Global Myths No 20

Another story from the travellers' grapevine
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The Independent Travel
A student was travelling around Pakistan. To mollify his jumpy parents, he agreed to give a wide berth to the troubled Kashmir area and limited himself to the rest of the country. He was due to fly out from Lahore and decided to go there a few days before his return flight and spend some time in the historic city. It was a fascinating place, bustling and vibrant, and the people were more than charming.

He was staying in a hotel in a more salubrious part of the city. It was a grand, faded place with plenty of character, but after several days, he was pretty much ready to return home.

On the night before he was due to fly, he went to bed - only to be woken at about three in the morning by a hammering on the door and half-a-dozen policemen bursting in. They went straight for the wardrobe and, after rummaging around, produced two polythene packets of white powder which had clearly been planted there earlier. For the next two hours they interrogated him in a tiny overlit interview room somewhere in the bowels of the local police station and, eventually, he managed to get access to an English- speaking lawyer.

"Don't worry," said the lawyer. "They'll hold you here until just before your flight leaves and then announce you're being deported. Then they'll drive you to the airport."

The student pointed out that it seemed to be a rather time-consuming and pointless way to get rid of visitors to the country.

The lawyer replied: "I wouldn't worry about it. It happens to a lot of the tourists around here. The police all over the city are at it. It's just their way of making sure that they have the best clean-up rate in the country."

Send in the stories you've picked up on your journeys to Global Myths at the address above.

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