Pakistan one of the least racist countries? Tell that to the Pakhtuns

Published: April 29, 2015

A Pakhtun girl stands at the doorway to her family dwelling in the outskirts of Peshawar on July 10, 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS

The recent ‘revelation’ by the Washington Post about Pakistan being among the most racially tolerant countries in the world, was met by jubilation by the nationalists. However, much of the Pakhtun community being systematically oppressed, mocked and expelled from the country, was offline and unavailable for comment.

As a liberal who has long decried our nation’s exquisitely racist attitude towards Pakhtuns, Hazaras, Jews and any mound of protoplasm not strictly conforming to our expectation of what a ‘real Pakistani’ looks like, the study was, at first, humbling. Though I was certain that I hadn’t imagined all that racism, perhaps we were still relatively better than most of the world, and that’s something to be relatively happy about.

That joy was short-lived.

This is after all a country where if we can’t agree on anything about the causes of terrorism, we can at least shake hands on the fact that there are “too many Afghan/Pathans” here for our comfort. It was unsurprising that following the brutal attack on the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar, the first step of our reinvigorated counter-terrorism plan was to round up all the Afghan babas selling sand-roasted corn on the roadside, and chuck them and their families out of the country. Or as we euphemistically call it, “repatriation”. The UN itself stood stunned at the rapidity with which we dealt with our refugee problem, quite possibly putting their lives in jeopardy.

Thereby proving that xenophobia and racism trumps the romanticism of ‘Muslim unity’, and that we’d shake mountains for the welfare of our brothers around the world from Palestine to Kashmir, as long as it costs us nothing more than the price of a functioning microphone, and allows us the opportunity to rail against our political nemeses like India and Israel.

Any examination of our own don’t-ask-don’t-tell bromance with the religious extremists, who preach fanatical ideas and terrorism apologia with complete impunity, shall forever remain at the bottom of our list of priorities.

Steve Seidman, a professor at Carlton University studying ethnic conflict, expressed his concern about the study’s reduction of a complex phenomenon to a single metric, presented neatly as a color-coded world map.

He expertly observed that the manifestation of racism depends on the racial diversity and polarity in the region. In other words, if you’ve had little to no interaction with Dominicans and don’t know much about them, you might be ambivalent about them moving in next door.

In a country where the racial divide among Pakhtuns and non-Pakhtuns isn’t as black and white as, well, ‘black’ and ‘white’, the word ‘race’ is rarely brought up. That is not to say that “we” tolerate “them”. The language of the survey matters tremendously, and prejudice against an ethnicity is still generally covered under ‘racism’.

The researchers also caution the readers that the study – with questions so straightforward, they may as well ask, “You racist? Yes or no?” – does not take dishonesty into account. For instance, Finns may not be more racist than the Swedish; they might just be more honest.

Overt racism against the Pakhtuns has melded so seamlessly into the Pakistani culture, it hardly elicits a glare. Pashto words are often thrown sarcastically at one another to insult one’s intelligence, implying that it’s the language of people with poor comprehension skills. Pathans are insouciantly stereotyped as unhygienic brutes; heck, even I stereotyped them earlier in this very blog as corn venders, which although satirical, bears real risk of being taken seriously.

So let’s save the celebratory fireworks for another day. Racism is not a bygone menace by any measure, and it lies shimmering on top of a giant mound of sectarianism, cemented by numerous other forms of bigotry.

Faraz Talat

Faraz Talat

A medical doctor and bubble-wrap enthusiast from Rawalpindi, who writes mostly about science and social politics (and bubble-wrap). He tweets @FarazTalat (twitter.com/FarazTalat)

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

  • Nauman

    “Recent”
    This study was around two years ago Faraz.Recommend

  • Frank

    Since when is a two year old item ‘recent’? This is article is a classic example of liberals making an issue out of nothing in order to feed their need to be constantly indignant about something. The author seems wholly incapable of differentiating between ‘Afghan’ and ‘Pakhtun’. ‘Pathan’ jokes are common but in the Punjabi clan/caste hierarchy the status of Pakhtuns is one of the highest, hence so many Punjabi clans claiming real or imaginary Pakhtun descent. This fact totally contradicts the author’s claim of anti-Pakhtun racism.Recommend

  • Khurram S

    I am a pakhtun living in Pakistan. Our country is not in perfect shape and lagging behind in alot of things but atleast I never faced any kind of discrimination from anyone in this country.Recommend

  • Malir

    It’s nice of you as a Punjabi man to write about racism towards pukhtuns in Pakistan but you fail to mention Pashtun racism against non Pashtuns in Pakistan; Many Pashtuns consider Punjabis and other Indic people of Pakistan as inferior to them, just go on Twitter, Facebook, or any pashtun forum and read about the extreme racism hurled against Punjabi’s and Urdu speakers, I’ve experienced this racism growing up in Karachi in a school with many pashtuns who despite being nice were casually racist and viewed Punjabi’s,Sindhi’s and Urdu speakers as weaker and lesser Muslims, even educated pashtuns on social media renowned Facebook pages hold such views, the ones in Afghanistan harbor even more racist stereotypes and hatred towards Pakistanis, go ask the Hazaras of Quetta and Afghanistan of how they’re treated and how their genocide is not even recognized nor the Pakistani media speaks about it, yet mass murderers like Abdali are glorified in Pakistani textbooks.

