A foreigner’s love for Pakistan

Published: May 9, 2012
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There is nothing in this world that can come close to the comfort provided by haleem, nihari and a warm, buttery piece of naan. PHOTO: MYRA IQBAL/FILE

My exposure to Pakistan was limited. I classified it as one of those countries that was created on religious concepts, was racist toward the rest of the world and wanted the Americans dead. 

Call me ignorant, but with the way Pakistan is portrayed in the media, as a foreigner it is hard not to be deterred.

Then, by sheer luck and forged destiny, I met a Pakistani woman and fell truly, madly and deeply in love with her.

There was beauty resonating from deep within her and it came out in her dark, soulful eyes.

Little did I know, that in less than a few weeks, my entire life would change because I was not only falling in love with a person but I was embracing a culture, a lifestyle and above all I was going to embrace a country deemed one of the most dangerous in the world.

The first aspect of Pakistani culture I fell in love with was the food. There is nothing in this world that can come close to the comfort provided by haleem, nihari and a warm, buttery piece of naan.

The spices and herbs used in Pakistani food are unique, authentic and jump-start the day reflecting Pakistan’s vibrant culture.  Not to mention all sinuses are completely cleared when those green chillies hit the back of the throat.

You know what takes the cake?

After hours of gruelling work I finally made my own batch of haleem and it was delicious.

Moving onto the people; warm, hospitable, welcoming and dramatic in every sense. Pakistani aunties and uncles will make sure us young lads are fed, pampered and shown off like none other.

Some of my best memories from last year are being fed huge amounts of biryani on Eid, dancing with a friend’s family at his dholki and always being the centre of attention.

I was told I did the bhangra better than Pakistanis themselves. I feel like I belong, without even having to try.

Everything is said and done dramatically adding pizazz and flamboyance to language, clothing, conversation and events. Every “Ufffff” is elongated to maximise expression and every “hai Allah” is comical.

My personal favourite is “bussssssssssssss,” with a sizzling hiss at the end to fully convey the dramatic tone being used.

My future mother-in-law sent me a beautiful, blue kurta from Pakistan to wear at a wedding.

Loose and airy around the body, I feel like I am allowed to breathe and walk freely in it. It also has a regal feel, with stunning embroidery work, long, formal sleeves and truly reflects the comfort present in Pakistani culture. It is easier to sit on the ground, cross-legged in a shalwar kurta and personalise the experience of eating with hands, chattering with guests, shoulder to shoulder, enjoying the feeling of being communal and united. I also find digesting food a lot easier after having eaten while seated on the ground.

What shocked me most about Pakistan’s people were its women.

I was always under the impression that most Pakistani women succumb to marriages arranged by their parents, come out to Canada to get away from extremely conservative and patriarchal settings while the ones left behind live under a staunch code of dressing without the ability to truly enjoy themselves and the world they are living in.

On the flip side, I have come across intelligent, smart, ambitious, and sagacious, not to mention confident and beautiful women who believe in themselves and have utmost faith in their country despite all the crime that is committed against women there.

Pakistani women are entering all kinds of fields may it be journalism, politics or filmmaking.

They are curious and eager to bring a change into their country through education and reform. It is inspiring to meet and be in the company of these visionaries, my future wife included, who is charitable and generous toward her community in the most humbling of ways.

What I have learnt from this experience is that judgement cannot be passed on a country, religion, culture or group of people through biased exposure to news reports or because of the actions of a select few.

To attain the bigger picture you have to immerse yourself into their culture, like I have, and then form conclusions.

As far as I am concerned, I have no doubt that when I do visit Pakistan, which will be soon, I will go with an open mind sans fear.

I know I will be welcomed in the most hospitable fashion and I cannot wait to see the beautiful country with my own eyes rather than through documentaries, films, photographs and literature.

Follow Gordan on Twitter @GordanSumanski

Gordan Sumanski

Gordan Sumanski

A marketing analyst, international volunteer born in Serbia and currently living and working in Canada. He tweets @GordanSumanski

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

  • Seed.

