Why British Pakistanis should visit their motherland

Published: May 25, 2012

The close-minded attitude towards ones own heritage is sort of like a love-hate relationship with Pakistan. PHOTO: ZAB MUSTEFA

The close-minded attitude towards ones own heritage is sort of like a love-hate relationship with Pakistan. PHOTO: ZAB MUSTEFA If I were to tell cousins in the UK that the street art along the walls of Garhi Shahu is more impressive than that of an east London wall, I would be met with shock. PHOTO: ZAB MUSTEFA PHOTO: ZAB MUSTEFA

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 big cultural difference, but in a way it’s refreshing to truly go back to your roots.

The majority of our parents immigrated to the UK back in the 1950’s. My father arrived as a fresh-faced teenager to Glasgow. Similarly, my mother came to London when she was 22. Unashamedly simple to this day, both are patriotic towards Pakistan and love their homeland.

Before leaving for Pakistan, I was given several perplexed looks; everybody was confused as to why I was going there with family and relatives. They were bemused at the fact that I wasn’t going shopping nor was I going to a wedding.

If I were to tell cousins in the UK that the street art along the walls of Garhi Shahu in Lahore is more impressive than that of an east London wall, I would be met with shock and awe.

If I were to describe the intellectual students coming in and out of universities here, rather than sleazy Pakistani guys with bad haircuts, it would be beyond belief.

This close-minded attitude towards ones own heritage is sort of like a love-hate relationship with Pakistan.

It’s interesting how most second generation British-Pakistanis speak Urdu and/or Punjabi fluently. They also love their curries and shalwar kameez, yet you mention Pakistan and an uncomfortable silence will linger.

Personally, hearing the sabzi walaa (vegetable seller) push his cart through the narrow side streets makes me smile. Watching flat-bread coming out of the tandoor is a million times better than waiting at the bakers section of your local Tesco supermarket to get chewy, artificial dough that is supposed to resemble “fresh” bread.

In some ways, being born and bred in a British society with Pakistani culture does equate to an identity crisis.  However you take the best from both. There is nothing wrong with embracing the western lifestyle, after all you become accustomed to the society you live in. However, problems arise when you forget your heritage and everything about your origin becomes ridiculed.

Yes, we all like to imitate our parents and joke about things our auntie jees (aunts) do. Like the time an aunt refused to pay £1 for a cup of tea, insisting that she would wait till she went home and make it herself.

However, there is a difference between humour and the ignorance that many young British Pakistanis have towards their land of origin. I can tell you that not many know who the current prime minister is or are aware that some of the most prestigious designers participated in Pakistan Fashion Week last month.

Unfortunately, for many, though not all, Pakistan is all about beards, buffaloes and extremism.

We should make more of an effort to know our history and background. Without sounding condescending to those already here, I am sure that you are already aware that Pakistan is indeed a beautiful country; there is so much to see and so much to do.

There is nothing wrong with being British and proudly admitting that you love Pakistan.

Read more by Zab here, or follow her on Twitter @zabadabadoo

Zab Mustefa

Zab Mustefa

Zab Mustefa is a British journalist who specialises in women's rights and culture. She tweets @zabmustefa (twitter.com/zabmustefa)

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

  • Faisal

    Being a british citizen and fantasizing about Pakistani lifestyle and having pity sentiments about Pakistan is one thing while actually living an ordinary Pakistani’s daily life and facing the cruel and bitter realities like loadshedding, terrorism,crimes and corruption etc. in an utter lawless society is another thing which usually british citizens are really afraid of while visiting Pakistan.Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    Im Canadian as well as Pakistani :D and I am proud to say I loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Pakistan. Thanks for the great article. Recommend

  • BlackJack

    Considering the identity crisis that seems prevalent with many British Pakistanis (the news hasn’t exactly been positive as of late), it seems that many of you have carried Pakistan into the UK with you. If you want a feel of the culture, it is most likely available closer to home than you think.Recommend

  • uncle

    Beti, you’re a good child.Recommend

  • Confused

    …right. So it’s all about street art, intelligent university students, smiling at the labor of sabzi/tandoor waalas, and, last but not least, Fashion week designers? Yeah I don’t think you can persuade people to come to Pakistan with that argument :p The blog title is overstretching it a bit, but yes, if culture matters to you by all means learn it.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    I don’t think the British would like that.