    I have an Afghan friend who would constantly speak about how Pakistanis were darker then them it was pretty annoying, so I hope a Pashtun can write about this racism towards us non pashtuns like you have written for them.

    PeaceRecommend

  • jawad

    This is far fetched, not ‘so many’ Punjabi clans claim ‘pashtun’ ancestry, only some tribes like niaizis do, you’re making this claims out of your own superiority complex.Recommend

  • Baba

    Please write about Punjabis and Pashtuns racism towards muhajirs, aren’t we Pakistani too?pashtuns still have privileges of being represented in the army and cricket team but there are hardly any Sindhi’s,baloch and muhajirs in army or cricket team, we are not considered martial race by pukhoon-punjabi establishment.Recommend

  • Lord

    Pakhtuns are themselves very racist.Recommend

  • Sami

    What type of article it is.? Taking care of your home against unhindered migration is not a Racism. That is why in this world we have a passport system. America and Canada are the least racist societies according to that survey , but even they will not allow you to go and settle there and then chant racism. So next time Americans should open their doors to the whole world to prove they are not racists?.

    . Also how conveniently the writer put the Afghans and Pukhtuns into one bracket is out of my comprehension. Also the writer should revisit the definition of Racism as according to my knowledge there are more jokes about Color in Pushto against Punjabis and Urdu speakers than anywhere else.

    The term Daal Khor is a Common term for a Punjabi and Urdu speaker in any Pushtoon family. Daal Khor term is a racist term signifying Racist supremacy of Pukhtuns over non Pukhtuns and Daal Khor is associated with India. Also the term “Chindakh” that is known as female frog is used for Punjabi and Urdu speaker girls among Pukhtoons.Recommend

  • M.A98

    The “Pukhtoons” are represented Politically and professionally just as well as Punjabi’s and Sindhi’s. If there is anyone who should be complaining of Ethnic oppression its definitely not the Pathans.Recommend

  • Khan

    The comments tell it all. Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    I think it’s fair enough to say it isn’t strictly ‘recent’. However, it isn’t a temporal issue, and the study continues to be quoted today to silence liberals who fight bigotry and intolerance.

    ‘Pakhtun’ or ‘Pashtun’ is a sub-group including both ‘Pathans’ and ‘Afghans; which in turn is part of the greater race of Iranian people, as opposed to the dominant Indo-Aryan people of the subcontinent. I believe I’ve fairly understood the distinctions.

    I’ve lived in Punjab all my life. The idea of Punjabis claiming Pakhtun ancestry as a matter of pride, has never felt that commonplace. What is ‘commonplace’ is the stereotype of Afghan/Pathan people as unwashed, corn-vending, carpet-selling, unintelligent, aggressive, child-molesting people; frequently berated as outsiders who have come to steal Pakistan’s limited jobs and resources.Recommend

  • Sri

    I think you missed one of the most famous instances of racism in Pak. It is the racism of Pakistani punjabis before 1971 towards the bengalis, who were perceived as short, dark people. Isn’t this prevalent even today ? Aren’t Bengalis still seen as “Habshi” ? Also, Indians are inferior people as well, because they are shorter and darker ?Recommend

  • Humza

    I agree with you. There is no real racism against Pashtuns in Pakistan, especially when you consider that Pashtuns occupy a high percentage of top jobs in the military, government and some businesses. What you do see is normal every day stereotyping of races that goes on all over the world. If you travel to the US, people have stereotypes of Texans, New Yorkers etc. In Pakistan, Punjabis who are the majority suffer the most racism from everyone but they take it in stride because they know it is childish. They are supposedly dumb but hard working. Pashtuns are confident enough to weather negative sterotypes of being brave but thick headed. Sindis are spiritual or lazy and Baluchis are simple rustics whereas Urdu speakers are small, cowardly and conniving – we have all heard these views from elders but no one gets worked up about them. When meet others in a pluralistic work place or schools, we realize we are all just fellow citizens. My mother’s Pashtun family is frankly far more racist towards other Pakistani races, especially those they see as more ” Indian” than anything so it is good for her to get a taste of her own medicine!Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    There is no reason why I have to discuss white-on-black racism, and black-on-White prejudice in the same breath like they’re equally serious problems.

    Same applies here.Recommend

  • Striver

    Really ?! which part of Punjab did you live in? it must have been bubble wrapped cozy retreat of Punjab away from real people.

    We housed, fed and educated two if not three generation of Afghans without a hint xenophobia or racism.

    You liberals cannot accept any good news about Pakistan. May be we should create a little island for you lot so you can create your own bubble-wrap ideal world there.

