People & society

When a Kashmiri from India visits Pakistan

Updated Apr 02, 2017 11:51am


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Fahad Shah in front of the Badshahi Mosque during his visit to Pakistan
Fahad Shah in front of the Badshahi Mosque during his visit to Pakistan

The partition of British India was ruthless, it divided villages, towns and families but gave birth to a new country – the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Since its formation, relations between India and Pakistan have been rough, mainly over the claim to Kashmir. In Pakistan, during a recent visit–my first–everyone had a one-sentence introduction for me: Yeh ‘maqbooza Kashmir’ se aaye hain (He has come from ‘occupied Kashmir’).

My entry into Pakistan was via the Wagah border, where, on seeing that I was from Kashmir, two men questioned me for over an hour. They asked me about the recent civilian uprising in Kashmir, how uprisings affected development, how foreign tourists in India didn’t highlight the good things, how Pakistanis crossed Wagah. They also wanted to know who I knew in Pakistan.

Wagah border | Photo by Fahad Shah
Wagah border | Photo by Fahad Shah

After two cups of tea and a glass of water, I was told to go to the immigration counter, where three men, including the immigration officer, questioned me once again. At the actual gate of the border, one has to walk with one’s luggage through ‘no man’s land’. The first thing you see is a giant gate, with Baab-e-Azadi (Gate of Freedom) written over it. It is the gate into Pakistan. The city of Lahore is just a half an hour’s drive away. While driving from Wagah, looking at the people and their houses, I went into the past. I imagined what this landscape must have looked like when British India was partitioned.

I was visiting Lahore to attend a friend’s wedding. We had met as students in London a few years ago. The shaadi was in a grand hall, full of people with flamboyant clothes. Everyone I met was concerned about whether my long journey had been a pleasant one and asked about the well-being of Kashmiris.

There is one common thing between the two countries – Bollywood. From the cab at Wagah to the wedding night, Bollywood songs were the rage. My friend – the bride – and her cousins danced on ‘Kaala Chashma’ atop a lavishly lit, smoke-filled podium, while I sat sipping flavoured Kashmiri tea.

My host in Lahore was Feryal Ali Gauhar – a wonderful woman known to most of Pakistan for her work as an actor, writer and activist. It was at her house in Zaman Park, full of beautiful cats and the city’s essence, where I stayed. I was told that it was in the park outside the house that Imran Khan had played cricket as a child. The area was named after his grand uncle, Khan Bahadur Mohammed Zaman Khan. This is where his family settled after partition.

In the evenings, Gauhar and I talked about Pakistani movies, books and theatre, about Kashmir and Afghanistan. Most of our conversations were about the Kashmir dispute and I could sense the kinship every Pakistani has for the region and its people. Kashmir is ingrained into everything – from road signs and food to the debates in cafes. On the birthday of the revolutionary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, I was sitting in Lahore’s Pak Tea House, which was founded in 1932 on the famous Mall Road and had become a place for the city’s intellectuals. Faiz, Ahmed Faraz, Sadat Hassan Manto and the likes of them used to frequent the café in their day but what once a place of art and literature is now just like any other café where you get eat cheap food. From the walls, however, framed portraits of Pakistan’s poets and writers keep an eye on the proceedings.

I was here with another friend, Eshah Shakeel – a young scriptwriter, who doesn’t like Lahore’s chaotic traffic while driving her Laali, the equivalent of the Maruti 800. On our way there, we had spent more than an hour in a traffic jam, caused by the pharmaceutical business owners who had taken out a protest rally. They were protesting the Punjab government’s amendments to the Drug Act, 1976, which seeks to rid the market of spurious and dangerous drugs.

We spent the day visiting the Badshahi Mosque – a Mughal wonder built by emperor Aurangzeb in 1671; the Minar-e-Pakistan, the site where on March 23, 1940, the Lahore Resolution – the first call for a separate homeland for South Asia’s Muslims – was passed; Lahore Fort and the tomb of Allama Iqbal, poet of the East and spiritual father of Pakistan.

After eating at Cuckoo’s Den while watching the sunset, the red sandstone mosque turning orange after the lights were switched on and listening to the magrib azaan, Lahore was beginning to grow on me.

Badshahi Mosque | Photo by Fahad Shah
Badshahi Mosque | Photo by Fahad Shah

It was a beautiful day until the evening when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the protest rally near Punjab assembly, killing 16 people, including two senior police officials. A block away from the blast site, Shakeel and I had parked the car before going to the Walled City in an auto rickshaw.

In the morning, I had seen these people protesting, walking in groups, raising slogans and gathering. Now I was seeing chaos. The blast hit just when we were going back to the car, where a police vehicle and an ambulance had arrived. My phone had died and we could hear sirens and panic filling the air. We drove through Mall Road which was filled with anger and mourning. Policemen were everywhere and the roads were blocked. We saw the blast site, swarming with the OB vans of news channels and photographers with cameras flashing.

I managed to charge my phone at another café and I saw what being in Lahore could mean. There were texts and calls from friends all over the place – wondering if I was safe. Thanks to Shakeel, who had said, “Let’s walk for a while before leaving.” Otherwise, things may have been different for us.

That week, Lahore wasn’t the only city that was hit by a blast. On February 16, a suicide bomb hit Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan, killing 90 people, including 21 children. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the brutality. Lal Shahbaz Qalandar was a Sufi saint, philosopher and poet who is revered by people of all religions.

