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Old 31st July 2020, 20:57   #61
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Default Re: An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan

There is some selection bias happening in this thread, I hope it is OK if I put down some numbers as I have some knowledge about infrastructure in South Asia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by avishar View Post
The Motorway network came at a cost though, which is their railway network. Post-independence 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
Yes, you are right. Pakistan has no rail or air infrastructure.
  • Pakistan has 138 daily trains, India has 12,167 daily trains.
  • Paksitan's daily total domestic air traffic is less than Guwahati Airport traffic.
There is a huge resource allocation discrepancy in Pakistan. Islamabad is maintained because it is the capital, has all the bureaucrats, army heads and foreign diplomats. Islamabad and Lahore are only 378 KMs away so it makes sense to maintain roads between 2 out of the only 3 major cities of the country.

Balochistan (40% of the country) is completely infrastructure-less with lacking even single roads and in many places, without any government. The same problem is with their western frontier region too.
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Old 31st July 2020, 21:56   #62
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Default Re: An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan

Sorry to say this but this travelogue seems like defining India as a country after landing at Delhi T3, taking the Yamuna Expressway to Agra and admiring the Taj Mahal, may be taking a night's rest at the Oberoi Amarvilas and then catching a flight back from Delhi T3 the next day. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 1st August 2020, 00:48   #63
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Default Re: An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan

I don't know about you guys, but the best kababs and meat dishes are to be found in pakistan. And I will go there someday for that. Inshallah...
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Old 1st August 2020, 01:32   #64
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Default Re: An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan

Great travelogue brother. My grandfather was also from Sialkot (Chawinda Village I guess). Roots are the same. I too want to visit his village, want to see my GAAON,

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Originally Posted by np23 View Post
A long awaited journey, unexpected but for the right reasons.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 1st August 2020 at 01:38. Reason: Trimming quoted post. Please avoid quoting a large post as it affects small screen users. Thanks.
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Old 1st August 2020, 02:15   #65
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Default Re: An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan

Quote:
Originally Posted by srishiva View Post
Thanks for the thread. One of my close friends is a Paksitani. His one wish was to become a American citizen so that he could visit India !
There is very little information on the US passport. But, one thing that stands out, one that is right in the middle of the info page is "Place of birth". I do not have any evidence that this info will be held against him, but I just pointing it out that becoming a US citizen will not hide that he is originally from Pakistan to the Indian authorities.

I have watched a lot of adventure motorcycle riders and food bloggers have a great time in Pakistan, and I have always wondered if I were to ever visit Pakistan, would the "Place of birth" on my US passport be held against me? Would I be subject to a lot of questions while entering India, and returning back to the US? I may never find out.
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Old 1st August 2020, 08:16   #66
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Default Re: An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan

Much has been written in praise for a road and infrastructure of just One city - Capital City. Even India presented to the World to attract Tourists show India, which we have rarely seen. Lanes in the rural Pakistan are no different than, or even worse than those in India. While we have discussed flashy cars on the streets, there are donkey pulled carts also on streets in other cities too.

Last edited by ajmat : 1st August 2020 at 14:55. Reason: Thread is getting too political hence cleaning up
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Old 1st August 2020, 09:38   #67
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Default Re: An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan

Quote:
Originally Posted by srishiva View Post
Thanks for the thread. One of my close friends is a Paksitani. His one wish was to become a American citizen so that he could visit India ! I have sent the link to this thread to him.

Islamabad was city built with plan like Chandigarh or Lutyens Delhi. I hope we dont believe complete pakistan is like what shown here. Also, hope they dont use this thread for their propaganda
Its not easy when I was working for a hi tech MNC in the early 2000's, I was incubating the groups which would later become 10 times the size. We brought in loads of expats.

All of them were on the ground within 3 months. 2 took 6 months as they were from Bangladesh origin- man, they always moaned and groaned about stuff. One of them took 9 months as he was of Pakistani origin but he was a wonderful person.

Again, when I lived in the UK, I used to get my Indian visa within a morning but the Pakistani origin lady in the same queue would have to wait for months.

Coming to infrastructure - the reality will only be known if one travels to places like Quetta, interior PoK. We have the same issues, GJ, NCR have wonderful roads but am sure places outside the golden Q are pretty pathetic.

Last edited by ajmat : 1st August 2020 at 14:58. Reason: self editing to keep it travel related
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Old 1st August 2020, 10:08   #68
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Default Re: An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan

Thank you so much for this thread. I had this idea that Indians do not get Visa anymore (even tourist visa) for Pakistan. Could you please try and elaborate the process how it works ?

