Indian-American Learns Shocking Truth About Pakistan on Visit

Many of us travel for business or leisure.  But few ever take a trip that dramatically shatters their entire worldview of a country and a people in one fell swoop.  I was lucky enough to have returned from just such a trip: a week-long sojourn in Pakistan.

It was a true eye-opener, and a thoroughly enjoyable one at that.  Many of the assumptions and feelings I had held toward the country for nearly 30 years were challenged and exposed as wrong and even ignorant outright.

Yes, I was aware of all the reasons not to go, safety foremost among them.  As an American, an Indian, and a Hindu there seemed to be multiple reasons for someone of my background to have concerns about security.  Relatives and friends couldn’t hide their dismay and genuine fear; a frequent question was “why would you want to go?”  The subtext is that there’s nothing to see there that’s worth the risk.

The Western and Indian media feed us a steady diet of stories about bomb blasts, gunfights, kidnappings, torture, subjugation of women, dysfunctional government, and scary madrassa schools that are training the next generation of jihadist terrorists.  And yes, to many Westerners and especially Indians, Pakistan is the enemy, embodying all that is wrong in the world.  Incidents such as the beheading of American journalist Daniel Pearl, 26/11 and the Osama Bin Laden raid in Abottobad have not helped the cause either.  Numerous international relations analysts proclaim that Pakistan is “the most dangerous place in the world” and the border with India is “the most dangerous border in the world.”

I’m not naive enough to argue that these proclamations don’t have some elements of truth; through extensive academic work on Pakistan’s governance, its history, and its nuclear weapons arsenal I know that some problems are real.  Rather, I am here to tell you that these aspects are overblown; that this country is about so much more, a whole other and much larger, beautiful, glorious, and uplifting side not given equal time by the media.  I’ve seen it with my own eyes.  And it’s time that Indians and Americans acknowledge Pakistan for what it really is as a whole- and our ignorance for what that is.

It may be easy to dismiss my firsthand experience as anecdotal: yes, I stayed in affluent neighborhoods in large cities, mostly met those who belong to the educated elite, was protected by firearm-toting bodyguards, and rarely revealed my ethnic background to most of the new people I met.  Funnily enough, I don’t think now that the absence of any of these factors would have changed my experience at all.

The Genesis

My trip to Pakistan was not planned much in advance.  I was in Sri Lanka for a friend’s wedding and spent a great deal of time with two Pakistani friends from my undergraduate days at Georgetown.  Both are now businessmen, one in Karachi and the other in Lahore.  I was going to be in India soon, and mentioned that a trip to Pakistan is something I always wanted to do, but I was too scared to execute it.  Over the next few hours, we had some beer and seafood by the hotel swimming pool in Colombo and got into a detailed and lively discussion, during which time they insisted I visit and guaranteed my safety throughout the stay.  My concerns allayed, I promised to make it happen, probably the first person from my family tree to visit Pakistan since the bloody 1947 partition.  I was fortunate to have the opportunity for a fully hosted trip and couldn’t pass it up anymore.  I have realized now more than ever before how deep the friendships forged during college can run- cutting across borders, cultures, and time.


As I was about to land in Karachi on my flight from Colombo, Sri Lanka (direct flights from India are few and far between), I was gripped by a familiar fear.  What the hell was I doing?  What if I got detained in the airport and then deported because they found out my Indian ancestry and suspected my motives?  How would my parents react if they learned I was the victim of a bomb blast while traveling around the city?  On the plane I sat next to a very chatty and friendly executive from Lahore, who had gone to Sri Lanka on business.  He was excited to tell me about Pakistan since it was my first visit, and the conversation was pleasant enough.  But I kept feeling the growing knot of fear in my stomach.  I tried to be brave as the plane landed.  As my friend had said, 20 million people live in Karachi and now and then bad things happen, but the odds of it affecting me were very low.

Fortunately I got through immigration at the Quaid-e-Azam Airport quickly, and a friend was waiting for me with his pickup truck.  The first thing I saw outside the airport was… a giant McDonald’s restaurant surrounded by a large and well-manicured green lawn.  An  unexpected welcome from the golden arches on a sunny, hot day.

Two uniformed bodyguards with rifles who were exceedingly friendly and welcoming climbed onto the pickup truck bed as we started on a 45-minute drive.  I was impressed by the massive, well-maintained parks and gardens surrounding the airport.  I was also impressed by the general cleanliness, the orderliness of the traffic, the quality of the roads, and the greenery. Coming from a city government background, I was surprised at how organized Karachi was throughout the ride.  I also didn’t see many beggars the entire way.  I had just spent significant amounts of time in two major Indian cities, Mumbai and Bangalore, as well as several second-tier cities like Mangalore, and none would compare favorably on maintenance and city planning, especially when it came to potholes and waste management.  This was the first surprise; I was expecting that piles of garbage and dirt would line the roads and beggars would overflow onto the streets.  Surely there is dirt and poverty in Karachi, but far less than I was expecting.  Karachi was also less dense and crowded than India’s cities.

My second pleasant surprise was to see numerous large development projects under way.  I had read about Pakistan’s sluggish GDP growth and corruption in public works and foreign aid disbursement.  This may be true, but construction was going on all over the place: new movie theaters, new malls, new skyscrapers, new roads, and entire new neighborhoods being built from scratch.  In this regard it was similar to India and every other part of Asia I had seen recently: new development and rapid change continues apace, something we are seeing less of in the West.

Just a few of the many highlights in Karachi included relaxing at beachside cafes, dining at amazing tandoori restaurants such as the massive Barbecue Tonight, an excellent burger/brunch joint called Xander’s, a visit to the historic and beautiful Mazar-e-Quaid where the nation’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah is entombed in a marble mausoleum, visiting a book fair next to the British-era Frere Hall, and a sailboat ride around the Karachi port where a magnificent crab feast fit for a Mogul emperor was served on board.  The service was so impeccable, the cooks would crack and remove individual crab claw shells by hand to make it easier to access the fresh meat.

We were also able to do some things which may sound more familiar to Americans: bowling at Karachi’s first bowling alley, intense games of pickup basketball with some local teenagers at a large public park (these kids could really play), or passing through massive and well-appointed malls filled with thousands of happy people of all ages walking around, shopping, or eating at the food court.  We even attended a grand launch party for Magnum ice cream bars, featuring many of Pakistan’s A-list actors, models, and businesspeople.  A friend who is involved in producing musicals directed an excellent performance at the party, complete with live band, singing, and dancing.  This troupe, Made for Stage has also produced shows such as the Broadway musical Chicago to critical acclaim with an all-Pakistani cast for the first time in history.

Even the poor areas we visited, such as the neighborhoods around the Mazar, were filled with families coming out for a picnic or a stroll, enjoying their weekend leisure time in the sun.  All I could see were friendly and happy people, including children with striking features running around.  At no time did I feel the least bit unsafe anywhere we went, and we definitely went through a mix of neighborhoods with varying profiles.


Lahore is more beautiful overall than Karachi or any large Indian city I’ve seen.  Serious effort has gone into keeping the city green and preserving its storied history.  Historians would have a field day here.  In particular we saw two stunning historic mosques, the Wazir Khan and the Badshahi, both of which should be considered treasures not only for Muslims, Pakistanis, or South Asia, but for all of humanity.  I felt it a crime that I’d never even heard of either one.  Each of them in different ways features breath-taking architecture and intricate artwork comparable to India’s Taj Mahal.  These are must-see sights for any tourist to Lahore.  The best way to enjoy the vista of the Badshahi mosque is to have a meal on the rooftop of one of the many superb restaurants on Food Street next to the mosque compound.  This interesting area was for hundreds of years an infamous red-light district, made up of a series of old wooden rowhouses that look like they were lifted straight out of New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, strangely juxtaposed with one of the country’s holiest shrines.  From the roof of Cuckoo’s Den restaurant, we could see all of the massive Badshahi complex along with the adjoining royal fortress, all while having a 5-star meal of kebabs, spicy curries in clay pots, and lassi under the stars.  We were fortunate to have very pleasant whether as well.  This alfresco dining experience with two good friends encompassed my favorite moments in the city.

We did much more in Lahore.  We were given a tour of the renowned Aitchison College, which one of my friends attended.  This boys’ private prep school is known for its difficult entrance exams, rigorous academic tradition, illustrious list of alumni since the British founded the school, and its gorgeous and impeccably maintained 200-acre campus that  puts most major universities icluding my own Georgetown to shame.  Aitchison has been considered one of the best prep schools on the subcontinent since 1886.  However, it would have been impossible to get a tour without the alumni connection because security is very thorough.

We went out to the village of Kasur, not too far from the famous Waga border with India, to see my friend’s agricultural business.  This gave me a profile of village life, which like India makes up most of the country.  The highway on the way was in very good condition, and the village was serene and pleasant, if poor.  Just as with the cities, I saw lots of potential in this place.  With more advanced farming, shipping, and storage methods, it’s quite likely that we will see much more wealth coming to Pakistan’s villages in the near future.

Beer seems to taste better when it’s bootlegged.  There’s an alcohol prohibition in effect across Pakistan so there’s no other way to get it.  One of the modern contradictions of Pakistani life is that the country has a top-notch brewer called Murree’s, set up during the British Raj, but the company officially exists only to export the beer- or to have it sold on the local black market, which is apparently insatiable.  If you have the money and contacts, you are usually able to find booze.  We spent two leisurely evenings in Lahore drinking Murree’s in my friend’s pool, swimming, chatting, and listening to music such as techno, hip-hop, and Talking Heads.  Life does not get any better than that- in Pakistan or elsewhere.

In Conclusion

This is a story about more than individual friendships, which brought me to Pakistan in the first place.  I was hosted by a number of people in their homes, including a former high-ranking general of the Pakistani Army, and treated like a part of the family despite my background.  I conducted several meetings, both formal and informal to discuss business opportunities, and was always treated with great respect.  I made a number of new friends, people who I hope to stay in touch with and see many times again.

Indians and Pakistanis should take a step back and think about all of the things they have in common.  The brand of Islam I saw in Pakistan was benign, mostly relegated to melodic prayer calls from the minarets, and pleasant salutations between people.  It is not an in-your-face brand of the religion as I have seen in the Middle East, where everyone is forced to conform to rules about clothing or shutting down business during prayer times.  Pakistanis and Indians are cut from the same cloth, and really aren’t that different from each other.  I think this was my biggest and most pleasant surprise of all.  The ill feelings that do exist are mostly manufactured for political gain on both sides of the border, or based on slights from decades or even centuries ago.

Though there are grand challenges, foremost among them the issue of Kashmir and related border disputes, these should be easily overshadowed by the economic opportunities available to Pakistan, India, and the West by increasing their level of international trade.  In fact, I believe commerce and the march of capitalism will provide the path for India and Pakistan to become allies as nations and friends as people.

There are certainly other challenges.  Terrorism and gangsterism are very real problems, and they are alive and well in Pakistan, especially in the rough terrain of the Northwest Frontier region ruled by tribal militias and their blood feuds.  The army continues to play an outsized role in government, and there are not yet any better options as the civilian leaders are mostly compromised by business interests and cronyism in a land where feudal tendencies appear time and again.  But even these problems can be overcome by bringing Pakistan deeper into the community of nations, and further integrating Pakistan into world markets.  India and the United States for their part can do more to help bring this about.  I am convinced that instead of the delicate dance the three nations have done around each other since 1947, it is time for all to become closer friends and drop the pretexts for moving backward instead of forward.  What I saw in Pakistan more than the perils, is great potential.

I plan to do my part, and this piece is only the first step.

(UPDATE 9/2/12):  Thank you readers for over 2,000 facebook likes, 300 tweets, etc.  I am very happy to see the reception this piece has gotten.  Check out this video of a Pakistani band singing one of my favorite songs all-time:

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of


  1. Mahanth, what a great article. I enjoyed reading it and have put Pakistan on my list of places to visit. You have done a very good job of decribing this country that many of us have been too afraid to visit. I look forward to reading more from you.


  2. I am glad some one took initiative to put things in the right perspective. We are a Sikh family and have wonderful amazing Muslim friends. There are always going to be cultural differences, religious disputes, political agendas, but human race should surpass that! There are all kinds of people & governments who are good and bad… One shouldn’t generalize them!