What strikes me about Pakistan is how moments of beauty are punctuated by grim reality. Something similar to Kashmir, where one finds brief moments of happiness amidst political uncertainty and grave injustice. Among those moments of happiness was meeting old friends and people I had been in touch with all these years. I spent hours talking about politics and the Afghan refugee crisis with my friend in Islamabad, whom I had met in London for the first time. She told me why Pakistan has come down hard on Afghan refugees as a consequence of the growing number of acts of terror in the country.

As a Kashmiri, if you are in Lahore or Islamabad, your origin is your identity and Pakistanis want to hear what Kashmiris have to say about life. A security guard wanted to know if we were able to buy groceries during month-long curfews. A cabby wanted to know why the Kashmir issue wasn’t being solved. A shopkeeper wanted to know if it was easy for me to come. A librarian wanted me to come back and have lunch with him. A police official during the arrival verification wanted to know if I have ever seen the holy relics at Hazratbal in Srinagar. A student wanted to know if people from my side consider Kashmiris on the Pakistan side as Kashmiris or not.

For a Kashmiri, you’re treated in a special way – more than you could be in any other place. One feels that the country and its people have some sort of affinity with Kashmiris. Many Pakistanis I met said that they want their government to do something for Kashmir, but politics is such that people on both sides are helpless. But even within this helplessness, Pakistan gives Kashmir a special status – for political reasons, but also for the shared history. Even the Pakistanis who spoke against what was happening inside their country related to Kashmir as an omnipresent part of their lives.

For me, the most memorable moments of my visit were when I met people from the Pakistan side of Kashmir. I have had friends from that part for years and spent a lot of time with them in Britain, but here it was different. A smart young student from Muzaffarabad spoke for hours about how she wants to visit Kashmir university and live in Srinagar. Another student from Muzaffarabad was just happy that we met.

Faisal Mosque | Photo by Fahad Shah
Faisal Mosque | Photo by Fahad Shah

One doesn’t feel like one is in a different country – but yes, there is a lot that changes when you cross over the border. Pakistan is not what we get to hear on the Indian media. There are people who find hope in love and want to prosper even in unfortunate times. The hospitality is unsurpassed and you cannot miss seeing the growth of the country despite its internal problems. But yes there are questions – of dissent, of unresolved issues. And looming large is the debate on how the province of Punjab seems to dominate everything.

One evening, Shakeel and I were talking about how easy it would have been to just drive across to Amritsar and return without any hassles. But no, the borders exists, and walls have come up – so high that people from both sides of Kashmir crave to see those from whom they have been divided.

My 12 day visit ended and Feryal Gauhar drove me back to Wagah. I walked into India through no man’s land, perhaps the most secure zone in the subcontinent. A small signboard announced a warning: Beware of pickpockets. Who would steal anything here? I wondered. Could memories be stolen? For memories are the only thing that we carry with us while crossing borders.

Correction: An earlier version of this article ran with the headline "When an Indian Kashmiri visits Pakistan".

This article was originally published in The Wire, India

The writer is a journalist and an editor of a digital magazine in India.

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Comments (151) Closed

De Apr 01, 2017 04:38am

You are and always will be welcome.

Himanshu chaudhary Apr 01, 2017 06:58am

Excellent article simple unbiased reporting of facts.Interesting that a "Azad Kashmir" resident was willing to reside "Ghulam Kashmur" or "India held Kashmir" .It would have been interesting if author compared the living conditions infrastructure education levels language spoken in the two kashmirs.The author should write a separate article on this, nothing is perfect but we can honestly know pros & cons of 2 kashmirs.Very sublte and touching article writte with full honesty

Raina Aaqib from Sonamarg Kashmir Apr 01, 2017 07:17am

beutifully penned down your journey.... love from the land of martyrs IoK

Utpal Apr 01, 2017 08:28am

The author is very intelligently narrated his experience. I beg to defer his comments regarding the newspapers' news regarding Pakistan.... Practically Indian newspaper blame Pakistan for harboring terrorism, but never it blames to common people, they are always considered Hospitable, warm to Indian guest etc.

R S Chakravarti Apr 01, 2017 08:28am

Khushwant Singh, the renowned journalist and authority on Sikh history, grew up in Lahore. He and his teammates used to cycle to Amritsar, play a match and return in the evening. If relations improve, such things could happen again.

Sachin Apr 01, 2017 08:40am

Nice write up. Welcome back to home sweet home.

Gajanan Apte Apr 01, 2017 08:41am

Good article by the author. Nice to see that people are moving free.

Noted that author has to witness protest rallies, bomb blasts etc.. Sad moments. Hope the author will not keep remembering these things.

sANJAY SHARMA Apr 01, 2017 08:48am

Unbiased reportage. The writer has had a nice visit of Lahore and brings back fond memories. He will keep it forever. I heard from Late Jaman Lal Sharma, the great Indian Hockey player and Olympian, that Pakistanis are wonderful host and Lahore is the most lively city in sub-continent. The writer's reportage is a window of Pakistan and her people. Thanks for sharing.

nadir baloach Apr 01, 2017 08:48am

thanks i always wanted to know what if Occupied side Kashmiri visit Pakistan? Thanks Dawn you made my day.

