Thursday, 5 May 2011

Pakistan days...

5th May, 2011
Recent elimination of Osama by Obama on May 2nd brought back the thrilling but sweet memories of my stay in Pakistan. from 1980 to 85. It was unusually a very long period of stay in a hostile country by any standard. (you know what I mean if one has to work under cover). But it was fruitful & satisfying.

I was much younger then and was always keen to explore the country, driving long distances. The picture below was taken on 21 Oct.1981, during one of the trips to the Khyber Pass in the west of Pakistan. The pass lies between Peshawar and Landi-kotal from where one enters Afghanistan. Jamrood fort is just few kms. from Peshawar and can be spotted on the left of the bus.

The area all along the Khyber Pass which stretches between 30-40 Kms is rocky, dry with hardly any vegetation and water. If one remembers the ancient history of India correctly, this was the route followed by most of the invaders, of whom many perished or had to abandon their journey as the pass provided a natural barrier on India’s western flank.

The area came to be known as FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Area) once the British Raj came in to power. However, it always remained a partially independent area, run and administered by the local tribes according to their own customs & traditions.  The main source of income, since time immemorial, continues to be from sales of drugs and locally manufactured fire arms. Durra village, the main arms manufacturing centre in FATA, is worth a visit for their workmanship.

(To continue...)