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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Will the Islamists spare Lahore?

The city now has the “whiff of St Petersburg circa 1914”

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 diffi cult 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.

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In Prospect’s May issue: Simon Taylor and Bronwen Maddox on why Hinkley Point C is an expensive gamble that might not pay off. Philip Collins examines Iain Duncan Smith’s tenure as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and Lionel Shriver reveals why she stopped fighting being female. Alan Rusbridger responds to last month’s piece on the Guardian by Stephen Glover. Also in this issue: Nicholas Soames says there’s no such thing as "Project Fear” and Howard Davies reviews Melvyn King’s new book and suggests that we are vulnerable to another financial crisis. Plus Ruth Dudley Edwards examines the fading myths of the Easter Rising and Owen Hatherley suggests it’s time to look for a Plan B to solve London’s housing issues.