    Let me start out with saying I know most people in Britain of Pakistani origin are smart and hardworkers and honest. But, that is not the complete truth.

    Take for instance an American citizen who had a Pakistani father. He studied in Pakistan upto high school, he then went on to help LeT plan the Mumbai attacks, where 170 people were killed. His name was Dawood Gilani, who later changed it to David Headley.

    If you look at 7/7 bombings in London, all or most of them were of Pakistani decent.

    Not just Terrorism, just look at the recent case where a bunch of Pakistani origin men(Note, the were born in Britain but used to visit Pakistan regularly) have raped so many British women. All of them, except one, had Pakistani origin.


    I am sure you will come up with the usual retort that these cases are one in a million, other nationalities commit crimes yet only Pakistanis are targeted and this is racial profiling and such, but all that will only deflect serious reasoning.

    Pakistani values and British values do not match, not even close. I think there are 10 Million Pakistani origin people in Britain. Even if few of those millions get radicalized by going to Pakistan, doesn’t that make it sufficient number to commit the above crimes, I have mentioned?

    This article is diametrically opposite to what the link of the blog I am providing above indicates.Recommend

  • American-Pakistani

    British Pakistanis are one of thee reasons why Pakistan has a bad reputation in Britain, unlike us Pakistani-Americans, British Pakistanis migrated from rural Pakistan and took their backward customs to England and didn’t assimilate, because of that British Pakistanis have the second highest poverty rate in Britain after Bangladeshis, on the other hand Pakistani-Americans tend to be a lot more liberal and more successful, in fact the median income for Pakistani-Americans is higher than the national average and Pakistani-Americans have high rates of educational attainment.

    Also, since America isn’t a welfare state like Britain or Canada, we don’t sit at home doing nothing.Recommend

  • Raj

    Excellent write up, please make sure you leave a little Lord Nazir Ahmed in you in UK. When you are in Pakistan, please do not declare bounties on the heads of Barack Hussain Obama and George Walker Bush.Recommend

  • Uzair

    I think the problem is the other way around: Why do British citizens feel the need to identify with the homeland of their parents or grandparents so strongly? Being an expat (but not an immigrant) for a couple of years I can understand the emotional attachment one has with one’s country, but I find it bemusing that the Pakistani origin Britishers still live their lives so strongly according to Pakistani culture. As a rule the Pakistanis (and other Muslims) who have immigrated to Europe have brought their culture and are sticking to it no matter what, which is understandably causing problems. It is perfectly fine to continue to use your own language (as long as you know the native one), and to wear your own clothing (but don’t stand out excessively); but what I see is the same perverted mental attitudes such as regarding women and non-muslims and one’s obligations to the states being on display as in the home countries. Witness the recent case involving the Muslim Pakistani-origin child rapists in the UK… their mentality was EXACTLY what you would find in a lot of Pakistanis within Pakistan. And observe how the majority (some reports suggest 75%) of marriages in the Pakistani-British community are within first cousins.

    With respect to the author it is fine to want to visit your parents’ country of origin, but I hope that your compatriots understand that they are BRITISH and need to not just respect British laws but culture as well. And I am confused by your statement: “However, problems arise when you forget your heritage and everything about your origin becomes ridiculed.” Which problems exactly?Recommend

  • littlegiant

    @American-Pakistani: really? I think you need to visit the lines of streets along cony island in brooklyn, the devan st area in Chicago or the Jackson height concentrations in queens to see the quality of lives that Pakistanis are living there. Where are those so-called successful thousands hiding? In fact, working at a grocery store or driving a cab are the most prevelent jobs that Pakistanis do in the U.S. This is also true of UK and Canada. However, given that the concentrations of Pakistanis in U.S. are near run-down areas of the cities or the so-called slum areas, saying that they are successful is a joke really. Exceptions are always there in all nations, including U.K., where one of the richest persons running a major national chain is of Pakistani origin. But such are just exceptions.Recommend

  • mrk

    @American-Pakistani: unless there has been a magical leap in the wealth of Pakistanis in America over the last few years, here’s a report that you may find interesting. Pakistanis are among the poorest communities in New york, where over 60 thousand earn $12k per capita annually. Also note that perhaps half of Pakistanis don’t even identify themselves as Pakistanis in the voluntary surveys. So you may not be sitting home, there’s isn’t much going on out where you go to.

