7th Avenue, 9th Avenue, accountancy schools, Blue Area, brands Karma Pink, coffee, commercial area, Constitution Avenue, doughnut, F-6, F-7, F-8, F-9 Park, gulab jamuns, hair salons, Haleem Ghar, Hang Ten, Islamabad Stock Exchange, Islamabad/Rawalpindi, jeans, Jia’s Deli, Kohsar Market, pulao-kabab, Savour Foods, Soha Ahmed, Stoneage, Supreme Court, Tiramisu, TV, Usmania, Utility Stores
‘Blue Area’ seems a bit of an anomaly in Islamabad. Most other arterial roads are named precisely – and one could argue, unimaginatively – according to their function:7th Avenue(between sectors F-6 and F-7),9th Avenue(between F-8 and the F-9 Park) and Constitution Avenue(the road where the Supreme Court is located). However, Blue Area is an eight-carriage (or is it six?) dual way stretching from behind F-6 to F-8 and includes the Blue Area commercial area on both sides. Hence, an ‘area’, rather than a road.
Fittingly, Blue Area seems to have applied the same all-inclusive philosophy to its collection of businesses. Like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag, Blue Area contains everything one could possibly want.
Looking for a lawyer who is not scared of the Supreme Court? Check. A real estate broker who can find you a 1,500 square yard rental worth $27,000 a month? Check. A man to fix your laptop? A doctor who will fix an ailment? A restaurant to have a decent steak and a place to look for a fake Louis Vuitton bag? Check, check, check and check (although, in the last case, you should ask yourself what you are doing in Islamabad if you can’t afford the real thing).
Blue Area is one of the few commercial areas in Islamabad that doesn’t segregate businesses on the basis of the revenue they generate or the market they cater to (think Kohsar Market). At one end of the spectrum is the Islamabad Stock Exchange, on the other, is the national headquarters for Utility Stores, that bastion of middle-income grocer-ising. Here you will find accountancy schools and hair salons; top-end brands favoured by the glitterati (Karma Pink) as well as high street brands popular with the young (Hang Ten and Stoneage). You can pick up a pair of jeans for under Rs 1,500 as well as a TV upwards of Rs 100,000.
Upmarket restaurants Tiramisu and Jia’s Deli are located there as well as Savour Foods (with its signature pulao-kabab, Islamabad’s answer to Student Biryani), Haleem Ghar and Usmania. You can pick up your coffee and doughnut en route to work and get a kilo of gulab jamuns on your return for the neighbour who has just been promoted.
And this ‘everyone is welcome’ approach is why the Area’s popularity cuts across all income levels.
– Soha Ahmed
Photos: Khurram Amin
First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on March 25, 2012.