High and dry: Pakistan's liking of hash

Niaz Ali is a deeply religious man: He prays five times a day and visits the mosque as frequently as possible. But he also loves to smoke hashish -- lots of it.

Despite it being forbidden by his faith, the 50 year-old estimates he spends about 30 percent of his earnings as a cab driver on the habit.

His love affair with cannabis began as an occasional puff with friends when he was a teenager, but has since morphed into a full-blown addiction for the father-of-nine.

"It is a sacred plant. A sacred intoxication," says Ali, who asked to use a pseudonym, after taking a fresh rip off a hookah packed with pungent hash in Pakistan's bustling northwestern town of Peshawar.

"It's like a second wife, this addiction," he sighs.

While Ali freely acknowledges using hash runs counter to the tenets of Islam, he insists it has its advantages.

"We...

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