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What region invented egalitarian thinking?

Unfortunately due to recent wars, what’s the first question on people’s minds when travelling to Pakistan? Is it safe? We suggest searching on Google at the time you read this article. However, for thrill seekers, history buffs, and natural beauty lovers, this is a great place to be. As we sit in our classrooms, shop, and marvel at all of our wonderful modern marvels, sometimes it’s refreshing to realize that human life did exist before we were born, and these humans who gave us the world we were born into have something to offer, no matter how ancient. So in this issue, we are not visiting some modern building or architectural wonder that stands as a museum, but an ancient city, now in ruins that gave us the egalitarian ideals many value today. Those are the ruins of the twin capitals of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, both of whom lie within the modern borders of Pakistan in the Punjab and Sindh provinces respectively. Both cities were unearthed in the 1920s, which always begs the following question: Considering all the oral and written history from the dawn of humankind, how does it take so long to find these ruins and why does it always take a colonial power to find them? Perhaps even today, all nations should take modest pride in themselves. Any comments?

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Mojendro-Daro, Harappa, Indus Valley Civilization

Atif Aslam, AI Generated

"Insecure people don't stage comebacks, since they don't leave the scene."

The quote above reflected his return to music and film after taking a self-imposed hiatus around 2015 to be a father. That statement is very true, and for those who don’t take vacations, can’t leave their office, or are meant for sales, have you ever considered that this might be the reason why?

Atif hails from Wazirabad, nestled in Pakistan’s Punjab province. This region is rich in history, hosting Lahore, the country’s second-largest city. Not far from here, you’ll find the ancient city of Harappa, and Multan, also known as the ‘City of Saints’. This city, among the oldest inhabited in the world, flaunts a staggering history of over 5000 years.

Atif was driven by a desire to learn how to play Cricket, for the uninitiated let’s call it British baseball or more aptly, let’s call Baseball, American Cricket since the game of Cricket has been around a lot longer. Today it is revered in virtually every British commonwealth country except maybe Canada. In his early 30s, His friends convinced him to give singing a try, and he started by covering songs by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, a singer so big that he just maybe Pakistan’s version of John Lennon. Then he released his first album in 2004, one year after which won him the 4th Lux Style Award for “Best Album” in 2005.  Like many singers, he became a Bollywood star as well. Of course, music and film are generational and he’s been out of the limelight these past few years, but his career has given him a sizeable 8-digit net worth and a huge fan base. His YouTube video on our playlist is closer to a billion views. Not bad at all.

Atif Aslam,  Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

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Malala Yousafzai AI generated

"Once I had asked God for one or two extra inches in height, but instead, he made me as tall as the sky, so high that I could not measure myself... By giving me this height to reach people, he has also given me great responsibilities."

However one chooses to refer to the wars that escalated after 9/11, there is one young girl who lives in the memories of most as a casualty of the regime the West was trying to fight/reform or however one chooses to see it. This section is not about the war, it’s about Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Prize winner ever. For those who don’t remember, Malala was shot in the head by a Taliban leader simply for trying to get the local tribe to allow girls to go to school.  She was born near the Indus River, and just outside the Indus Valley, but she deserves mention here as a hero with no fear.

I will quote her story, word for word from Malala herself, as she deserves the chance to tell it in her own words, directly from her website malala.org:

"My father was a teacher and ran a girls’ school in our village. I loved school. But everything changed when the Taliban took control of our town in Swat Valley. The extremists banned many things — like owning a television and playing music — and enforced harsh punishments for those who defied their orders. And they said girls could no longer go to school. In January 2008 when I was just 11 years old, I said goodbye to my classmates, not knowing when — if ever — I would see them again. In October 2012, on my way home from school, a masked gunman boarded my school bus and asked, “Who is Malala?” He shot me on the left side of my head. I woke up 10 days later in a hospital in Birmingham, England. The doctors and nurses told me about the attack — and that people around the world were praying for my recovery. After months of surgeries and rehabilitation, I joined my family in our new home in the U.K. It was then I knew I had a choice: I could live a quiet life or I could make the most of this new life I had been given. I determined to continue my fight until every girl could go to school. With my father, who has always been my ally and inspiration, I established Malala Fund, a charity dedicated to giving every girl an opportunity to achieve a future she chooses. In recognition of our work, I received the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2014 and became the youngest-ever Nobel laureate."

