I grouped these two countries as I was shuttling
back and forth between them. I was there
because the company I worked for was providing
the aircraft and aircrew for UNMOGIP (United Nations Military Observer Group
India and Pakistan). The UN was based in
Rawalpindi but we were living in Islamabad.
Our job was to provide transportation for
the civilian and military UN personnel to
and from the field stations where the military
observers were watching the situation in Kashmir. The
military personnel's job was to observe
the line of control between Pakistan and
India and the civilian personnel provided
the support functions.
The secondary base was Srinagar. The headquarters would move
months from Rawalpindi to Srinagar and back. Other than these two
we regularly flew to Muzafferabad and Rawalakot on the Pakistani side
Rajouri, Jammu and New Delhi on the Indian side. During the summer we
also fly to Skardu and Gilgit on the Pakistani side, these two stations
were in the remote Northern Areas and weren't manned during the winter.
The two small maps give you a general layout of the region while the
map has all the places we flew to in the Kashmir Area on a regular
The bottom map gives a better idea of the disputed areas.
||We had pretty good accommodations in Islamabad. Over
the years there we rented two different places, we were in the house
pictured for a few years and the rest of the time we had the upper
floor of a nearby house. This place was very nice but was somewhat
expensive considering we didn't really need all of it. The place where
we rented the upper floor worked out very well for us. It was cheaper
than this place and the landlord lived on the ground floor. This meant
that he looked after the general maintenance of the house. The downside
was the upper floor got very hot in summer with the sun beating down on
the unprotected, uninsulated roof. Although it did have fewer
bugs/beetles/ants/etc. than this place did.
|The house pictured above had quite a few "house
guests". The coin in the picture is a Canadian one dollar coin (a
"loonie") and is there for size comparison, it is roughly 1 inch (25
mm) in diameter. It seemed there was no end of the cockroaches, you
could always dust for them and come back to find a bunch of them dead
in the middle of the kitchen floor. The interesting thing was that if
you left them and didn't pick them up there were these small ants that
would eventually come and drag it away.
We didn't cook at home very often, usually
just breakfast. There were a couple of reasons
for this, the biggest was that it was so
cheap to go out to a restaurant or club that
it didn't pay. The other reason was that
the kitchen was just too unbearably hot in
the summer to want to cook and could get
very cold in the winter. There were a lot
of good restaurants close to our house and
we ate at most of them at one time or another
over the years. I was fortunate in that I
never got sick from the food there but I
know that some of the companies employees
had a lot of trouble from eating the food.
Since Islamabad was the capital and a lot
of foreigners lived there, there are a lot
of good places to get food, both restaurants
and grocery stores.
|The picture of a Murree
butcher shop shows what some of the lower quality shops can look like,
this is a butcher shop in Murree. Murree is a town a few hours drive
outside of Islamabad, in the hills. During the time the British were in
the area it was a popular location since it was much cooler during the
summer. Because of this the Brits sent their families there during the
||Pakistan's public transportation system consists of
three different types of "buses". The type pictured here was almost
always overloaded. It was cheaper if the passenger road on the outside
of the bus. I've seen these buses so full I once counted 16 people
hanging off the bars on the back. Another bus style is a large van, you
wouldn't see anyone riding on the outside of those but I've seen them
so full that it didn't look like it was possible for anyone to move.
The last style of "bus" was a small, 3 cylinder, Suzuki truck with a
cover on the back. Considering the size of these it was truly amazing
the loads they would get in them, I saw one with so many people in the
back that the driver was having difficulty steering because the front
wheels were only occasionally touching the ground.
|This is a typical scene during a normal day in most of
the cities and towns in the area, This particular city is Peshawar. You
can tell by looking at the horse in the foreground that they don't
waste a lot of time or effort keeping their work animals in the best
||On one of my stays in Pakistan a couple of friends and
myself decided to take a trip to Peshawar and see the Khyber
Pass on one of our weekends off. We flew to Peshawar on Pakistan
International Airlines and spent the night at a hotel. Early the next
morning we hired a car and driver to take us to the Afghan border, we
also had to arrange an armed escort as that was the only way we would
be allowed to do the trip. This is a picture of our guard at the Afghan
|This picture was also taken right at the
Pakistan/Afghan border. They were still using camels as a means of
transport, hence the large pieces of wood it's carrying. This camel was
being looked after by a young Afghan boy who didn't want his picture
||I was surprised to see that the Pakistani rail system
was still operating steam engines. Unfortunately I don't remember any
specific information on this train, just that there were duplicate
engines on front and back. Also it was working it's way up the pass and
it was working pretty hard to make it up the grade.
Nanga Parbat is the ninth highest mountain in the
world at 26,660' (8,126 m). This
isn't the best picture but you can see it sticking it's head above the
rest of the mountain range in the far right of the picture above. The
flights that took us close to this were the trips to the Northern
in Skardu and Gilgit.
|The picture above show what our approach to the airport
in Skardu looks like. If you look closely you can
just make out the runway in the centre of the picture. This airport is
at 7,500' elevation, obviously the surrounding terrain is a lot higher.
||Flying around the Himalayas it always amazed me the
altitudes at which you would see evidence of people. The small fields
in the centre of this picture is at roughly 12,000' halfway between
Skardu and Gilgit. There were several places where we could see other
evidence of human activity, be it fields like these or small huts for
|Here is the necessary aircraft picture. This was taken
at the Gilgit airport. It was one of the few airports where the guard's
let us take pictures, there were only three or four that allowed that.
Since the airports are all controlled by the military they don't like
photography as you may take a picture of something sensitive.
||This is the Muzafferabad airport. It was one of my
favourites. Located in a beautiful valley with a river flowing along
parallel to the runway. The airport manager would have us in for tea
just about every time we went there.
I didn't get very many pictures from India
as the vast majority of our time was spent
in Pakistan and we would only make it to
India when we were working. I did manage
to get to Agra, though. Of course I had to
get the obligatory shot of the Taj Mahal.
The following pictures I took in various
locations. The third little girl was one
I saw in Murree and the others were in different
Christian ghettos in and near Islamabad,
I had a local friend guide me through some
of the areas.