The world media are focusing on scores of deadly terrorist attacks in the last four weeks claiming over 300 innocent lives in Pakistani cities, and tracking the military’s counterinsurgency campaign unfolding in South Waziristan. However, the Pakistani blogosphere is buzzing with the news and pictures of the Fashion Week in Karachi.
A series of fashion shows ended Saturday in which 30 Pakistani designers presented their creations. Karachi’s Marriott hotel was the scene of the glamorous event.
And there is a lot more that is happening in Pakistan.
In October, a painstakingly detailed production of Chekov’s “The Seagull” had a successful run in Karachi.
Karachi’s local actors put on a female version of The Odd Couple and the Abba musical Mamma Mia drew large crowds.
An art exhibit opened recently in Islamabad to portray the effects of recent events on Pakistani psyche. Using the snake skin as a symbol of ongoing terror in the country, artist Haleem Khan has used the metaphor of a venomous snake to portray the violence that confronts people.
There were dozens of other events across the country, such as the 25th anniversary of a street theater group, a film festival for children, scores of music concerts, thousands of weddings and endless games of street cricket.
Clearly, many Pakistanis are defying the campaign of intimidation unleashed by the Tehrik-e-Taleban Pakistan. Despite the failed political leadership and extremely poor governance, the country’s saving grace is arguably its people. As the consequences sink in among Pakistan’s secular elite of the rising Taliban, there are signs that the country’s educated middle class – in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, cities rocked recently by continuing terrorist attacks – is losing its patience with radicalism. The urban middle class has more clout than many analysts think. It constitutes the backbone of the army, the business and professional classes and the opinion makers in the media. And the middle class is getting serious about its responsibility. They have now compelled the government into taking more decisive action. There appears to be visible light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s hope it’s not an oncoming train.
Here are two video clips of Karachi Fashion Week 2009: