WITNESS - Failed state? Try Pakistan's M2 motorwayhttp://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews ... 16?sp=true
By Alistair Scrutton
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - If you want a slice of peace and stability in a country with a reputation for violence and chaos, try Pakistan's M2 motorway.
There are many things in Pakistan that don't get into the news. Daily life, for one. Pakistani hospitality to strangers, foreigners like myself included, is another. The M2 is another sign that all is not what it appears in Pakistan, that much lies hidden behind the bad news.
On one of my first trips to Pakistan. I arrived at the border having just negotiated a one-lane country road in India with cows, rickshaws and donkey-driven carts.
I toted my luggage over to the Pakistan side, and within a short time my Pakistani taxi purred along the tarmac. The driver proudly showed off his English and played U.S. rock on FM radio. The announcer even had an American accent. Pakistan, for a moment, receded, and my M2 trip began.
The real Pakistan can be seen from the car window, but in the distance. Colourful painted lorries still ply those roads. Dirt poor villagers toil in brick factories, farmers on donkey carts go about their business.
Of course, four hours of mundane travel is quite enough. Arriving in Lahore, the road suddenly turns into South Asia
once again. Dust seeps through the open car window, endless honks sound, beggars knock on car windows. The driver begins again his daily, dangerous battle for road supremacy.