    I am SO in love with you Sumanski. Forget about her, I am waiting for you in Pakistan!Recommend

  • Pakistani

    this is so sweet! I would love to know your story – how you met etc. All the best for when you visit Pakistan, you will love it :)Recommend

  • Sara

    All the good luck to you. You saw goodness in Pakistanis we ourselves fail to do. God bless.Recommend

  • Random Passerby

    Please do an AMA on Reddit.Recommend

  • Maria Khan

    Mr.Sumanski, you’ve only come across a limited cross-section of the elite in pakistan and you are generalising it as having met the average pakistani.The overwhelming majority of women in pakistan do have to undergo arranged marriages,do have to follow the decisions made by their fathers and brothers.Sadly, you’ve made simple generalisations instead of really seeing how the average pakistani girl lives.Women here do face suffocating restrictions,have to put up with brutal misogyny daily.You’ve romanticised a version of pakistan that is far from the reality.Recommend

  • Kiran

    Very nice to see an open minded and open hearted opinion of Pakistan. It’s true that a country and culture cannot be judged through what is projected by the media or a select group. I am quite sure that you will be even more delighted when you visit our beloved country and meet the people. Welcome to Pakistan!Recommend

  • Sidrah Rafiq

    So after seeing only the elite women you’ve reached the conclusion that all pakistani women are free enough to enter into journalism,film making careers? Woah! Why do foreigners come to pakistan and interact within a very limited circle of people and then wax eloquent about how good a situation women have over here in pakistan.Oversimplifying you experieces and extrapolating them as a representation of an entire society is dishonest.

    The vast majority of women in pakistan don’t have the choice of having lifelong jobs or marrying the man they want to marry out of love.

    Taking the experiences of the few people in the elites you’ve met and making that small sample into a statement about the freedoms of pakistani women is highly misleading.Ours is a deeply patriarchal society where men are the boss of the households and women are relegated to second class citizenship.Recommend

  • Rubina Tariq

    Sigh! another gora telling us how great life is for women in pakistan.The soft racism of lower expectations never ends.Recommend

  • A.B.Z

    welcome home Gordan..it was really refreshing reading the about ho your perceptions have changed for good..May it be like this for time to come.

    I on behalf of all Pakistanis WELCOME You on becoming part of us..i.e PAKISTANI..Recommend

  • Iftikhar Ahmed

    To Maria, Sidra and Rubina

    He had his reasons for the love and respect and let him imbibe more of it, and he will know the intricacies attached. But misogyny is not the only problem having it roots in the power structure and vested interests of the parochial status quo forces. Not everyone is a hate-monger, but a carrier of it because HE is probably himself a victim. And by the way tell me frankly ‘is there no role of the elderly women, even mothers in creating this divide? Pampering the male children like princes is the favorite hobby of the mom than the dad.Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/#!/AreebahShahid Areebah Shahid

    yayyeee someone has something good to say about us finally!! Thank you!!

    As for the complainers – i’m not elite but i’m neither burqa clad nor forced to conform so puh-leez stop whining and he never said that women her are treated well, he’s saying that they are determined despite the way they are treated..thank you Sumanski!!Recommend

  • Who said this?

    O nadaan parinday gher aaja!Recommend

  • madiha.saeed

    this was such a sweet post! wish you two a very happy life :)

    Recommend

  • Marium

    Beautiful piece :) Recommend

  • http://www.globojobs.com S Qureshi

    BTW who controls the media in the West specially in North America? You will never get a positive story about Pakistan or Muslims.Recommend

  • obscurantist

    they say ”susral k muhallay ka kutta bhi acha lagta hai”.
    its your love for the girl that’s making you say all this.had she not been your mate you’d never bother looking at this country..and yess you are way too generalizing in your writing.Recommend

  • Ms. Pakistani

    Mr Sumanski sure did generalise the image of Pakistani women by meetin just, all-polished, full-of-life, vibrant women from the elite class, but I belong to middle class and I have a HUGE social circle consistin of women of such type, includin myself, which am not boastin, but that is true. Be it some university student or some random workin lady, women in Pakistan have grown up A LOT. They are confident, enthusiastic, and have as much passion as guys. Proud to be one of them.