  3. Excellent article, Mahanth. Indeed, it is an eye opener. Muslims are generally extremely hospitable people, even to their adversaries. Then they make formidable enemies for their adversaries as well. At individual level, most Pakistanis are good people. The problem is that the army and ISI has the state of Pakistan -pardon my French- by the balls. The only way they can stay in power is to project India as posing mortal threat to Pakistan. That would fetch them enough money to live in luxurious palaces in Abbotabad. These army guys, and to some extent the politicians, are true descendents of Aurangazeb, the last great Moghal emperor. Whenever Pakistanis visit India, they are meted out the same treatment you received in Pakistan. So, you are right. People to people contact is the best way to shattered some of the barriers dividing India and Pakistan. Keep at it, Mahanth. Congratulations! KPSK

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s not only ISI & Pakistani army/politician but that same is true for RAW & Indian army/politician. Indian should accept that Pakistan is sovereign country & is their to exist. They must stop thinking that Pakistan is part of India & partition should have never happened. We should live like two brothers who have grown up, got married & now living in their families in their own houses but are still brothers. This is the way we pakistanis think.


      • So true Ahmed Shah, Pakistanis do think the same, and I being a descented Pakistani have felt that common people of Pakistan pay great homage and respect to expatriates than any other muslim nation, due to the cultural values that sub continent possesses and no religion can defy these cultural norms


      • No Indian thinks of Pakistan as part of India. Partition is definitely the best thing that has happened to India. All this people-to-people contact is nonsense. Indians/Pakistanis are not brothers, but strangers. The best approach is for India to cut all cultural and trade relations with Pakistan.


      • I’m impressed, livingonartha. India is a nation of 1.3 billion people and you have the uncanny ESP powers to know how EVERY ONE OF THEM thinks.

        Or not. Thank goodness.


      • we are not brothers to india . pakistanis have their own true religion .we have our own way of living we cant say them brothers they are ” bagal me chury mou me ram ram”
        and inspit of it you people are saying them brothers


    • I would like to suggest that you watch both Indian and Pakistani news channels side by side and then judge who blames who. Pakistani media seldom mentions India for anything. Indian media does it daily

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent article dear Mahanth. It is an eye opener for every one to read about Pakistan. Keep up good wor.
    wish you all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Mahanth, now you have made me more determined to visit Pakistan and I am sure , I’ll enjoy my trip. My Pakistani doctor colleagues will help me in my trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mahanth

    Great article about your trip to Pakistan. Thanks to your dad for senting it to us I share your feelings that Pakistani people are very friendly. In 1966 at Georgia Tech I had a very good friend from Lahore and after three years of friendship, he gave me his wedding ring as a symbol of friendship. Great people and by India and Pakistan working together with Afghanistan, they can truely build a great South Asian Society.

    Keep us inform

    Mohan Shenoy

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A very well written piece, I would like to thank you as a Pakistani for taking this step and telling the other side of the story. I am really thankful to your true Pakistani friends who showed you the real face of Pakistan, a country where no one is forced to follow Islam or any other religion as it is an impression in Europe, at least in Germany I have found people who think that all Pakistani women are forced to cover their selves.

    I will highly recommend you to plan another visit to my country, there is a lot of Natural beauty in the Northern Areas of Pakistan which surely will amaze you.

    We speak the same language, we have the same kinds of food, moreover, we have the same skin color yet we are fighting for years. I hope people like you, people like your Pakistani friends, people like me and my Indian friends will bring an end to this.

    Thanks again from a Proud Pakistani 🙂


  8. Mahant thank you for the kind words about our country! Its a great feeling to know that a foreigner enjoyed his time in Pakistan and has positive things to say. My ancestors are from Lucknow and Muradabad and i keep hearing pleasent things about India as well. I have my extended family there and i cant get enough of the lovely and clothes they send now and then! Its sad how nasty we are depicted in the media. Its unfortunate that the people running our country are corrupt but fortunately the entire nation isnt. Me, my family and a couple of my friends would love to visit India but the inbuilt fears of stepping into an ‘apparently danger’ zone restricts us to do so! I hope Insha’Allah these feelings become a thing of the past and we learn to live in peace and harmony (ok im going to exclude cricket from this as its so much fun to cheer for our respective countries and get emotional! Haha!).
    Hope you visit Pakistan more often now! Do have a stopover at Port Grand in Karachi! 🙂


  9. My hair stood on end as I read through each word you chose to describe my motherland. After all, choice of words and actions is what has shaped the world as we see it. Even more exciting while disappointing is the fact that you had not visited Islamabad. Its official title is Islamabad – The beautiful, and none other could be truer. The most clean, green, pleasant weathered, lined by Margalla Hills, surrounded by Muree, 3 massive lakes, the most wide and zero-dirt roads, not to mention studded with the best commercial markets you’ll find anywhere boasting everything from International brands, exquisite handicrafts and food that makes your toes curl, during all of which you will meet people with shockingly perfect English. I implore you to visit Islamabad once, meet all the foreign diplomats who call it home and spend just 1 day in this gorgeous capital and I can assure you will want to extend your stay indefinitely.

    So that’s enough for an intro to Islamabad, needless to say your article made my day and I too possess ignorant, ill-informed, disgusting generic view of India, which InshAllah I shall visit myself and learn the truths about.

    Thank you, my neighbor for taking the time to talk about Pakistan, the land of the pure.


      • Very kind words brother
        Regarding my country Pakistan
        I am living In the uk you are welcome to come anytime to my house I live in West Yorkshire
        How is it possible for me to go to visit India can u reccomend any way as I have enquired but people say I can’t or it’s too hard etc so if there’s any info u can let me know please email me on


      • I have to say I was disappointed that you never visited Islamabad lol but anyways hope you have a a lot of fun and good luck on your visit. It’s saddens me that I have never been thier considering I’m half Pakistani and half Indonesian


  10. u shud have visited Quetta…then u wud see the real face of Pakistan where death and fear occupy the enitre city and how the resources and money from Balochistan is looted and spent on the cities of Pakistan…we r slain, looted, abducted, killed and dumped in our own land, where shia and ahmedi minorities are killed u shud have seen the province of lesser humans. BALOCHISTAN


    • This is definitely THE MOST pressing issue for Pakistan. Hopefully Baluchistan can be treated fairly, along with the Shias, Ahmedis, Christians etc of this country….

      But the article itself is beautiful. Hope the same author will be able to visit and enjoy all other “prohibited” parts of Pakistan


    • Traitor…keep dreaming :p and licking toes of your sardars. Punjabis, Sindhis and Pukhtuns work hard and reap benefits. Afghans and Balochs only know how to fight…so keep fighting and stop bitchin abt it.


      • So much hatred !!! I pity you , you must be very self loathing to spew out so much hatred upon others…step out into the world away from the small minded box that you exist in and you might be pleasantly surprised how beautiful it is but then again maybe people like you are best left writhing in your own sewage of hate and venom.


  11. Excellent article. It’s nice to see that there are still people who see the world through their own eyes and not the eyes of the TV. I am from Karachi ,I have been living here for 2 years now and I absolutely love this city.


  12. A refreshing article Mahanth, you have been very generous in your public duty by displaying the true picture of everyday life in Pakistan.
    Every country in the world has the ‘good’ the ‘bad’ and the ‘ugly’, thank you for sharing the ‘good’ about Pakistan.
    I am familiar with all the places mentioned and you seem to bring out the soul of this wonderful country. There are many wonderful places of interests to visit, the ordinary people are humble and welcoming, they soldier on with the limited resources they have to sustain themselves and their families regardless.
    Muri and the Swat Valley is another eye opener not to be missed, the cool fresh air, the magnificent landscape, the hospitality of the local people the feeling of living on top of the clouds is truly wonderful. A word of caution once out there – ‘When in Rome do as the Romans do’.
    Thank you once again.


  13. FYI, booze is prohibited in Pakistan for Muslims, not non-Muslims who may purchase from wine shops.


  14. Thank you for showing the true picture of Pakistan. On behalf of all the Pakistanis I thank you for this. Count me in for the table of brotherhood meal 🙂


  15. Am glad u enjoyed ur stay..but did u get to c historical delapidated hindu temples n shrines which are much much older than d mosques there…
    If not then u saw what dey wanted u 2 c


    • Those temples and shrines may be old but still existing unlike Babri Masjid. Please do realize that when you point a finger at others…three point at your very own self=)


      • Zanib – there are over 200,000 mosques including atleast 10 Babri masjids (mosques built by Babar) in India. In Pakistan, the number of temples has dropped from 50,000 to 26. Pakistani Hindu girls aged 13 are kidnapped, converted and “married” off to 40 year old Muslim men in the name of “pure” Pakistan being a homeland for Muslims only. All this happiness is great but when are liberal educated Pakistanis going to remove anti-Hindu passages from Pakistan Studies school books and exams in top schools?


    • What are you on about?? Perhaps you should visit Nankana Sahib and see how beautifully the Gurdwaras have been maintained. Infact the Sikh yatris who came to Pakistan for baisakhi were so pleased with the arrangements and Pakistani hospitality they invited the gentleman responsible for the arrangements, Asif Hashmi, to lay the foundation stone of a Gurdwara in Delhi. Please dont be such a bigot!


      • @ Siddarth: I don’t know where you’re getting this statistic that the number of Hindu temples in Pakistan has dropped from 50,000 to 26. Please cite a credible and neutral source. Firstly, I don’t think there were ever 50,000 temples in Pakistan as this was predominantly a Muslim area even before Partition and, secondly, the number of temples in Pakistan currently is much more than 26. Wikipedia lists at at more than 100. Many Hindu temples were abandoned when Hindus emigrated to India during Partition.


  16. Thank you mahanth!!! you painted a true picture of life in Pakistan….I have lived in karachi for 12 yrs and love it!!! I have Indian friends and never feel any difference….the divide is all politics. My next holiday is in India!!!


  17. It’s a very daring move on ur part to tell the world the truth about us.

    Do visit the Northern Areas, u’ll Find urself in HEAVEN.!!!

    Peace, Love & Chocolate……:)


  18. Mahanth

    You surely missed the chance to visit Islamabad. Islamabad is all different from karachi and Lahore for many reasons, one of them being the architecture and the landscape. Next time, if you ever visit Pakistan, do land at Islamabad International and see for yourself a very well architect city between green margalla hills. I can be your host for sure 🙂



  19. i am glad you enjoyed your trip to our country and thank you for raising above popular rhetoric. Hope you find time to visit us again.


  20. Kudos, Mahanth Jee! for such a nice article. You visited selected places. I wish you could have spared time to visit some more people & places in the interior of our country. Your observations & feelings would have been even better.


  21. Quite an accurate bit of writing.Thanks for making Karachi sound cleaner than it actually is and used to be.Used to be a much much better place before this accursed mqm came into being in 86!Tho i would support Ahmed Shah above,in saying that its Indians who still keep thinking of pakistan as their real estate.Might have been before 1947,but is not anymore.India is still huge area wise compared to Pakistan.Pakistan is a reality and will continue to be IA.Its not about our army or isi,its also about Raw and what all its upto in Afghanistan and Balouchistan,trying to destabilize Pakistan from within.


  22. excellent article. I really appreciate the effort. i personally think the tension between India and Pakistan is also ignited by US and other Weapon exporting countries. Pakistan and India stock weapons and if relations gets better who will buy all those submarines, fighter jets, drones, missiles and all that high tech stuff? The moment India and Pakistan realize the fact that both are sovereign states and brothers, our defense budget will cut and poverty will eradicate.


  23. Thanks Mahanth! They say it’s not important to be born in a perfect society but to make it better for the generations to come…. Hopefully, one day, common man in each country will learn to see beyond what media portrays…
    Thank you again for doing justice to my beloved country=)


  24. Thanks to Mahanth and I congrates for bringing the truth out of the bottle. Each sentence is worth reading and a great article. Indeed, It,s bith sides Army/politics, who are developing rifts among the people. The major cause of defaming Pakistan is western media/US who are purposefully defaming and disfiguring the image of Pakistan. What western/india speaks about Pakistan is very far from the reality. In pakistan there are other the most beautiful / amazing places like Hunza, Islamabad, Kaghan, naran, abbotabad etc. I have alot of good friends from India here in Dubai and we all know it,s western media/politics, whichis creating gulfs among people of both sides.


  25. I do not understand despite numerous terrorist attacks on Indians and thousands of people dead Indian Americans have a blinkered view of geopoliticaL situation In Indian subcontinent!!


