The Road Through Lahore Leads To War
SCOTT SIMON, host:
Pakistan's part of that highway passes the ancient city of Lahore and it continues westward toward the tribal zones where, of course, Pakistan fights a war against the Taliban.
It also passes near Islamabad, and Islamabad is where we found Steve Inskeep. Steve, thanks for finding the time for us.
STEVE INSKEEP: Oh, glad to do it, Scott, any Saturday morning.
SIMON: What are you trying to learn as you travel?
INSKEEP: We're talking with young people, Scott. And we're trying to get a little more deeply into what is happening, particularly in Pakistan, on this side of the border. This is a country that we think about for its conflict between Islam and secularists, or the war on terror - any of the phrases that we use.
But when you start talking with young people and asking about their future, their dreams, you see people with a far more complicated struggle. This is in some ways a very dysfunctional country with a lot of economic and social problems, as well as political and religious ones.
SIMON: Yeah. And help us understand some of the divisions in society that might be difficult to understand from a distance.
INSKEEP: Well, let me give you one sense of this. I went to a university called LUMS, the Lahore University of Management Sciences, where I was talking to elite students who are about as well-educated as almost anybody in the world. I've also been in a tiny village where there were women who had grown to adulthood and had never learned to read.
There are huge divisions in terms of class, in terms of economics. This is a country that is very much in transition, and you see that when you talk with young people, as we've been doing along the Grand Trunk Road.
SIMON: Steve, thanks so much.
INSKEEP: Glad to do it, Scott.
SIMON: NPR's Steve Inskeep continues his reporting next week along the Grand Trunk Road.
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