Promoting Pakistan: The long ride home

Published: July 17, 2011
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Moin Khan plans to promote Pakistan on his 28,000 mile journey home. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Moin Khan plans to promote Pakistan on his 28,000 mile journey home. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

LAHORE: 

It’s well documented how foreign media views and stereotypes Pakistan. For the youth, paranoia has been created which has changed perceptions of Pakistan. There have been various initiatives to challenge and change these stigmas.

Till now, nobody had heard of  24-year old Moin Khan but suddenly with the viral impact of Facebook and his website, his popularity has seen a sudden rise as he started a 28,000 mile solo motorcycle journey from San Francisco, California to his hometown Lahore.

For several years, Khan had lived in Bay area, California, going to school at San Francisco State University where he studied International Business while also doing various part-time jobs. The news he would hear about his home country was rarely positive and was quite often depressing. From here, Khan developed the idea to do something positive for his country and help change the perception of Pakistan.

“You never really hear any good news about Pakistan,” remarks Khan who is currently spending the night in Vancouver. “I wondered how I could play a part in improving the image of Pakistanis and I thought this great adventure gave me the opportunity to break stereotypes and tell people that Pakistan isn’t really all that bad.”

For this reason, the trip back to his hometown has been largely unplanned. He will be on the road for four to five months, attempting to interact with people and, hopefully, promote Pakistan. “I have no idea where I’ll be staying during the nights, I have some camping gear but no idea where the campgrounds are,” says Khan. “I am attempting to do this old-school style without the use of global positioning system (GPS) because this will give me a chance to talk to strangers for directions.”

The idea may seem far-fetched but Khan does have a rough understanding of the countries he will pass in traveling across the globe. According to his website and Facebook page, Khan plans on riding through Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. He then plans on cruising through Turkey, Iran, thus entering Pakistan and then heading home to Lahore.

The bike he is using for the trip is a Honda CBR 600 F4i sport bike, which has been custom fitted with a touring rack but few have tried to go such long distances across so many countries.

According to his cousin, Ali Khan, an IT professional in the US, the response to the initiative thus far has been unique and Moin’s Facebook page has gained over a thousand followers in the last couple of days. He added that there was no confirmed date of when he would be arriving in Pakistan but there was already talk of people receiving him when he entered the country.

“He had thought of the idea around three years ago and he has always said that whatever small role one can play by speaking to one person at a time, is a form of making a difference,” said Ali. “The interesting thing is that a lot of this is uncoordinated, for instance when he was in Portland a guy from his online bikers forum gave him a place to stay for the night but in other cases its largely hotels or sleeping bags.”

In the end, Khan comes across surely as a modern-day adventurer or thrill-seeker who has, as his website specifies, ‘a different agenda’. For him, the journey will help decrease the hole in people’s knowledge about Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • Jul 17, 2011 - 7:03PM

    There is a guy from Gemany is already on a way to Pakistan on a bicycle

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  • Jul 17, 2011 - 7:33PM

    and we here can only talk about ‘Promoting Pakistan’ and this guy is doing it practically. Our freaking media channels….yukkhhh… they even don’t that. I bet If during the same time, Katrina Kaif visits Pakistan, this guy will NOT GET ANY MEDIA COVERAGE in PAKISTAN.

    I wish him the very best and safe journey & hope that he completes his adventure and be properly and overwhelmingly received in Lahore. (just can wish)

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  • Waqas
    Jul 17, 2011 - 7:41PM

    What a great feat by a youngster, we wish him all the best and a safe journey :-) We will be eagerly awaiting you in Lahore.. God speed!

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  • Fortune Cookie
    Jul 17, 2011 - 10:17PM

    TRIBUNE can help by relating his day to day journey………

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  • Saad
    Jul 17, 2011 - 10:43PM

    Ada Moin!! Ada boy!!

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  • Asim
    Jul 17, 2011 - 10:58PM

    Indeed a Great effort . When he reaching lahore We will come to Welcome u .

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  • Maaz Gardezi
    Jul 17, 2011 - 11:18PM

    Moin Khan Zindabad!!

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  • Ariba
    Jul 17, 2011 - 11:26PM

    Great idea! Good Luck and be safe!

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  • Asad
    Jul 17, 2011 - 11:43PM

    This dude rocks.

