Stories about nationality

Pakistan needs a revolution

‘Allama doctor Tahirul Qadri Canadian’ For many, the word ‘Canadian’ might seem unpleasant here, but I am sure no one will object to the word ‘Allama’. That is how Pakistanis are; they only see what they like. However, who am I to conceal that fact? Everyone knows that Qadri has a dual nationality. Therefore, the word Canadian does not sting as much. Two years ago, 50% of Pakistanis – nay, 80% of Pakistanis – were not familiar with the term ‘Revolution Baba’. But suddenly, on the bright and sunny morning of January 14, 2013, Qadri became famous; not only in Pakistan but ...

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I am an Indian and I strongly condemn the attack on Ali Hassan Raza

There is an ancient Hindu saying, ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam’, which means that the entire world is one family. This saying needs to be revisited, keeping in mind recent events that have taken place in our subcontinent. Sure, there may be antagonism between countries at a political level but that is no justification for attacking innocent civilians on the basis of their nationality, or for that matter, their race, religion or the likes. We, Indians and Pakistanis, undoubtedly have a lot in common with each other. We are ethnically the same, we speak the same languages, have similar attire and cuisine and have a long, ...

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Why British Pakistanis should visit their motherland

Back home, the vast majority of second generation British nationals of Pakistani origin wouldn’t dream about visiting their parent’s homeland – unless it was for shopping, or a wedding of course.  Unfortunately, the topic of Pakistan is followed by mockery, ridicule and stereotypes, which consist of uneducated, toothless villagers driving rickshaws and eating paan. People in Britain don’t realise that Pakistan is a country full of colour, culture and a talented young generation that is truly aiming for change. I don’t understand why so few of my young generation would like to visit the country of their parent’s origin. Of course, there is a ...

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What’s with the South Asian inferiority complex?

As a Pakistani who has lived most of his life in Canada, I have had many experiences in which I have observed the often bizarre and complex ways of the South Asian (Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh) community. One of the most prominent of these is their ability to deny any connection with their background.  Now, keeping in mind that this does not apply to all the people in the group mentioned earlier, it certainly does cover several of them. Once, when I had just entered my teenage years, I had a Pakistani girl tell me that all the people who lived ...

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As Pakistani as you

This past summer I met with a prominent lawyer, one who supposedly fights for human rights and women’s activism in Pakistan. Before I met her, I believed her to be a symbol of the fact that women can bring change in Pakistan. However, when I confessed to her my desire to live in Pakistan and engage actively in civil society, I was snapped at and told crudely that my “misplaced sense of patriotism” was unwelcome. Unfortunately, her crass “holier than thou” attitude is not unique to her. There are hordes of Lahoris, Karachiites and more, itching to tell me that ...

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My blue passport doesn’t make me American

There was an incredible comment I read on one of my previous posts about how it’s impossible to live on in the oblivion of being both Pakistani and American. I don’t remember who wrote that to me, but if you’re reading this, thank you. You are a small part of the motivation that inspired this topic you are reading today. I was born in Karachi and lived the first nine years of my life moving back and forth between Karachi and Lahore before moving to the US. Though I can’t recall what the people, culture and society were like ...

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Ashamed of the truth on a London bus

London was bathed in sunlight and the sky was a beautiful combination of azure and orange hues this morning. As  I stood at my window, staring out at the city, it seemed to stare back at me. I smiled but I felt London didn’t smile back. This morning I met a lady on the bus. A painfully prim and proper lady, the way most aged British women are. An Alice band was tucked in her hair, a basket of fruit was in her hands, a typically British floral dress peeked from beneath her typically tweed coat. As I sat down next ...

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Indian until proven guilty: Adnan Sami can’t buy his way out

You know him for his many marriages, including the one with Pakistani female actor Zeba Bakhtiyar. You know him for skipping Pakistan, going over to India and rocking the Indian entertainment industry with his music to the extent that an article in Times of India termed him as “the most successful; face in non—film music in India” in 2002. You also know him for his miraculous weight loss of 107kg within a year. And now, you will know him for being in legal trouble for owning eight flats and five car parking spaces in Mumbai. According to a notice issued by the ...

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Do Muslims deserve what they get?

I visited Australia for a few months earlier this year to spend time with family and friends. During my stay in Melbourne, I had the opportunity to visit Vic Roads, the state authority for issuing drivers licenses and collecting fines as a friend of mine had applied for his license. While we were waiting for our turn we went to get some refreshments at the bar. The cashier at the counter got around to talking to us and asked what we were doing at Vic Roads. When he heard our answer he said “Mate, there are two Muslim men among the officials here. If ...

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