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Old 31st July 2020, 08:45   #16
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All good things aparts, I was told of the harassment meted out to a visitor in USA. Though it was not his first visit and he had no previous immigration violationsin USA, he had visited Pakistan as a pilgrim.
He was singled out and had to answer all Why, Where, How etc. regarding his visit to Pakistan. Whom did you meet ? Why did you go ? Where you stayed ?
Also there was an issue that many Passports were 'Lost' or deliberately deemed missing by the Consulate here in New Delhi. Some of those had valid Visa for Western Countries.
Because of this fear, I dare not think of visiting this inexpensive neighbor country.
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Old 31st July 2020, 09:26   #17
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Originally Posted by Amrik Singh View Post
All good things aparts, I was told of the harassment meted out to a visitor in USA. Though it was not his first visit and he had no previous immigration violationsin USA, he had visited Pakistan as a pilgrim.
He was singled out and had to answer all Why, Where, How etc. regarding his visit to Pakistan. Whom did you meet ? Why did you go ? Where you stayed ?
Also there was an issue that many Passports were 'Lost' or deliberately deemed missing by the Consulate here in New Delhi. Some of those had valid Visa for Western Countries.
Because of this fear, I dare not think of visiting this inexpensive neighbor country.
Well, to be totally honest, I had also heard these stories, before going and had my apprehensions, especially because of my very extensive travel to USA, UK and Europe on a monthly basis, but inspite of my trip, Iíve never been asked even once ďtouchwoodĒ, I went to Pak in april 2019, and post that been to the States thrice and Europe atleast 10 times, europe anyways always fine, if anything after this US has also become simpler than the earlier few obligatory questions asked, I think it depends more on your own history and credentials than the other country, also what I noticed is that Pakistanís problem is with us, and not necessarily with the countries you mention, theyíre close allies.

Rest I donít encourage any one, if youíre not comfortable itís totally your call, I am just writing my experience.

I donít know if this person youíre referring to, is known to you or is this hear say? Also there might be a background history you might know of to this person.
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Old 31st July 2020, 09:42   #18
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Used to wonder how the other side of Wagah Attari will be like. You've documented it along with photographs. Epic thread. Maybe in my lifetime the border issues are sorted out, peace prevails and we can drive through Karakoram highways of Pak. Such beautiful valleys they have.
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Old 31st July 2020, 09:49   #19
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Originally Posted by np23 View Post
I donít know if this person youíre referring to, is known to you or is this hear say? Also there might be a background history you might know of to this person.
Probably you are right. I belong to Punjab and hear stories from Punjab folks. Also I understand most have fictitious background and cover to obtain Visa.
It looks like 'Pot calling the Kettle Black'
But whatever, I am wary of Pakistan Consulate misplacing Passports which is documented
https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/23-p...centre-1971543
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Old 31st July 2020, 10:03   #20
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Originally Posted by Holyghost View Post
Thank you for sharing. Never knew they had beautiful cities with good infrastructure and road discipline. I idea of Pakistan I had in mind was more like our congested cities.

You’re most welcome, I was equally positively surprised and yes I wish we improve soon, we will do wonders considering our population, and how even a small improvement will help the numbers greatly , just like the hiked fines recently seem to have helped.

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Originally Posted by Shreyans_Jain View Post
My family also traces its roots back to what was once united Punjab, but is now Pakistan. It is very very surprising, but good for them if they have better civic sense and lane discipline than us. The kind of average speed you achieved on your return journey, we have that only in the rhetoric laden announcements made by our transport minister.

Yes people like us with roots, relate much more than people from the rest of the country, even otherwise when we refer to the partition of India, it was practically only Punjab and Bengal and hence we’ve common routes and culture till date.

Moreso, Lahore is the name of Lord Rams son, this shows you how close we are originally.

The way our Transport Minister functions, I wouldn’t doubt any of his claims and am optimistically hopeful.

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Originally Posted by McLaren Rulez View Post
Great thread! I had an ssumed that visiting Pakistan was practically impossible for Indians. Maybe I'm wrong about this. Could you write more about the visa process?
Thank you, I had the same apprehensions but boy how I was wrong. With regards to the Visa application, I am not the right person, because my host had arranged for some calls to the embassy and I was invited inside the compound in a delhi, and granted it the same evening I submitted, though the clerical boy did make a little money out of me but it’s fine, the visa fee is only Rs 20.

A fellow lawyer had to go there for a case in a multijurisdictional case and he informed his visa process was tedious and long.

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It's really good to hear that they drive in a disciplined way and follow the rules. Our driving standards have a very long way to go and as you point out, it's not about infrastructure. It is basic civic sense and consideration for others that is missing in our society and driving is one area where this lacuna is on full display.
Yes positively surprising, after all basic common sense seems to be neither basic nor common

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Originally Posted by tushky View Post
You are so lucky to visit Pakistan. Since both nations got freedom around same time, i have always wondered how developed they are comparing to India. I am surprised to see how clean and well organised their roads are. Though they dont have variety of car models like we Indians have but i think they have got better roads and better road manners. I heard that Pakistanis are extremely good in the hospitality. Have you experienced the same?