    All the best to you Gordan! :)Recommend

  • http://www.twitter.com/jahanzebmemon Jahanzeb

    Well written. Welcome to Pakistan ;)Recommend

  • Mufazzil

    Indeed, there are several reasons to believe in Pakistan.
    Pakistan Zindabad :)Recommend

  • mokh

    A positive piece-brought tears to my eyes-why must so many here be so cynical-and I’m so fed up hearing gora or gori! I’m a “gori”-been here for over 30 years -seen all sides of society and more of the country than many others-and I see all sections of the community becoming more enlightened and participating in mainstream -not just the”elite”.Stop belittling Pakistan and Pakistanis-stop abandoning your motherland-dont ask what your country can do or does not do for you-we all know it’s faults-start on a personal level and see what you can do for Pakistan.Pakistan Zindabad!!Recommend

  • Asad

    So we need gora saab’s endorsement that things are not as bad in pakistan as it is portrayed to make us happy? If a fellow pakistani says the same thing he/she is bashed for being delusional.Recommend

  • Waqas Ali Malik

    ufffffffffffffffffffffffffffff kia bat hai :)
    wow what a cool sharing bro , really glad to hear that, specially Hai Allah :)Recommend

  • Muhammad Faizan

    Wow man u really won our hearts.. God bless U !Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    You are adorable Gordon. All the best to you and your soul mate!Recommend

  • xohaib hassan

    i would just like to know if you both have some religious difference, n if you have, how did you both handled that. Very good to see that you could see some hope with Pakistan. Goodluck, n welcome to Pakistan. :)Recommend

  • cheryl

    well say Mr. author, yet after describing all the good thinngs about Pakistan would u leave ur own country and live ur rest of ur life in Pakistan, surely u would not ..Recommend

  • http://rorolia.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/bcb-blames-zaid-hamids-deceptive-propaganda-for-asia-cup-loss/ Xain Gardezi

    Please do not share ur plans here and save urself from the toubles of being kidnapped for ransom Recommend

  • Reader

    Simply loved it!

    It’s good to hear someone admiring our radiant culture. But all the while, evil and good go side by side. Some less flexible people have misused our precious culture and religious values to harass women. Its just because of male chauvinism that today women are mistreated here in Pakistan. But like I said, evil and good go side by side. And InshAllah, soon enough Pakistan will become a model society where everyone shall live in peace. We just need support from developed states to overcome our problems.
    Happy Married Life Mr. Gordan.Recommend

  • manish

    tell us one thing bhai sahab: are you ready to convert to islam if you desire to marry your lover?

    the answer is important as few weeks back a pakistani girl blogged on this very page that she
    would never marry a non-muslim. so weigh your chances before you propose her.Recommend

  • geeko

    Really nice piece, there’s definitely more to Pakistan than intl. media’s headlines and wish you both a happy life, but wait for the pseudo-feminist brigade to unleash fiery rhetoric diatribe about the fact that you actually saw Pak. women breathing, let alone going into film-making. y_yRecommend

  • Hashmi

    The greatest country on the face of the earth.

    These days single handidly being sent to stone age by current ruling elite and the government..Recommend

  • coco

    So have you actually visit Pakistan yet, or is this post in anticipation of visiting the country?Recommend

  • Reader

    @obscurantist:
    Loved the quote you added! bravo!Recommend

  • sara

    Bussssssss !!!! you are officially Pakistan’s favourite son in law. Hai Allah !!Recommend

  • narayana murthy

    Dear Author, U didn’t mention if ur deep love asked u to convert to Islam?Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    pss, pss, keep the bits about the Pakistan women entering all kinds of fields, as secrets. Lest the Taliban and MNAs may demolish the girls schools and ban women education. okay???Recommend

  • Khalid

    @Sidrah Rafiq:
    Why do you see negative in the husband as a Boss and the stuff. Comeon it is what Islam says but women rights do exist to make sure women is living a good life…
    Overall you guys observation is good about this article….. A generalised opinion on a few women of elite class….Recommend

  • eff

    To all the whiners (no name in specific)… YOU are infact the reason why Pakistan needs the endorsement of a so-called ‘gora’ to make the world realise that at-least some Pakistanis are good people… YOU are the people who belittle everything that is good about Pakistan by highlighting everything that is bad… YOU need to realise that there is good and bad in every society and so there is in Pakistan as well… YOU are the ones who keep complaining about everything that is bad in Pakistani society and yet do nothing to improve things… YOU are the one who will jump at the first opportunity of immigration… and yes, YOU are the ones who will go abroad and bad-mouth everything about your own country not realise that YOU are the ones generalising your ownself in the eyes of the people reading/listening to your whiny comments…

    Yes, there are a lot of bad things about Pakistan but please before you tell anyone else to stop generalising, please stop generalising yourself. Wake up and smell the coffee because every country has their own share of issues and problems but their citizens, media and governments choose to focus on the good things rather than the bad ones! I have lived in 4 different countries during different phases of my life and I have travelled to many others. I know that there are a lot of things wrong with a lot of places. I have met a cornicopia of people from different countries and culture. Yet, it is only the Pakistanis that keep bad-mouthing their own people, their own country and their own culture.

