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10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Pakistan

A little peak behind the religious extremism

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2. So many military coups

Aamir Quresh / Getty Images / Via

In 68 years of existence, Pakistan has undergone three military coups, not counting another three attempts that failed. That's about one coup every 22 years. The country's first ever democratic transfer of power came in 2013 - the first transition from one government to the next without a military leader in between. Only took 66 years!

3. You can buy pretty much anything from a street vendor

Shandana Mufti

Shoes? Snacks? Jewelry? Books? You don't need to step into a store for any of those. In the picture, a man is roasting corn kernels on a portable cart.

4. Spices on fruit salad - best thing ever


Sure, this stuff tastes good on savory salads. But put it on sweet fruit salad on a hot summer day and you won't stop eating until the bowl is empty. It's spicy, a little salty, and totally yum.

5. Beatlemania came to Pakistan too


"The Beatles, who took Europe and America by storm and became a rage overnight, recalling the tune of their No. 1 pop song 'She Like You Yeah, Yeah, Yeah' decided to pay a compliment to Karachi and its teenagers by singing in chorus: 'We Like Karachi Yeah, Yeah, Yeah."

Also note: "McCartheney"

6. YouTube has been banned there since 2012


YouTube was banned in 2008 when Dutch politician Geert Wilders published "Fitna," a short film that showed Islam as a religion of hate. That ban was lifted, but another one went into effect in 2010 on "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day." Since then, bans have been lifted and reinstated, and though the government voted to lift the 2012 ban last year, it still stands.

7. The first personal computer virus was made by Pakistani brothers

Avinash Meetoo / Via

Basit and Amjad Farooq Alvi ran a computer store in Pakistan, and learned that customers were using illegal copies of their software. They retaliated with Brain, a virus meant to scare the pirates but ended up being used maliciously to destroy memory and slow down hard drives. It popped up at the University of Delaware in 1986 - the brothers had sold infected bootleg discs to students in the US. From there, it spread to other universities and some newspapers. The brothers say the spread of the virus follows that of piracy: "The virus could not have spread unless people were copying the software illegally," Amjad said in an interview in Pakistan.

8. You can see Buddhist ruins there

Shandana Mufti

Taxila is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was once an important place for Buddhists. It used to be a pilgrimage destination, drawing visitors from Central Asia and China, who would come to worship at the stupas and monasteries.

9. Malala isn't the first Nobel Prize winner

Dawn / Via

Abdus Salam won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979, but was condemned because of his religion. He belonged to the minority Ahmadi sect of Islam that the government persecuted, and in 1974, Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims. He moved to England where he died, and was buried in Pakistan. Salam's gravestone originally read "First Muslim Nobel Laureate." That became "First Nobel Laureate." Now, just his name remains.

10. There's an elaborate border ceremony at the Pakistan/India border every day

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Right before sunset each day, the Pakistan Rangers and Indian Border Security Force lower their country's flags in synch as the iron gates at the border open. Soldiers from each side shake hands, and then there is an elaborate retreat on each side as the gates close - Michael Palin called this "carefully choreographed contempt" on one of his shows.

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