Alcoholism Booms In 'Dry' Pakistan

12/27/2010 01:35 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Declan Walsh The Guardian

The 32-year-old professional was sitting in an addiction clinic, hidden down a quiet street in the capital, Islamabad. He had relapsed from the expensive treatment programme twice already; now he had been dry for more than three months. "This time it's for good," he said, with just a glimmer of self-doubt.

Pakistan has been dry for much longer - since 1977 - and drinkers risk severe punishment: 80 lashes of the whip under strict Islamic laws. But the law is ignored, alcohol is widely available and, for those who go too far, addiction clinics offering help are quietly flourishing.

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