    So YOU need to look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you are generalising or the so-called ‘gora’ who wrote this article or the so-called ‘semi-gora’ writing this comment!Recommend

  • Ataullah

    Hmmm… Since when is nihari Pakistani? As everyone knows (except this blogger) knows it is indian with origins in uttar pradesh and Delhi with further development in Hyderabad, India. I guess I am tired of Pakistan taking credit for indian things. But then so is Urdu which is basically indian belonging to UP but Pakistan thinks it is also theirs.

    An true UP indian MuslimRecommend

  • geeko

    @eff:
    True, Pakistanis psychologically swing between two ends of the same spectrum : either irrationally jingoistic to the core or culturally self-immolating to the bones.
    The author’s either “accused” of being a “gora”, which probably means that he has to be culturally patronizing, or to just speak about the “élite” of women in Pakistan.
    Give him a break lads and ladies.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    It’s very touching, but such blogs are getting pretty redundant.

    Every month, we see a foreign blogger pandering to Pakistani nationalists, offering his or her condolences for the way we’re misrepresented by the world media, and saying how awesome our foods, festivals, clothing and trucks are.

    As the charm of an exotic culture subsides with time, a dark place with hopelessly messed up social systems, and atrociously bad governance, looms into view.

    George Fulton loved Pakistan too when he first came here, and Pakistani loved him back. Nine years later, he wrote,

    “That love was conditional. Conditional upon me playing the role cast — the naïve ‘gora’ (white person). The moment I abandoned the Uncle Tom persona and questioned the defined establishment narratives — whether through my television work or columns — excommunication began.”

    This isn’t ethno-masochism, or that I’m irritated by people praising my country’s culture(s). I just feel wary because such articles, more often than they should, end up feeding our people’s sense of jingoism, and stoke the fires of hubris that are already burning blue…even when all the author simply wanted was to extend a proverbial olive branch, and express his goodwill.Recommend

  • sultan mirza

    if you want to see how pakistani girls eat dust when it comes to running after a gora, read the comments here. I’m glad I hate pakistani women and this enforces me to keep my decision.Recommend

  • Ali

    I think when you come to Pakistan and see the grinding poverty in your face and the way women are treated, your views will change. As someone mentioned above it is your love for your wife that makes you see only good things. There are many good things in Pakistan, the plight of women not being one of them.

    I don’t think you realise how lucky and priviliged your wife is. The fact that she can take back a foreigner as her husband, the fact that she can even choose her own husband, the fact that she chose him because she loves him.

    I hope you have a fantastic time in Pakistan, but please pay attention to the full story. And when you finally do see our country I hope you are still as enthusiastic about it.

    Peace!Recommend

  • Gordan Sumanski

    @Sidrah Rafiq: For your kind information the people I have mingled with in Canada, Pakistani specifically, do not make up the elite forces of Pakistan. They are humble, middle class people who have the will to do for their country even while living in Canada. Moreover, my fiancé works, takes no money from her family, pays her own rent and bills and strives to better her community both at home and in Canada…now…does that sound elite to you? Recommend

  • Gordan Sumanski

    @Rubina Tariq: Wow! Have you read the piece? Where do I say women in Pakistan live a great life…do you not observe the part where I say “they are making it despite the CRIME being committed against them in their country?” I am speaking of the Pakistani women who make it out to the West whether as refugees, workers, students, and immigrants. Recommend

  • Gordan Sumanski

    @Maria Khan: Yup…and you can use all your power and education, to change the plight of women in your country! Recommend

  • Gordan Sumanski

    @Rubina Tariq: You clearly didn’t read the piece well if that is your conclusion, Rubina. I never once stated life for women is great in Pakistan. My experience has been with middle class citizens who have migrated here, work very hard to make a living, pay their bills and are very active in bettering their homeland through social work and awareness. There is misogyny in every society…in some people get up and do something about it by making a difference, in other societies, people choose to sit back and complain. Recommend

