Letters from abroad: Shame on you, you are Pakistani

Published: April 2, 2012

I just wish I was not Pakistani. I’m not being unpatriotic. It is the most sincere feeling I’ve had in a while.

Suvarnabhumi Aiport, Check-in Counter 1, Row W: I’m at the check-in counter of a low-cost budget airline with an indemnity form staring at me – as if mocking me, telling me you had this coming.

There are four women and three men, all discussing in detail, what I believe are my passport details, in indiscriminate Thai language.

At one hand, I see wrinkles on the foreheads of my flight’s cabin crew and immigration personnel, and on the other hand, the sheer architectural beauty of the Bangkok airport refuses to wear down my excitement. The schism and ambivalence is uncanny.

After nine splendid days of uninterrupted exotic days of merriment, my passport has caught up with me.

I am enroute Singapore from Bangkok.

Gleefully, as most tourists would, I approach the check-in counter. I am the first one in line. Yes, I am excited. I would meet my college best friend after more than two years for the first time since she moved out of Pakistan after graduation.

As I near the counter, a local airline operator greets me with even a bigger smile. Even in times of peril, the hospitality of the Thai people cannot be missed – they are absolutely delightful.

When I present my passport, I feel there is a problem. Within minutes there are more airline personnel around me. Some are making calls, others checking my flight details. The supervisor seems confused. Her expression worries me.

‘Is there a problem with my passport?’ I ask earnestly – clueless as to what had happened.

‘Please come with me, sir,’ the supervisor requests with utmost politeness.

They ask me how much cash I am carrying.

‘Four hundred US dollars,’ I reveal.

Inquiries came my way. Why are you in Bangkok? Why are you going to Singapore? How long for? Where will you stay? Do you have a double entry visa for the Kingdom of Thailand?

My head starts hurting. I see no reason for this sort of treatment. 

After an hour of waiting, with all those behind me in line – possibly buying expensive liquor from the duty free – about to board the plane, the supervisor comes to me and says in a thick Thai accent:

‘If you [want to] travel to Singapore, you must fill [this] form, sir.’

What? What form? Are you kidding me? What did I do?

Before I could make words out of my thoughts, the more perceptive of the crew members says:

‘Indemnity form. From now on, you take full responsibility [of your luggage and yourself]. You don’t hold *** airline responsible if Singapore immigration send[s] you back!’

‘Huh?’

‘We [are] not responsible for you anymore, sir. Okay to board?’

My confusion has reached incomprehensible levels. Apparently, with low-cost airlines, immigration is very strict. Especially if you are Pakistani. You must have 10,000 Singapore dollars in cash to show at immigration – a fact no travel agency in Pakistan is willing to vouch for – a fact I will learn later.

If I do decide to travel, the airline supervisor says, immigration in Bangkok will let me through, but 90% chances are that if I do not meet even one of the basic entry requirements, they will send me back to Bangkok. Once I’m back they will not let me enter Bangkok city, and I will be required to go to my home country immediately because I will have an entry rejected in one of the countries of my transit travel.

Being caught up in the adrenaline pump, I would’ve taken a shot. The problem is my ticket to Karachi is four days later. And my airline says if you are ‘escorted’ back from Singapore, we will be unable to change your ticket to Karachi and you will have to spend four days in a ‘detainee centre’ (euphemism for a prison facility, I assume).

Sign the indemnity form – which says you have been made aware of all possible options and agree to take full responsibility from hereafter – and you can board the plane. Goodluck!

I love my friends and I really want to go ahead with my vacation as planned. But I’m not stupid. I am aware and conscious of my limitations when it comes to international travel. I ask my supervisor, who seems like a warm lady, genuinely concerned for me, what I should do?

Without thinking much she says:

‘Don’t go, you don’t have sufficient amount to travel. You [might] get into a lo’a trouble, sir.’

Turns out my $500 ticket is non-refundable.

Trying to be the man my dad would want me to be, I try hard to hide my tears as I walk away from the counter. I feel violated. I feel I had done nothing wrong.

The supervisor sees me and walks towards me. She says yesterday, a Pakistani passport holder was deported back from Singapore to Bangkok just because he didn’t have the exorbitantly high amount of cash on him during travel.

‘They never ask anyone to show the money. But you [are] the only Pakistani passport in the entire flight. They [will] catch you[‘re] passport and give you trouble very easy.

‘It’s your passport naa..’

Her words make my heart sink deeper.

I just wish for a moment I was not Pakistani. I’m not being unpatriotic. It is the most sincere feeling I’ve had in a while.

***

Club X, Silom Road, Soi 2: I decide I won’t let this ruin my three nights in Bangkok, and what lifts you up more than some drinks in a good club?

I take a cab, change (hip-hop style) and hit a club. At the entrance the bouncer asks me for an ID. I show him my Pakistani NIC card, which has my date of birth printed in English.

