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  #1  
Old 23 Jan 2014
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Tragic, what responsibilty do we have and does it change depending on the vehicle

I have just read a tragic article on the bbc web site. The reason I raise this is that I am curious to about travelers opinions in regard the following:

BBC News - Pakistan guards die escorting Spain cyclist Javier Colorado


I know when I traveled from the Iranian border through south Pakistan, there was cyclist that was persuaded by fellow travelers and security personal accompanying him to put the bike into a pick up. The reason being the security personal felt they were a greater target due to the low speed he was travelling.

I have often thought of reducing my load and going by bike, I have so much admiration for all those folks that opt for pedal power. They suffer much greater risks from us, other road users in so many ways. Cycling the daily commute in London was bad enough.

Do you think the speed of travel heightens the risk in these areas or is it unlucky. Is it irresponsible to insist on cycling when personal ask you not to.

I know that we all seek independence and adventure and often don't like having are wings clipped, especially me! I think we all share in the condolences to the security personnel's family and are thankful for the safety of the rest involved.



Mark
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  #2  
Old 23 Jan 2014
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He chose to go through an area known to local authority's as being full of terrorists, murderers and thieves. The fact he had, what a dozen police escorting him indicates the known level of risk.

So now while he continues his "holiday" he leaves behind 6 dead police who put themselves in jeopardy for this selfish ***** and who's families now have to deal with the loss of a husband, father, etc.

You do have a responsibility when you are travelling. The guy was an idiot.
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  #3  
Old 23 Jan 2014
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I worked with a couple who cycled that area in the 1970s, without guides or guards and were warmly welcomed wherever they went. The world is getting smaller for travellers.
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  #4  
Old 24 Jan 2014
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Originally Posted by realmc26 View Post
So now while he continues his "holiday" he leaves behind 6 dead police who put themselves in jeopardy for this selfish ***** and who's families now have to deal with the loss of a husband, father, etc.

You do have a responsibility when you are travelling. The guy was an idiot.
There aren´t too many routes to choose from, if you´re heading to India from Europe. In fact the other one, via the Karakoram Highway to North Pakistan, is probably not possible right now because of winter. (And that route has not been totally trouble-free in the past few years either).

It is terrible and alarming news, there´s absolutely no way to deny that, but the bicyclist did not kill those policemen. Armed attackers did. It should be the responsibility of the government of the country to keep that area safe, and if they are uncapable to do so, then make it a no-go zone for foreigners. There are such areas east from Quetta, and further up in the northwest.

Maybe they will now stop issuing visas for travellers, who want to go Taftan-Dalbandin-Quetta or v.v. Will there in that case be another route further south, I have no idea, but at least up until now, the Taftan crossing has been the only one, that foreigners could use.
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  #5  
Old 24 Jan 2014
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Tragic, Yes, very

what responsibilty do we have
When you travel in a known dodgy area, you should be aware of the risks to you and your "companions". However, I'm sure Mr Colorado felt "safer" from kidnapping, but wasn't deliberately putting himself or his guards in harm's way, just by being there. If the Pakistan government is issuing visas and allowing tourists to travel through the region, the government ultimately is responsible for this tragedy.

Another poster described Mr Colorado as an idiot: For riding a slow vehicle? For being a tourist that might be targeted by the "bad guys"?

I think neither. Then again, I'm possibly less of an "idiot" as I've never been and have no intention of ever visiting Pakistan. I work in a city in the UK where there are a lot of people from that region and feel no need to visit their home country.

and does it change depending on the vehicle.
I don't think it's vehicle dependent. I know even if your vehicle could do 200kmh, you'd be unable to travel at this speed (road conditions, other road users, speed limits etc). Setting an ambush is easy: block the road before and after the convoy and start shooting. Were speed an issue the guards could easily have insisted on putting the pushbike and cyclist on the back of the pickup and sped through the region.

I'm very sorry for the families of the 6 dead guards.

Last edited by chris; 24 Jan 2014 at 11:11. Reason: Adding more opinion
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  #6  
Old 24 Jan 2014
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As stated, there really is only one route through Baluchistan from Quetta to ISLBD and all travellers of all nationalities have to use it. I very much doubt that this ambush was specifically targeting this guy, they would have been set up and awaiting a suitable target and his little convoy was just unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have ridden through Pakistan and had numerous armed security escorts and witnessed the charred remains of burnt out vehicles left from previous terrorist attrocities, and but for the grace of god etc.
I do not see this guy as being in any way responsible for what happened to those poor policemen, they were doing their job and if they hadn't been with him, they would have been there with someone else and the ambush would still have taken place !
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  #7  
Old 26 Jan 2014
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I love Pakistan and its got to be one of the most hospitable countries I have ever had the pleasure to visit. I do think we have responsibility to measure the risk not only to ourselves but to those that accompany. The comment that it would have taken place anyway and that they were just doing they jobs for me does stand up. Nor does the laying responsibility on the Pakistan governments doorstep regarding the issuing of visas. If you only listened to government warnings you would live your house.