Enjoyed the pictures very much.
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Old 1st August 2020, 11:15   #69
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Default Re: An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan

Fellow BHPians,
OP has shared with us a snapshot of his short (I assume?) trip. I'm sure there is an another side of Pakistan we've still not seen and experienced first hand. So it'd be premature to assume every road is smooth, every street is clean, and every driver is disciplined. I'm a believer that if there are things we can learn from our neighbor, we should.

There is absolutely no denying that nations in the sub-continent have their fair share of security issues(some more than the others), high opulence, and inequitable distribution of wealth.

I hope we can agree on not debating governance, religion, politics, international relations etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanstalk_230 View Post
Sorry to say this but this travelogue seems like defining India as a country after landing at Delhi T3, taking the Yamuna Expressway to Agra and admiring the Taj Mahal, may be taking a night's rest at the Oberoi Amarvilas and then catching a flight back from Delhi T3 the next day. Just my 2 cents.

Last edited by ajmat : 1st August 2020 at 14:58. Reason: Cleaning up the political angle and restoring the travel focus
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Old 1st August 2020, 12:38   #70
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Default Re: An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan

Quote:
Originally Posted by beanstalk_230 View Post
Sorry to say this but this travelogue seems like defining India as a country after landing at Delhi T3, taking the Yamuna Expressway to Agra and admiring the Taj Mahal, may be taking a night's rest at the Oberoi Amarvilas and then catching a flight back from Delhi T3 the next day. Just my 2 cents.

Firstly, I think my trip was more extensive than your example, but even if it was not , and by your example , If someone visits India, T3 takes the yamuna expressway, stays at Oberois and flys back? So what's wrong in it? I'd very happy if based on this experience that someone would praise my country, wouldn't you be happy? or would you like to shout to him, let me take you to the slums, let me show you the poverty stricken neighborhoods?


Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperSuri View Post
Great travelogue brother. My grandfather was also from Sialkot (Chawinda Village I guess). Roots are the same. I too want to visit his village, want to see my GAAON,
Cheers, indeed people like us who grew up hearing stories have always fascinated with visiting it once and I am glad I could.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pancham View Post
Thank you so much for this thread. I had this idea that Indians do not get Visa anymore (even tourist visa) for Pakistan. Could you please try and elaborate the process how it works ?

Enjoyed the pictures very much.
I am glad you enjoyed, However my visa process was different as the High Commissioner was known to the family who's wedding I was attending so for me it was streamlined, however few things which I did and might be of help are that :- I downloaded the form from there embassy website, paid the Visa fee of Rs 20, and got submitted with my documents . I was given Police reporting so I had to get an arrival and exit stamp from the Police in both cities I visited.

Last edited by ajmat : 1st August 2020 at 15:02. Reason: Editing to keep focus on travel and not politics
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Old 1st August 2020, 13:00   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landcruiser123 View Post
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?
Glad you liked,
1.As written earlier, for me the visa process was simpler but I am no expert, so if any other member has had a more regular or troublesome experience they'd be able to write better.
2.Yes they sent me an invitation letter by mail and courier to my office here in Delhi.
3. & 4. It was 2 month visa valid for two weeks stay from date of entry, with 2 visits allowed, not that I needed a multiple entry one. I was there 6 nights.

Quote:
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.
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.
Thank you for the clarification, it's interesting to note.


Quote:
Originally Posted by PGA View Post
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.
I agree having lived abroad for long, and yes mother tells the same, till the 80's my grandfather former neighbours and school friends would visit Delhi frequently.

Quote:
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.
Seems like it, I will delve into it. Thanks for sharing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpainter View Post
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.
I will be updating this thread with more pictures of the cities, hotels and wedding in due course.

Quote:
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by neeravnaik View Post
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.
To be honest the road quality aside, what I am more impressed is with driving and civic sense.


Quote:
Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
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.



Do they issue city/cities-specific visa? Is this just for Indians or in general?
Sit I ran past it intentionally, because I belieeve my process was much simpler because of the family I was visiting and their connections, so there is not much to it, a friend of mine who had to go argue a case in their Supreme Court, told me for him it took almost 2 months with alot of running and submission of documents, plus he did'nt go via the road border but flew via Abu Dhabi.

