Musings of a ‘Westernised’ Pakistani

Published: June 21, 2011

The first thing that pops into the mind of an average Pakistani on hearing the words, "Western values," is the image of a scantily clad blonde chugging down beer...

We often blame “the West” for constructing and perpetuating unjust stereotypes about Muslims and Pakistanis, while not realising that we’re constantly returning the favour without even knowing it!

So, on behalf of the “burger-society,” I’d like to speak a little in defense of “the West.”  Ready your rotten eggs if you must.

Let me start by saying that “the West” does not exist.

If it does, could someone please delineate it for me?

Is Japan included in your definition of the West, despite being a Far-Eastern nation?

What about Russia, industrialised China or Romania?

When radicals make blunt statements like, “the West is waging a war on Muslims,” do they also mean countries like Germany and France, who in 2003, formed a formidable coalition against the Iraq war? What about the fact that 57 per cent of Germans called the United States a nation of war-mongers?

Heck, do they even consider the fact that roughly half the American public itself was against the invasion in 2003? The number rose to 61 per cent in 2007 and is still on the rise.

It’s unfair to cluster up all these nations with a single term – the West.

The typical American weltanschauung differs markedly from that of the European countries, which appear to be a lot more secular. And even within Europe, people are not very united on issues like the Iraq war, drone attacks, hijab etcetera.

Now, coming to “Western” culture – the first thing that pops into the mind of an average Pakistani on hearing the words, “Western values,” is the image of a scantily clad blonde chugging down beer in a sleazy bar. If you ever find yourself being referred to as a believer of Western values, know that the word “allegedly” is implied.

Whenever one dares to rise and speak up for the rights of women, religious minorities and individual freedom, he’s often shot down with the “westerner-wannabe” taunt.  Are feminism, secularism and plain personal liberty such alien and outlandish concepts for us?

Freedom does not have an area-code. There’s no such thing as “Western” freedom or “Islamic” freedom. It’s just freedom, plain and simple. The liberty to speak out and express oneself openly is a “value” worth adopting by every nation on the planet. The liberty to live your life the way you want to, as long as you’re not impinging upon somebody else’s freedom to do the same, is the right of every man and woman in the world.

There are lessons that the developed world can learn from us.

Why are we so reluctant to admit that we can learn something important from them as well?

Why do many of us choose to hide away in a cocoon of nationalism, delude ourselves that we’re perfect and refuse to change for the better – by taking lessons from the developed world?

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.

  • RS

    Be honest. How long have you waited to use the term “American weltanschauung” since learning it in Sociology/Anthropology? Also, what on Earth are you talking about? Recommend

  • http://whatever.com Hammad

    Regarding your point against the 61 percent were against The Iraq War.. Well who elected The American Government? The American People did. A government’s action represents it’s people. Simple. Recommend

  • wizard jks

    I hear ya
    there’s a lot that gets slipped under the carpet in OUR culture
    they’re ignoring the fact that most western values are in fact replicas of what our religion teaches us

    There are some unanswered questions though:

    is corruption a western idea?
    you can’t just label it
    it’s about human greed and prevails everywhere

    female infanticide?
    dowry?
    women being married to the Quran?
    tight fitted embroidered burkhas/abayas?
    tribal warfare?Recommend

  • Nizam

    @Hammad: Actually GW Bush did not win a majority of the vote the first time, but rather, on a technicality.Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    Musings of a ‘Westernised’ Pakistani = FAIL
    Reason(s):
    Let me start by saying that “the West” does not exist. but I’d like to speak a little in defense of “the West.” What are you playing at
    If it does, could someone please delineate it for me? so what you are saying is I DON”T KNOW BUT I TELL YOU AND DEFEND IT at the same time. Disaster

    By reading the rest of your post it feels you seriously dont know what you are talkin about. The formula phrases like “West waging wars”, Freedom, westerner-wannabe, feminism, secularism and the spicing up by the drunk blonde make you post completely old “Left” stuff.
    And please dont represent me and my society “Burger” i.e. Recommend

  • Natasha Kundi

    @Hammad:

    Are you going to say the same for the Paksitani Government then, considering how corrupt it is.Recommend

  • b.M

    Also, the 61% who were actually against the Iraq war were those who didnt want their loved ones who were in the army to be sent to Iraq because they were seeing what was happening to them in Afghanistan. There may be very little of them who actually opposed the war because of the consequences it may bring to the people of Iraq who were Muslims.Recommend

  • Arsalan J. Sheikh

    @Hammad
    A government’s actions never represent it’s people. A government’s actions represents the interests of it’s people’s ruling elite class.

