Letters from abroad: Shame on you, you are Pakistani

Published: April 2, 2012

I just wish I was not Pakistani. I’m not being unpatriotic. It is the most sincere feeling I’ve had in a while.

Suvarnabhumi Aiport, Check-in Counter 1, Row W: I’m at the check-in counter of a low-cost budget airline with an indemnity form staring at me – as if mocking me, telling me you had this coming.

There are four women and three men, all discussing in detail, what I believe are my passport details, in indiscriminate Thai language.

At one hand, I see wrinkles on the foreheads of my flight’s cabin crew and immigration personnel, and on the other hand, the sheer architectural beauty of the Bangkok airport refuses to wear down my excitement. The schism and ambivalence is uncanny.

After nine splendid days of uninterrupted exotic days of merriment, my passport has caught up with me.

I am enroute Singapore from Bangkok.

Gleefully, as most tourists would, I approach the check-in counter. I am the first one in line. Yes, I am excited. I would meet my college best friend after more than two years for the first time since she moved out of Pakistan after graduation.

As I near the counter, a local airline operator greets me with even a bigger smile. Even in times of peril, the hospitality of the Thai people cannot be missed – they are absolutely delightful.

When I present my passport, I feel there is a problem. Within minutes there are more airline personnel around me. Some are making calls, others checking my flight details. The supervisor seems confused. Her expression worries me.

‘Is there a problem with my passport?’ I ask earnestly – clueless as to what had happened.

‘Please come with me, sir,’ the supervisor requests with utmost politeness.

They ask me how much cash I am carrying.

‘Four hundred US dollars,’ I reveal.

Inquiries came my way. Why are you in Bangkok? Why are you going to Singapore? How long for? Where will you stay? Do you have a double entry visa for the Kingdom of Thailand?

My head starts hurting. I see no reason for this sort of treatment. 

After an hour of waiting, with all those behind me in line – possibly buying expensive liquor from the duty free – about to board the plane, the supervisor comes to me and says in a thick Thai accent:

‘If you [want to] travel to Singapore, you must fill [this] form, sir.’

What? What form? Are you kidding me? What did I do?

Before I could make words out of my thoughts, the more perceptive of the crew members says:

‘Indemnity form. From now on, you take full responsibility [of your luggage and yourself]. You don’t hold *** airline responsible if Singapore immigration send[s] you back!’

‘Huh?’

‘We [are] not responsible for you anymore, sir. Okay to board?’

My confusion has reached incomprehensible levels. Apparently, with low-cost airlines, immigration is very strict. Especially if you are Pakistani. You must have 10,000 Singapore dollars in cash to show at immigration – a fact no travel agency in Pakistan is willing to vouch for – a fact I will learn later.

If I do decide to travel, the airline supervisor says, immigration in Bangkok will let me through, but 90% chances are that if I do not meet even one of the basic entry requirements, they will send me back to Bangkok. Once I’m back they will not let me enter Bangkok city, and I will be required to go to my home country immediately because I will have an entry rejected in one of the countries of my transit travel.

Being caught up in the adrenaline pump, I would’ve taken a shot. The problem is my ticket to Karachi is four days later. And my airline says if you are ‘escorted’ back from Singapore, we will be unable to change your ticket to Karachi and you will have to spend four days in a ‘detainee centre’ (euphemism for a prison facility, I assume).

Sign the indemnity form – which says you have been made aware of all possible options and agree to take full responsibility from hereafter – and you can board the plane. Goodluck!

I love my friends and I really want to go ahead with my vacation as planned. But I’m not stupid. I am aware and conscious of my limitations when it comes to international travel. I ask my supervisor, who seems like a warm lady, genuinely concerned for me, what I should do?

Without thinking much she says:

‘Don’t go, you don’t have sufficient amount to travel. You [might] get into a lo’a trouble, sir.’

Turns out my $500 ticket is non-refundable.

Trying to be the man my dad would want me to be, I try hard to hide my tears as I walk away from the counter. I feel violated. I feel I had done nothing wrong.

The supervisor sees me and walks towards me. She says yesterday, a Pakistani passport holder was deported back from Singapore to Bangkok just because he didn’t have the exorbitantly high amount of cash on him during travel.

‘They never ask anyone to show the money. But you [are] the only Pakistani passport in the entire flight. They [will] catch you[‘re] passport and give you trouble very easy.

‘It’s your passport naa..’

Her words make my heart sink deeper.

I just wish for a moment I was not Pakistani. I’m not being unpatriotic. It is the most sincere feeling I’ve had in a while.

***

Club X, Silom Road, Soi 2: I decide I won’t let this ruin my three nights in Bangkok, and what lifts you up more than some drinks in a good club?

I take a cab, change (hip-hop style) and hit a club. At the entrance the bouncer asks me for an ID. I show him my Pakistani NIC card, which has my date of birth printed in English.

He looks and at me and says in a nonchalant manner:

‘Where you from, friend?’

‘Pakistan!’, I say in a pumped up voice, my head moving with the beat of the song – the airport debacle long forgotten in the waves of music’s rhythm.

‘Palestine?’, he screams back.

‘No no, Pakistan!’

‘Oh! Hahah! You carry no bomb right?’ he says, pulling my leg – with the six people behind me in the line laughing.

I let out an embarrassed smile.

‘Don’t blow up my club!’, he screams behind me, as I walk into the club, needing more drinks than I had expected.

**

Aboard flight TG0 507: ‘Please fasten your seat belts.’

I am finally going back home.

