Thursday, June 6, 2019

10 things that will make you fall in love with Pakistan

Pakistan is an awesome travel destination for foreigners. Anyone who discloses to one's associates, friends or family that he is planning to embark upon a journey to Pakistan. the instant reply is "Don't ever think of going to Pakistan." The reason for such notion is very simple: The world media has over the past many years has portrayed Pakistan is a country where people carry guns and kill foreigners on sight or foreigners are abducted and bla bla bla.

But the amazing thing about Pakistan is that those who finally decide to come to Pakistan and spend sometime here do not want to go back for its landscape, its people and their hospitality are simply mesmerising. Sighting a foreigner, people of Pakistan are overwhelmed and in many cases, shopkeepers or taxi drivers refuse to take money in return of services rendered. In most cases, all food is free and so are most rides. And when you start eating Pakistani food, you will simply love it right in the first instant, though chilies will make you grab a glass of water immediately. As for sweets, Jemima Goldsmith once tweeted: I miss jalebis and gulab jaman of Pakistan.

Today, I am going to share experience on such traveler who came to Pakistan and fell in love with it. Drew Binsky is one such traveler who is otherwise famous for his travel blogs and videos with captivating details about the country he visits. He like all other travelers came to Pakistan scared, nervous and intimidated by what he had heard on the media but when he left he left with the biggest smile on his face, knowing that this might be the most special country in the world.

In Pakistan, Binsky intermingled with people from every segment of the society, from rich to poor, walked in bazaars and streets, rode in rickshaws and ate street food and enjoyed many traditional dishes and cuisines, while enjoying the hospitality of people of Pakistan.

Summing up his stay in Pakistan, he feels a bit nostalgic: "My time in Pakistan has sadly come to an end, and words cannot describe how incredible the last 2 weeks of my life have been." 

I wont describe how he felt, just watch his video below and see how a perception of a person scared to enter Pakistan changes when one is received with warm open arms and willing hearts of a country that is known as Pakistan!!
Binsky leaves a message for all those who shirk to make plans to visit Pakistan: "I hope you enjoyed watching my content here, and if any of you have had your perspectives changed about Pakistan (even a little bit), please share because I’d love to hear your feedback!" You may got to the video at YouTube and share your views to reach Binsky or even share your view in my comment box below.

Tell me when you are visiting Pakistan?
Photo [Click of Qazi/Facebook]
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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Naeem Rashid: A Hero who Dared the Christchurch Terrorist

The choice of living lies with men: some choose to live a life of disgrace and rot for the rest of their lives either in prisons or living a life of being repelled and discarded by the community. This is the life the terrorist who killed dozens of peaceful worshipers right inside the mosques in Christchurch a few days ago.

But there are few people who live for others and so not care about their own self, their safety or even their lives. These are the people who are called heroes and live an eternal life in the hearts of people whether they knew him personally r otherwise. And Naeem Rashid was one such person who dared the Christchurch terrorist right in front of him while the terrorist was spraying bullets without mercy. Perhaps he knew that he was daring the terrorist and was most certainly to succumb to it, but in trying times, heroes rise above self and all they care is saving others.

On Friday, 15th March, Naeem Rashid was at the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch with his 21-year-old son, Talha Naeem, for Friday prayers. The day was just a normal day when Muslims around the world gather together to offer the obligatory Friday noon prayer in an congregation. But he and others never knew that many would not be going back home, but to Jannah right from the home of Allah. It as then the brute terrorist rushed in and started spraying bullets on everything that was human. Naeem's son Talha, a civil engineering graduate, embraced shahadat (martyrdom) right in front of the eyes of his father. Naeem reacted promptly and instead of running towards his son, ran towards the terrorist to stop him in his evil endeavour hoping to stop him and save love of the others. He can be seen in a screen shot of the video which the terrorist was making from his helmet mounted camera right in front of him:
But was seriously injured. After the assailant had gone out to hit other worshipers in a nearby mosque, Naeem was rushed to hospitals but lost his life to his wounds that were inflicted from a very close range.

A peace loving docile, humble and friendly Naeem Rashid hailed from Abbottabad, Pakistan and moved to New Zealand and was working as a teacher. It was his death of a hero that has taken him from Pakistan to New Zealand.

