Charpoy overlooking Mt. Rapakoshi

Pakistan Photo Gallery

Pakistan -- 1990

In 1990 and 1991 I made a little trip around the world. Pakistan was in between the Middle-East and India; and I spent two-and-a-half months there in the summer of 1990. I also popped up over the Karakoram Highway to Kashgar in western China, and back again.  Here are the pics...  This gallery is broken into 6 separate web pages for easier loading.
Context Map
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Pakistan Context Map

All photos copyright© 1990-2013 by Randy R. Johnson

Indexed Links to:

  Rawalpindi    Darra - Gun Village    Kalash Valley    Kalash Harvest Dance    Bumburet Valley    Swat Valley    Gilgit    Hunza Valley    Around Karmiabad    Altit Village    Ultar Glacier    Ashura Festival    Up the Karakoram Hiway    Into China    Mt. Muztagh Ata & KaraKuli    Mt. Kongur & Ghez   
  On to Kashgar!    

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Rawalpindi:   Street scenes of 'Pindi, mostly around the Sadar Bazaar area.  Left: Tonga (horse cart) and bus.  Right: Another of the amazingly festooned Pakistani buses.

Rawalpindi:   More street scenes of 'Pindi.    Left: The Sadar Mosque, a tonga, the tonga 'station' to the left, and 'Suzuki' public 'bus' in front of it.  Right: Banana stall. 

Rawalpindi:   View from Hotel Al Azam, in Sadar Bazaar.  Left: The monsoon is about to arrive. Two days of downpour followed, accompanied by no electricity and no running water.  Right: Similar view in daylight. Sam Vincent visiting. 

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Darra,  North-West Frontier Province:   Darra (also Dera or Dara) is just an hour south of Peshawar in the Northwest Frontier Province.  Here craftsmen have been making guns and ammunition for over 100 years.  Left: Man on street with rifle.  Right: A lane of gun-making shops with charpoy beds outside. 

Darra:  Darra is inside the autonomous "Federally Administered Tribal Areas" of the province (see map) and has been free from Pakistani law -- and also English law -- for almost 100 years!  The Pakistani Army just won't go here! Left: Two men in a retail shop with assorted arms.  Right: Man resting on charpoy outside a gun workshop. 

Darra:  Darra is also just 40 miles from the Afghanistan border, and has done business with Afghan tribesmen for decades.  Left: Man in a workshop working on gun hardware.  Right: Boys working in a gun workshop. 

Darra:  These shops make exact copies of Chinese, Russian, Israeli, and US weapons and ammo; they can later be sold as authentic.  The vendors can be quite friendly.  Left: Making rifle stocks in a gun workshop.  Right: Two young men pose in a gun retail shop. 

Darra:   Large rockets and artillery shells are also for sale. It is not unusual for buyers to step into the streets and shoot off weapons.  Left: "Shrine" to a Pashtun general, in a gun shop.  Right: Men with a Kalishnikov behind the town. 

Darra:   Even browsers can try a few shots for a dollar or two. I was also offered the opportunity to fire off an RPG-7 rocket launcher for $50!  Left: Randy takes a clip and fires it automatically into the hillside.  Right: Author posing with AK-47 (Kalishnikov). 

Darra:   Darra is a small town with little livlihood except guns. The police won't come here. The government office in Peshawar would not issue us permits to travel here, but they told us where to catch the bus to Darra, and advised us to leave town before dark! Left: The market scene is Darra is pretty pathetic. 

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Kalash Valley

Chitral: Gateway to the Kalash Valleys.   Chitral is a two day trip north of Peshawar, via Dir, on rugged roads that are closed all winter.  It's a small frontier town, but the largest around.  Left: Backstreets of Chitral; hammam (bath-house) on the left.  Right: From Chitral there is (often) a daily truck to the Bumburet Valley; just out of town we get the first punctured tire. 

Kalash Valleys:   The so-called "Kafir Kalash" tribal peoples live in the Bumburet (or Bomberet), Birir, and Rambur Valleys, west of Chitral and very near the Afghan border.  Left: Into the Bumburet Valley, Tirich Mir mountain in back-right.  Right: Looking south down the Bumburet Valley.

Karakal, Kalash Valley:   The village of Karakal in the Bumburet Valley is home to Kalash people, sometimes called "Kafir" or "unbelievers" by outsiders; they are non-Muslim 'pagans'.  Left: Kalash housing and corn field in Karakal.  Right: Abdul's Kalash Hotel, on the outskirts of Karakal; it may be crude, but it's also cold. Just imagine what the meals were like!

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All text and photos Copyright © 1990-2013, Randy R. Johnson, all rights reserved.