    • The entire reason I went to Pakistan was to determine whether my view was blinkered or not. And I got a picture. I’d recommend that you get out of the house and do the same before challenging my view.


  26. very well writen & expressed feeling. truely this is the time that both countries should come up with positive approach and work together to improve the basic needs of poor living in both countries. yes both countries are full talent and natural reserves then why not utilize them positively.
    working together for a better future should be the salogan of both countries.


  27. it really nice to read ur article. i m happy u praise our country. people of Pakistan are not narrow minded. we meet people with open heart. and wish Indians to be same like us. our religion teach us to give respect to any guest from any part of world from any religion.


  28. Hey Mahanth, Thanks for sharing the true picture about Pakistan with the world. Your article is a perfect example of the gap between perception and realty. Unfortunately, our own (Pakistanis) wrong moves first and then Western and Indian media’s role has portrayed this country as the most dangerous place – as rightly mentioned by yourself. This country is still open with its hospitality to foreigners travelers. Next time you must plan to explore the splendid beauty of northern areas of Pakistan, the cultural richness of this region, landscape and the warm heartedness of people has no match in the world. Blessings on you for bringing in the truth.


  29. Sohail Ahmed e effort. Though I feel the bigger game dictates what media portrays of Pakistan. USA wants to retreat after shameful defeat in Afghanistan but on its way back is trying hard to get rid of nuclear arsenal of Pakistan. Be it fata or Baluchistan its US all around with its regional allies of course. But individuals like author of this article are salute ables for being generous enough to my beloved land Pakistan. I also think that it is our weakness that we have emerged as a chaotic country. We only need a government which is clean, patriotic, and able to set things and media right.
    One more thing my friends, though I am a Karachite and have loved reading good about my Karachi in this article but if anyone has not been to our northernAreas he is really missing heaven on earth.
    Be it hunza or skardu or the silk route, name it and its all there. Sorry for some sourness in my comment but the ground reality is much sour.


  30. I am pleased to read your article. It was so refreshing. In fact our people in power have given such a nasty expression of our dear country that we are ashamed ourselves. Your thoughts give us hope that better days will surely come. If the politicians on both sides think like sane people the things can become a lot better. Anyhow thank you for portraying Pakistan in a nice way.
    Ameer Mirza


  31. Excellent account! Just a slight correction: Alcohol is permissible for non-Muslims throughout Pakistan. Non-Muslims could obtain a liquor license and purchase alcohol from state-owned stores.


  32. All the families of victims who died in 26/11 Mumbai attacks will be relieved that at least the terrorists came from cities that had such nice malls, restaurants, clean streets, etc. They’ll certainly be happy to forget about their friends/families because you had such a good time there. Cheers!


    • oh yes! and of course the whole populations of Karachi and Lahore were behind the upbringing of those trigger happy nutheads…. Am I right??


  33. The visits to the Badshahi mosque and Jinnah’s mausoleum are a symptom of the systematic white-wash of history and culture by Pakistan. Too bad your friends couldn’t show you around ancient Hindu temples, Indus ghats, famous crematoriums or archaelogical artifacts in museums like ancient statues of Shiva and Ganesh….because guess what they’ve been wiped out!!! Historians who know the history of Punjab and Sindh would feel sad at the loss and NOT have a field day. You’ve been brain-washed into writing such an over-flattering article.


    • I’ve been to hundreds of temples throughout North and South India, including Badrinath, Kedarnath, Varanasi, Madurai, Rameshwaram, Tirupathi, Trivandrum, Udupi, and the list goes on. I was looking for something new and unique, and I got that.

      I’m amazed at how people on both sides of the border are unable to get over the past.


      • Did you know that the percentage of Hindus in Pakistan have gone from something like 17% in 1947 to about 2% today? In Bangladesh it has gone from 32% to 7%. Whereas in India, the % of Muslims has gone UP. Now WHY IS THAT? Is it because these Hindus simply never learned to get along? Read up a bit on the plight of Hindus who have to live there on a daily basis – not those who fly in to hit the clubs in Lahore and Abbottabad for a few weeks with their friends from the US.


      • Where did u get the figures of Hindu population as a percentage of overall in Pakistan and Bangladesh? If Hindus are now 2% from 7% that does not mean they are lower in absolute numbers but a sign of increased Muslim and other population.

        The writer had preveledged friends. But you can’t make it an excuse for assumed incidents he would have met with in Pakistan without them. Your language about Pakistan clearly shows you hate the country and your ideas are generalized by a few opinion leaders and the way you were brought up.

        Now let’s talk about Hindus in Pakistan. I’m friends with many. They NEVER complained about their ‘plight’ in Pakistan however they show regrets how Muslims are treated in Hindustan and refer countless massacres that I don’t want to mention here. WE NEVER HELD RIOTS AGAINST HINDUS UNLIKE INDIA.

        Keep your records straight before opening your mouth against Pakistan.


  34. Very interesting article about your visit to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Its good to know that your prejudices & false perception of the land of my parents has been shattered. The more people from India visit Pakistan & vice versa, the better chance of normal relations between the two countries


  35. Love the article.
    Can’t really get the people still whining about this n that.
    Get over it and have some love!!


  36. Wonderful article, thank you for giving me a new perspective of my parent’s country. I completely agree that Pakistan and India should look to each other as friends and allies and grow that relationship – but disagree that the US needs to facillitate that. Why can no one do anything without Big US Brother giving the green light? I think the future would be a more interesting and beautiful place if the east could create harmony through it’s own efforts. Anyway, thank you again and please do visit again and keep us informed.


  37. Speechless at the moment. Hats off to the writer for his choice of words and expressing the true feelings and showing the world the significant brighter side of Pakistan


  38. Dudddddddddddddddeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, you went to Lahore and you didn’t have FEEKA KI LASSI!!! ……………NOT GOOOD MANNN!! NOOOOTTT GOOOODDD!!! haha… Amazing article brother. And yes indeed Pakistan and India should take a step back. The reality of the Politically motivated hatred between the countries is cleared out by the very fact that in countries other than our homelands, we might and are really good friends with Indians/Pakistanis. Hell, I have an Indian friend I say is my brother from another mother.


  39. Well done Mahanth! I had thought I’d lavish praise on your excellent writing, then I read all of the above and realized that I could’nt add anything new.

    I am sure that you must have mixed feelings about the can of worms you have opened. As a newsprint editor you must be enjoying the reader interest you have generated, however the negative remarks by some, after your very objective narration, must have been disappointing for you.

    The thing that puzzles me is that neither will the Muslims of the subcontinent accept the their undeniable Hindu ancestory nor will the Hindus accept the volumes of Muslim blood that runs in their veins. Pity. Because Kipling was refering to world apart, but it seems that ” never the twain shall meet” is more true of people of the same “family”.

    Grow up, people!

    Khalid Malik
    Bahrain .


  40. Congrats sir for highlighting the truth about Pakistan.

    Pakistanis have gone through a lot recently and they have been misguided by bad leaders and corrupt politicians.

    As an Indian i am very happy to know that Pakistan is indeed a great country that has so much to offer

    I love Pakistan and hope that the people get the best in future,

    I also know that the majority of them are honest peace loving people who would never harm an Indian

    The militants are very few and the majority of the population is lovely


  41. Thank you for this positive article about Pakistan. As a Pakistani origin, i’m very happy to see something like this – the country has been criticized over and over again. I am also glad that you had a good time 🙂
    However just one thing i’d like to point out – as someone that has grown up in Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait I completely disagree with your comment on the Middle East. What you are referring to is Saudi Arabia. The rest of the middle east is nothing like that – westerners (and others) wear what they like – and when they like. And nothing is shut down for prayers… malls, supermarkets, restaurants .. they are all open throughout the day and do not close down. Yes there are more people in traditional clothing and hijabs – but it is a very liberal society here. Please be more careful when making comments like that – the Middle east is another place which people have many misconceptions about.


    • I fully agree. As someone who has travelled through middle east a lot, i can tell you that Bahrain and UAE are a different world altogether vs. Saudi. In fact i would say that these two are one of the very few countries of the world where western, South Asian and Middle eastern culture co-exist in perfect harmony. Forced hijab and closing of shops at prayer times only happens in Saudi… and there too you need to keep in mind that Saudi has been an entirely Muslim country for 1400 years and has no plans or interest in becoming a culturally diverse place.


    • As far as Saudiarabia is concerned,yes they have some traditions and they take care of these very much,but they dont harm others ,rather their traditions to give respect to others and some other qualities are very much impressive ,For example they never use abusive language ,come what may..Iam a Pakistani doctor here in saudia and these things even are admitted by my US doctor colleagues who are non-muslims.


  42. After reading tons and tons of negative articles about my country, it was really refreshing to read your positive article. Thank you from the depth of my heart. I am under no illusions about the severe problems my country faces… religious militancy being the foremost of them. But these problems can only be solved if we focus more on the positives about Pakistan; if we just dismiss the entire country as a basket case it will ultimately only demoralize the positive moderate forces in the country and strengthen the intolerant extremists further…


  43. Thank you for writing a beautiful article about the very beautiful and culturally rich Pakistan.. I would just like to add theres a lot more to Pakistan than its major cities. It boasts of few of the oldest civilizations like Mohenjo Daro in Sind , Harrapa in Punjab and then Texila depicting the Buddhist culture from the early years . Pakistan is the only country in the world where the three highest mountain ranges meet : the Himalyas, the Kurakuram and the HinduKush range .. We have 9 of the highest mountain peaks in the world including K2. Shandoor is the highest polo ground in the world … But coming down from the mountains even in Karachi a history buff can visit so many places like Mohatta palace, Jahangir Kotahari place, Empress Market, DJ Science College , Saddar Bazar , Burns Road etc. etc. Karachi also happens to have one of the largest mangroves in the world .. .. It’s just that due to corrupt politicians and officials and an equally 3rd class tourism department the world does not know of a hidden gem…Pakistan … Whose northern areas are breath taking . Just to let you know I live in Vancouver , Canada but am a very proud Pakistani !!! Thank you once again for the beautiful article …


  44. The adage, SEEING IS BELIEVING” has its day in Mahanth refreshing travelogue which took us all spell bound. There is a lot lot more to show case about Pakistan and more particularly, I am talking of the wonderful Sialkot, one of the world’s oldest living cities of the world with 5000 years of documented history. It is the birthplace of Gulzari Lal Nanda, Rajinder Kumar and more particularly the living legend in the world of journalism, Kuldip Nayyar. Sialkot has emerged as the world’s largest industrial cluster in the manufacture of Surgical Instruments, Sports Goods, Leather Garments and this is a fascinating city of the TRENDY EXPORTERS, which works round the clock and never sleep. Sialkot has also presented a shining example of Private-Public partnership and Sialkot International Airport is the glaring example for the rest of the developing world. It also presented the living concept of a Dry Port, with state of the art facilities which could be matched with any dry port of the advanced world. This is my first hand observation about this great city where you will find a contrasting diversity. Keep Sialkot as your next destination in your itinerary.


  45. Dear Mahanth S. Joishy, Thank you very much for visiting Pakistan and writing such a beautiful article. All the bad image of my beloved country is creation of western and indian media. I hope this will be a first step to bring the reality in front of world. In 2010 I visited India and I was surprised to see the love of people they extended to us. All the hatred is created by politicians. Public of both countries is extremely good, hospitable and friendly. Pl keep it up in future as well.


  46. Thank you for this.
    I’ve read and heard many accounts of Indian journalists and others visiting Pakistan and all of them have written of the warmth and hospitality they were extended. Most of them have spoken of payment being refused for tea or even a meal by Pakistani restaurateurs upon being told that the diner was from the other side of the border.
    It is great to read this two days before the Independence Day of Pakistan.
    May our two people come closer and discover our common humanity.


  47. Dear All

    Please note that the so called image problem with Pakistan has emerged only after 9 11. Because the image was built and evidences of bad image such as bomb blasts and extreemism were either created or sponsored just to achieve a much larger and far impacted goal of keeping American presence.

    Either the world is blind or just dont want to see the power game of US. Did they find any WMDs in Iraq after bombing the poor country. Saddam was used then executed when he was of no use.

    America truly knows that the world is Stupid and is prone to blind beliefs if the word comes from a strong nation.

    This whole game by US will come to an end sooner or later and there will be image problem anymore, but we are so stupid that we will realize it once the game is over.