    This explains the low level of taxes collected from our agricultural landlords and major industrialists. It also explains the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.Recommend

  • Kh

    Author is himself a “burger”. He is completely ignorant about the facts. Defending his point in a very childish manner. Sympathies my friend sympathies. You’re wasting your time here in defending the west. You don’t even know the proper guidance of religion. Foolishly following the ‘West”.Recommend

  • K

    Hahaha, a “government’s action represents it’s people” seriously?! On which damn planet would that happen to be?Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com LoneLiberal PK

    The American people were led into war under a false pretense by a trigger-happy moron from Texas. Americans too suffered great losses in that war.

    Otherwise, I can just as easily draw a parallel and say that Zardari’s corruption represents the corruption of the whole Pakistani nation. PPP too was democratically elected, no?Recommend

  • Thurki Baba

    Who’s the chick :)Recommend

  • Syed

    Ok theres a saying that when you point one finger at others four are pointing towards you. You yourself are busy in stereotyping of the Pakistani society, I agree with almost most of your comments, according to your article that makes me a part of ‘Burger community’, (because according to you rest of the population is hate mongers).
    Just like you say we cannot generalize the whole population of the West *, you cannot generalise the whole Desi population.
    * yes I said west, because the objection that most of our population atleast urban nonburgers have are are on the policies of some western governments, not on eastern govts like Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, China etc etc.; notice the word ‘governments’

    Anyways, I agree with your overall idea of the article, specially the last part , both(Western and Muslim Nations) have a lot to learn from each other, but you have to note that theses opinions are there in the middle class also.

    Also I would like to add to your points, Muslims usually generalize the acts of Zionism with Judaism; the countries with highest number of Jews are USA and Iran, in USA around 50% of jews are against zionism, and in Iran most of them. Point to ponder !!!Recommend

  • AZ

    Ok…. And the point of this pointless article is………Recommend

  • Moderate

    If you want freedom them switch places. If people here want to implement something that you dont like, then move on. And for that defense of USA regarding Iraq War, when 61% americans realized that attacking Iraq was not fair, that country was already destroyed and hell, half a million children were already dead and every one was silent on it including your dear Germany.Recommend

  • http://dinopak.wordpress.com Hasan

    To all those who are criticizing (or will be doing it) the author does have a point. First clean your own house, then hate others. Please read my brief opinion: “I blame the west”Recommend

  • Zeeshan H

    Sorry Hammad, its not that simple AT ALL. By your logic, all of of our government’s actions – including those of our much-loved President, Asif Zardari – represent the Pakistani people!Recommend

  • bushra faiz

    and the point is?Recommend

  • http://natashasuleman.wordpress.com Natasha Suleman

    Nice read.Recommend

  • http://www.habibies.com Habibies

    if i am Muslim then my right way is the way of Islam/Quran….
    May Allah accept us complete in Islam… AmeenRecommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com LoneLiberal PK

    Moderate,
    Destroyed half a million children? Where the hell are you getting your statistics from?

    Also why should we switch places? Democracy does not mean that if 51% of people decide that all Christians in Pakistan ought to be killed, then a genocide will have to be carried out. A true democratic nation takes steps to preserve the freedom and equal status of every citizen in the country, regardless of his/her religion or ethnicity.
    .
    Maybe the bigots and xenophobes can get out of the country..Recommend

  • Usman Saleem Bikiya

    I don’t get what your point is, your writing is all jumbled up, too many things going on at the same time.

    As far as freedom is concerned, Freedom comes at a cost. If there is no ‘Islamic freedom’ or ‘western freedom’ then are you saying that we are allowed to enculturate and adopt ideologies that go against our values, concepts and Islamic laws? You will only be allowed to have full freedom of expression and choice when you learn to respect others and not consider yourself superior.Recommend

  • Wazir Chandio

    haha what the hell is up with this confused dude, fine u r cool admitted, please now let it passRecommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com LoneLiberal PK

    Syed,
    Where on earth did the writer imply that anybody who’s not a burger is a “hate-monger”. Stop using straw-man arguments.

    And by the way, the “burger-society” bit was plain sarcasm..Recommend

  • K-R-Siddiqui

    @Kh:
    as if you know what the religious guidelines are….marrying women to Quran i bet sounds quite in sync to you huh?
    and the author is very much right in pointing out that war, freedom, corruption are not bourne out of a particular culture or way of society but rather human psyche….

    My point is…why cant we take something nice from other cultures…why do we always tend to choose the worse?