He looks and at me and says in a nonchalant manner:

‘Where you from, friend?’

‘Pakistan!’, I say in a pumped up voice, my head moving with the beat of the song – the airport debacle long forgotten in the waves of music’s rhythm.

‘Palestine?’, he screams back.

‘No no, Pakistan!’

‘Oh! Hahah! You carry no bomb right?’ he says, pulling my leg – with the six people behind me in the line laughing.

I let out an embarrassed smile.

‘Don’t blow up my club!’, he screams behind me, as I walk into the club, needing more drinks than I had expected.

**

Aboard flight TG0 507: ‘Please fasten your seat belts.’

I am finally going back home.

Not very excited though. My experiences have given me some bitter memories. And I continue to wonder why?

Lost in my thoughts, from the corner of my eye I see an airhostess and two Pakistani young men engaging, in what seems like an unpleasant exchange of words.

 ‘Sir please switch your phone off. Please fasten your seatbelt.’

The two men laugh, refusing to obey flight instructions.

Two more members of the cabin crew arrive at the scene and have to physically switch off their cell phones. The crew members look annoyed – and let me add, I have seen many things but a rude or annoyed Thai.

They look at each other bitterly and in a hush-hush way mumble: ‘Pakistani!’

Things start to make sense to me. We are treated in a particular manner because we beget it.

Right then I get one of the saddest realisations of my life: Home is near, but it doesn’t seem right.

Read more by Musab here

 


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musabmemon

Musab Memon

A sub-editor on the National desk of The Express Tribune

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Talha

    I want to cry but I can’t help laughing either.

    All this is due to the emotional and annoying Muslims of Pakistan who have no humility or shame.Recommend

  • Masti

    Not surprised. Civilians are the victims of the govt politics. Sad but true. For generations has the pak govt spread the seed of hate and holding OBL in their arms… Not to forget infiltrating terrorists into Indian kashmir.

    As you said,the two pakistanis refusing to switch off their phones translate into suspicion.Recommend

  • Asad

    Mr Memon, are you really working at the Express Tribune? I am afraid you have your priorities wrong. You should be highlighting the issues of the 60 percent of Pakistan’s 170 million people who live at the poverty level of less than $2 per day and not whining about an issue caused by your lack of common sense to check the immigration rules of the country you are travelling to.Recommend

  • Ch Allah Daad

    In your story, your little money and cheap airline is the problem, Pakistani passport comes last. Recommend

  • http://www.zaidzamanhamid.wordpress.com zaid hamid

    Watch Zaid Hamid videos if u r feeling depressed.Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/azarmeen Alishba Zarmeen

    I have NEVER been questioned at any airport, some of them high security like JFK, LHR, and YVR. My reasons for loathing Pakistan are different but I empathize with the writer. The country and its masses are rabid.Recommend

  • Faraz

    Lessons from your story A) Never travel by a budget airline B) Always be aware of the immigration rules of the country you are travelling to. It’s all online, you don’t need your travel agent to tell you all this. C) Don’t blame your passport. I frequently travel to and from “Suvarnabhumi Aiport” (with occasional stay in Thailand) to the Far East and have never faced any problems. Haven’t heard anyone traveling on the same route has faced any problems, either! Recommend

  • Ahsan

    You either haven’t traveled very often or you’re just extremely sensitive. I had a Pakistani passport for the past 21 years, traveling everywhere without any issues or “wrinkled foreheads.” I recently got American citizenship and couldn’t be happier. No matter how many airports raise eyebrows towards your passport, you should never be ashamed of your green passport. Best of luck traveling in the future.Recommend

  • Umer

    I just wish for a moment I was not
    Pakistani. I’m not being unpatriotic.
    It is the most sincere feeling I’ve
    had in a while.

    Hey come on, imagine what those feel whose faith you spit upon every time you fill in your passport application form. It can’t be worst than that, can it?

    What goes around comes around, I guess.Recommend

  • hj

    Ouch :(Recommend

  • Fahad

    traveled recently to thailand , nothing as such happened there. i was well informed how things can possibly go wrong there and was well prepared, and this can happen with any one regardless of their nationality, so always do as much research as you can on the country you intend to travel and all requirements at the airport and possible scams that can trap you in the city, and always keep enough cash or at least a visa / master card to support you during the bad times.

