Pakistan election: rise of the middle classes

The election has been a quiet triumph for upwardly mobile urban Pakistanis, says Jason Burke on The Guardian website.

Drive down the Grand Trunk Road from Lahore to the Pakistani capital of Islamabad and you would be forgiven for thinking that the idea that the strip of ragged bitumen symbolises Pakistan’s new prosperity is a bit far-fetched. The road slices across green fields with their bent-backed peasant farmers, scruffy bazaars and through rubbish-strewn cities such as Gujranwala. The landscape is hardly a picture of wealth and stability.

But, if you had travelled the road 10 years ago, you would be less inclined to argue. You might notice the number of new factories, the cheap concrete “shopping malls” with their tile and glass facades and the swarms of Suzuki Mehrans, the tiny four door car which is Pakistan’s best-selling vehicle.

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