The cars were way behind ours, I hardly saw any German, it’s flocked with Civic and Corollas, along with used Land Cruisers, though diesel and cars don’t go together there, everything was petrol.

My experience with the locals and my hosts and their guests was brilliant, very welcoming and warm, though as always I had one poor experience with a cop at the police station where I had to go for reporting, though his senior was apologetic enough , so I’d just put him as a rogue guy having a bad day.


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Originally Posted by Amrik Singh View Post
Indians are only eligible for business, pilgrim or Visitor Visas to Pakistan. ...
The Visitor Visa is granted if you have close family members or friends in Pakistan and you can only visit a maximum of 5 cities for 3 months
To be honest ; what else kind of a visa would you require for there? Obviously any Indian would be stupid to go there on Medical or Student visa, the remaining category is only a sports Visa, with no cricket that’s also out.

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Originally Posted by floyd View Post
There's a Toyota straddling two lanes right in front of you and you still think they drive in lanes??
BTW, I think you visited the well-maintained parts only. See this video for example -

Looks as chaotic as any of our neighborhoods!
I see that Toyota you’re referring to , though it seems to me it’s changing lanes, but even otherwise I’m not saying it’s perfect and the point was to put the broader picture across, I’m surprised your eye only caught one of the many photos showing even lorries and trucks in lanes.

Yes I’m sure there must be chaotic areas especially in Karachi and all, but I can speak for where I went and it exceeded all my expectations (if any), including the old town of Lahore.

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Originally Posted by dhanushmenon View Post
Interesting thread. And quite an eye opener, I'd admit. Despite our two countries' obvious differences in perceptions, they are known to be very good people at heart. They would always treat another with respect and warmth. Thanks a lot for sharing.
culture.
Thank you and that was the whole point, if putting out the similarities and differences from our point I’d view, the counties are same, infact the Punjabi accents they have are very similar to my maternal grandparents, and not the Punjabi accent my parents, paternal grandparents (being from our Punjab) speak.


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The delighted Pakistani Officer, calls in someone on radio; and in comes a three huge containers. Aloo Paratha, Lassi and other accompaniments!!!
For the ship's crew, who had been away from home for the last two months by then, this was real blessings from heaven.

What a sweet story, at the end of the day, soldiers are soldiers and humans.



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Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
Brilliant thread - thank you for sharing the images and the context. I seriously wish we had more such threads like these. If not getting too much into personal /private aspects, would it be possible to share more about the wedding celebrations and associated activities (w/ images).
I’m glad you liked it, I’d love to share those pictures, I’m just blurring our few faces and will in the next posts put in detailed pictures from the wedding functions and the surprising rules they’ve there.
There’s a 10pm cut off, for all functions so you need to wind up by 10 which I don’t understand why, but what I understand and support is that they have a one dish rule to prevent wastage of food, so all functions only serve 1 Dish (mostly Chicken or Mutton), 1 rice (people put biryani ), 1 bread and 1 dessert only strictly .

Quote:
There definitely seems to be some aspects we can always learn from our neighbors on our road habits, it seems. Whether it's Pakistan, or Sri Lanka or Bhutan or Nepal, there seems to be a bit more patience and order that we can definitely get used to more on our roads; not only observed in threads like these and many more, but also in my own personal travels.

Looking forward to more such threads like these!

Indeed, as they say, a person who does not read is no better than the person who cannot read, so we must always learn from everyone whatever we can, and teach everyone whatever we know.


@Moderator, if you could combine the previous reply to this, it’ll be more streamlined, was above the 30 min limit so two different replies .

Last edited by Sheel : 31st July 2020 at 18:02. Reason: Removing video's URL from quoted post. Thanks.
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Old 31st July 2020, 10:15   #21
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This is a very interesting thread. It's good to see they are developing and are getting better at infrastructure. Like many think, a weak Pakistan is not in the interest of India. On the contrary, a developing, thriving and an upswing Pakistan is in the interest of India. A weak, poor and battered neighbor serves us no purpose. Instead, it is exploited by Western powers and of course China.

I had one question. We are not giving out visas to any Pakistanis since the last 6 years (except on medical grounds). How did you manage to get a visa? Was it straightforward or you need any special references? I thought these were all tit for tat kind of reactions on either side. Just curious.
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Old 31st July 2020, 10:23   #22
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Default Re: An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan

Hi np23,
Thanks for sharing. I've never seen much of this country except for random vloggers on youtube.
Some questions out of curiosity:
1. How straightforward was the Visa process?
2. Did you have to present of Letter of Invitation from your host?
3. How long is your visa valid?
4. Can you re-enter again?