Reader Apr 01, 2017 09:03am

Nice article. Pakistan and India should be natural allies and friends. They are kept apart by leaders and bureaucrats who seek discord as means to further their power over the hapless people. They should have soft borders with ease of travel and work on both sides.

haider Apr 01, 2017 09:16am

a lovely read early morning. nice article

Zealot Apr 01, 2017 09:29am

CORRECT PLEASE.When a Kashmiri from INDIAN Occupied Kashmir Visit Pakistan.....

kaliraja thangamani Apr 01, 2017 09:38am

A very nice article. Thanks.

vimal Apr 01, 2017 09:38am

you should stay back sir

fari Apr 01, 2017 09:44am


tahir Apr 01, 2017 09:48am

Being a kashmiri, one is used to be seen with suspicious eyes in India. Although my personal experience with majority of people i have dealt with in India has been good, but its sad to be seen as a suspect by those you dont share a personal rapport with, and even with those, there is a hidden tension because you have to constantly hide your feelings about India from them. Having met Pakistanis first time in Saudi Arabia, i was truly amazed by how welcoming they were for us, their concern for our cause and the freedom to express ourselves. I got the sense of freedom for the first time in my life, unfortunately outside the country of my birth.

ali Apr 01, 2017 09:52am

so emotional

showkat Apr 01, 2017 09:57am

pakistan is safest place for kashmiris. love you pakistan

Rajendra Nirgudwar Apr 01, 2017 10:02am

Dear friend undivided India was a beautiful nation. British know capacity of Indian culture , freedom struggle , Peaceful resolution systems of Mohandas Karmchand Gandhi. Our previous leader caught in trap of British and divide our beautiful nation. Now media , politics , terrorist and other country China , US continously divide culture , brotherhood of nation for their self interest.

ISMAIL Apr 01, 2017 10:06am

" Pakistan is not what we get to hear on the Indian media " very true !!! Indian media is fooling everyone.. perhaps people in India wants to listen such things and media wants one thing " TRP"

hassan Apr 01, 2017 10:10am

We Pakistanis feel good about championing rights of Kashmiris, who are quite far away from us. At the same time, we want to deny the people of Karachi their fundamental rights by not giving their elected representatives any real representation. Theory and practice seem not to jell together much.

Zak Apr 01, 2017 10:11am

Occupations never last, your occupied kashmir will be free and will join pakistan one day. Then you can have your meal in Sri Nagar but as a Pakistani citizen, in Pakistan,InshAllah.

ADam Apr 01, 2017 10:16am

Love this article !!! Pakistanis love everyone but KASHMIR is special

Abdul Apr 01, 2017 10:18am

As an Indian first, I would always be loyal to this great country which has given me all rights, safety and a freedom. Then I am kashmiri, I no matter of my religion an Indian. I am muslim and will be first Indian.

Deepak kumar Apr 01, 2017 10:20am

Nice write-up !! May we all grow in our tolerance and understanding !!

Tarun Apr 01, 2017 10:25am

Well written. Its hard to find much difference between the living of these two countries but politicians managed to find one and divided this nation.

Muskteer Apr 01, 2017 10:37am

I knew that much without even visiting pakistan... there are equally desperate people here who want to visit this country and walk on its soil and explore the country....[[[MEMORY]]] I remember when I was a kid, I thought pakistan was behind those distant popular trees It was like a mirage I and my friends would chase in fields We would discuss secretly from our parents/elders about how travelling towards the direction of setting sun will take us pakistan I don't exactly remember who filled my mind with this craze for country(i think it came naturally)... We were also watching bollywood movies and we loved them However those movies unusually didn't evoke any appreciation from our minds when villain sometimes a pakistani was killed by indian hero they didn't make us hate pakistan... The upbriging in a conflict zone teaches so many things...

KT Apr 01, 2017 10:43am

It is true in Western countries UK USA or Europe sub-continent people [ Asians ] all stay together in community and exchange visits during festivals. They will continue with their successive generation to stay and remember their homeland. I propose Kashmir with all parts be one independent land where visitors of neighboring countries will be allowed without any visa charges.

Sampath Apr 01, 2017 10:44am

If only people are allowed to get together without politics, world will be far better. A moving write-up.

Niaz H. Jafri Apr 01, 2017 10:46am

Many thanks for publishing this wonderful piece! Anything that helps in bringing the people of India & Pakistan closer is always welcome and is special indeed. There is certainly more for us to connect with each other than disconnect with each other. We, the people of the subcontinent, really do need to understand each other well and media has a big role to play in it. Keep coming up with the stories of love, hope, peace, understanding, tolerance, and harmony in these strange times of the media landscape of both in India and Pakistan. May peace prevail between India & Pakistan ! Aameen More power to 'HERALD (Pakistan)' ! More power to 'THE WIRE (India)' !

PrakashG Apr 01, 2017 10:53am

Rare to see such a beautiful and unmarred-by-judgment article about Kashmir and Pakistan, and rarer still to see it coming from a Kashmiri.

FRANK Apr 01, 2017 10:56am

"..Kashmir, where one finds brief moments of happiness amidst political uncertainty and grave injustice.."

Saikiran tanniru Apr 01, 2017 11:06am

And India is not what you get to hear on the Pakistan media

Bilal Apr 01, 2017 11:10am

When an "indian occupied kashmiri" visits Pakistan. Very nice.

Major Apr 01, 2017 11:12am

Did any one ask about plight of the kashmiri pandits?

