Upcoming Programmes

Disclaimer: COVID 19

Asian Study Group (ASG) Membership / Guests voluntarily acknowledge that they- out of their own free will- choose to engage & participate in ASG programmes. They are fully aware of the COVID-19 risks involved, and assume complete responsibility for themselves, without holding ASG liable- in any form or fashion. They agree to strictly observe COVID-19 SOP’s as directed by the Government of Pakistan

Opening Event 2011-2012

‘Cultural Expressions’: A Journey into the Sufi Realm of South Punjab: ‘- Sajida Vandal 

Multi- media presentation/ Book Launch, Craft Exhibition

Opening Event 2014-2015

“The Resourceful Fakirs”- Fakir S. Aijazuddiun 

A multimedia presentation/ Book launch

Opening Event 2015-2016

Swat: The Priceley State 1917-1969 - Adnan Aurangzeb

A multimedia presentation

Kathak - A classic dance

Performed by Yasmeen Shaikh

Opening Event 2017-2018

The Magic and Power of Dance

Opening Event 2018-2019

Concert: Khumariyaan – The Band ‘The Intoxication of Sound’

Opening Event 2020-2021

‘Rawul Pindee: The Raj Years’- a voyage through the mists of time… - Ali Khan

A multimedia Presentation

A sense of nostalgia prevails throughout the presentation for a bygone era as it evokes the Colonial period through a treasure trove of vintage photographs, long forgotten historical facts and figures that have shaped the history of Rawalpindi and its surroundings…..

Cuisine: A ‘cuisinal’ tour around Southeast Asia

A Sunday Lunch in fabulous surroundings… A must for adventurous food lovers!

Shahnaz Barker founded ‘Coriander Connections’ in Hong Kong in 2009, an enterprise that promotes the very essence of Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine. She will share with us her expertise on various cuisines and cooking techniques of the region. This will include the nutritional, medicinal and health benefits of the ingredients and the many different herbs and spices that are used.

Literature: The Maritime Betrayal

Hospitality meets marine conservation- the presentation promises to be entertaining as well as informative!

Charles Barker will discuss his latest novel: The Maritime Betrayal, the story of one woman’s fight to protect the oceans’ most endangered species from the predations of organised crime in Southeast Asia. The subject is compelling and Charles reveals many hard truths about the plundering of our oceans. The problem is leading many species towards extinction…

Film: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Duration: 2 hrs 4 mins

Director: John Madden

Screenplay: Ol Parker based on the novel by Deborah Moggach

Cast: Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Maggie Smith, Ronald Pickup, Celia Imrie, Dev Patel, Lillete Dubey

A rare film in this youth driven era which deals with issues relating to ‘’Senior Citizens’’ with most of the main characters in the story above the age of 65. Bittersweet but often very amusing and uplifting film that proves to be an emotional journey for the characters as they all discover their strengths wading through the culture clash of their foreign surroundings.

Trip: Autumn in Hunza

A Photo Safari- 6 days/5 nights

Autumn is the time when the landscape of Hunza and Nagar Valleys is at its most picturesque. The trees throughout the valley seem to be on fire, as their leaves turn to gold, red, orange and bronze contrasting sharply with the barren mountains. Situated in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan it is approximately a two hour drive from Gilgit city on the Karakoram Highway.

Hiking: Shah Allah Ditta Ridge

Let’s kick off the fall season with a hike on this beautiful Margalla Ridge behind the Shah Allah Ditta Caves…a trail slightly off the beaten track!

We will go to the the Ban Faqiran Stupa and Mosque and then carry on to reach the ridge. From there turn right and keep on walking on top of the ridge till the Losar Baoli. Losar Baoli is the the 16th century step well made by Sher Shah Suri for travelers .Though it has survived the test of times, unfortunately the recent constructions around it have affected its maintenance., but it’s still well worth a visit!

Cycling: Ride to Jandan

An off-road cycling jaunt-.a test of the rider’s endurance & perseverance! Bring out your MTB and stake your claim in the hills…Challenge yourself! An easy ride to Chauntra Village is followed by a tough part that will take us all the way up to the village Kot Jandaan. Tough climbs, breathtaking views, exciting and thrilling downhills…this is an opportunity to add this to your list of accomplishments!

Comparative Cultures: Transition: A Retrospective Journey

“I go through phases where I don’t understand anything, but it’s not disturbing, it’s just a matter of surrender; surrendering to the fact that there’s nothing for me to understand.”