    A simple case in point: Christmas and Easter are the best times to shop as there are amazing sales thru out whereas in Ramazan everything hits the roof….down from fruits to the clothes etc….Traders wait for this time all year….isnt it the month of giving for us as well?Recommend

  • Wajid Nazir

    The line, ”The liberty to live your life the way you want to, as long as you’re not impinging upon somebody else’s freedom to do the same, is the right of every man and woman in the world” is completely fallacious . Ain’t you familiar with the mere cause for what we all are here; in this world.

    P.S – No offence !! Recommend

  • SomeGuy

    Pakistanis don’t believe in individual freedom, women’s rights, freedom of speech, etc. Sadly these are all things which are more prevalent in “the West”, and so your point will get lost among all the people saying “what’s the point of this article”.

    The point of this article is that respect for others, respect for women’s rights, respect for religious rights, freedom of speech, etc. etc. are not WESTERN ideals but rights every human deserves everywhere. Recommend

  • SomeGuy

    @Wajid Nazir:

    Not everyone is a Muslim and not everyone is religious. You can’t (and SHOULDN’T) force everyone to live by your way. Why can’t you practice your religion privately and stop telling others what to do? Is it that hard for you not to control others?Recommend

  • Leila Rage

    @Kh:

    Excuse me be who are YOU to judge whether someone is following their religion properly or not? And just because someone belongs to the allegedly “westernised” set doesn’t mean that their ignorant of world affairs, the affairs of Pakistan or of their religion.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com LoneLiberal PK

    Wajid
    Unless the cause for your existence is to shove your beliefs down everybody else’s throats, I’d say the writer is spot on.
    Every person has a right to live his life according to his own beliefs…including you.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com LoneLiberal PK

    Fahad,
    That’s why the writer used quotation marks when he said he’d like to defend “The West”.
    To understand what quotation marks imply, you need to learn English…that’s hardly the writer’s headache.Recommend

  • Wajid Nazir

    @Some Guy :

    Religion is not an option, its a compulsion.And to be very straight forward don’t you know about the Islamic Law ” Amar Bil Maroof Wa Nahi Anil Munkar” ??
    If not religion, There is no other community on this Earth which forbade you from such things. And if not religion, then what is the 2ND thing that helps you judge or mentor people? If its culture, then tell me where our culture starts from? What is our ideology? What is our Heritage?

    If its all about living it your own way, then what are we blaming Western culture for? Or why do we blame them who lives their lives their way?Recommend

  • Usman Ahmad

    The woman is not scantily clad and she is NOT blonde! atleast use a suitable picture!Recommend

  • Moiz

    i agree with the author. please read my article on the same matter.
    http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150221146212281Recommend

  • Silas

    @b.M:
    How dumb are you. You mean 61% of the people in America sent their loved ones to the war. 61% of Americans had their loved ones in the army????? Really? Recommend

  • Kh

    @K-R-Siddiqui:
    My friend so according to you everyone in west is an “angel”. :D Get a life boy! Marrying wife to Quran… You’re sweeping generalization from particular to general.. does it make any sense? so stupid of you if you think this way. If you’re aware of the literacy rate of our country then you would never said this.. as i said in my previous comment.. <> and for your reply to “christmas, easter…..” my ignorant friend as you don’t know the reason behind this.. :P absolutely baseless arguments!Recommend

  • http://bakedsunshine.wordpress.com/ Shumaila

    gotta love your sarcasm :) a very well-written article. But good luck with the responses =/ Recommend

  • Shazia Nawaz

    You are so smart that it is scary!
    You are awesome Faraz!Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com LoneLiberal PK

    Wajid: “Religion is not an option, its a compulsion”

    In that case, I strongly recommend you go back and read the Quran which clearly says “There shall be no compulsion in religion” (2:256).

    It’s amazing how the self-proclaimed advocates and thekedars of Islam are always the ones who know least about the religion.Recommend

  • Asad

    Problem is that most of the so called ‘Westernized Pakistanis’ fail to adopt the good side of western culture they adopt the superficial features in order to become pseudo angrez and look down on general popultaion.

    How many ‘Westernized Pakistanis’ can answer yes to these when they are in Pakistan:
    1. Pay taxes.
    2. Don’t use connections to get things done/
    3. Don’t depend on their daddy for money and work their way upRecommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com LoneLiberal PK

    Asad,
    In Pakistan, nepotism, bribery and favoritism are vital if one intends to get ahead. People here have little value for merit and greater love for pieces of paper with Baba-qaum’s face printed on them.