Indian Apr 01, 2017 11:29am

Great article. When common sense will prevail all over, things will settle down. Man has history to fight over a piece of land. We need prosperity for our children, our next generation- environment free of hatred whether its Kashmir, Delhi, Bangalore or Lahore. I know so many Kashmiri bothers who are doing excellent professionally in cities like bangalore and other professionals hubs in India. I look forward to open borders and brotherhood. Till then, let's be careful, cautious and pray for better times

Akbar Apr 01, 2017 11:33am

A very interesting article. The author has shown the desperate need for serious consideration, by the rulers, of the welfare of all the people of the sub continent. Sadly this does not seem likely at the moment.

Aqeel Ahmad Apr 01, 2017 11:43am

Indian Kashmir. Interesting.

I work for a multi-national company in UAE and have some Kashmiri friends. I have the same feeling for them as Fahad expressed people showed me for him. We, Pakistanis, have a special feeling for every Kashmiri either it comes under India or Pakistani occupied territory. I really wish to visit the whole Kashmir if the political situation permits.

Ashraf Chopan Apr 01, 2017 11:44am

I am a Kashmiri from Indian side. While reading this article, i couldn't stop those subtle smiles, gushing emotions and long hushes.....

The writer/traveller is indeed very fortunate. I don't know how many times i have walked down those raods in my imagination since the day i have heard someplace named 'Pakistan'.

Fawwad Apr 01, 2017 11:50am

Good article.

Although he mentions that he was questioned by the immigration authorities twice, and it seems that was done on the Indian side, he should have clearly mentioned it.

On the Pakistani side the immigration and customs people are much nicer. Even my Indian Sikh friends say so. They always have a bad experience on their own side, the Indian side.

Mohit Apr 01, 2017 11:54am

Try to do something for the human community instead of showing the pain you do not have.

Helloworld Apr 01, 2017 11:56am

While you were there, did you apply for Pakistani citizenship?

MG Apr 01, 2017 11:57am

'While driving from Wagah, looking at the people and their houses, I went into the past. I imagined what this landscape must have looked like when British India was partitioned' sums up stating Pakistan did not move anything since 1947. India moved ahead in right path.

Sarwagya Raj Pandey Apr 01, 2017 12:00pm

Full of nostalgia. One can only wonder how it must feel to see so friends and near ones divided. The Kashmiris have so much in common to the people of Pakistanis too, and the Sindhis and punjabis with the Indian side of Punjab and Rajasthan. Politics has ruined our society.

Pune-India Apr 01, 2017 12:01pm

Same thing...whatever he seen in Pakistan same in India only the difference Pakistan's 20 crore Muslims are in Majority while India's 25 crore Muslims are living in Biodiversity in a composite Indian society

MD. NURUL HUDA Apr 01, 2017 12:12pm

India is India, No Place in the universe can match the beauty, diversity of India. We are proud that we were born in such a great land.

Garry Apr 01, 2017 12:23pm

Along with that, Have you been able to convince them that you are getting the best quality grocery? Lets see how much neutral you are

Dr Apr 01, 2017 12:34pm

What do u mean by Indian Kashmiri???? Kashmiri is Kashmiri...

N Gujaranwala Apr 01, 2017 12:38pm

Let Kashmiri from Pakistan side visit India and write his experience I am sure the media that reports about India will be quite different from Kashmiri's point of view.

Imran Apr 01, 2017 12:40pm

We suffered for more than ten years because of security situation. But things are improving rapidly. Pakistan and Pakistani people are beautiful. And our support and love to Kashmiris will be always there. Writer had some reserve words to express some feelings as I can understand because off course he lives "Indian occupied Kashmir".

Abdulla Hussain Apr 01, 2017 12:43pm

Pakistan welcomes you my friend, it is only the authority being careful. Not for a single moment do we consider Kashmiris from Indian held Kashmir as different than us, you are one of us.

Komal S Apr 01, 2017 12:55pm

Good article, no political overtones, just his experience.

NVV Apr 01, 2017 12:57pm

Thanks Dawn for this story. It was free from the typical rhetorics.

khan Zada Apr 01, 2017 12:58pm

" And Pakistan is not what we get to hear on the Indian media " very true !!!

Dilipkumar Patel Apr 01, 2017 12:58pm

The irony of it all. "From the cab at Wagah to the wedding night, Bollywood songs were the rage.". Governments will never provide peace to individuals, but individuals can and should provide peace to each other without taking into consideration the race,creed,color,religion or cultural background into consideration.

Chirag Patel Apr 01, 2017 12:59pm

@Bilal you need to read international history to understand who is the occupier

N.Sid Apr 01, 2017 01:02pm

@Saikiran tanniru Pakistan media most of the time gives positive news articles about India, including DAWN...if you are a regular will agree.

Yes there are a few anti Hindutva related articles or about saffron surge kind of news, but these kind of news also appears in Indian leftist media and many western countries media as well.

All I see is distorted and concocted news about Pakistan in Indian media...this is the reason for lopsided opinion of Indians and there lack of knowledge about Pakistan. People here know more about India than vice versa.

Vijay B; Apr 01, 2017 01:09pm

Fahad Shah, a bit out of the ordinary for a Pakistani female inviting a male "dost," and that too from across the border, to her wedding wouldn't you say? Glad to know you were invited and had a great time over there. While comparing the daily life in your side of Kashmir to thst of their side, you made no mention of the extreme " progress" like a new railroad, new tunnels, and many other infrastructure improvements in "Maqboosa Kashmir" as opposed to "Azad Kashmir" to your friends and other people in Pakistan?

human Apr 01, 2017 01:10pm

Kashmiris are suffering a lot!! Bcoz of india and pakistan

Jaihind Apr 01, 2017 01:11pm

It's is human to see greener pastures on other side of wall. Your are an example of how people fall for false show of concern from those who should be first concerned with their country's depravity.

munshi Apr 01, 2017 01:20pm

Good feelings.....Kashmir and Kashmiris get so much affection in Pakistan and affection in well nurtured to keep Kashmiris away from India and Indian. want to check....? Disclose somehow that you want to become Independent Country including so call Azad Kashmir, you may notice the tectonic shift in their attitude towards you.....but yes general public is very nice like we see in India. Good signt seeing in Pakistan.

