Pakistan fashion week begins as bombers hit northwest

KARACHI- Pakistan began a new fashion week with an opulent opening ceremony in Karachi on Monday, hours after Islamist militants killed 46 people in bomb attacks in the northwest.
Participants held a one-minute silence to mourn the five people killed in a suicide car bomb and gun attack at the US embassy in Peshawar and 41 who died in a suicide attack at a political rally in the district of Lower Dir.

Models for Pakistani designer Rouge.
Models for Pakistani designer Rouge.
The event is scheduled to feature 52 designers -- 49 of them from Pakistan and one each from Malaysia, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates -- in a follow-up to a first event held in Karachi last November.
"The fashion week has started and will continue until Friday," organiser Tehmina Khaled told AFP.
"Security concerns keep designers and models from the West away from Pakistan, yet we have succeeded this time to get some professionals from Asia to participate," Khaled said.
"On the one hand terrorists are attacking our country with bombings and on the other, by organising events like this, we are trying to portray a softer image of Pakistan abroad," she added.
Models will sashay down catwalks, flaunting the latest creations by designers in the nuclear-armed Muslim nation, where most women cover up and observe varying degrees of Islamic dress.
Around 3,200 people have been killed in suicide and bomb attacks over the last three years in Pakistan, blamed on Islamist militants, although mostly concentrated in the northwest.
The fashion event is taking place in the southern port city of Karachi, considered a cosmopolitan city in Pakistan, complete with glitzy shopping malls and a thriving cafe culture.
Karachi has been relatively shielded from the violence, but Islamist cells are believed to operate in the city of 16 million, where the profits from crime and kidnappings allegedly bankroll the insurgency in the northwest.

Monday, April 5th 2010

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