Islamabad - Called ‘DHA Rawat’ by many people out of scepticism because of its disputable location, as its peak is at Rawat and base runs parallel to Soan River, the confusion about the name and legal status of Defence Housing Authority Phase-II is now over. It has now been accepted that DHA Phase-II and Phase-II Extension are in the federal capital, whereas DHA Phase-I is located in Rawalpindi.

While the people of some outlying areas of Islamabad are still striving to be called ‘Islooites’, the people of DHA-II easily get the title without even struggling for it. 

Situated in the prominent Kahuta Triangle with one side resting on Islamabad Highway and other along Grand Truck (GT) Road, DHA Phase-II was nothing but a barren land when it was initiated in February 1994. However, in recent years, residential life and commercial activities have started to pick up. 

“When we shifted here a few years back, there were very few markets. We had to go out of DHA for even small things,” said Mahnoor Hassan, a resident of DHA Phase-II.

“It is less commercialised and also the overall environment is really good due to less traffic. I like the peaceful environment of DHA,” said Ramsha Nadeem, another resident. Various renowned parlours, grocery shops, fast food restaurants chains and schools unfolded in DHA Phase-II gradually. Now there is a hospital under construction. A school for disabled children is also under construction. The people get really enthusiastic every time a new place emerges here in DHA.

“Every time we hear something is opening here, we get so excited. Hearing about McDonald’s opening soon made me so happy,” said Mahnoor Khalid, a third year MBBS student.

The DHA Phase-II has an elegant family club, Jacaranda. It has a JFC bowling alley, JFC Cineplex, Coffee Shop, Imperial Hall, continental restaurant and a Chinese restaurant in it. The DHA also provides its residents with 24-hour security. Security personnel conduct mobile patrolling during the night. There are, however, some complaints of robberies and break-ins.

The DHA education system is also different from other schools as it corresponds with the education system of Finland. On asking about what marks DES (Cambridge Stream) different from other schools, the principal of DES Mrs Zaheer said “no homework environment.”

“We do not give any homework to our students. We even discourage students from going to various academies in the evening by organising extra classes after lunch session,” said the principal, who was earlier working as a science teacher at Sheikh Zayed International Academy. Mandarin is also taught in DES (Cambridge Stream) as an additional dialect.

“Economic trade between China and Pakistan is increasing at a rapid speed, so in order to give our students a competitive edge, we have introduced Mandarin in our primary section as an additional language,” said Sana Tariq, Manager HR and Admission Officer at DES.

The opening of World Trade Centre, a mega shopping complex, has given a boost to commercial activities. With more local and international brands opening up in WTC-I in August 2016, more people will prefer DHA Phase-II, which will cause a rise in the prices of the plots here. With that, issues like the rush of traffic would also pop up. Sadaf Malik, a student at NUST, said the opening of WTC-I would save a lot of time for Rawalpindi residents who visit the Centaurus Mall in Islamabad.

“The mall’s nearness to the residential area will disturb the tranquil environment and create a rush of traffic close to gate number 3 of the gated residential community,” said Col Hayat, another resident of DHA Phase-II. Faiza Siddique, a sales executive at Al Ghurair Giga Pakistan, said the project’s management will work to reduce traffic issues. “Traffic problems will be handled by broadening the main GT Road and building an underground parking (space) with four floors,” Siddique said.

“I see a lot of cool hangout places in DHA-II in future,” said Umar Khan, a chemical engineer living in DHA Phase-II.

“I am satisfied with the progress DHA has made in the past few years and soon it will be the best housing area in Rawalpindi/Islamabad,” said Brig Khalid, a resident of DHA Phase-II, with a hopeful tone.

—The writer is a student of BS Mass Communication at NUST, Islamabad.