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Hidden from all,I will speak to you without words

I was ashamed of myself

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[Shameful] Foreign Tourists Assaulted by Pakistan Police [Shameful] Foreign Tourists Assaulted by Pakistan Police

Words fail me. I cannot even begin to express my disgust with how we have been treated by the Pakistan police and government; it’s horrific, illegal and shameful.

We are currently 3 cyclists navigating our way across Asia by bicycle - during our time in Pakistan we have been harassed by police, assaulted, had our items stolen, our bicycles and property damaged, our bodies injured, and lied to every day - and all this by the police.

When we entered Punjab, the police escort (which we did not request, they are assigned to some overland tourists at random and we are told it’s “mandatory”) became much worse than usual.

We were used to being lied to every day, scammed, and harassed constantly.

But over the following two days we were also assaulted multiple times, again entirely by the police force: against unarmed people on bicycles.

On the morning of the first assault we left our (mandatory-assigned) hotel at midday and cycled to a nearby roadside cafe for breakfast. We already had a police escort with us (24/7), which was fine.
It’s important to note that the location of this cafe was on the N5, which is the Karachi - Lahore road police told us to take because it is “safe”.

20 minutes into having our breakfast - with police escort present - another police van arrived with 3 officers we have never seen before.

One of them approaches to us and begins shouting “GET UP” multiple times; when his request is not met he grabs my camera, takes my me by the hair and throws me to the ground.

He then attempted to chase me with a wooden stick, stole and drove off with my camera and refused to stop with me inside a vehicle, forcing me to dangerously exit the van at speed.

He later also aimed his gun at my friends’ head.

This is just one incident of many, and we have video evidence to prove everything.

We tried to show evidence to the media to share, but many journalists were arrested trying to share our story.

The Pakistan government put pressure on media to not share our story, which would put the police in a bad light.

Please share this story so that the parties involved are held accountable.

While our experiences in Punjab were not ideal, I really want to emphasise that I am *not* saying Pakistan is unsafe.
As a country, Pakistan was amazing. Most of the people we met were incredibly friendly and we never felt unsafe… except around the police.

For at least a week in Sindh we cycled without a police escort, and that week was full of great people and interesting experiences.

Having spoken to many other travellers who reported having the same issue with the police escorts in Pakistan, it’s clear that the government here needs to invest more into police training on how to treat people (not just tourists) and work on their accountability and accessibility to resolve incidents like this.

After this incident we were promised by government officials that we would have no more problems from the police, and less than three days later I was deliberately hit by a police car, and we faced the same harassment and corruption as usual.

While I cannot truthfully say you’ll enjoy yourself travelling in Pakistan with an escort, the good news is that this only applies to certain areas of the country - most of the northern regions of Pakistan do not require an escort, and major cities such as Karachi and Lahore are also police-free and were great cities to explore.

📷 Stay safe! 📷


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