  48. Dear Brother,

    i really appreciates the way you defines the reality to all of the world and keep your nationalism spirit beside. one of a true saying i must to say here.

    bhullay shah dil othhey daiay jithey agla qader v jane.

    i really appreciate your those friends who convinced you and invites you to Pakistan because they chose the right and perfect person who is able to praised for and dear brother now i am inviting you to Islamabad the capital of Pakistan and you will really surprise when you found the hot welcome and hostile nature of our people here in Islamabad than i guarantee that you will have more and more enough to say something about the beauty of true Pakistan and Pakistan.

    my email id’s are



    M. Kamran Iqbal
    +92 -51- 5538083


  49. What are the Pros and Cons of a liberalized Visa regime between India and Pakistan?…

    Both sides need to get over themselves and embrace what they already know. We are the same….people. Personally, I think the visa policy will allow the masses to embrace each other and point fingers less. Those who want to exploit and create problems …


  50. I enjoyed this article a lot. I wanted to visit Pakistan, but due to bad publicity about gangs I was sceptical. Now I think you have opened the doors for me to go and see. I read some negative comments from ignorant people in this column. They will never change and try to live in harmony. We should not keep old misunderstanding and go on ahead with life with love and happiness.


  51. Instead of gushing like a schoolgirl getting a Brad Pitt autograph, I would suggest the author spend some time as a common Hindu man in the areas of Pakistan away from where his well-heeled Pakistani-American buddies reside. Try going to Pakistani elementary schools and read up on what is being taught each and every Pakistani child about Hindus like him. Try walking around different parts of the country alone wearing a T-shirt with the “Om” sign on it.

    What a remarkably shallow and pre-pubescent article!


    • You are one of the many who didn’t read everything I wrote and made unfair judgments based on that. But it takes people blinded by religion and nationalism like you to prove my point better than I ever could.

      Obviously you are someone who has forgotten what Hinduism is all about, if you ever once did know, and would not appreciate a trip across the border. So you should stay away in your own small-minded world, where you belong. I’m sure it’s a perfect place with no problems whatsoever.


    • LOL Have you ever walked around in Pakistan? You sound like someone who needs to get his head out of the ‘Idiot box’ and see the real world. You can wear any T shirt you like and walk around freely. Can’t stop laughing at your ignorance its off the charts! I have Hindu friends we go to restaurants and they ask for veg meals which they get on a priority basis with due respect. She wears her ‘bindi’ and ‘sindoor’ all the time everywhere we go and NO nobody stares at her or throws stones ROFL. You really must stop learning from Media and do some leg work yourself. Its unbelievable how ignorant some people choose to be and have no qualms about sharing it so blatantly too tsk tsk tsk. SAD!


  52. After Pakistan tour, if you reach safe, that is fine. Sunni kills Shia . Taliban kills Lashkar e Islam. Lashkar e Taiba kills Indians. Its all only killings in that country. If you want to visit Pakistan, do that
    tell your family members before you go that to do your funeral process if no call no show. Pakistan is a Jihadi country, Its a Terrorist country. Pakistanis are not real Muslims, they are converted Muslims. Bad guys.


    • Every country has extremists and so called leaders who for their interests let people fight in the name of religion and politics. Pakistan has 180 million people. let’s say there are terrorists (people affected by unjust behavior of federation and left behind than other people from other areas) then they make less than 1% population why they dominate over 99% is because they get huge media coverage whenever they do something to create panic and channels get something to sell.

      These events have been all over the history of mankind even more horrible events had happened but not known to all because of absence of electronic media. Here is political instability but don’t forget Pakistan is passing through its evolution period and democracy is a new thing to people because back in time they had seen either imperialism (1857-1947) or monarchy (start of time-1857) but no democracy since it is in practice after 1947-partition (experiments have ruined the political career of Pakistan) and every country who had passed from its initial & evolving time faced the same fate even more disastrous events, name any country which is born civilized, sophisticated like they are now without being engaged in killings & corruption.

      Here is no killing like you said sometime some bad incidents happen but these happen in almost every country like in India (Hindu-Muslim, Hindu-Sikh) or agitations based on racism even mostly in western countries.

      If all Pakistanis are Jihadi’s as a whole (as you said) then believe me this planet would not have survived until now because 180 million blasters would be suffice to root out the mankind as only 1% has created panic all over the world then think the remnant 99% will bring what destruction to the world if they all would be terrorists. So Please make your judgments wisely (unless u r less then 10) being neutral especially about a country and if anyone has a personal hatred about Pakistan then long articles about what real Pakistan is and foreigners swearing “Pakistan is a normal country like any other” would not benefit the hater even if Jesus (PBUH) himself come to earth testifying the same but still haters are not gonna hate.


      • Junayd, thank you very much for your comments. I will definitely visit Islamabad on my next trip!

        In response to some of your other comments, I understand why you are comparing Pakistan’s level of extremism to that of other countries. However, it is not only Pakistanis but extremists are arriving from all over the world because it is a welcoming safe haven for them. Osama bin Laden found hiding in Pakistan to be a very good arrangement until the United States figured out he was hiding in Pakistan.

        The extremist problem should be neither overestimated, nor underestimated as I’m afraid many do.


  53. A country which has nothing to offer ..created out of land of both india and Afghanistan. Its founder jinnah inspite of being a muslim convert from hindu rajput gotra claimed muslims can never be a part of hindu india….what relations are you commenting on Its only punjabis and 2-3 other communites who share so called food and other cultural ties ..We do not need suicide bombers, jihadis to be with us . Let them rot in their hell ..india and so called pakistan will never be friends…………..


    • Suresh your comments are based on information you gather from your social and electronic media and partly from the casual talks. I’m agreed that Pakistan has severe law and order issues due to our own faults. But it has more more to officer that can ever imagine. It’s the world’s only country with the most unique terrain from sea to the world’s second highest peak K2. There is no season on earth that this country doesn’t enjoy. Places scorch under the blazing sun to those covered under thick snow all over the year. Rest of the problems are same in both India and pakistan. In your own country you are dealing with separist movements. Regarding Jinnah get your facts rights, his father converted from Hindu. He didn’t. Even if he was, what his religion has to do with anything. Call yourself secular, your comments are grossly based on religion. secondly, it’s not only punjabis, it’s Baluchis, Pathans, Sindhis, ismelis, Paris’s, Baltic, brahvis, seriekis, hindko, chitralis, and the list goes on speaking more then 50 languages. By the way real Muslim is the one who believes in Islam. Every person on earth is a converted Muslim because before Islam there were other Abrahmic religions.

      People of India and Pakistan are already friends. It’s only the handful of people like you who Need transformation. Please group and spread the word of love.


  54. When i hear the world thinks us Pakistani’s are extremists …. i laugh so much … it like saying “atlantis is the most beautiful city of world” 😛


  55. I have friends in Pakistan from my UK college days. i’d love to visit someday too, although too scared to visit. daniel pearl is a reality!! people there are very nice i am sure, but the country is a failure, Osama was found there, daud is in karachi, you dont know a bomb will blow up from the ground or will be dropped on you…. bomb blast is a regular common occurrence there. ive lost count of how many terror groups operate there. i hope things get better there for the sake of people living there, and someday safe enough for Indians to visit.


    • Vinay the reason Pakistan is in such a state is because it is one of the front line countries in the war against terror….you guys mention bomb blasts, daniel pearl and other killings…true…they are a reality that can not be denied…but why do you guys forget the operations Pakistan Army have conducted against these extremist and terrorists? why do you forget the operations “Rah-e-Rast” and “Rah-e-Nijaat” in SWAT valley against TTP?
      Pakistan is one of the countries who have lost most of its Sons in this War against Terror.
      If you are willing to crtisize than you should be willing to respect the sacrifices this country have made in this global war.


    • do not afraid we are also living on this country we are safe. people have made very wrong stories about it and u are safe in pakistan. do not forget to visit northen areas and lahore .

      good bye


  56. Amazing recount by an American Indian traveller to Pakistan……which truly should be an eye opener to many in India and the West.

    I wish we have more people to people contacts from both sides and each makes an effort to pen down their experience and share the same with others on all available social sites to reach out to as many people as possible…….I would call it a parallel Media/Diplomatic effort to show to the world what both Pakistan and India have to offer…

    A great beginning……I will soon plan a visit to Pakistan and look forward to my brothers in Pakistan to help me have a memorable trip…… I too welcome my brothers from Pakistan to visit India and savour all that is on offer……. Long live Aman Ki Asha !

    Ashim Das
    New Delhi


  57. Next time don’t forget to visit Northern Areas (Especially Chitral) and Islamabad! there is a good chance that you, after seeing these places and experience their amazing beauty, start thinking about settling there permanently


  58. it was nice to get such a positive article on pakistan from an indian american. we try and tell everyone that pakistan is very different and like u said ‘so much more’ than what the indian and western media potray. but it was nice to hear it from an indian.but that is the general reaction of all foreign nationals especially indians who come to pakistan. i have read articles from hardened indian reporters who couldnt stop raving about pakistan after thier first visit.


  59. During my schooldays, our hostel warden had a saying which he repeated often, and which has stayed etched in my mind; ” Don’t believe what you hear! Half believe what you see; Fully believe what you experience.”
    In today’s world, belief and opinion are based solely on the Media, both hearing and seeing. Anybody stating otherwise from their experience, are considered took naive not to believe the media.
    My dear Mahant, please continue your adventure of experiencing this world first hand. You are A fast diminishing minority. May the POWER be with you.


  60. Before even writing this article did you know that all Pakistani and Indians are the same descendants of ancestors that only had a different belief system. No one could tell the difference between you and a paki until you spoke. Looking at your pictures and your outfit, you look more of a paki than a American. Not to mention the security you had, you might wanna talk to some blonde and white skin people who lived in full security but still at one point left Pakistan. I’m glad you had a good time in Pakistan but forming an opinion on your own and a single visit do not constitute enough value to your arguments against media. Have fun!


  61. aww that’s some awesome views. Yes Pakistan is more than what has been potrayed about it but you have still not seen the most appreciated places in Pakistan. Islamabad is much more cleaner and beautiful as compared to Lahore and Karachi and one of the big cities as well. In terms of beauty you can go to some northern areas and you’d find some really good welcoming people there as well. You must visit Pakistan again! you would definitely love it.


  62. thoroughly enjoyed reading it, time to break the stereotypes that exist about Pakistan and muslims in general. I agree that we have problems but those problems can be solved by getting to know each other better. Don’t ever prejudge someone.


  63. hi i am a pakistani & feeling very happy after reading ur article about pakistan thanks alot for setting pisitve image of my country thanks again.


  64. its a nice effort by you,, to know more about pakistan u ve to visit all pakistan,, its a gr8 country with lot of diff cultures and traditions,,, some ppl from otherside of border, talk negative abt pakistan because of their media,,, you can see the impact of media,, there are soo many questions to be answered by indian govt and media,,


  65. Great to read this lovely Article. Thanks Mahanth for mentioning positive side of Pakistan, this is what I have been telling my foreign friends here in UK =D
    Next time when you visit Pakistan, my suggestion is to take motorway from Lahore to Islamabad, and stay in Islamabad for sometime then head to the northern areas. Very few know the culture and beauty of Northern Pakistan. Peace


  66. Thanks for Coming to Pakistan and describing my country and especially my city Karachi the way you see it and not through the eyes of the Media


  67. Good to see at lease few good comments!
    But in reality it is foo far, you had visited only two big cities, Karchi Using almost 70% budjet of sindh government, and Lahore using punjab’s..
    some time you must visit atleast 2 more cites from each province, than you will understand the true position..!
    and also please visit the governemnt offices & government hospitals. YOu will se From A-Z level of honesty and corrupation.!


    • In every third world country like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and others there are some major cities mug more developed then the rest and that’s why they are third world countries. Human development indicators in a those countries are not so desirable.

      Karachi takes a major portion of the sindh gov budget because it’s population is more than 20 million so does Lahore. A foreigner does bit need to visit sanghar and landi kotal. Major cities and tourist sites should be developed an they are in Pakistan.

      While visiting Malaysia where else you visit except KL? Do you know about kuala kedah and perlis? Although they are also developed but we don’t need to visit those cities.


  68. Extremely good piece of information about Pakistan.A lot of my Indian friends feel that everyone in Pakistan is a terrorist .This should be an eye opener for them.


