Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

People I meet on the road

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Back in August 1990 on my long trek, I met two government engineers in Ishkoman (Gilgit-Baltistan). They were surprised I was travelling alone and asked me all sorts of questions about my fears. In the end one of them asked what if someone tried to rob me. I told them I had great faith in the inherent goodness of humans and had never been failed.

To tell you the truth, I have never felt threatened. I have always been welcomed when I have knocked doors in remote villages and asked to be taken in for the night. If I asked for the mosque in order to sleep there, I offended decent people who would not have a traveller sleep in the mosque and who took me home. And, mind, staying overnight meant at least two meals as well. Never once was I asked to recompense for the hospitality.

The only time I was met with hostility was in the Afghanistan city of Heart in March 2006. Three friendly young men asked me if I was Indian. When I said I was Pakistani, abuse flowed for this sorry country. That was the only time in my life I actually feared physical assault. I was reaping the harvest of the poison we sowed during the so-called Afghan Jihad.

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posted by Salman Rashid @ 00:00,


At 9 April 2013 at 22:24, Anonymous Ali Raza Zaidi said...

Strange, sir, In December 2012, i visited Uch Sharif, all alone, but their police at shrine, stopped me and asked who am i, why i came here. After half an hour discussion they let me go. Some times when you visit ancient shrine, possible these places are only remains their original places. People asked you who are you and why you taking pictures.

At 6 May 2013 at 17:41, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Zaidi Sahib, we are a security state. Even if the police do nothing else, they get terribly paranoid at the first sight of a camera. A video camera simply makes them go berserk. This happens all the time, every where. No matter where you are some idiot official will ask you why you are taking pictures. Do not be discouraged. Talk your way out of the situation. there is nothing else to do.

At 20 November 2015 at 11:49, Blogger Spade said...

I too encountered hostility in Afghanistan . This was in 1972, on way back, by car, from Europe, a young man got into violent argument with me , he debated the very existence of my country and did not support partation, this was unusual as these people are usually very nice to travellers , indeed it is a part of the Pakthunwali code. In Kabul the hotel staff looked with naked hatred towards me when they discovered I was a Pakistani . In London I went into a restaurant thinking it was a Pakistani one , it was not and the Bangladeshi staff looked at me with great hostility . Turkey , in 1971 , gave me more respect that anywhere else in the world including my own country .

At 20 November 2015 at 14:37, Anonymous Muhammad Athar said...

Sir some time an innocent has to reap what others sowed

At 20 November 2015 at 17:25, Blogger Spade said...

Afghanistan of course was the only country that opposed Pakistan's entry to the UN , they had reservations and still do on the boundary agreement .


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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