Pakistan after Baluchistan

Translation to English by Mila T. <3

We were on the way from Quetta to Islamabad  when we decided around 9:30 pm to make a turn from the main road on the small, dirt road disappearing in the dark. In search of a plane parking space for our car, we reached, near the city of Shikapur, a small lighted square with a mosque. Unobserved as we felt, we considered it as a place to sleep, but then decided to go search a little longer. As we turned, our headlights illuminated a small shelter and, blinded by our main beam, we were stared at by about twenty pairs of eyes.

By the time we had recovered from the shock, a handful of men were already standing next to our car, looking questioningly into our faces. We were extremely sorry to have bursted into this very intimate moment and we apologized sincerely. The men appeared to us very friendly and so we dared to ask with our hands and feet if we could spend the night with them. With the most sincere smile, they agreed. The following hour we spent with Abid who was the only one capable of speaking english and learned a bit about life in the village. Among other things, we learned that our hosts were Baluches, that there are around 200 people in their village, that women and children are strictly separated from men, and that the circle around the fire meets twice a day for a few hours, once in the morning and once in the evening to warm up before and after fieldwork.

It was a very special moment for both of us to come so close to the locals and their culture.

The next morning, we set off after a cay, a small tour over the fields and some farewell photos together to head to Islamabad.

Outside the city, we spent another night in the care of a village community, who let us stay overnight on their farm and gave us a wonderful breakfast. They were very interested in Germany and the life in our country. The communication, through better knowledge of English also made this meeting an extraordinary experience.

In Islamabad, we then dealt with our donation and inquired  ” Pakistan Council of Research in Water Rescources ” about water filters, of which we endet up buying five pieces in the coming days with the intention of distributing them to the needy on our further journey.

After a relatively unsuccessful day in the mountains north of the city where our plans to visit “Saiful Maluk National Park” were thwarted because our NOC security document did not permit entry into the Kashmir region, we drove another day’s journey to the last big city off the border to India, Lahore.

In the quite historical city we visited the Lahore Fort, which had suffered through the centuries and its strategically important position under constant destruction and rebuilding. The present look of the UNESCO World Heritage goes back to the time of Akbars I, an Indian Mughal emperor, around the year 1575. Shah Jahan, the king who also initiated the construction of the Taj Mahal, had resided and worked there. To imagine life at that time and to go through the large squares and magnificent buildings was very impressive.

On our last evening in Pakistan, we visited the Indian and Pakistani Armed Forces ceremony, which has since become a tourist attraction. The expected saber-rattling did not take place as we, badly informed as we were, expected, but it was a rehearsed choreography in which bodily threats were exchanged between the traditionally dressed military. The real attraction here were the spectators. The locals, especially the young men, gathered in the small amphitheater as if they were in a football stadium, always following the announcer’s instructions shouting slogans at the Indian audience. We also supported our team from the Pakistani side and tried to shout back what the soldier in the middle screamed at us.

It was through this little theater, in the middle of which are the two frontier gates, that we drove to India the next morning, to our regret, without any audience encouraging us.

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