  • Brian

    I think immigrants in foreign countries should assimilate.

    We have the same problem in Canada, many neighborhoods like Brampton which are predominantly Indian/Punjabi are considered one of worst places to live in the GTA, in Vancouver , there’s a suburb called Surrey which is predominantly Indian/Punjabi and it also considered one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Vancouver.

    Some immigrants here in Canada are even supporting extremists.


  • American-Pakistani

    The median income of Pakistani-Americans is around $70,000 which is much higher than the national median of $55,000.

    Most Pakistani-Americans are doing very well, and the vast majority live in the suburbs, but just like everywhere there are poor Pakistanis as well, there are only 300,000 Pakistanis in America and there are 15,000 Pakistani doctors working in America, Pakistan is the 4th highest source of IMG doctors in the states.

    I’m aware that there are Pakistanis who aren’t doing well here, but there in the minority, and mostly concentrated in New York, many Pakistanis live outside New York and California and even Chicago.

    Most of the Pakistanis not doing well here are recent immigrants, who are taking time to assimilate, and some people aren’t doing well because of their illegal status, but the majority of Pakistani-Americans are legal and the legal ones are doing well.

    Also you must consider the fact that unlike Britain and Canada, America doesn’t special government programs to assimilate immigrants, we’re all self-made.

    In Canada and Britain the Governments there go out of their way to help immigrants assimilate but regardless of that they still don’t assimilate. Recommend

  • littlegiant

    @American-Pakistani: I would be very interested to know the source of your numbers – about the median incomes of Pakistanis and about the fact that there are only 3 lakh pakistanis in U.S. Even 15 years ago, there were more pakistanis estimated in u.s. then you have quoted. A pak embassy study estimated the concentration to be at least quarter of a million in 2005. Please note that many sources, including the wikipedia page on pakistani americans, states that there are about 1 lakh pakistanis in the new york, chicago each and very close numbers in LA and Houston.
    Also note this link whereby Pakistanis earned just 11 thousand in New york till few years back. Certainly no transformation has taken place since them.

  • American-Pakistani

    The number of Pakistanis in America are 409,163.

    According to the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, the median income of Pakistani-Americans is $63,000 which is much higher than the national average of America is $51,369 and the most common jobs for Pakistani-Americans are Doctors, Engineers,IT professionals,accountants and financial analysts.

    55% of Pakistani-Americans have bachelor degrees compare that to the national average of 28%.

    Although 15% of Pakistani-Americans fall below the poverty line, that is relatively better than 44% Pakistani-Canadians and and 55% of British Pakistanis.Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui

    Anoop seems to have issue with every article that is in favor of Pakistan , hes a big time attention gainer ,we use a term , “sport spoiler” , that’s what he is , well if you burn sooo much with hatred for Pakistan, why you not stop reading Pro-Pakistani articles, Its the writer’s own opinion, she isnt challenging the opinion of what indians think about British-Pakistanis.

    Well if you want to talk about crimes , the lets not go too far,

    Last year 22 illegal workers were arrested in UK , who they were ? Indians [source : IBN and other indian newspapers ]

    An indian family in US was arrested for letting their 30 year old daughter perform fake marriages, to not one but 20 indian, so that they can stay in US, aww poor men, so much hungry for US, that show how economic giant india iss [source : Deccan Herald ]

    Indian men arrested for trying to bury baby girl alive [Source : BBC ]

    Mumbai rape cases up 14% in 2011

    Samjhota Express, Gujrat , Mecca Masjid , Khalistaan, are not too much old ! Better look into your ownselves before pointing your fingers on other, this post wasnt supposed to be a messed up one, but you made it , as you have a huge problem with Pakistanis Recommend

  • American-Pakistani

    The per capita income for Pakistani-Americans is actually $24,700 which although lower than the national per capita of $27,100, is a lot better than British Pakistanis and Pakistani-Canadians.The median income is $63,000 for Pakistani-Americans which is much higher than the national medianof $51,369.