Rajesh Apr 01, 2017 01:21pm

Only common between Kashmir and Pakistan is religion. Otherwise both have different ethnicity.

Kashmir Apr 01, 2017 01:22pm

As indian I am happy living with my 3 wives and 8 transportation businesses is doing well with better roads and rails in kashmir. Thanks dawn.

P kumar Apr 01, 2017 01:34pm

Well written and mature. Pakistan is a safe place for kashmiris,shia,ahmadiya,hindu and sufi

Qasim Apr 01, 2017 01:44pm

Nice one...Stay happy and bless...IA one day IHK will be part of Pakistan..

Aaqib Javid Apr 01, 2017 01:51pm

Don't know much about him and his trip... But i am cent percent sure I will cry when I will be there #EmotionalBursts #lovepk

Syam Apr 01, 2017 01:55pm

@showkat what about others? Not sure? If Iuck is there, then OK otherwise God knows.

Mahen Apr 01, 2017 02:11pm

Now that he has seen and felt both countries, would he go to Pakistan to live?

Xyz Apr 01, 2017 02:23pm

@Bilal jai hind

jan Apr 01, 2017 02:24pm

you are lucky your host was a actor feryal gauri when we people from Mirpur ak visit Lahore our host is a pick pockets , looking to rob us

arun jalali Apr 01, 2017 02:30pm

@Bilal read the title again

Jehangir Apr 01, 2017 02:37pm

Would he want to stay back?

Naeem Apr 01, 2017 02:40pm

@Rajesh Your are strongly requested to visit Pakistan and then comment on this matter. Do you know half of Kashmiris are in Pakistan including the ruling family is Kashmiri plus half the cabinet is Kashmiri. It's those Kashmiris in Pakistan, who want the whole of Kashmir to be Pakistan. Today 40 to 50 % of Punjab culture is Kashmiri

Tariq, Lahore Apr 01, 2017 02:56pm

A candid, heart felt perspective of Lahore and the people of Pakistan generally as regards ‘maqbooza Kashmir’ and it's people!

Mohit Apr 01, 2017 02:59pm

@KT Sir it only India

Asif Apr 01, 2017 03:03pm

@Abdul salute to you my dear friend..Yes we are INDIANS first and then Muslims . No matter what India will be our first priority and life .

Proud to be an INDIAN ( Jai Hind )

Asif New Delhi

N.Sid Apr 01, 2017 03:15pm

@Vijay B; You missed the writers note: "Pakistan is not what we get to hear on the Indian media. There are people who find hope in love and want to prosper even in unfortunate times. The hospitality is unsurpassed and you cannot miss seeing the growth of the country despite its internal problems."

About time India get to know Pakistan in real, and not what is shown in Indian media.

MUHAMAMAD Apr 01, 2017 03:59pm

@Rajesh atleast we have that in common between us. U dont even have that in common with them.

AK Apr 01, 2017 04:00pm

Kashmir and Pakistan are ONE!

aamchi mumbai Apr 01, 2017 04:01pm

@Abdul Me too Bro. India first. Love our India & its people.

Mohit Apr 01, 2017 04:01pm

@Abdul Thanks Abdul. A few like you can save prestige of India

Khwarizmi Apr 01, 2017 04:14pm

There is no such thing as an "Indian Kashmiri". Kashmiris are Muslims and Pakistanis who are under Indian occupation.

Iftikhar Husain Apr 01, 2017 04:33pm

It is nice to read the sentiments of this young gentleman we can only hope that one day we will be united,

MUHAMAMAD Apr 01, 2017 04:37pm

@Pune-India pakistani muslims are not living in any sort of hell (which appears to be your perception apparently). Yes we have our problems but we are happy. P.S indian muslim pop is 190 mn not 250 million. (14.2% of 1300 million).

@MG, "Pakistan did not move anything since 1947. India moved ahead in right path". What makes u think that?! The writer did not make any such inference. Again cant blame u, u appear to be too much influenced by negative propaganda. We inherited the least developed parts of british india thus we have come a long way from there.

@Vijay B, roads and rails are not the only thing which gives an indicator of happiness. u can write whatever u want regarding the so called progress but deep down u know that all is not well there and there is a huge segment of population which is unhappy iwht indian govt. Atleast ppl of azad kashmir dont harbor separatist feelings towards pakistan. PS azad kashmir too has seen development in recent times esp in the tourism sector

Salman Apr 01, 2017 04:45pm

A refreshingly objective article. Unfortunate that you came during a brutal week. Borders divide, and politics divides absolutely..

Abdul Abbasi Apr 01, 2017 04:47pm

It depends where you are from. Pakistan is a big country. If you are from Islamabad you would feel an attachment to Kashmir. If you are a Sindhi like me then Kashmir does not tug at your heart strings.

