Monthly Archive for November, 2011

The Punjab Road Runners

In 1993 a trio of Bradford taxi drivers, Fazal, Patrick, and Azad, decide to buy three used Transit vans in Britain and drive them overland all the way to northern Pakistan. Their plan is to sell the vehicles on arrival at a nice profit, and then to celebrate the Eid muslim festival with their extended families. A quirky and often comical film, the “Punjab Road Runners”, charts their stumbling passage through western Europe, eastern Europe, and Asia (50 minutes).

Produced & Directed by David Hargreaves, who wrote: “In 1980 David Hargreaves hitch-hiked the Hippy Trail from Britain to India. At the Austria/Yugoslav border he came across three British Pakistanis from east London driving Transit vans to Pakistan. Glad to have a white face on board through the communist badlands of eastern Europe, they gave him a ride all the way to Istanbul. About six weeks later at the Iran/Pakistan border he ran into three more British Pakistanis, this time from Blackburn, also piloting Transit vans. He drove with them through the Baluch desert up to Quetta. By now he had become well acquainted with the practice of “Transit-to-Pakistan”, and had learnt that it was quite widespread amongst the British Pakistani community.

Twelve years later, by this time a film producer and director, David decided that the phenomenon could easily form the subject of an intriguing documentary. He spent an afternoon wandering the streets of east London, and finally managed to track down Selim, one of the original drivers he had travelled with, who confirmed that British Pakistanis were still making this trip. After speaking to local papers in towns with substantial Pakistani populations and encouraging them to write about his film plans, he was contacted by various characters who were thinking of doing the journey. He liked Fazal from Bradford the best and they agreed to co-operate. David hired a cameraman. The two film-makers then travelled with the group of drivers in the three Transit vans, not in a separate vehicle. The journey was in every respect a shared experience. “

Share