    Leave Pakistan alone. You have no sense of pride please do not pass that on to others.Recommend

  • Naeem Khan Kansas

    When I was growing up in the 50s in Mardan, we used to see some Pakistani movies made in Lahore which will mock Pukhtuns and it is the same way when Hollywood mocked the native Indians and the Blacks in the USA. I will never forget when a Punjabi professor ,the late Dr. Chawla teaching Math at Kansas State University told me right front of my American wife that either the Pukthuns were very forward or very backward. To be fair to my ancestors I blurted out that Punjab was British colonial dominated province and had produced many turn-coats where as Frontier Province was independent and fought the colonists at every juncture, freedom and independence had some values. It is the presumption by many in Pakistan about Pukhtuns whether right or wrong, What I can’t understand why some of the Pakistanis over here in the US call their last name as Khans but have no connection with the Pukhtuns in any way, perhaps Faraz is right that some Punjabis will take up the last names which signify belonging to Pukhtuns. Pukhtuns have very rich history to brag about. I say there is nothing new in perpetuating this bias against Pukhtuns in todays Pakistan because of the fact that dominance of certain province people in the military and governing would like to see it that way. It was a Punjabi General Zia who lit the fire of religious intolerance and fanaticism . Faraz, I appreciate your article.Recommend

  • justice for all

    So your racism against Pashtun you justify since your “mother” is Pashtun of her family is. How you deceive yourselve that you are not racist ,by claiming family connection. I bet you have no Pashtun family and that is just an excuse for being a racist. And by the way. Punjabis are a minority in Pakistan. The most accurate scholars place them at only 40 % of Pakistani’s population.Recommend

  • Malir

    Are you seriously acting like Pashtun racism towards non Pashtuns is like black-one-whiote racism, it isn’t the same, because many Pashtuns occupy positions of power in Pakistan and they are also the prefered ethnicity in the Pakistani entertainment industry and marriage Bureaus because of their appearane which is more in line with Eurocentric notions of beauty.

    Like others mentioned here, all Pakistani ethnic groups have vile stereotypes of each other; Punjabis have racist stereotypes of Urdu speakers and Urdu speakers of Punjabis; Sindhis of Baloch and Baloch of Sindhis; I would accept your analogy only if Pashtuns(apart from FATA ones) were as powerless as African-Americans, but they can’t claim that because Sindhis,Baloch and Muhajirs are even worse off, so their only problem is stereotyping which is universal and which we all suffer from.

    Recommend

  • Anti-Laal

    Pakistani Liberals can’t accept good news without nitpicking when the survey clearly points to Pakistanis(of all ethnic groups) being one of the least racist peoples.

    “The researchers also caution the readers that the study – with questions so straightforward, they may as well ask, “You racist? Yes or no?” – does not take dishonesty into account. For instance, Finns may not be more racist than the Swedish; they might just be more honest.”

    So then why is India, a country which many Pakistani Liberals consider as the same culturally, portrayed as racist in the survey?Why is Afghanistan our neighbors to the west with whom we share a major ethnicity, also labelled racist on this survey by pew? So are you saying this poll is only accurate for India and Afghanistan but not Pakistan? Maybe you Laal topis and Laal kameez’s will only be content if Pakistan performs negatively on a survey.

    When Leftists mock Pakistan for being “Denialistan”, they forget they’re a big chunk of the population living in denial.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    The very fact that you speak of Afghans as people *you* housed, fed and educated (like they didn’t earn these things through their own hard work, and that we showered food, clothing and jobs on them from the skies)…

    …like they now owe you some kind of tribute for allowing them poorly-paid labor, is precisely what we condemn as xenophobic and racist.

    One must be vary of national pride escalating into national arrogance.Recommend

  • Azmat

    I am a Pakhtun but have to admit that we Pakhtuns are among the most racist creatures on earth. We have a false sense of superiority and ghairat. I am not saying that others don’t have it but they possess far less of what we do.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    I probably should have mentioned the use of the word ‘habshi’ in a derogatory sense to highlight racism.

    But I deliberately restricted the blog to racism against Pashtuns, and hoped people would extrapolate it to other current or formerly Pakistani marginalized groups.

    So, good job pointing that out. :)Recommend

  • Ricky Smith

    I am a Pashtun, and sadly I admit…we are very racist people….and those Afghans you speak of, good God…they are extremely racist towards Pakistanis….lol you have never sat with Afghans, their most loved topic of conversation is hating on Pakistanis….Recommend

  • Khalsa

    Pakistani army isn’t just made up of Punjabis and it was General Ayub Khan Tareen, a Pashtun from KPK who claimed that “1 Pakistani was superior to 10 Indians”, he wasn’t Punjabi.

    Also the lead commander in the ’71 was General Amir Abdullah Niazi aka Tiger Niazi, a Ghilzai Pashtun who said vitrolic things about Bengalis.

    Moreover it was Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, a Sindhi not a Punjabi, who infamously, said racist things to Bengalis in a political rally.Recommend

  • Ricky Smith

    there you go…thank you….I honestly feel Punjabis are the least racist….but travelling around the world, I have come to realize…everyone is racist to one degree or another.Recommend

  • Ricky Smith

    very well said…the writer is obviously clueless…Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    One, just about any estimate that I’ve heard of Afghan migration into Pakistan from average Pakistanis, is wildly exaggerated; and part of that exaggeration comes from ‘ institutionalized xenophobia’; a delusion that ‘foreign people’ are trying to overrun and destroy us.