    In West, though this problem exists, is not nearly as bad as what we see in Pakistan. USA is known as “the land of opportunity” for a good reason. Recommend

  • AP

    Could have done a better job on the writing but full marks for the picture. If that’s westernisation, give me some!!Recommend

  • Hyra

    As i was going through the article .. i was unable to understand if a writer was in the favour of
    “westernize culture” why on the first place did he write this article … & if he does .. why he Quoted the “Burgers are or will be like this”this is not something they choose, they inherit it from there forefathers , & the 1st glance on the picture used above can’t it b some “wanna B” type … who just die to fit in that elite class ??

    please do answer ..
    CONFUSED ! Recommend

  • http://fruitforbidden.wordpress.com/ The Forbidden Fruit

    This is great! Now I’m gonna tell my parents to let me live the way I want and give me my freedom. Also, tell the rishtidaars to mind their own business as it’s my life and I got to live it “My way!” Recommend

  • Dee

    and here come the rotten eggs and tomatoes…Recommend

  • Nasrullah Khan

    @Hammad:
    In that case all the people of Pakistan are corrupt, thieves and dishonest.Recommend

  • Dodo

    I don’t have any issues with people blaming “the west” because technically, all of the “middle east” is west to us. Among them one country in particular (saudi arabia) is directly responsible for the puddle of goo we constantly find ourselves in. Those evil “westerners” and their male headscarves and dresses…Recommend

  • Umair Waheed Sheikh, Khayban e Hafiz,Karachi

    That beer alongwith the chic does look enticing!Recommend

  • Hussam Jamil

    Well one can learn a lot of good lessons from what exactly happens in the western socities. And wat i consider remarkable is that all those good lessons that we can learn from them are already taught in our beautiful releigion, ISLAM!!!
    I was in Glasgow,UK two months back for a month for electives in medicine in a hospital there. There it was clearly mentioned that if u want HALAL food then we can arrange for you.Whereas in our goverrnment hospitals, food is often loaded with cockroaches. Every bed has a curtain that has to be pulled around the bed to examine the patient. You cannot even think of a single thing that regards as MALPRACTICE over there while what happens in our health setups is sheer MALPRACTICE. So many things, but we jus tend to forget all of em and focus more on their vulgarities etc … We are truly Hippocrates… Recommend

  • Amer

    Favorite Pakistani quote:”Sab Amreeka karwa raha haii”Recommend

  • m.bilal

    well said I agree that there is a lot we can learn and its high time we change for the better.Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    @LoneLiberal PK:
    Dude your worked up.. but an ignorant comment like this
    To understand what quotation marks imply, you need to learn English…that’s hardly the writer’s headache. wont do. What you are seeing in this blog is Irrational and even emotional rhetoric revolving around a quotation mark. Now as it happen these mark are much more than that.. but since ur so “educated” and I don’t wanna pass the same rude mark as you did, I forgive you. Recommend

  • Wajid Nazir

    @ LoneLiberal PK :
    The worse you are relating is totally in other sense( compulsion in religion). What i meant to say is that Religion is a compulsory thing. Its not optional.Recommend

  • Cautious

    I would like the author to do a similar write up on his impressions on what he thinks the average American thinks when he here’s the words – Pakistani value. It won’t be a blond chugging a beer — maybe it will be a cop taking a bribe?Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com LoneLiberal PK

    Fahad,
    Sorry man, but I point out what I see. A phrase encased in quotations marks like that means that the author is quoting somebody else.
    By the way, being good or bad at a certain language has nothing to do with being educated. I think you took my comment more personally than it was intended to sound.Recommend

  • Mark

    @Hammad:
    Congratulations. You just condemned Pakistan to hell and back with that statement considering I see many things blamed on your government.

    Do you even know how politics work for elections? They get a demographics poll, choose whatever problems to champion from that to get supporters and votes. Then effort towards those issues slowly fade to non-existence while they concentrate on what their actual main concerns are.

    The funny thing about using logic to push your view is, uninformed loud mouths rarely notice their own flaws. They wouldn’t exist if they did, and you are part of their club.Recommend

  • Amna

    Most people when speaking against the “West” are against the Western governments and foreign policies…not common people in the Western world.

    This is really basic stuff that most pseudo liberals in pakistan just done seem to understand.Recommend

  • http://www.6la8.com Confused

    You’re such a “western wannabe”
    Keep it up.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com LoneLiberal PK

    Wajid,
    That makes absolutely no sense. A wise man once said, “I cannot believe unless I have the freedom of disbelieve as well.”