Not very excited though. My experiences have given me some bitter memories. And I continue to wonder why?

Lost in my thoughts, from the corner of my eye I see an airhostess and two Pakistani young men engaging, in what seems like an unpleasant exchange of words.

 ‘Sir please switch your phone off. Please fasten your seatbelt.’

The two men laugh, refusing to obey flight instructions.

Two more members of the cabin crew arrive at the scene and have to physically switch off their cell phones. The crew members look annoyed – and let me add, I have seen many things but a rude or annoyed Thai.

They look at each other bitterly and in a hush-hush way mumble: ‘Pakistani!’

Things start to make sense to me. We are treated in a particular manner because we beget it.

Right then I get one of the saddest realisations of my life: Home is near, but it doesn’t seem right.

Read more by Musab here

 


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musabmemon

Musab Memon

A sub-editor on the National desk of The Express Tribune

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Azharuddin Masood

    The kind of treatment the author mentioned is very common for all Pakistanis and by now every Pakistani who wants to travel abroad should accept it and have to live with it. I’ve seen this kind suspicious treatment meted to Pakistanis in their most brotherly country Saudi Arabia. When a flight from Pakistan arrives in Saudi Arabia the immigration staff there gets more vigilant and every Pakistani is thoroughly scrutinized while other nationals are formally asked to fill their immigration forms and clear the immigration with ease.Recommend

  • karachi feminist

    you have a great and funny writing style.be proud of that passport cause it will giveyou the best material, if not the easiest travels.Recommend

  • Umair Ali

    I was once asked while i was travelling to Malaysia but i had credit cards too so he was ok with it ! (By the way that was our local who was sitting on boarding counter of Malaysian Airline in Karachi.

    Further more, I just came from Hongkong and Bangkok you know what ? i had no issue on any airport but actually on our own. They check our passport and ask questions like no body in any country plus no one checked my luggage while exiting any airport but my own airport do…. what do u say ? these are our own ? what they do ? how would u blame any one now?

    OUR OWN AIRPORT ” BIG PAIN”Recommend

  • http://tj.com TJ

    I had same experience while going to SG though i was travelling in business class and had US$ 10k cash and handsome statement.

    All happened just coz of Pakistani Passport!!!

    I can understand the pain dude.

    Hope we gain back our respect. Hats off to all our leaders !!! Recommend

  • kbu

    The author is blaming his green passport for nothing.. And his article perfectly illustrates the ‘victim’ mentality that is so deep rooted in our society. The reality is that if he had read up on all the immigration rules prior to boarding that plane to bangkok, he would never have faced what he did. Surely he can check the rules online if he is capable of writing an article to be posted on the web. Yes the green passport does single you out for extra checks sometimes (thanks to many of our countrymen who create trouble abroad) but that is a reality all us greens should accept and live with. That should not stop you from seeing the world. if ALL documentation is in order, you are not a wanted terrorist and they don’t find a knife or a bomb strapped onto you.. then they can’t not let you board a plane and will not refuse entry in any country. I heard of a bunch of well educated pakistani lawyers in their twenties who travelled to vietnam to party but were not carrying the required amount of US dollars. And they were sent back to bangkok where they spent the night in a detention cell and were sent back to karachi on the next flight. Two months prior to this incident, I went to vietnam (yes to see the place and to party.. All you self righteous ones can hold your mouth open in horror at reading the word ‘party’) with four other fellow green passport holders and we all got in without any issues. At Saigon airport I saw some british passport holders having issues because they weren’t carrying the required amount of cash. Read the rules.. Simple. I hope the author got some nice massages in bangkok to soothe his victimized soul. Recommend

  • Mak

    For all those saying they’ve never had any problems with their passport, i agree. Its not always about having a problem like this gentleman was faced with. Its just an extra question or a bit of probing which the immigration officers tend to do if you’re a Pakistani esp in the western world (Europe & U.S not quite so in the far east), and if any one of you is actually denying that…then stop lying to yourself.

    I love my country beyond words, but to all those saying out loud to be proud of Pakistan. Tell me one thing that the people of Pakistan have done as a nation which the whole world would know about, and which we can quote and feel proud of???(Please refrain from giving lame examples or of individuals like Edhi who are exceptions) Sitting on your bum and just asking us to be proud of Pakistan doesn’t really give us enough reason to be proud of being a Pakistani national. We are looked down on in the Western world, and agreed that this is more a wrath of our politicians than religion.

    Anyone here who says they have never faced extra questioning/probing during international travel as opposed to someone with an EU/U.S passport & nationality holder has probably not travelled enough and i’d advise such people to not generalize their short and sweet experiences to what happens with Pakistanis around the world.

    Indeed i’m proud of my country, and i’ve never been stopped or interrogated at any airport. But i don’t turn my back to reality. Face it, fix it!Recommend

  • iD

    Passport is not the problem, You are the problem!
    How can you let someone being racist to you (or Pakistan) because of your passport, colour or a couple of stupid countrymen with the phone in the plane. Sorry man learn to take a stand.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Optimist: “I’ve been to Singapre/Thailand/Hong Kong. Pakistanis are treated with respect. Only Hong Kong people ask a few random questions. that’s it.”