  • Gordan Sumanski

    @Ali: I was conscripted in the war in Serbia. I have seen terror, bloodshed, mass genocide, and if you know anything about Yugoslavian history, it was nothing if not traumatic. So, no, I am not sheltered in a bubble and there are many challenges we both have to face when it comes to her family, but I am hopeful enough to get through them one day. Just as you have to be hopeful your country will get out of the run it is in. We all do, eventually. Recommend

  • Gordan Sumanski

    @sultan mirza: Well…I went after her and she is unlike any other woman I know..from ANY culture or ethnicity out there in the world so…don’t really care about other women eating dust…whatever that means.Recommend

  • Gordan Sumanski

    @narayana murthy: We are both not religious and believe in spirituality a lot more than organized religion, so that isn’t really a criteria. As for her family, we’ll deal with it when the time comes. Recommend

  • Gordan Sumanski

    @manish: I have already proposed and the proposal was accepted whole heartedly, Bhai Saab! :) Recommend

  • Mani

    Asalam Wa alekum every one ……………..we are waiting for himRecommend

  • narayana murthy

    @Author who writes “We are both not religious and believe in spirituality a lot more than organized religion, so that isn’t really a criteria. As for her family, we’ll deal with it when the time comes.”

    That’s nice to know. True love should always transcend these barriers. Gud on you and your deep/true love.Recommend

  • umer adil

    Great article Gordan. Ignore the haters, you’re bang on: the culture and the people are absolutely beautiful….you will have a wonderful time when you go to Pakistan. Do visit Lahore… you’ll fall more in love with food!Recommend

  • Pakistani

    i found your piece extremely interesting.i will not lie when i say that all of these things coming from a person who is a white man is very refreshing and makes a pakistani like me feel good that there are still people out there who seem to find Pakistan to be likeable. however, there are bits and pieces that i do not agree with at all. For eg.
    “I was always under the impression that most Pakistani women succumb to marriages arranged by their parents, come out to Canada to get away from extremely conservative and patriarchal settings while the ones left behind live under a staunch code of dressing without the ability to truly enjoy themselves and the world they are living in.” this impression of yours is quite correct. there are still a lot of Pakistani women who succumb to arranged marraiges or are killed if they choose to marry someone of their own choice. being exposed to a few hundred people in Canada( from ure above post i assume thats where you live) does not mean that you know exactly how Pakistan works. its great that you have encountered women who are independent etc. because of course Pakistan is witnessing a rise in such women however, again you are only exposed to a handful of women.
    Again this is criticism arises because i truly feel that the only reason why you have written this piece is because you are in love with a Pakistani woman and are only exposed to a handful of the people. therefore you make a judgment that this is what Pakistan is. Although i may contradict myself a little here i must also point out that most media reports are an exaggeration of what is happening, however on the other hand i would also point out that if you live in Pakistan you will know that a great percentage of what is reported is also true.
    Also i must point out that there is much more to Pakistan than food, shalwar kameez, eid and dholkis. your piece seems to be biased only because u are in love with a lovely Pakistani woman. THATS IT! you have never even visited Pakistan so for you to write this Article is a complete waste. iv never visited Canada but i do know a few Canadians, do you think that allows me to pass a Judgement on the whole Country?
    before i leave i must say please do not be irresponsible and announce that you will come for a visit because chances are that you may be kidnapped!Recommend

  • sultan mirza

    @Gordan and secondly I was refering to the comments and not your to-be wife. You are already talking like a Pakistani….thats one hell of an achievement I must say, jumping the gum is the speciality without reading the context. Good progress son. Just an advice, don’t try deploying the chute before pressing the eject button or you will end up suffocating while trying to live.Recommend

  • Bilal

    you say all this now that too only because u stayed amongst well off upper class pakistanis. but i doubt u will have the same love for this country were you to live here and not just visit and experience normal day to day life as a common man. Any place is good for visiting, living somewhere is a completely different story.
    and fyi the only reason people were so nice to you was because your skin is white. im sorry for being a buzz kill but i really hate it when foreigners try to make our pathetic nation seem better than it is.Recommend

  • Mango Juice

    I don’t know why people are complaining so much about ‘generalization’ and a ‘gora’ endorsing our way of life. Come on people, stop whining! If someone says something bad about Pakistan, you get all worked up, if someone says something nice about Pakistan, you get into nitpicking! Either way, one can’t win with Pakistanis! Enough self-pity ok! Things for women here are changing, its a long journey and loads left to do but this is one cause that deserves your good faith -not your slander and doubts. I remember having to speak about life for Pakistani women at an international forum and the questions I got from the audience were evident of fact that they were seriously misinformed! So, I’m really thankful to the author here for writing this piece. Recommend

