Flag-Burners Keep U.S. Flag Market Booming in Pakistan

One new testament to the fractious relations between the United States and Pakistan over the last year is the thriving market in the country for the American flag — for burning. "A quarter of my business is based on these tensions," one supplier of the flags to religious groups told NBC News. "The purpose of the flag is to last for an hour. It's unfortunate, but if the demand is for an hour, then the supplier must meet such demand too." He and Pakistan's oldest religious party defended the practice of flag-burning as an emotive and civilized way of expressing protest at another country's actions — although the party, Jamaat-e-Islam, distanced itself from the practice and said it did not condone it. A party member and protester disagreed, however. "We're not killing anyone," he said. "We're just burning flags, mere pieces of cloth, and then we're done. It's over."

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