The fact that being a foreigner does increase the risk is increase the risk, if we don't travel the soldiers would be in there barracks and you are a slower target on a bicycle! As I said before the soldiers felt more uncomfortable with a cyclist than a car due to the lack of speed.

The fact they assigned 12 armed guards would also be a warning sign, from my experience this is unusually high indicating a higher level of risk. However it can also provide a higher level of false security. Speaking only for myself I will continue to try and drive this route. Your right, there is no guarantees, but we can try and minimize the risk with sensible judgment and raining in the egos (something I know I have trouble doing myself at times) This with with collecting as much info from different sources as possible.

When there was trouble 2 years ( curfews)ago in the north we balanced medi info, with friends in Islamabad, calls to the hotels in the north along with locals on the road. I admit we did force the issue of continuing with the police at one point. We only had the confidence to do this because we continually updated ourselves with local regional info from a variety of sources. There was also a queue of cars telling check point they were being silly and we would be fine. Its a delicate balance of knowing when to push and stick to your guns and back off. It turned out the objection was from one newly appointed senior chief officer that had been appointed a day earlier and didn't want the hassle. surprisingly the British embassy was very supportive and did all they could. 2 Weeks earlier we decided not to make the same journey and waited.

Ill finish by saying its an amazing country with fabulous warm hearted people. Please don't buy into the scaremongering but do take time to make sensible judgments for yourselves and others. Sorry if this is a bit preachy its not meant to be.
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  #8  
Old 26 Jan 2014
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................''The fact that being a foreigner does increase the risk is increase the risk, if we don't travel the soldiers would be in there barracks''..................

I am sorry, but this is not true, ALL vehicles travelling through Balouchistan from Quetta to ISLBD recieve security escort regardless of nationality including local buses etc. if you had been there, you would know this ! The soldiers would not have been in their barracks, they would have been escorting someone else and to suggest that being a foreigner on a bycicle puts you more at risk is nonesense ! The overwhelming majority of these attacks have been sectarian in nature with Sunnis targeting Shias and vice versa and after the recent massacres of bus convoys and their armed escorts in Kohistan, who is to say that putting his bike on a bus would have made him any safer ?
It may sound simplistic, but the fact is, that Pakistan is a dangerous place and this guy just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and if it wasn't him it would probably have been someone else !
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  #9  
Old 26 Jan 2014
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This incident was just so sad. A lot of travelers are changing their route, probably wise in the near future. I'm not sure if the cyclist was the target or the actual militia guys but any which way it sucks. As others have said Pakistan is a beautiful and hospitable country, it was one if our absolute favorites. When we came from the north down the KKH we had many police escorts and checkpoints but our attitude was patience & that they were doing their best to keep us safe and minimize risk. When they told us Babusar pass was too dangerous at the time, we turned around. It was a time of protesting flare up so things were edgy. Friends coming from Taftan were made to put their motorcycles on a train much of the way.

I feel like there is a strange dynamic. Most of the people in the country want visitors but there are the crazy ones who do crazy stuff - like many other places but amplified - in that part of the world. But if we stop traveling, sharing our experiences and don't expose ourselves, things just get more closed. I was so grateful to connect with the Pakistan bikers, I think making these connections are so important.

I hope things do calm down, people keep going, and they stay safe.
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  #10  
Old 26 Jan 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris View Post
Tragic, Yes, very

what responsibilty do we have
When you travel in a known dodgy area, you should be aware of the risks to you and your "companions". However, I'm sure Mr Colorado felt "safer" from kidnapping, but wasn't deliberately putting himself or his guards in harm's way, just by being there. If the Pakistan government is issuing visas and allowing tourists to travel through the region, the government ultimately is responsible for this tragedy.
I disagree and don't think the government is ultimately responsible for this tragedy, if you head to areas that are know to be dodgy then you must except something dodgy could happen to you regardless if the government is issuing visas this does not mean things are safe. and i have read posts on here of people saying "well others have done it before so it must be safe"

Current situations in places we refer to as "dodgy " change daily so seeking local knowledge is very important and more so than speaking to other tourist/travelers that have recently passed this area

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Originally Posted by chris View Post
Tragic, Yes, very[B]
Then again, I'm possibly less of an "idiot" as I've never been and have no intention of ever visiting Pakistan. I work in a city in the UK where there are a lot of people from that region and feel no need to visit their home country.
I would say that is a slightly racist comment , so you are making a judgment on a country from people who you assume are from that country in a city in England that you live?

Last edited by WesleyDRZ400; 28 Jan 2014 at 20:22.
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  #11  
Old 27 Jan 2014
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Those who are responsible for this attack and the killing of the policemen or soliders are 100 % the attackers themselves! Not the cyclist, the government, the escorters or anybody else. If the traveller had gone by feet, by motorbike, by car or by any other kind of transportation has absolutely nothing to do with it.

The cyclist didnt ask for protection, so he is the least to blame.

