We are Duygu and Timmy and traveling together with our two dogs Wallace and Sunny Bella in a caravan around the world.
Pakistan made a big step in its Visa policy. Since the beginning of 2019, it is possible to apply online for an E-visa. Until this point, it was only possible to apply from your home country. Because we are traveling overland this would have been difficult. In October 2019 we had our E-visa and crossed the border in Balochistan from Iran to Pakistan.
We were so excited to discover this country, a place where we didn´t know too much about it.
Pakistan gained international attention during the war in Afghanistan. Taliban were hiding and gathering in the mountains and deserts of Pakistan. A lot of places suffered from terror attacks. Until today a lot of people in Europe think it is dangerous.
In fact, the German Embassy in Iran refused to give me a support letter when crossing overland from Iran to Pakistan.
Every traveler who is traveling this road overland knows that you will be escorted to Balochistan. The most southwestern state of Pakistan.
When you arrive at the border, the police will pick you up and bring you to direct to the police station. Here you will wait until the next morning. Every day around 8 o´clock one Escort is starting towards Quetta, which is 650 KM away from the border. The first night you will sleep in Dalbandin. Along the way, you cross around 20 police checkpoints. Sometimes you just fill in your details, sometimes you need to wait for a new escort to arrive at the Checkpoint.
The scenery was amazing, desert, mountains, and camels. Many times I just looked into the horizon and imagined how it would be over there.
In Dalbandin we stayed in a Hotel which is protected by the police. Only after a long discussion, they allowed us to go outside to buy some food, of course with the police.
It is necessary that foreigners obtain a permission document, called NOC, in Quetta. We arrived in the city on a Saturday which means we needed to wait until Monday, so the department would open again. All this time we could not go outside the Police station. “Dangerous,” was always the answer.
On Monday we got our papers and Tuesday we were on the road again. Everyone was telling the escort will stop at the border to Sindh. Which was indeed not true.
But how did we experience Balochistan?
Hard to give an answer to this. We felt sorry for the people there. One boy came once to me and said, “Please tell Europe we are not all terrorists.” What should I say to him? I said that I know, but at the same moment, the police were next to me because they tell me it is not safe for me.
During my time in Pakistan, I met a lot of Pakistanis who showed me a lot of pictures of Balochistan. It is so beautiful! I hope one day travelers can explore this area freely. What´s happening with travelers after Balochistan? Well, police will not leave you in Peace. In Balochistan, we got explained what will happen and it was okay.
In other areas, it is just chaos. One police station is telling you it safe, no problem. 10 km further police would stop you, saying it is very dangerous and we need a police escort.
It was not possible to travel the way we wanted to. I know from other travelers that it was difficult for them as well, a few even left the country because of the police.
We want to respect the local rules and also appreciate the care from the police. But in many places, it was like being a hostage. It is like the police want to push you to the North, to Gilgit and around.
We wish this situation will change because the people in Pakistan are beautiful. In Balochistan, in Sindh, Punjab, Kashmir, KP, and Gilgit. We also traveled to places like the East of Turkey or Iraq in where we also encountered a lot of military and police, but it was more coordinated.
This is about Balochistan; I could tell you much more. And if you would ask me about Pakistan I could even write a book about it 🙂
5 Weeks in Pakistan was not easy, but we enjoyed it very much and are coming back for sure!
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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