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Old 31st July 2020, 11:54   #31
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Default Re: An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan

Nice thread

I had gone to our neighbouring country many years back to see a India Vs Pakistan cricket match as part of a company sponsored dealer trip.

We went through Wagah border and into Pakistan. After getting into the air conditioned bus on the other side, our group wanted the driver to stop on the roadside for the inevitable loo break. The driver was shocked and asked the group to wait till he came to a proper rest area on the side of the highway with toilets. This was in 1996 i think...

A few of us went out for a night tour in a taxi cab, friendly fellow, refused to accept fare from us stating that we were his guests!

During the cricket match, we were seated with the local crowd and it was a good fun to and fro shouting of usual slogans and such. Come the lunch hour, our food packets which were supposed to have been delivered by the hotel was delayed. Imagine to our surprise when the people around us who had brought lunch from home offered to share their food with us, and when we politely refused, they then proceeded to keep aside their food and said that they will wait till our food reaches!

Just a few small incidents but was it an eye opener
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Old 31st July 2020, 11:57   #32
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Default Re: An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan

Originally Posted by np23 View Post

Another beautiful observation I made was, that there were not toll booths on the highway, they call them motorways, but instead on inquiring I was told and I saw they are after the exits, and its such a simple but effective idea, heck even on the new Yamuna expressway, there are so many tolls every one has to stop on, instead just put the tolls on the exits, after you get off, so the main traffic flows freely, you don't need rocket science to learn this.

This is such a sensible and (in hindsight) a logical thing. Our road planning seriously lags behind. Even the much touted EPE and WPE in NCR is a piece of crap, despite having tolls on the exits, and is a downright dangerous road to drive on given the wavy surface, sudden dips etc.

If our otherwise economically backward neighbour has done something better that us, no harm in appreciating and emulating it.

Last edited by himanshugoswami : 31st July 2020 at 11:59.
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Old 31st July 2020, 12:16   #33
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A very interesting thread, and just like you as I had some good friends from Pakistan when I used to work in UAE. One of them was getting married, and I was invited as well, but due to some personal committment, I had to miss that and now I feel it I really missed something.

For road manners, I am pleasently surprised that there people drive in lanes (which I still can't digest), as I have seen my friends in the UAE how they used to drive. :P

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Old 31st July 2020, 12:20   #34
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I'll dwell on the Lahori food here, me and my family relished the chapli kabab, and mutton kunnah, we were so addicted to in Riyadh, mainly from a restaurant called Lahori Khaube.

Had some colleagues working with us from Pakistan, also in my wife's school.

Great detailed travelogue.
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Old 31st July 2020, 12:21   #35
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Originally Posted by np23 View Post

The next morning I open my hotel window, and voilla there a lanes below, the Car Parking is very organised in a very European manner and its clean and green, it reminded me of my hometown Chandigarh.

Attachment 2036428
Hi there, super thread. My family too traces its roots to Pakistan. Not the right forum to put the following thoughts, but as I read more about my state and culture, I realize how much we lost through partition. Culture is such an important aspect of our beings, it moors us to our roots and we (Punjabis) lost a significant part of it. I am definitely going to visit Pakistan in the near future. Thanks for the pictures and the writing. By the way, Islamabad was once ranked the most beautiful capital city in the world!
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Old 31st July 2020, 12:31   #36
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Thanks for sharing. This was an interesting travelogue. As others mentioned, always wanted to know a first hand experience of us visiting our neighbour. Yes, Islamabad and Lahore are very good cities. In fact, Islamabad is a planned capital city (source : wiki) and photos. Karakoram Highway from Gilgit is one of the most scenic highways. It is definitely part of my bucket list, hopefully, someday when our relations become normal, I would like to drive on that highway.
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Old 31st July 2020, 12:31   #37
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The rarest (if not the first) time that the no.1 and no.2 threads on our homepage are from the same BHPian . Great one, thanks for sharing!

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Old 31st July 2020, 12:35   #38
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I have never been to Pakistan but have heard great stories from friends. Once a group of 14 people went to watch a Cricket Match in Lahore and behind them were some Pakistani cricket fans. After the match they were invited to dinner. My friend told the host that they were 14 people. They were all invited to a wonderful dinner and as long as they were in Lahore they were invited every day for dinner.

Another close friend's family was from Karachi and his father went to Karachi on a whim. He reached Karachi without knowing anyone. He went to see his old house and the occupants asked him what he was looking at. When he said this was his home before they insisted that he stay with them in his own home.

Next day he was taken to see a shop which he used to own. The owner asked him to sit an manage the cash till like an owner as long as he was in Karachi.

I have no way of confirming this but I believe my friends when they tell me so.