    Secondly, this is antithetical to Pakistan’s official “Guardians of the Muslim Galaxy” routine; constantly shaking fists at any region of the world where Muslims are in trouble, but getting stunned into silence when it comes to making some real sacrifices for the welfare of their Muslim brothers.

    As I wrote:

    “Thereby proving that xenophobia and racism trumps the romanticism of ‘Muslim unity’, and that we’d shake mountains for the welfare of our brothers around the world from Palestine to Kashmir, as long as it costs us nothing more than the price of a functioning microphone, and allows us the opportunity to rail against our political nemeses like India and Israel.”Recommend

  • L.

    Kindly stop calling yourself a Mohajir. It was your parents/ grandparents who migrated, NOT you, hence the word should not even apply to you. And yes, I am the proud granddaughter of Mohajirs, but not a Mohajir to pakistan itself. Recommend

  • Frank

    Strange how you lump Punjabis and Urdu speakers together. They are in actual fact racially different and Punjabis are more racist than Pakhtuns to Urdu speakers of Karachi.Recommend

  • desimom

    I know so many Pakhtuns who are very racist themselves, but thats besides the point. Pakhtuns are not discriminated against economically, socially or politically, they have representation in all spheres of life, the writer is building a moutain out of a molehill. stereotypical profiling is not racism, its just that. and its harmlessRecommend

  • thriftysmurf

    This is the most ludicurous thing i have read in ages, where in Pakistan has there been discrimination against Pakhtuns? the only exception i know of is the clashes between Pakhtuns and Mohajirs (who are basically Indian) in Karachi. Never throughout my childhood have I seen a Pakistani even flinch upon seeing a Pakhtun. I am so proud of Pakistani people, here in Canada they suffer subtle racism and overt humiliation at the hands of Chinese, Philipinos, and Whites but I have never seen a Pakistani even try getting back at them. Pakhtuns are an essential part of Pakistani society and you see them in ever aspect of Pakistan’s life.Recommend

  • Baseer Daavi

    An excellent piece, and cant agree more while living in a society where we need to spice our every jokes with racism… While I being a Pashtoon myself take such ethnic jokes as a reflection of ones’ strengths and others’ fears, it does not make the earlier insecure either.. Pashtoons however have a proud history that alongside has even made others (with so little or no contribution) feel proud. This where gives us sound reason of believing an illiterate lot of such people racists, this also unfortunately contributes in growth or further growth of
    discrimination and hatred,Recommend

  • Saif

    True. I look a Punjabi but I’m a Pathan from Quetta. Students in Lahore would get close to me but as I would speak some strangeness would dominate our interaction. We are raw vs cooked, sexually verile, uncivilized that would just beat women unexpectedly, etc. Politically we are slaves (of our tribal chiefs), fool, unpatriotic, anti – country and untrustworthy. However, we look back at Punjabis as less cultured, half of a man, intelligent but coward and those who fart all the time (the source of all the stereotypes emantes from farting). I wounder how the survey came up with surprising results. Surely the questions doesn’t capture dynamics and subtlety our racism. Recommend

  • Fighter Man

    This type of writers have only one objective to defame the country and its people by writing such lame articles.Recommend

  • Hunza wala

    This blogger is noted for blogging for ‘SHOCK’ value.
    Gentleman simply has nothing of consequence to write
    about,

    time it was Michelle Obama’s shoes? Head scarf? Before
    that excessively overweight peoples on passenger planes
    in Australia? ! ? Truly wish he would go help the Nepalese.
    They need medical help, urgently.Recommend

  • RFD

    Are you using new fangled long winded 15 syllable words requiring
    half the alphabet? We can all Google the Pathans. The question,
    is, your veracity. Quoting a two year article as ‘recent’ and when
    caught, back pedaling and hiding under a plethora of Burqa Words.
    Words that show nothing. PityRecommend

  • Khan jadoon

    Who are you? I am Pakhtun and i m Pourd pakistani. Let me tell you that paktun are more free than any other ethnic group in pakistan. We do not have chaudry or malik or vadaraay here so why not excuse us from your remarks.Recommend

  • Fareed Khan Afridi.

    With all due respect, speak for YOURSELF.. Quoting
    your own mater familias…and her xenophobic background, sheds a
    beam on a rural Gujranwala household
    Sad, indeed. Considering Punjabistan is the most richest, bigoted,
    populous province and can afford schools for all.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Is it really strictly racism you are taking about….or is it as in our case, crass intolerance born and nurtured out of ignorance, lack of a proper education and a misplaced bloated ego. The line dividing the two is fine almost blurred but it is still there.Recommend

  • [email protected]

    The writer’s angry response is ad hominem, uncalled-for, and, quite frankly, in bad taste. In trying to call out the Washington Post survey for being wrong and Pakistanis for being racists, he is ironically himself making gross generalizations. I agree that there are some ubiquitous attitudes in Pakistan that are more than a little troubling- most frequently towards the imagined appearance/life-styles of Indians- but the writer’s rant completely missed the point on all that. Just goes to show, the louder one can shout, the more valid one’s opinion is considered in our country.Recommend

