On August 21, 2020, Zark Masood commented on my article: “Can we believe in what travelers say about Pakistan? Are they accurate, fair and independent?”. His local feed-back brings relevant points requiring additional explanations. This is the purpose of the following discussion.
Feed back received from Zark Masood
Totally disagree with you. I can play the same game with you like everyone is praising Pakistan due to its natural environment and hospitality but you though everyone is praising and if i do the same, no body will read this blog so you tried to convey a negative perspective of Pakistan so that people can give you more claps. See we can play the blame game on both side. But the points you raised were good but let me tell you that there is no gender discrimination in Pakistan. We respect women and keep them like queens in house not like a show piece in front of media.
Answer to Zark Masood.
Dear Zark Masood,
Many thanks for your interest in the paper “Can we believe in what travelers say about Pakistan? Are they accurate, fair and independent?”. Here below are some highlights intented to clarify the concerns you expressed. I hope it might help.
Was this paper intented to create a bad buzz for getting a larger audience?
I try to stay honest as much as I could. I produced numerous data to support my findings. It was not my intention to convey a “negative perspective of Pakistan”. On the opposite I wanted to produce a balanced opinion on how the current promotion of your country is done by irresponsible female foreign vloggers. Believe me, writing enthusiastic and documented reports brings more readers and claps than calls for caution. This is evidenced by my 12 other articles about Pakistan. I kindly suggest you to read them to have a better understanding of my scope of concerns and a better view of the information I share “High Asia, stories of the Karakoram”. The article you are commenting is not, by far, my most viewed and my most read one.
Are my writtings actually showing a “negative vision” of Pakistan?
Clearing the “negative perspective of Pakistan” view I would give for audience purposes, I would mention the fact that I say nothing more than Alex Reynolds. However, it does not mean I would “buy” all what this traveller, with a large experience of Pakistan, says. I propose you to have a look on how I challenged some of her opinions and/or unsupported statements.
Pakistan is a new travel destination which offers fantastic opportunities for adventurous western young ladies who want to boost their media audience. However, their ascent can be as fast as their fall. The travel blogger Alex Reynolds is an example on how such icons can burn themselves very quickly.
It is a fact that most of the female foreign vloggers audience is not composed of travellers but of Pakistani citizens.
Regarding “gender discrimination”, I did not want to hurt you and I did not use it in a negative way. Although I understand I should have chosen another less connoted word. I apologize. My evaluation was based on numerous countries I visited in Europe, Americas, Africa and Asia, including Muslim states. When you say: “We… keep (women) like queens in house.” Is not your statement harder than mine for your society? Is it not the explanation why young attractive female vloggers roaming “independently” all over the country get so much attention from your compatriots, why most of their audience is from Pakistan citizens and why there are so few queries about travels regarding them? I guess you are a young man. Allow me to ask you three questions. In the future, would you let your son travel individually all over Pakistan? Would you also let your daughter travel individually all over Pakistan? Would you issue the same answers for both questions?
Zark Masood, these foreign young ladies are not actually providing any travel advices. I agree with your statement. They act, and are used, as “a show piece in front of media.” I add their advertising clips are deceptive and lead to potentially dangerous situations.
Travelling is not ignoring culture differences. It is respecting them.
To close the loop, I would ask you to consider that I don’t travel to judge. I travel to learn from differences. I invite you to read again my conclusion:
”Last but not least, you came to this country to learn, not to compare. Don’t be a tourist. Act as a responsible traveller. Don’t come there to use the landscape and the people as a background for your personal stage. Look for the differences, try to identify what values they could bring you. Observe how people adapted to an environment so different than yours. Then, you will enjoy Pakistan, a country which could bring you a lot.”
Bernard Grua’s most read Pakistan stories on Medium
Bernard Grua, Nantes, France, August 22, 2020