  • Safa Rashid

    Dear Mr. Sumanski,

    It made me so happy to read your article, rarely is Pakistan seen with such a positive vision. It actually is an amazing country, do visit soon. I would like to recommend when you do go, make sure to go north. The mountains and lush greens are breathtaking. I myself am a pakistani, but live overseas, and wasn’t fond of my home country much. Last summer, my father took me and i was amazed by all the hidden treasures the country holds. Good luck on writing your next article. I must say the kurta suits you quite a lot! Say hello to your fianceé from me! Recommend

  • sana

    You are one of those foriegners, that has been hand picked by a rich pakistani woman, brought back home, ofcourse her parents had no issues with you, as they are not thje average pakistani middle class who really would have issues with their girl marrying a foriegner so would 90percent of all pakistanis. You came you saw big houses nice food rich ppl lavish weddings etc and u decided to go back and write an article. Good! Atleast uve been honest about your personal experience. Recommend

  • Samia Salman

    Please don’t take this the wrong way, but have you considered reverting yet? Say hey to Mariam!Recommend

  • Big Rizvi

    will you be able to be stuck with the rising inflation, low budget Japanese cars being sold at the prices of sports/luxury cars and the hours of load shedding? Not to mention the religious and anti-American crowd trying to sniff you out like the dogs they are every now and then? Tough luck, man. Cheers. Welcome to Pakistan.Recommend

  • SnK

    What Mr. Sumanski is simply trying to say is that he likes Pakistani people and their culture. This did not call for such a negative outburst from some people.
    Wishing you a very long and happy married life, Mr. Sumanski!Recommend

  • Jhalla

    The agenda of the ET is all to obvious. Pakistan today is at the same stage Iran was in the last days of the Shah’s reign. Once again American interference in a Muslim country is going to lead to tragedy.Recommend

  • Amjad

    @narayana murthy: To Gordon – Ignore the Indian haters and trolls who post negativity. Just be prepared for the Pakistan bashing that invariably comes from Indians under real or fake names. I admire your fascination with Pakistan. As a developing country, there are many challenges there but it’s great that you can see the beauty in many things. If you have been to any developing nation, you’ll see that many of the problems of poverty and corruption are common in the Third World but you’ll be richer for enjoying what’s good there. This is a problem for Pakistanis themselves. As a nation, Pakistanis are quick to criticize but are slow to do complete our own responsibilities. Just do what seems right to you and you’ll have a great time. The key is not to be put off by haters – they will always be there and they will never change.Recommend

  • S

    @Sidrah Rafiq:
    Give him a break! Poor guy. He’s made one step towards understanding the country, I’m sure he’ll see Pakistan’s true dismal state soon, don’t you worry. The authors generalizations could have been swayed by his fiance too, just by the way.Recommend

  • S

    The trouble with Pakistan starts right here does it not? A heartfelt piece written with the noblest of intentions gets trashed left and right by a folk who can never appreciate anything at face value; everything must be torn down. We do nothing ourselves but complain and then critique others for not trying or not trying enough. Someone commented asking whether the author will convert; what business is that of anyones? A nosy, ungrateful bunch we are, incapable of looking at our own dirty laundry before pointing out that of others’. Recommend

  • Ali

    Thanks for the reply Gordan. Hope you have a nice trip to Pakistan and best wishes for your future together!Recommend

  • Gordan Sumanski

    @S: Yup they were swayed by the way she advocates for women’s rights in Pakistan…they were swayed by the tireless way she screamed herself hoarse when raising funds on the streets of Toronto for Pakistani flood victims, also through her constant efforts to bring awareness toward Child Sexual Abuse in Pakistan working with NGO’s like Saahil and I guess they were also swayed by her charitable efforts toward the betterment of Balochistan. Indeed…they were swayed! Recommend

  • Gordan Sumanski

    @Pakistani: So people like Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Tehmina Durrani, Depilex Foundation helping Acid Victims, organizations like Sahil, Spaarc, Darul Sukoon, Eidhi, the various philosophers, philanthropists, authors, journalists, documentarians, NGO workers, aid workers, social workers…these people living in Pakistan, working for Pakistan are not representative of it at all? I see…thanks for letting me know. As I mentioned, my fiancé does immeasurable charity for Pakistan, never once has she sat there and complained about it. Her actions speak louder than words…which is more than I can say for many people commenting out here. Get up and do something, the streets are yours to improve. Recommend