I suppose people are all the same wherever we go.
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Old 31st July 2020, 12:44   #39
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Default Re: An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan

Very nice thread.
I occasionally keep sneaking around Pak newspapers and websites to get a flavour of the things there.
Most people on both sides look forward to have better relations.
Pakistani luxury buses are also very well appointed compared to the ones here. I have watched quite a few videos, a chap named Ammar Shaukat makes nice videos.
Just yesterday I was having a look at one (or maybe the only one) of their automotive forums called Pakwheels. Guys out there are crying their hearts out to lay their hands on the Pulsars and Enfields. Anyone interested can have a quick glance. Don't expect TBHP level quality and moderation.
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Old 31st July 2020, 12:50   #40
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As a traveller, and a passionate driver it is wonderful to see the condition of highways. We Indians have a specific perception about Pakistan, but I got some friends there who are amazing human beings and the best of friends one can ask for.

Last edited by Jaggu : 31st July 2020 at 12:52.
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Old 31st July 2020, 13:00   #41
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My roots are in Amritsar, so I've lived there in the 70s and 80s. Pakistan TV broadcasts could be received at Amrotsar. At that time, India had only Doordarshan channel on TV. Pakistan had programmes broadcast from its 4 major cities, and it had way more interesting content (like Nilaam Ghar, hosted by Tariq Aziz). Even then, as we saw on Pakistan TV, their roads were top notch. India still is way, way behind in road specifications, planning, durability and surface quality. Our so called expressway, golden or any other metal quadrilateral, triangles etc are all one big cirle- zero.

So don't be apologetic about praising Pakistan where it's deserved!
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Old 31st July 2020, 13:03   #42
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Default Re: An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan

Great thread, enjoyed reading it.

Pakistan's Motorways is the pride of the nation. By now they have built a very comprehensive nationwide network of these motorways, connecting most of their major cities. The motorway network got a filip with recent Chinese investment via CPEC and in the last 5 years or so, many new sections had been opened.

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While Pakistan is a huge country and with a population bigger than Brazil, they population is however not even spread across the country. If you look at the map or Google Earth, you will notice like the Nile in Egypt, the population hugs the Indus all the way down to Karachi. Therefore, even with a Motorway network of a couple of thousand kms, it is usable by 90% of the population.

The Motorway network came at a cost though, which is their railway network. Post indepence Pakistan basically abandoned their railways with the network a mishmash of disconnected lines, gauges, no electrification and slow equipment. We kind of did the opposite, we elected to keep spending on our railway system which accounts for the majority of our intercity and freight travel.

I think one of the reasons why the Pakistani government embraced roads is probably because they wanted to emulate the US Interstate system, since for most of its history, the United States was its closest partner. Even if you take a look at Pakistani suburbs - their gated communities - they designed like US suburbs built around cars with wide roads and single family homes. They even go as far as to emulate the "big box retail" and "strip malls" like the US.

Here some driving videos of the areas which OP visited, so we can get a sense of what he experienced.

A Motorway Drive. Very well designed, particularly note the shoulder in the median too and a concrete median.



Dont miss the hordes of Mehrans/Maruti 800s!

Their car scene is also very interesting. The 3 biggest manufacturers are Suzuki, Toyota and Honda and they truly rob those fellows blind by selling outdated cars at outrageous prices. But there are tons of interesting imports too.

Last edited by avishar : 31st July 2020 at 13:08.
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Old 31st July 2020, 13:18   #43
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Default Re: An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan

This was very nicely written!

You sir have reshaped my thoughts about our neighbour. Always thought they were under developed and far behind us in advancements but those beautiful roads spoke for themselves.

Although this might be a part of the total picture, Iíd not go there and instead focus on this great travelogue.

Looking at the pictures of the motorways, I got a Middle Eastern vibe, I donít know if it was just me and how to explain it but it felt a tad similar to Dubai and Bahrain.
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Old 31st July 2020, 13:31   #44
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Thanks for the lovely post and pictures. My mother was born in Rawalpindi before partition and then migrated to India. I shall show her these pics. She is a big fan of Pakistani serials of the 80s. We do have relatives and cousins in Pakistan but could never meet them because of strained relations between the two countries.
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Old 31st July 2020, 13:35   #45
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Great Thread. Looks like you got the guided tour. The Motorways look great. Our highways are equally good except that the number of vehicles on our roads are much higher than theirs. We hardly get any stretch of deserted highways. I attribute it to higher economic activity in india than Pakistan. An interesting read below:

India's Car export is alone 4 times that of pakistan's total car production :
From what i learnt from few friends across the border , there are only two classes in Pakistan Viz The privileged and the poor with not much in between. No prizes for guessing who gets to run the country.

Last edited by srini1785 : 31st July 2020 at 13:37.
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