  • Rd px

    Pakhtuns are very racist to u if u r a non-pakhtun living in KPK. Whereever u go u get hard unfriendly stares and when u talk ur not knowing pashto is jeered at.Recommend

  • awais

    I left Peshawar when i was 23 and since then i’ve been moving around. i stayed in Lahore for almost 4 years. Never experienced any issue. I heard more jokes about Sheikhs than Pathans from my colleagues and friends. And as far as Afghan problem is concerned. Pakhtuns suffered more than anyother cast in Pakistan. You really dont know the problems they caused in Kpk. In short, people in peshawar are happy about Afghans leaving. We ve lived with them for more than 2 decades, and only we know the difference and the problems we faced. So do not indulge yourself for even a moment that you realize the problem or the difference.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Hint: The next time you see a person stereotyping pathans as unhygenic, aggressive moochers, and lamenting the Afghans “robbing” our country, that’s racism whether you count it as such or not.

    The same way an American stereotyping black people as thugs, and saying they’re ruining the country, would be considered overtly racist.

    Getting used to a problem, doesn’t mean it stops existing.Recommend

  • shah

    I agree with your article. Pakistan only invests in Islamabad, Punjab and Karachi and considers Pakhtun/Baluch and Northern Areas as merely lands for geopolitical games. It is really Punjabistan.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Okay. Muslims have occupied Presidencies and other high positions in India, so I conclude there’s no anti-Muslim bigotry in that country.

    You know, denial of overt racism is one of the signs of racism itself.Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/ ather khan

    you clearly haven’t seen the plight of boys living in hostels with punjabi and urdu fellows. they mock us in every sentence. i lived 6 months of my hostel life in LUMS. then decided to carry on my study from a relative’s house due to this constant mockery. later i shifted to hostel again with fellow pahktuns. pahktuns have sacrificed so much for pakistan. but now we are being mocked by punjabi and urdu people.Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/ ather khan

    completely agree with you. punjabis are the most racist people in pakistan. their attitude will surely prove harmful for the existence of pakistan.Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/ ather khan

    what racism? is there any joke about urdu speaking people? no. produce quality players and you will get place into team.Recommend

  • Humanfirst

    I might sound silly here but don’t you think there is a difference between official policy and what people actually think? I am sure the “revelation” is based on a survey or research done among general public. Now sending back refugees was a policy matter not something public demanded and as far as public is concerned, we are super racists but for fun, except for a very small number that is racist to kill. We all do it, punjabi, pashtoon, sindhi, saraiki, baloch and urdu speaking, we all have our ethnic jokes. This is most certainly your point of view only (which paints a very dark picture of you I am sorry) and we appreciate you sharing it with us. Recommend

  • Humanfirst

    Dear Writer,
    I just left a comment above that I wish to take back now that I have read the comments, from now on I will comment only after reading the comments section. It’s kinda shameful actually we’re still fighting like kids saying ‘jo kehta hey wohi hota hey’ sort of crap.Sorry!

    You guys really need to meet more people to understand about Pakistan and it’s people, I mean the 90% aam awaam. Recommend

  • jehanzeb wazir

    we are killed,tortured and stopped entering to any provinces.On evrey check post across the country,we are asked,Pakhtun!From waziristan!Have u a pistol! hashish! what the rubbish they are doing with Pakhtun? Is not this racism? Therefore Pakhtun are racist lord.Recommend

  • jehanzeb wazir

    I think it is enough than racism the Pakhtun face nowadays in Punjab. during 2009 military operation in South Waziristan the IDPs were checked and stopped to enter into Pujab and the same happened during the North Waziristan Operation when Sindh and Punjab closed the gates for Waziristan people.Was that not a racism? was that not a racial discrimination?Recommend

  • S.H. Khan, MD

    Storm in a teacup. Pashtuns are not oppressed. Neither are the punjabis, or sindhis, or baluchis, in a racial context. I think any misgivings arise more out of the financial well being or not, of any given province. Or, if each province is receiving its just deserts. In that regard, KPK may not be at the top, but it certainly is not at the bottom of the barrel. Pakistanis truly are able to look beyond colour. At a personal level, they get along with each other just fine. It is natural in any society to have those with a bit of bias, superiority or inferiority complex, or enjoyment of off-color/politically incorrect jokes. For everything to be just perfect, one would need to live in a state of utopia. Pakistan has many problems. Fortunately, racism is not one of them.Recommend

  • Sami

    I agree with you. But the self shame of some people will never end. The liberal elite try to build a mountain out of a mole. They just want to introduce as much self shame as possible.Recommend

  • Sami

    The word Habshi is an Arabic word Mr Talat. Also Pushtuns use this word for Punjabis and Urdu speakers as well. Learn and then comment.Recommend

  • Jehanzeb Mahar

    Why do you mix up Afghans with Pakistani Pashtuns? Registered Afghan refugees should be repatriated as soon as possible, because our country isn’t more stable than theirs now. While illegal immigrants of every nationality should be kicked out. And I must reiterate that I don’t have any sympathy with Pakistanis living abroad illegally. They too must be thrown outRecommend