Malala Yousafzai, youngest Nobel prize winner, Malala fund

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Imran Khan AI controversial

"Are we Pakistanis, children of a lesser God? Is there one law for the West and one for us? Is our democracy supposed to be only democracy if you give us a no-objection certificate?"

This section is going to be tricky to navigate because the quote above by Pakistan’s former prime minister resonates with a vast majority of the world, however, Imran is now in jail. Imran Khan, born in Lahore, became Pakistan’s Prime Minister in 2018 but lost his role in April of 2022 due to a no-confidence vote in parliament, he was convicted of corruption in 2023 and is now in jail as of the writing of this article and still somehow won the Pakistani elections in 2024, albeit a minority to be Prime Minister from his jail cell. In true defiant fashion, he refused to join forces with other parties and chose to sit as leader of the opposition instead. He’s a national hero to many having led Pakistan to their only Cricket World Cup victory in 1992. He is also the reincarnation of satan to others, especially the military which makes him both polarizing and intriguing. It’s also a sign that team sports create leaders even those who face criminal convictions. Let’s leave the conversation here and let the Pakistani media and citizens take over this conversation as they decide the fate of their jailbird.

Imran Khan, Cricket World Cup

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Take a moment and visualize the staggering heights of the world’s most remarkable mountain range, the Himalayas. It houses the globe’s highest peak and gives Pakistan the honor of having the world’s second tallest, K2. For mountain climbers, K2 is considered the pinnacle as it’s far more deadly than Everest, with more climbers meeting their end than anywhere else.  So in honor of daredevils, why not watch the video above showcasing one man who decided it might be fun to ski from the top of this mountain to the bottom? Spoiler: He survived otherwise we wouldn’t show it to you. 

K2, skiing down K2

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Hollywood likes to tell us mysteries of ancient cryptic puzzles that shed some light on some mysterious past. Notice none of the blockbusters, except for one notable one have ever been set in this region? Why not? After all, its ancient texts perplex even the most scholarly cryptologists to this day, while a civilization with no traces of war or weapons just stopped thriving abruptly circa 1900-1300 BCE, it presents quite the tantalizing plot for a Hollywood epic, wouldn’t you agree?  Imagine being able to immerse yourself in this enchanting culture without having to shed a dime on entrance fees at a museum! The buzzing Anarkali Bazaar in Lahore is your ticket to doing just that — here, you can explore and purchase copies of historic relics excavated from the ancient city of Harappa. And while you’re lost in this marketplace teeming with history, don’t forget to sample the irresistible local street cuisine. Consider them your time portal to the region’s past and a vital part of your adventure!

Anarkali Bazaar, Lahore

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AI-driven Himalayas view

From Lahore, we are going to take a 5-hour drive north to the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad to visit the city known as the gateway to the Himalayas, the world’s tallest mountain range. Hence, it’s within the Himalayas that we will seek Trip Advisor’s advice.

We have curated two enticing options for you. If the comfort of a vehicle appeals to you, then you’d thoroughly enjoy a 12-day journey traversing the old Silk Route. Alternatively, the more adventurous among you might be keen on a challenge; a remarkable 3-week, 63 km trekking excursion to the K2 base camp (the safe part of the mountain). The bewitching beauty of K2 may require a cold climate and some footslog, but we guarantee it’s an unparalleled backpacking and camping adventure that you won’t forget. We simply can’t think of a more engaging hiking or outdoor experience than these. Both the trek and SUV trip are simply breathtaking.

Silk route, Islamabad, k2 base camp

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Did you know there are two dishes that you currently eat in restaurants around the world today that most likely originated from the original inhabitants of the first great civilization to flourish in the Indus Valley some 4000 years ago? These dishes are Kheer (Rice pudding) and Sindhi Byriani. The video below shows you how to make Kheer since the ingredients are more universally available.

Sindhi Byriani, Kheer, Rice pudding

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The Guardian(Imran Khan), The Wall Street Journal(Imran Khan), GoodReads quotes(Imran Khan),  Malala.org(Malala Yousafzai), Brainy Quote(Malala Yousafzai), Images(Atif Aslam), IMDB(Atif Aslam), Trip Advisor, Khan Academy(Indus Valley Civilization)

All images are AI-generated using Fotor and are meant to describe the subject matter they portray figuratively, not factually.

Couch Potato Travel Efficient Tour Summary - Indus Valley and Himalayas, Pakistan
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