Join  Shaykh Habib Chishti, is a Sufi Teacher, Ethnomusicologist and Spiritual Musician, for a ‘reflective’ evening. The dialogue will be coupled with a musical rendition of ‘Zikr.’

Cuisine: Pakistan On a Plate

The secrets of Pakistani cuisine- an informative culinary tour!

Though Pakistan is a country of geographical and linguistic diversity, there is common ground to be found in its food.  In this endeavor, Nilofer Afridi Qazi has traveled the length and breadth of Pakistan, from the fertile valleys and the sea of Sindh; to pastoral Baluchistan; to the plains of the Punjab with its five rivers and the rugged frontier province of KPK. In the process she has collected over a 100 recipes…

Botanical Walks: Exotic Tropical Fruit Trees in Islamabad

Tropical Fruit trees are classified as trees which grow between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.

These trees mostly bear fruit that is bright coloured and strong flavoured.  Most of them are not native to Islamabad, but they can be appreciated and viewed when avid gardeners create the right growing conditions for them in selected spaces where their requirements are met.

Hiking: Khanpur Viewpoint from Talhar Village

At Talhar Village, we will cross a freshwater stream and start our hike towards Khanpur. This is an old route developed and used by local villagers and it offers an opportunity of walking past old villages in the hills besides taking in the lovely views of the valleys. At the top of the ridge, we will stop for refreshments/ photographs and return back to the starting point through a different path.

Film: Crimson Gold (2003) - Iran

Duration: 1 hr 37 mins

Director: Jafar Panahi

Screenplay: Abbas Kiarostami

Cast: Hossain Emadeddin, Kamyar Sheisi, Azita Rayeji, Shahram Vaziri, Ehsan Amani, Pourang Nakhael. Kaveh Najmabadi, Saber Safael

Award: Cannes Film Festival Jury Award

A man stands just inside the doorway of a posh jewelry shop, holding a gun and looking in bewilderment at the crowd gathering outside. Eventually he points the pistol at his head and kills himself. The film then leaps back in time to trace the causes of this violent, seemingly abrupt event...

Trip: Taxila

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Literature - ‘THE BEGUM’

Ra'ana Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan’s Pioneering First Lady

An illustrated talk


Since the early 1920’s Liaquat Ali Khan had been a central figure in the political landscape of the Subcontinent. When Ra’ana met and married him in 1932, she threw in her lot with his mission to free India from the clutches of colonial rule and the struggle for a just settlement for the 25% of Muslims in South Asia. As soon as partition appeared to be inevitable, she knew she was to remain by his side and say farewell to all her friends and family forever…


A family outing!


This is for all the new comers and families with children who want to test their riding skills in a relatively comfortable and stress-free location!


A Day Trip


The Takht-e-Bahi Buddhist Monastery is one of the most impressive and well preserved pieces of Gandhara architecture in Pakistan. It is situated 14 km northwest of Mardan on the road to Swat (2 ½ hour drive from Islamabad). The reputation of Takht-e-Bahi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is based partially on the extraordinarily good state of preservation and partially on its glorious location. The site itself is located on the northern flanks of a rocky spur rising 150 meters (500 ft.) above the plains.


We will take the old route from the foothill village of Noorpur to Pir Sohawa through the valley. This is an old route developed and used by local villagers.It offers a fascinating experience of walking past the old villages in the hills, besides offering views of the valleys below…

We will pool cars to go to the actual starting point of the hike: the parking of Loh Dandi. From there we will start the hike which is around 8-9Km long .We will climb up a track through the valley and loop back via the Loh Dandi track.

Film Club - A PRIVATE WAR (2018) - UK/USA

Duration: 1 hr 50 min

Director: Matthew Heineman

Screenplay: Arash Amiel & Marie Brenner, based on a Vanity Fair article

Cast: Rosamund Pike, Alexandra Moen, Tom Hollander, Faye Marsay

Awards: Golden Globe Award Nomination: Rosamund Pike (Best Actress)

A haunting film about the legendary Sunday Times war correspondent Marie Colvin.The film does an incredible job recreating the tension and anxiety of moving through a war zone and at its center is the remarkable performance of Rosamund Pike who captures with sharp precision the flawed but brave character of Marie Colvin…

Gardening and Botanical Walks - ORANGE PICKING!