    I guess the way one dresses and looks may make a difference. A burqa wearing woman or a guy with long beard, looking like a Mullah may not get a nice welcome as an attractive girl in a nice dress or a man in a nice suit. Terrorism definately has made life difficult for people who travel. Even in US one has to get to the airport3 hrs before the International flight departure time.Recommend

  • http://mominamela.wordpress.com Momina

    You shouldn’t wish you weren’t Pakistani, you should wish people were less racist!Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    Just got my Canadian citizenship today…. feels great :D but I love Pakistan… what makes me mad is that there is no justice in Pak…. Recommend

  • Sidrah Ahmad

    Interesting read, Musab Memon. I travel between Pakistan and Singapore via Bangkok regularly, and sometimes my green passport goes unnoticed, sometimes it gets unnecessary attention.

    What I am surprised at is the comments on this blog-post. Most comments show a complete lack of understanding of the main point being made. It is not about a vacation gone wrong, or not being well-versed with immigration requirements, or about budget airlines, or about Suvarnabhumi Airport, or getting into trouble or not. It is about our reputation the world over, and while Islamophobia and anti-Pakistani media coverage can be said to have a hand in it, a HUGE cause of this reputation is us, our attitudes and our behaviour.

    While I agree that it is unfair to create stereotypes about an entire group/community on the basis of the behaviour of a few, I also cannot deny the fact that disgraceful behaviour by us Pakistanis is common, and very visible internationally. It is true that you can EASILY identify Pakistanis on any international travel by our behaviour.

    It is very very sad that anyone should ever be treated in a manner that makes him feel dejected enough to wish he were someone else, even for a moment. And if anyone has the power to change that in the case of Pakistan, it is us Pakistanis.

    Articles like this should make us reflect on that. Patriotism should come out in the form of being realistic about ourselves and giving up a part of ourselves, our time, our existence, to improving our country and national reputation, rather than jumping, attacking, getting defensive and getting upset at a fellow Pakistani’s frustration. These are genuine feelings that are as real as yours or mine. Whether he goes to a club to drink or not has no bearing on that, however sinful such an action may be in Islam.

    Our attitudes, as Pakistanis, have to change. And the comments on this blog-post are the biggest evidence of that. Recommend

  • ayesha

    @N.M. Mitha: “in the queue to board for Paris flight as a transit for Mexico and a young beautiful but very rude Singaporean Lady (may be a supervisor ) had told me that i cant take this flight as I am holding green passport which doesnt allow us (pakistanis) to take any transit flight from Paris due to some security or any B—dy reason…”

    This has nothing to do with rudeness of the Singapore supervisor. There are many passports (Indian included) where you cannot transit through European countries without actually having valid visa to those countries. If you are not aware of these rules while booking your iternary, you should not blame the airline staff that is simply enforcing rules. Recommend

  • Cycloneous

    Ignorance on the part of the author of this article on the culture, laws, rules and regulations of sovereign nations does NOT constitute a problem on the sovereign nation visiting that individual is visiting!

    This is a no-brainer, if you travel and don’t understand what you’re getting yourself into abroad, and don’t even bother to understand the potential pitfalls, well, my homie, you dug yourself your own hole, now lay in it!Recommend

  • Anand

    Whether you like it or not, Racial Profiling exists everywhere. In marketing lingo, it is called the Positioning In the Mind. When you say Coke or Pepsi or iPhone, you get the image of a youthful person with energy. This is called the Mind Positioning. When you say Pakistani, everyone jumps at alarm. This is the mental image you people have cultivated over the years and you have been denying it for years.

    Rightly or wrongly, you people have occupied the minds of people that you guys from Pak mean only destruction of others. The image that inside every Pakistani is a radical waiting to jump out is gaining ground more and more.

    You know something, I am a Tamil Brahmin. In US, Tamil Brahmins have made terrific contribution in all fields. In Silicon Valley, many many successful ventures are by Tamil Brahmins, also known as Iyers. They have given employment opportunities to thousands of Americans.

    Because of those Iyers, I benefit a lot. When I apply for Visa in Chennai consulate, I don’t have to fear that my application will ever be rejected. Visa’s of Iyers are always cleared, rarely rejected. And wherever I go, in all institutions, I am greeted with respect and I am asked a lot of questions about south indian culture and spirituality. We are truly global citizens, welcomed all over the world. Because of our peaceful nature and our emphasis on knowledge and culture and spirituality.

    Not all Tamil guys get the same treatment. Because of LTTE, any Tamilian from Sri Lanka is separated out in immigration counters.

    Bitter it may sound, profiling exists. Unless you people do something to improve your image in the western world, people are going to treat you with disdain. You can cry hoarse about Islamaphobia and victimhood, but, it is not going to help !Recommend

  • Ammar

    I’ve travelled from Europe to Middle east to as far east as Australia, and have never faced a problem due to my Pakistani Passport. Rather the immigration staff at Lahore Airport were the one’s acting all obnoxious like you’ve mentioned in the article.
    Greet everyone with a smile and a hello/hi gesture at the counters and you’re good to go (As far as my experience goes). Even I don’t mind a lil bit of extended investigation, given the situation our country is in.

    Anyways Good luck for next travel. Hope you’ll meet your friend soon.
    CheersRecommend

  • dude

    get into Bangladesh.. cross the border to India.. get your new ration card with few bucks..get an Indian passport in couple of years. You would be more happy :)Recommend

  • dude

    @Anand – Mr Ananad ,you better portrey yourself as a Indian. You are carrying existing discrimination in Indian to USA. All high tech Indian’s who traveled to US made contribution there and are peaceful. You are treating yourself like a ellite from a seperate country called TamilnaduRecommend

  • Cynical

    Don’t worry too much, the Indians and Bangladeshis fare no better in international airports.Recommend

  • Anand

    @dude:
    Sorry, I dont mean to say I am elite or I come from a separate country…My point was that there is profiling done in a subtle way everywhere.