Relieved to hear about the disciplined traffic on expressways. (What matters for BHPians? ) The main difference between motorways (or Expressway/Freeways) and highways is the lack of at grade intersections. Freewway driving needs you to take an exit and use an off ramp to access a road or another freeway.
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Originally Posted by dhanushmenon View Post
After all, though there's a border in between us due to various political decisions in the past, we are all of the same breed; with same values and culture.
Very well said sir. We are all South Asians at heart and not too different from each other. I've a long life ahead of me and I wish that at some point I can travel to Pakistan just as a citizen of USA can enter Canada.

Last edited by landcruiser123 : 31st July 2020 at 10:26.
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Old 31st July 2020, 11:01   #23
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Wow. Not at all what I imagined. Thank you for the amazing insight.

Personally, I have come to believe that governments are different from their people and it is all too common for the actions of the ruling elite reflect as the general actions of the people and this creates imbalanced perceptions.
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Old 31st July 2020, 11:06   #24
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Thanks NP23 for sharing a wonderful experience.

No matter what the discourse at national level may be, the fact is that while in any western country Indians and Pakistanis tend to bond as good friends. After partition my grandfather was allotted village vacated by people who moved across. Till late 70s we used to get a lot of guests from Pakistan coming back to visit their roots. I do remember the grand parties which used to be organised for visitors from Pakistan, it all stopped after 1980s for obvious reasons.

We do share a common heritage and culture, in Punjab atleast its my observation that while their is a lot of bitterness and distrust towards the state of Pakistan but at people to people level their isn't much acrimony.

Infact today morning I received a Whats App forward of IAF Toofanis staging through Karachi in 1953, if true, speaks a lot about our relationship after partition and a war.
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Old 31st July 2020, 11:10   #25
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Originally Posted by np23 View Post
I have driven extensively across the globe, in the UK, Autobahns in Germany, on the american freeways, Great Ocean Drive in Australia, even Srilanka is beautiful but boy this is different, more so because I least expected it.


The approach road is beautifully paved, its 8 lanes, and more so everyone is driving in lanes. No, I tell myself, this is just a fluke.

But no I get to the inner city, the roads are spic and span, everyone again driving in lanes, trucks on the left.

Thanks for the lovely insight of pakistan. I really wish if no partition had occurred and we could drive without any hassle.

The images of the roads reminded me of a quote from a person during my visit to Canada way back in 2006 - "Why is Mumbai so dirty, whereas Lahore is neat and clean. The labor is so cheap, for 5 dollars a day you can get sweepers/workers to clean things up". And i had no answers
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Old 31st July 2020, 11:11   #26
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Very well documented thread. Really surprised to see this lane discipline and road infrastructure. But most of your pictures are showing motorways only. Would have loved to see some interior or city roads and how people behave there.
In India also I see people driving in lanes when they are on the interstate highways but things go wrong the moment they enter a city. The road infrastructure or the lack of it is also a reason for the same. Personally I try to maintain lane driving but sometimes big potholes or broken manholes force me to cut lanes. The problem is less severe in cities with good road infrastructure like in Chandigarh, Mumbai, Bhubaneswar, Chennai etc. but in Kolkata the lack of maintenance and broken patches all over the place is a pain to drive on.
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Old 31st July 2020, 11:14   #27
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Very interesting!!! Would love to visit there sometime in life. But does not seem possible for some time.

Road infrastructure seems to be good there and could be one of the reasons I hear railways is almost dead there. Pakistan did come out with certain advantages post partition in terms of a lot of very fertile land and less of population load to manage. They suffer from a government system which is much more dysfunctional and corrupt than ours which is responsible for their state.

It is definitely country with good tourism potential with the Karakoram area in the north.
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Old 31st July 2020, 11:23   #28
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Thanks for this beautiful thread, np23. Very interesting and gave me a new perspective about Pakistan.

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Originally Posted by dhanushmenon View Post
After all, though there's a border in between us due to various political decisions in the past, we are all of the same breed; with same values and culture.
Well said, sir. Exactly my thoughts.
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Old 31st July 2020, 11:41   #29
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Interesting thread.

You've run past the visa application process; is it actually that easy to get the visa or you've chosen to not include them (totally your choice, no judgement). I ask since there's generally so much hue and cry on social media about getting the Pak visa for Indians.

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unfortunately my visa was only for Lahore and Islamabad so I could not visit my roots.
Do they issue city/cities-specific visa? Is this just for Indians or in general?
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Old 31st July 2020, 11:52   #30
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Originally Posted by np23 View Post
With regards to the Visa application, I am not the right person, because my host had arranged for some calls to the embassy and I was invited inside the compound in a delhi, and granted it the same evening I submitted, though the clerical boy did make a little money out of me but itís fine, the visa fee is only Rs 20.

A fellow lawyer had to go there for a case in a multijurisdictional case and he informed his visa process was tedious and long.
Your friend sounds well connected. Have some friends from Uni there myself but always thought the visa process would be tedious. Would definitely want to visit just for the experience.
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