    Surprisingly the officers at karachi airport singled out me as i did’nt had a hotel booking in thailand. but i kept calm and gave answers to every questions knowing that at worst they wont let me travel and plus i have a valid visa and enough cash and this is just a panic test.

    yes some pakistani passengers are crazy , they take off their seat belts and walk around the plane when its the time to fasten the belts. usually they are KHAY PEES who are high on beer.Recommend

  • AJ

    I just wish I was not Pakistani. I’m not being unpatriotic. It is the most sincere feeling I’ve had in a while.

    on pakistani passport we need a VISA for every country

    but on Saudi passport and Egypt passport they don’t need VISA for All countries
    its just because of our politicians and there bad reputations world wideRecommend

  • Omair

    this is happening only because of Pakistani muslims….Recommend

  • Not ur passport

    Come on dude!! The problem is you not your passport!!! Thailand and Bangkok themself are full of scammers and stuff!! If I would have faced such issue I would have lived my passport more. It’s my pride, and when ever I have to show it at any immigration I do it very proudly.Recommend

  • M Ali Khan

    @zaid hamid:
    what? and make us feel even more depressed with Zaid Hamid’s grandiose over-load of historical dishonesty and fascist bravado??Recommend

  • AJ

    I just wish I was not Pakistani. I’m not being unpatriotic. It is the most sincere feeling I’ve had in a while.

    on pakistani passport we need a VISA for every country

    but on Saudi passport and Egypt passport they don’t need a VISA for every countries
    its just because of our politicians and there bad reputations world wide…Recommend

  • pakistani

    It was a personal experience not true for all Green Passport holders.Recommend

  • somethingsomeonesaid

    Someone who knows this guy says…. “Ho hi nahin sakta, kai iss nai kuch naa kiya ho, Him going to Bangkok means NO GOOD !!!” Recommend

  • Sa’ad Yusuf rahman

    Shameful, Disgraceful… Sad.Recommend

  • Adeel

    Agree with the comment above, this is more of a personal experience than anything. I have travelled with my green passport to so many developed and not so developed countries and never faced any issues…in fact i have always felt proud of it!Recommend

  • Sheheryar Khan

    Extremely unbearable…….so sad!!!Recommend

  • http://tribune.com.pk ABC

    @Alishba Zarmeen: R u a Pakistani National or some NGO or INGO??Recommend

  • Asad

    This is true .. I also feel different attitude of immigration officers at foreign airports towards my passport. I often end up giving more answers than passengers with other nationalities.

    & being Muslim I feel has less to do with it. I have seen many Muslim country nationals having no issues. Its more of our Country’s bad name which give us problems. Recommend

  • Anny Marri

    Most disappointing! You wish you weren’t a Pakistani, because of a vacation gone wrong?! Preposterous. I have travelled the world over, and countries where my green passport is not given respect, I choose not to go to! I would never never never, choose to discredit my country because some place seems to dislike the colour of my passport. Unfortunately, it seems that the patriotism we were born with is sadly lacking in those younger than us. I feel distraught that Pakistan has this in store for its future! My God – apply for another passport and leave – if you dislike the one you currently have! But to let some godforsaken far eastern officials make you ashamed of being a Pakistani – disgusting!!Recommend

  • Adil

    There are worst things that are happening to people right now in other parts of the world. Be thankful you are a Pakistani. Good job, you represented your country well. :)Recommend

  • Saqib

    @Anny Marri:

    Can you kindly stop rambling? Recommend

  • Zeeshan Baloch

    Dear the problem is with you not with PAKISTANI passport learn how to handle immigration matters once i was travelling karachi to dubai and dubai to nairobi in dubai they asked put your shoes off i replied i will not if u want put my shoes off with urself am not gonna do that and they have done themselves be brave anywhere when u r not carrying any kind of drugs that’s it long live PAKISTAN LOVE U PAKISTANRecommend

  • Ali Hasan

    Nothing the author has said here is wrong, nor are his feelings. The Express Tribune comments section remains ever the cesspool of internet fools jumping on conclusions and extrapolating their own biases.

    Being Muslim has nothing to do with it. Zardari visited Kuwait, couple days later Kuwait bans the issuance of new Pakistani work visas indefinitely. Pakistani have a hard time getting visas/jobs in UAE government entities too and there is often a open ban for the same. Recommend

  • sheir khan

    i thnink with all the drinks he had , he was bound to get in trouble :)Recommend

  • http://n/a Saif

    its really very rare, in fact if you travel as a visitor you must carry enough amount that will helps you in your tough time, I guess you learn this lesson by experience it would be definitely painful but in the long term you feel comfortable instead of facing any problem while travelling. Thanks God You came back to your Parents as it is.Recommend

  • N.M. Mitha

    I am not at all surprised to read your article dear, as it has reminded me my time at Dubai airport when i was the first one in the queue to board for Paris flight as a transit for Mexico and a young beautiful but very rude Singaporean Lady (may be a supervisor ) had told me that i cant take this flight as I am holding green passport which doesnt allow us (pakistanis) to take any transit flight from Paris due to some security or any B—dy reason…

    I was alone at airport all night without my husband and family and it was like a nightmare for me. I had to change my itinerary and took the longest route from Dubai- Sau Palu- Mexico ….huh