  69. aoa brothers and sisters. this article is great to read.we muslims alwys welcom people in ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF PAKISTAN.but most important thing is we cant separate our religion from our country. As far as relations with indian is concern, pakistan alwys stood first to bring peace between 2 countries. and still doing good job . if we recently watch relationship with india. u can see indian violate LOC many time and when PAK army show its reaction then ur media and government start weaping like child. i must say if u really want friendship with us then plz stop these shetanic tachniques . ur agenciess playing role in balochistan to dismentaling pakistani peace. do look on this issue aswell


    • I think it’s safe to say that both governments are to blame here, and Western countries have not done much to help either.

      But governments are supposed to represent the will of the PEOPLE. It is people who must put in place the people who would promote peace rather than war, love rather than hate, building rather than destroying.


  70. Nice to hear that Mr Joishy had a pleasant stay in Pakistan, but this beautiful country’s problem is not about promoting tourism like many of the readers have suggested to visit Swat, Quetta, etc. I believe like minded people need to get together and come up with an answer to this long over drawn Kashmir issue. My suggestion is to create a joint protectorate like Andorra (between Spain and France) – duty free, tax free, tourist resort where both sides can come and go freely. Second step would be to break up both the countries into forty or fifty STATES to have a system similar to USA or better still like the European Union.


  71. Good job writer.hats of to u
    Pakistan is always being portrayed in a way to people across the globe which is quite untrue and misleading. The author just wrote by seeing a few places. I insist and recommend to u all to please pay a visit to Pakistan and judge this country by yourself. You will surely find it a place of peace, surrounded by loving people who always welcome visitors with open heart


  72. Dear Usindiamonitor,

    I don’t know who you are.. but the way you are defending Pakistan in all your comments is honestly “Love!”

    You truly are One Brave person who is standing firm on what is right and what is wrong. Thank You for your Visit to Pakistan.

    Stay Blessed!


  73. If you visit Pakistan next time. Do come to Abbottabad a mention about which you made in your article and be our guest. We will take you north to Kaghan Valley places like which are few in the world. So see you next time here.


  74. I am glad that a trip to Pakistan was able to change your earlier assumptions/notions about our country. I truly wish that both nations politicians, bureaucrats and agencies would realize that they need to overcome their personal warped points of view and let the people be. Someday……


    • Amir Bhai ……..unfortunately the politicians would never overcome their point of view because they realise that inorder to exist they have to stick to their propoganda of showing the other as enemy and themselves as saviours ,this is their bread and butter …….we have to understand that it is not the politicians who would bring the change , it is the people who have to stand up up against anti-India / anti-Pak sentiments by their respective governments ……It is people like us who have to get vocal against the shiv senas and zaid hamids of the world and deny them any kind of popular support ……people in India/Pakistan dont support extremist views out of respect or belief …it is truly out of fear of the percieved enemy .


  75. Good piece and I endorse the comments about beauty of Lahore. I am a left wing UK academic with a Punjabi background and when I visited Pakistan in 2009, I was overwhelmed by emotion- it was a feeling of being reunited with your motherland from which you were separated. At Nankana Sahib Gurdwara near Lahore, when I entered the room where Nanak was born, it was a unique and very deep experience of spiritualiy and emotion engulfing you. Visits to Bulle Shah and Waris Shah memorials are unforgettable. One of the folk singers singing Heer at Waris Shah memorial realised that I was from abroad, so he sang a special passage from Heer. Undoubtedly, the people in Pakistan are wonderful hosts. I had similar doubts (as expressed by the author) raised about my visit but found them baseless when I got to Pakistan. Good relations between the two countries and between the people of both the countries are a must to improve the quality of life in both and to bring better mutual understanding. Thanks for writing this piece.


  76. North west. Frontier is as peacefull as lahore and karachi. You should arrange a trip and come to nwfp. We will provide you all the security and I’m sure you will enjoy to the fullest.


  77. Dear Mahanth, I am glad that you had a great time and I appreciate your initiative. Its my all time dream to visit India one day. I am hopeful that I will be having the same feeling as of yours. 🙂


  78. Wow
    Thank u for coming n appreciating my country. I hope rest of da world says da same about Pakistan soon.


  79. Great and pleasing…this is unfortunate that the positive aspects of this great country are always ignored by the media…one would love to stay If one see the love,and hospitality of People of Rural Pakistan.. Thanks alot for promoting love…we all are but just human beings….


  80. Mahant, thanks for a positive article on Pakistan. And a big thanks to all Indians and Pakistanis, showing like, respect and friendliness to each other.. we just have to ignore the minority who think otherwise ( and most times go wild with unspeakable words, tch tch becharey, they need to come out and smell the roses). Lets all act like matured world citizens, whatever has happened in the past was not our doing ( heck that was 1947, none on this forum where born then) thats just history, but we have it upon us to make our futures! No sane person preaches hate, lets put the state aside, infact even they are on a ‘lets make friends’ approach. Recent downturn due to border incidents is very strange, kuch daal mey kaala hey, beyond the common mans understanding, its easy to say India is having elections.. and these are stunts, but hey, thats all state level crap! We just have to rise above this and do whats right in every respect.
    I have been to India many times (as I have traveled the world) and my relatives there would tell me to keep a low profile and not disclose my identity, especially travelling across India by train, but heck no, first thing that would come out of my mouth is ‘hey guys I am Pakistani from Karachi 🙂 most people would like and respect me, have curious conversations, and admire my boldness, I came across some serious Sadhu’s once about 3-4 of them, who at first turned their nose up, but by the time I charmed them with my jokes and had them in fits of laughter, they too accepted me with open arms. We are all humans at the end of the day.
    And humans are social animals. Lets all be humans, world citizens, and proud Pakistanis and Indians and be true to our core, which is respect and hospitality and brotherhood. ( Lets just keep religions aside).
    I wish I could set up a special tourism company dedicated for the Indians to stramline thier visits to Pakistan, just to show them our warm friendliness and hospitality and give them a safe trip here. But I am not in the tourism business, maybe someone in this forum is and can do.
    Mahant, why dont you set up a FB page with a ” Pakistan India Friendship Group”.
    Cheers guys… All Power to you all to make and grow this forum and turn the tide on the hate/war mongers on both sides.
    (BTW I have a sister in B’bay who is insisting I come visit her for Diwali, as much as I would like to go, there is no way the Indian Embassy would issue me a visa in a week, I believe it takes 2-3 months after papers are filled in by the family on the other side and much I will be disappointing her, so sad!!)


    • I really like your idea of the fbook group. You might be interested in the “Aman ki asha” group that is already established on this topic.

      I am working on plans for an India-Pakistan peace project. I will announce it here on this site and I hope you will be a part of it.


      • Yes ofcourse Aman ki Aasha = Wish for peace! Just checked out their website they are trying.. I believe a larger mass movement effort is needed and FB is hot and global, lets catch the Pak.Ind FB users… Oh wait they have an FB page too., nearly 14k likes, not bad, lets see if you can top it. More the merrier. You can get sponsorships for the advertising, get the movie producers first, because Indian movies are showing here…:) good luck! I would love to see a million people chain stretching both sides of the border and holding hands at the border…wow! That shud get both the Govts and haters on their knees. C’mon Mahant you can do it 🙂 ..First day of 2014, Year of friendship!


  81. Thank you so much for taking the time out to write these beautiful words about Pakistan. Love it! and excellent replies you are giving to the haters 😛 Cannot thank you enough for portraying the real Pakistan!


  82. Hey, nice work man! this is a good article.

    Glad you enjoyed your trip and made the effort to go there.

    Who’s your friend from Aitchison btw?


  83. Great Article. Made me proud. I am an American Zoroastrian (Parsi) Pakistani who lived in Karachi till High School . I remember every moment of great times in that great city. One day would like to go back and settle there. I do hope the political situation does turn around..


  84. An excellent article. Enjoyed reading. We need more personal contacts & interaction like this that will help to push are politicians to become friends & spend our resources in the welfare of our people that in weapons of destruction.


  85. “The Western and Indian media feed us a steady diet of stories about bomb blasts, gunfights, kidnappings, torture, subjugation of women, dysfunctional government, and scary madrassa schools that are training the next generation of jihadist terrorists.”

    So what the international media reports about Pakistan is not true? Or should it not be reported?

    “Numerous international relations analysts proclaim that Pakistan is “the most dangerous place in the world” and the border with India is “the most dangerous border in the world.”

    Maybe Pakistan is not the “most” dangerous places in the world. It is definitely “one of the most” dangerous places in the world. The writer should try living in Lyari or korangi for a week and he would find that out.

    I’m not naive enough to argue that these proclamations don’t have some elements of truth;

    Some elements of truth……When did CNN, BBC or fox news reported a bomb blast in Pakistan that never took place? I guess never…so using the word “some” is UNFAIR.

    “Rather, I am here to tell you that these aspects are overblown; that this country is about so much more, a whole other and much larger, beautiful, glorious, and uplifting side not given equal time by the media.”

    What needs more attention….extremism, terrorism, corruption, poverty or how tall the buildings or lavish the bungalows in Karachi are?

    “As my friend had said, 20 million people live in Karachi and now and then bad things happen, but the odds of it affecting me were very low.”

    So all the target killings, rapes, robberies, suicides because of joblessness and utter poverty is “now and then things happen” that’s exactly how the rich describe life of the common man in Pakistan. What a shame!

    “the orderliness of the traffic, the quality of the roads, and the greenery.”

    HAHAHA….I think the writer the beer he had in Colombo still had the magic on….

    “Coming from a city government background, I was surprised at how organized Karachi was throughout the ride.”

    Karachi and organized? Is this April Fool’s day?

    “I also didn’t see many beggars the entire way.”

    I know why….the truck he was in had dark tinted glasses….so you really dont get a good view of the city outside? Or maybe he tucked himself under the seats or something?

    “My second pleasant surprise was to see numerous large development projects under way.”

    I guess the writer visits Karachi again he would still see the same projects under development.



    • Hey friend, why don’t you have the courage to back up your arguments with some rational thoughts or logic? Any person can hit the copy and paste button on what someone else wrote and then make fun of it. It’s easy to tear something down. Let’s see if you can build something up- a case.

      It would be much more beneficial to me and any other readers than a disjointed rant. It would make your own thoughts that much more powerful and you may actually be able to sway people toward your point of view.

      As your screed now stands, it’s not really achieving any purpose.


  86. Such a nice post that is! Does help to settle with that the Pakistan is a neighbour and another country than anything which has been overblown about relations and borders and everything else.


  87. This is bullshit the day pakistan builds a temple n respects hindu (vedic culture) is proof that india n pak r friends in 1970s more then 30% of pakistan was hindu now less then 1% the proof is this foreign false arab religon not meant for desis ,muslims forcefully convert hindus into this haram which is called islam the moran book is all abt spreading fear


    • Have you ever been to Pakistan?

      To have your denigration of a country or religion or people taken seriously, you should try actually understanding it better. It will make your opinions more convincing for other people. When you attack something you know nothing about, it will largely be laughed at.

      We don’t all live in the same echo chamber that you do. Sorry.


    • You speak of giving respect and look at how you have chosen to address Islam!! Dont need to say anymore you have proved beyond any doubt who holds hatred in their heart and is using force to succumb others 🙂 your ignorance and intolerance are shocking!


      • It is heartening to learn the impartial and open-minded first-hand impression of an American Indian, which surely dispels bad impression of our homeland. I agree with some of the comments given above that our country is even more better and prettier, if one has the chance to see and appreciate the beauty of Swat valley,Abbottabad and Galliat, Kaghan and Naran,Korakoram,Gilgit, Malam Jabba ski resort,or Ziarat etc. We have 2nd largest peak of the world K-2, and Ooshoo glacier also.
        The only thing is that streamlined and well coordinated efforts should be made on state-level to root-out the terrorism from the country-for which our govt. is working very hard. And we all must work on war footing to eradicate illiteracy, which will ultimately give us literate workforce, thereby lessening the poverty and flourishing the country.