    All I am saying is: We are all either victims or beneficiaries of this profiling. We have to work to get rid of the negative image and work on the positive image. Denials won’t help.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    @Robin Panjwaneey:
    Obviously. Do you not know the history between India and Pakistan?Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    Then leave. Go somewhere else.Recommend

  • Optimist

    My friend went to the US twice on Pakistani passport and nothing happened (there is a usual wait for first timers regardless of their nationality).
    .
    When he got British passport and travelled after a few years, they stopped him. Because when you get visa on Pakistani passport, you have satisfied Embassies but when yo travel on ‘visa free’ passports like the British/French etc, they want to stop and question you more!
    .
    Yes there is stereotyping but even Indians/Chinese etc are victim of suspicion. Only WHITE and MIDDLE AGED/OLD people get away without suspicion. Recommend

  • Vikram

    @saeed: “Pakistan government and policy maker doing every thing right. but unfortunately Pakistan is high jacked by Islam.” Pakistan government uses Islam to fool its own people

    .Mullah Zaee, a former Afghanistan ambassador to Pakistan said “Pakistanis can get milk even from a bull. They have two tongues in one mouth, and two faces on one head so they can speak everybody’s language; they use everybody, deceive everybody. They deceive the Arabs by using the name of Islam, they milk America in war against terrorism and they have been deceiving Pakistanis in the name of Kashmiris, but behind the curtain they have been betraying everyone”.Recommend

  • Amer M

    Blame Pakistanis but NOT Pakistan!! And think what you have done for Pakistan to promote it’s positive image??Recommend

  • ashu

    @ayesha:

    Your information is worng.. Indians has seperate rules for passing through french airports.. They require transit visas however only while to going to USA. The transit visa restriction is not applicable if Indian citizen has US visa stamped on the passport. Also Indians while returning back from USA to India passing thorugh EU airports like Frankfurt or Paris .. does not require transit visas.
    I can tell you this bec I just returned from Beunos Aires and the only connection from India to Argentina is thorugh Charles De Gaule in France..Recommend

  • Umer

    Listen mate, that’s because you only had 400 dollars, so they fear and suspect you won’t be able to support yourself and might end up absconding and working. Not because of your Pakistani passport, your low amount of cash!Recommend

  • Umer

    “Pakistan!’, I say in a pumped up voice, my head moving with the beat of the song”
    Haha I can imagineRecommend

  • nasir

    It is only a matter of time before other countries will require pakistanis to have a column in their passport declaring they are not associated with terrorists – and we will have bought this on ourselvesRecommend

  • renata

    We Pakistanis are reaping what our ‘musalmaan bhai’ sowed. This was going to happen, there’s no need to be sensitive while traveling abroad.Recommend

  • renata

    They still don’t treat us as badly as we Pakistanis deserve. We should be grateful.Recommend

  • syed hussain

    So you are the new Pakistani victim of such insulting attitude. Don’t worry, you are not alone in this Que, everyday a number of Pakistanis have to go through such a painful process on international airports, but in your case,you can’t blame them for discrimination when you don’t meet entry requirements.
    I think, it is our nature to make someone responsible for our own mistakes. We don’t ever ponder and rectify what has gone wrong but ready to blame someone for our own wrong deeds. Recommend

  • joan2979

    Something similar….I wanted to share, Once on a transit from South africa to India via dubai, I had 12 hours time to kill and was wandering around the airport in the afternoon. I had a city tour done in the morning and still had around 5 hours before my connecting flight to India, While walking past the mosque inside the airport, I saw an arab customs official beating a guy in a dirty white pyjama dress, he must be a 40 year old man and he was crouched on the floor and the scene was sickening with no one interfering. Somehow I picked the guts to ask the officer, why are you beating the man? after all he wanted to pray. The official did not answer me but left the place and I did not know what to do next, so i thought of helping the man and bend to help him get up, i thought he will be thankful instead he just pointed to the chocolate in my hand and gruffly took one poppins and before even i could realise what happened, he had taken the entire toffee pack from my hand, some more people joined him now, They spoke in Urdu, which i could understand some and asked him where he is from , Think he said some thing like Larkhana district and the mob walked away from me. Now when the crowd cleared the same officer came out of thee room and told me, This is what they do…crowd the floors like its their backyard and keep asking people give me this and that and taking it forcefully, dirty pakis.

    Well I think it may be really sad, that a man was beaten so bad and yet he walked away as if not happened.Recommend

  • jahandad

    Friends i am not concerned with this special story ,rather i wish to highlight the real gruesome situation for Pakistanis wishing to per sue destiny studies , and their future , abroad and are generally denied visas ,even our friendly countries are doing the same,we should wake up to the situation , be nationalistic stay in your country , create exceptional institutions to study in, have the courage to invest in your parents country , make industries ,power generation and health reforms through our own personal wealth a priority ,be proud enough to reject a thousands time a country that looks down on us , let them be in their narrow hate mind forever we don’t dare to deal with them , to be alive you need bread air and water and remember all is plentiful in our beautiful Pakistan , just rearrangement of our priorities is needed.believe in yourself and reject the aid from all over the world in order to be respected and accepted, be ready to give and not to take even if death catches us in darkness,be sincere to yourself your country and your own feelings of self respect and then believe all these Asian and Europeans will kiss your green passport, be sure on this ,Recommend

