Tension in Pakistan

Pakistan has been a tense land ever since it was carved from the remains of British India and declared a state in 1947. A succession of assassinations, wars, and military rule have left their toll on its government and people. And in recent years the mostly secular vision of Pakistan's founders has diminished in the face of increasing Muslim fundamentalism.

Such was the scene the Fall of 2001, when the massive terror attacks on the United States prompted Pakistan to have to choose between supporting the West's war on terrorism and their ethnic relations in Afghanistan. Pakistan chose to carefully ally itself with the West, dancing on a tightrope on which it still walks.

Peshawar, near the border of Afghanistan, especially felt this tension. Historically a gateway between the two countries, Peshawar also holds most of the three million Afghan refugees who have been fleeing war with the Soviet Union and civil conflicts since the late 1970s. Overburdened with refugees, Muslim fundamentalism, and a shady smuggling underworld, Peshawar is always a city on the edge

Men say their afternoon prayers in a designated praying area of an office building in Peshawar.


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