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Men go about their business in the crowded dusty streets, their faces covered by bushy black beards that would make Captain Haddock proud/XINHUA-File

Kenya

Hair transplants: Pakistan’s new weapon of mass seduction

– Hair tourism –

Today, there are nearly 120 hair transplant clinics in Pakistan, according to official figures, with a dozen in Peshawar.

The operation generally costs from $400-$1,000, with some top clinics charging up to $6,000 – a fraction of what it costs in the West, but still well out of reach for most Pakistanis.

Many clients come from abroad, in particular the Pakistani-Afghan Diaspora who come to see their friends and family – and return more hirsute.

Maihan, a cook from Denmark, finds himself in one such clinic in Peshawar. The young Afghan knows that the shaven-headed Bruce Willis look isn’t displeasing to the fairer sex in the West.

“In Europe, in Canada, in Australia and in the United States, the girls don’t care, but here guys must have long hair,” he said.

Hairless heads aren’t the only worry. Doctor Asif Shah says he has also performed a number of beard transplants on patients keen to show their piety with a healthy growth.

Fawad Aamir recalls with pleasure the visit of a Taliban commander’s son who had grown frustrated with his patchy beard while fellow Islamist rebels proudly sported bushy specimens.

“A doctor tried to convince the man that ‘you don’t grow beard because this is the beard given to you by God’,” he said.

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“And he said ‘No, I want to have this like Mohammed, peace be upon him.’

“So we went ahead and six months later he had a very big beard and he was very happy.”

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