A traveller should of course be aware and be as updated on potential risky situations and areas as he or she proceeds, but you cannot be 100 % prepared for every occation that possibly can happen. This situation showed that - even with several armed guardsmen they got attacked and guards were shot to dead.

I am pretty sure the attackers would have attacked any suitable target if they wanted to - this guys who were killed were just at the wrong place at the wrong time.

RIP the killed ones and thoughts and concers to their family and friends.
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Old 27 Jan 2014
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Originally Posted by Uselessbaba View Post
................''The fact that being a foreigner does increase the risk is increase the risk, if we don't travel the soldiers would be in there barracks''..................

............I am sorry, but this is not true, ALL vehicles travelling through Balouchistan from Quetta to ISLBD recieve security escort regardless of nationality including local buses etc. if you had been there, you would know this ! The soldiers would not have been in their barracks, they would have been escorting someone else and to suggest that being a foreigner on a bycicle puts you more at risk is nonesense .......

I have been there and my point is just this, if the guards have ten escort's that week and 2 of them only contain foreigners which they often do that's two times they could have been in the barracks. We on holiday not earning a living its not essential we go, its a luxury!

It is also well known that they are professional kidnappers, opportunists and political attacks. I personally know one person who was part of a two car convey that unfortunately ran into the wrong people at the wrong time! No evidence of planning.

Whether you feel the cycling makes you a easier target or not, if the guards feel at greater risk and request you place it in a truck I think its only courteous to do so. In regards to wanting an escort whether you like it or not its part of the deal!

I don't want this to degrade into I know better or more than you post, it was just to raise the discussion and awareness. Safe travelling and enjoy where ever you may be. This is in no way intended as an attack on the cyclist involved in recent the tragic incident or any other.

Last edited by Grant Johnson; 8 Feb 2014 at 21:21. Reason: DONT KNOW HOW TO QUOTE - Grant says: make sure there is [QUOTE] at the begining and [/QUOTE] at the end. Click quote button!
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  #13  
Old 27 Jan 2014
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It is important to visit Pakistan!

I took that road from Taftan to Quetta in July 2013. I knew there were security issues. I accepted the risk and others accepted the risk to take care for me and to protect me. Afterwards I became aware of the necessity to visit Pakistan despite the risks. Pakistan is part of the world and Pakistanis need to feel that. They want to be connected to the outside world, to meet foreigners. We cannot leave them alone with their problems. Many said "I am happy you came". Others asked me "Do you believe our bad image is justified?" We have to visit, travellers can make a difference!

For me visiting Pakistan was a great experience. I am grateful to the Pakistan government to grant me a visa. I am grateful to those who took the risk of protecting me. I am grateful to those who offered me water, tea, melon, even a meal although it was the month of ramadan. This goes beyond common hospitality as by taking care for me they also took a risk. They didn't took that risk for no reason. They want us to visit, they want to be connected!
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  #14  
Old 27 Jan 2014
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Originally Posted by martheijnens View Post
For me visiting Pakistan was a great experience. I am grateful to the Pakistan government to grant me a visa. I am grateful to those who took the risk of protecting me. I am grateful to those who offered me water, tea, melon, even a meal although it was the month of ramadan. This goes beyond common hospitality as by taking care for me they also took a risk. They didn't took that risk for no reason. They want us to visit, they want to be connected!
Very well said.

I rode from Taftan to Quetta to Sukkur to Lahore in Nov-2007. There was martial law put in place in the country just a couple of weeks earlier, so I have to admit I was quite nervous about the whole thing, especially because my GF was travelling with me. To my surprise, we had very few escorts, mostly we were free to go, just had to stop a lot at the checkpoints, and write down our passport and other details. We were actually free to go as we like in Quetta as well (that is probably not the case any more). I had some welder do some work on my luggage carriers there, and he took maybe 45 minutes to do it, and just plain refused to take any compensation... I had trouble to understand, what he said, but someone translated to me “money is not everything”, and the guy definitely looked to me like he ain´t making much money, and knew I could pay him! That was a humbling experience. I mention this just as an example - we had many other similarly positive experiences in Pakistan, and met nothing but amazingly friendly people everywhere.

Very few things seem to have changed in Western Pakistan during the years since my visit: the area is considered dodgy, but there are few options available to go from Europe to India (and they all include Pakistan), so if you wanna do it, it is a risk you have to take. Sometimes there can be actual trouble, but I´ve been following this forum and others ever since my trip, and while there are quite often violent events happening there, I think I can count with fingers in one hand, how often these unfortunate incidents have actually involved tourists. That is another good point IMO: there is violence in that region, and it does not take place only because a few travellers have chosen to go there.

(Just my 0.02, nothing more.)
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  #15  
Old 27 Jan 2014
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I would say that is a slightly racist comment , so you are making a judgment on a county from people who you assume are from that country in the city in England that you live?
Utter gibberish. County? Country? City? Make your mind up! I resent the accusation of being racist. You know nothing about me and what I know/don't know. Nor do you know anything about where I live or the people that live there. You're making all sorts of assumptions on subjects about which you know utterly jack sh!t.
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