    God gave us all free will to make our own decisions. Who are you to deny us that? You should keep watch over your own amaal and let the rest live their lives according to their own beliefs. It’s a basic human right.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Cautious,
    Why do you assume that just because I wrote an article dispelling the stereotypical image of “The West”, that I’m not actually bothered by western stereotypes about Pakistan as well?

    The problem lies in the fact that there are oodles of writers, journalists and plain jingoistic morons pointing fingers at Amreeka or India, but very few who are willing to highlight our own faults and weaknesses. It has become conventional to dump all blame on the United States and completely refuse to evaluate our own actions, which is the real reason why we find ourselves in such a predicament.Recommend

  • rehmat

    @Nizam:
    The fact that George Bush did not win a majority refers to the 2000 election. The Iraq war was not a factor there. He did win a majority in 2004.

    @Hammad
    61% people were against Iraq war in 2007 and Republicans did in fact lose the 2008 election to Obama who said he would draw down fighting forces from Iraq within a year of tking office. He more or less kept this promise by completing the drawdown from Iraq in 16 months after coming to White House.Recommend

  • rehmat

    @Amna:
    1. Not true. When people criticize Western values and promote Islamic values they are not referring to the foreign policy of ‘Western nations’. This is particularly so when it comes to role and rights of women in a society.

    Why does the term liberal always have to be preceded by the word pseudo? Can there not be any genuine liberals?
    Recommend

  • Chacha

    @Hammad: if that is the case then the current government of Pakistan also represents its people. The stasis and incompetency of the current government (and here I pass no personal judgment – it is the near unanimous views of both columnists as well as respondents on all pakistan media websites) is therefore also representative of its peopleRecommend

  • rehmat

    @Wajid Nazir:
    You say religion is compulsory, it is not optional. I have some questions for you :
    1. If this is so then what about people who are atheists. You do realize that most people in your all-weather friend China are atheists – right?
    2. What about those who believe in God but not in any organized religion?
    3. Did you mean that Islam must be followed by everyone in Pakistan? If so, wouyld you be Okay if Christianity was enforced upon all the Muslims in Western Europe or USA or Canada or would it be Okay if India enforced Hinduism on its 18 crore Muslims?
    4. Quran says that ther is no force in religion, so are you contradicting Quran?
    5. Who exactly should be charge with enforcing the ‘compulsory religion’?
    6. Is there a commn agreement even within Pakistan about what type of Islam should be practiced by individuals and what should be the state model (Muslim majority Turkey is secular). Do you want to be like Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey or Iran in your religious practices? Or do you want the type of Islam that was being enforced by the Taliban in Swat?Recommend

  • rehmat

    @Kh:
    You have not quoted what ‘facts’ the author is unaware about? The author has not quoted any facts that you can dispute. He has described common perceptions around certain words and expressed his opinion about them. Here is a call to action to people that they should examine their own stereotypes and perhaps update them, if they feel offended when they are recipients of other people’s stereotypes.Recommend

  • Asif

    Write an article with a point before trying to take down the “oodles of writers, journalists and plain jingoistic morons pointing fingers at Amreeka or India”… And your failed attempt at highlighting a very cliched issue did absolutely nothing to “highlight our own faults and weaknesses”… Just showcased your incoherent intellectual snobbery. Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com LoneLiberal PK

    Asif,
    “Cliche” would be people like yourself blaming everything on USA and refusing to hold Pakistan responsible for its own mess. Talk about jingoism!
    Being willing to learn lessons from others is not snobbery, it’s the exact opposite of that.Recommend

  • hassan

    With so many people just hating the West, your article just has no chance of making even the teeny weeniest impression !

    Moral of the story: Don’t preach to Indoctrinated. Recommend

  • Abhi

    Nice blog, I have one incidence to share.
    While in USA one of my American co-worker commented that he is getting in to this Indian habit of sleeping late in the night and and waking up late in the morning. I laughed and told him that back in India this habit of waking up late in the morning is termed as Westernization. Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com LoneLiberal PK

    Lol Abhi..Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com LoneLiberal PK

    RS,
    It might come as a colossal shock, but some people do have a richer vocabulary than you. The writer just might be one of such folks.. :pRecommend

  • rk singh

    @ Author Why do many of us choose to hide away in a cocoon of nationalism, delude ourselves that we’re perfect and refuse to change for the better – by taking lessons from the developed world?