  • jahandad

    @Vikram:
    i cannot help you to make your misguided mindset on right path bcz facts speaks for themselves ,Pakistanis are the most proud and egoistic and straight forward ppl in Asia, especially compare to Indians and bangalis ,,,bcz had we been so duel face ppl then-today majority of Pakistani would have been enjoying perks of western and american blessings , as Indians are doing ,,,,,look at statistics after 9-11 more than 2.5 million Indians were accepted by USA as citizens ,,why bcz Indians are talking against Pakistan and that’s what their uncle SAM loves ..we as Pakistanis cannot please someone through false hate oriented views at the cost of or at expense of some one else life ..that’s the difference ,, we are we and you are always you [cheap Indians,,,,,American quotation ,search it on line,,]Recommend

  • Vikram

    @jahandad: Says “,,why bcz Indians are talking against Pakistan and that’s what their uncle SAM loves ..we as Pakistanis cannot please someone through false hate oriented views at the cost of or at expense of some one else life” Pakistanis live on Zakat from Western countries. Even most Arab countries treat Pakistanis like lower caste Muslims and don’t allow Arab women to marry Pakistanis. Arab countries don’t let Pakistanis become citizens of their countries. Pakistnis always do what their WHITE masters tell them to do. Pakistaani Muslims kill Pakistani Muslims in mosques, shrines, funerals and markets. Most Muslim terrorists get their advanced training in Pakistan. Pakistan has destroyed Afghanistan by playing talibans. Pakistanis killed 3 million people in Bangladesh. Pakistanis killed 1000s of Muslims in Kashmir. Uncle Sam gives billions of dollars to poor Muslim countries.Recommend

  • Ali

    people like you end up writing, well not much to say this is utter bull
    the passport has nothing to do with it, you really need to get your self together hating for being what you are wont change nothing

    ET should prevent such stuff from being printed, might result in loss of readershipRecommend

  • Faisal

    i can totally relate to u ! really sorry about ur experience .. would like to share somethign similar
    Not a single word of exhageration !
    on my way to bkk ! a guy got so drunk ! he started running around ! the plane was abt to land so the hostess told him to be seated ! and he started insisting he wants to get out ! these r the last 5 mins of the flight ! he ran to the tail and tried opening up the emergency exit there ! punched the air hostess and she fell down ! until a few guys got control of him !! and we had landed mean while !! and yea ! if it helps ! he did say Pakistan Zindabad !!! No kidding !
    and on another trip ! i saw a molvi insisting for HALAL food ! while he was enjoying his beer ! Cheers Recommend

  • Stacey

    I feel for the author’s situation. I’m American, but a friend of mine spent months and months trying to get a visa just to come here to visit. The first time he came, he wasn’t put through too much trouble. He spent about three hours in customs, which he expected. The second time he came was just awful. Customs or border control, I’m not quite sure which agency it was, put us both heck. They told us separate lies in an attempt to pit us against each other, they asked him leading questions and even put words into his mouth to try to trick him into saying something that wasn’t true, and they called me while they had him detained and asked a series of extremely private questions. I would’ve liked to tell them off, if not for the fact that my mouthiness could result in them putting him on a plane back home. It’s so upsetting to me that people like that guy in NYC who tried to set off a car bomb somehow make in through security, but perfectly innocent people are put through the ringer.Recommend

  • Lamss

    Enjoyed your article and style of writing!Recommend

  • Zainab

    The point in this article is not about the cheap airline or budget or our Pakistani passport. The last para of the article summoned it all quite well, it’s our act that make our lives difficult. Whatever is hapeening now with us is a consequence of Everything what we have done in past in abroad and still doing it… We act as Indiviuals and not as a nation , an individual who has no responsibility of being a citizen of Pakistan.. Only a responsible nation can be respected . We need correct our acts first . Recommend

  • Usman

    @Talha:
    I agree.Recommend

  • Alam

    And you want the Baloch nation to stay in this faild artificial state! Recommend

  • Salman

    I have traveled many countries of Asia with green passport.Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Philippines. There were no troubles at all. Troubles come when one is ignorant of the immigration rules. Most of the time, I have been always greeted by the immigration staff, “Welcome”, “Hello Sir!”…and yes with my green passport. Main thing is if you know how to respect yourself that there other people start respecting you.

    FYI, I also took budgeted air lines from Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore with no such observations that the immigration rules become tight.Writer’s comments are more exaggerated than anything else.

    Writer should do more research before travelling and follow the rules! His ignorance cant be a shame that he holds green passport.Its a Shame for him that he does not know the rules!

    Just one bad experience due to ignorance of rules, cannot be generalized how Pakistanis with green passports are treated throughout the world.Recommend

  • Jawad

    Dear Author
    Did you read the todays News that Bollywood’s Biggest Super Star have been detained for two hour at New York Airport? what’s your say on this now?
    for reference: http://businessofcinema.com/news.php?newsid=20456
    The Shining India, The Rising Stars of India. The Worlds Biggest Film Industry All this happening to them as well!!!Recommend

  • Majid

    One needs self introspection. We have this kind of experiences because of other pakistanis who are terrorists.Terrorism is pakistan’s biggest export.We exported it to Afghanistan, India, West, middle east, far east you name it and no wonder the main thing which comes to outside people when thinking of pakistan is terrorists.dont blame outsiders for our own mistakes.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Jawad: “Did you read the todays News that Bollywood’s Biggest Super Star have been detained for two hour at New York Airport? what’s your say on this now?”