  88. For the Muslims of the subcontinent India, Allah Subhan Tahala bestowed them with a promised land; Paradise in the form of Pakistan. Prior to independence for various reasons the Muslims of combined India had no match with Hindus or Sikhs in any field; interalia, education, business or employment in bureaucracy. Had there been a combine India today, there have been no match with the privileges being enjoyed by Muslims in Pakistan. Allah has given Pakistan four seasons and variety of land, where every world class agricultural commodity/ product is available through out the year. The North it is bestowed with world highest peaks/ mountain systems providing regular supply of water throughout the year and in the south a long coast line. The central part, comprising of Indus plains is granary of the country, whereas, western Pakistan; Balochistan is endowed with immense mineral wealth. Indus delta in the Sindh province is full of natural gas and largest coal deposits. NW part is rich in oil and gas, besides, precious stones and building stones, besides, having world class scenic virgin beauty. Pakistan has a world class army to defend its frontiers. The scientists of the country have provided deterrent to the country against any possible aggression.Thus the country has all the facilities promised in paradise. However, the inhabitants have not been able to harness the endowed potential. I blame the civilian leadership, bureaucracy being run on colonial pattern and Military dictatorship for converting the paradise into present hell. People like Bhuttos, Zardari, Shariffs, feudal lords, bureaucrats; civil and Military, having lust for money had corrupted the society, ruining the well established institutions bringing the country to bankruptcy. Owing to its geopolitical importance, USA has implicated Pakistan in so called war against terrorism, which actually had been its hegemony and get access and capture the energy rich Central Asia. Pakistan has so far lost over 40,000 human lives. The irony is that despite being victim of terrorism Pakistan is being attributed to harbor terrorism. The people are so naïve that they still vote to such rascals. However, with the developing awareness amongst the masses, I am very optimistic about the future of Pakistan. Yes, there are fanatic groups having different mind set, but constitute only a small fraction of society and are nurtured with the financial assistance of foreign countries. These fanatics had been harbored by USA and other western countries for there nefarious designs and also financially supported by neighboring countries for there ulterior motives. The people of Pakistan in general hate these fanatics and Allah willing, in due course of time shall be eradicated. Pakistanis are religious and peace loving country and welcome any visitor, as there religion preaches to respect and guard the visitors. Allah helps Pakistan to overcome its predicaments.


  89. Hey man, politics gives me a headache and people will always be people i.e they will always do silly things like holding grudges and pushing agendas and whatever.
    The next time you are in Pakistan however, do visit Peshawar. I’ll be happy to host you and show you the art of living and indeed thriving amidst almost daily bomb/rocket attacks. And the cuisine here is like nothing you’ve ever tasted before, absolutely yummylicious. 🙂


  90. There are many things to see in Peshawar as well. The traditional meals, historic Qissakhwani bazar, darra khyber (Khyber pass to Afghanistan). However anyone visiting Pakistan, must see Deosai Plains, a heaven on earth.


  91. Great article. Pakistan is a great country and pakistani people are hardworking beautiful and peaceful. After living in USA for long period of time, I was afraid to go to pakistan for a visit but believe me I went in summer of 2013 alone and was able to travel without any issue.I found people were very welcoming and warm. They had lot of courtesy and common sense. I enjoyed every moment.


  92. nice article buddy , but u know what really the problem is , its not about us (by us i mean the people of both countries) its lack of taking initiatives by both govts. i read all the replies people agreeing with u at greater deal but when the time will be thr as we have seen in past the time was there b/w two countries where we could have come closer but some how things went wrong. we need to see at the roots who is playing us both religion or something else ???


    • I think the governments won’t be moved to act until the people of both sides show their will. At this time the will of the people seeking peace is still probably overwhelmed by those who oppose peace. It’s easier to be enemies than to be friends, to have a bogeyman to blame for our problems, than to try to solve them.


  93. It was very refreshing to read your review about your trip to Pakistan. After reading all the comments I gather that Pakistanis and Indians are very warm and emotional people from same soil but divided by a border. Only if we weren’t divided to be ruled hundred years ago by the British we could have comfortable together, just the same way we exist among our countrymen with different religions and political ideologies. Partition was more worse than the Holocaust where lives of millions were shattered. Here I would pray and wish to visit India with my Indian born parents to visit their ancestoral cities and homes in Ludhiana,Srinagar,Dehradhun, Patiala and Schools (Jamia Millia Delhi and St Joseph Convent School Dehradhun).


  94. Wow great description of beautiful Pakistan !
    You brought tears to my eyes . Shame we pakistani can’t describe our country as you did .


  95. Certainly, a very illuminating article. Reading through was like a breath of fresh air. For once, someone was willing enough to write about our beautiful homeland and say what it’s really like, without malice or prejudice. ..Thank you so much for your generous appreciation . ..


  96. As a Pakistani I want to thank you for giving a objective view on Pakistan. Pakistan is a land with beautiful people, enchanting culture, ancient civilizations, rich history and proud people.

    One thing I disliked about this article is how you continuously compare Pakistan to India. Pakistan is a country in its own right and although there might be some similarities between Pakistan and India there are also many differences. Don’t take it personally but I have met many Indians here where I live and I didn’t feel the connection with them that I feel with Pakistanis. Indians are just like another nationality of people, some good and some bad and I have nothing personal against Indians but Pakistanis do’t feel like they’re the same as Indians and we Paks dont always have to be compared to Indians. Indians are Indian and Pakistanis and Pakistani.


    • The writer is an Indian and it is quite natural for him to compare things with the ones in India ….Not only Pakistan even if had gone to Srilanka or Nepal at the back of his mind he would be comparing them with India…………


  97. Dear Sir,
    I want to highlight that Newspaper has issued the details of assets of all politician, which are really a renowned personality, however, here I want to high light a person Mr. Hassan the very un known person but he is the right hand of Pakistani Pathan Originated Mexican Smuggler, who has Billion of Rupees in their accounts and assets of Trillion of Rs. He has more than 2 dozen plaza at Satellite Town Rawalpindi. Police, Media, RDA, and TMA Rawalpindi is under his jurisdiction. He do whatever he likes. He has developed a new Waziristan in Satellite Town Rawalpindi.
    Even the CM Punajb ordered has also been compromised by the TMA officials, where CM Punajb has stopped to construct plaza at B B-84, B-85, B- 86 Satellite Town Rawalpindi. He has recently started another commercial project at B -90, B-91 Satellite Town Rawalpind, already at B-89 there is hostel working on commercial basis.
    All the above property is within 100 meter under custody of Mr. Hassan and having worth of Million of Rupees. He is pro Taliban and having illegal money. He also deputed gypsies in the area who are involved in theft, Begging Business, heroine selling and lot more. Police visit the places and take their due share. At Azan Plaza there is place of gambling.
    At B-181, illegal Shed is contracted and as Mr. Kaleem Ahmed Siddiqui is the honorable worthy politician of Jammat E Islami no TMA official can give them any threat.
    The TMA person involved to facilitate the matter are
    TMA Official
    1. Haji Hameed Tube Well Operator
    2. Khalid TMA revenue inspector
    3. Pervaiz WASA Supervisor
    Sui Gas Official
    To provide illegal connection at property of Mr. Hassan
    1. Kamran urf Kami Suigas 0345-5218963
    2. Yasir Khan Azan Plaza 0321-5252424
    3. Farooq Hostel B – 89 0301-2447597
    4. Munshi Azan Plaza 0300-9838569
    a. Azan Plaza 051-5817184
    b. Azan Plaza 0333-5183181
    Sir, I have highlighted the matter many times but your good self is not interested to resolve the issue. You can take prayers of all.

    Mehmood Akhtar Janjua


      • Hello I just wanted to say there are so many diffrent people living all over the world who are smugglers drug dealers gangsters all sorts I am a uk born citizen and live in West Yorkshire
        If you was to come in the uk and go to any town u will find big people with big money and doing all sorts and this is the uk so it’s not just Pakistan my dear respected janjua Saab.


  98. This lovey-dovey banter is ok but the real issues are not that simple. Pakistan is a square peg in a round hole, it is Pakistan’s destiny to be on the frontal edge of Islamic nations of present times, our present trauma is part of that destiny.

    This goody goody love and warmth you people are talking about is pipe dreams. In reality there will be a tremendously violent clash between Islamic civilisation and the rest of the world (particularly the west)

    India’s hindu polity, who are morally and militarily weak (hindu race is not a warrior rave) they well know this and have aligned themselves with zionist jews of Israel. Whether we muslims like it or not we will confront this nexus of jews and hindus and west, its only a question of time and something will give.

    My biggest fear is from pakis who have obtained two bit western education and think they have become (enlightened) I myself have been educated in the west (if you can call that garbage education at all) and I am not in the least impressed by the west or their ideology.

    Most foreign returned two bit pakis have forgotten their station in life, (primarily because they are mostly from lower middle class background with dishonest new money) these people should be packed up and sent to whichever western or hindu or jew controlled country they want to go to, because we have no place for them here in pakistan.

    We are least interested in a hindus approval or their western and jew masters approval. We have our book and we have to fulfil our sacred tryst with our creator. Muslims are born to die in battlefields for the sake of truth against falsehood, if that means martyrdom a hundred times and rivers of blood then so be it.

    Mohammed Iqbal has so eloquently mentioned about these two bit paks thinking they have made it by kissing secular wests feet. How sad, dont forget this is the same Iqbal who went to the west so impressed and returned a changed man, calling them garbage and a marketplace of wickedness…….if only you could understand the following even though its only a translation which can never match the beauty of persian …..

    A complaint lodged in the court of our creator…(shikwa- by Mohammed Iqbal)

    Why should I be destructive and remain reckless of betterment?
    Think not of the future, remain occupied in today’s problems?
    Should I hear nightingale’s wails and remain completely mute?
    O companion! Am I some flower so that I may remain silent?

    It is true that we are famous in the methods of obedience;
    But we are relating our story of pain out of compulsion.
    Though a silent orchestra, we are full of complaint!
    If the wailing comes to the lips we are excusable O God!

    Listen to the remonstrance also from the faithful
    Listen to some complaint also from the one accustomed to praise You

    Though Your Existence had existed since eternity;
    The flower existed in the garden but fragrance had not dispersed
    Justice is a condition, O Lord of Universal Benevolence!
    How could flower’s fragrance spread if breeze did not exist?

    This problem’s solution was the source of satisfaction to us;
    Otherwise was the Holy Prophet’s Ummah insane?

    The scene of Your world was strange before us;
    Stones were adored somewhere, trees were worshipped somewhere.
    The eyes of Man are accustomed to tangible forms;
    How could they be amenable to accept the Unseen God?

    Do You know anyone who ever took Your name?
    The strength of Muslims accomplished Your task of it!

    Saljuqs too were living here and the Turanas also;
    The Chinese in China and in Iran the Sasanas also.
    The Greeks were also living in the same habitation;
    In the same world, so were the Jews and the Christians also.

    But who were the one who raised the sword in Your name?
    Who reclaimed the despoiled world in Your name?

    We alone were the marshals of Your troops!
    We were fighting at times on dry lands and at times in the rivers/oceans.
    Some times we were calling adhans in the Europe’s cathedrals;
    And sometimes in the scorching African deserts

    We never cared for the grandeur of monarchs…
    We recited the Kalimah even under the shade of swords

    If we lived we lived for the calamities of wars
    If we died we died for the grandeur of Your name
    We did not wield the sword for our kingdoms
    Did we roam about the world fearlessly for wealth?

    If our nation had been greedy of gold and worldly wealth
    Why would we have been idol breakers instead of idol sellers?

    Once firmly stood in the battle we were immovable
    Even lions in the battle against us would be in flight
    We were enraged if some one rebelled against You
    What to talk about sword we fought even against canons

    We imprinted the picture of Oneness on every heart
    We conveyed this message even under the dagger

    You yourself say, who uprooted the gate of Khaibar?
    Who conquered the city which was Qaisar’s?
    By whom were the images of created gods destroyed?
    By whom were the armies of infidels slaughtered?

    Who cooled down the fire temple of Iran?
    Who made the memory of God then become alive?

    Which nation become Your seeker exclusively?
    And for You, undertook wars’ calamities?
    Whose sword became world-seizing, world-holding?
    By whose “Takbeer” did Your world become enlightened?

    Through whose fear did the idols remain trembling?
    Having fallen on their faces, they used to say “Allah is One.”

    If the time of prayer came right in the midst of battle
    Hijaz’ nation fell in prostration facing the Ka’abah
    Both Mahmud and Ayaz in the same row stood
    None as the slave and none as the master stood

    Slave and master, poor and rich became one!
    On arrival in Your Place all became one!

    We wandered in the gathering of all creation, in the dawn and dusk
    Having taken the wine of Tauheed, we wandered intoxicated with it
    We wandered with Your Message in the mountains, in the deserts
    And You even know whether we ever returned unsuccessful?

    Deserts are merely deserts, we did not spare even the seas
    We galloped our horses in the oceans of darkness!

