The Guinness World Record-holding machine works like every other; it may be used to withdraw money, pay utility payments and make interbank fund transfers. However as my youngsters and I acclimated to the dip in oxygen, what struck me most was the sudden festivity within the ambiance: virtually carnivalesque, with folks FaceTiming family, posing for images and orbiting the ATM to get the perfect selfie shot.
Karachi college instructor Atiya Saeed had introduced 39 of her secondary-school college students – all ladies – right here to the Pakistan-China border. “It is the primary time in a very long time that we have travelled in Pakistan,” she stated.
Though they did not come for the ATM alone, the go to to the border was, she defined, an adventurous geography, historical past and economics lesson in probably the most hauntingly lovely of “school rooms”.
Constructed by the Nationwide Financial institution of Pakistan (NBP) in 2016, the solar- and wind-powered machine serves the small variety of residents and workers at this border crossing – and the adventurous travellers who flock to it as a badge of honour, taking footage whereas making a transaction that brings new that means to the phrase “chilly, exhausting money”.
“My account is frozen!” joked one other customer, South African retired principal Ayesha Bayat, who was on vacation together with her husband. “We have come from a rustic the place we do have mountain ranges… however not like this. I am discovering the panoramic views completely lovely,” she stated.
“It is essential to have landmarks… just like the Eiffel Tower,” stated Bayat’s husband, Farouk. “They grow to be an excuse to find the remainder of the panorama.”
However constructing this landmark was no small feat. And neither is sustaining it.
The venture took round 4 months, stated NBP ATM monitoring officer Shah Bibi. The closest NBP financial institution location is 87km away in Sost, and Sost department supervisor Zahid Hussain frequently travels forwards and backwards, braving excessive climate, treacherous mountain passes and frequent landslides to replenish the ATM. “On common, round 4 to five million rupees [£15,540–£19,427] is withdrawn inside the span of 15 days,” he stated.