One faithful day when Allan Joyce was walking his dogs in the city of Christchurch in New Zealand he received a phone call on his Facebook messenger of a young Pakistani man who asked Allan if he would be interested in having a conversation which would help him improve his English speaking skills and learn about New Zealand way of life. That young man’s name was Ali and he was living in a small village in Bahawalnagar district of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
As the time passed Allan and Ali developed a strong friendship based on humour, trust and mutual respect. Ali invited Allan to visit Pakistan for Ali’s brother’s wedding and guess what- Allan agreed! However Allan does admit he was a bit nervous about this decision “I must admit I felt a little uneasy and uncertain about going to a Muslim country alone knowing that the culture and customs of our two countries were so different however from the moment I arrived in Islamabad I felt completely at ease because I was made to feel welcome and relaxed wherever I was taken and my stay in Pakistan has left me with some of the most wonderful memories of my life”
When asked how he spent his days in the village Allan said “Ali brought me a cup of tea each morning along with some sticky rice with almonds around 6am then mid-morning we would visit his family and friends in his village and neighbouring areas then late afternoon there was always a cricket match and volleyball games to attend.”
At Ali’s brother’s wedding Allan was made to feel special by the whole family and Allan remembers one gesture of Ali’s brother that touched his heart. “As we were walking to the marriage tent the bridegroom took my hand and I walked side by side with him as his special guest... needless to say I felt very honoured by his actions and since then we have become good friends.”
Allan is a fan of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and believes under Mr. Khan’s leadership tourism will boost in Pakistan. “Former international cricket superstar Imran Khan is Pakistan’s new Prime Minister and I believe he is a good and honest man who will open up and encourage tourism for the country.” He plans to return to Pakistan soon and has a message for everyone. “Pakistan has so many places of interest to explore for the tourist and I am certain that they will find a warm and respectful welcome while in Pakistan just as I did. In the next few months I will be returning to Pakistan to once again spend quality time with my friends and stay with my Pakistani family and when I return to New Zealand, I will bring with me more happy memories of my wonderful Pakistan.”