LAHORE, Pakistan — It was a strange, almost jarring sight to see a group of adults chatting and sipping tea outside in the broad, muggy daylight last Sunday morning. The fasting month of Ramadan – or Ramzan as it is known here in Pakistan – is well underway, which means that even in Lahore, a city famous for its food, public eating and drinking, has come to a halt during daylight hours. Ever since former President Zia ul-Haq’s 1981 Ehtram-e-Ramzan (respect for Ramadan) Ordinance, even the country’s non-Muslim minority population is expected to refrain from public consumption.
But hidden inside the heavily guarded grounds of the Cathedral Church of the Resurrection in central Lahore, Pakistani families and a handful of foreigners gathered around a table of biscuits after the end of the Anglican service. Rajil Joshua, a restaurant manager, tells me that his family has been attending services at the Cathedral for over 80 years.
“Coming here is a tradition within my family,” he explains, noting that his grandfather attended the same English service throughout his entire life.