Sykes rented a car in Islamabad and headed out onto the partially completed M2 motorway that will eventually connect Lahore (near the Indian border) with Peshawar (the last city on the road to the Khyber Pass and Afghanistan).
But he found the motorways boring, so he left the M2 and re-joined the ancient Grand Trunk Road, which links most of the main towns of northern Pakistan.
Sykes says: "Driving in Pakistan is fast and sometimes chaotic, but not competitive.
They even hoot politely. And one great danger at home you hardly ever have to contend with in Pakistan is drunk drivers and people with concentration blurred by hangovers."
The conclusions that Sykes reaches are clearly in sharp contrast to all the sensational negative coverage you see in Pakistani and Western media on a regular basis showing Pakistan as a dangerous, unwelcoming place. I generally do not believe in conspiracy theories, but sometimes it seems like a conspiracy against the people of Pakistan with the participation of Pakistan's local media. Not only is this conspiracy depriving our people of the benefits of more international tourism, trade and commerce, but it is also painting all of Pakistan with the same broad-brush of extremism and fanaticism.