    We erased falsehood from the face of the earth
    We freed the human race from bonds of slavery
    We established Your Ka’bah with our foreheads
    We put Your Qur’an into our hearts

    Nevertheless, there is this complaint to us, that we are not faithful
    If we are not faithful, then You too are not generous

    There are other communities too, among them are sinners too
    There are modest people and intoxicated arrogant ones too
    Among them are lazy, heedless as well as clever people too
    There are also hundreds who are disgusted with Your Name

    Tour Mercy descends on the other people’s houses
    Lightning strikes only on the poor Muslims’ abodes

    The idols in temples say ‘The Muslims are gone’
    They are glad that the Ka’bah’s guardians are gone
    From the world’s stage, the drivers of camels have gone,
    They, with the Qur’an in their arm pits, are gone

    Infidelity is mocking, do You feel it or not?
    Do You have any respect for Your Oneness, or not?

    This is not a complain that their treasures are full
    Who don’t even have the intelligence to speak [properly] in a gathering
    The Outrage is that infidels are rewarded with Houris and palaces
    And the poor Muslims consoled with only promise of Houris

    We have been deprived of the former graces and favors
    What is the matter, we are deprived of the former courtesies?

    Why, among Muslims, is material wealth unobtainable?
    Your power is such that it has no limit nor accounting
    With Your Will the desert’s bosom would produce bubbles of water
    The desert’s traveler can be facing flood of mirage’s waves

    Others’ sarcasm that we are disgraced and poverty struck
    Is this recompense the reward for Loving You?

    The world has now become lover of the Others!
    For us it is only a single imaginary world
    We have departed, others have taken over the world
    Do not complain now that the world has become devoid of Tauheed!

    We live so that Your name would remain in the world
    Is it possible that the wine-cup exist and the cup-bearer doesn’t?

    Your assemblage is gone, and Your Lovers are also gone
    The night’s sighs are gone, the dawn’s laments are gone
    Giving You our hearts and taking our rewards we went on
    Just came and sat down and were thrown out

    The Lovers came but with tomorrow’s promise went away
    Now search them with Your beautiful face’s lamp!

    Then this displeasure without reason, what’s the meaning?
    Then this displeasure for Your lovers, what’s the meaning?

    Aag Takbeer Ki Seenon Mein Dabi Rakhte Hain
    Zindagi Misl-e-Bilaal-e-Habashi Rakhte Hain

    Did we forsake You, or did we forsake the Prophet of Arabian?
    Did we make idol making our profession, or did we forsake idol breaking?
    Did we forsake Love, or did we forsake the madness of Love?
    Did we forsake the customs of Salman and Uwais Qarani?

    We keep the Takbir’s fire suppressed in our hearts!
    We are living the life of Bilal the Abyssinian!

    Ishq Ki Khair, Wo Pehli Si Ada Bhi Na Rahi
    Jadha Paimaaee Tasleem-o-Raza Bhi Na Rahi
    Muztarib Dil Sifat-e-Qabl Numa Bhi Na Rahi
    Aur Pabandi Aain-e-Wafa Bhi Na Rahi

    Kabhi Humse Kabhi Ghairon Se Shana-Saai Hai
    Baat Kehneki Nahi Tu Bhi Tho Harjaai Hai

    Granted that Love has lost its former elegance also
    We may have lost treading the path of Love also
    We may have lost the restless heart like the compass also
    And we may have lost the observance of fidelity’s rules also

    You are changing friendship between us and others
    It is not something fit to say but You are also unfaithful

    You perfected the Deen on the peak of Faran
    You a single sign You captivated the hearts of thousands
    You made the fruit of Love fire-bringing.
    You burned the congregation with Your face’s fire

    Why today our breasts not filled with sparks of Love?
    We are the same burnt out (Lovers), don’t You remember?

    The noise of Lovers’ chains in the Najd’s Valley has disappeared
    Qais has no more remained longing for the litter’s sight
    Those enthusiasms, we, as well as the heart has disappeared,
    The house is destroyed as You have not remained the glory of gathering

    Oh those happy days when You with elegance shall come back
    When will You unveiled, to our congregation come back

    The Others drink wine, seated in the garden, at the edge of the water-channel
    Listening to the cuckoo’s call with wine-cup in their hand
    In the garden on a side far from the riotous crowd are sitting
    Your madmen are also patiently wanting for the “Hu”

    Again endow Your moths a relish for self-kindling
    Give to the ancient lightning a command of liver-burning.

    The wandering community is riding again towards the Hijaz,
    The relish for flight has carried away the wingless Nightingale.
    The fragrance of humility is restless in every flower bud
    Just start the music, instrument is seeking the plectrum

    Melodies are restless to emerge from the strings
    [Mount] Tur is restless to burn in that same fire!

    Make the difficulties of the blessed people easy,
    Make the no-account ant the equal of Solomon.
    Make the invaluable produce of Love accessible again
    Make the temple-sitters of India [into] Muslims.

    [In Persian:] “A stream of blood drips from our ancient longing
    Wailing palpitates in the wounded breast of mine!”

    (From this verse to the end of the poem Allama Iqbal is referring to himself and his book, Bang-e-Dara)

    The fragrance of rose took garden’s secret outside the garden
    Outrageous that flowers themselves are informers against the garden
    The spring is over, broken is the orchestra of the garden
    Flown away from branches are the songsters of the garden

    Only a nightingale is left which is singing still
    In its breast overflows the flood of songs still

    The turtledoves have taken flight from the branch of the pine tree,
    The petals of the flowers too have withered and become scattered.
    The garden’s old beautiful walk-ways are also gone
    The branches too became bare without the cover of leaves

    But his temperament remained free of the season’s restrictions
    If only somebody in the garden understand his complaint!

    There is no pleasure in dying and no taste in living
    If there is any pleasure it in bearing this affliction
    How restless are the polish-lines in my mirror!
    To what an extent glories are fluttering in my breast!

    But there is none in this garden to see them
    There are no poppies with Love’s stain on their breasts

    May hearts be torn by the song of this lonely nightingale
    May the sleeping hearts wake up with this very Bang-e-Dara
    May the hearts come to life again with a new covenant
    May the hearts be thirsty again for this same old wine

    My cask may be from ‘Ajam, but my wine is from Hijaz
    My melody may be Indian but my tune is from Hijaz


    • Asalaam alay Kum and hi to all the rest
      Sa has posted one of the best works of allama iqbal it doesn’t make a difference of what we will do its destiny the book bang e dara such eloquent works wow only if we can understand truly what allama iqbal are saying then we would find peace in existence allah hafiz and good bye to everyone


  99. Although pretty good blog. But being a Pakistani Canadian, who visited India, and probably not get a chance to safely visit Pakistan again, I have few points:
    1. “And yes, to many Westerners and especially Indians, Pakistan is the enemy, embodying all that is wrong in the world.”
    Partially true! Pakistan and India stays in same scale for most westerners. In fact Pakistan was more favorite one since US have military basis there from the beginning. And also bashed Indra Gandhi over 1971 war. Nowadays however after 9/11, pretty much all muslim countries got into high risk areas, making India more favorable country.
    2. “I don’t think now that the absence of any of these factors would have changed my experience at all.”
    I beg to differ! In Pakistan, having connections with elite class and staying within their firearm-toting bodyguards goes a very long way. Otherwise even Pakistani shias are not safe. Indian Hindu could have been assaulted/killed if you get into hands of fanatics who might want to take revenge of some muslim killing in Kashmir, or even far long incident such as Babri masjid. But if elite class is promising you protection, they are providing you a lot of safety, that average Pakistanis can not afford, nor would you have access to without connections.
    3. “What if I got detained in the airport and then deported”
    I had similar fear at Indian airport. Although not much about deportation as I had right paperwork, but detention waiting for the right person to give clearance.
    4. Karachi can’t be really compared to Banglore and Mumbai, since Karachi was much smaller at partition. Plus India is more densly populated because Pakistani hindus keep on migrating there, while Indian muslims don’t migrate to Pakistan at the same rate.
    5. “Bourbon St juxtaposed” is a very nice comment to hear. About all the historic buildings, I had similar experience in Delhi.
    6. “It is not an in-your-face brand of the religion as I have seen in the Middle East”
    Unfortunately, a lot of Pakistanis are hell bent on making it middle east. Many have changed their car plates to spell “Al-Bakistan”. In my school, teachers did teach how businesses get closed at prayer times in Saudi Arabia, and how good it is. I do however wish that Pakistanis stop that attitude and go back to our original culture.


    • Thanks for the response, Monte. These were well thought out comments and I enjoy reading these. Unfortunately not all of the comments are thoughtful like yours.

      When I say the absence of those factors wouldn’t have changed my experience, I meant based on what I saw. A large advantage for me is that I am pretty plain looking and didn’t stick out anywhere in Pakistan, even as a South Indian. I looked a lot like everyone else. So one wouldn’t have known that I was an Indian-American Hindu.

      I think it is fair to compare any two cities to each other on things like cleanliness and general feel.

      take care,


  100. So happy to read about your experience in Pakistan. It is a bit daunting I suppose with the way the country is portrayed but as you know now visiting is not a death sentence and any imminent danger is not being directed towards you personally. I’m a Florida native myself and before starting my course in Karachi 3 years ago, a lot of my dadyaal and mother’s friends reacted as if we had all sprouted a 2nd head when they heard I was moving to Karachi on my own. My aunt straight told my that she was playing with my life sending me all the way to a city that they had themselves grown up in. A few months in her husband was asking about entrance requirements for their son.
    My advice for any and all visitors is to go ahead and take the plunge. Ignorance and misperception can only be banished by pure experience and an open mind, whether you’re Indian, Bengali, or Korean.

    I do have a question for the author though: what did you do about your entrance visa? I know for Pakistani Americans to visit India you need to have visa in hand and that in and of itself is quite difficult and time-consuming to obtain, not to mention needing to provide a local address for the authorities to check up on you (a real issue if you just wna sight-see or are there to track down family). I thought there were similar rules for coming to Pakistan? Don’t get me wrong I’m very glad you got to experience Pakistan (especially Karachi) firsthand; I’m just curious.


    • Hi Nabibah,

      Thanks and I agree, people should find out for themselves what the country is like.

      I was granted a business visa in advance due to the fact that I had set up a number of meetings in Pakistan and had documentation of that.

      take care,


      • Mahanth S. Joishy,

        You are Editor of I find you rather naive for such a high sounding post.

        Before your visit to Pakistan you had a terrible impression of that country courtesy the biased media and other interested parties? It just means that you used to swallow all lies and half truths paddled by these agencies.

        And after your one short visit, suddenly, your eyes have been opened and you now know that you were very wrong earlier? You say that, “I’ve seen it with my own eyes.” You are lucky that with one short visit you have discovered the whole truth.

        Whom are you trying to fool?

        Don’t you think that the reality is not so simple. You berk.


      • How does an “agency” “paddle?” LOL. Skdking, I can only tell the truth as I see it. It is the same truth that the majority of people I have come across have confirmed. Yes, I was wrong in the past. Perhaps you think I am wrong now. Why don’t you try and explain how. Explain to me who the hell am I trying to fool, please? And why?


      • Paddle = peddle, you twit.

        Also please avoid sounding so convinced of the truth. The reality is neither 0 or 1.

        And no. You are not completely wrong in your article.

        Just try to look beyond the obvious. In all situations.

        Else you are a gullible man and not an editor.

        Oh yes, one more thing.

        A simple remark got your goat. Can not take criticism maturely?

        And stop trying to fool the world even if unintentionally. In this intensely connected world of ours no man is an island. Well meaning but uninformed articles like yours will be used for propaganda.

        End of discussion.



  101. The fact that you need an armed escort everywhere and lived in a fortified house speaks volumes and shows the difference that an ordinary person sees and experiences in terms of security and life, and a guest who was there essentially there for a PR visit.If you need an armed escort, you shouldn’t be there.

    He was shown an extremely sanitized version of Pakistan.The way this person traveled and was shown around, shows an extremely selective vision within carefully selected areas to show a romanticized version of extremely troubled and dangerous regions..

    You could travel the same way in Syria and avoid seeing the civil war or in India and avoid seeing poverty,traffic or garbage. Go to the diplomatic enclaves in Delhi,Mumbai and Bangalore, the Yacht club in Bombay, private resorts in Kerala and a palace in Rajasthan.
    Maybe this author could then visit North Korea and parrot back the images of it that the North Korean government peddles.

