Pakistan - Is it full of terrorists?


Another country which I did not know much about. Most of it is from the news and which is 99% bad news or information of negative nature, for example, Bin Laden, terror stuff, and the Taliban. I guess I never ever heard any good or positive news from this country. Accordingly, a certain negative picture has manifested and with this, I traveled to Pakistan. The question was, will my bias towards Pakistan change with this short trip.

My arrival in Karachi was in the morning at 4 o'clock and with a visa on arrival. 

Gladly, I was able to check in at 5am, although I had 3 seats on the flight from Istanbul to Karachi and could sleep there already. The temperature was severe at this time of the year and even at 5am it was plus 30 degrees. However not comparable to Kuwait, which had almost 40 degrees in the middle of the night.

There is only one place to buy Sim Cards and that is not in the airport, but somewhere outside the city center of Karachi.



Visiting the Navy museum

For 40 cents admission for museums, these were the cheapest and best museums I had ever visited. The objects exhibited are great. There are not many places left in the world where these models from the Middle East and China can be examined.

Some of the rarest items are available, submarines, ships, planes, helicopters, guns ammunition.




Airforce museum

Same as the Navy Museum, it was completely worth visiting and spending an hour here. Pakistanis are proud of their army and bombs. 



It's a huge area with many planes, rockets, vehicles and radars. All is very clean and nicely prepared for visitors. There is this outside exhibition and then the one inside, in a big hall.



Inside the hall, there's the history of the army and another row of huge fighter jets.




Center city

Walking through the streets and passing by a mosque and a church.




Day 2 - Towards the beach

With enough time and no fixed schedule, I left the hotel early to get through the city and towards the beach. There are several places that are worth a visit.

In 'Mohatta House' no photography is allowed

It is a kind of museum and looks unique from the outside. Inside it has many cultural items from the early days of Pakistan. Usually, these kinds of palaces are preserved with the inventory used by the incumbent but instead, it showed cultural artifacts placed on the walls.

While entering the palace itself, the cameras and the cell phone was collected by the staff as photography wasn't allowed inside the palace.

Overall, the visit was done within 15 minutes.



Clifton beach

The coast seems to be without end. Hundreds of kilometers of beach in Pakistan.

Although I was told several times that this beach belongs to the uglier variety, I have definitely seen worse. 

Also in terms of cleanliness, I would have expected a lot worse. It seems that the population here is more aware of the importance of hygiene than is the case on beaches in other countries.



Friendly Pakistani locals

I made photos of the beach and a half class of law students walked toward me. It was their last day of the semester. 

They came up with many questions and nice words "Welcome to Pakistan" "Where are you from" "What are you doing here". 

How many followers do you have? What is your TikTok channel?

They had a huge amount of interest in what and how I think about Pakistan. As a "sign of welcome" they wanted to invite me to McDonald's for a coffee. I know they don't have much money and therefore didn't want them to pay for me, but the whole class insisted. Crazy.

I was fascinated by the enthusiasm, expression, and worldview of this next generation of Pakistanis and how they want to change their country. However, I can well imagine that the older, more traditional, and in some cases more radical generation will not just go along with it.


McDonald's in an Islamic country among Taliban?

For me as a foreigner with small knowledge about the country and brainwashed by the media, Pakistan stands solely for terror and the Taliban. Seeing huge modern McDonalds, Burger Kings, and Pizza Hut in this country is weird. It somehow doesn't fit in, but I like it as it symbolizes a "bridge" or connection between the cultures.

The Mcdonald's is quite new, built in a typical Mcdonald's cube shape and with modern infrastructure. Far and wide on the whole beach, the only building of this kind and is accordingly unmissable. Even has private access to the beach.




Is it impossible to pay for for lunch?

In Pakistan, it is unusual to eat lunch at 1pm (too early), so it was difficult to find something cooked and eatable for western people (except Mcdonald's). After an hour of search, in a small quarter, I found a Shawarma restaurant that just opened. 

After eating I was prevented to pay, they did not accept my money after several attempts to hand it over and again said:

This is a welcome gift for you. Welcome to Pakistan.

It's crazy, they hurried to open the restaurant so they can prepare a meal and then don't even want the payment but offered it as a gift. I experienced this behavior (tradition) several times in the middle east and it astonishes me every time from new.

It tells a lot about their culture, although, things like this are never shown on TV or news outlets.




Beach area before the weekend

I went for another short stroll towards the beach as I saw many people at the shore, getting ready for the weekend. 

So many people.




Center city

Very chaotic everywhere. And with almost 40 degrees extremely hot at this time of year.





Day 3 - Outskirts of Karachi

There are some unregular buses that connect the outskirts of Karachi to the center. But for a foreigner, it's way too complicated.

Also finding the way back can be a challenge and very time-consuming. In addition, it's not very clear which area is a military zone or even under its own regulatory administration, whereas it's necessary to "cross a border" within the same country. 

I don't have time to deal with these things, especially not in this heat. So I rented a car.


Cheap car with driver

Renting a car is quite easy. Navigating the streets in the most chaotic conditions at 45 degrees - is not easy. Have been to many places with a rental car, but this was a bit too much. Even if anything would happen, clarifying the circumstances and justification would be horror. 

There is an app "EZhire", which is similar to Uber, but it's possible to rent an AC car for 6 dollars for five hours with a driver (fuel is extra charged). It's even possible to rent a car with a driver for several days. Registration took 5 minutes and 2 hours later the driver was on time in front of the hotel. 

The driver always stays in the car, and doesn't care where I want to go or how long I wanted to stay in one place. The destinations can be changed at any time and as often as wished. 




Beach hopping outside Karachi

My first destination was Hawke Beach.

Not easy to find, as there is no clear sign on the side of the road. Even the driver didn't really know where to access it, but that's because most of the accesses to the beach are private.



On to Turtle Beach.



Along the coast there are several beaches, many of them are private.



Then further along the beach to French Beach.




Mausoleum

After the beaches, I told the driver to get back across the whole city of Karachi and the worst traffic to the Mausoleum. 

Nice just to sit next to it in the air conditioned passenger seat and watch the action. 

The entrance to the Mausoleum was 30 Rupees, and there were lots of people. I didn't realize that I can also enter the Mausoleum (the cube formed house) itself, so I only walked around in the park.


It all belongs to the founder of Pakistan. He built the country in 1947 by splitting it off from India. 

Accordingly, he is revered and was allowed to be "buried" in the Mausoleum with all his home furnishings. Inside the Mausoleum there is whole apartment equipment incl. an oldtimer. 




Saddar - walking through the center

Late afternoon and evening walk through the center.




Day 4 - Bazaar and Saddar walk

Most of the buildings are in a state of disrepair, reminiscent of colonial times. It is only a question of time until the "ancient" buildings decay in themselves since no one looks for them to maintain them. 

Many are even inhabited and thus "worn out".`




My conclusion about Pakistan and on the way to Bahrain

After having the last stroll through the central area I went towards the airport to catch the plane to Bahrain.

My initial question was if my bias towards Pakistan has changed within this short visit to the country and in my case, I can say yes. Especially as I didn't expect the welcoming people and behavior towards foreigners. Also, I didn't expect it to be so clean and well maintained. 

It definitely is not full of terrorists and it raises questions about why on all the media streams, especially news, only cover the bad and negative things. But that's a different topic and so I'm off to Bahrain.


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