MUHAMAMAD Apr 01, 2017 04:49pm

@Pune-India pakistani muslims are not living in any sort of hell (which appears to be your perception apparently). Yes we have our problems but we are happy. P.S indian muslim pop is 190 mn not 250 million. (14.2% of 1300 million).

@MG, "Pakistan did not move anything since 1947. India moved ahead in right path". What makes u think that?! The writer did not make any such inference. Again cant blame u, u appear to be too much influenced by negative propaganda. We inherited the least developed parts of british india thus we have come a long way from there. Come to pakistan and see for yourself.

@Vijay B, u can write whatever u want regarding the so called progress but deep down u know that all is not well there and there is a huge segment of population which is unhappy wiht indian govt. Atleast ppl of azad kashmir dont harbor separatist feelings towards pakistan. PS azad kashmir too has seen development in recent times esp in the tourism sector

Sarwat Apr 01, 2017 04:51pm

Dear Mr. Fahad Shah, heading of your article could have been a little better. Good article overall though.

Pakistani Apr 01, 2017 05:12pm

You are very welcome! It is also your country. Pakistanis always welcome our brother Kashmiris from the other side!

a Apr 01, 2017 05:29pm

@R S Chakravarti Lahore is 69 kms from Amritsar by road ! Can you cycle 140 kms and that too in a day ??

Manish Apr 01, 2017 05:29pm

@Reader they should be one country

shahryar shirazi Apr 01, 2017 05:36pm

@Himanshu chaudhary Author already covered what you are craving for. He did say Pakistan is not what you hear on Indian media, Arnab Goswamis show, Zee's TRP obsessed Taal thok kay etc. It is right wingers like you who will never let peace prevail. The author chose to live in Indian occupied territory because he was not given a chance to decide for him self. The hasty retreat by the British is why the author lives under Nazi styple occupations where kids are shot blind.

Abrar hakim Apr 01, 2017 05:37pm

Hats off to the author. A well articulated article written. Being victim of dirty politics, the two nations are poles apart

ADam Apr 01, 2017 06:12pm

@Abdul Abbasi i challenge he is not a Sindhi, i'm !! We love you

Tahir rehmatullah Apr 01, 2017 06:39pm

@Major saab ,while it's true and sad that kashmiri pundits got displaced, but at least they had the rest of the country welcoming them, providing reservation in education and jobs, to the extent,that at present many of them would now rather stay in Delhi rather than move back to kashmir. But what about the rest of the valley inhabitants, many of whom also fled the violence and majority of whom had to endure the violent repression.they had no where to go,as they were viewed with suspicion everywhere.

Ustad Apr 01, 2017 06:43pm

Nice article at the human level, highlights the stupidity and ego of the nation state

Niaz H. Jafri Apr 01, 2017 07:51pm

@hassan Spot on !

Mohmad Apr 01, 2017 07:53pm

Thank you, Pakistan.

apoorva Apr 01, 2017 08:06pm

@Fawwad bro what happened with our two Muslim brothers fro. Delhi when they were in Karachi

Sid Apr 01, 2017 08:12pm

@Abdul great abdul

vorshal Apr 01, 2017 08:13pm

@Ashraf Chopan -- Beware of the dreams! We all have our experiences in this life, and no two are the same and similar!

fairness Apr 01, 2017 08:53pm

My Pakistan is and always shall be your home. Whatever may the future hold, I wish all my Kashmiri brothers and sisters a happy future.

Farhan Apr 01, 2017 09:26pm

@showkat There are no hospitals, schools, roads in Azad Kashmir. How you can say safe friend?

Paul juneja Apr 01, 2017 09:32pm

Pakistani Punjabis are the best host. I was in Lahore back in 1987 to watch India - Pakistan cricket match and I along with my friend were going to stay at a hotel but after the host friend who we met 1st time at the hotel insisted us to live at his home. It was a wonderful experience staying with someone for a week who we had just seen on a friend's recommendation. They spent the whole time with us, showed us different places in Lahore. I would never forget that whole heartily welcome they provided us. There was one irritant almost at the end of our trip that we went to a video shop to rent a movie and a guy there who claimed himself a retired army man offered to my friend 'training' and proudly claimed he has provided training to many guys from Indian Punjab which was boiling with terrorism at that time.

Apart from that it was a beautiful experience worth remembering for rest of of my life and truly there can no better hosts than Lahoris.

Rashid Sultan Apr 01, 2017 09:32pm

@Dr Kashmir is and in the union of India.

Sohan Apr 01, 2017 09:33pm

Most of the world media is there to serve a certain propaganda for someone. It is very selective to say the least.

Rashid Sultan Apr 01, 2017 09:41pm

@human I am an Indian Kashmiri Muslim. I am happy for my family in India. They are very happy, educated and not religious bigots.

uet Apr 01, 2017 09:48pm

Writer is making too much of attachment for kashmir in Pakistan. It mostly exists in northern Punjab where there are plenty of Kashmiris living. They are successful and influential community in Northern Punjab, Most of national assembly members in cities on GT Road from Lahore to Rawalpindi are kashmiris. If you step out of Urban enclaves of northern Punjab, you will not find much mention of Kashmir.

Usman Apr 01, 2017 09:51pm

@P kumar what has Kashmiris has anything common with Indians. Lots of Kashmiri has immigrated to Punjab in 18th and 19th century. Present prime minister and chief minister of Punjab are of a Kashmiri origin.