Bring family and friends along and enjoy a day’s outing!

We will be driving to a citrus farm to see fruiting organic orange trees. The farm is located approximately 25 km. from the Rawal lake area...the drive is 30-40 minutes.

The oranges at the Farm are unique to this region as they are red from inside and are grown without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Located in a beautiful setting with a backdrop of mountains, and a river winding down between the farm and the mountains. Our host will give us a guided tour of the orchards and give a brief talk on growing citrus plants, their maintenance, fertilizer and pest control.


Situated about 32 km (20 mi) north-west of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, just off the famous Grand Trunk Road ,Taxila (meaning "City of Cut Stone") is an important archaeological site of ancient India..Ancient Taxila was situated at the pivotal junction of the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia. The origin of Taxila as a city goes back to c. 1000 BCE. Some ruins at Taxila date to the time of the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BCE, followed successively by Mauryan Empire, Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian, and Kushan Empire periods.

Film Club - COMING HOME (2014) - China

Duration: 1 hr 49 mins

Director: Zhang Yimou

Screenplay: Jingzhi Zou based on the book by Geling Yan

Cast: Gong Li, Chen Daoming, Zhang Huiwen, Guo Tao, Yan Ni, Li Chun, Zhang Jia-yi

Awards: Asian Film Award: Gong Li (Best Actress) / Zhang Huiwen (Newcomer)

A haunting drama about a family torn apart by the violent Cultural Revolution in the 1970s when Party officials and local police publicly humiliated and harassed people, seized property, tortured some and arbitrarily imprisoned others. The story is ultimately one of triumph of the human spirit and the endless love it is capable of as well as the phenomenal power of such love to emancipate and create beauty from the bleakest of circumstances.


Day trip to Rohtas Fort is a symbol of the determination and strength of its builder, Sher Shah Suri. The fort, 12 km in circumference, is located 110km from Islamabad in a gorge 16 km North West of Jhelum City. This huge fort has 12 gates, remains of old palaces, 68 towers, 3 deep wells and 12 – 18 meters high/3 – 5 meters thick fortification walls. The construction of the fort started in 1543 and took over three years to complete. Conservation and restoration work is underway to bring back to this great edifice, some of its past glory.


One of the most regular hikes in the ASG Hiking calendar- not to be missed!

The Tila Charauni, at 1490m, is the highest peak of the Margalla Hills ridge, adjacent to Islamabad. Categorized as a moderate level hike the total distance is 10Km, half of which is the climb to the top.


‘The costumes and turbans coming from the various states and provinces of the “undivided India” -characterized by the rhythm of decorative patterns, vibrancy of colour and finesse of the fabric- had distinct styles developing within various socio-economic classes and gender…’

The presentation will explore symbolism rooted in the costumes of the Mughal court – their prints, motifs and representation in the contemporary urban context particularly in musical videos and films. The contemporary media industry has tried to preserve the distinctiveness of the traditional attire through a lively exchange of experimentation that embraces a fascination for the nostalgic past, characterized with an indefinable balance of compositional elements, ideas, tonalities, moods, dazzling colors and floral ornamental aesthetic….

Cycling - Ride to Rose & Jasmine Garden

The Rose and Jasmine Garden is a public garden located within the recreational area of Shakarparian near Sports Complex Aabpara, on Kashmir Highway in Islamabad, The park contains numerous kinds of roses, over 10 kinds of jasmine, and an array of other flowers. Every year, the garden hosts many festivals and flower shows!

Lovely weather ,an easy ride for everyone to enjoy..and it’s on the road so all kinds of bicycles can join!

Carpets & Textiles - The rich carpet-weaving tradition of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran

An opportunity not to be missed for the uninitated & for the ones who think they know it all!

Join us for an afternoon to learn more about the rich carpet-making traditions of this region...

Can you tell a Bokhara from a Chobi?

Why is knot density so important?

What do the different patterns mean?

Learn more about the rich carpet-weaving traditions of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran and get answers to these questions and more!

Mr. Ashok Kumar will share his expertise and guide you on the complexities of the art of carpet weaving and enthrall you with the symbolism of the intriguing patterns!

This open-air event will take place in the garden of a private residence. All COVID-19 SOPs will be strictly observed.


Literature - 'INVITATION' -Shehryar Fazli discusses his award winning novel...

