Pakistani men, women race free of Islamist threat

Pakistani men, women race free of Islamist threat |
Thousands of men and women took part in a long-distance run through Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore on Sunday without any trouble from Islamists who have tried to disrupt similar events in the past.

Lahore is regarded as Pakistan’s cultural capital, but Islamist activists, who deem mixed-sex gatherings in public as un-Islamic, have become bolder in recent years, challenging the city’s reputation for tolerance.

Two years ago, the government imposed a ban on a mixed-sex race to avoid a clash between Islamists and liberal activists, and on one occasion police baton-charged men and women who tried to run.

Last year, Islamists threatened to disrupt the race, but it passed off peacefully despite the participation of hundreds of women runners.

This year, the Islamists made no effort at all to stop the race, saying it was pointless as it did not have popular support.

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