We’ve all heard about Pakistan. We’ve heard about the bombs, terrorists, floods, earthquakes, oppression of women and poverty. Media constantly supplies us with fresh material on how terrifying and violent Pakistan is. But is fear really the only thing this country has to offer?
Like every country, Pakistan has got its problems. Alongside those problems however, it also has beautiful landscapes, welcoming people and rich culture. Unfortunately, we rarely hear about the latter and when we do, those who complement Pakistan are usually from that country, making us skeptical about the objectivity of these positive statements. Going to Pakistan I wanted to form my own opinion about this controversial place.
Stepping aside from biases and preconceived ideas about this republic proved to be more challenging than I thought. Every day was a battle. I had to face my own narrow-mindedness, shake off the eurocentric views, turn down the judgmental voice in my head. For the first time in my life I was exposed to all my intellectual short-comings when it comes to dealing with a different culture. Day by day, Pakistan made me question myself and the world as I know it. Within a week it broke me down into pieces and made me work on putting myself back together.
Pakistan’s culture is like its food – heavy and flavorsome. The fragrance of its spices can be found in the vibrant souls of its people. Nothing here is blunt. Some things are sweet, some things are hot, but everything comes with its own unique flavor.
I will try to introduce some of these tastes in the next posts about this country. I will take you to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Islamabad, Khewra and Lahore. I will discuss the different aspects of life in Pakistan – from guns through women to local customs. But most importantly, I will be inviting you to challenge yourself.
Right by the Afghan border stands a Pakistani military post. It’s the last building on Pakistan’s soil. Beyond its fence is Afghanistan. On the brick wall of this establishment is a painting of the Pakistani flag. Above the white half moon and a star on the green background there’s a sentence:
“Love Pakistan or Leave Pakistan”
Let’s see which one you will chose…