  • Gordan Sumanski

    @Big Rizvi: I was conscripted in the army during Yugoslavian bloodshed. If you know anything about our history, you’ll know I have seen rivers flowing red with blood while fishing with my father, pulling out dead bodies and providing refuge to both Serbians and Bosnians in the basement of our home…I am sure inflation and load shedding will not phase me, but thanks for your concern. Recommend

  • Gordan Sumanski

    @sana: Sana, I haven’t been to Pakistan. I am hoping to go one day. Please go over the article before making baseless comments. Recommend

  • Gordan Sumanski

    @sultan mirza: This coming from the man who says he hates all Pakistani women because they eat dust….Recommend

  • American

    The whiners are wrong. Almost all the Pakistanis I’ve met in the US were people whose families were part of Pakistan’s MIDDLE CLASS (at least the middle class it used to have and not part of the elite class) who moved to America for a better life. That’s partly why they are such good and hard working people. They retained their good eastern values but also became hardworking Americans (or Westerners).Recommend

  • Gordan Sumanski

    @Samia Salman: Reverting to what, if you don’t mind me asking?Recommend

  • Vigilant

    :) Good read & welcome 2 Pakistan….
    We have problems, crimes other issues but we are Pakistan and we believe in Pakistan means we believe in ourselves….Recommend

  • Ailya

    As long as you remain the innocent and naive gora, we will love you. But as soon as you start finger pointing and asking questions, however rational they may be, we will wabt you to leave our country. But I guesd by then you probably would have left on your own.
    Like George (Of Kiran and George). :(Recommend

  • What the…?

    Bravo!!Recommend

  • Farooq

    Thanks to you I will have a horrible rest of the day at work, the only thing I can think of now is getting my hands on is some haleem!!Recommend

  • Athar Ali

    Very refreshing! Something positive about a place rest of the world consider dangerous to be part of. Wish you two a very happy, prosperous life. Recommend

  • Ali

    Thank you for writing such beautiful article about us.Recommend

  • Sunflower

    okkk i liked, well positively readable and i totally agree wid da author dat
    “What I have learnt from this experience is that judgement cannot be passed on a country, religion, culture or group of people through biased exposure to news reports or because of the actions of a select few……..yupppp , keep praising :)))Recommend

  • Parvez

    You won’t be the first nor the last to meet and like the average solid Pakistani. Good luck.Recommend

  • Girl

    Yes it really is refreshing, sitting on the ground and eating with your bare hands. But I mainly do it cuz it’s sunnah :)

    There was this Chinese guy my father met in Kuwait, the only dress he wore was Shalwar Qameez. He too found it very comfortable and airyRecommend

  • CB Guy

    really like the piece, certainly we need more guys and gals from the west to visit this great country of ours. Recommend

  • manish

    @Gordan Sumanski:

    all the very good for you bhai, yours is truly in love with you. fiancees who accept you as you are, infact, are quite rare to find. you got one and all the best for your future.Recommend

  • Irfan Anwar

    @Maria Khan:
    Did you really have that urgent need to expel all this hatred through your fingers and splash it all over the internet for everyone to read?
    Isn’t the image of Pakistan already bad enough?

    Sir i’m really pleased to read your story. I wish you best of like and may you take away the most memorable of the memories with you. Looking forward to seeing you in Pakistan soon.Recommend

  • Atiya

    @Sidrah Rafiq you must really hate being a woman in PakistanRecommend

  • Pakistan LOVER

    awwwwwwww…..So nice OF YOU !! LOVED the “UFFF” and “haye Allah” part …… Well it waz really nice hearing that you were really welcomed and I Pray to Allah That You’ll Always BE …. Have a GREAT,HAPPY life ahead ! InshaALLAH <3Recommend

  • Pakistan LOVER

    And I really liked your BLUE kurta….You look like my elder brother Talal a LOT :) keep Smiling :DRecommend

  • Adeel Naseem

    I think this is an awesome article depicting a misunderstood culture from the inside showing some ubiquitous ideas. I agree with most of the ideas presented… However as I continued to read the comments it came to my understanding that Pakistani woman feel like its a misrepresentation, and falsifying the reality of a woman’s perspective. Yes a man did write this article and lacks the psycho-ambiguity of a PAKISTANI woman. However I feel that we should take this article for what it is meant to represent which is to embrace the culture as it may be, and also to give hope to those who are aware of the issues within the country, that reform isn’t such a far fetched idea with the increasing dominance of a more educated society.Recommend

