Anfang Januar 2010 gab es einen gewaltigen Bergsturz im Hunza-Tal. Der Hunza-Fluss staute sich auf einer Länge von 16 KM auf und überschwemmte zahlreiche Dörfer sowie den Karakorum-Highway. Der auf diese Weise aufgestaute See wurde Attabad-Stausee genannt und für die Folgejahre konnten Fahrzeuge nur auf kleinen Booten den See überqueren. Diese Erfahrung blieb uns glücklicherweise erspart, denn in nur wenigen Jahren Bauzeit haben die Chinesen einige mächtige Tunnel in den Berg gesprengt, sodass seit Frühjahr 2016 wieder Fahrzeuge auf dem Karakorum-Highway von und bis nach China fahren können. Der Anblick dieses gewaltigen Stausees mit seiner türkisblauen Färbung war überwältigend!
Das schlechte Wetter hielt an und so verpassten wir einige schöne Landschaften auf dem letzten Abschnitt des so schönen Tals. Uns erreichte die Nachricht, dass der Pass geöffnet wäre. Die Lawinengefahr sei jedoch sehr hoch und die Straße könnte jederzeit wieder verschüttet werden. Wir hatten nur ein kleines Zeitfenster, denn die nächste Schlechtwetterfront näherte sich der Region. In Sost, 80 KM vor der Grenze wurden die Grenz- und Zollformalitäten erledigt, dann beeilten wir uns, die letzten Kilometer zur Grenze lawinenfrei zurückzulegen. Die Straße war vom Winter gezeichnet. Viele Steine lagen noch auf der Fahrbahn und der letzte Abschnitt war teilweise komplett verschneit. Doch wir schafften es, auch wenn wir das Motorrad auf den letzten Metern zu viert durch den Schnee ziehen mussten. Wehmütig ließen wir dieses schöne Land hinter uns und waren gespannt welche Hürden uns der viertägige China-Transit stellen würde. Nach meiner letzten China-Erfahrung war ich eher pessimistisch.
Nach diesem ausführlichen Bericht möchte ich diesmal ein Fazit über das besuchte Land ziehen. Mir ist bewusst, dass ich nur einen kleinen Teil des Landes gesehen habe. Doch viele Reisende die ich getroffen habe und auch die Südteile des Landes besucht hatten stimmten mir zu, dass Pakistan ein sicheres Reiseland ist. Die Polizei- und Sicherheitskräfte setzen sich stark für das Wohlbefinden ausländischer Besucher ein. Die Einwohner des Landes empfingen und zu jederzeit mit einer ehrlichen Freundlichkeit, die ich nur selten auf dieser Reise erfuhr. Es obliegt jeden selbst, die Sicherheitslage einzuschätzen, abzuwägen und zu entscheiden, ob dieses Land auf der persönlichen Reiseroute liegen soll. Ich glaube in der heutigen Zeit kann es auf der ganzen Welt schnell zu Problemen kommen. Und manchmal ist man auch nur zur falschen Zeit am falschen Ort. Ich kann nur empfehlen sich selber ein Bild zu machen und dieses wunderschöne Land zu besuchen. Für mich war es eines der schönsten Erlebnisse auf dieser Reise und wie in Georgien lege ich mich fest: Ich werde wieder kommen…
Die Route durch Pakistan
THE DESTINY OF PAKISTAN
There are days which have a big impact of the fate of a country. When at 9/11 two planes crashed into the twin towers of the world trade center the two towers collapsed like the tourism in Pakistan. The Taliban took responsibility of the act of terror. A bloody war in Afghanistan and worldwide terror were the results. Also Pakistan was hit badly. The times changed…
Pakistan is a relatively young state. After Great Britain gave up their colony British India the now independent India had massive political and social troubles. Politically it was a fight between the Congress Party and the Muslim League. The Islamic party wanted an independent state of Muslims in India. Ghandi was fighting as much as he could also in his own party for a united India. But it was too late and a separation couldn’t be avoided. At the 14th of August 1947 the state Pakistan was born which flanked India to its east and west. The separation of the country happened to fast and not clever; the new borderline was at some parts just stupidly made. Suddenly Hindus weren’t welcome in their own country, also like the Muslims. A huge mass moving started. Muslims of India migrated to the new state Pakistan. Hindus from the Pakistani land moved to India. It was a bloody migration. Trains were stopped on the way to the other country and all the passengers were slaughtered except of the train conductor who was supposed to bring the bodies into the next train station. Later Bangladesh became independent from Pakistan. The conflict is still active nowadays. India and Pakistan are death enemies.