    The fact that I see absolutely no women out by themselves show the talibanizing of Pakistan, it looks more like Afghanistan then India.Maybe when the author actually employs his critical thinking faculties and stops being a mouthpiece for Pakistani Tourism,his review might
    The fact that he’s a PIO,not an Indian citizen comes out starkly if he thinks shiny malls and skyscrapers show the real Pakistan or the real Asia or that they are indicators of growth.


    • Shristi-
      It seems a number of people have not read my words clearly. I’d like to put a few things to rest here. First of all, the armed escorts and other security precautions were in response to specific security issues being dealt with by my hosts- which had nothing to do with me.

      Second of all, what does my being a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) have to do with anything? I have spent a significant amount of time in India, including attending school in India.

      Finally, I took pains to mention that I visited very different areas, some of them poor and what I would have considered to be dangerous if not for having seen them.

      The problem I have been encountering with commenters like you is that you are approaching the subject, of which you know very little, with a pre-determined narrative that cannot be changed by the words of a traveler such as me, who is neutral or was in fact, prejudiced in YOUR direction before he wrote this piece.

      Sometimes I am not sure why I bother to respond but we have a duty to others who will read this response and may gain a finer understanding of the debate.


  102. My Dear Shristi, it is so obvious that you have not ever been to Pakistan and totally base your views on what your propoganda machine feeds you.
    A lesson I learnt when very young:-
    “Don’t believe what you hear;
    Half believe what you see,
    Fully believe what you experience!”


  103. Anyone interested to know more about Pakistan. Kindly ask a local or someone that had visited it before. Its not a risk of life or threatening. Pl stop isolating our beautiful country.
    Thank you for such a helping article. Love for all!!


  104. Thanks for this article but I am amazed why you have not visited Islamabad or Murree & Galiyat. OK If u just have visited Islamabad You will surely say yourself that it is the most beautiful and orderly capital in at least S. Asia.
    Islamabad is like a balanced combination of Nature and Technology


  105. Include at least Islamabad in your tour spots next time and this should be the least option if you have no time or resources to visit Gilgit-Baltistan, KPK, quetta, Abbottabad naran, kaghan, shangrilla, azad Kashmir etc etc. I have a long list of places and probably half of my life will pass touring my own country. no words to describe mesmerizing beauty of these areas but Islamabad is at least worth visiting who is on Pakistan tour.


    • Junaid,

      Thanks for sharing these nice and beautiful pics, pls note that Islamabad is mashallah ranked in the top 10 beautiful cities of the world.

      pls check the news link.


  106. It took you one trip to realize that Pakistanis and Indians are not that different from one another? I live in Britain, which is a large population of both, I think the Pakistani population has gotten larger than the Indian one, as more of them left the UK and went to Canada and the US.
    The attitude that they have is the reason why foreign colonists were able to exert so much power over South Asia for such a long time, it is also the reason why despite being free for over seven decades both India and Pakistan remain third world, as they both engage in toxic politics that have not achieved jack shit. And the poor in both countries are just as bad or even worse off than the poor in Africa.
    If you think that is too short for a country to develop look at South Korea and Japan which were a pile of rubble after war and both are the most advanced countries in Asia, much to the point that they do not see themselves as Asian countries.


  107. So it is hardly a place to send your mother-n-law on a vacation expenses paid. The TV footage we see about the arson and loot and especially the Peshwar must have been fake or one sided ?


  108. Ok, but considering that they have 98 percent or so Muslim population, don’t you think its easier for them to develop without hindrance? They did a smart (albeit thoroughly evil) thing by killing or converting Hindus or scaring them to leave for India. Now in India we have Muslims such as Javed Naqvi, Rana Ayyub, Asad Owaisi, Zakir Naik etc… who are always going to be traitors and hate everything Hindu. Rana was even happy about Kashmiri freedom and then deleted her tweet. Did you see people like Owaisi ever wishing Indians happy Diwali of Happy Holi? Do they ever speak about Pandits or temple destruction in Pakistan? We were too peaceful and/or timid during the Muslim invasions for centuries, and we should have insisted during partition that all Muslims leave and all Hindus come back home. An Arab and a Sanatana Dharmic culture can never coexist and we will never learn with people like you. Heck even Arab and Persian (Shiite) religions are at odds today as are Arab and Christian religions, as are Arab and Jewish religions as are Arab and Buddhist religions.

    You might find my summary too right wing, but Sunni Islam will never be able to live with any other faith. Yesterday they killed an atheist in Saudi Arabia…so they can’t even co-exists with the unreligious!! We should have always lived separately.

    Pakistan might be cleaner and better organized, but we have 6 times more people in case you didn’t know, including 15 percent Muslims and another 2-3 percent illegal Muslims from Bangladesh! Things are going to get very violent worldwide for the next 10 years, and then Islam will semi-collapse just like Christianity today in the West in my opinion. Around half of Iranians are atheist or want to go back to Bahaiism and/or Zoroastrianism and Islam will collapse in that country first.


  109. Indians visiting Pakistan should know that Pakistan is today a terrorist nation where a hindu or any minority is not safe. If you are treated well, you are just lucky. That is all.
    As far as beauty of La’whore is concerned, you can go and google what Roedad Khan has to say about it. La’whore was a vibrant city before partition and was cosmopolitan. Today, it is just a punjabi cesspool with no culture. Visitor mistakes good “mehman nawazi” for culture. Culture is when you preserve temples as well as the mosques.
    Read this:
    and learn about the abandoned temples and Gurudwaras in Pakistan.
    Pakistan is a place in decay. Its people live in a “frozen time” trying to relive the so called Islamic glory of the past. When an Indian or an outsider visits Pakistan and there is somebody to receive him (as was the case with the author), the visitor is usually treated well and shown all the good stuff.
    Best way to travel would be as a “back packer” and learn first hand the real Pakistan.
    Real Pakistan from all the accounts I have read is scary.


  110. You are so full of it when you say that the armed body guards, wealthy neighborhoods, not revealing your religion or background would have made any difference. Those things would have made all the difference in the world. You could easily have ended up as a kidnapping hostage with a ransom demand or a slit throat or both. It only takes one or two to start the ball rolling, to start the chant and you would be beaten or dead on the ground. Your naivete about Islam is amazing coming from your background. Grow up and quit trying to gloss over the truth. You could very easily set someone up for a very bad outcome.


    • My naivete about Islam? Your comment is laughable my friend, from beginning to end.

      I spent four years in Saudi Arabia, where Islam all started.

      I am convinced that my piece will do a lot of people good, including you if you actually bothered to pay attention to the words. I have zero fear of “setting someone up for a very bad outcome.”

      I too was once ignorant like you.


  111. Thank you so much for your kind words, As I Pakistani it means a lot to me that someone is actually seeing our country as what it is instead of basing their opinion on a bunch of shitty people that claim to be Muslim but do everything that is forbidden in Islam. I hope that in a few years all of our countries will be free from the disease called Taliban.


  112. Me and my wife are planning to visit Karachi at the end of this year. We do not know any one there. Can you put in a word to your friend in Karachi to take care of us (safety wise – uniformed guard with rifles) while we are there. I am 70 years old Indo-American and my wife is 69 year old Indo-American. Thanks for your kindness.


    • You will not need armed guards. In fact nobody would even know that you aren’t Pakistani. I have chosen to keep my friends anonymous on this page.

      I am glad to see that you are visiting. Use basic precaution with yourselves and your belongings, stay in lighted and populated areas, and you will be fine.


  113. Jehan,

    Yes their are similarities between Indians and Pakistanis but their are also many differences, just check the Pakistani news reporters, news journalists and actresses.

    When Shusimta Sin visited Pakistan, she told the cameraman to throw light on the audience, she was surprised and said “Pakistani women are beautiful”.

    So you can’t say that both Pakistanis and Indians are same, yes both countries share borders so obviously their will be some similarities. But Pakistan also shares its border with Afghanistan and Iran.

    I know some arab students studying in the Universities of Pakistan and they tell me that some Pakistanis are like Indians, some are like arabs and others are mix.

    And pls read the history of sub-continent, this region of sub-continent which you see as “Pakistan” was basically invaded by “Aryans” who came from Iran or Central Asian region.

    And most of the inhabitants of India at that time were Dravidians and they are considered to be great ansasters of Tamil,Malabar and Kerala.

    I have lived most of my life abroad and we can also see difference between Indians and Pakistanis.


  114. well I am happy that you visited pakistan, do visit us again and you would know the drastic progress in few years, visit nothern areas and islamabad too it is listed in world’s top 10 beautiful capital cities of the world, and the ones who want to visit pakistan and are afraid of security threats believe me you guys would find nothing like this here you would find people very loving and caring alot of foreigners live in pakistan too i even have bengali’s nepali’s, indian students in my university and we always make sure to make them fell at home. obviously there are some places which are dangerous in pakistan but they are few in number ask anyone who lives in pakistan where to go and where not to go. 🙂 cheers


  115. actually the border between hearts should be discarded… we pakistanis love all the humanity and we are also sacrificing for others and the whole world should accept it…



    Mr. Mahanth was found dead in Karachi two days ago, sources suggest that he accepted he is a Hindu and soon after it two Pakistani women fully covered with Burkhas appeared and committed a suicide bombing. 28 more people were found dead though the Pakistani government and the republic is happy to hear that at least one Hindu died. The Pakistani Taliban and ISI have announced that they hold responsibility for this attack.

    UPDATE: Pakistan’s Supreme Court closes this case, a senior judge said “Due to no electricity we were unable to make copies of the reports, a servant accidentally ate the reports of this case when he was hungry.”!


  117. I had a friend visit from India and I complained bitterly about our leaders and rampant corruption. He smiled and said Kamal it is about the same on the other side of the border, bus hamara PR bohat tugra hay (Our PR is very good).


  118. Pakistani Zindabad

    Jai Hind


    I am a Muslim from Pakistan, but live in America. I have many Indian Hindu Friends. Stop the fighting.


  119. Indians and pakis get on with each other bet then people think, it’s the bullshit media that spread hate. My advice to the people of India is to totally ignore what the media and political leaders say and to visit Pakistan themselves. I say the same for Pakistan and other country’s such as Bangladesh and USA. Pakistan does have problems but not as bad as people make it out to be


  120. Thankyou for visiting Pakistan, and please share your experience with your friends and family. So that we can finally put to sleep all the propaganda Indian media and the west love to portray about us.


  121. What a wonderful article! My Dad was born and raised in Lahore and moved during partition and told wonderful stories about Lahore. I grew up watching absolute GEMS of television artistry in the form of incomparable “Tanhaiyan, Dhoop Kinare, Aahat, Khwaaja and Sons, Raat” and recently watched other amazing shows like Maat, Moorat and movies like Bol which I personally believe was worthy of an OSCAR.

    I do agree that the author did travel in the most elite circles and with mostly educated friends and was heavily guarded at all times. The fact that bodyguards with guns were needed for a drive from airport to where he stayed does give an insight into the law and order situation. However having said that, it is no different in a major city in India. Anyone coming to India to visit is definitely going to go to the best places in India and not to the slums of Bombay or Delhi.

    I have always wanted to go . But like someone said, Daniel Pearl is a reality. Combine that with the fact that I am a Gay american with Indian heritage does not make it the best of choices. I don’t think I will ever feel comfortable visiting. So I will satisfy myself with these beautiful pictures, amazing TV shows and reading Saddat Ali Manto’s literature in Hindi.

    Best wishes to the writer and all peace loving Pakistanis. 🙂


  122. Dear Mahanth,

    I do agree that Pakistan is a Beautiful Country with Loving and Caring People!!

    Media, Religious Leaders and Politicians are the only reason for all hatred and so called insecure atmosphere!

    I think people of these 2 Countries should break all barriers of Cast, Community, Colour and Stupid Customs and should build Bridges of Love and Friendship!!

    I enjoyed each and every word of your article and all comments by both Country people!!

    Even I want to travel to Pakistan…



  123. […] Yes, I am inextricably tied to the golden arches and will be for life. On my 16th birthday I began my first ever job at a McDonald’s in Richmond Hts, Ohio. That job helped me pay for my first drum set and other teenage wants. At just the same time Mickey D’s was opening up the vast Indian market, as we analyzed here. Today the brand is well-ensconced throughout Asia. In fact a McDonald’s restaurant is even the very first thing I saw upon setting foot outside the airport during my awesome Pakistan vacation. […]


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