When I told my family and friends that I’ll go to Pakistan most of the time their reaction was “…and what are you going to do there?” As frustrating as this question became after a while, as much do I still understand why it is justified. No one will ever ask you this if you go to Italy, or even South East Asia and Latin America are nowadays well accepted travel destinations.
But if we are honest, what do we really know about Pakistan? Let us face the truth – only the bad things. Everyone has heard about Malala, the brave Pakistani girl that stood up against the Taliban when they tried to terrorise almost all of the subcontinent and the western world. We all know that Osama Bin Ladin was hiding in the Pakistani mountains when he got killed by US Soldiers in 2011. It is a fact that even though Pakistan is not officially at war, it is still one of the countries that has to claim some of the highest death tolls caused by drone attacks. We all were in shock when we heard about the terrorist act in Peshawar exactly one year ago, where more than 130 school children lost their lives. There are many more events to add to this list.
So the question remains: “Why would you go to Pakistan?” My answer always was: “Why not?”
There must be more than just the bad news and Taliban. In a country with such a strong culture and history there must be places that are more than worth a visit. A nation so proud of its identity and heritage must hold so many amazing people and personal stories. In one of the biggest Tech Industries world wide must lie so many mind blowing ideas. Why would you not want to learn about all this yourself?
So I decided to go to Pakistan. Since I came back and talk about my time there I can see how peoples perception of this country changes, and now I often hear sentences like: “Maybe I also want to go there…”
If you want to go to Pakistan, you should be aware of certain risks but do not be afraid. Be respectful towards this culture that is so different to what we know, but do not be shy.
In the following weeks I will take you through my time in this amazing country, and maybe it will also change your perception of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.