    VERY SIMPLE TO ANSWER. Go back to the very first line. In fact picture caption. The first thing that pops into the mind of an average Pakistani on hearing the words, “Western values,” is the image of a scantily clad blonde chugging down beer…

    Every pakistani would think of a million things he can do to that blonde(i am not saying Indian men dont). But how many Pakistani men would accept a situation manly, if a female member of his family falls in love with a western man?

    This is one important aspect Pakistanis should learn. Tolerence. World would have been a better place.Recommend

  • Wajid Nazir

    @ Rehmat ;

    What about those who believe in God but not in any organized religion?
    It would be just like a race where a Racer runs for a trophy without registering himself as a Racer. Your straightest path to God is thorough fulfilling Religious Obligations, and if you believe in Him, you have to accept His Obligations wholeheartedly.

    Did you mean that Islam must be followed by everyone in Pakistan? If so, would you be Okay if Christianity was enforced upon all the Muslims in Western Europe or USA or Canada or would it be Okay if India enforced Hinduism on its 18 crore Muslims?
    Quran says that ther is no force in religion, so are you contradicting Quran?
    Who exactly should be charge with enforcing the ‘compulsory religion’?

    Another famous verse is:
    «The truth is from your Rabba, so whoever has the will so he must reject…» (18:29)

    Whoever wants to believe will believe. So this verse has also stated that faith and rejection can only be chosen by oneself, they cannot be forced upon one by others. So Islam does not say that others must be forced into Islam; that if they become Muslims, well and good, and if they do not, the choice is theirs. Islam says that whoever wants to believe will believe, and whoever does not want to, will not.
    My point is that If you are a Muslim, then your life style and everything should be according to the teachings of Islam. And when you choose Islam as a religion its compulsory for you to follow it.

    Is there a commn agreement even within Pakistan about what type of Islam should be practiced by individuals and what should be the state model (Muslim majority Turkey is secular). Do you want to be like Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey or Iran in your religious practices? Or do you want the type of Islam that was being enforced by the Taliban in Swat?

    About your what type, I must say there is only one i.e, Muhammad’s (S.A.W.W) way.
    Neither Turkey’s nor Saudi’s Way.
    Recommend

  • Khan

    Kudos Faraz… excellent article. We often tend to homogenize the people who live in most of the developed countries under the banner of “the West”, stereotype them based on what we see in Hollywood movies and some TV channels… we’ve been doing that so often that we have built a collective mindset about some imagined community called “the West”, and this mindset is very easily instrumentalised in national debates to stir things up.

    I second Faraz in almost everything he said. “The West” exists only in our perceptions… The people who we say live in “the west” are not a homogenous people. There is too much diversity of people, cultures and customs, opinions and thoughts, in short there is diversity in everything in those countries and it’s plain idiotic to cluster them under one banner who even think alike.

    Faraz is very right in saying that we have a lot to learn from them… for example how to respect and preserve cultures and traditions. How many of us know that the biggest collections of original Islamic documents are preserved very carefully in the libraries of Ivy League universities, namely Princeton, Yale, Harvard… ??? How many of us know that the top academic journal on history of art and architecture goes by the name of “Muqarnas” (one of the hallmarks of Islamic Architecture found in so many of the Islamic buildings it is difficult to count)? Their best educational institutions have invested most in preserving so many aspects of Islamic history and knowledge, BUT it is we who call ourselves the custodians of Islam just because the name of this country is the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”!!! How ironic is that? and how very hypocritical is that on our part?

    We just talk too much nonsense… too much blibberish, if you ask me! We blame “the West” for all of our problems without even stopping to think about the problems for a bit. And we take too much pride in doing that.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com LoneLiberal PK

    Wajid: “Islam says that whoever wants to believe will believe, and whoever does not want to, will not.”

    And what do you think is the point of this article? That’s exactly the author’s point as well. He never said that we should all drink alcohol and dress provocatively. He simply says that an individual should be free to decide his own lifestyle. If he does not want to adhere to Islam’s prescribed lifestyle, that’s a matter between him and his God. It does not affect your relationship with God.Recommend

  • Malayay

    Interesting perspective.Recommend

  • Zaraf

    thats my new FB avatar!Recommend

  • http://bakedsunshine.wordpress.com/ Shumaila

    This is turning into a regular flame war, isn’t it? How amusing. Recommend

  • http://none Bangash

    Pakistanis suffer from severe inferiority complex from white people.Recommend

  • m.bilal

    well said. Every nation has a positive side. We should learn from such nations and learn to accept change for the greater good. Recommend

  • Sameer

    A brave article from an enlightened young man and some brave comments from those who believe in the freedom of minorities.