    Pakistani-Americans are relatively new and they’ve done really good so far compared to their counterparts in Britain and Canada.

    We still have problems though, but it’s not as bad all over America as it is in New York, New York is one of the most expensive places to live in America.

    We don’t have a welfare system in America, it’s every man for himself, we’re self-reliant here compared to our counterparts in Britain and Canada.


  • musheir

    the tragedy of UK pakistanis is this they came from rural areas to work in the mills sending money back to their families in pakistan who built big mansions for them many never got to live in them mansions dying before retirement due to ill health and overwork. their extended families have done ‘qabza’ fo their mansions. truely a sad tale. the moral of the story is don’t invest in mansions but invest in your childrens education.Recommend

  • littlegiant

    @American-Pakistani: yes that’s the point. Pakistanis understate their incomes in UK and Canada in order to gain financial benefits aka child tax benefit which can be up to several hundred dollars per child. However, it’s only available to low income persons. Put this another way, Pakistani americans apply for financial aid when attending colleges where they don’t declare their assets from Pakistan. You cannot compare apples and oranges. Incentives are different in each nation and so are the coaping mechanisms that pakistanis adapt. For example, many Pakistanis arriving in Canada and australia in past decade were professionals in Pakistan i.e., engineers, bankers, doctors etc. However, they have not been able to secure employment there. However, their has been significant capital outflows from Pakistan to Canada and Australia over this period. Close to hundred thousand Pakistanis in Mississauga in Canada and Sydney area in australia have gained over quarter million dollars each in last couple of years just from the housing market whereas U.S. housing has largely crashed.
    In terms of the number of Pakistanis, you may believe that figure but there would be at least as many pakistanis who would not declare in the census that they are Pakistanis because of the stereotypes associated. In any case, there is a discussion that’s not fruitful in any case as comparing apples and oranges is not useful. However, if there are absolute success stories of Pakistanis as compared to those from other nations, they would be great to know. Pakistanis, overall, have underachieved professionally in the nations that they have gone to. You can clearly see that by counting the number of Pakistanis in a C- (executive) level positions.Recommend

  • Hira Z

    British Pakistanis are one of thee reasons why Pakistan has a bad reputation in Britain Couldn’t agree more. Recommend

  • American

    I’m going to agree with most of what American-Pakistani is saying. Most immigrants start off with very little in New York.

    Look at the them one generation later and its remarkable, MashAllah, to see the universities their kids attended and what jobs/salaries they are attaining now. And by that time most have moved to the suburbs….Recommend

  • http://mezaajedeen.blogspot.com Tribune Reader

    Why is the debate moving to the situation of American and Canadian Pakistani’s
    It is about 2nd and 3rd generation British born Pakistani’s, most of them, they have parents or grandparents coming from Rural areas of Northern Punjab and Azad Kashmir, so for them the trip to Pakistan is flying into Islamabad or Lahore airport and driving straight to the family village, they do not to experience vibrant Pakistani cities such as Karachi and Lahore, you will still find some Pakistanis here in Britain who have experienced Lahore, but hardly any one has ever been to Karachi unless ofcourse their parents are from the Karachi area. British Pakistani’s of Sindhi and Urdu speaking heritage are very few in numbers, it is predominately Punjabi and Kashmiri, for a lot of them there is also the problem which is common among diaspora Pakistanis regardless of where they are, which is that their parents try to recreate the Pakistani culture at home which they left behind, for example if parents migrated from Rural Pakistan in the 70’s or the Zia’s Islamicised Pakistan of the 80’s, their likely to not have experienced a Pakistani society that has socially evolved and modernised. Recommend

  • Layla

    @ American-Pakistani: I’m British, my parents came from “rural Pakistan” and both are educated, but they still have that good connection to Pakistan. I love being Pakistani and British. Like the author said, I take the best from both cultures. That doesn’t mean I’m going to deny my roots and be 100% British, but you’re insinuating that all of us in the UK are literally from a village and that we bring bad aspects of Pakistan with us to the UK.

