The first thing a Pakistani, observes after landing at Oslo’s airport is that it is an under-populated country. It gives a deserted look to a South Asian going there for the first time. I joked with my cousin that is there a curfew imposed in Norway? I was told that population growth rate is extremely low and population is uniformly spread in urban and rural areas because level of civic facilities is uniform across the board. The latest uniformity being imposed by the government was to digitise all the slaughterhouses in the country so that the size of meat cuts is uniform in whole of the country. The moment, PIA’s plane entered Norwegian aerospace; I started spotting numerous fresh water lakes. Wild life, nature and environment is revered in Norway. The Norwegian government believes that nature is essential for the survival of its citizens. Trees are not just plants for them; they are investment for future generations. Not even a single tree can be axed without the permission of the government. Wildlife and jungles are in abundance. The control on air pollution can surprise any South Asian visitor. Cargo vessels that enter Norwegians waters are required to shut off their gasoline engines and generators in international waters. Tugboats tow in the vessels and port authorities provide electricity to the anchoring vessels so that they don’t start their mighty diesel engine as long as they are on Norwegian harbours. From a few yards, these miniature statues look like artificial grass Tap water is recycled and potable. I could not spot bottled-water in any shop. Wherever you go, you are served tap water. Water reservoirs are so clean that you can see fish swimming in them. The fish in water is the benchmark for a clean water drain. Use of private transport is discouraged. You have to pay a lot of toll taxes if you take your car to city centres. Parking space is scarce. The scarcity of parking and high taxes is compensated by a strong public transport system. The public transport system comprises of electric trains, buses and trams. The public transport system is not regarded as something profitable as the profit-loss ratio is never discussed in public transport system. Trams and buses are the government’s top priority as they have less maintenance cost and can carry people beyond their capacity in rush hours with less impact on environment. Trams and trains are as noiseless as can be imagined. The use of private transport is discouraged. You have to pay a lot of toll taxes if you take your car to city centres. Parking space is scarce. The scarcity of parking and high taxes is compensated by a strong public transport system The Norwegian government is very keen to introduce electric cars. The import duty on an electric car is considerably less. There are separate lanes for buses and taxis. These lanes are usually fast as they have less traffic on them. As an incentive, electric car owners are allowed to use the fast lane reserved for buses. There are no toll taxes for electric cars. The long-term policy of the government can be witnessed from everywhere. Trees are preferred over shrubs and flowering plants as former provide more oxygen and require little or no maintenance. Their approach is contrary to what we Pakistanis do. We are happy to plant seasonal flowers and not tall trees which will provide us oxygen, fruit, shade and wood. The Horticulture Department in Punjab has more budget allocations for seasonal flowers than shade trees. Being a gardener, I minutely observed their green belts. You find trees in city centres, crossroads, and along the roads. They don’t spare any patch of land from planting trees. Green belts, comprising of tall trees, are present where there are dwellings. The government is also extensively using slow watering bags. A water bag with small pores is placed around the trunk of the tree. The bag is filled with water and then it is capped. The water in the bag keeps the plant hydrated for months, which in the long run reduces the costs of watering. Tunnels are in abundance. Norwegians have excellent technology to make tunnels. The country is so in love with tunnels that they have to find an excuse to make one. In the 1980s, the Oslo District government wanted stones to build some part of the harbour. A flour mill converted into a student hostel The requisite stone was in abundance in nearby mountain. The engineers rejected conventional mining process ie blasting the mountain; and preferred to make a spiral-shaped tunnel in the mountain starting from the base and going to the top. Now it is a tourist destination. You have to rotate your car steering for one turn and the car can cruise in the spiral tunnel with ease. Paper is being abolished. Norway is aiming to eliminate paper money by 2020. The courts are going paperless, which means no file before the judge and no brief in the hand of lawyers. The train tickets are on your mobile phone. Utility bills also come in your email. Norwegians are crazy about health and fitness. If I were asked to write down two most common sights in Oslo, my answer would be gyms and boats. People are super fit. You can see joggers and runners everywhere. Gyms are in abundance. Usually a fully equipped gym and a jogging track are within one-kilometre radius of your house. No one goes in the park to sit on the bench. The only people I have seen sitting on the benches in the parks were foreigners. Weekend is usually an outdoor time. One can see boats, bikes, and caravans being towed behind the cars on Friday evening. I spotted people doing exercise round the clock and everywhere. It was summer time when I visited. A lot of people were training for skiing. Rich kids of Norway brag about their boats and huts in mountains and not about their exotic holidays and Toyota Land Cruiser V8s. The apartment blocks are constructed on an artificial island Days are very long in the summer and short in the winter. During the twenty days of my stay, I could not guess the time of the day by looking at the sunlight. What was noon to me was evening on the clock. The few hours of night never go beyond dusk and dawn. Pakistani community is progressing and well integrated in the society. Khalid Mehmood, a Pakistani by birth, has remained a member of the Oslo city parliament for more than two decades. He has also remained member of the Norwegian Parliament. Art has a special place in the Norwegian culture. Sculptures can be seen at all the unexpected places. Frogner Park is a large art park in Oslo spanning over 45 hectares. It has bronze and concrete statues of naked humans in every possible emotion. The most popular among those is a statue of an angry toddler. Due to its small size and popularity among tourists, the statue of the angry toddler has been stolen a few times. A high reward on its recovery brings it back every time. Some mischief keeps happening to the little boy every time. When I visited the park, his one hand was painted in blue colour. The country is so well managed that it out-weighs all the management books taught in universities. People, who believe that some affairs in their life are unmanageable, must visit Norway. The writer is an advocate who practices in the twin cities. He blogs at www.gondals.blogspot.com and Tweets at @HamidGondal. He can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, October 5th 2017.