  • Sami

    Muhajir means migrant and it includes people of all races. Also all Indians are a bunch of brown race in my view. Some are dark and some light. But their facial features are not very different ( except from some regions of South India).
    Moreover 50 percent of all Muhajirs that came to Pakistan were from regions of Punjab, Even Zia ul Haq father was a Muhajir. Khawaj saad rafique ( The current Railway minister ) is a son of muhajir and his father came from Amritsar.In 1947 the Punjab was upto Delhi region. Later it was divided. The major migration came from UP and Punjab regions of India. The people from UP mostly settled in Karachi whereas from Punjab they settled in Punjab.Recommend

  • Mehreen Malik

    In your comment you stated “Pashtoons however have a proud history that alongside has even made others (with so little or no contribution) feel proud.”"” .
    This comment reeks of dirty racism. What do you think you are?. What contribution you have made other than looting India. Any contribution in Arts, literature, music of the past?. Any university established in the past in your region?. So do not taunt others of their contributions.
    Whatever the writer says but Pukhtuns like you are the most racist people on the planet. Also if you do not know the history to other people then just shut up. Pukhtuns were just nomads who were later used by Turks and they together looted India.
    Punjabis and Sindhi for your information are a part of Indus valley Civilization and that is one of the oldest civilization. Also even Alexander challenged one king of Punjab and he was known as Porus. I can write tales and tales. But for the people like you i do not want to spend my any previous time at all.Recommend

  • Malik

    Fully agree with you , Recommend

  • Mehreen Malik

    Mr Afridi your comment is racist and the irony is that you are commenting on a so called anti-racist article. How many Punjabis used this language against KP like that?.
    Enough should be enough. You looted our regions in the past and then you are calling us as bigots.?
    In front of our faces you say all the love tell-tales. But the people like you are the warriors on the internet only not in real life. I will suggest to talk like that in front of a Punjabi. Also the mention of Gujranwala and then words like bigoted, crass and Punjabistan is pretty racist.Recommend

  • Jamshed Hakam Adamjee.

    Good to know you are a proud granddaughter of Muhajjirs. However,
    please, get off your high horse, “WE ARE ALL PAKISTANIS” That
    is a good election slogan. The Muhajjirs were never fully accepted.
    A Punjabi is a Punjabi is a Punjabi. A Muhajjir is a Muhajjir is a
    Muhajjir…a Hazara is a Hazara is a Hazara ….and so it will go.
    Muhajjirs are an oppressed people. They are singularly identified as
    an ethnic, Urdu speaking group. Albeit, the word “Muhajjir” is now
    used as a ethnic slur. For the last 68 years they did their best to be assimilated in Pak Society. But were thwarted and kept at an
    arm’s length, by the True Sons of the Land, the Punjabis, the Pathans, the Sindhis, and the Balochs,…
    So be it. It took them 68 years to understand the equation. As they
    say,..times, they are-a-changing. Indeed.Recommend

  • RFD

    Why are you so overly obsessed with Americans? And the US?
    You could have elaborated on the Chechens,..about Serbian
    prejudices, ethnic cleansing of Muslims, Burma and the Rohingyas
    why this fixation on US only?Recommend

  • Fareed Khan Afridi

    This was cut and edited. By ET.Recommend

  • Frank

    You are being highly disingenuous here. Punjabi Muhajirs are a different social group to the ‘Muhajir’ community of Karachi. Punjabi is a racially distinct group both from Pakhtuns and from North Indian Muhajirs. I have heard many more Punjabis than Pakhtuns making comments about the dark complexions and ‘Indian looks’ of Muhajirs from North India.Recommend

  • Kalim

    Agree with you. in triplicate.
    This just a Blogger. Who hides behind long words when
    faced with rebuttals.Recommend

  • Frank

    Comparing Pakhtuns to African Americans is laughable. Pakhtuns have historically been a privileged group in this part of the world and remain so in present day Pakistan. Admired for their good looks and well represented in every single sphere of Pakistani life. And please learn the distinction between Afghan and Pakhtun.Recommend

  • forced2

    silly piece. It is not ” rasicism” per se which the Pakhtuns face in Pakistan but a backlash against either correctly perceived or imagined threats that these people engender to Pakistani society, in terms of, say, terrorism, mafiaism, religious extremism, banditry, etc. But no one is putting them down because of their race. Imran Khan is a case in point.Recommend

  • Khan

    The problem with Afghan Refugees does not have anything to do with Racism. The reason that most terrorist attacks in Pakistan conducted by afghan pashtuns, part of the whole taliban problem. That is why the government wants to send them back now that the US has left afghanistan in a ‘perfect’ shape.Recommend

  • Fawad

    im sorry to hear about your ordeal Ather but tbh yours might be an isolated case, I’ve studied with pakhtuns, punjabis, sindhis and urdu speaking and never was anyone ever harrased or made fun of just because they were from a different cast, creed and religionRecommend

  • Luqman

    I am a pakhtun, and i am only discriminated because of my high education, my manners and social acumen. I have been working in and out of Punjab and have never ever felt anything bad just because I am pakhtun. Better get your facts straight bud!Recommend

  • Hamidah Fawad

    Karachi? Who invests in Karachi. Please get your information right. Rest of Pakistan bleeds KarachiRecommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    Do writers now a day do any kind of research before writing a piece or just write down what comes in their mind…??? I have no comments as the level of this blog is very low…!!!Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    > “Are you seriously acting like Pashtun racism towards non Pashtuns is like black-one-whiote racism”

    No. I’m not acting, I’m stating.

