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Is Pakistan finally about to become tourism's next big thing?

Lahore is one of the country's highlights
Lahore is one of the country's highlights Credit: GETTY

“If dope is what you want then you are going to the right place – hash and grass can be found just about everywhere.”

So said Lonely Planet of Pakistan in its first ever travel guide, Across Asia on the Cheap, published in 1973. Indeed, the country was once one of the highlights of the classic “hippie trail” or “overland” route from Europe to the Far East, a rite of passage for disillusioned Western youth. Peshawar and Lahore were considered not only safe – but also fine places to kick back for a few days in a budget hostel, drink Murree beer and sample the local pot. The book offered a tip on leaving the latter city: “You can get a magic bus from Lahore direct to Kabul  – look for notices in...

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