  • http://- Abid P Khan

    @Ataullah:

    “Hmmm… Since when is nihari Pakistani? As everyone knows (except this blogger) knows it is indian with origins in uttar pradesh and Delhi with further development in Hyderabad, India. I guess I am tired of Pakistan taking credit for indian things…”

    By this post the only thing that becomes apparent is your total lack of knowledge about a culture, which you claim to be your own.

    Most of these so called Mughliyah dishes you lay claim upon, have their origin some where else. They found their way into Hindostan along with different waves of migrants from central parts of Asia. I will just give a few examples of common dishes and countries of their origin.

    Nihari > Kelle pahche (Iran)
    Pulao > Polo (Iran)
    Biryani > Biryani (Iran)
    Haleem > (Iran)
    Sabzi > Sebze (Iran)
    Nan > (Iran, generic name for all bread types)
    Qorma > Ghormeh (Iran), Kavurma (Turkey)
    Kabab > Kabab (Arabic)
    Koftah > Koftah (Arabic)
    Jalebi > Jalabi (Arabic)
    Halwah > Halwah (Arabic for anything sweet, even a person)
    Sheer Khurmah > (Central Asia)
    Shami Kabab, Kabab from Damascus Syria.
    Panir > Peynir (Turkey)
    Qeemah > Kiyma (Turkey)

    The dishes neither taste nor look exactly the same everywhere. Radical, changes in food preparation took place with exposure to the West. Introduction of tomatoes and potatoes from South America became important ingredients. Chilli Pepper from Cayenne in Mexico, made foods taste much stronger than traditionally.Recommend

  • Dow

    Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world…… if you happen to be climbing K2. Recommend

  • ukmuslim

    i can sense that you are in deeply love. looks like you left your full time job and just reading (trying to know) about pakistan and pakistani culture. in your post, “Pakistani aunties and uncles…” reflects this. i never seen a gora calling third party women or men calling aunties or uncles. you are the first. congratulations.
    it takes enormous efforts and time to acquire that knowledge about alien culture, probably 25-30 years. what can i say, well done.Recommend

  • Fatima

    Gordan, I’m glad you are exposed to the better aspects of the Pakistani culture. I’m sure your fiance will have informed you of what possibilities await the two of you if you ever chose to live in the country. The most problematic of them will be your religious inclinations and the union of a Pakistani woman with a non-Muslim man. The Pakistani culture won’t seem so colorful anymore and the haleem will lose its taste. Your fiance is lucky she lives in Canada and has the freedom to accept a proposal by someone not from her family’s belief-system. That Does Not happen in Pakistan. Most of the readers so ecstatic about your praise for the country will spout hateful things pretty soon if they see you as someone who dared marry a Muslim girl without converting to the faith himself. They’ll call me a hater but the day they realize (which ain’t coming very soon) that it is not hate but calling a spade a spade, the country and its people will have taken a step in the right direction. Good luck and good wished for your new life!Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/sohaib.a.nizamani Sohaib Nizamani

    Please people, if someones found the better side of us let him enjoy! It is hard to find the better in our country anyway! I just wish these sorta articles were published in non-paki newspapers.

    But good on ya mate.. Best of luck for the future. and welcome aboard :)Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    Gordon, please try to settle in either Lahore or Islamabad, you will love it! I promise :)Recommend

  • John B

    Glad you found your love. But you should be equally aware of Islamic traditions and custom. They do not give away their women in marriage unless you become a Muslim. Oh, by the way you can’t revert back once you become a Muslim.

    Unless your Canadian family are liberal enough in their thinking in this regard, you should be aware of this. Have a good life amidst all odds. Overall PAK people are wonderful. Recommend

  • Conan

    @narayana murthy:
    Why does he have to convert to Islam?

    Religion is personal, I don’t why people in the subcontinent are obsessed with religion.

    Since you’re from India, I didn’t expect you and the other Indian commenters to bring up religion.Recommend

  • Zalim Singh

    dear gordon

    love usually cuts cross culture (and religion also). white guys loving dark girls and vice versa. Its natural. Hopefully society learns to respect this.Recommend