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Chaotic Peshawar International Airport

March 13, 2009

peshawar-airportHave you ever visited Peshawar by air? Or have come to Peshawar through an international flight? If not then you have missed something unique. Because it is one of the most chaotic airports.

Before discussing the airport building and immigration I’d like to mention one thing that Peshawar air strip is truly one of its kind in the whole world because towards the South a railway track crosses through the strip. It was pretty much functional until late 90s. I am not sure what’s its status these days. So once F-6, a fighter jet, was taxing when it collided with the freight train. Luckily, the pilot survived but the jet was badly damaged.

So talking of chaos the first signs of commotion, though less in intensity begins, when the plane gets ready for landing. I am talking about those flights that are full of passengers, mostly blue-collar workers, working in the Middle East. Despite repeated announcements and request from the crew the passengers stand up in the aisles and start collecting their luggage from the cabinets while the plane is still taxing.

As soon as the door is opened and they feel the whiff of air another surge of commotion occurs, this time a little violent, since it involves pushing and dragging. People literally jump out of the plane covering two, three steps in one go.Β  As if it’s a local Afridi bus instead of Boeing 777. There is no bus service at the Peshawar airport since most of the planes are parked closely to the building – international lounge- as they call it and one can walk.

The immigration looks more like a fish market. People shout, get edgy, harsh, irrational, step on each other’s shoes. There is no concept of queue whatsoever. Everyone is in a hurry. Whoever is powerful and brazen will get his passport stamped and leave. I don’t know why they are in such hurry. And when they emerged from the International arrival section there are at least fifteen people, young and old from the family to receive one passenger.

It is usually an unpleasant experience if you are arriving at Peshawar airport from abroad. I have heard from friends, Islamabad – now Benazir International Airport is much better.


I got these photos from the Google images. Take a look at the Peshawar airport building that looks so haunted. I wonder when was this photo taken because this place is crammed with people 24/7. And I mean it. The second photo is of an airliner. Usually the planes don’t park that far off the building.

27 Comments leave one →
  1. March 14, 2009 2:21 pm

    Why should we spend on improving upon our airports or railway stations or bus stops ? See, those in government maintain that we are a bunch of stupid people, a crowd of idiots, used to miseries in our lives, that we don’t deserve anything good at all. So, money going into such things would be a waste.
    Get used to it. Or else dont use it. There’s no way you’ll get anything better ! <<< The Verdict !

  2. March 14, 2009 5:21 pm

    Never been on a plane, but what you said about people always rushing as if there’s one more flight to board outside airport, is so much true.

  3. March 14, 2009 5:50 pm

    aur yeh pooray ka poora khandan wahan lay janay ki kya tuk banti hay? abhi tak samajh nahi aayee .. stange people we are! lol

  4. Ayesha permalink
    March 15, 2009 10:53 am

    Bilish: Even the stewards laugh on them πŸ˜›

    Aadil: That’s why there is always so much crowd on the airport. πŸ˜€

    CAV: The situation is hopeless πŸ˜•

  5. March 15, 2009 6:40 pm

    i did a google search on Afridi bus .. but every link led me to the cricket player …

    so “afridi bus” is like the “BEST bus” in mumbai ?? or it is related to the him ??

  6. Ayesha permalink
    March 15, 2009 7:21 pm

    That is the bus usually owned and drove by the people belonging to the Afridi tribe. That’s why they are locally called ‘Afridi bus’.

  7. March 16, 2009 12:28 pm

    There’s no such Afridi Bus. πŸ˜› But we do have Rocket Buses in Peshawar.
    Have a look

  8. Ayesha permalink
    March 16, 2009 12:33 pm

    Bilish: I have grown up hearing the word ‘Afridiyano bus’… πŸ˜›

    I actually read the word rocket bus first on your blog.

    And yeah if you remember those flat faced Mercedes buses. People would call it ‘Kabaliyano bus’ πŸ˜›

  9. March 16, 2009 3:13 pm

    Da da Afridiyano bus dai // I never heard it πŸ˜›

    Those Mercedez buses were brought from Kabul to Peshawar and now marked as # 6-B and 7 BUSES. Mostly used as public transport between city area and Hayatabad.

