Moin Khan: What’s your agenda?

Published: December 12, 2011
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Moin Khan aims to do his bit to change the global perception of Pakistan. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Moin Khan aims to do his bit to change the global perception of Pakistan. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Moin Khan aims to do his bit to change the global perception of Pakistan. PHOTO: PUBLICITY Moin Khan aims to do his bit to change the global perception of Pakistan. PHOTO: PUBLICITY Moin Khan aims to do his bit to change the global perception of Pakistan. PHOTO: PUBLICITY Moin Khan aims to do his bit to change the global perception of Pakistan. PHOTO: PUBLICITY Moin Khan aims to do his bit to change the global perception of Pakistan. PHOTO: PUBLICITY
LAHORE: 

Creativity and patriotism rarely seem to go hand in hand. When one thinks of doing something for one’s country or its people, it’s usually along the lines of traditional campaigning or fighting for some grave cause. Moin Khan, a young 24-year-old biker from Lahore, however, has demonstrated quite quirkily that there are myriad ways of showing love for the country, riding around the world on your trusted bike, for instance.

Khan has made international and local headlines with his simple yet effective plan titled ‘A Different Agenda’ whereby he is travelling by road from the United States to Pakistan on his bike, meeting and greeting as many people as he can along the way to share with them the alternative reality and vibrancy of Pakistan. With himself as the mascot for his fun, yet physically challenging, quest, Khan speaks to The Express Tribune of the trails of seeking a different agenda.

How successful has ‘A Different Agenda’ been in terms of changing mindsets through your
personal interaction with people along your journey?

To me, success was fairly easy to achieve. I achieved it on the first day when I started on July 10. A group of Native Americans let me share their campsite and one of the women asked me about Pakistan. The topic went on to Islam and I found out that they thought Islam is only about fighting and terrorism. After talking for about two hours and seeing them nod their heads in agreement, I think I did a good job convincing them that they were misinformed.

At that time I thought ‘Wow this is working — me just telling one person at a time that we are just regular people like them is a brilliant idea’. Those 28 people may each tell two more people in their lives about Pakistanis being good people and that makes it 84 people thinking Pakistanis are just regular people like them.

What has the journey taught you as an individual and as a young Pakistani?

I thought people were going to raise their eyebrows as soon as they catch a glimpse of the Pakistani flag on my bike and I thought I would be getting rude comments once they found out I was from Pakistan. But to my surprise, I found out that I had it all backwards. I thought television and news had brainwashed others, but it had brainwashed me as well into thinking that the world had more hatred.

Everyone I’ve met has been amazing. Every time I’ve had to reach out my hand, there’s been a helping hand to grab hold of. From strangers who gave me a warm bed to crash on for a night, to the guy who blessed me with a crash that put me in a hospital bed with broken bones, to random Turkish boys who let me sleep in a gas station’s storage room for free — I’ve learnt that this world can go a long way with a smile. The invisible lines that separate race, ethnicity, and religion don’t have to exist.

Has anyone within Pakistan ever made you feel slighted or question your national spirit/patriotism because you carry a foreign passport?

A passport is just a piece of paper — it shouldn’t matter what papers you carry, what should matter is what’s in your heart. I reek of Pakistani pride. I had three motorcycles and a bunch of nice mountain roads to ride around in San Francisco, a job that was paying bills and filling both my stomach and my bikes. I could’ve easily stayed there and enjoyed my life. However, I decided to move back when everyone else in Pakistan is trying to move out. I don’t think anyone has the audacity to question my patriotism. I am Pakistan.

How did you manage to fund this trip?

It took me about 18 months, three different jobs and eating a lot of rice with ketchup. I sold everything I owned; all my other bikes, my car, my furniture, TV, clothes, tools etc. Also, a lot of people helped me once I started the trip. BayAreaRidersForum helped me a lot and I got some donations from all around the globe; from India to Australia to Poland to Argentina.

What would your advice be to others your age wanting to make a difference through alternative means?

