Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Khunjerab Pass and the road into China.

The NATCO bus left Sost around 10am after we’d passed through Pakistani customs…

The journey from Sost to the Khunjerab National Park gateway at Dih passes through some of the narrowest gorges on the Karakoram Highway. We had to pay $4 to pass through the park home to the rare Marco Polo sheep and Himalayan Ibex. The road climbed for the next 50 km towards the pass, it got colder with snow and ice around. We got to see some Himalayan Ibex chasing each other across the icy hills. Just short of the pass our bus broke down! The driver and his mate opened the engine, which was to the left of his seat and started looking and poking around. When a bus passed, going the other way, the driver jumped on it without explanation and left us on the bus. Atmosphere on the bus was quite jolly for the first two hours then when it started to get colder as the sun dropped there was a little panic. “I don’t want to die here” cried Lili, only half joking. Three hours after he left, our driver returned with a mini bus and a jeep, smiling and apologising. We changed vehicles and continued, crossing the pass - one of the highest vehicle passes in the world at 4730 metres, just before sunset.

The border with China is at the pass, at which we changed from driving on the left hand side to the right, leaving The Islamic Republic of Pakistan for The People’s Republic of China.

Emergency in Pakistan

We were both shocked, but I guessed not entirely surprised, by the recent events in Pakistan with Musharaf declaring Marshal Law (Nov 3rd) and locking up opponents and critics. There are of course many different views on the future of Pakistan's Politics, most people we met had little faith in the government, army and politicians, but yearned for a stable, peaceful country where they could live their lives in peace. We hope the situation becomes more stable quickly. Pakistan is a great and beautiful country with wonderful warm people.


Pakistan Special Report by the Guardian
Timeline of events

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