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It is grand, it is huge and it is absolutely magnificent! Welcome to the Pakistan National Monument which is located at the west viewpoint of the Shakar Parian Hills in Islamabad. The monument is dedicated to martyrs who sacrificed their lives for our beloved country.

Once you enter the wrought iron gates, you come across a path that divides into two. The one that leads to the left takes you to the Pakistan Monument Museum. The museum is truly awe-inspiring and one must commend the efforts of the designers, artists and sculptors who have preserved our precious heritage and rich culture in such an extraordinary way.

The multi-dimensional, life-like exhibits in the museum display our journey from the advent of Islam in the subcontinent to the struggle for freedom and the desire of Muslims there to have a separate homeland of their own under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Once you enter the museum, you are asked to wear plastic covers on your shoes so as not to bring in dust and grime from outdoors. I cannot really do justice to the grandeur and magnificence of the displays which are very vivid in colour and rich in detail. The history of the Indus Valley Civilisation, the arrival of Islam in the subcontinent, the majestic Mughal era, the Freedom Movement of 1857, the poetry and dream of Allama Iqbal and Jinnah’s peerless leadership is brought all to life before our eyes.

There are realistic statues, wonderful paintings, pictures and colourful backgrounds to bring history alive to its modern viewers. We can easily spend hours here absorbing our wonderful historical heritage. The upper floor of the museum houses the Audio-Visual Centre which houses rare speeches, photos, videos, documentaries and national records. A special section for children offers video games, interactive quiz, music and movies related to our forefathers’ struggle and many sacrifices for the sake of our homeland. A section of the museum also depicts the country’s development and success in various fields.

The entry fee for the museum is just Rs20 for adults and Rs10 for children. Mobile phones have to be switched off and no eatables are allowed inside. The visitors are not allowed to touch the artefacts. It is important that we respect and follow the rules and not argue with the caretakers so that this museum remains in this pristine condition.

The Pakistan Monument is located across from the museum. The petal-shaped granite structure has been designed to reflect the history, culture and unity of the provinces of Pakistan. The inner walls of the petals are decorated with murals which show important landmarks of Pakistan like Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque, Khyber Pass, Minar-e-Pakistan, etc. There is also a metallic crescent that is inscribed with sayings of Quaid-e-Azam and poetry of Allama Iqbal. The monument is surrounded by green and well-groomed gardens that give a very serene impact.

There is a large circular terrace at one end of the monument from where one can have a terrific bird’s eye view of the capital city. This section is called the Islamabad View Point. A lift is also available for the physically handicapped to take them to the upper level to see the monument.

The Pakistan National Monument is a fantastic tribute to those who sacrificed their today for our better tomorrow. We can show our gratitude and appreciation only by working hard for the progress and development of this wonderful country of ours. Long live Pakistan!