    I was also felt de graded, embarrassed and small in front of typical foreigners…

    Any ways, I hope that your learning will always be remembered by you and your family through out their life.Recommend

  • JS

    This is more of a personal experience please don’t Blame your passport for this. You should have studied the rules and regulations before traveling anywhere and to the person whos saying Saudi Passport doesn’t need a visa this is totally rubbish. They do need visa for European and western countries. They even need visa to enter Pakistan which cost them around 200 Dollars.Recommend

  • H-J

    @Ahsan:
    what? you got yourself an American passport and telling him not to be ashamed of his green passport?! what double standards! Recommend

  • Masti

    @Alishba Zarmeen:

    Yeah, it is true. being stopped for questioning at an airport is ugly and gives the impression of being a suspicious person when one is not.Recommend

  • Shahid

    I have traveled more then 8 countries including Singapore and Thailand and i have never had any sort of problem on any airport. There are rules to follow for each individual while traveling to other countries and are clearly mentioned on official websites. Express Tribune just keeps letting me down. I wonder if they do get a bit of research done while publishing the articles. Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    No matter how badly certain Pakistanis behave abroad, it doesn’t give anyone the right to develop stereotypes and treat all Pakistanis the same.

    You don’t have to apologize for the behaviour of uncouth people who happen to share the same nationality or skin colour as you. The only behaviour you’re supposed to be held responsible for is your own.Recommend

  • Sher Asim

    @Ch Allah Daad: Even if someone took a major carrier like emirates or Singapore airlines. The same discrimination happensRecommend

  • Marium Arif

    Lol…
    Ok as bad as this may sound but the author should have
    A) Read up on the rules and regulations
    B) not appeared shift or dodgy
    everyone knows why guys head to Thailand alone.

    BTW Pakistani’s head out for vacations to every country in the world and if ever there is a deportation, there is a solid reason behind it!Recommend

  • Aslan

    Well I can;t help but relate to this story.

    I am a frequent traveler and getting pulled out just due to my Green passport is getting embarrassing. I just hope people back home stop doing the things they do to give us all a bad name.
    I am really getting tired of being humiliated just because I happened to be born in a crazy place.Recommend

  • http://pakistanangler.com Syed Ijlal Hussain

    You say it’s about being Pakistani and Muslim….?

    When you denounce the whole world and declare how ‘pure’ you are, being a Muslim, yet go to places like Thailand to have cheap, dirty fun; end up in bars, brothels and night clubs. Those who claim something and do otherwise are known as hypocrites!Recommend

  • http://hongkong wahab

    i live in HK n carry a paki passport n have travelled all over the world..nothing ever happened… stop making things up for fameRecommend

  • http://Nil Robin Panjwaneey

    Leave alone on any other rout Pakistani passport holder cannot even stand in a foreigner’s immigration line or pass through a green channel through an Indian airport, (personal experience in Mumbai).Recommend

  • Haroon Rashid

    @Ahsan:
    Bhai, if you’re so proud of the green passport, why did you give it up ?Recommend

  • OSiddiqui

    “what lifts you up more than some drinks in a good club?” what a shame..you deserve all this Wish you were British and White!!Recommend

  • Pak Tester

    @M Ali Khan
    Common’ don’t say you didn’t get the joke. It was satirical my friend.Recommend

  • Faraz

    @Syed Ijlal Hussain:
    This is his story at an airport! And because he failed to follow immigration rules. What it has to do with what he did in Thailand? And what it has to do with being religious or not? And how do you know what he did there! People go to Thailand for different reasons, not just for bad reasons, stop assuming my Pakistani friend. And this has nothing to do with following religion, the story is about the passport we hold, not how religious we are. Be a little open-minded and STOP assuming! Recommend

  • Misha

    Painful.Recommend

  • anonymous

    Me and my colleque were stopped in Los Angeles for nearly 2 hours on suspicion because we were from Pakistan. Had to sit on road for 2 hours and all the time people were passing by and looking at us as if were confirmed terrorists. We were threatened, dog sniffed and what not. FBI was also called. in the end it was all a big misunderstanding and we were let go. That was probably one of the most humiliating experiences of my life.

    However, as a nation, this is what we deserve. Nothing less. I have seen what people of our country think (for western people, minorities, female, etc.) and how they behave in this country and abroad. In significant minority cases we act like animals and it is no surprise that majority in the world treats us like animals even if we dont deserve it.

    I was proud Pakistani at one time but no more..Recommend

  • Yousuf Shaikh

    @Sher Asim, @author:
    Been to Singapore countless times, on Singapore Airlines as well as Cathay Pacific/Malaysia/Sri Lankan Airlines. Never stopped anywhere, never heard of an entry requirement of S$10,000.

