Destination: Pakistan

Pakistan Grounds All Flights

The order comes in response to multiple bomb threats aimed at airports across the troubled country, the Telegraph reports. Benazir Bhutto International Airport has been evacuated, and the national civil aviation authority has declared a state of emergency.

Disaster on K2: ‘Now I Really Realize That Everyone Here Has Died’

The AP reports on the last man to reach base camp at K2—grateful to be alive, his toes frostbitten—after falling ice resulted in the deaths of 11 climbers. Among the creepy details emerging from the scene: at least one climber apparently froze to death while hanging upside down from a rope, the Telegraph reports. And this, from a Dutch survivor: “Everybody was fighting for himself and I still do not understand why everybody was leaving each other.” The mountain is known among climbers for posing a greater challenge than Everest. Climber Ed Viesturs called it “the holy grail of mountains.”

Trekking on the Afghanistan-Pakistan Border

This week, the Observer’s Howard Marks is the latest travel writer to brave a trip to Afghanistan, for a trek along the Afghan-Pakistan frontier. The most striking thing about his return to the country, 20 years after his last visit? The nonchalance of locals. “There have been great changes since your last visit,” one old acquaintance told him. “So, would you like to buy a gun?”

Riding the Rails in Iran and Beyond

Interesting bit in a Guardian story about train travel in Iran: “Scheduled for completion later this year is a line that will run from Kerman in the south-east to Quetta across the Pakistani border. When finished, it will present a mouth-watering prospect: uninterrupted rail travel from Europe to the subcontinent.”

Pakistan’s New Multiplex: ‘A Slice of America with Bollywood Flavoring’

Great piece in the Washington Post about a new multiplex theater opening in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The country lifted a longtime ban on screening Indian movies in February, and now the country is poised for a movie—and cross-cultural—boom.

Speaking of Powerful Photos: John Moore’s Pakistan Story

Yesterday, I noted the riveting story behind the Pulitzer Prize-winning Burma photo. Today,  I was chatting with a photographer who told me that many in the news photo biz expected Getty Image’s John Moore to win the breaking news photography Pulitzer for his shots of the Benazir Bhutto assassination in Pakistan in December.

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Tags: Asia, Pakistan

Travel Warnings for Pakistan

Not surprisingly, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and ensuing violence and unrest have prompted new travel warnings for Pakistan.

Islamabad’s New Art Gallery: 28 Years in the Making

Photo: AP

Built in the 1960s, Islamabad is known for being clean, planned and, well, a little sterile—at least compared to the rest of colorful, crowded and unpredictable Pakistan. But the arrival of the National Art Gallery—which opened last month after 28 years of planning and construction—may liven up the capital, writes Carlotta Gall in The New York Times. Interestingly, the half-completed building was neglected for nearly a decade, until none other than Gen. Pervez Musharraf himself moved his offices into the neighborhood. Apparently he grew tired of looking at the thing and one day said, “What can you do with this eyesore?”

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Walking Off the Karakoram Highway

Walking Off the Karakoram Highway Photo by bongo vongo via Flickr, (Creative Commons).

On a winding route to Pakistan's Rama Lake, taunted and ignored, Jeffrey Tayler learns the truth of the saying, "All politics is local"

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Uncommon Ground

Uncommon Ground Photograph by Alex Stonehill

After covering rarely reported stories in harrowing corners of the world, Sarah Stuteville thought little could scare her. Then, in a small Pashtun village in Pakistan, she had to face a fear she didn't know she had.

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Angelina Jolie to Star in Film About Daniel Pearl

Christopher Wakling: “Beneath the Diamond Sky”

A new travel novel tells the story of Western travelers taken hostage in Kashmir. Frank Bures asks the author about risky travel, and about how his own journey inspired the tale.

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The Critics: The Carpet Wars

In “The Carpet Wars,” Australian writer Christopher Kremmer travels a route through Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, India and other countries to investigate the region’s carpet trade. Morag Fraser of The Age raves,”[It’s] a source of vivid, unexpected pleasure—sharp as the air in the Afghan mountains.” Washington Post reviewer Tracy Lee Simmons is a bit more subdued with her praise: “This book, in its sobriety, puts a human and—despite the random, ritualistic violence—oddly sympathetic face on a part of the world that history, ancient and modern, has brought home to all of us.” Simmons also reviews Tony Perrottet’s “Route 66 A.D.” She notes that it’s “a splendid trip with two gutsy companions, and, by the end, the reader needs a shower as much as they do.”