Pakistan: Now or Never?
Perspectives on Pakistan
Students from 24 religious schools in Islamabad, including the hardline Lal Masjid (Red Mosque), have been taking part in the past week in a cricket tournament organised by the city authorities as part of measures to regulate and revamp the schools. The students swapped their shalwar kameez for track pants and T-shirts, and sticks for cricket bats.
By all accounts, the games have been successful as enthusiastic crowds of skull-capped and turbaned students thronged the grounds to watch their schoolmates play with teams drawn from other schools, some of them from different sects who have often clashed in the past.
One blogger wrote that the games were a ray of light during a week clouded by a resurgence in political violence. Women students also took a break from their rigid, dawn-to-dusk schedules to take part in a badminton tournament held alongside the cricket contest.