In conflict since the mid 20th century, these photos of a happier Pakistan present a nice foil to the state's often grim reality.
Pakistan amusement parks motorcycle

A motorcycle acrobat thrills the crowd at an amusement park set up outside a shrine in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. IMAGE: MUHAMMED MUHEISEN/ASSOCIATED PRESS Source: Mashable

Embroiled in conflict since at least 1947, when Great Britain partitioned British India to create the independent nations of India and Pakistan, the latter can hardly be considered the world’s happiest place. And yet, these photos by Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press photographer Muhammed Muheisen present a photographic foil to such a grim reality.

Pakistan amusement parks night

Food vendors set up shop to keep visitors fed at a park in Islamabad, Pakistan. IMAGE: MUHAMMED MUHEISEN/ASSOCIATED PRESS Source: Mashable

Over the past several years, people living in the outskirts of Rawalpindi and Islamabad have come up with a way to temporarily break the fear and add some joy to the lives of Pakistani children, and their parents: makeshift amusement parks.

Pakistan amusement parks horse

A boy walking his horse while he checks out a Rawalpindi park. IMAGE: MUHAMMED MUHEISEN/ASSOCIATED PRESS Source: Mashable

Over 400 amusement parks dot the United States landscape, and another 300 are scattered across Europe. In Pakistan, however, most children do not have the luxury of visiting such parks. In the Middle East and Southeast Asia, amusement parks are scarce, and the ones that do exist are far too expensive for most families to enjoy.

In response, cheaply constructed amusement parks are popping up in the outskirts of Pakistani villages, and are becoming a very popular source of entertainment.

Pakistan amusement parks camels

Pakistani children who fled from Bajaur with their families amid the fighting between security forces and militants enjoy the makeshift rides set up in an Islamabad slum. IMAGE: MUHAMMED MUHEISEN/ASSOCIATED PRESS Source: Mashable

Pakistan amusement parks weights

Trying to get customers to attempt to lift a weight for 10 rupees, a Pakistani man lifts what appears to be 80 kilos with one arm. IMAGE: MUHAMMED MUHEISEN/ASSOCIATED PRESS Source: Mashable

Pakistan amusement parks trampoline

Showing that the parks are not just for kids, a group of Pakistani men enjoy jumping on a trampoline at the park in Islamabad. IMAGE: MUHAMMED MUHEISEN/ASSOCIATED PRESS Source: Mashable

Pakistan amusement parks flying

This Islamabad park was set up in a Christian neighborhood for the Christmas holiday. IMAGE: MUHAMMED MUHEISEN/ASSOCIATED PRESS Source: Mashable

Pakistan amusement parks swingset

A boy and his sister, both Afghan refugees, enjoy a makeshift swing set in Islamabad, Pakistan. Pakistan is a temporary home for more than 1.6 million registered Afghans, which according to the U.N. refugee agency is the largest population of refugees located anywhere in the world. IMAGE: MUHAMMED MUHEISEN/ASSOCIATED PRESS Source: Mashable

Pakistan amusement parks umbrella

The merry-go-round is a favorite for families in this Islamabad slum. IMAGE: MUHAMMED MUHEISEN/ASSOCIATED PRESS Source: Mashable

Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly is a freelance writer, artist and video editor that splits her time between the humid Midwest and the dusty corners of her mind.
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