Insaafian Apr 01, 2017 09:59pm

@munshi Your comment explains the ignorance about the whole situation because of what is fed to you by the Indian media. If you give Kashmiris the sense of freedom(independence), they will align with you. Kashmiris on both side know this very well - if they want it, Pakistan will give them independence but will never let them fall in the hands of Indian tyrants.

parvez Apr 01, 2017 10:06pm

"The partition of British India was ruthless, it divided villages, towns and families but gave birth to a new country – the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. " Do we ever wonder why the relations are not healthy and where the 'ruthlessness' came from?

HYDERABADI Apr 01, 2017 10:22pm

Wish everyone from both countries could move freely, but then again the politicians can not survive without hatred between nations hence this mess.

Mir Apr 01, 2017 10:30pm

Nicely written but should have some perspective for all attachment to kashmir in lahore. There been historically significant kashmir community in lahore and other cities in towns adjacent to kashmir. They are politically ,economically quite successful in these towns and cities in punjab. If yu move away from these towns yu don't find much mention of kashmir. For instance first and last elected pre partition mayor of lahore was kashmiri origin and so are present rulers sharifs.

sal the reader Apr 01, 2017 11:03pm

Nice write up, but seems more factual than an opinion piece.

Where is the author's response to the burning question that he seems to get asked by locals when visiting Lahore? i.e. How's life on the other side for Kashmiris?

No sense having an enemy on the eastern front when the people themselves seem completely OBLIVIOUS and ALOOF to the immense sacrifice that Pakistan has paid economically and politically, both domestically and internationally, for the Kashmiri struggle over the PAST 70 years!!!

Time to move on and focus on domestic issues like corruption and power generation.

gknatarajan Apr 01, 2017 11:42pm

@hassan you have hit the "nail on the head"

akzis Apr 02, 2017 12:34am

let's call it Occupied Kashmir instead of Indian Kashmir. Thanks

Dr. Ramesh Sharma Apr 02, 2017 12:39am

@showkat Kashmiris will be safe in Pakistan like most of the Pakistanis.

Dr. Ramesh Sharma Apr 02, 2017 12:50am

@Helloworld Good question to ask him. Many Pakistanis apply for Indian citizenship and in many cases they are able to get Indian citizenship. I am sure he should have been able to get it.

Uday Kulkarni Apr 02, 2017 02:30am

@Tahir rehmatullah - I wish to remind you sir that there are no special reservations anywhere in India for Kashmiri Pandits who got displaced from Kashmir and their situation is no different than any other displaced Kashmiri whether Hindu or Muslim. Both have same or similar agonies and difficulties to face when they got uprooted from their lands for whatever reasons.

Saad Apr 02, 2017 03:26am

@tahir Your comment made my day. InshaAllah Kashmir will be free one day soon. Whether it is with Pakistan or as an independent nation. We Pakistanis want and will support whatever the Kashmiri people want.

MG-Washington Apr 02, 2017 03:55am

I wonder what would be the experience and conversation if the visitor was a Kashmiri Pandit displaced from Kashmir.

Khwarizmi Apr 02, 2017 04:45am

Pakistan the mother country of Kashmir who gained independence for the Muslim majority states of India.

Sheikh faizan Apr 02, 2017 05:55am

Wonderfully portrayed fahad... Kudos

Shakil Apr 02, 2017 06:39am

@Ashraf Chopan Inshallah one day it will be reality!

BHAGWAT GOEL Apr 02, 2017 08:43am


Prasad Apr 02, 2017 08:57am

Lahore was known in ancient times as Lavapuri ("City of Lava" in Sanskrit), was founded by Prince Lava or Loh, the son of Rama.

Sky Apr 02, 2017 10:48am

On both sides of the border there is a mix of good and bad, like on any part of the World. Media sometimes chooses or forced to sell certain content and create a boogie. Readers should assimilate information from multiple sources and listen from credible experts on the subjects with open mind. BBC has a beautiful documentary on Indo pak rail on YouTube, worth watching.

Optimistic Pakistani Apr 02, 2017 10:56am

@Indian well said bro... hope peace will prevail

SHUAIB Apr 02, 2017 11:39am

Good one, and you are always welcome brother Pakistan is a land of peace and love.

Jehanzeb Idrees Apr 02, 2017 11:42am

@munshi: A comment by another "expert" on Pakistan who has never been there. Munshi sahab, sorry to break your mood but Pakistanis understand the meaning of 'right of self-determination' we, as a nation, understand it well that Kashmir can go its seperate way as well.

I think its time for you to understand it too.

Rangarajan Raghavachari Apr 02, 2017 06:44pm

Wonder what is the purpose of sharing such a poor piece..Grow up..India has moved miles ahead..Instead of wasting your time in pakistan you should visit different parts of Bharat which is going to be third largest economy in 2030..Getting into self pity and glorification is harmful..I met kashminis in Dubai two decades back..What struck me was their low awareness about what is happening in world allowing themselves to be exploited across the border dislocating peace and tranquility in India..Recently 500 kashmiris were taken to different parts of India and after one month they were very confident and openly said in the valley they are exploited by the Huriyat thugs who commanded no support but more a nuisance to those who want to educate their children and develop their scientific knowledge..This is the way to go..India is a modern,developing society and integrate and reap the fruits..Going to feudal societies can be nostalgic memory but serves no purpose..Move on..Don't live like a frog in nutshell and broaden your horizon and you will see the difference..