Fifty years ago, Pakistan held its first ever general election as the country transitioned from military to civilian rule, 23 years after its birth. The refusal to honour the results, however, ultimately led to civil war and the country’s breakup, as East Pakistan seceded to form Bangladesh.

Published ten years ago, Shehryar Fazli’s first novel, 'INVITATION' was runner-up for the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival's ‘First Book Award’. The book uses those events as the backdrop to a haunting story about identity, belonging, and betrayal...

Shehryar Fazli is an author, political analyst, essayist and independent consultant. Much of his career has been spent with the Brussels-based research and advocacy organization, International Crisis Group. He divides his time between Pakistan and Canada. He will share his motivations as a writer and explore how the experience of that era still resonates today....

Adventure Club, Hiking & Archaeology – ‘TILLA JOGIAN’ - SALT RANGE

A day trip/ hike

Travel by coaster observing strict SOP's.

Alberuni in his travelogue “Kitab ul Hind” has mentioned the legendary ‘Tilla Jogian’ (Peak of Jogis) near Jhelum as the center of Jogis (Ascetics). This centuries-old monastery of Jogis was in existence when Alexander the Great fought the famous battle with Raja Porus near this ‘Tilla’ in 326 BC. It has also been known as ‘Tilla Gorakh Nath’ and ‘Tilla Bal Nath’ at different times. The remnants of the monastery and shrine still exist like a big pond with balconies, masonry tombs, places for meditation, banyan trees, etc.


Tilla Jogian is the highest peak in the Salt Range 3200 feet above sea level. It offers a panoramic view of the Potohar plateau and splendid scenic beauty throughout the trip.

We will travel on the G T road and then about 35km off-G T road to reach (via Domaili & Gattat villages) at the village ‘Bheet’ located at the base of Tilla Jogian Mountain.

One-way travel time is about one and a half hour or slightly more. The hill is quite steep and after a maximum one & half hour’s moderate to strenuous hike, we will reach the top .


Wear sturdy shoes; bring own refreshments.


As the winter cold eventually subsides and spring arrives, we should get ready to plant our favourite fruit trees this season!


We will visit a beautiful adobe house on a hill near Simly Dam, via a purpose built road that has been carved into the hill to access it. The garden and the surrounding mountains offer stunning panoramic views and seem to enjoy a symbiotic relationship!


We will gather in the garden on the hilltop to discuss fruit plant types that are suitable for this region and the factors to keep in mind while planting : site preparation, planting time, care during and after planting and other related issues...

and then find our own spot by the lakeside for a picnic!


Bring your favourite refreshments/ mats or folding chairs to enjoy the gorgeous view , relax and have a good time!!


Each participant will be gifted a fruit plant to grow in their own garden before heading home!


Special Programme: Murree Brewery- Plan Ahead!

On popular demand, a tour to Murree Brewery is being organized in March to give our members another opportunity to visit Pakistan’s historic brewery. It is one of the oldest public companies of the Sub-continent and the oldest continuing industrial enterprise referred to as " Murree Brewery Company Ltd.”

The Ghora Gali Brewery was among the first modern businesses established in Asia in 1860 near Murree, which then, was the most popular resort. The products of the Brewery were popular among the British troops who were largely barracked in the 'Galis' of these hills.

Brief history:

Between 1885 & 1890 the Company established itself in Rawalpindi and Quetta, and acquired an interest in the Oticumand (South India) and Norailiya (Ceylon) breweries. It was the first to be awarded a medal for product excellence at the Philadelphia Exhibition in 1876, followed by numerous awards over the past 140 years.

The business was managed by the family of General Reginad Dyer. In 1940’s, the share in the enterprise was obtained by a Parsi gentleman, the late Mr. Peshton Bhandara.His son, the late Mr.M.P. Bhandara later carried on the business, and it is now being run by his grandson, Mr.Isphanyar Bhandara.

In 1935, a massive earthquake totally demolished the Quetta outlet as well as substantial part of Quetta town, killing thousands of persons. In 1920s, the activities were mostly transferred to Rawalpindi, but malting continued at the Ghora Gali outlet till the 1940s, when the property was sold.This historic building built in the Gothic style architecture was burnt during the partition riots of 1947/48. The ruins are still visible as you drive up to Murree and have served as a backdrop to many Pakistani and some International films!

The current Murree Brewery is located in Rawalpindi.


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