    Sadly, Pakistan is currently overrun by mini-Zias who want everyone to conform to their way of thinking. This means excluding over 50% of Pakistanis from actually getting to live their lives. Excluded groups include:

    Women (49% of the population, would be higher if not due to female infanticide)
    Shias (20% of the population, but half are female so let’s say another 10%, from here we’ve already included women in the disenfranchised so let’s add men who are disenfranchised)
    Barelvis/Sufis (15% of the total population)
    Agnostics/Atheists (1% of the total population)
    Christians/Hindus/Ahmmadiyas (1.5% of the population)
    Baloch/people from Northern Areas/people from Azad Kashmir (3% of the population)
    Moderate Deobandis (2.5% of the population)

    Basically, 8% of Pakistan, the Salafi/Wahbi, hardcore Deobandi males are really the only people with any sort of rights in Pakistan. The West gives rights to everyone above, not just the group that has beaten everyone else into submission. The rest of Pakistan is waiting to emigrate the first chance they get and let the crazy people fight each other over the dessert that will be left as water issues and infrastructure and education continue to be ignored. Recommend

  • Shan

    @Hammad: we Pakistanis are then Corrupt, Looters, Don’t care for sovereignty, Weapon friendly, Hypocrites and Puppets cause hey we elected the government and a government is the representation of the nation isn’t it? Recommend

  • Nobody

    @rk singh:
    I’m sorry honey but are you implying Indian men are oh so progressive they would easily accept a similar situation? Take off the rose colored glasses, they don’t suit a person who goes around trying to “educate” the people of Pakistan on all that’s wrong with Pakistan. You wanna hold onto the holier than thou attitude, your prerogative, but atleast educate yourself on the realities in your own backyard first, then peddle your poorly concealed hatred and disdain against Pakistanis if you so choose. Atleast that way you’ll only sound like a hate-mongering bigot, not an IGNORANT and MISINFORMED hate-mongering bigot. Cheers. Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com LoneLiberal PK

    Nobody,
    Give Singh a break. He never said Indian men don’t do all these things. But it’s no secret that Pakistanis are worse (Pakistan is third worst country for women while India is fifth). No point beating the drums of jingoism.Recommend

  • muhammad Ishaq

    Agreed. Nice.Recommend

  • Hamna

    I think that author has a point. Why we concentrate always on their life styles and not on their values of freedom (not meaning vulgarity) and minority rights? Their commitment and honesty. I may not like western values but i certainly admire their certain traits. There is a reason that they are ahead if us. This is where we could learn from them.Recommend

  • Al

    There is a good idea behind this article but you did not get it through. In the end it just makes you look all confused.
    And its always a good idea to mention the source of the statistics that one uses in articles.

    I do not think there is anything wrong with generalizing nations as ‘the west’, the same ‘west’ thinks us just as east. In fact most Americans assume Pakistan is a part of the Middle East! But you’re right, we can learn a lot from the West and it all starts with admitting our own shortcomings. Recommend

  • ML

    You do know that whatever you are defending, the so-called ‘burger society’ is labelled as to have adopted the wrong kind of Western values, which are in contraindication of good Islamic behavior. The good Western values that you pointed out are in its essence very much actually adapted from the Islamic code of conduct.

    There are many things going wrong with your side of the story. All I can say in a nutshell is that everybody and anybody in this country has gone astray from the true teachings of Islam. We are not extremists, radicals, fundamentalists or even for that matter ‘burgers’. Islam promotes justice, equality and freedom. Get your facts right.Recommend

  • Ahsan

    I’m trying to understand how a person can write an article full of generalizations and actually believe them. You, Faraz Talat, do a disservice to all Pakistanis by making us appear to be narrow minded and barbaric. I was born and raised in Canada, but I am proud to be Pakistani, so I’ve seen both sides of the coin. Btw, when people say ‘the West’ I’m assuming they’re referring to the Western Hemisphere, which includes such nations as the US, France, Spain, UK, etc. As for your assertions that the “average Pakistani” thinks of a scantily blonde chugging down beer on a beach when they hear ‘Western values’, you were either on drugs when you typed that or you’ll believe anything your mind can fabricate.

    Finally, you may like to believe that Germany was at the forefront of being against the Iraq invasion, but the amount of US troops they have stationed in their country would suggest otherwise. Apparently over 50,000 US troops are stationed there. Sounds like Germany has done a bang up job of speaking out against America’s obscure foreign policy :/Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com LoneLiberal PK

    Ahsan,

    “Disservice to Pakistan” is what people like are you doing by deluding yourselves that we’re all okay the way we are, and that it would be an insult to our pride if we are to take lessons from the developed world in fixing these problems.