    Definitely because of the budget airlines he was taking, (Tiger, was it? Jetstar would have been better as they don’t fly to the Budget Terminal over there).Recommend

  • Ahsan

    @Ch Allah Daad:

    This all started when Sharif Brothers ran out of country, since then people think that every green passport holder will ran out and slip.Recommend

  • http://pakistanangler.com Syed Ijlal Hussain

    @Robin Panjwaneey:

    I guess Indians get the same treatment here, so why complain?Recommend

  • Anny Marri

    @Saqib:

    I’m commenting on a piece published, don’t know how my ramblings (or not) have anything to do with you!Recommend

  • http://pakistanangler.com Syed Ijlal Hussain

    @Faraz:

    It’s not about being open minded, its not about being religious… we Pakistanis bash the whole world yet do not go by our values. Why should we then be respected?

    My comments were a general observation, not targeted on the author.Recommend

  • Mariam Khan
  • Saim

    We pakistanis usualy have a vvery strange behavior and we are collectively a very different nation. I have met and lived with so many people of the world but being pakistani, i feel no shame to say that pakistanis are one of the most uncivlized and rude people of the world.Recommend

  • Parvez

    I liked the way you wrote this, drama and all.
    If you had a valid Singapore Visa I do not see why they would stop you boarding or entering Singapore. Anyway travelling today with a Pakistani passport is not the pleasantest of experiences.Recommend

  • A.P.

    I guess I am one of those lucky ones who didnt experience any discrimination because of my passport. And I agree. I too have seen a lot of thais but annoyed or rude, well thats rare thai.Recommend

  • Ali

    I guess u should find a good club in Karachi or Islamabad. Situation is not all that good for Pakistanis at the airports but it is not as messed up as u have said either. Recommend

  • F

    I think its easy to make big claims like… “live your identity be proud of your passport live honourably; etc etc. — it’s the trashiest feeling to see yourself held back looking at evidently shady people (we’ve all seen the typical sort in immigrations queues, lounges, buses etc.–you’d know when you’ve seen one.) being let go just because of their passport being different. Let alone the times; when you’re detained with your families.

    Not all of us are to blame– it’s the smart alecs who think they’re corrupt ideas are full proof and end up getting caught..
    Look around the world. We’re the only idiots getting caught!! Recommend

  • Ramlah

    Ashamed of being a Pakistani? Sigh!! Well dude Pakistan has the right to be ashamed of us!!
    Please do not ridicule your country like this, and the media kindly edit such stuff!! You know how much we are mocked upon for having such a thinking about our own country!Recommend

  • farhan

    Most of the blames lies within us. We Pakistani are notorious for these things. Dunno why we do it in the first place. I was once travelling back to Pakistan via Dubai. Here the passengers mostly were Pakistani laborer who are returning to their beloved Pakistan. When the plane took off, we were asked to fasten our seat belts which most of us promptly did. But the few of the Laborers which were Pakistani didn’t comply. The gori Air Hostess politely asked them to fasten them but they didnt fasten when they didn’t do for the third time, she pulled their belts up n fasten it. The best part when the rest of laborers saw her fastening the seat belt of that passenger, they promptly open their seat belt so she could fasten their sea belt also & to top it off hooting started off in the plane .Recommend

  • narayana murthy

    Dear author,

    This is Karma catching up with you. Start treating your minorities properly and you will be treated peoperly abroad!!!!Recommend

  • Amjad

    I don’t think you travel very much but you would soon know that all Muslim travellers go through much the same thing but it’s up to you to realise that everyone- even the security people have a job to do. Trust them to be professionals and let them do their job. Otherwise I have never had any problems as a Pakistani traveller. If anything, Iranians, Arabs including Iraqis, Saudis and Egyptians suffer from far more hardship when they travel. Go and ask an Iranian, a Somali or an Arab how badly thy are treated when travelling in the West. Recommend

  • Rayhan

    I wish if you were not Pakistani and I believe many other Pakistanis will agree with me.Recommend

  • blaaah

    man up bro!Recommend

  • narayana murthy

    I will dare to make a broader (or narrower) comment here.

    This is not just a problem with Pakistanis. This is a problem with most of the Muslims of the subcontinent. And Muslims of the Arab world who have no oil (ex: Palestine).

    I was once returning from abroad via Dubai by Air India. These Muslims (I cud figure that from their attires), starting rowdy behavior in the plane. The plane finally took off, after throwing them out.

    Muslims tend to behave in the worst way possible where ever you go and whatever is the context and who will believe them when they shout “religion of peace”!!!!Recommend

  • AhmedMaqsood

    There is one simple reason why traveling while being Pakistani and getting visas is such a pain: Pakistanis

    Pakistanis will apply for visas with fake documents – educational documents, work experience letters and especially bank statements – for a fee, you can arrange for a banker to put in a large amount in your bank account for visa purposes. There is an entire market for this. Some of you have probably done this at some point. So even those who get the visa are still suspect for airlines and governments.

