Islamabad: Before traveling thousands of miles between Islamabad and Makkah to perform Umrah and advance a “soft image” of his nation in the Middle East, a Pakistani man painted his motorcycle with traditional truck art.

South Asian animals, celebrities, and floral patterns are depicted in the murals on Pakistani trucks that are painted in bright colors. It got its name because it was initially only associated with lorries, even though the art form later turned into one of the most well-liked exports from the nation.

Following Saudi Arabia’s recent relaxation of its travel regulations for umrah pilgrims by extending their visas’ validity to three months and allowing them to visit other cities, many Pakistani bikers have recently traveled there.

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55-year-old businessman Aziz ul Hassan Hashmi left Pakistan’s mountain resort town of Murree on November 27 and arrived in the kingdom on January 26 after traveling through Iran, Iraq, and Jordan.

In a phone interview with Arab News from Madinah, Hashmi said, “I started this journey to promote peace and a soft image of Pakistan with a message that it is a peace-loving country that is full of colorful cultures and art.”

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He stated, “That was the reason I converted my bike [and had truck art designed on it], adding the art form was distinctive and well-known worldwide.
People loved my bike on my journey and took pictures with it everywhere I went, he continued.

Hashmi claimed he told people that Pakistan’s vibrant colors stood for the country’s diversity in terms of its people, art, and culture.

“I want to show different facets of Pakistani culture to the world through my bike,” he continued. “The artwork on my bike represents the culture of all provinces, including Azad Kashmir.”

The cost of getting the vehicle fully designed, however, as well as the bike trip across several nations, turned out to be quite expensive.

The bike to truck art conversion cost about Rs250,000 ($918), he said, adding that the tour’s overall costs came to about Rs1.7 million ($6,241). Since Makkah is regarded as the center of world peace, that is where I first went.

If the appropriate authorities gave him permission, Hashmi said he also intended to travel the following week to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest site for Muslims, to offer Friday prayers.

Although they typically grant special permission on paper at the Jordan border to visit Al-Aqsa for a short period of time without a visa, he continued, “I cannot travel there on a Pakistani passport.” I’ll take a chance over there.

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According to an official statement, Hashmi’s distinctive way of representing Pakistan abroad led the nation’s consul general in Jeddah, Khalid Majid, to give him a certificate of appreciation for making the journey from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia.