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After two days in Gilgit, a town in the far northwest of Pakistan, for the umpteenth time I had squeezed into a minivan for an uncomfortable journey to the Kalash Valley, home to a non-Muslim culture with polytheistic beliefs.
The accumulated dust and grime that built up in every possible crevice of my achingly tired body was soon washed away in the torrent of water that came direct from the Hindu Kush, a miniature waterfall among the gentle fields of corn and sunflowers, its waters so bitingly cold that I suffered cramp when I eventually decided to stand up again.
My smile is genuine. The northern districts of Pakistan boast the some of the most spectacular and dramatic scenery I'll ever witness.
However, it doesn't resemble other dramatic scenes instigated in murderous fashion by the forces of evil that exist within Pakistan. The almost-daily tragedies now visiting this beautiful region are making their insidious way closer and closer to the capital, Islamabad.
Yesterday's bombing of the Shalimar hotel and shopping complex in Rawalpindi that claimed 35 lives is a stark reminder to the military forces, both Pakistani and international, that there must be a solid and continued undertaking to rid the world of the scourge of terrorism.
There is no longer a need instill fear in a other-worldly inferno of fire and brimstone when certain groups of militant religious extremists have created a highly successful version of Hell here on Earth, terrorising and killing innocent civilians with absolutely no respect for human life.
The trauma inflicted upon the people of Pakistan is something beyond the imagination of most of us, a perpetual series of terrible and horrific events that will leave the nation in a state of shock. That the Pakistani offensive has been able to gain a reputed Taliban stronghold of Kaniguram in South Waziristan yesterday is perhaps a welcome piece of news.
I don't want extremism, I reject fundamentalism, I condemn proselytising and I think it's time to abandon religion - it has no place in this world. If only an ideology could wash over on the planet and clean away the poisonous filth we have created in our own minds. I think there's a double-action cleaning agent that will admirably to the job. It's the combination of science and atheism.