Meanwhile a massive growth of the Pakistani population happened. In 1969 about 46 million people lived in the new created Islamic republic. 35 years later it was already 148 million. The hustle with India and the arms race was extremely expensive. Only a small part of the GDP was invested in the educational sector. Compulsory schooling doesn’t exist till today. Since 1980 many Islam schools were built. Mostly financed by the Saudis, the so called Madrasas allowed a big number of the population the access to education. The Islam schools were not politically controlled and the educational content was defined by the donator of the school with the result that besides for Madrasas typical Islamic law sciences and Koran studies also radical views were taught in the schools. Graduates of a Madrasa are called Talib. The word comes from the Persian word for student. Several graduates of north Pakistani Islam schools were involved of the erection of the afghan Taliban regime and played a role in the development of the world wide terror.
The problem of the Madrasas became public after 9/11 when the US faced the government of Pakistan with the issue and when they partly blamed Pakistan for the terror attacks. During the Afghanistan war many Taliban escaped to Pakistan. For whole Pakistan travel warning were sent. The tourism stopped. Once Pakistan was a country were lots of travelers and mountaineers came. Now it was a conflict zone. And after June 2013 also the save North East of Pakistan was avoided by tourists when ten mountaineers were killed at the Nanga Parbat by the Taliban.
When I planned my trip to India I also was thinking to cross Pakistan. Many friends didn’t like this plan. I made some research. News pages and the Department of Foreign Affairs warned for journeys to Pakistan. Travelers who visited the country recently all talked positively about Pakistan and their experiences within the so called conflict zones. I didn’t know what to do and I decided to take the route around Pakistan. It was therefore the long way to reach India. But after I managed to reach India via China, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar I also decided to drive back. Before I was thinking to ship the car back to Germany from India. It also meant that I was going to cross Pakistan. But I decided to drive through the north and cross China again. The travel warnings for the southern area in Belutshistan feared me too much.
I crossed the Indian-Pakistani border together with my travel mate Tina from Dresden with mixed feelings. I was very happy to cross this country about I was reading so many books. But I also was a little bit afraid after I was getting all the warnings. In the first hours in Pakistan all the people around us were without exception absolutely friendly and welcomed us warmly. They seemed to be happy about every tourist who comes to Pakistan.
After India I noticed that the traffic was much quieter. Those who visited Pakistan already must think I am crazy but driving in Pakistan is a big difference comparing to India. We just spent a little time in the big city Lahore. After India I wanted to avoid chaos. We felt the high security level when we visited the Badshani mosque and the Lahore fortress. The area was secured by heavy armed military forces which also checked with a mirror if explosives are under my car. They didn’t find anything and whished us a friendly “Welcome to Pakistan”.
The new Pakistan also needed a nice capital. Islamabad was completely planned and got the capital status from Karachi in 1966. When we walked and drove through Islamabad we could see and feel that the city was planned well. Quarters were created which contain living areas, commercial streets and food corners. The quarters are connected by chessboard-like streets. It is not necessary to leave their quarter in Islamabad – everything is there. And if you want to leave the city: There won’t be a traffic jam neither. The city borders to a mountain range in the west and with the last building of the mega city Rawalpindi which smog lies in the morning hours over Islamabad too.
We were looking forward to see the mountains of Pakistan so soon we left the city and went to higher areas. Only a few miles after the capital the road went into the mountains and sent us to magnificent landscapes. I changed my breaking pads in Islamabad which was a good idea before spending some time in the mountains. But because of that we also started late and drove only a little bit to the village Ayubia. For the second and the last time we took a room in Pakistan. Hotels in Pakistan are quite expensive for that what you get. Shower with cold (or no) water, filthy bathrooms, constant power cuts and no internet. We couldn’t find really a reason to stay in a hotel and preferred the car. When we walked through the village we met an old man who was willing to show us his village. Most of the village was deserted because many houses were summer residencies of the people from the city. A hidden treasure was behind the village in the forest. There was a beautiful stone church of the 19th century. A family lived closed by which takes care of the property and the building. Christian youth groups are coming in the summertime to this place. A church was the last thing we expected in this area. The man was opening the church for us and invited us for a cup of tea. No traces of religious fanaticism at all. Instead a warm and hearty welcome in Pakistan.