Just do what you love to do. Keep searching till you find something you love and don’t settle till you’ve found that one thing you love. Don’t search for success, it’ll come itself if you work hard enough.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2011.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (17)

  • Boy
    Dec 12, 2011 - 10:35PM

    great man. Great work. I follow his updates regularly on facebook.

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  • Dec 12, 2011 - 11:27PM

    I have been following moeens journey through his facebook page . salutes to the guy. Brilliant effort and a lot of positive press for Pakistan .

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  • Aamir
    Dec 12, 2011 - 11:44PM

    May ALLAH (S.W.T.) bless you and help you complete your journey successfully and safely (amen summah amen)……brother I wish I had a chance to meet you while you were visiting Niagara Falls, Canada.

    Very very proud of you and I’m hoping and praying to ALAH (S.W.T.) that you achieve your goal after this trip.

    Recommend

  • bilal
    Dec 13, 2011 - 12:10AM

    great job, but lets see you try and travel the world on a pakistani passport and well see how welcoming everyone is lol

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  • Hina
    Dec 13, 2011 - 9:59AM

    Hi actually I was reading ur article today in the newspaper. It’s was really nice to read that still there are people who have the spirit of being a Pakistani. I simply feel that those people who live abroad and say they are no more Pakistani, are so demeaning and disgrace, to Pakistan. They should be slapped from both sides,and not be allowed to come to Pakistan. By changing country does not arras your true identity. Shame on all those Pakistanis who lack love for there country.

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  • Hina
    Dec 13, 2011 - 10:30AM

    Great to know Pakistani love Pakistan

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  • haroun rashid
    Dec 13, 2011 - 2:36PM

    Love your spirit of adventure Moin. You are doing a great job.

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  • Hu Jintao
    Dec 14, 2011 - 1:17AM

    Love and Respect for him.

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  • sohaib
    Dec 14, 2011 - 2:12AM

    @Hina Pakistanis living abroad are patriotic, more sensitive to Pakistan than may be people in Pakistan. I m not insulting anyone’s patriotism but just telling you the fact. Being away from the country reminds us more about it. The more bad news from Pakistan, the more embarrassed we feel. I hope the day will come when there will only be good news from Pakistan and inshallah it is not that far! Pakistan zindabad.

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  • Waqas
    Dec 25, 2011 - 4:36PM

    well done dude
    Long live Pakistan

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  • Zia
    Dec 26, 2011 - 12:08PM

    Thumbs up to you moeen.

    If every one starts thinking your way our sorrows will end soon, nice to see young pakistanis taking the challenge headon.

    Recommend

  • Tanya
    Dec 26, 2011 - 12:20PM

    thats really sweet to spread love around te love as i have same emotion for my country..i grow up here..its lyk ma mother n even i hate to hear anything wrong or fact that is bitter relate to my country….Wish God made it as paradise..where thr is no harm & hate….Luv PakistanRecommend

  • Irfan
    Dec 26, 2011 - 12:40PM

    We are Pakistan and I am proud to be PakistaniRecommend

  • Tanya
    Dec 26, 2011 - 12:51PM

    i really love this story.when i read this just tears come in my eyes as i felt that same feelings which is in my heart for my country Pakistan…I want to even see it as a paradise where their is no hate.i want our kids even afford healthy loving lyf rather diong work at the age they should study…well luv Pakistan….Recommend

  • Anum Mahmood Khan
    Dec 30, 2011 - 9:59AM

    Great work, i must say that your parents are very courageous and patriot too, who allowed you and supported you for this cause. May our encouragement helps you in keeping your spirit high. We wish you all the best. We are proud of you.

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  • Aviator
    Jan 8, 2012 - 4:31AM

    Well done, what you have done is deep and inspirational

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  • Beena
    Jan 14, 2012 - 9:53AM

    A rich kid who can do this, he has his fathers money in his pocket. For me the hero is the 24 year old who despite being excellent in his studies had to give up his college to work so hecan support his family because his dad got blown up or caught in some Karachi cross fire. Moin if only you could sponsor a future scientist or doctor!! Don’t make out your a hero!!!!Recommend

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