    AC! AC! AC! hahahaha

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  • Jul 18, 2011 - 12:00AM

    carry on moin u will be well welcomed in pakistan;)))

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  • Tahir Usman
    Jul 18, 2011 - 1:31AM

    Just the kind of thing I would like to do! Wishing Moin the best of luck and success in his endeavour! God speed!

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  • Anwar
    Jul 18, 2011 - 7:44AM

    You will need scuba gear for crossing the great Atlantic.

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  • Haider Mirza
    Jul 18, 2011 - 12:45PM

    unbelievable!

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  • eskay Indusi
    Jul 18, 2011 - 2:07PM

    Moin
    when you travel through all these countries–try to do the following:

    1)Give a PRESS Conference in every Capital city if you can and stress the words of Muhammad ali Jinnah
    we are a peaceful nation— give us a chance –the people will triumph!

    2)Try to visit Chidren’s handicap centres– this kind of PR is well received

    3)Try to email me–i will surely help you with more suggestions.

    cheers and allah Haafiz

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  • S
    Jul 18, 2011 - 3:10PM

    hehe, “I have no idea where I’ll be staying during the nights, I have some camping gear but no idea where the campgrounds are”…all i can say is, im glad this pretty boy’s not passing through Afghanistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa…with his level of innocence, things could have gotten very ugly!

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  • Amjad
    Jul 18, 2011 - 5:11PM

    True spirit of a Lahori- way to go boy!!!! Pakistan Zindabad!

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  • Niazi
    Jul 18, 2011 - 9:08PM

    @S Dude hes tryin to promote the proper image of Pakistan and you on the other hand sittin in your house on your lazy behind are demoting our country. Thats sad. I’m from pakhtunkhwa and we pathans are famous for our hospitality all over the world. Maybe getting kinky with pathans is your fantasy, because that’s the first thing that came to your mind. A scottish guy named rory stewart crossed afghanistan by foot in 2001, same is the case with alot of hippy women and men. no one hurts no one without any reason. Best of luck Moin khan! Long live pakistan!

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  • Amriki Pakistani
    Jul 19, 2011 - 4:06PM

    Way to go Moin Khan. Would love to join you but have already arrived in Pakistan. Heard that you are not taking any Freeways or big highways on your way and are using only scenic routes and roads, which is GREAT. Take as many pictures & videos and regularly upload them. We’re consistently tracking your route and wish you all the best. ENJOY ALL THE WAY!!!!!!Recommend

  • moid ansari
    Jul 20, 2011 - 1:58AM

    Good luck Moin we are all hooting for you. Wishing you success and a very safe journey across the 3 continents :)

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  • Pragmatist
    Jul 20, 2011 - 12:23PM

    I hope the authorities make sure that he does not visit KP. Shehzad comes to mind.

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  • ashi faisal
    Jul 20, 2011 - 1:41PM

    good luck moin.wishing u a safe journey…

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  • Jul 20, 2011 - 1:54PM

    Well Done Bro…

    May Allah Be With you for this Cause!

    Well Done!

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  • Awais
    Jul 21, 2011 - 10:07AM

    Well Done Brother Good Luck Moin
    Wishing you a Safe journey.

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  • Jul 21, 2011 - 10:09AM

    Well Done Brother Good Luck Moin
    Wishing you a safe Journey.

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  • bunnayn
    Jul 21, 2011 - 10:24AM

    we love you moin. im really happy to see something like this. this is great. however i would be happier to see some security arrangements for him once he enters Pakistan lest some group tries to take advantage of him.

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  • Jul 21, 2011 - 12:24PM

    Assalam-o-Alaikum, you are doing a commendable job. no doubt we are not as bad as we are being projected in media specally in western media. pakistan is playing very very contructive role to make the world more secure and peaceful. so far our security forces and people have paid tremendous sacrificies in the shape of collateral damages and even offered their lives to protect the lives of others specailly the international comunity.it is a matter of great pleasure for me that at least there is some one who has taken this responsibility to improve soft of Pakistan and do something for his country. there is a message in his journey for all of us that we should do something for our beloved country. i think there is no dearth of ideas what todo to improve imageof our country. it can be done in many ways. the only thing which we need to do is to decide to do and then wokr for it like moin khan. moin khan we pray and wish for success in you mission. amin.

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