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After 13 years in the US, a Pakistani rediscovers her home country.

This is how it feels to get robbed at gunpoint in Karachi

Every drop of liquid in your mouth will dry up. Swallowing will become impossible. Each breath will feel like knives sticking in your lungs.
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(Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

KARACHI, Pakistan — In this city by the sea, the odds are good that in the time it takes for a stoplight to turn green, you'll be approached by a man with a gun. He'll tap it on your window, and because enough people have been shot attempting to resist being robbed, you'll hand over whatever you have.

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A beginner's guide to Urdlish

A partial glossary of Karachi's favorite English turns of phrase.

(Mariya Karimjee and Kyle Kim/GlobalPost)

KARACHI, Pakistan — Since 1608, when England first set up the British East India Company, Pakistanis have been appropriating English. By the time Pakistan became a country in 1947, it was declared one of the country's two official tongues.

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Pakistan's sexting problem

At first, it was just the messages. Then they started to call.
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Pakistan cracked down on 'immoral' love chat services offered by mobile phone companies in late 2013, stifling hopes of illicit romance in the conservative Muslim country where dating is frowned upon. But "love" chatting — particularly the unsolicited variety — knows no bounds. (Farooq Naeem/AFP/Getty Images)
Almost every woman I've met in Pakistan has experienced this harassment: an ongoing deluge of text messages written in misspelled English or Romanized Urdu, some of them explicitly sexual, most of them benign.
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Ah, aerial firing, the act of pointing a rifle into the air and shooting at nothing

In spite of my many years in gun-loving Texas, the first time I heard celebratory gunfire was in Karachi in 2009. That was the same year I learned stray bullets kill people.
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Celebrations in Pakistan need more confetti, less gunfire. (Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images)
KARACHI — When the clock struck midnight this past New Year's Eve, instead of celebrating, I sat wincing as the air around me resonated with a familiar popping noise. The bullets from aerial firing can kill.
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Dec. 25 is a major holiday in Pakistan

Pakistan, surprisingly, was founded on the idea of religious tolerance. On Dec. 25, a divided nation remembers the man whose vision of a secular state didn't materialize.

KARACHI, Pakistan—Sixty-six years ago, on the day of Pakistan's birth, the country's founder stood in this very city and addressed his new nation.

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A pristine tourist hub at the edge of the Himalayas (PHOTOS)

Miles away from industrial output, far from any large metropolis, the Kaghan Valley is still the most popular tourist destination in Pakistan.

KAGHAN VALLEY, Pakistan — Pakistan's lush, green Kaghan Valley is one of the most beautiful parts of the world I've seen.

The valley is nestled along the western edge of the Himalayan mountain range.

Kaghan Valley Himalayas

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It's not easy finding peace in the world's most dangerous megacity

Artists' appeals are probably no match for one of the highest homicide rates on the planet.
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Local artists want to combat Karachi's soaring rates of violence with images of peace. (Mariya Karimjee/GlobalPost)

KARACHI, Pakistan — In September, Foreign Policy dubbed Karachi the world's most dangerous megacity, claiming that the sprawling metropolis in which I live has a homicide rate that's 25 percent higher than in the rest of the world's largest cities.

The statistic isn't surprising to anyone who lives here.

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The Pakistani Taliban ruined my holiday

When I was a kid in Karachi, the faithful celebrated Ashura freely in the streets. That has all changed.
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Pakistani Shiite Muslims participate in ritual self-flagellation during a religious procession held ahead of Ashura on the ninth day of Muharram in Lahore on Nov. 14, 2013. Ashura mourns the death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, who was killed by armies of the Yazid near Karbala in 680 AD. (ARIF ALI/AFP/Getty Images)

KARACHI, Pakistan — When I was a little girl, my family had a tradition for the tenth day of Muharram.

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Foxy lady works magic at the Karachi Zoo (VIDEO)

Locals say Karachi's Mumtaz Mahal is half-fox, half-woman. For just $1 you can ask her any question your heart desires.
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The real Taj Mahal bears little similarity to the Karachi Zoo attraction based on the structure's namesake. (Strdel/AFP/Getty Images)
KARACHI, Pakistan — The main attraction at the Karachi Zoo isn't really an animal. Sure, the zoo has most of the usual suspects — a lethargic black bear, a smattering of monkeys and glossy, giant Bengal tigers. But the real show stealer is a hybrid creature called Mumtaz Mahal.
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Bombed and blamed: Pakistan's Christians are in trouble

Some Karachi residents have an easier time dismissing violence when it targets Christians, a small minority group in Pakistan.
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A Pakistani Christian woman mourns the death of a relative killed in a suicide bombing near damage at the All Saints church in Peshawar on Sept. 24, 2013. A devastating double suicide attack on a church in northwest Pakistan has triggered fears among the country's beleaguered Christian community that they will be targeted in a fresh wave of Islamist violence. (A. Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
Some Karachi residents have an easier time dismissing violence when it targets Christians, a small minority group in Pakistan. Our Karachi correspondent reports on one of the more disturbing aspects of last week's church bombing in Peshawar — namely, a lack of empathy for its victims. "Less than 2 percent of the country's population is Christian," one vegetable vendor said. "I'm not saying that it wasn't horrible, but it hardly affects me and I don't think that it's necessary that I do anything about it."
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