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The Times, They Are A-Changing (again)

June 26, 2013

“Or watch the things you gave your life to broken

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools”

(If – Rudyard Kipling)

I have friends here who have been learning urdu and living in Pakistan with a view to moving to work in the north of the country sometime this year.  Whilst they are both very strong Christians their plan was not to go as missionaries, but to go and help the Pakistani people in a practical way through their work in the community.  Everything they have done over the past few years has been with the aim of fulfilling that dream.

And then, early Sunday morning, armed men dressed as guides entered the base camp of Nanga Parbat, a mountain in the north of Pakistan. They shot dead 10 Chinese climbers and a Pakistani guide.  They were, apparently, Taliban who have decided to specifically target foreigners. 

Image

Nanga Parbat

Before 9/11, there were, apparently, 50,000 tourists to the beautiful northern areas of Pakistan.  Last year there were 5,000.  The FCO (UK equivalent of the State Department) now advises against all but essential travel to the area which, on a practical level, means that if you go there your travel insurance is invalid. I cannot believe there will be many visits this year by the British, or any other foreign nationality; and this is to an area which depends heavily on tourism.

There is great anger in Pakistan against the perpetrators, but it is hard to see what can be done to make it better, short of giving any potential foreign tourists the type of heavy security that would render any trip clunky and awkward in the extreme. As it is, the Pakistani media have reported that a Belgian mountaineer in the same region has disappeared.  I pray he is found soon, safe and well. 

On a personal note, we were hoping to make a trip to the north next spring when the weather is good.  In fact we were hoping to go and see our friends.  

Who knows – there may yet be a miracle and all will turn out as expected or, if not as expected, potentially even better.  As another friend said (who has lived here for a few years now), “In Pakistan things can change like ‘that’ [finger click]”. In the meantime we watch and pray….

 

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One Comment
  1. And again my worries about what to have for tea out firmly into perspective. Thank you. I add my thoughts and prayers x

    Like

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