By Irfan Husain
This is a truly sad reflection on the state of Pakistan today. Last year, we were bringing an English friend to Islamabad for a trip to Skardu, but then had to cancel at the last minute because of the government action in Lal Masjid and its bloody fallout. The truth is that Pakistan is not a foreigner-friendly country any more. Don’t get me wrong: at a personal level, Pakistanis are as hospitable as ever. But in public, reactions to the presence of foreigners range from outright hostility to rude, intrusive curiosity. Over the years, as the number of outsiders visiting Pakistan has dropped steadily, a generation has grown up without any contact with non-Pakistanis. This insularity and isolation, coupled with the anti-West sentiments whipped up by the media, has made our country a very dangerous place for foreigners. So instead of encouraging visitors, we tend to prepare them for the risks they face.