Random Indian Apr 02, 2017 07:34pm

Fahad, this is a well written article, very objective and lets the reader relive your experience. No doubt there was a lot of hospitality, concern and love extended to you. And no doubt Pakistan is vilified in Indian media, when it is widely known and accepted that they are the most hospitable hosts. It's a good thing that you are a good looking Kashmiri, and you visited the upper crust areas of Lahore. Too bad this elite class didn't feel the same kind of kinship towards the short, dark, fish eating Bengalis 45 years ago. Or towards the lower class toilers in their large holdings of land. Or towards the distant and hot provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan. When I was a kid my neighbours would feed me sweets, let me watch TV in their house and be really kind to me; my parents were strict and fed me usual dal roti stuff. But I wouldn't be where I am without my parents to whom I owe everything.

Ishita jain Apr 02, 2017 11:25pm

@Himanshu chaudhary This article is not aimed to compare the 2 countries on any particular intellectual topic or a series of those, but it is about a person going there and exploring the lifestyle of that area... imagining himself to be one. So it would be wise to keep those topics aside and enjoy and respect what he has written. That's just my say, don't take it seriously or personally.

Moe Apr 03, 2017 01:39am

@sal the reader Nice comments.

Dr. Ramesh Sharma Apr 03, 2017 04:16am

@N.Sid Most people living in India and Pakistan know little about each other as they get the information from their biased media. However those who live outside the subcontinent are very fond of each other. Please come and see how friendly we both are in neutral countries. We share our happiness and sorrows together. It is sad same people who each others throat and leave opportunity to ridicule each other live like friend in other countries.

Old coins Apr 03, 2017 05:29am

Nov 9, 1989 Berlin Wall falls,and people from East Germany were allowed to see their West Germany,or to one piece Germany. People of East Germany were amazed to see totally different roads,buildings, in west,which reflects a highly developed,and a rich European country expensive Mercedes,BMW,Audi cars plying on roads,while visiting E.Germans have Vaz Zhiguli,Vaz Niva cars which inadvertently they parked on No Parking spaces in W.Berlin,after they return from superb shopping markets,they found amazingly a fruit basket on their cars bonnet with requests to park their car at parking place next time.This continued for a long untill E.German well joined the West.Now we turn to actual subject Kashmir,if we had in 70 years developed the AJK like W.Germany,and proved to world,look how developed and properous AJK is,the IOK people may have urge India to let them join AJK,so far nothing change on either side, and instead humanitarian approach,political approach is seen. Resolve thru talks plz.

Rajkumar Apr 03, 2017 06:11am

Awesome peace of a travelogue cum memories. Loved to read the ever present hospitality on the both sides.

Indian Apr 03, 2017 07:16am

Oh so initially this article was published in Indian newspaper. .and author says we hear only negative news about pakistan is Indian media :)

R S Chakravarti Apr 03, 2017 08:00am

@Indian You have put it perfectly. There are Kashmiris doing business at all the beaches in India which are visited by tourists, domestic and foreign. It would be ridiculous to assume that most of them want to be Pakistani.

R S Chakravarti Apr 03, 2017 08:01am

@Zak You have decided that he will be Pakistani, but you talk about freedom! I say he is a free Indian, just as I am.

R S Chakravarti Apr 03, 2017 08:13am

@a Khushwant Singh himself wrote about cycling to Amritsar and back, or he said it in an interview. I am surely not the only person who read this!

Harambe of Cincinnati Apr 03, 2017 08:53am

@hassan ; You should let go and keep "AJK" and live in peace with yourselves.

Iqbal, Srinagar Apr 03, 2017 09:22am

@tahir Feel free to move where you feel more comfortable. No one is stopping you.

USMAN Apr 03, 2017 11:31am

@hassan unlike our fellow Pakistanis the problem with our neighbors is that they cannot take criticism instead start attacking the author because what he wrote is contrary to what is told by their state and media on Pakistan our friends need to come of out of this mindset.

AQ Apr 03, 2017 03:34pm

@hassan You seems to like India.

Zak Apr 03, 2017 04:07pm

@Chirag Patel you need to see the flames in Sri Nagar to see who is the occupier and which flags are flown by the kashmiris on the streets. Dont live in distorted history but read the truth on this forum and go back and educate your people in the realities and the truth. Benefit from this forum, not shut the brain to what is.

Zak Apr 03, 2017 04:11pm

@Major Yes, all 50,000 kashmiri pundits were asked and they are very happy to return to kashmir after UN plebiscite.

Zak Apr 03, 2017 04:15pm

@R S Chakravarti I say he will be Pakistani, as the results of the UN Kashmir pelbiscite is glaringly obvious. That is why India is scared to honour an agreement it signed, of the UN plebiscite. Kashmiris will be free to chose their destiny, but you from a foreign country should not dictate to nationals of other countries like kashmir, still pending final status by UN. We Pakistanis want peace for kashmiris under indian occupation. we say let UN plebiscite begin, why are you running from it. And oh yes, lets not distort facts on legalities, this is called avoiding tactics. be brave, support a UN administered plebiscite.

jaws Apr 04, 2017 12:39pm

@Rajesh check the ethnicity of our prime minister, our defense minister our finance minister and our railway minister and talk about the difference of ethnicity between Pakistanis and kashmiris

Mustafa Apr 04, 2017 04:13pm

"A smart young student from Muzaffarabad spoke for hours about how she wants to visit Kashmir university and live in Srinagar"

One would assume that the student has a clear idea about what Indian Kashmir can offer her. This one sentence says it all.

Rajesh Apr 06, 2017 12:06pm

@Abdul Thats nice bro