Couldn’t get visa but byline made it

A week ago I wrote an article for Guardian America about a peace march occurring in the Waziristan region of Pakistan to protest against the use of U.S. drones.

I was lucky enough to be put in touch with Clive Stafford Smith, a civil rights lawyer and founder of Reprieve,  who took part in the march and in a recent email said my article had appeared in a number of Pakistan newspapers.

That made me think back to the summer of 2010 and travelling in India, when I spent a frustrating week in New Delhi trying to get a visa from the Pakistan embassy to visit a friend working in Islamabad.

After leaving my passport for two days of processing at the embassy, it was pushed back to me through a slot in the wall with no visa in it.

It was the first time I’d even been turned down for a visa and I was massively bummed out–my friend and I never had dinner in Islamabad, which had sounded rather quixotic during the planning phase.

The closest I came to discovering Pakistan was watching the Wagah border ceremony from the Indian side, gazing at the spectacle and the burly, bearded Pakistan guards dressed all in black like menacing pirates.

But at least my disembodied byline made it, eventually.