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Support Scroll. For Asnia Asim, who grew up on army bases across Pakistan, moving to Washington was a no-brainer. Her father, a retired army officer, and mother, an educator, were broad-minded and trusted her. But Asim had high academic and professional ambitions and wanted to travel. The initial daze of moving to a new city and starting her first job took a while to settle.

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Great swaths of southwest Houston and Sugar Land are home to people of Pakistani descent.

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Such Pakistani customs as "the food we eat, some of the dresses women wear and some of the behavior patterns" that emphasize close ties to loved ones remain the same, Saleem says. Momin, who came to Houston at age 2 when her parents emigrated from Pakistan in the early s, was a typical American teen-ager in many ways. Even so, education is important and seen as an opportunity to a better life.

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For almost 25 years, the Khans have been Houston proud. He left Pakistan in to study for a master's degree in electrical engineering at the University of Illinois. Before that, many of the middle class had attended college in Pakistan and gone for advance study in Britain, a remnant of ties dating from colonial rule. Until recent years, he regularly returned to Pakistan to visit relatives. A substantial of professionals -- doctors, lawyers, computer specialists -- also came to learn the latest advances in their field at state-of-the-art facilities.

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On Fridays, or more people gather for prayers. InGen. Pervez Musharraf took control of the government. Pakistani-American businessman Saeed Gaddi hosts the show, which combines Urdu, the official language of Pakistan; Hindi, the official language of India; and English. Never comfortable with the wintry New York weather, they basked in the withering heat of the shimmering city on the bayou, which welcomed them with reminders of their homeland.

At one time, trips to Pakistan for marriages were common. Many who came to Houston to study or work in oil-related projects decided to stay. They are among the estimated 60, Houston area residents who hail from Pakistan -- a country many Americans might have had trouble finding on a map just two months ago.

A few months later, his wife, Dr. Attiya Khan, ed him. Everybody's life has changed after Sept.

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Many in Houston's Pakistani community celebrate holidays, such as Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan, and weddings with joyous feasts, new, often colorful, clothing, and visits to many households. We decided Houston was the place where we wanted to call home," Masrur Khan says. Her parents made special efforts to encourage Momin to maintain her roots.

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It may be one of the city's least-known ethnic groups. Areas around Clear Lake and in north Houston also have an increasing Pakistani presence. It was a joyous occasion at which men and women dressed in traditional Pakistani clothing -- a sherwanior long coat, for the men; a shalwar kameez baggy slacks and long tunic with dupatta long scarf for women -- performed native dances and ate such specialties as biryani and chicken tikka.

A recent issue of the Pakistan Chroniclea weekly newspaper published in Houston, contained several marriage .

Many families continue to prefer marrying within their religion and ethnic culture. While Pakistan and neighboring India have fought several times since World War II and continue to quarrel, people of Pakistani and Indian descent get along well in Houston. In recent years, Pakistani leaders have rallied the community to protest several killings at convenience stores, raise money for earthquake victims in India, and volunteer for flood relief after Tropical Storm Allison inundated the city.

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Two weekly newspapers are aimed at that community. She was taught to speak Urdu and Gurjati, a folk language common in some Pakistani dating Houston and Indian villages, and was active in the Islamic community center near her home at an early age. Their religion is one of love and honor, not hatred, she says.

Soon after the bombing, Momin noticed that while at a shopping mall "I was looked upon in a different way, and that bothered me. Inthe British government partitioned the subcontinent into two independent nations, India and Pakistan. She and her husband belong to the Shia Branch of Islam, known as the Ismailis, and worship nightly at the community center in Sugar Land where they met. No more than 39 percent of adults are literate, and life expectancy is about 62 years or less. The nation's turbulent history since then has included several wars with India and political unrest.

He began working at a convenience store and now owns 10 stores. While she has not experienced any instances of hatred, since the bombing she has felt uneasy when she dresses that way.

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Pakistan's Islamic history began with the arrival of Muslim traders in the eighth century. A friend suggested Houston, "and we came right away," Issa recalls.

What happened in Waco or Guyana where thousands of followers of the Rev. Jim Jones died of poisoningwe cannot attribute that to Christians," she says. I think I'm very American. A celebration of Pakistan's independence day in August drew more than 18, people to Reliant Hall, says Khan, president of the Pakistan Association of Greater Houston.

It's dark skin, light skin, blond hair and black hair. When year-old Sugar Land attorney Shenila Momin married, she opted to wear a sari and follow all the rituals. Many invested in small businesses, such as convenience stores and dry cleaners.

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About eight years ago, Saleem pointed out the need for a place at Methodist Hospital where Muslim patients and staff members could worship. Abdus Saleemchief of hematology at Methodist Hospital and professor of pathology at Baylor College of Medicineleft Pakistan 30 years ago to pursue medical opportunities in the United States.

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It was one of those motivations. I learned a lot about the Bible, which is close to the Qu'ran," she says. His trips have been less frequent, in part because of the chaotic political situation in Pakistan but also because Houston is where he feels most comfortable. Pakistani-American leaders say this area is home to one of the larger concentrations of people of Pakistani ancestry in the United States. Think like that. Most Pakistanis consider themselves to be of south Asian ancestry.

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To me, America is a mix. Officials agreed and provided space for a Muslim Prayer Center. The energy in Houston is beautiful, especially the people are very, very warm," Issa says. They recently ed with 30 interfaith groups, including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddists, to form the American Alliance for Justice and Peace to encourage unity and acceptance of all ethnic groups.

Gaddi, who emigrated to the United States inlived in Miami before ing relatives in Houston. Her faith remains an important part of her life. You hear about some people in the community who are attacked, and it makes you scared," she says. They worked long hours, and many prospered. They had a son and moved to New York, where she had a residency in cardiology.

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When they first arrived in Houston, she recalls, there weren't nearly as many people of Pakistani ancestry. Miriam Issawho helped found the Pakistan American Volunteers Association, often wears colorful saris to events around Houston to promote her native country. While discussions are sometimes heated, callers are proud to be Americans, he says. Nowadays, Khan says, the younger generation wants to marry here, although they enjoy adhering to the wedding traditions.

British traders arrived in and consolidated control of the region in the latter half of the 18th century. Two years later, she attended a medical conference in Houston and returned with the offer of a fellowship at the Texas Heart Institute. Saleem estimates that half are of Pakistani ancestry.

Often unable to find personal and professional independence at home, these women are willing to make a vast social adjustment abroad.

At least 20 Houston-area restaurants serve Pakistani cuisine. Attorneys, dentists and other professionals often market themselves to former residents of both countries, whose languages are similar. There is much traditional Pakistani dancing, Khan says, although alcohol is never served. She argued with her mother over the length of her skirts and other things. They don't hate you if they know you.

America is the land of opportunity. Its million people are predominately Muslim. Pakistani groups estimate that 70 percent of people of Pakistani heritage in Houston are U. Census figures do not provide a breakdown by country of origin. After four years in Hershey, Pa.

He and his wife, who is pakistani dating Houston a doctor, liked the city so much that they decided to live here permanently. Khan says Pakistanis began to emigrate to the United States -- and Houston -- in greater s in the late s and s to attend college.

A few days before a wedding, a Mehndi celebration takes place in which the bride's hands are painted with henna in intricate patterns. She attended law school at the University of Notre Dame for a year, then transferred to Southern Methodist University in She specializes in business, immigration and family law. One family was looking for a "Sunni family girl for our year-old son.