Today, we went to the Faisal Mosque, the national mosque of Pakistan. It was funded in the 1960’s by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. It is situated at the base of the Margalla Hills in Islamabad. The mountains ring the city on the northwest and on the other side are Pakistan’s northwest territories. I was told that the Margallas were named for the thieves and bandits who, hundreds of years ago, hid in the caves and attacked, or hit (Mar) travelers and cut their throats (gullas). Although I’ve met with some skepticism from Pakistanis when I shared that story.
Also on the list today, Pakistan’s Heritage Museum, which offered a easy to understand visual explanation of the many influences and tribes that contribute to this country's rich culture. It’s easy to see in this museum why, as we’ve been told many times during this visit, “Pakistan is a very complicated society.”
We also met with Pakistani alumni of the ICFJ exchange program and reunited with KUT's guest, Tayyeb Afridi.
More tomorrow, meanwhile, keep up with this trip on Twitter at #uspak.