    It just shows “terrorism” has created problems for non-Pakistani Muslims or people percieved as talibans. A few Sikhs also lost their lives in USA becuase some one attacked them because they were percieved as talibans.

    Thank God security does not check “underwear’ of people even after they caught this guy with bomb hidden in his underwear.Recommend

  • Hussain

    My brother this is true and happened to me many times when i am standing in queue no one bother but as soon i hand over my Pakistan passport they always gather around me and ask me millions questions just because i’m holding Pakistani passport.
    I was deported from russia to Honh Kong for just Cause i was not holding my medical report.
    We should ask our govt why they allow other govt to play with us?
    You will undestand it only if u get into my shoe.
    I feel so shame to carry it around believe me whenever i get another passport i’m going to bin it.Recommend

  • Muhammad Rizwan Ali

    Listen,writer and all Pakistani travelling aboard regularly.

    Yes it happens in many countries with Pakistani even in Muslim countries.

    But in China, I have been coming here since last four years, regularly every month, I never stayed at immigiration counter more then 4 minutes, just 4 minutes.
    Never any body ask me, how much money you have, they always welcome me, as saying Pakistan and China great friends, I made a Trading company here, it took only just one week to complete, because I had PAKISTANI PASSPORT.Recommend

  • mash

    it’s all relative. when it happens to anyone, then for that person it is a significant experience, so doesn’t make sense to say that: please! look at the problems in the country around you. its the lamest statement ever. i mean everyone is writing about so everything, so focus on the content plz.
    and yes one thing that i really feel is that we need visas for everywhere. i love to travel and you don’t just need the tickets and the money but the visas create great hassles.Recommend

  • Kabeer

    It took me around 30 seconds to leave the airport in Paris and London. Around 1-1.5 minute for the one in Toronto. 1-5 minutes for the airports in Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast, Niger,Kenya and Congo (because of the corruption, not because of the nationality). 1 minute in Vietnam. 25 minutes in Turkey (Trust me they hate us more than the Americans or the Indians. It takes me around 5 minutes in Pakistan (just because the officers ask stupid questions, not relating to the travel) 3 minutes in Dubai. Thank God there is not a border control between the schengen states, otherwise I am always a little hesitant to show my Pakistani passport. I usually show my Canadian driver’s license whenever they ask for ID.Recommend

  • Aaliya

    I and my friends have travelled from Bangkok to Singapore in Tiger (budget airline) a number of times, and countless others do this quite regularly. In fact I didn’t even have a machin readable passport until this year, so I have been travelling on the old one. So I don’t know why and how this is related to the Pakistani passport.

    This might be a one of case, reasons for which the author might not have tried to comprehend fully – because he was too busy blaming it on the passport ( yes there are pakistanis who do this habitually)

    I have travelled quite a lot ( for reason no other than tourism) in the last few years and never have I been refused a visa, or refused entry to any country. Agreed, the visa may take 20 days or more but I do get it. I am just sick and tired of people blaming the Pakistani passport for everything.Recommend

  • Aleem

    Who ever is ashamed of being a Pakistani is just like a man who has a hard time with his family and he says i am ashamed of being son of my parents……our system is wrong, we are trying to fix it, inshallah our country will heal itself soon. Pakistanis are more sensible now, not like you who start getting ashamed of their soil in hard times. Sorry to say but i feel really bad to see that Pakistani soil has given birth to sons like you as well.Recommend

  • Tughral T Ali

    I just returned from a vacation in USA. I faced no discrimination or harassment. I have previously travelled to around 20 countries.. over a span of 12 years.. all with the same green passport. I have never had any unpleasant experience. Yes there have been times I have been pulled aside and questioned, but since I always had my papers and travel plans in order I never faced issues.Questioning travellers is the right of the immigration officers.. thats what they are there for. You can be sure everyone goes through it.
    Your responsibility as an international traveller is to have your act together before you get on the plane out of Pakistan. This is not Pakistan’s fault that you were unaware of travel requirments but your own. If you had been an American you would’ve still been in trouble. Take it as a lesson in international travel.
    And you must be really insecure if you are letting immigration officials and an international trip make you ashamed of the country you come from. Is that seriously all it took? How embarrassing for the rest of us that you started crying at immigration desks. Man up.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Optimist:
    “My friend went to the US twice on Pakistani passport and nothing happened (there is a usual wait for first timers regardless of their nationality). When he got British passport and travelled after a few years, they stopped him. Because when you get visa on Pakistani passport, you have satisfied Embassies but when yo travel on ‘visa free’ passports like the British/French etc, they want to stop and question you more!”

    Even if you have a US VISA, you can be denied entry to USA if questioning by Immigration officer shows “you lied to get the visa”. For example if you have a visitor visa and you plan to work at a gas station, you can be sent back. Even if you have a “GREEN CARD” you can be denied entry if you have become a “public charge” and stayed overseas for more then certain time period.

    One reason for Pakistanis being questioned more is because almost all terrorist attacks in this world are connected to Pakistan in some ways. The other reason for questioning which applies to people from most 3rd world countries is that many people lie to get a US visa..Recommend

  • Gaetry Malik

    I just wish for a moment I was not
    Pakistani. I’m not being unpatriotic.
    It is the most sincere feeling I’ve
    had in a while.

    you guys need to start developing your country, but no worries we Indians used to go through these kinda situations till 2004 Recommend

  • N

    I had the similar humiliating experience while travelling from Malaysia to Thailand.Despite my Malaysian wife & son with me ,they treated me exactly the same way just because of my Pakistani Passport.I had the required amount of money,address & booking of hotel & return travel documents.The immigration Thai lady was almost shouting at me while asking questions!Recommend

  • Ali

    Do the trolls know the difference between an article and a blog??