    The idea that we have a small percentage of power positions occupied by Pakhtun people signifies the end of racism, is like me saying that there is no anti-Muslim bigotry in India because they’ve had Muslim Presidents. Or that there is no racism in America, because they have a black President. That’s a terrible argument.

    The system, both social and political, still has Punjab and Punjabis at the heart of it, and then Sindh to a lesser degree. We needn’t get caught up in this tribalism. While prejudice goes both ways, it should be understood who holds the most power, and who has most to lose from it.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Like a mother defames her child by scolding or even beating her for performing poorly in school.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Low economic status worsens the situation, but it’s not the only cause. I’ve seen plenty of wealthy, educated Punjabis complain about how Pakhtuns are “robbing this country”, and even denying them jobs because of their ethnicity.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    You’re right that the prejudice goes both ways, but not all forms of prejudice are equal.

    For instance, it’s rather acceptable for a poor person to say, “I hate rich people”, but outrageous for a rich person to say, “I hate poor people”. It’s because the rich person is in a position of power, and able to inflict serious harm to the poor through his prejudice.

    In Pakistan, Punjabis and, to a smaller extent, Sindhis are in a position of power. For them to be racist against Pakhtuns is more dangerous than for Pakhtuns being reverse-racist. The same reason why it’s more troubling for white people to call blacks the N word, but not for blacks to call whites “crackers” in the US. The historical context and power dynamics matter.Recommend

  • Jawad Hussain

    when i was doing survey for my M.Phil thesis in rural area of Punjab…. the Punjabis termed me as foreign agent.. as terrorist… becuase of my Apeearance and LAnguage..Recommend

  • Affan

    I would agree with the writer to the point that yes there is racism in the country, but singling out pathans is not true. Go to interior sindh, you’ll be looted for being from elsewhere, go to balochistan, you’d be shot for being from elsewhere, pathan, Baloch, barahwi would fight each other and anyone from outside. Karachi, pathan, mohajir, Punjabi conflict. Punjab, tension between south and North, kpk, go from Punjab and guaranteed be labeled daal khor…

    In most larger cities though, what some comments have mentioned is more of mock fun, you’d hear a lot of pathan jokes but you’d also hear a lot of Punjabi, jutt, butt, gujjar jokes etc.

    Regarding afghans I agree, if we are treated out of country the same way that afghans are in ours, we don’t spare a minute in labeling the nation racist and yes, among afghans some criminal elements have come in but treating all with same yardstick is gross generalization Recommend

  • Jamil Akhtar

    Thank you dear author, for correcting this. I mean, we all should be watchful lest the world starts believing anything good about us.Recommend

  • Fighter Man

    Which NGO pays you for writing such rubbish stuff ?Recommend

  • Altaf Khan

    *yawn* its one of those ET blogs & run off the mill blogger..

    - Sending back Afghan refugees to their OWN country has nothing to do with “Racism”.. they’ve overstayed their welcome, time to go back home!

    For some reason though you forgot to write about the naked racism by Afghanis, who bully poor Pakistani workers who are in Afghanistan. Just ask anyone who have been to Afghanistan in search of work & they will have plenty to share. BUT oh no let’s bash Pakistan.. Typical NGO marka LibtardRecommend

  • Striver

    Sorry Faraz Talat but your reading between the lines is atrocious in this instance . You have made wild assumptions. I never said or hinted even inadvertently that we expect “some kind of tribute…” from them. They are our brothers and it was our duty to help them. Simple.

    I do not doubt your patriotism but I do find faults with your article. As you grow older and look back on your articles you will probably laugh at them. In no way I mean to discourage you from writing but please look at the wider horizon.

    Self-criticism and self-reflection are good and must be encouraged but we are the only nation that is overly critical of itself. We just overdo it.

    Have faith in your Pakistani “brethren”. They are not that bad. Just victims of circumstance.

    Lastly, thank you for the chance of a “dialogue” with the writer i.e. you.Recommend

  • Altaf Khan

    AND yeah to all Readers. Don’t get riled up with what this self hating, delusional, stereotyping has to say.. He doesn’t speak for ALL Pakhtuns.. I am a Pakhtun and i don’t agree with a single thing, this chap is saying.. He’s acting up because maybe its case of resurfacing of some childhood traumaRecommend

  • Tariq Hilal

    US and US obsessed: Just leave Pakistan alone.Recommend

  • Striver

    You generalizations are astounding, Sri. A few instances in the years of “war” do not make a nation racist. Obviously you have picked these points from the internet. We had leading actors and musicians who were Begali pre-71. There are singers in Pak with Bengali backgrounds and YES there are many instances of marriages between Bengali and “Punjabis” and elsewhere in Pakistan. Travel a bit in Pakistan and find out for yourself.
    …and YES abroad, some “Punjabis” are married to Indian girls.

