International Women’s Day will be celebrated on March 8, so this may be an ideal time to learn more about Rawalpindi’s Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) – the first university dedicated solely to educating women in Pakistan. (Incidentally, the first college for women was APWA, which came into being in Karachi in 1949).
History and education… FJWU was established in 1998. Since its inception, thousands of women from across Pakistan have been educated there and have pursued Masters and PhD programmes. The campus building is an imposing white, with impressive columns and turrets. It also has an interesting history as it was constructed as a residence by two Sikh brothers Mohan and Sohan Singh (most likely prior to Partition given the Victorian influenced architecture), and in the early 1960s it served as the Presidency of Pakistan.
Serenity in Civil Lines… A five-minute drive away from FJWU is Civil Lines – an elite residential neighbourhood established during the British Raj to serve as the residence of civil officers (this is how it got its name). Today, Civil Lines is considered to be one of Rawalpindi’s most upscale neighbourhoods, with large houses, well maintained parks, mosques and a few grocery stores; it remains peaceful thanks to minimal commercialisation. Consequently, shopping and dining avenues there are next to non-existent; however, plenty of options are located within a 10-minute drive, and include Diva Restaurant, Pappasallis, Pearl Continental Hotel, Usmania Restaurant and McDonald’s. Saddar Bazaar is also located in proximity, as is Jinnah Park, which also has a movie theatre.
The real estate take… Classified as a premium residential area, property options in Civil Lines are largely limited to large houses constructed on 500, 1,000 and 4,000 square yard plots. Property is in high demand; prices and rentals have increased by 40% in the last two years and are among the highest in Rawalpindi.
In a nutshell… This part of Rawalpindi is, for the most part, quiet, serene and green, and the presence of the prominent white building that houses FJWU adds to its appeal.
– Nimrah Butt
Photograph courtesy: FJWU