My trip in Pakistan is about to finish, the six months of time, seemingly long enough, is still not enough for me to visit even all of the provinces of Pakistan. And I still feel very hard to leave this country in very near future. But the journey has to go on, and the next trip is Afghanistan. Afghanistan Miiayam, in Farsi means Afghanistan, I’m coming.
I have got the visa easily from its consulate in Peshawar. It cost 1$ per day, and I applied for three month visa which cost me 90$. Mr Rasuli, the visa officer, said that the visa started from the date of issue, but it seems that after confirmation with other traveller, the visa started from the date of entry and not the date of issue. I think that there is even miscoordination between the government and the visa officer of the country.
I picked my visa at 3 pm. There were to Afghans sitting, also waiting for their passports. One of them thought I was from Afghan (I dressed in shalwar qamiz) and the other was sure I was foreigner. Then to make confirmation they started to chat with me. These two Afghan guys, Amman and Wahid, were wearing T-shirts and jeans. Discussion with them was surprising me.
Wahid’s thinking is very distinctive. He is 25. He was an Afghan refugee from Kabul, moved to Pakistan and got education here. His parents were from well-to-do family in Kabul, and prefered to stay in their homeland. He speaks very good English. Seemed that he was educated somewhere in Europe, but I was not sure. He has been in Pakistan for two years, but barely spoke Urdu. But he hates Pakistan as much as he hates his country.
“What is this dirty country, man. You are wasting your time here. Look here, only dust….” said him while wiping his hands on the floor and showed me the thick dust on his palm, “people here eating dust, and this make people sick. The water is very dirty, and every three years they get sick.” Then he gave me a lecture about hygienic way of life.
For him, Pakistan and Afghanistan, both are dusty country and nothing to see.
“You want to see Afghanistan? Just see my hand. See this dust? You saw Afghanistan already. It’s only dust there.”
Amman was about to get his passport. Amman is Wahid’s cousin. Wahid urged me to open way for Amman.
“How to get to Indonesia? How to get to Australia?”
I told them that Indonesian visa is quite difficult, but they, with Afghan passports, dont need visa to go to Malaysia. Then, as many other Iraqi, Iranian, and Afghan refugees, they take boat to go to Indonesia ilegally and then continue to Australia.
Wahid was so excited to hear this. He urged Amman to do as what I said (I didnt recommend him to do, I told him that jails in Indonesia are just little bit worse than the hell). Amman was indiferent. Wahid himself was going to go to Dubai next month, and he was excited to go “out”.
Wahid said that people in Afghanistan and Pakistan were too much uneducated. “See, here, if you have beard then you are muslim, if no beard, then no Muslim. This is stupid,” said him, who was himself clean shaved, “If you wear shalwar kameez like what you are wearing now (pointing to my shirt) then you are Muslim, but if wearing modern shirt like us, then we are not Muslims?”
“They think that by saying only Laillahaillalah then you can go to heaven? No. religion is not like that! I am a Muslim, but I dont wear shalwar kamez and I also shaved! Religion is here,” said him pointing his heart.
I like that he was not hypocrite. He likes girls, as every single inch of woman is beautiful. But for him purdah is not Islamic. I said here that I have heard that some mullah urged that purdah should be weared, including covering hands with gloves and covering the eyes with sunglasses. About the gloves he was agree, because he can get aroused when seeing the hands of women. “If you go to Dubai, you can see women’s face with their hejab, that’s the same as in your country (Indonesia), and all are smiling. That’s the beauty of woman. In Quran showing woman’s face is OK”
But then he blamed about the society, as there are no women nearby. “The bad muslims can even imagined how beautiful a woman is, when seeing a woman under purdah,” he made an example, “so what’s the point of that?”. He then gave me some other examples of the result of not allowing women around, “masturbation, fucking animals, fucking boys…” That’s indeed the common things I have heard about some tribal in the border areas of the two countries. “If you go to Kandahar then you can prove it! If you do free sex, that’s really bad. But if you fuck guys, …, then you really really finished. At first, Allah created one man and one woman, not two men. Do you know what for?” said him spiritually.
Even not all of his points make me agreed, but I like listening his thoughts, as this is not quite common to be heard in Pakistan. “If I become Karzai, the leader of our country,” he imagined, “I will ban people wearing shalwar qamiz and just to allow people to wear modern dress.”
“But that’s the traditional dress of your country,” I said
“But you know, shirt like this is also symbol of education, open minded, …”
When we walk on the street, he said deliberately, “If you stay too long in this Pakistan, you will look like him,” said him pointing a man with his donkey cart, “or like him,” said him pointing a man with garbage sack,” or like him, “said him when an ugly man passing. All of the men he pointed was local, uneducated-look, and had moustaches. He called this type of men as “Charlie”, refer to “Charlie Chaplin”.
He just said that loudly as he was sure that those men wont understand him. I had to ask him to lower his voice, as many Pakistanis speak English and someone can be angered.
“The Prophet shaved the moustaches and left the beard, but this men shaved the beard and left the moustaches. What is that if it’s not Charlie?”
For him it’s of course better to shave cleanly as himself. But I protested as I think he was also from another extreme. When he said those people judged someone religious or not just from appearance, he was also doing the same thing, judging someone is good quality or not just from clothes and moustaches. Kabul is more modern than Peshawar for him, as in fact, there are more people in paint shirt rather than in shalwar qamiz.
We went to a juice shop. He originally ordered mango juice, but once he saw the mangoes, he cancelled. It seems that the mangoe doesnt fit his high hygienic standard. He said loudly, “These uneducated people, they just wanted to earn money without thinking of the customers.”
What countries are his ideal? He wanted to go to (and wanted me to go to) Europe, America, Canada. The water there is the best quality in the world, if you drink you dont get sick, excused him. When he walks on rampantly poluted Peshawar streets, he always covers his forehead and face with his handkerchieves. “Too much dirty air,” he said. When he walked on the street, he was disgusted by the rubbish. “Why dont they clean this?” He stayed in quite upper class area of Peshawar, in Hayatabad.
From pardah, women, religion, sex, life quality, food, education, clothes, moustaches, body building, money, polution, this young Afghan refugee gave me a thousand of reasons why Pakistan and Afghanistan are not the place for a young man with high ideas like him.