    Its not the flag not the politicians that make it difficult but Pakistanis themselves that make things difficult for expatriate pakistanis everywhere…

    try to imagine any crime… and we’re in it… trouble is… show us the mirror and we start trolling :P Recommend

  • Ali S

    @Zeeshan Baloch:

    It’s people like you who ruin it for all Pakistanis. And learn some grammar while you’re at it.Recommend

  • Sam

    A good story to get sympathy of the readers and get good rating. But I am agree with fraz. I also travel to many countries including Singapore and Thailand. I never face such problem that you describe in your article. So my friend it is not good way to get good rating. Recommend

  • AP

    LACK OF EXPOSURE – NO TRAVEL HISTORY and IGNORANT

    Your experience reflects no travel history meaning that you went out of the country for the first time ever, and your passport is brand new. Therefore you cannot blame it on the passport, its your ignorance and lack of exposure, sorry to say. Perhaps, you need to look deep inside yourself and your inferiority complexes….

    I have been traveling and never faced such a problem and i proudly hold green passport.Recommend

  • H

    Yet another blaming article, this is what we are good at as nation. We are the face of nation not passport…stop blaming west or east for what is happening with PAKISTAN and Pakistani’s….only if we start respecting each other rights I am 100% sure we fix every problem we are facing.

    -HRecommend

  • Haroon Khan

    Had travelled from Melbourne (Australia) to Karachi (Pakistan) never faced descrimintation anywhere.
    The only descrimination faced is at Pakistani Airports (khi, Isb) everyone knows VIP Culture. you got to have some good contacts with so called Public servants. If you have some FIA, CAA or Customs official escort you from the gate, you are the happiest person on earth. If not you will have to face big lines at immigration counter, then customs. you will be stopped by custome and if you have nothing of customs interest, still they ask ” you have come from abroad, what you have bring for us” hahaha.Recommend

  • Sana

    I traveled to Singapore via Bangkok myself a year ago, with only 300 SGD and 200 USD and no one stopped me anywhere or questioned me.. I think what happened with you was by chance though no doubt Pakistanis are not considered to be very cultured but that is also our own doing or rather the doings of a few that reflects on all of us as a whole.. But yes, what happened with you was not good, maybe you were at the wrong place at the wrong time.. If you ever get the opportunity again, do travel to Singapore.. It is a lovely place.. All the best!Recommend

  • Omer A

    I am sorry but i do not understand how this incident would make you not want to be Pakistani. I travel in and out of Pakistan three to four times a year(Ny and California); i have been part of many incidents of discrimination but having said that, it has not once occurred to me to blame my nationality for it. The post 911 era has come down hard on every one belonging to an Islamic country. However, blaming your own nationality for such a trivial matter that nearly everyone faces makes you hypocritical.Recommend

  • S Khan

    Its a sad state of affairs. Pakistan Embassy in these countries should take responsibilityRecommend

  • Tehmeena

    Well, it happened to me too!
    When I arrived in Singapore, a very mean looking aunty drilled me why i was coming …but probably seeing i was a female she let me get off easy. My husband was on another flight, which was one hour later than mine, yet it took him three hours to come out. When i finally do see him, he is being escorted out by three policemen. his crime? he was coming to Singapore on an internship! I was scared but more than that angry. Nothing happened, he was just “escorted” but i am sure he felt a bit humiliated.
    Next stop, i am going to visit a good friend from Singapore to Malaysia via bus. Malaysian immigration: As soon as i hand over my passport to the immigration officer, he shouts “Pakistani Passport” and two people come to question me how long i would be staying. Needless to say rest of the people in line were staring while an uzbek lady says to her companion, now it will take all day, i told you to stand in another line! Anyway then when i am returning to Singapore: i am actually taken into a room, told to sit down and questioned. it was a bit funny but very humiliating. it went something like this: “why are in sing?” i reply, “my husband’s doing an internship.” he replies, “your husband is on a ship?”, i say “No! he is doing an internship”, he replies, “so your husband is on a ship and you wil sail away?” and i say” no sir, he got an internship, a practice job, from his university in the states, and that’s why i am here.” he then tells me to write details of my return flight and wags a finger at me and says, “be sure you leave on this date”. phew! i wanted to bawl!!!!

    anyway, i love sungapore, i had a blast, but i wish i could erase these memories!Recommend

  • Sarang Qazi

    @Anny Marri: Your words remind me of the very recent statement by our Prime Minister Gillani sahab
    ‘If they do not like the country… They are free to leave’Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Anny Marri:
    Most disappointing! You wish you weren’t a Pakistani, because of a vacation gone wrong?!

