Horses race on in Pakistan

    Published in: Latest IntelligenceLegal betting industry persists despite country’s growing Islamisation In Pakistan, YouTube is blocked, polio vaccination programs have been interrupted and many cinemas forced to close due to pressure from Islamist groups. Gambling too is banned as contrary to Islam, but legal horse race betting quietly survives in the cities of Lahore and Karachi. Horse racing in Pakistan, as in India, is a legacy of British colonial rule and it has persisted in Lahore and Karachi amid a society divided between a moneyed elite with foreign university degrees and designer clothes and the majority of the population that has been more directly affected by the creeping Islamisation of the country. Attendance usually hovers around 800 on the Sundays and Wednesdays when the horses are running at the Lahore Race Club or its Karachi counterpart. The average daily take is around 700,000 rupees to 800,000 rupees ($6,800-$7,800), according to Shahzad Aktar, secretary...

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