    //Kabaliyano bus, awoo jee

  10. bmk permalink
    March 17, 2009 5:23 am

    ROCKET bus is pretty popular…

    SHEEN ROCKET viloRe de… saba ba bya paktia ta zoona — heard that song by farhad darya?

    There is another, Sheen Rocket Pa Shago K Panchar De — Mong ta Naaway Raakai Mazdigar De…

    Naavay sar pe uTha kar le jana ka plan tha kia if sheen rocket was panchar. : )

  11. Ayesha permalink
    March 17, 2009 2:10 pm

    I know only one thing and that is Rockity mama πŸ˜›

    I think was some character in Pushto play!!!

  12. bmk permalink
    March 18, 2009 6:09 am

    that’s Kalashnikov mama… in some STAGE SHOW program, Abaseen perhaps.

  13. bmk permalink
    March 18, 2009 6:10 am

    or originaly from the play & later show up in stage shows as well.

  14. Dr Raza permalink
    March 21, 2009 9:28 am

    I have been the victim of traveling every year from and to, Peshawar Airport, and everytime, it s a real nerve testing experience. People wrestle with each other in queues. I usually wait to be the last person to board or unboard a plane, as I never want to risk picking up a word or two with fellow arrogant passengers.
    Immigration is a bull shit. If you speak fluent English in foriegn accent, they will immediately stamp your passport while exiting, otherwise they wil stare at you again and again, even at females.
    The female immigration staff is always chatting with other colleagues mostly discussing their relatives, wedding, clothes etc etc.
    The place is no better than the General Bus Stand on GT Road.

  15. Ayesha permalink
    March 22, 2009 3:21 pm

    BMK: Never heard of Klashinkov mama but yes, did hear about Mullah Rockity πŸ˜€

    Dr Raza: Every sensible person feels the chaos out there but we can’t do anything… unfortunately πŸ˜•

  16. March 23, 2009 8:48 am

    @ Ayesha
    What about Mullah Rockity? πŸ˜›

    @Dr Raza
    Foreign accent is your second passport in this country, you know what I mean.

  17. Ayesha permalink
    March 23, 2009 1:49 pm

    Mullah Rockity is some mullah as the name suggests who used to sell rockets. A famous character of Soviet – Afghan War πŸ˜›

  18. April 4, 2009 9:02 pm

    Great site this and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor πŸ™‚

  19. samad khan permalink
    April 6, 2009 7:56 pm

    i also heard abt rockat bus and i m sure that everyone of peshawar and peshawar side maybe aware of the popularity of rocket buses still used as transport in peshawer and related areas.

  20. April 11, 2009 1:46 am

    brill site this great to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor πŸ™‚

  21. April 16, 2009 7:03 pm

    brill site this brill to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor πŸ™‚

  22. muhabat permalink
    April 18, 2009 7:18 am


    from peshawar

  23. Irum Gul permalink
    November 1, 2009 4:15 pm

    Hi Ayesha,
    I was searching for something about Peshawar airport last night but somehow I just saw your name “Ayesha” and then I was totally lost reading your poems and articles.I cant not find a correct word but you are “amazing”.I have a daughter named “Ayesha” and she is a smart writer like you.Keep up your great work! Inshallah, you will shine and rise one day.
    Irum Gul

    • November 1, 2009 4:57 pm

      Hi, Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope my post was helpful to you. Though this airport isn’t ‘international’ in true sense these days since all the Arab airlines such as Gulf, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Saudi Airlines have suspended their operation. Only PIA and I think Air Blue operate between Peshawar-UAE and Peshawar-other Arab countries.

      Thanks once again for appreciating my prose and poem!

  24. ZarakDXB permalink
    January 27, 2010 9:13 am

    Hi there. I am from Peshawar and a frequent travler, using Peshawar Air port, all you ave mention here is very true. most of the travlers are poor illitrate labrour travling to middle easteren countries, so it is natural that there i huge difference in behaviour, even the staff are rude to them.About Afridi Bus-there is no such bus but i think your talking about BARA bus, going at very high speed ,over crowded and look like going for Famula 1 race…

  25. April 24, 2010 10:06 am

    Interesting post. Thanks for sharing it.

  26. Anonymous permalink
    April 25, 2010 4:01 pm

    Extremely nice way of expressing your views..
    Even some of the commentators provided nice views on the topic..

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