    You see things not that simple. They are complicated.Recommend

  • Javed Ahmed

    I mean why would they need to be racist when they are able to snatch you of your rights i.e route etc… Imbeciles…Recommend

  • Striver

    For GOd’s sake Faraz. You drawing your conclusion on rather narrow “facts”. Please look at the broader picture. I can give you links here of the Hindu bigotry against Muslims.

    You “liberals” and “progressives” need to live in the real world.Recommend

  • KWM

    We must start saying No to racist jokes and stop people from doing so. One day I lost my cool in office over such jokes. Please note that I worked in a top company of Pakistan and the people are highly educated but this is considered so normal that they dont even realize. Fun is always at the expense of someone but everything has a limit.
    I went to driving school last week in Saudia, 4 or 5 guys from Punjab including the instructor told me you don’t seem to be Pushtun but only because I am educated and dressed better than most of them. Why they expect every Pushtun to be illiterate and in a bad shape?Recommend

  • Besharam Khan

    just visit kabul for couple of days and you will understand what racism is! Pathetic research.Recommend

  • Awais Khanović

    “Overt racism against the Pakhtuns has melded so seamlessly into the Pakistani culture, it hardly elicits a glare. Pashto words are often thrown sarcastically at one another to insult one’s intelligence, implying that it’s the language of people with poor comprehension skills. Pathans are insouciantly stereotyped as unhygienic brutes; heck, even I stereotyped them earlier in this very blog as corn venders, which although satirical, bears real risk of being taken seriously”.

    The statement i put above is true, and i have observed that in many occasions, the racism here in this country is used from lower or personal to top level, Keeping pukhtoon away from development, other than this for this country whose blood is used for the security of this country, punjabis or sindhis or any other ethnic group? which province is more developed? is it KPK or Balochistan ? why fata people are used to fight in afghanistan ? ? ?Recommend

  • kamran khan

    Being a wazirstani we paktuns are used as a tissue paper in this countryRecommend

  • Faraz Talat

    > “Where in Pakistan has there been discrimination against Pakhtuns?”

    Everywhere, if you have the eye to see it.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Mehreen, my blog is for you.

    And for all commenters who say something painfully ignorant as “What have these Pashtoons done except loot our country? They have no contribution to art, music, literature. What do they have to be proud of?” and so on.

    Substitute “Pashtoons” with “Africans”. Is it racist now?

    If I could, I would retroactively include your comment in the blog as a solid exhibit of what my fellow progressives and I are fighting against.Recommend

  • Faeza

    Well I am pashtun and yes I am surrounded by Punjabis and sometimes I am literally the only pashtun around and by pashtun I mean pathan
    Here are some of the very common reactions faced by me when someone finds out
    1) ooo really? WOW!! OOOO acha acha acha .. (people are usually amused though I wonder why really.)
    2)frequent requests to “say sometime in pushto” .. *facepalm
    3) frequent requests to be taught phusto slang
    4) fail attempts to communicate in phushto with me , while actually mumbling gibberish
    5) compliments for my exceptionally good looks Recommend

  • sterry

    Really ? The government doesn’t invest in Punjab; It is only local government in province by Shahbaz Sharif that invests in Punjab and Punjabis themselves. Federal government is always investing in other provinces. Zardari in his five years deprived Punjab and Musharraf in his decade rule only cared about Karachi but did nothing for the rest of the country.Recommend

  • Nawaz Ali

    I agree with the writer as i myself has felt this racism personally and even in on the mainstream media.. i will present my case. I work in Islamabad and all my roommates are Punjabi (Though all of them are very nice guys and good friends) but some how i feel that this mockery and stereotyping of pukhtoon is deep rooted in Punjabies. Whenever during the discussion my friends wants to undermine any of my comment, they have just developed a short Punjabi phrase for it “gal wohi hai” means he is pathan…Recommend

  • neat

    Celebrate the stats man! stop being picky. We are not racist. So chill!Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/ ather khan

    punjabis have to decide: do they want pakistan or not? small races like pahktuns, sindhis, baloch can’t break pakistan. but punjabis can. and they are doing their best to do it.Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/ ather khan

    without ahmad shah abdali there would be no islam in subcontinent. ahmad shah abdali saved your ancestor from the heinous maratha slaughter. but if you are proud of your hindu lineage then be my guess. we are pahktuns and we are proud of our muslim heritage.Recommend

  • Meshuga

    The author writes passionately but is sort of confused about terms. Absence of “racism” is not absence of bigotry. Also, are only Muslims “our brothers”? So, Indians are not “our brothers” even though there is shared genetics; but Muslims from all over the world are? That’s some kind of bigotry. Maybe a rewrite (or no write) after reflection is warranted. (The study itself sounds dubious.)Recommend