    The men recently tried for sex grooming are a MINORITY of British Pakistani men and the figure of white men practising the same crime is higher. Secondly, most British Pakistanis hardly walk around in a chador and flip flops, and thirdly, curry is the number 1 food in Britain. This is relevant because Asian culture; Bengali, Indian Pakistani and Sri Lankian, is a very big part of British society. This is among all communities.


  • hassan

    Inside every Pakistani, whether British or American or French, a radical is just waiting to jump out. All it needs is a spark to light the radical fire – for some, the spark could be small and for many the spark could be bigger.

    But, the reality is, given the right amount of provocation, a Pakistani irrespective of his nationality, is willing to release his latent destructive force on the rest of the populace of the world. Recommend

  • Simona

    @Uzair: “However, problems arise when you forget your heritage and everything about your origin becomes ridiculed.” Which problems exactly?”

    This is exactly what the fascist EDL thrives for; everyone being 100% British. No culture, no different dressing and only speaking English. If everyone is going to act like a white middle class Anglican Christian, then what is the point in having any culture in the first place?

    The UK is a very multi-cultural country. We pride ourselves in that. I’m speaking up for Italians, Africans and Asians. If you go on a London tube, there are at least 20 different languages being spoken. Would you say to them all solely to speak English?

    I’m not saying wear a burka and stick to your own community. You should respect the customs and laws of your country. But Pakistan/Indian/Bengali culture is a big part of what makes up the UK.

    Problems do arise when you forget your heritage yes. It does equate to an identity crisis. Recommend

  • Aish UK

    @ hassan

    Hahahahahaha you actually believe the rubbish you are writing? Nice generalisation there. So take me as an example. I’m a 21-year-old British Pakistani law student. Is the fanatic in me going to start following Al Qaeda when I graduate? Recommend

  • Awais

    Well, I did move to Pakistan for a whole year from 2009-2010, I went school there and everything. I think it depends entirely where you stay in Pakistan and who you stay with that generates an opinion about Pakistan. I stayed with my maternal grandmother outside Lahore City who was quite harsh on me and my sisters particularly (because they were girls who should not be allowed outside the house in her opinion). My whole time there was plagued with family fueds, loadshedding, diarrhea, political/religious arguments.
    The school teachers didn’t refrain from imposing their religion and politics and beating kids if they didn’t know an answer or made a spelling mistake. The only positive there was that I got to drive around in a battered 1984 model Daihatsu Charade or a cousins Honda CD70.Recommend

  • Sabih Shad

    I often wonder,

    If the grandparents migrated from India to Pakistan
    … and the parents migrated from Pakistan to XYZ country…

    Why do we keep insisting they are of Pakistani Origin?Recommend

  • geeko

    (replacing “Pakistani” with “Jew”) Oh, hi Hitler, how’s doing.

    And you’re as “hassan” as I’m probably a Vijay.Recommend

  • Shaq

    It’s always other pakistanis who seem to blame British Pakistanis, one of the problem is how british Pakistanis are depicted in the mainstream media by journalists, who’s everyday reality have nothing to do with pakistanis, I am third generation from mirpuri background and proud of my rural roots. In the history of modern immigration majority of first generation came rural background,  the sheer arrogance coming from Americanise Pakistanis, should check out history on early 20th century european immigrants to USA.Recommend

  • Love Pakistan

    Just checking out some of the comments here. Some people just like to criticise for the sheer hell of it like @confused.. Well if you want Pakistan to just be about the Taliban and loadsharing then be a cynic. The point of the writer is that she is saying there is more to Pakistan than all the negative things we see.

    At the labour of the sabzi walaa as you put it, well she’s not mocking him or anything. From an outsiders point of view, these things are different to British culture. So stop being so negative just for the sake of it. If you’ve got something worth saying say it.Recommend

  • Critical

    As an fellow Indian,I’ve just 2 words for you “Stop it”

    Honestly,I’m not a big fan of Pakistanis,but you need not go on a vengeful hatred mode everytime a Pakistani article crops up….

