The last couple months have had my mind racing. Nightmares have become regular visitors, disturbing my usually "baby-like slumber" with all sorts of weird scenarios flashing in and out. Seemingly harsh and unreal at first and then, kind of eerily, fitting into the ridiculous puzzle we are living. Whether it is forked tongues or intentions that allude to various invisible complexities, one finds it difficult to accept anything at face value any more. Every occurrence and statement projects a double whammy. Even while sitting in Europe this past week, the statements and interviews emanating from Pakistan, that I've read can easily be "twisted" to give a diabolical reading of what may or may not be the truth. I badly needed an escape from this to concentrate on conscientious intellectual thought and pursuits. Something that is entirely absent from our lives at present. Repetitious analysis of the "same ole", week after week, the same discussions every day all day, had fog bound my mind. I pity those doing daily television programs. I bet they are saying, "My God This is terribly boring" Personally, I have had it with the pretty lady saying, "this collusion gormint will forcefully enforce the rule of law." Whatever it is going to do or not do, for crying out loud get it over and done with Welcome relief from this unending melee, came through Abdul Kader Jaffer, very good family friend and former Ambassador to London. He convinced me to wake early one Sunday morning two weeks ago to visit the school that he is building on the banks of the Hub River. Seriously, and I apologise profusely for so thinking, I imagined I would be visiting one of those many charitable structures set-up all over the country which are termed "schools" only in the Pakistani environment. They could be anything at all. Passing the impressive Hamdard University on the newly constructed, grade A road, called the Northern Bypass one drives off on to a typically Pakistani sub-road and through villages housing the familiar rural multipurpose structures that can be homes, offices, workshops, schools, hospitals or whatever. A few miles on, a board says "Hub School" and we turn off on to a kuchha track. Windows up, parched dust spiralling the drive continues for a couple hundred yards. Suddenly, whammo, it all changes Have you ever been stranded in the desert, thirsty and abandoned? Isn't that when a mirage is said to hit you? Well here I was, watered, seated in an air-conditioned SUV, in complete comfort but I was hit alright By the most wonderful mirage, if you call reality that. A series of under construction, massive buildings suddenly loomed upon us. Most unexpectedly Kader had totally failed to prepare me for the amazing commitment he has made to this project. A bit unfair I will venture to add. But he more than made up for it. Accompanying us was Marcia Grant, head of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of the Agha Khan University, a Swathmore graduate, herself an "institution" in the field of education. I will go so far as to say even she, despite probably having seen hundreds of educational institutions the world over, appeared deeply impressed by the institution being constructed by the Hub School. Before complimentary adjectives completely sweep me away let me quickly get down to saying what this school is about. The plans reveal that the US$28 million first phase of the school being built completely from donations will initially accommodate six hundred boys. It is being created with subsequent expansion already in mind. The most significant part is that there will be a substantial number of kids who will be attending the school on fully paid scholarships. So before one jumps the gun, this school is not purely elitist. Computer technology, the full array of sciences supported by fully-equipped laboratories and allied facilities, the arts, including a modern art-development facility, library, canteen, sports, gymnasiums, horse-riding, fields and stadiums for cricket and hockey will be available to all students. Even vocational training for locals is being incorporated. The site for the school is farmland. Orchards owned by the Jaffer family for decades, and on additional land acquired from the government for the specific purpose of building this landmark educational institution. The architecture is modern, using the services of a renowned Pakistani architect. The entire structure is being built at the highest possible quality in terms of materials and finish. No allowance is being given for anything substandard. Materials being used require minimum maintenance and steel doors replace wood that is susceptible to attack from white ants. The series of buildings, housing the various departments, and classrooms are fully climate controlled. Housing for the school Head, for which position interviews are being conducted in the UK, and his staff, as well as for students are being built in accordance with modern specifications and requirements. Independent power generation will form part of the assets. Even a windmill farm is under consideration based on the strong breeze that flows in the area for ten months of the year. All said and done, the best educational facility down south is under construction here. It gives me great satisfaction in saying that I have had the pleasure, nay the honour, of having seen it at this stage. I sincerely believe that the Hub School will provide our new generation an educational possibility of the very same quality that we expect Dubai to be providing its student community. Let me go a step further, I have seen two other institutions closely, and let not my proximity to the sponsors, in any way diminish the amazing contribution that is being made to the basic needs of our country. The first is the educational programme of developing schools under the public/private sponsorship programme run by the Pakistan Center for Philanthropy, Shahnaz Wazir Ali's brainchild. Everyone, whether they know her or not, is aware of the amazing contribution she has made to Pakistan's social sector. Her new assignment I hope will be an opportunity to extend the benefit of social sector development to the core of Pakistan's needs. The other is Dr Hafeez Shaikh's Watan Foundation which, in a short while, has achieved impressive results in the Upper Sindh area of Jacobabad, Shikarpur and Larkana. Working to provide drinking water, health services and vocational training, this institution has done incredibly well. The resolve and commitment of its Founder is passed on to the energetic leaders in the field. It is imperative that the government should take notice of both these organisations and salute its leadership. Yesterday, I was in Viernheim, Germany, a town at a distance of sixty kilometres from Frankfurt. I mention this because I first visited there in 1960 at the age of ten with my illustrious father. Then it was a tiny city with the main railway line dividing the town's three streets. Fifty years later, it is a bustling shopping centre that consists of more than a million square feet of wholesale and retail space ranging from high fashion to building materials, computer technology not to be ignored. I pray that one day, every tiny city in Pakistan will meet with the same fortune. It can, if power politics gives way to development economics and conscientious intellectual thought. E-mail: imranmhusain@gmail.com