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3

PAKISTAN

Captivating

'Where are you from?'

asks a curious teenager.

'Belgium'

, we reply. The boy looks at us with unconcealed admiration.

'Do you like Pakistan?'

Even though we have only just arrived in

Lahore, we nod in agreement.

'Selfie?'

he asks and immediately raises a hand holding a smartphone.

With a broad smile we stand next to him and let ourselves be

immortalised. In no time at all, we are surrounded by a whole group

of young people who all want to take a picture with us. We seem to

act like a magnet to them. And not only to them, but also to their

parents, neighbours and friends. We are an oddity, and that is quite a

strange experience. We had not considered that for many Pakistani,

we might be the first foreigners they have seen for a long time.

After 9/11, tourism in Pakistan completely collapsed.

Many youngsters born after that fateful day have never before seen a

Westerner. Time to change that.

text & photos:

kathleen van bremdt

- photos:

sven hoyaux

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