Pakistan is geographically in a spot that is extremely difficult to go around, with the Arabian Sea in the south, and the Himalayas in the north. Going over the Himalayas is not an option because our Tuk Tuk is not a trained mountain climber, and it would mean crossing Indo-Pakistan-Chinese borders that give way to Kashmir, which is closed off from foreigners. Going round south would mean going by boat, and to detour the Himalayas completely would mean driving all the way to the Peoples Democratic Republic of Laos.
We’ve figured we have 5 options. All of these are preliminary and we need to see how things play out a little before making any final decisions. This Bon Voyage feeling we have again, is waiting for that Carpe Diem moment, so we can strike when the time is right.
Here’s the choices.
The only roads to Iran go through Balochistan. It is the northwest province of Pakistan, bordering Afganistan in the north, and Iran in the west. The northern road from Quetta to the Iranian border town of Zahedan is the shortest and most commonly used, but it’s close to the Afganistan border and not wholly under the central governments control.
This area is known for it’s kidnappings, and foreigners are requested to have an armed convoy while travelling through.
This used to be our primary option, but now they have temporarily closed the road leading to Quetta because of the military operation against the Taliban they started last week.
2) South Balochistan
The southern road would probably be the safer route, but as far as we know, the road and the border crossing is closed for foreigners. The only way to find out if it’s passable is to go and try.
Eastern Pakistan is relatively safe and we could cross from Amritsar to Lahore, drive south to Karachi, hire a dhow, and sail to Iran. This would allow us to learn a little about Pakistani food, and the sea voyage would be short as possible.
The problem with this option is that yesterday Mr. Tahir-Ul-Qadri arrived to Pakistan and added some flavour to the situation.
Tahir-Ul-Qadri is a cleric turned politician, and the leader of a moderate Islamic Party. He vows for a peaceful revolution, but his arrival to Pakistan seemed to have brought more tension than peace. His flight was diverted from Islamabad to Lahore because of clashes between his supporters and police in Islamabad.
This means that our visas are pending until the situation in Lahore is clear. We have 2 more options just incase.
We’ve heard rumours that there is a ferry link between India and UAE. We’ve heard of one ferry going Chennai-Karachi-Dubai, and one Mumbai-Karachi-Dubai. Mumbai is far south, and Chennai even further, and it will take us days to drive there. This option would be risking it, because it is based on a rumour.
This leaves us with the final choice.
5) Shipping from India
We will do all we can to not do this again, but life’s not always fair is it.
Our closest port for shipping is in Ahmedabad, but Mumbai seems to have more options. Both are south and in the monsoon area, so time is not on our side.
This is the list so far and the best we’ve come up with. None of these options seem like a good one for the moment, so if anyone knows a thing or two that we don’t, now would be the opportune time to speak up.