by Jemima Khan
Pakistan celebrated its 63rd birthday yesterday. It’s the country I feel I grew up in, arriving 15 years ago almost to the day as a 21-year-old bride and emerging a decade later a more questioning and conflicted person. I now have children who support the national cricket team and who visit every school holiday. I am still maddened by Pakistan’s faults, but I am inextricably connected to it and become defensive if others criticise.
I still go there often. Last year I visited the refugee camps close to the Swat valley where the army was fighting the Taliban. At that time there were up to 2.5m internally displaced people as a result of conflict in the northwest of the country. I heard how every child in the camp had witnessed public beheadings.
A few years earlier I was in Pakistan in the aftermath of the earthquake that killed about 75,000 people. On top of the war against the Taliban, with almost daily suicide bombings, a separatist uprising in the province of Baluchistan, a hostile neighbour, recession, inflation and unemployment, Pakistan seems to face a natural disaster almost every year.
Read full article at The Sunday Times.