Naeem had been married and had three sons. On this fateful day, the other two sons were not accompanying their father and brother Talha. The mortal wounds left on the family, his widow and two sons would perhaps take a very long time to heal. But perhaps they would always cherish the memories of Naeem who died the life of a hero protecting others with least effort to save them.

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Friday, March 1, 2019

Just Kashmiri struggle for Independence explained in One Video

The people of Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) have been struggling to break away the yoke of slavery since the independence of British India into Pakistan and Hindustan in august 1947. Due to a tacit agreement between the last viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten and Indian National Congress, the then mainstream Hindu representative party, the Muslim majority area of Jammu and Kashmir was given to India. and it has been since then that the Kashmiris have been struggling for independence and be part of Pakistan.

However, India has been capping all independence activities of the Muslim Kashmiris by brute force of its military might and has so far martyred thousands of Kashmirs struggling fro independence. At present, almost half of the Indian Army is deployed in Jammu and Kashmir to suppress the independence movement of the Kashmiris labeling it as terrorism.

This all is happening despite clear UNO resolutions to hold a plebiscite in the Kashmir Valley to give a free and independent option to the Kashmiris to decide their future.

In recent years, the struggle for independence has gained momentum and so have the atrocities committed by Indian army to  silence their just struggle. The very recent incident at Pulwama in which the Kashmiris took a revenge of the atrocities by killing dozens of Indian security personnel in a suicide bomb attack. Since then India has created a hype and has been blaming Pakistan for the attack.

And Indian air force incursion in Pakistan and a tit for tat response by Pakistan Air Force , in which two Indian jets were shot down and a pilot captured by Pakistan, both countries have almost come at the brink of a war. While Indian leaders, including their prime minster Modi and the entire media is hell bent to destroy Pakistan and actively busy in war mongering, Pakistan Prime Minister has twice offered India to resolve issues mutually on the table rather than going to war which once started will have no end. and despite Pakistan's noble gesture to return the captured pilot, Wing Commander Abhi Nandan, India has yet to stand down and a high state of alertness is being maintained by the two sides.

How Kashmiris feel about Pakistan can be best understood by the video which has been shared below. The video showed the gathering of a large number Kashmirs Muslims of the Indian Held Kashmir gathered around one of the downed Indian air force and chanting slogans in favour of Pakistan, despite presence of large Indian forces personnel.
The sentiments shown by the Kashmiris are a superb display of their love for freedom form the yoke of India and desire to be part of Pakistan. It is time for the world to see the just Kashmiri struggle much beyond the Indian trumpeted terrorism by Kashmiris at the behest of Pakistan and try to understand the cause of the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir and force India to liberate Kashmir and undo the wrong done in 1947. For any delay will mean more blood shed of Kashmirs, and keep the issue unresolved.

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Pakistan: Your Travel Destination 2019 - Come and Listen to the Rich Folk Music of Pakistan

Pakistan is not only rich in its natural trove, but has an equally rich culture and folk music that mystifies the listeners and spellbound them for as long as there is music in the air. We have indigenous music instruments like dhol ( a two sided elongated drum) which have rich sound not only to move the folk artists and the audience, but also make the horses and camels dance with its heavy beat. 

The folklore are artistically converted into music which are often sung in villages when the sun has set and moonlight adds mystery to the music being played and the voices of folk singers adding to the mysticism. Each place and province has its own music, its own heroes to eulogize and love stories retold. Some of the famous folk songs include "Abeeti" (a love song sung by young women), "Allah Hoo" (a Muslim lullaby) and "Ashoor Jan" (a patriotic love song). Badala (or Sandara) is a historically significant form of Pashto folk music that focuses on local romance, epics, folktales, fables, local heroes and historical events. Badala also includes Pashto translations of epics and romance from Arabic and Persian. There are many talented names who are living this music genre.

Besides, Jugni, Sammi, Luddi are some of the tunes which make people move and dance on the rhythmic tunes. In fact it is the rhythm of music which unifies Pakistan and music spills away from the bounds of one province or a place to the other and everyone seems to be singing and laughing together.

Sometimes back, a beautiful musical composition was composed that very comprehensively combines music of all provinces of Pakistan - a composition which has since been my favourite. But this is just the bird's eye view of the otherwise very rich folk music of Pakistan, which must be listened live. Even if one doesn't understand the lyrics, the rich music played on indigenous instruments mesmerizes the listener. 