Yes both us and they, issue each other city specific visas only, with a choice of upto 5 cities, obviously subject to their discretion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by himanshugoswami View Post
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.
I completely endorse you opinion, the more you learn the more you grow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
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!
Haha, thank you GTO for pointing it out, an achievement I shall cherish.
It's always a pleasure reading detailed threads of the topmost experienced
writers here like yourself, Karan, Sahil and others, and thereby improving our own threads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by avishar View Post
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.

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.
Thank you for shedding this light, yes the rail infrastructure is decades behind and you are like, like with the US, the mentality to drive every where, infact when we had to go to Islamabad from Lahore, and I enquired about a train, I was given a good laugh. I am regular Shatabdi traveller on the Delhi Chandigarh and Ludhiana routes and I am glad for it.

Quote:

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.

Thank you I am glad you enjoyed it.
Your vidoes of the cities inclufding Lahore, echo what I saw and am trying to project, though some are taking it be demeaning ourselves


Quote:
Originally Posted by alikidwhy View Post
This was very nicely written!

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.
Thank you, in my opening paragraph, I have myself, said it felt like entering Dubai.
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Old 1st August 2020, 13:11   #72
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Originally Posted by np23 View Post
On crossing over, it was time for the border ceremony, so I saw that, went to the city to Darbar Saab to take his blessings and off to the airport to get back to Delhi to end a wonderful trip with beautiful memories, with high doubt's if ever in life I'd be able to visit again.
That's a great travelogue Its always going to be more fascinating as many of us would not be able to visit these places, even once, in our lifetime. And you rightly said, for some of us these places and names will hold special regards as we have heard the stories about these places, while growing up from our grandparents!

Though a lot of videos on youtube always suggest that the roads, discipline and cleanliness in cities like Islamabad are admirable, but its good to hear from your first hand account too!

On a lighter note, you should have also posted the pics of roads connecting to Attari/Wagah on Indian side
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Old 1st August 2020, 13:30   #73
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Thank you very much for the travelogue dear np23. I'm sure it was a wonderful experience and I'm glad you decided to share it here. I always enjoy a good travelogue and yours was a great one. Being a purebred south Indian, I have absolutely no roots in that country, but I too have read accounts of people talking about having family there.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 1st August 2020 at 15:07. Reason: Quoted post removed, removing related response + thread cleaned up. :)
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Old 1st August 2020, 15:06   #74
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As requested and seeing the beautiful response adding some more pictures of the wedding, cities, roads and some yesteryear cult cars cars still daily drives there.

Met an old university friend whom I also referred some work, I visited his law chamber and then this is us outside the Panjab High Court, Lahore, notice how the cops noticing my shorts, it's a very uncommon sight and only after reaching there did I realise that even in summers unlike here shorts are sort of semi tabboo
An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan-photo20190410184842.jpg

The beautiful Lahore Gymkhana where I resided, this was there outdoor cafe and I daily had my evening cup of tea here, it was the best spot in the club
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Some pictures from the wedding functions

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Note, they are law barred to serve more than one dish at any wedding function, keeping in view the poverty of the coutnry and such an unnecessary display of wealth.

Therefore you can notice at all functions, this was the spread 1. Rice/Biryani 2.A meat Dish (they eat alot of veggies at home, I was surprised). 3. A Naan Bread 4. 1 Dessert

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Not that we did not go out for some better meals.

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Reception on the Final night in Pakistan (Islamabad)

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In Lahore after a full day of shopping, took an auto rickshaw ride after my host dropped me back after shopping, to go back to buy some more stuff, was that good and that cheap, not the lane manners

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Random clicks in Islamabad, to show more of the city.

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Going back to the hotel in my friends X1 16i F48

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POK exit

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Modern day cults, still plying as taxis in plenty there

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A best of 3 T10 cricket match was played between the boys and girls families, I did score a few

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A model village has been created, similar to our Chowkhi Dhani, the restaurant sure has some interesting name

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Finally after a week, found a bar in the basement of the Marriott hotel, Islamabad, was stopped on thinking I was a Pakistani as locals are not allowed, though our good old Aadhar Card got me in.

An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan-img_1541.jpg
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Last edited by ajmat : 1st August 2020 at 15:12.
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Old 1st August 2020, 15:10   #75
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Default Re: An unexpected and surprising visit to Pakistan

Note from Moderator

Please keep this topic to the travel experience and hospitality experienced by the OP. A lot of us have political viewpoints or are aggrieved by past historical actions. Lets not bring it in over here

Thank you for all your understanding

Last edited by ajmat : 1st August 2020 at 17:12.
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