Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

Guide to Pakistan

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I contributed to, actually majorly re-wrote large chunks of, two editions of Insight Guide to Pakistan. The first was the 2000 edition and then again the 2005 (or was it 2006?) edition. But when I met Tony Halliday, the editor, in late 2006, he said as much as he would regularly like to update this valuable book, he knew it would be impossible to get the publisher interested in Pakistan.
He was so right. With the way things are, no one would want to come here to have a, shall we say, blast.

Now, travel guides are impersonal descriptions of places, where to stay, what to eat and etc. My writing is actually a rather personal account of places and people. I expect that any reader who would venture forth after reading my work will be prepared to rough it out. That is how I travel: rough. Therefore there are no descriptions in my work of hotels and food. I hope to tickle some rare nerve somewhere that will send the person looking because of the interesting anecdote connected with the place.

That having been said, I have never considered writing the Insider Guide to Pakistan. Guide books are tedious work. They need an efficient editor (like my friend Tony in Britain). And they need a large outlay to be compiled.

I cannot do such work. I hate tedium, I am not an editor and I have no money to squander on a guide book, particularly when Pakistan simply does not exist on the tourist map.

If people wish to know the traveller’s Pakistan, they can read my books. Other than that, for the time being, there is no market for a travel guide. We first have to get rid of the terrorists who want to dismantle Pakistan and make it their base for attacks on first of all India and then the rest of the world.

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posted by Salman Rashid @ 00:00,


At 12 June 2013 at 09:04, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those who don't know Pakistan write and those who know the country inside out don't. Loss is ours.


At 12 June 2013 at 13:08, Anonymous Carol Yates Wilkerson on FB said...

I like that you said that. I think the terrorists are the bane of any nation. I'm sure Pakistan is a beautiful nation, as are many others.

At 12 June 2013 at 19:17, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Jamshed, Who are these people who write without knowing the country? And who that don't write?

At 12 June 2013 at 19:22, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Carol, In 199, two young British friends, Pauline and Karen, wanted to go somewhere. I suggested Kaghan. They got on the bus and somewhere near Mansehra en route, got talking to this chap who said he was from Indus Kohistan (bad, bad land) and invited them to spend their holiday with him and his family. Later, even as the girls were narrating, I got this terrible thing in my stomach. In brief, they had a regular ball with this man and his family; pampered bloody sick, they were. This is what the real people of this land are made of.

At 12 June 2013 at 21:11, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When living in a society that doesn’t appreciate the written word, it’s difficult for writers to decide what approach will work. Sometimes it’s better to respect society’s boundaries, and sometimes it’s important to break them. Different writers have different ways of dealing with these topics. You research and bring out the hidden facts, history and everything associated with the places you write about. Only a few people are interested in that kind of quality work. On the other hand, I know some Urdu writers, who write what people want. I am sure, if those writers are asked, they will grab the opportunity to write guides without having adequate knowledge. Thanks that no one asks them because, sadly, we don’t have a developed travel industry yet.


At 12 June 2013 at 23:11, Anonymous Saima Ashraf said...

Yes it should be different from cuisine

At 13 June 2013 at 15:25, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Jamshed, Writers must not respect social boundaries and write what is political correct or what people want to read. Ordinary people are just that: ORDINARY. The writer should be above that to write what is true and right. If not, how does the writer educate ordinary people?
In Urdu travel writing the norm is to fill pages with rubbish about meeting women who admire the writer for his resemblance with some ugly Greek god and now recently with Hemingway. Never with his own self! This is what I call the Fourth Grade after summer break essay.

At 13 June 2013 at 17:13, Blogger Nayyar Julian said...

Yes, your writing is a true guide to Pakistan. Your books say it all.

At 17 June 2013 at 20:07, Anonymous Gretta Kruesi said...

You have a very rich blog here. Each story is so deeply researched and so lovingly written. I have a question: How safe is Pakistan for an English woman who wants to visit Pakistan alone and see usual places like Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and some old places like Harrapa and Mohenjo Daro?

At 20 June 2013 at 03:26, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Gretta, I should wobble my hand, palm down, as an answer to your query. For the time being leave Karachi out, perhaps even Peshawar (despite its lure). But Lahore, Moen jo Daro, Harrapa are OK. Please email me (it's given on the home page of this blog) and let's see how I can help.


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My Books

Deosai: Land of the Gaint - New

The Apricot Road to Yarkand

Jhelum: City of the Vitasta

Sea Monsters and the Sun God: Travels in Pakistan

Salt Range and Potohar Plateau

Prisoner on a Bus: Travel Through Pakistan

Between Two Burrs on the Map: Travels in Northern Pakistan

Gujranwala: The Glory That Was

Riders on the Wind

Books at Sang-e-Meel

Books of Days