Another side of Pakistan

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Pakistan is usually portrayed in the television and newspapers as a country of religious fanatics with non-tolerant people fighting with each other creating troublesome situation. If you are a foreigner, you must have freaked out with the thought of somebody willing to travel all alone to Pakistan, which is probably deemed as misfit and not safe to travel. You also might not even know what the country has to offer. Usually people just don’t know. Or perhaps if they know they are misinformed and are unaware of some of the facts about Pakistan. Pakistan is not at all about negativity. Yes there are some people who do misdeeds and mishaps nevertheless occur but we cannot generalize everything with being negative. With a striking boom in the tourism sector of Pakistan, a lot of people have started traveling and touring the tourist destinations in Pakistan. Because Pakistan has a lot of places that are worth seeing.Naltar-Valley-by-Ishtiaq-Q-Ahmed                                                                 Image Credit: Naltar Valley Image by Ishtiaq Q Ahmed

Be it mountains, lakes, highlands, green lands and grasslands, beaches, islands etc and what not. Although some places have not even been tapped by humanly infrastructure and development thus they portray a perfect picture of natural beauty. Pakistanis have developed the trend of touring the beautiful places in Pakistan and a lot of travel group have formed that can provide guidance, assistance and logistics to those who are willing to travel. All you need to do is a bit of research before traveling.And of course get in touch with some local contact that could provide you with details of the places, guidance and instructions.Altit-2 by fahad-bhatti                                                                                               Image Credit: Altit Fort Image by Fahad Bhatti

Let me share an incident with you that provoked me to write about this side of Pakistan. While traveling from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur, a lady from Austria was sitting next to me on the plane. After a little chit chat, I found out that she was on a leisure tour to some countries of East Asia and South Asia, on asking about the countries she mentioned Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. I asked her casually why she had selected these countries and she went on with a list of some of the really worth seeing places. Politely, I asked her why she had not thought of visiting Pakistan. Her first response was “are there any places in Pakistan that are worth seeing?” I was surprised to hear that. Then it was me and all my descriptions of all the best places in Pakistan that I have seen and some of which I long to and have plans of. I shared with her all my experiences about traveling to the North of and within Pakistan, visiting Skardu, Hunza, Chitral, Swat,Multan, Bahawalpur and all that I could think of. I invited her and she seemed quite interested in visiting Pakistan too on her next leisure trip. It was a great healthy conversation and I tried to share with her the other side of Pakistan that people especially foreigners normally don’t know about.zhob-by-Shaffy-H                                                                                                               Image Credit: Zhob by Shaffy H

Just like the two sides of a coin, there is another side of our country Pakistan too. It is not all about the negativity that we see in different outlets of media. It is much more than that. It is calmer, better than it is portrayed and worth seeing. From the big cities to the far-fetched villages and town. From the metropolitan cities to the remote areas in the hill stations. All the provinces Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, KPK, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, have something unique to demonstrate. All of these have something that is worth experiencing being a traveler and tourist.

Pakistan has really nice picnic spots in all the major cities. With historical and architectural monuments and buildings, Pakistan is rich in historical places including, Taxila, Moen joDaro and Harappa. Furthermore, it is a great attraction for geographical climbers, hikers and trekkers who wish to climb some of the highest peaks in the North of Pakistan. The k-2 and the Nanga Parbat attract a huge number of hikers and climbers from different countries and all around the world every year. The snowy mountains in Swat and green meadows in Azad Kashmir and the Neelum Valley in Pakistan offer such scenic beauty that equates the mountainous regions of other countries. The well-mannered and literate people of Hunza will impress you and their hospitality is incomparable. The culturally rich Ayun and Bamboret Valley of Chitral will surprise you and fascinate you overwhelmingly.mahodand-lake-swat-valley-pakistan-by-ayaz-mahmood--61177                                                                                   Image Credit: Mohodand Lake Image by M AyazMahmood

Talking about the major cities Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad in Pakistan, the development of infrastructure in Lahore will amaze you. The food and the open heartedness of Lahoris is famous wherever you are from. The multicultural and multi ethnic population of Karachi will show you how people from all races intermingle and interactive with each other on gathering and meetings, festivals and occasions. Karachi is a metropolitan city with diversity in races and ethnicity, which presents and mix of people from different backgrounds. The nightlife, beaches and restaurants will provide you the best savor of food, just like Lahore. On the other hand, Islamabad is the city which is naturally beautiful with greenery all around and it is the city where you can easily take flights to and from the North. A drastic change of weather can be experienced when you travel form Karachi to Islamabad or the North. The North being comparatively cold whereas Karachi and other cities in the Sindh province are warmer. This is another great blessing that Pakistan has. One can experience all types of weathers and landscapes.Gaddafi-Stadium                                                       Image Credit: Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore Image by SajjadNabi Babur

Instead of believing in the stereotypical thoughts about Pakistan, one should travel to Pakistan to see its beauty and get the first-hand experience of it. Other than what has been projected about it for the past decades, it is better to research and talk to the true Pakistanis by heart residing there. They would rather give a different picture of our country which is worth sharing and experiencing. Locals, youngsters, families and college and university going students have already started traveling and a lot of foreigners are traveling to Pakistan too, exploring the tourist spots in Pakistan and spending memorable time during their trips.

Saira Ali has graduated in Mass communication, studied photography from NCA and is currently pursuing her MPhil degree…

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