After visiting Morroco last week, I noted the many similarities between it and Pakistan. The bustling bazaars of Marrakech offered many of the same noises, smells and atmosphere as any Pakistani city. The small cobbled streets of the walled medina resembled markedly the streets in any inner Pakistani citiy with exception of the uncovered and open sewer system that runs parallel to the street in Pakistan. The 3 floored homes complete with roof terraces were not dissimilar either, kids playing in the streets, the dust and grime, and the modest grocery stores whereby the locals purchase items as and when needed. Colonial rulers – another similarity.

Despite the many similarities, there is a rampant tourist industry in Morocco, partly because of its reputation as a historic city. However there are many noted cultural and historical buildings in Pakistan too – such as the Shahi Qila (Fort) in Lahore, the ancient bhuddist monastries in Taxila, the ancient ruins of the Moehenjedaro civilsations to name but a few.

However what really is saddening is despite the many potentials in Pakistan to encourage tourism, there is little. The unstable nature of the country is admittedly off putting and that is a shame. During my stay in Marrakech, I lodged in a riad, and this particular riad was very similar to our own home in Pakistan, and that of my husbands family. The craftsmen selling their clay crockery, the food stalls on the street and the beautiful call to prayer echoing all across the city led us to dawn how Pakistan has failed to grasp and capitalise on the beautiful history and culture it shares with India, who is doing far better in the tourism stakes.

Pakistan is, as always, left behind, under appreciated and open to be pillaged from anyone willing to pay enough money for its takeover.