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Pakistan's Young Elite See Problems

Maria Khan is a 25-year-old barrister from Lahore.
John Poole
/
NPR
Maria Khan is a 25-year-old barrister from Lahore.

Some of Pakistan's best-educated young people are more concerned with class divides than they are with terrorism. The gap between the wealthy and the poor is so deep that a person's standing is easily determined at a glance -- a result of what one student calls "extreme social discrimination."

These students, the children of affluent families, have benefited from a first-class education in a country that is struggling to raise its literacy rate.

They often go to college in the U.S. or Europe -- or study at prestigious schools like the Lahore University of Management and Science. After they graduate, many of these young people face a dilemma: whether to go back home to live with their families, or to pursue their careers abroad.

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As she ate dinner on a rooftop high above the streets of Lahore, Maria Khan, a 25-year-old lawyer who studied at Wellesley College in Massachusetts and Cambridge in England, described how her friends decide whether to stay in their troubled country, or leave it.

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