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Posted on Sat 4 September 2010

Guardian: We cannot afford to shun Pakistan

On a recent Pakistan International Airlines flight from Karachi to Lahore, a local – and somewhat revealing – fashion show played out on the TV screens. Among those having to watch were a large number of people returning from the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. This scene is but a microcosm of contemporary Pakistan. On the one hand, there are signs everywhere not just of personal piety but of a narrow and intolerant ideology based on religion, and, on the other, of people, especially the young, straining to break through the barriers of convention. The clash is evident everywhere, with the same newspapers, magazines and television channels carrying Islamic revivalist messages and permissive films. How this clash is resolved will be a clue to the destiny of the country.

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