    Pakistanis will routinely overstay visas and/or apply for asylum on false pretenses – and these aren’t minorities under attack – it will be the urban middle class. They will engage in fake sponsor marriages for money. They will claim that their sister is their wife and take them with them to UK or Canada (yes, this happens, have read court cases!).

    Pakistanis will engage in terrorism, learn their craft here in Pakistan and then teach other nationalities in training camps in Pakistan. This is a fact – just look at the Bali Bombings, London, Mumbai etc.

    Pakistanis will be rude to airline and airport staff, demand privileges such as discounts on excess baggage and play dumb in order to get through without paying it. We’ve all see this happen. They will insist on making 5 different people all change seats, just so their family can sit together on a 2 hour flight. They will get up to use the washroom without fail during “please remain seated with your seatbelt on” times. They will turn on their cellphones during the plane’s descent, even before they land. Then of course, there are queues, that nobody will bother to acknowledge.

    Now, I am not saying all Pakistanis engage in such behaviour – that’s just absurd. We aren’t the only ones engaging in such activities either – people from all sorts of countries do such things.

    But can you name another nationality that consistently does ALL of the above at a similar percentage?

    I thought so.

    We are the problem. Not our government, not our religion and certainly not other countries.Recommend

  • Ch Allah Daad

    I have travelled from Bangkok to Singapore (return) twice on train and once on bus. Train travel in Thailand, Malaysia is amazing. Never seen a Pakistani taking that rout which takes two days. First time at Malaysian border and on arriving at Singapore border, I was singled out for questioning, but if you have right answers and behave properly, no one creats problems for you.
    The reason I wrote is that if you are tourist, you should travel the way tourists do. If you go for fun or business, then must carry enough cash and fly on good airlines. Four hundered dollars in Singapore have less value than four hundred rupees in Pakistan.. Try to have fun with this much amount in Pakistan. Cash is king, not passport..Recommend

  • Pollack

    I don’t understand. Singapore is a fellow Islamic country. Part of ummah. Why is it creating problems for travellers carrying the passport of Islamic Pakistan while Thailand , a buddhist country, allows them in? Recommend

  • AhmedMaqsood

    Singapore is not an Islamic country – it is a secular multi-religious country. Barely 15% of Singaporeans are Muslim.

    Being an Islamic country has nothing to do with it. Never observed how Pakistani labourers are treated in the Gulf?Recommend

  • Nayab

    Every time you ask yourself ‘what has the country given me?’, first ask ‘what have I given to my country?’. I’ve travelled enough, and no doubt our awam is absolutely insane. But is it their fault? Were we like this in 1947? 1960? No. It’s because the people at the top have been self-serving for a long time. We have no education, no electricity, hyperinflation, and the International media portrays us like we are savages. I’m not saying the awam is poor and innocent, but my point is that if you want respect in this world, then perhaps it’s time you get off your lazy ass and instead of going to party in Thailand because you were born relatively rich and can afford it (and think you are entitled to respect), and do something about it. Go to the media and improve Pakistan’s image. Start teaching. There’s lots of steps which will have a high benefit, but require not too much effort on your part. ‘katre katre se darya banta hai’.

    I for one don’t have these qualms, and I’ve accepted my fate as a green passport, and I’ll deal with whatever problems that come my way with tact, and pre-planning. But if you don’t want to deal with that, then stop whining and go do something about it.Recommend

  • Ron

    BE A PROUD PAKISTANI.
    Your Country has talent and traditional vales.
    Don’t get hurt how people treat you.
    Be confident and believe in yourself… Cuz YOU are PAKISTAN !Recommend

  • Afifa

    Apart from all the PERSONAL experience the blogger had the airport and plane, I would like to comment on the point he mentioned about the people not listening to the crew when required to turn off the cellphone.

    This is really an issue with our people that we think of ourselves the ultimate knowledgeable and refuse to obey such instructions which are indeed for our own safety. I witnessed the same while on an official trip with my colleagues. Our manager , though did not argue with the crew, but he didn´t bother to switch off the phone saying ” is se kuch nahi hota, ye sab kehne ki bataen hain., I have travelled alot and nothing happened.” and unfortunately, that guy was an electrical engineer himself and probably knew about the interference it may cause of any problem occurs.

