Day 30: Islamabad to Sialkot

Islamabad, Riwat, Mendra, Gujar Khan, Mangla reservoir (on the Jhelum River), Dina, Rohtas Fort (a fine castle, built by Sher shah Suri in 1543), Jhelum (military town, has a 19th century Gothic Church), Sarei Alamgir, Kharian, Lala Musa, Gujrat, Wazirabad, Sodhra, Sambrial, Sialkot.

23rd July 2000


Travelogue:

By the time we were ready to leave the guesthouse in Islamabad it was one in the afternoon, the weather was cloudy and it was drizzling as we drove up to the toll plaza of the motorway M1. Getting everybody to move early is a great effort as everyone has different timings in mind before setting out. The motor way is a good relaxing driving experience, the surface of the road is very smooth and good compared to the roads we have been driving on so far. The weather was very pleasant and cool as we stopped at the petrol pump for our first pit stop. There was a police van parked at the pump and we had a good chat with them about the road conditions and the traffic.

Driving down the salt ranges the bends are rather sharp and steep, there are speed checks on this part of the stretch too. We were doing about fifty km/hr or so when the radar of the police check post clocked us all. As I got to the flat portion of the road down in the planes there was a police patrol waiting for us, he flagged me down and I stopped. He was very polite and in a professional manner gave me the run down of the speed I was doing down the slopes. It was obviously above the speed limit of 50km/hr, I explained to him that it was unintentional and that with a fully loaded vehicle it was difficult to manuveour down the bends, so I wouldn’t be speeding intentionally. I was new to the traffic rules of the motor way I explained, he looked puzzled and confused, nobody had accepted the charges so easily before, looking puzzled he asked me ‘Aren’t you going to challenge me?’ I had no answer for him. ‘You must be right the machines are seldom wrong if they say I was above the speed limit then I must have been’ I replied. ‘You are the first person who has not challenged us’ and with that he went up to his police car. He was on the radio for a while before he walked back to me and said. ‘My senior officer says that we will let you off with a warning since you are new to these part on the speeding offence, but I have to challan you for the tints on the rear window of your vehicle’. I was glad to get off lightly. My friends told me later that they are very strict with the challans, they never let any one off. The rest of the troupe had got away with it as I had pleaded their case. We reached the Lahore bypass and then turned towards Sialkot where Taimurs relatives were waiting for us. A black Margalla with hazards on was waiting for us on the main road. We drove through Sialkot to reach the house where we were going to spend the night. The houses belong to two brothers and are connected together by a lawn, it was raining and we had to get the luggage from the vehicle quickly. Dinner was very sumptuous and we enjoyed the Sialkot cooking. Hamid drove to the local hotel to spend the night. Taimur was the guest of one brother while we slept in the other house. Tomorrow morning we would visit the Hilbro surgical factory and before driving to Lahore.

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