Imperial Hotel, Muree Road, Rawalpindi 400Rs/double bed room
After the 5 hour bus journey from Lahore to Islamabad, and long taxi drive to Saddar Bazaar in Rawalpindi, I was really resent by the hotel owner who refused me to stay in his hotel. Saddar Bazaar is the place for the budget hotels in Rawalpindi, where 2 years ago I used to stay. Today, they refused to accept me as their guest, as there is a stamp ‘Visa not Valid for Cannt Area’ on my visa page. I didnt realize what the meaning of the small stamp on my visa before today.
The feeling of being refused in a hotel was very bad. I can imagine the same feeling of people being refused to enter a certain country despite of possessing the valid visa. And I felt disappointed, badly treated, being looked as second class man, etc.
Cantontment is military area, which sometimes also include residential and bazaar area, as in this example Saddar Bazaar in Rawalpindi. I didnt know about this before. I am worrying whether this visa will affect my journey thru the Khyber Pass to Afghanistan later, or even affecting me to access the tribal areas in Baluchistan. Who knows. Apparently I got this stamp because my visa is not a simple tourist visa, instead it is a ‘professional’ visa, of which I didnt know why granted to me from the Heaven.
Suddenly I am worrying of the difficulties travelling around Pakistan now on. Luckily I came here with a British Pakistani man who is willing to share a room in quite expensive (for my standard) hotel in the city area.
updated 24 December 2005
Just met a Japanese tourist with the same problem as I have. He has a tourist visa and got it from Pakistan Embassy in New Delhi. It’s apparent that the matter was not the type of visa I have, but all visas issued in New Delhi and Kathmandu are not valid for cantontment. And it seems that there would be any problem for me to cross to Afghanistan with this visa. The only inconvenience is that this stamp does limit the choice of cheap places I can stay.