I spent the evening with a group of young Pakistanis, embarrassed that I'd turned their gathering into an impromptu English lesson, but enjoying their views and openness just the same. They talked about stereotypes, nationalism, religious tolerance, writing... Pakistan doesn't get enough credit for these kind of exchanges. The diversity of opinions, ethnicities, backgrounds, and identities here is what makes me hopeful about the place. Diversity of viewpoint means multiple ideas about how to solve problems -- useful if you can properly channel those ideas into the framework of representative government. The first part of that equation will never be a problem for Pakistan.
Of the approximately 25 people present, at least two of them had been directly impacted by violence. That was sobering. It's a lot to balance against my hopefulness. Still, I'm holding on to it.