Tag Archives: Murree

A Bangladeshi’s Visit to Pakistan

Fariha  writing on her trip to Pakistan with such heartfelt emotion and sincerity. I must thank my friend AJ for pointing out this excellent piece.

“ Apko kia pata, ke humara dil apke liye kitna rota hai. Jab aap logo ko koi taklif hota hai to humain lagta hain k taklif humain ho raha hai. Bohot pyar karte hai hum aap se. alag ho gaye to kya hua. Bhai to bhai hota hai. Bangladeshi to humare bhai hai.”
Rafe, 60-something, Bus-driver, Lahore

I’ve met people from different parts of the world and traveled to a few places myself. But never, not once, in any of my interactions or travels, have I ever come across a race of people who have made me feel so proud of my nationality: Bangladeshi. But then, I visited Pakistan. I was born in an independent Bangladesh. I’ve never had to struggle to get my voice heard, I was allowed to vote (till quite recently) and I’m allowed to speak my mind. Until my trip to Pakistan, I had never realized how precious all these things are. I had always regarded Pakistan, a distant country, as a bitter chapter in our history. But only after meeting the people did I realize how close we could be and how much my heritage means to them. Never before have I received so much respect for just being Bangladeshi.

Till quite recently, I had never visited Pakistan. Neither had my parents. Since the only Pakistanis I’d met belonged to the educated bourgeoisie class, I had assumed that it was only this select lot who were aware of the atrocities committed in 1971. I had always believed that most Pakistanis believed that Bangladeshis were Kafirs who had let India take them over and regarded us with disdain. Don’t ask me why I thought all of this or what explanation I have for my notions. My notions had stemmed from the prevalent attitude of our pro-liberation buddhijibis, who have, through their own glorifications of our War of Liberation, somehow equated patriotism as anti-Pakistani feeling and instilled that in some of us. In fact, I still know people who think that to be a true patriot you would have to hate Pakistan, with all its institutions and people. Our elders in Bangladesh, somehow always let us think that Pakistanis don’t care about Bangladesh. I’m not blaming them for my ill-conceived ideas. I was partly to blame for judging a whole race simply on the basis of the half-truths I had heard. I am not proud of what I thought. But my recent trip to Pakistan has made me feel proud of who I am and I am proud of my newly acquired views. Though I think that I now face the threat of being termed a ‘paki-lover’ or ‘Rajakar’, I am writing this because I think that our generation needs to know the other side of the story. Continue reading

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Travels to Pakistan – A Jeddah-based journalist’s account

Pak Tea House is grateful for this contribution from Tariq Al-Maeena a journalist based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – his account of travels in Pakistan is engaging. We are publishing the first three parts on his impressions of Islamabad, political intrigues of the Capital and his sojourn to Murree. The interesting bits are his comparisons with Saudi Arabia where Pakistan is viewed as a poor country. The remaining parts will be published later.  (Raza Rumi)
 
Pakistan Re-Visited – (1)
Islamabad
 
When the invitation came in from the Pakistani Consulate in Jeddah to visit Pakistan as part of a media delegation for the purpose of acquainting ourselves with that country, I had no moment of hesitation in accepting their gracious offer.  This in spite of my family’s vocal concerns about my personal safety, with pre-election violence that had plagued that country still fresh in their minds. 
 
I had been to Pakistan before, albeit the city of Karachi only and that was thirty years ago.  This trip would afford me the opportunity to visit several cities in Pakistan for the first time and my excitement at exploring new adventures knew no bounds and there was no stopping me.
 
It was PIA, the national airline that we boarded one night for our flight to Islamabad.  Along with me was the rest of the media delegation: Tariq Mishkhas, managing editor from Urdu News, Nasser Habtar, Al-Watan newspaper bureau chief in Abha, and Mohammed Yousuf, Arab News correspondent. Continue reading

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