Watch the video below which is blend of rich drumbeat enriched by the musical instruments that compels the dancers to dance and dance on the rhythm of folk tunes - that is why this is my favourites!!
Do come to Pakistan and be part of our rich cultural heritage and folk music fro as long as you are with us. But once you go back, you will carry the nostalgia. Try it !!

Photo | References | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Pakistan: Your Travel destination in 2019 - Part XI: Borith Lake and Ghulkin Glacier (Gilgit Baltistan)

Many years ago I watched the film Beyond the Last Mountain for the mere name fascinated me. But those who dare and go on adventure tour to the northern areas of Pakistan and wander between the mountains valleys, they often find a fascinating world hidden beyond these mountains. And the the mountains are never ending, for when one thinks that this is the last mountain, there is yet another mountain behind ever mountain and yet another wonderland awaiting to be explored and loved forever.

However, the journey in quest to see what lies beyond the last mountain is not easy.  The moment one leaves the spectacular Karakoram Highway, there commences a nerve breaking endless journey on narrow mountains tracks studded with rocky stones, the shock of which can be felt no matter which vehicle you are sitting in. And that is where sturdy 4x4 age tested Jeeps come handy. In fact tourists, trekkers and adventurists hire these Jeeps right at the Road Head from where the mountain tracks branch off from the last metaled road. The drivers of these Jeeps are locals who can handle the toughness of the stony tracks and negotiate hair raising turns and bends.

I am always for look out for place unheard so that my readers get to see these beautiful otherwise hidden places to show to the world the beauty that awaits them to explore. And the video that I have shared below is one such effort to show to my readers the less heard Borith Lake and Passu Glacier.

Borith Lake, located approximately 2,600 metres (8,500 ft) above sea level,  is a lake in Gulmit, Hunza Valley in Gilgit–Baltistan, northwest of Husseini, a village near Gulmit, Gojal, in the upper Hunza. The crystal clear water of the lake is so far unpolluted and clean as it is watched by its snow covered protectors from behind the rocky ridges.
In order to reach the lake, one has to leave the Karakoram Highway at village Husseini and then has to travel on an unpaved jeep track for about 2 kilometers over watched by rugged stony mountains. The Lake is a sanctuary for migrating birds and is often visited by bird-watchers and nature lovers. From March to June, the lake is home to ducks of many species who rest here on their way northwards to the cooler waters of central Asia. The birds revisit from September–November with the onset of winter towards the north.
Before reaching the Borith Lake, one skirts the Ghulkin Glacier which feeds the Borith Lake. A longer walk to Passu Gar Glacier is another attraction, crossing both Ghulkin Glacier and Borith Lake. Having crossed Ghulkin Glacier by the same route, hikers can continue on the southern side of Borith Lake past the settlement of Borith Bala and the now deserted settlement of Shahabad. 

Passu Glacier as seen from KKH [Photo: Waqas Salim Jami/Facebook]

Watch the video below by a group of adventures who dared to tap the unbeaten tracks and reach beyond the mountains:
After watching the video, you too would realize that Pakistan is a sure destination to visit to cherish its memories forever !!
Photo | References | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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Pakistan: Your Travel Destination in 2019 - Forbes Tells

Pakistan offers startlingly striking scenery. Add to this the warm welcome of the people, the glacial blue of Atta-abad lake, the centuries of history, the juxtaposition of granite to greenery, the chance to walk through an age old-apricot orchard along water channels cut by hand, and the blazing snow-covered glory of Rakaposhi, and you must acknowledge there is a grand adventure to be had. - Forbes

And the claim is nothing but fully justified. Those who haven't seen Pakistan or staying away from it just because of some negative propaganda, mist listen to those who come here and do not want to go back - and even they go back, they come back again fro there is so much to bee seen of the untapped beauty that resides in the valleys guarded by towering snow capped mountains and welcomed by warm hospitable people.

Come visit the land of five of the Eight Thousanders,, the K2 (second highest peak after Mt Everest), Hunza, the beautiful place where people do not age, the mountain ranges of the Karakoram, the Himalaya and the Hindukush - all await you this year and tears after.

Watch the spectacular video about Pakistan's loveliest travel destinations:
Have you packed up your luggage to visit Pakistan already?

