its distance from the main city, and many social elites dubbed the development "out of Lahore", given its distance from the heart of the city. However, in recent years Model Town has become a cultural center for the "nouveau riche" of Lahore's growing socioeconomic elite, many of whom who view a Model Town address as a vehicle for upward mobility in socially rigid Pakistan.

During the regime of President General Zia-ul-Haq, General Jilani (then Martial Governor of the Punjab) took extensive interest in rehabilitating Model Town, which had fallen into obscurity following the exodus of Lahore's non-Muslim elites after partition. An initiative to refurbish the image of Model Town to its former glory in colonial days was launched in the early 1980s.

Electric supply lines were relaid, street lights & sewage system installed, roads improved, and central Model Town park was developed per the original plan from the 1920s. Further modernization, renovation of gardens and the influx of large numbers of upper and upper-middle class Lahoris helped redefine the rundown development's image and status.

Many architects, developers, and town planners regard Model Town as the best place to live in the entire city of Lahore. Current Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif maintains a home and holds an office in the society, while recently deceased former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is said to have maintained a home here. Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, MNA and son of Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, Mian Mohammad Shafi (meem-sheen) a senior journalist and many other MNAs, MPAs and bureaucrats also reside in the area. Several famous national sports personalities like Wasim Akram, Rameez Raja, Ijaz Ahmed and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi live or used to live in Model Town. Other notable personalities to live or have lived in Model Town include the renowned writer, intellectual and spiritualist Ashfaq Ahmed, influential left-wing intellectual and revolutionary poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, famous Pakistani poet who wrote the lyrics for the National Anthem of Pakistan Abu Al-Asar Hafeez Jullundhri, secular veteran journalist, syndicated columnist and political analyst Hassan Nisar, Pakistani educationist, entrepreneur and former Mayor (Nazim) of Lahore Mian Amer Mahmood, world-renowned Pakistani musician and Qawwali singer, considered one of the greatest singers ever recorded Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, famous Urdu satirical and humor writer Mushtaq Ahmad Yusufi, and veteran playwright, actor and professor Shoaib Hashmi along with his wife, the acclaimed artist, cultural writer, painter and eldest daughter of Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Salima Hashmi.

Model Town is serviced by every major bank in Pakistan, several major retail chains, and is home to a growing Lahore intellectual elite. Major department stores include Makro and Pace.

Model Town is fast becoming a chic zone of Lahore, with demand for residences beginning to outstrip supply for the first time since the colonial era. Its large houses (8 to 16 kanals) consistently sell at up to 30 crore rupees. Model Town is famous countrywide because many political leaders live here, including current Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, former Mayor Lahore Mian Amir Mehmood, and many other MNAs, MPAs and bureaucrats.

Famous Eating Spots[edit]

Model Town is essentially a residential area and the residents and members of the society like to keep it that way, preventing any large scale commercial activity to take place. But local eateries and some international food, coffee and dessert chains have gained a good foothold in the light commercial districts of Model Town. Second Cup, Gloria Jean's Coffees, McDonald’s and Yogurberry maintain establishments in the society. Other local eateries include the famous Bhaiya Kabab Shop, Goga Naqeebia Murgh Chanay, Goshi restaurant, Sholay restaurant, Arabic Shawarma and some other cafes and upscale bakeries like Kitchen Cuisine.

Model Town Park[edit]

Model Town Park, Lahore
Main article: Model Town Park

Model Town Park is one of the largest public parks of Lahore consisting of 125 acres (0.51 km2) of land. It was part of the original plan but was developed in 1990 by Governor Punjab General Jilani. This circular park is surrounded by the inner circular road of Model Town. People from all surrounding towns visit Model Town Park, as it offers a 2.5 km long circular jogging track, lush green lawns and serves as a social meeting spot. Human Development Forum [www.hdfpakistan.org], a forum of intellectuals of Model Town, including Dr. Ahmad Saeed, Dr. Akhtar Jafri, Qazi Javed, Prof. Imtiaz Ahmad, Prof. Tanvir Sadiq and others, arrange lectures on every Sunday morning in this park near the canteen on any topic related to public life. A large number of morning walkers attend these lectures, which is a tradition that has continued for many years without fail, regardless of the weather. There is a proper 'Walkers Group' who hold tea parties and dinners among themselves. They have even printed a directory of all these walkers with their residential addresses and telephone numbers.

It was declared the best park of 2007 in Lahore by the Forest Minister. About 5000 people daily visit this park. Recently a lot of development has taken place in this park, including a new rose garden, a Chambeli garden, and a families corner near the lake with new flower beds and swings for the children. An annual flower show started in 2008; prizes are given to best houses (flower-wise), Malis, etc. Mayor Lahore, Mian Amir Mehmood gave away the prizes to the residents and staff in 2008 and 2009.

Markets[edit]

In the heart of Model Town is the Bank Square Market and Central Commercial Market. In addition to the central market, every block has an individual market place for grocers and bakers, etc. A-Block Market is the hub for automobile repairs and suppliers of hardware, electrical goods, plumbing, paint and Shahid Glass and Framing House. The Link Model Town Road connects Model Town with Faisal Town and Township areas. On both sides of the road, there are shops for almost everything, from timber, steel, and cement to general grocers.The famous fabrics shop Crimson fabrics is one of the most famous fabrics shop in lahore.

In 2006 the new Managing Committee under the Presidency of Col (R)Tahir Kardar leased a vacant plot to an international cash & carry store, Makro. It has come up very well and beside having a fine shopping mall, Model Town Society has started earning good revenue from it.fruit and vegetable market kot lakhpat model town lahore is the chepest market in Pakistan.

Sports[edit]

Several famous national cricketers like Waseem Akram, Rameez Raja and Ijaz Ahmad live in Model Town. Sports facilities in the area include Model Town Greens, Model Town Whites (a new club in E-Block), Nawab Mansoor Academy, Model Town Club (home of renowned tennis player Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi), Amir Mehmood's Club, and International Cricket Academy (LDA). Model Town also has its own Football Academy and Football Club, known popularly as Model Town Football Academy (or MTFA/MTFC). The Academy caters to all age-groups with a strict training regime. It is based at the D-block football ground. Another upcoming football club is the Fame Football Club, housed in B-block football ground.

Security[edit]

The Co-operative Model Town society is now ensuring security for its residents by building barriers at each exit except four main entrances. These barriers (gates) are closed after 9 pm and only four entrances (Ferozepur Entrance, Link Road, Mariyan, and Nawaz Shareefs entrances) are open 24 hours a day.

The crime rate has been minimized by this action. Now Model Town society is also issuing stickers for residents' vehicles.

Schools and colleges[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]