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From the age of four to 15, I lived under military rule. Then in 1988, precipitated by an explosion in the sky, democracy came to Pakistan for the first time in my memory. When I think of those days I remember peaceful rallies, catchy songs, festivity. It seemed like the nation was on track and that as long as democracy stayed, we’d be OK.

Eleven years, and four democratically elected governments later, on 10th October 1999, I was told that I was to be one of the recipients of that year’s Prime Minister’s Award for Literature for my first novel…

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