The city now has the "whiff of St Petersburg circa 1914"by Maria Misra / April 21, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in May 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
The bombing of families and children, Muslims and Christians alike, at the Gulshan-e-Iqbal park in Lahore on Easter Sunday that killed 72 and left 340 seriously injured, has provoked an outpouring of despair in much of the western and some of the Pakistani press. In the Financial Times Fatima Bhutto, niece of the assassinated former leader Benazir, declared that the “Easter carnage” had delivered a “fatal diagnosis” for the country. Pakistan, she claimed, was a failed state. But having just returned from Lahore, I think this reaction is a little extreme.
Obviously the situation is worrying: as the elite enjoy their plush lifestyles behind high walls, and educated liberals feel ignored, one does catch the faintest whiff of St Petersburg circa 1914. Even from their chauffeured four-by-fours it is difficult for the affluent not to notice the Islamist banners and slogans, sported by many motorised rickshaws, demanding piety and an end to the imperialism of the United States. Armed and omnipresent security is also impossible to ignore—though Lahore is not Homeland.
The extreme shock following the Easter bombing…