    These attitudes need to be changed seriously!!
    Apart from all this I am proud to have a passport of my country no matter what other say , and I am the one who, as an ambassador of my country should make the image better!Recommend

  • Askari

    This story is not about Thailand or Bangkok …everywhere in the world this happen to Pakistani .. It is only because of our Corrupt leaders and some double standard Mullah’s.Recommend

  • Haroon

    my experience is little different:
    i moved to Canada few years ago and couple of years ago i was travelling back to Pakistan, i was suppose to change my flight at frankfurt, when i reach at check in counter canadian officer asked me for my ID, i showed him my pakistani passport, and when he entered my information he told me i need German visa for landing/changing flight on frankfart, i was surprised and said, but my travel agent never told me that i need a visa for flight change, he said yes you do, i said, there is something wrong, check it again, if there is any visa requirement my agent is suppose to inform me, but he never. that officer said, OK, let me ask my senior, he came back with his supervisor and he asked, me do you have any other ID? i said yeah, i have my PR (permanent resident) card, he said let me check that, when i hand him over my PR, he said now you need not to worry about visa, here is the magic, you are not pakistani, i said yes i am, because i am carrying pakistani passport, he said, son, listen buried that passport some where in your baggage,use that only at lahore airport and if anyone ask you about your nationality say you are canadaian, and if they ask you for ID show them that PR, you will be fine. and remember no more pakistani passport son. Recommend

  • Rayhan

    @Pollack: Singapore is not a fellow Islamic Country. Please review following link

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReligioninSingaporeRecommend

  • Diplomat

    Go take CSS, get a Red Passport, wave it across to Immigration like I do. Period.Recommend

  • Optimist

    I’ve been to Singapre/Thailand/Hong Kong.
    .
    Pakistanis are treated with respect. Only Hong Kong people ask a few random questions. that’s it.
    .
    I think its YELLOW Journalism!Recommend

  • Raza

    Sympathies with the author over his failed vacation; I’m sure it sucks. Take it as a learning experience; as many people above have said, you need to study immigration rules for future. We Pakistanis have done a lot to earn our bad reputation, so cant exactly blame others either. No point of being ashamed though; this is who you are, this is what you were born as, like all of us. Recommend

  • Hassan

    Really funny, excellent example of sugar coated pills.

    But sadly, it happens to Pak Passports… But we should never think of being un patriotic instead we should became good role model so that people of other countries should see that good people also live in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Shah of Blah

    Only place I’ve ever had trouble is the “brotherly” arab states of the Gulf. You haven’t seen nothing till you’ve been at an immigration counter with a bedouin. Europe, America, Canada, have NEVER been a problem.Recommend

  • Mehmood

    Traveled countless times to several countries across the globe, never once had an issue with my passport or me being a Pakistani.

    However, I would agree to the fact that sometimes we really do stupid things. Like not switching off the mobile phones, One incident I can recall was when coming to Karachi from Doha, while the plane was waiting to get boarded, I saw 3 people sitting together and in full volume playing “Channo”, air hostess came to them three times and requested them to turn off the phone, and as soon as she left they started playing it again. Finally a male steward came and stood there until the plane took off.

    Comes to the fact that we need some training and education on basics .. akhlaqiyaat .. manners :)Recommend

  • MarkH

    I certainly can’t speak for the majority of the world’s airports/security. But, even if you run into a security officer who doesn’t have a discriminate bone in his body, the passport will at least get a slightly different acknowledgment, whether it’s obvious or not. Most threats trace back to Pakistan and it’s their job to prevent them from becoming reality. Those people aren’t going to be carrying signs with their intent. They’re going to try to blend in with the average Pakistani. The dots are going to initially connect automatically. If they don’t, they aren’t doing their job. However, how someone is treated after those dots connect, on what grounds and the extent of it is another matter entirely.Recommend

  • http://Australia Naeem Siddiqui

    @ Musab Memon

    I am a Pakistani passport holder and a frequent traveller via Suvarnabhumi Airport transit to Singapore and Australia. Based on my experience I can easily say that you are exaggerating too much.

    Every country have some country specific rules just fulfil it and you will face no problem. Don’t rely on travel agents spend some times to Google yourself.Recommend

  • Hina

    agreedRecommend

  • John McIntyre

    Whenever I read about discrimination against innocent Pakistanis, as a westerner I feel bad. This happens a lot in the west too. But I hope Pakistanis realize our dilemma. Self preservation comes first. Given that almost all the radicals and Islamists who bomb trains, planes and everything in sight are from Pakistan, being ultra careful with all green passports is a logical option. Someone who let a Pakistani in who later bombed the country will be vilified for ever. “You really let him in knowing he was Pakistani? You must be real doofus,” would be the question. And the immigration official will loose his job forever. I hope you understand that it is nothing personal, just commonsense.

