Wednesday, February 04, 2009

What NOT to Drive in Pakistan

Pakistan is not a country you just decide to drive to for a weekend jaunt unless you're Taleban fighters retreating from Afghanistan. You need visas, a good map, and you certainly need to know current safety information. Driving in Pakistan is treacherous in cities and rural areas, although for different reasons. In cities, a low vehicle will scrape bottom on the badly engineered speed bumps, and a big vehicle in impossible to park outside of spacious suburbs. Aside from the motorway, roads are better suited for 4WDs or large buses. Nobody in Pakistan drives camper vans, so you'll stick out like a sore thumb....or an obvious target. The worst part is, if you decide to sell your vehicle and head home, nobody will buy this type of car here in Pakistan. Customs duties will be three times as much as the car is worth, and besides, where will anyone drive it? How will they get replacement parts?

The only place you have a chance of selling it is where you can sell it ilegally without customs duties, such as in the Northern Areas or to some tribesmen who are a law unto themselves. If you meet them, they'd be more likely to relieve you of your vehicle, and possibly your life, without giving you any money.

Please, if you are considering driving across Pakistan, now is not the time. Quetta and its environs are not safe for independent travelers. Even well-traveled Pakistanis are avoiding going there nowadays. If you do need to drive through Pakistan, choose a less conspicuous and more practical vehicle.

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