Photo | More Information and Destinations in Pakistan | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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Friday, February 8, 2019

Pakistan: Your Travel Destination 2019 - Part VII - Pir Ghaib (Bolan), Balochistan

Balochistan province, that is the largest province of Pakistan as far land mass is concerned, is mostly an arid desert and mountainous. There are large tracts of treeless in most of the province due to lack of rainfall. But wherever there is water available we see lush green orchards, apple gardens and water falls. 

Pir Ghaib is one such place which located amid barren rocky mountains is a cool refreshing place with a waterfall and blue green water pond, surrounded by tall palm trees and lush green bushes. This serves an attractive tourist resort, specially in summers, when the area around is baked by strong sun rays. Pir Ghaib waterfalls is in fact a beautiful cascade located some 70 kilometers away from the province's capital Quetta.

Pir Ghaib literary means a pious man who disappeared or an invisible saint. No one is really sure why the place is so called but folklore legends relate that a saint and his sister had come to the area to convince the locals who worshiped fire to convert to the true faith of Islam. When the local king came to know of the presence of these two "dis-tractors" he dispatched a contingent to catch or kill the duo. When being persuaded in a gorge, the two decided to split lest being caught together.

[Photo: Facebook/Hunza]
While the sister followed the gorge, the saint fled into this arid landscape with the army in hot pursuit. And found his way up the Bolan mountain but reached a dead end. It is said that he started clawing at the mountain and when soldier almost reached him, the saint vanished inside the rock. And from that point a stream sprang in a form of waterfall that cascaded down into the area and filled it up and formed a pond. Due to presence of water, vegetation started to grow and soon became an oasis. Since that day, this oasis is called Pir Ghaib - the Invisible Saint.

And the amazing part of the folklore is that till date no one has been able to locate the source of water that oozed out of the rocks !!

There is a grave downstream the gorge there is a grave which is said to be the that of invisible Saint’s sister, known as Bibi Nani, located under a bridge by the rocky bank of a seasonal stream.
There are no details available as to how and when did Bibi Nani die or how was she buried at this place. Although not a saint herself, her grave is revered as such. In mid October, 1986, a huge flood struck the area and destroyed much of the habitats, roads and bridges not even spared. But astonishingly the grave of Bibi Nani was spared. Due to this fact, the grave of the Bibi assumes much reverence by the people of the area.

Many tourists from adjoining areas and as far away as Quetta visit this place, specially in summers to enjoy the cold water of the oasis, take a dip or just walk around or sit under the shade of the palm trees. Unfortunately there are no facilities available except for a small shop selling eatables and chips. Tourists normally carry their meals or cook here in the absence of an eatery.

You may like to watch this informative video below which describes the history and tourist facilities available around the place and how to get to this oasis from Quetta:
If you happen to be in Quetta, do take a time out and visit Pir Ghaib - it is something that you will really love it. 
Photo: Pir Ghaib (Screenshot) - Photo Grave Bibi Nani | References |  1 |  2 | 3 | 4 | 
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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Pakistan - Your Travel Destination in 2019: Part VI - Gilgit Baltistan

Pakistan is a country which has everything a tourist may want: landscape, warm hearted people, hospitality and lot to see. You may travel by road to your travel destinations or take regular flights closer to your start point and then use sturdy and rugged jeeps that can withstand the rigours of mountain tracks under their wheels.

I have written many posts on the northern areas of Pakistan, the Karakoram Mountains and a series of posts on the Hindu Kush Mountain in my Mar Loosemore series of posts. No matter which travel destination you choose, you will be awe inspired and take back a nostalgia that will stay with you for the rest of your lives.
Gilgit Baltistan in the northern areas of Pakistan is a region of immense travel importance and countless travel destinations. From ordinary tourists to trekkers and mountaineers, the area presents innumerable destinations and sights that one may have never seen before. The Karakoram Highway is the heart line to all these travel destinations, astride which one comes across Gilgit city, some call it Chinatown of Pakistan, Hunza known for its freshness, a secret behind longevity of its people, the Passu Cones, and finally the Khunjrab border post between China and Pakistan. En route one comes across spectacular view of the Rakaposhi Mountain and junction point of three mighty mountain ranges: The Himalaya, the Hindukush and the Karakorum.
And if you have a flare for fishing you can fish Trout right from the ice cold waters of streams running close to tracks and roads.