    It is not just a vacation gone wrong, your Jihadi brothers have worked very hard to make Pakistan known as a terrorist country. Millions of non-Muslims have to sepnd millions of extra hours at airports because of Islamic Jihad. These Jihadi go to other countries fro better life. Get other countries pssports and start planning attacking countries that gave them a chance for a better life. Go to Afghanistan and enjoy your vacations there. Afghanistan and Pakistan are number one in drug exports to countries that let Muslim come and have a better life.Recommend

  • credulousgeek

    Uhmmmmmm I am literaly feeling sad after reading this article!!!!! as such happened to my relatives loads of times in US!!!! I have read many peoples thoughts on this post so far but I disagree with all of you people sorry for that and some may get offended but that’s true because none of you is thinking as an individual identity and are saying that some people Pakistani are crazy LOL why don’t anyone of you be honest and tell me how many of you aren’t crazy HUH????? You never broke law in your home country?You never spit on the floor or none of you had ever thrown garbage on motorway? I can tell for sure that all of you including me did this loads of times and thats true because I have learned that honesty is the best policy!!! So speak up and admit it you did this be honest if you won’t it means you are being abhorred and stubborn and I can tell for sure our country is in 167th Rank in economy and in top 5 of the world’s most dangerous country!!! Start realizing we are muslims and we have never been told to do tit for tat!!!! if some people as explained here in this article are showing disgust you must get in and try to stop them and tell the world we aren’t terrorists and dangerous nation what is this you are feeling proud of creating disturbance in the middle of flight be wise and responsible pakistanis have you ever witnessed any indian or arab doing all this even though india has the highest povery and iliteracy rate compared to pakistan ????????? C’mon wake up (Pakistanio) change your attitude !!!!!! but currently its all embarrassing situation!!Recommend

  • credulousgeek

    I feel shame and sad to call my self as a Pakistani wish I wasn’t a pakistani :’( it may be unpatriotic but now I feel it we are animals !! :@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@Recommend

  • credulousgeek

    @Sidrah Ahmad: I have to strongly and honestly agree yes and that’s what we are refraining from I would rather say we aren’t in fact patriots!!!!!! we are just time passing making fun of anyone’s feeling I bet more than 90% can never feel the pain which our brother Musab felt :( sadly We are being defensive just to show our fake love and affection towards our country I question ‘If you people are being patriots why don’t you feel the pain and come and confront the corrupt politicians of our country for food,electricity,petrol?? why most of you are thinking of fleeing from pakistan???? why are you finding ways to goto abroad to earn or settle down???? I bet no one can answer but if someone could then he/she probably would be attacking me !!!!! Change your attitude!!!! Try to starts a revoltion from this forum if you wan’t to really wana be a patriot !!! Recommend

  • Muhammad

    The Pakistani passport is indeed a source of embarassment. This is simply because of the actions of the it’s citizens.Recommend

  • Wazim

    it’s a sad state my friend and a rlly sad world believe me its just all our fault we hav ruined the Image of this country our whole system is corrrupt thats the reason now the world has no respect for our Green passport its such a shame!!Recommend

  • Khalid Durrani

    I have visited 26 foriegn countries of the world and have lived in two. I have never experienced any discremnatory treatment on the basis of my nationality. I agree that things have changed now but please think for a moment what is happening in our own beloved homeland:
    1. We face a physical body search before entering a mosque for prayers
    2. Our respectful ladies face the humiliation of getting their purses, bags and even bodies searched before entering a shopping mall.
    3. Try driving into a five star hotel and see how many security blocks and searches you have to encounter
    4. Visit a public place where you are not questioned, searched and humiliated and you start feeling unsafe for lack of security.

    Let’s blame ourselves for this ghastly situation instead of blaming others. Being ashamed is not going to help. We must reform ourselves because individuals make a nation. We were once a highly respectful member of the world community and we can certainly regain our status. You can hate yourself, put your head down in shame, try to migrate to another country with the wrong notion that you will be respected there, or you can reform your future generations to become a civilised comity. The choice is yours.

    Khalid DurraniRecommend

  • alhena

    Change your nationality then. Easy. Recommend

  • AJ

    Oh dear god I agree with you COMPLETELY!!! Stuff like this ACTUALLY happens!!! I love Pakistan aswell but I have the same feeling of not wanting to be Pakistani. AND I think we deserve this treatment. We’re no angels!Recommend

  • Umer

    I feel the author has exaggerated…a lot!!!!
    Traveling abroad for vacation and carrying only $400 cash? Unbelievable. You should have had more monetary amount in shape of travelers cheques or Credit Cards which you could have used as proof.
    You should have done research on entry/immigration requirements into the countries you intended to visit. Your mistake.

    I have seen scrutinization by club bouncers in Thailand but it is very very rare and nothing to do with the nationality and more to do with ethnicity. Thanks to our fellow Indian cousins who while vacationing in Thailand tend to bar/club hop in groups of no less than 5 and buy drinks no more than two to share among themselves!! And while inside a bar, they won’t stop ogling at the staff and other patrons. This kind of behavior tends to upset the bar management and other visitors. YOU did not make a good example of Pakistanis either by taking crap from the club bouncer. You should have said something back to him and walked away. I personally will not give my business to any establishment which does not respect me.

    I am a Pakistani Passport holder and do quite a bit of traveling. I do face discrimination sometimes from immigration officials. But there are ways to handle the situation and I have never been turned back because of the color of my Passport.Recommend

  • Awais

    @Aleem:
    its the ‘inshallah’ in your comment that guarantees no positive change for pakistan.Recommend

  • Danish

    I’m Proud to be a Pakistani.

    the passport is not the problem. those Racist people are the problem. you should have rather Realized about their racism rather than being Sorry for your own passport!!Recommend

  • momina

    I wish if someone could pen down the CURSE of being DISABLED or POOR or VULNERABLE person within Pakistan. I mean if our very people mistreat each other, how can you expect foreigners to respect us. Frankly speaking, this article doesnt deliver any strong reason to hate being Pakistani. Just imagine how you treat your drivers or maids at your place and how do they feel when each time, elite class humiliate them in a similar way as Thai did.Recommend