- Posted August 27, 2014 by
Is Pakistan safe?
Pakistan is not so dangerous was the first though that came to my mind after I had spent a whole day in Islamabad. Throughout my flight to Islamabad from AirBridge Travel ,I had only one concern and that was about the security of the country I was about to visit. My head was full of notions of bombs going off every second, men with beards roaming the streets, veiled women in scuttling along and no sign of any infrastructure. Where did I get all these ideas from well they were largely from the media’s portrayal of Pakistan and the ignorance of me and my family and friends. Going to Pakistan didn’t seem like a good idea as I waited to board the plane that shall take me straight to Islamabad.
The anxiety and tension slowly receded to a safe distance as a mother of two sitting beside me starts small talk with me. “What’s taking you to Islamabad?” as I explain to her that I am going on business has a short stay she looks at me curiously. “What” I say- well aren’t you brave to ignore all the misconceptions you must have heard about Pakistan. This statement jerked me into reality that was my apprehension so apparent that people good read it so openly?! This was the point where the relaxation phase also kicked in as indeed if Pakistani people were as nice at here then I would have no problem for the duration of my trip.
After our flight landed the lady and I lost her in the hustle and bustle of collecting our baggage and my nerves started to kick in again. With a sigh of relief I spotted my name written on a placard sported by an elderly man in a crisp white spotless shalwar kameez. He was humble, religious, and respectful and delighted me with the stories of his village which he told in broken English. He was to be my driver throughout my 2 week stay and I couldn’t have asked for a better companion to drive me around and give little pieces of advice.
I won’t go into a day by day itinerary of mine but revert back to my earlier fears of not finding Pakistan a safe place to visit or live in. I understand that I spent all my time in Islamabad which is the capital and the most secure place out of all Pakistan but that means Pakistan has hope and should be considered as dangerous as Iraq, Palestine or Syria. The people were warm to me and hospitable to say the least they opened up their homes and invited me- a complete stranger into their abode and one didn’t t get the impression that they did this to prove that Pakistan is a hospitable country but one got the vibe that its always been like this for ages.
The real authentic Pakistan with it deep rooted culture for which I would have had to travel outside Islamabad I didn’t get to see but I believe I saw the real Pakistan in the people I met who gave me so many gifts that I had to buy a second bag to accommodate them all. I also learnt that if you go there with an open mind then things would easier and playing it safe always helps.
During my stay nothing worthy of a security concern happened in Islamabad although Karachi was a different situation I heard which may have altered my opinion.
To sum up, I took two valuable lessons from this trip and that was to always no matter what keep a open mind and the second was to be ready to take risks they are worth it.