Ok so here’s my take on Pakistan. Based on vast experience watching Homeland and a 2 day business casper trip to Karachi.
Based on Homeland and the usual media coverage, you would expect that whole Pakistan is a simply a huge war zone – a failed state. Ah and then again you have all the drones in the sky all the time destroying hospitals, schools and sometimes even a valid target.
After hearing stories from colleagues who actually went to Pakistan on a business trip (you will sit in a tank, a security guard with a gun next to you), I was not concerned about security so much but rather about a more or less acceptable hotel.
Before my trip, I did some research about Karachi and the latest news about Pakistan and found
- Karachi is a city with more than 20 million people (it’s the freakin 2nd largest city in the world!!!)
- Pakistan is considered a failed state. Check out this very long read at the guardian http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/21/karachi-vice-inside-city-riven-by-killings-kidnappings-and-terrorism
Still my employer has several offices there and my colleagues somehow make a living there.
The first big thing to notice after my arrival was the car. It wasn’t a ‘tank’, it was ‘only’ a regular looking, allegedly class-6 armored lexus. And the security guy – where I thought about all those ex-mercenaries, ex-special forces, … – was a random guy from the street with a security uniform and a shotgun. Ok. If someone wanted to do bad to me, they could.
Then all went pretty well – the colleagues were even nicer than on the phone / video conferences, the food was good and hey: since you’re only allowed to travel the streets during daylight hours, you have to leave the office latest at 5pm 🙂 The hotel was also more than ok – it was clean, they had good food (and yes, I actually tried mutton brain – it was yummy!!) and there was even a ‘cigar lounge’ which turned out to be a place where you can get some drinks (if you can call a Korean beer with ‘world famous hop from Germany’ a drink).
Only one time I was a little concerned about security. On the 2nd day on the way from the hotel to the office, our car was making some loud noise and then we had a flat tire. In an armored car. Ok, the driver assured me it wasn’t a flat tire but a ‘worn out stud’ but whatever that means: as a matter of fact, we could not continue our drive in the armored car and we had to change from an armored car to a ‘soft skin’ car where even the seat belts didn’t work. Heyho, at least some adventure.
All in all I always felt safe and would love to explore Pakistan a lot more. If only I could activate godmode somehow…