Thursday, May 18, 2006


Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Rawalpindi: imagine Flashman, games of cricket, mosques and minarets, churches, blue three wheeled taxis, samosas, and men looking like bin Laden.

It's not all that different from parts of Delhi or Bombay. You can smell the spices mixed with traffic fumes.


tourist information.

Rawalpindi, in Northern Pakistan, is joined to Pakistan's modern capital Islamabad. (Think of Buda and Pest making Budapest)

Rawalpindi, population 2 million, is famous for its bazaars, its restaurants, and its dramatic views of hills and mountains.

Rawalpindi was a garrison town in the days of the Raj and is now the HQ of Pakistan Army.

Climate - cool winters and very very hot summers.

Where to stay- The Pearl Continental Hotel, The Mall Road PO Box 211, Rawalpindi.

This large bright modern luxury hotel has several restaurants- 1. The Tandooori, designed like a village, serves traditional Punjabi and barbecue dishes 2. The Taipan, the hotel's Chinese restaurant 3. Pakistan and continental food is also on the menu at the Marco polo, where one can have a choice from both buffet and a la carte.

Recreational facilities include a swimming pool, tennis court and an exercise room.

Restaurants in Rawalpindi - try the samosas in places like College Road and the Dahi Bhallas of Sarrafa Bazaar

What to see in Rawalpindi.

1. The bazaars: the 2 main bazaar areas are A. Raja Bazaar in the old city (Take at least a day to explore and take photos) and B. Saddar Bazaar which is in what is called the cantonment (the area between the old city and the Mall/Grand Trunk Road). Saddar Bazaar is the place for hotels, banks, airlines and travel agents. The heart of the bazaar is along Kashmir Road and Massey Gate.

2. You will enjoy wandering through the cantonment which dates back to the time of British India. It has Christian churches, spacious bungalows, a club, a cricket ground, a mall and the colonial-style Flashman's Hotel. Stop for a cup of tea. Behind Flashman's is Saddar Bazaar.

3. The Army Museum, near the Pearl Continental Hotel, is not my cup of tea but you might enjoy it. You'll find a collection of weapons, uniforms and paintings showing Pakistan's military history. Hours are 9 am to 3 pm in winter, 8 am to noon and 5.30 pm to 7 pm in summer.

4. Ayub National Park, on Jhelum Road, is a pleasant park covering an area of about 2, 300 acres. It has a children's play area, a boating lake , an aquarium and a garden-restaurant. Rawalpindi Public Park is located on Murree Road near Shamsabad. It has a playland for children, grassy lawns, fountains and flower beds. A cricket stadium was built in 1992 just opposite the Public Park.

5. Golf -Situated near Ayub National Park, Rawalpindi Golf Course

6. For some interesting views, take an organised tour to Margalla Pass, 26 km west of Islamabad on G.T. Road. Margalla is mentioned by historians and emperors like Alberuni, Ferishta and Jehangir. There is an obelisk right on the top of the Pass, built in 1890 in memory of Brig. Gen. John Nicholson (died on 23 September 1857) A small part of the ancient Shahi (Royal) Road can be seen just across the pass, left of G.T. Road. This road was first built by the Persians in 516 BC and later developed by the Afghan King Sher Shah Suri in 1540s. An inscription on the western side of this stone pavement shows that it was again repaired in 1672 AD.

7. Wah Gardens was once a campsite of Mughal rulers. Wah Gardens is 12 km west of Taxila on G.T. Road. Beautiful cypress trees line the canals, and in the distance are blue mountains. Gorgeous.

8. Murree - take a half day or whole day trip to this town in the green Murree hills. Murree was once a hill station for English army officers. There is an interesting Bazaar

Dangers- see below.


Rawalpindi is world famous because of:

1. a US TV report.

A CBS Report on US TV by Dan Rather and Barry Petersen, 28 Jan 2002, suggested that Osama bin Laden was in a Pakistani Military hospital in Rawalpindi on 10th September 2001, the day before the Attacks on America.

The Pakistani military HQ in Rawalpindi is used by resident US military and intelligence advisers, who routinely report to Washington.

If this report is correct, this suggests that the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden on September 11 were known to the Bush Administration. .

"CBS News has been told that the night before the September 11 terrorist attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan.

"He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan.

"Pakistan intelligence sources tell CBS News that bin Laden was spirited into this military hospital in Rawalpindi for kidney dialysis treatment.

"On that night, says this medical worker who wanted her identity protected, they moved out all the regular staff in the urology department and sent in a secret team to replace them.

"She says it was treatment for a very special person. The special team was obviously up to no good. 'The military had him surrounded,' says this hospital employee who also wanted his identity masked, 'and I saw the mysterious patient helped out of a car.'

"'Since that time,' he says, 'I have seen many pictures of the man. He is the man we know as Osama bin Laden. I also heard two army officers talking to each other. They were saying that Osama bin Laden had to be watched carefully and looked after.'

"Those who know bin Laden say he suffers from numerous ailments, back and stomach problems.

"Ahmed Rashid, who has written extensively on the Taliban, says the military was often there to help before 9/11.....

"PETERSEN (on camera): 'Doctors at the hospital told CBS News there was nothing special about that night, but they refused our request to see any records. Government officials tonight denied that bin Laden had any medical treatment on that night.'"

2. Daniel Pearl was in Rawalpindi.

3. Other possible links between Rawalpindi and the Attacks on America.

Michel Chossudovsky, (Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa) wrote on 2 November 2001 ( Global Outlook Magazine .) that Pakistan's chief spy Lt. General Mahmoud Ahmad "was in the US when the attacks occurred."

Ahmad arrived in the US on the 4th of September, a full week before the attacks.

He had meetings at the State Department "after" the attacks on the WTC. But he also had "a regular visit of consultations" with his US counterparts at the CIA and the Pentagon during the week prior to September 11.

A report, published in the Times of India, revealed the links between Pakistan's Chief spy Lt. General Mahmoud Ahmad and the presumed "ring leader" of the WTC attacks Mohamed Atta.

The Times of India article was based on an official intelligence report of the Delhi government that had been transmitted through official channels to Washington.

Quoting an Indian government source Agence France Press (AFP) confirms in this regard that: "The evidence we [the Government of India] have supplied to the US is of a much wider range and depth than just one piece of paper linking a rogue general to some misplaced act of terrorism."

In assessing the alleged links between the terrorists and the ISI, it should be understood that Lt. General Ahmad as head of the ISI was a "US approved appointee".

As head of the ISI since 1999, he was in liaison with his US counterparts i n the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Pentagon.

Also bear in mind that Pakistan's ISI remained throughout the entire post Cold War era until the present, the launch-pad for CIA covert operations in the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Balkans.

The existence of an "ISI-Osama-Taliban axis" was a matter of public record.

The links between the ISI and agencies of the US government including the CIA are also a matter of public record.

The Bush Administration was fully cognizant of Lt. General Ahmad's role.

In other words, rather than waging a campaign against international terrorism, the evidence would suggest that it is indirectly abetting international terrorism, using the Pakistani ISI as a "go-between".



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