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Life in the fast lane belies Karachi’s normality

Karachi's decorated buses give the streets
a dash of colour

Leaning easily against their sandbagged position, the machine-gunners look decidedly bored and even a little sleepy in the glaring midday sun. Watching the quiet approach road to Karachi's main international airport is, apparently, not the kind of duty that sets pulses racing. The local newspapers may be exercised by the story that a section of the airport is being handed over to American forces as a staging post for Afghanistan - and by the notion that US troops might be hunting for Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan - but Karachi's citizens apparently couldn't care less. The mopping up of Al-Qaeda leaders has become a subject of wry humour rather than passionate outrage. When the Americans called their operation Enduring Freedom did they mean that Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar were going to enjoy enduring freedom? So runs one popular joke.

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