Let’s be honest, when talking about our neighbouring country Pakistan, usually the first thoughts that come to mind are Kashmir, cricket, extremism, orthodox, politically charged and most recently, Balochistan. There may also be Fawad Khan, Atif Aslam, Ghulam Ali and amazing food somewhere down the list, followed by a quick smile. But it’s not very often that one thinks or talks of Pakistan on the lines of architectural beauty, warm people and untouched natural beauty.
Blame this on the “public image” that dominates any coverage on or around the Asian country. After all, it’s unfortunate how Pakistan usually makes it to international headlines for political reasons, which has contributed majorly to this image of unrest.
Something similar happened with Spanish woman Clara Arrighi when she was told by her company that she’ll have to stay in Pakistan for six months. In aFacebook post that has gone viral, she wrote, “When was told I was going to Pakistan I started to think about all the reasons not to go, how to convince my office not to send me. I did not want to spend the next six months of my life in between mud roads and traffic, dirt and smelly donkeys. I definitely did not want to share my time with radical people, extremists, and walk around all covered.”
But after staying there and experiencing what it means to be living in the country, she couldn’t stop crying while leaving. She fell in love with the beauty, heritage, food, and people of Pakistan who welcomed her with arms wide open.
“Everything in this country is untouched; the nature, the culture, the cities. Women in their colourful dresses and the way they allow their Pashminas to fall loose over their heads, showing their dark hair. Men playing cricket, such a refined English sport to be played in white clothes drinking high tea, is here the street sport by far, played in every corner of every street. I have climbed stunning mountains, swam in incredible clear lakes amidst the most beautiful hills, visited majestic mosques and drank uncountable types of chai. I tasted lots of different dishes,” she wrote.
Clara suggests everyone should visit the country at least once to experience a side of it that not many are aware of. “It doesn’t matter how beautiful a country is, you will always remember how it made you feel. And this is what makes the difference in Pakistan. I have never seen so much hospitality anywhere in the world. Incredibly warm people, genuinely kind. I have never felt so welcomed. There is this tendency to smile. A society that has been for so many years oppressed and still can be so tolerant,” wrote the woman.
When Humans of New York’s Brandon Stanton went to Pakistan, he tried to portray a world that’s untouched by political turmoil. He captured people in his frame who were living an ordinary life untouched by the environment that makes news.
What these social posts do, is humanise a country that is otherwise seen with a wary eye. And that’s exactly what we need during trying times such as the one we live in.
Does this post inspire you to plan a trip to Pakistan soon? Tell us in the comments section below.