Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

The Search For Hathi Khan

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"Hati is the bad man round-about; he it is robs on the roads; he it is brings them to ruin; he ought either to be driven out from these parts, or to be severely punished.” So said Malik Asad, the leader of the Salt Range Janjuas, to Babur after peace had been made between the two.

The dam abutment which once ran right across the Chanel seen in the center of the image 

The year was 1519. Hati (sic) was Hathi Khan Gakkhar, ensconced in the hill fortress of Pharwala outside modern Islamabad. From there he made sorties to harry the surrounding country.

Babur had returned to India, won battles and was enjoying the beauty of Kallar Kahar — where he laid out a lakeside garden — when the Janjua chieftain petitioned him against the Gakkhar. Babur learned that Hathi had, only shortly — earlier treacherously poisoned his cousin Tatar Khan — to assume the mantle of leadership. Besides that, Hathi had arrested the dead chief’s sons Sarang and Adam.
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posted by Salman Rashid @ 10:48, ,

Traffic tribulations: clamp down on violators!

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Dawn Metro (Oct 26, 2017) reported that Punjab Inspector General (IG) Arif Nawaz Khan has given the go-ahead for another, yes another, police force to ‘address chronic traffic problems in the city’.

The City Traffic Police established by the government of erstwhile chief minister Pervaiz Elahi started out extremely well. The grey-uniformed officers were well-spoken and very business-like. And for a while people began to obey traffic rules. Along came the government of CM Shahbaz Sharif and what the ‘enemy’ had established had to be done away with.

Friends in Rescue 1122 allege that CM Sharif made serious attempts to abolish this first-class public service (also set up by the ‘enemy’). He failed because of public pressure. However, friends who served in traffic police tell me that the tacit order was to simply lay off violators.
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posted by Salman Rashid @ 12:35, ,

Haji Machhli

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It was in 1989, the month was October. I had attempted to climb Takht e Suleman outside Zhob but lying in South Waziristan. But I failed. I failed because I did not believe that a mountain can be without springs of fresh water. Takht e Suleman is just such a mountain and I aborted halfway up dehydrated.

With a day and a half for the flight to Dera Ismail Khan, I was wandering about the bazaar having green tea and conversations at every tea shop when I heard of Haji Machhli. My informant said he had a treasure trove of artefacts from the time of ‘Sikander e Azam’. I asked directions and walked through streets dusty as they can be only in autumn and was soon standing outside a rather beat two-storeyed building that in the dark of the evening seemed mud-plastered.
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posted by Salman Rashid @ 09:38, ,

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