    Best

    John McIntireRecommend

  • http://none mikek

    @M Ali Khan:
    Whenever I listened to Zaid Hamid my morale increases and I feel hope. ZH not only shows the truth which is always bitter but also gave us hope. I salute to ZH for his wisdom, patriotism and criticism with solid reasons which convinces me to whatever he said. He definitely has blessings of Rasool Allah and when anybody has blessings of Rasool Allah, Allah swt also showered His blessings as well. Pakistanio dont ruined your akhira by bad mouthing a dervesh like ZH.Recommend

  • http://none mikek

    @Asad:

    If you follow a country’s rules and regulations you will not have any problem. Suppose if an American comes with his American Passport and brings bottles of liquor on a Pakistani airport he will going to have problem. Pakistanis never bother to find out the rules and regulation of the country where they are going so they will have to face the problems. Dont you read the news in the paper people knowingly carry drugs to Saudia and get killed. I have seen Pakistanis carrying like the whole household whenever travelling with oversized and overweight suitcases and their faces looks freightened so they will be facing trouble with any country even at Pakistani airport. Pakistanis should learn the civic sense and travel like a traveller. The writer seems to me exxagerated the whole experience. Had he have enough money required to travel to Singapore then he would not have any problem coz Singapore is very expensive and if you do not have enough cash Singapore govt thinks that they have a problem for you to accomodate. Recommend

  • http://glenns-busy-corner.blogspot.com/ Glenn Ryall

    Be strong and stop whining dude its not going to get you anywhere, trust meRecommend

  • Ahsan

    @Ch Allah Daad:

    I agree with Ch Allah Daad that cash is king not the passport or identity. Recommend

  • http://Australia Naeem Siddiqui

    Mr Author,

    If you would have googled before packing your baggage, you would have saved your writing skills for some other usefull issues :)

    Singapore Visa Information
    http://www.learn4good.com/travel/singapore_visa.htm

    Foreigners holding travel documents issued by the following countries will require a visa to enter Singapore:

    Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh (Except Diplomatic/Official passport holders), Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Nigeria, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan*, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, JordanLebanon, Libya, Morocco, Myanmar, China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria,

    they are required to fulfill the following conditions as well:

    They are in possession of a valid passport
    They are in possession of a confirmed onward air-ticket
    They are in possession of Entry facilities (including visa) to the third country
    They are in possession of Sufficient funds for the period of stay in Singapore

    Note: Possession of a visa alone does not guarantee entry into Singapore. Visitors must also meet entry requirements such as holding a valid passport, sufficient funds for the period of stay in Singapore and confirmed onward/return air ticket.Recommend

  • Ali

    What rubbish i recently travllled to singapore.. i didnt even had a hotel booking nor $500 with me .. no one asked any questions at the singapore immigration… they just asked why i was there i said for tourism.. some times things like urs happen but in rare cases.. so cheer up and try one more time for singapore .. Recommend

  • Nawab

    A very well written article and i agree with it 100%.
    It would be great if the online community in Pakistan could get together and send a petition of sorts to the concerned parties/governements of thailand/singapore about the racism they are guilty of at their airports. This is criminal and instead of whinning we should do something about it.Recommend

  • jawad BT

    With the kind of amount you carried you should have visited Northern Areas and enjoyed the Desi Wine..Hunza Water.. and as far as meeting with your friend was concerned try using skype.. Recommend

  • saeed

    Pakistan government and policy maker doing every thing right. but unfortunately Pakistan is high jacked by Islam. it is much easy to blame Pakistan than Islam, even other countries cannot openly go against this Religon for obvious reason.Many people proudly said they are ashamed of Pakistan, never heared they are ashamed of this Religon which is root of all problemRecommend

  • Muddi

    I have never had this problem, therefore it does not existRecommend

  • Essa Gulzari

    Mr. Memon. Thanks, highlighting the actual status of the Pakistanis, travelling abroad on Pakistani Passports. If anybody want to exprience at his own, travel to the Middlest countries, especially Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the eve of Hajj. Discriminating Pakistanis abroad is no more offended because our Government and the foreign office is toiling hard to protect the rights of their citizens and giving safe cantuaries to the international terrorists. Recommend

  • hassan

    Hello !!!

    The troubles your have experienced happens not only to Pakistani passport holders, but to anyone who has a pakistani visa in his passport !

    You should see the way people are given separate treatment at US immigration counters the moment they notice that you have visited Pakistan recently. Long Live Land of the Pure !!Recommend

  • http://www.indrajal.com Vishnu Dutta

    What else you expect from the rest of the world.
    few of your own countrymen brought this situation upon you.
    time to cleanup the house first.Recommend

  • Mujtaba Shuja

    No matter what happened i will always repect my pakistani green passport n will hold it forever..its my identity my everything… we should be that much confident not te be ashamed telling someone we are pakistani…. i have travveled alot but where i ever go i say with proud that i am pakistani… we should done same with foerigners whn thy come to our country… whn thay came here we welcomed them like presidents of states but in retun wht did thay gave to us? …. i have still remeber once i was travelling in islamabad n i was not allowed to go margalla road due to securiy..but once there were a chinese memeber of my company i choose same road n poiliceman never stoped me… why why???Recommend