And before I forget to mention, Pakistan has five of the fourteen eight thousnaders, mountain peaks towering more than 8,000 meters, including the mighty K2, second to Mt Everest.
You may surf my blog and find many posts on the beauty of travel destinations in the northern areas and Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. But for now, see this beautiful video about tourists' remarks and their views on the travel destinations in Pakistan:
Whenever are you visiting Pakistan next?

Photo (Ladyfinger Mountain) | References | 1 | 2 |
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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Pakistan - Your Travel Destination in 2019: Part V - The Train Wading through Sea of Snow (Balochistan)

There are many videos on the social media networks showing trains passing through heaps of snow, shoveling away showers of snow to the sideways as the travel through tons of snow stacked on the railway tracks. It is really fascinating to watch such videos.

The Quetta section of the railway in Balochistan province of Pakistan passes through very high elevations including one Kan Mehtarzai once again. The place between Kuchlag and Muslimbagh became the highest railway station of Asia, located at a height of 2,224 metres (7,295 feet). I wrote about Kan Mehtarzai in one of my earlier posts. and it too gets covered in snow during winters.

Many years ago, I had a chance to travel by train to Quetta in winters and saw snow covered surroundings as the train moved on. In those days there were no cell phones, what to talk of camera phones so that I could take videos or even still photos of the area. I regretted to even not having my camera with me.

But recently I came across a video on Facebook which brought back the nostalgia of my earlier visit to Quetta by train. And this video by someone lucky enough to have preserved a beautiful scene of train wading through a sea of snow at Kolpur railway station near Quetta. It is really amazing scene and I must appreciate the train drivers who drive their trains through the severely cold regions in trains that are not even air conditioned engines.Even most of the train is not air conditioned and one can imagine the plight of passengers inside. However, despite all odds, the travel goes on and people keep moving and train drivers continue to brave through the seas of snow everyday, every winter, each year.

Watch the beautiful video below showing the train braving through enormous sea of snow:
If you happen to be visiting Pakistan in winters, do take a ride to Quetta by train - you will simply love it.

Also read my posts: Breakfast at Kan Mehtarzai
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Sunday, February 3, 2019

Pakistan - Your Travel Destination 2019 (Part VI): Dare to Watch Live Snow Leopard Hunting a Markhor

Pakistan has been blessed with every weather, resources, wild life, birds, mountains and plains that interest all categories of tourists, adventurers, mountaineers, trekkers, bird watchers and wild life lovers. Today's post is for those who can dare and climb up the snow clad mountains of Pakistan's northern areas and watch some of the near extinct species of wild life, like the Deosai plains bears, Marco Polo sheep, the mighty twisted horned Markhor and the agile snow leopards.

Before we talk of the adventure that awaits the wild life lovers, let me introduce to you the Markhor and the snow leopards.

Markhor, with its long twisted horns, is the national animal of Pakistan. The excessive hunting of this beautiful animal has reduced its population to few thousands and is at the risk of extinction. Markhor which is a member of the goat family and has its habitats in sparsely wooded mountainous regions at altitudes ranging from 700 m (2300′) from November to May up to 4000 m (13,000′) in the summer. The Markhor forages tussocks of grass about 8 – 12 hours daily, and it is usually active all day except for several hours in the middle of the day, when it rests and chews its cud. Besides Pakistan, Markhor is also found in area that extends from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern India (Kashmir).

The snow leopard, another endangered species is found in the mountain wilderness of the Himalayan and Central Asian region at heights of 3,000-4,000 meters above sea level. In Pakistan, the snow leopard is found only in the Hindu Kush and Karakoram  region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Kashmir with an estimated population of around 200-420 according to the Snow Leopard Trust.

In remote wilderness of the mountains, wildlife adventurers can find bot these majestic animals dueling at razor sharp mountain edges and slopes. Out there where hardly any human can reach, Markhors are striving to survive the claws of rather sluggish looking snow leopards. But when it comes to chasing the Markhors in search for meat on hoof, the predator assumes immense agility and tactical skills.

Now watch a beautiful video shot in the rugged mountains of Gilgit Baltistan of Pakistan in which a snow leopard is seen hunting a Markhor - but would he succeed:
Do you dare to be there watching this live in the wilderness of HinduKush and Karakoram mountain ranges of Pakistan? Try it - it is a lifetime experience !!

Photos: | Markhor (Wildlife Warriors) | Snow Leopard (Pixabay) |
References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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