We would like to travel from India to Iran through Pakistan but have been put off a little having read up on the situation there, particularly in the Baluchistan border region of Iran. Can any fellow travellers shed light on their experience in this area?
I've recently read that the twice monthly train from Quetta to Zahedan was cancelled permanently in 2006 due to constant bombing attempts by the BLA and that foreigners may be considered targets... not good. Any advice most welcome.
By the way, before anyone points it out to me; yes, I have looked at the Foreign Office website and their advice is not to leave your home. Ideally I'd like to hear from people who've been there and done it despite the warnings.
I did it in the opposite direction 3 years ago - obviously the situation has changed a bit since then, but I'd imagine there would be no problem doing it. Just get a train from Lahore to Quetta, and a bus from there on to the border and Zahedan.
The train journey from Quetta to the border takes ages anyway I've heard - the bus does the journey in 12-16 hours.
The only problems I've heard from this area invloving tourists have been on the Iranian side, and have involved cyclists or motorists - you'll be fine on public transport.
We cycled it in the opposite direction in 2006, no problems at all, people were very friendly on both sides of the border. Of course things may have changed a bit but basically I would think you would be fine taking the bus from Quetta to Taftan. We had more problems between Quetta and Punjab where there was/is strong anti-govt. militants etc. The route to the Iranian border is peaceful and the road open, it is lawless in the sense that the Pak govt. has no real control here, tribal elders run this area. My impression was that their duty to treat you as honoured guests over-rides any other issues but then we did not introduce ourselves as British and probably best not be from USA either.
Anyway if you take the bus it will be non-stop 12 hour ride so you probably wont have much contact with local people along the way.
On the Iranian side you will probably get an armed escort into Zahedan on the minibus.
Check our blog entry on Balochistan for more info.