    Real patriotism lies in acceptance, not denial, of our weaknesses and striving to resolve them. Mindless chest-banging is hardly productive.

    Pakistanis need to feel ashamed. They need to be reminded of how badly their collective mindset is messed up.Recommend

  • Wasif

    @Hammad: Please refer to Pakistani government. do they really represent Pakistan or Pakistani People? i don’t think so…likewise American policies does not represent majority of American people’s thinking although American media is trying uttermost to control minds of their own people but yet there is a vast number, maybe not 61%, of majority who are against war wage by America.

    P.S America meaning U.S only, not Mexico or Canada. ThanksRecommend

  • Shezan

    its her own choice. let her do what she wants. no one can stop anyone from doing anything. may be she is non muslim pakistani. even i know people who are muslim in pakistan and drink.Recommend

  • Rahul Aijaz

    @Hammad: brother, I just do not agree with u on that the government’s action represents its people’s because if that was so, your Pakistani government’s actions represent yours. Public can be against its own country’s government, as is ours. And Americans are as gullible as we are. They’re kept from knowing the truth as we are. They’re brain-washed with anti-Pakistan as we are brain-washed with anti-American crap.Recommend

  • Asad

    Let me start by saying that the ‘average Pakistani’ does not exist.

    You stereotype Pakistanis you don’t come into contact with, blanketing tens of millions of people holding a wide array of viewpoints on religion, modernity, jalaibi, etc. into one neatly packaged ‘average Pakistani’. Recommend

  • Frraaz

    The only point this article made was: “West” is not the right termRecommend

  • Arsalan

    @ Natsah Kundi
    Um, YES!!! Go ANYWHERE and EVERY person will cheat you! You might be lucky to find one in a million pakistani to be an honest person. We deserve this corrupt government. And did you forget? Votes are BOUGHT in Pakistan. And we SELL our votes to the corrupt politicians. Recommend

  • Farrukh

    @Nizam

    @Hammad: Actually GW Bush did not win a majority of the vote the first time, but rather, on a technicality.

    I think you forgetting that he had 2 terms.Recommend

  • Adeel Suhail

    Ridiculous to extreme! what a disaster article! Tribune team, what are you thinking, when u let these kind of articles to be published! We expect lot vise stuff to be published should not those wrong stuff right, which are against Islam & Muslim.

    I really really hope media, bloggers, before agreeing, appreciating something please compare it with Islam & Muslim school of thought than commenting on it.Recommend

  • Ali Shiraz

    Instead of discussing the matters “Why I do not date in Pakistan?”, “Pakistan Hates Woman”, “Musings of Westernized Pakistan”…..cant we discuss something related to our own religion….I have read this entire blog and all i found is articles begging us to do a research on the Non-Muslims….Being muslims we should not be even discussing about dates, smoking cigarettes in a nan shop, and talking about sexual desires….Allah maaf karna for i wrote that……get out of your slumber, all of you and start doing something constructive….all you writers who are part of this blog, talk about how can we eliminate this thing called Load Shedding, how can we stop the inflation that is causing many of us to die….and stop debating on western culture and its influences, we have matters of our own to discuss…..apnay aap ki pareshani karo, woh khush hain, abaad hain aur unhe koi parwah nai hai pakistan main log jeans pehan rahay hain, date kar rahay hain, jo marzi karain…its us who are i dont know why so concerned about them….DEBATE ON ISSUES THAT ARE EATING OUR COUNTRY, TALK ABOUT ISLAM WHOSE BASE WE HAVE DEMOLISHED AND ALTERED, TALK ABOUT MUSLIM AND HOW A MUSLIM SHOULD BE…BOTH WOMEN AND MAN…..THANK YOU IF YOU HEED, MAY ALLAH SHOW YOU THE WAY IF YOU DO NOT…..!!!!!Recommend

  • Ali Shiraz

    @SAMEER
    the west….there is no one as a londerer,manchesterer,glasgowan,liverpoolian, etc….
    they all are english….they all are britishers….they give every one a choice, but the constituition is solely based on non-muslim rules….
    you have highlighted the problem here….we are divided, and continue to be divided because we compare ourselves with this WEST…..we dont need the west, we have enough in ourselves to get back to the top again only if we believe, be one and follow what our ancestors followed to rule for milleniums…..these britishers are in command since the turn of 1800s…before that it was all muslim, the muslim empire in spain, the muslim empire in china, and africa….why?? they followed what ALLAH taught us to follow….Recommend