Driving Pakistan’s wasteland in a wine British convertible.
You occasionally meet a character who stands out from the landscape. In this case, the landscape is a topographical sweep between the Arabian sea and the khyber strait.
The character is a pudgy man with a baseball cap, sunglasses, an odd smile and an air of optimism. His name is Mohsin Ikram.
The reason Mohsin stands out in this landscape is that, while Winston Churchill was still alive, he galloped through a british-made sports car.
Traveling through Pakistan in a museum without a roof is not for the faint-hearted.
But Mohsin is a lover. He explained that he was in control of what he called “the car thing” – a lifelong passion for the burning of a classic car.
Mohsin, 50, started collecting his car at the age of 16. His team currently includes the Lincoln continental convertible, which belonged to the king of Afghanistan in 1947.
“I will go out of my way to enjoy the old car, go anywhere in the world and accept any challenge,” Mohsin said. “I like to surround the car.”
Restoring old cars is clearly Mohsin’s life, but he does have an appropriate job – as a travel agent and campaign manager.
“I hate it,” he said. “I wish I didn’t have to work for money and spend all my time on cars.”
Mohsin is the founder of Pakistan antiques and classic car club. A few weeks ago, Mohsin set out from his home in the southern port city of Karachi with a group of enthusiasts to go to peshawar, near Afghanistan. It’s a journey of about 1,000 miles; Mohsin’s wife, Saira, traveled with him in the car.
Pakistan has some good highways and lots of new cars. But driving here is often a struggle with dust and potholes, rickshaws, horse-drawn carriages, a variety of cycles, and decorous trucks and goats.
Mohsin and Saira travel in dark green Austin Healey in 1954. When visibility was poor – for example, at night, mohsin replaced his black glasses with a pair of glass and leather world war ii goggles.
Mohsin and his friends started these road trips a few years ago. They’re just enjoying their cars. They stopped to hold the car show and party.
But for mosing, the trip is also a mockery of those who have wrested havoc in his country.
“I come from this school and think that this is our country and we have to prove to them that we are living a normal life,” he said. “We want to have fun. We’ll have fun. Let’s do it.”
“I want to be free,” he continued. “I want to be free enough to go anywhere in Pakistan, wherever I want to go, why do the terrorists drive us out of the street?”
If you’re thinking of a leisurely cross-country drive, Pakistan is not the kind of place you normally think of. It’s rare to see a suicide bombing, a gun battle or an assassination attempt on a map somewhere.
But violence is one-sided. In most troubled places, there are many areas where life is normal. The same is true here.
During the trip, mohsin’s team had to make a detour due to the rumors of unrest. In order to avoid a 60-mile traffic jam, he lost a fog lamp a few hours later and broke the spring.
But they finally arrived in the capital, Islamabad, unscathed. Saira crawled out and let the reporter squeeze into their car for a while.
“We’re only five inches from the ground, and it’s an interesting feeling, like a kart,” Mohsin said, as Austin Healey snarled on the city’s wide road.
“We get all kinds of reactions, but most people like what they see, they smile, they give me a thumb, they appreciate the car,” he said. “Someone laughed – I don’t know why.”
This year, more than 1,000 people were killed or injured in bombings and shootings in the city. Mosing got used to it. In Karachi, there is blood every day. But some of his people told him they would not go any further because of security concerns.
Mohsin said: “some people have pulled out because there are warnings of possible terrorist attacks in peshawar.” “I tell them if you don’t go, I’ll go alone, and my wife says, if you’re going, I’ll go with you.”
I watched Mohsin and Saira as well as some other people, and started walking toward peshawar on a brilliant blue autumn morning. And then I called them; They did it. They didn’t get hurt. Everything was -mohsin said – “great.”
“People don’t realize the power of people,” he said. “If we are united, if we get together, we can do anything.”