    Respect is something earned,not demanded….

    Either you are a troll who want to stir up a hornet’s nest or you’re someone who has stereotypical hate on others….

    I seriously this as a place where we have a good discussion between Indians and Pakistanis,not hatemongering…If you wish so,go to TOI,youtube or Pakistan patriots….

    BTW,Mods….May I know the reason why you allow Kaalchakra’s comments…Today in another article,he is praising an american who attempted to bomb USA….Recommend

  • M Aleem

    It’s so nice that second gen Pakistanis outside of Pakistan think like this :))))Recommend

  • hassan

    @Aish UK:

    Nice to see you laugh Aish. You ask :”Is the fanatic in me going to start following Al Qaeda when I graduate?”

    Can you take an oath that you will never become a radical or that you will never offer moral or financial support to violent groups? You cannot and you won’t.

    So, the answer is: Not now, but, sometime in the future. But it will happen one day surely. Recommend

  • British-Pakistani

    nice nice nice! i felt the same but never knew how to put it in words :-D heheRecommend

  • Amjad

    @Faisal: I think that British born Pakistanis need to focus more on issues which they have in the UK. Like many others, I have been to visit relatives in the UK and I cannot understand why so many Muslims, Pakistanis included live on social assistance which is basically state khayrat. They need to work and become integrated in society instead of spending time in snooker halls and take aways where they seem to be forever trying to chat up others. I know that there are some successful Pakistanis in Britain but the majority are living no better than a middle class family in Pakistan. Some would argue that they live worse off since so many of them don’t work and aren’t active in society. I know that there is racism in Britain but that is no excuse for not working hard and trying to get an education. Frankly, when they go back to Pakistan to show off, many people know that the source of their income is government khayrat, insurance money or some other dubious source and not from “halal” work.Recommend

  • Hinah

    I’ve been raised in Britain and I’ve also lived in Pakistan for a prolonged period of time as an ‘ordinary Pakistani citizen’ and I can say without a grain of doubt in my mind that I love and have enjoyed Pakistan – my Pakistan – much much more.
    Very few countries have an exquisitely beautiful country with as much of a diverse heritage and culture as we do… Learn to be proud.
    With regards to the issues you mentioned, Pakistan is amazing – granted it’s people aren’t.
    But isn’t it you & I that make up the Pakistani fraternity that is oh so awful? Maybe if we all put in a little effort and rejected the current system then people wouldn’t have so many contentions.
    Don’t you think we’ve brought these issues upon ourselves by letting the corrupt politicians walk away with our money, dignity and pride?

    P.s. Author – I agree! My family moved to Pakistan many years ago & I’ve got to say – best decision they could have ever made. They now have children that know their culture, their history, language and motherland and they love every bit of it! Recommend

  • Maria

    Expatriate Pakistanis mostly celebrate their heritage, but what point is their in celebrating your heritage in the UK where a good number of the Pakistanis don’t have jobs, live on government hand outs called the dole or engage in insurance, work or health fraud. Rather than visit Pakistan, they should try to improve the lot of fellow Pakistanis in the UK. Also Arabs in France have to help the poor unemployed Arabs there and Turks in Germany have to help poor Turkish people there instead of worrying about where their parents migrated from.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Enjoy the good on both sides of the fence……. nothing wrong in that.Recommend

  • morafi

    The sad fact is, that as soon as I land on ground of my beloved homeland I suddenly become a non-muslim.

    Unable to say Assalamo Alaikum without threat of jail.
    Unable to perform the Azaan (call to prayer) with an FIR being raised against me.
    Unable to walk freely in the streets where I grew up without threatening looks as if I am outsider who does not belong there.

    I love my Pakistan…..but Pakistan does not love me…because I am an Ahmadi. Recommend

  • Bal

    There should be more religious tolerance. I also love Pakistan, but some people give it a really bad image. There are so many amazing cultural things yes, but corruption, sexual harassment, sectarian violence and so many other many things just make it seem like not such a nice place to visit.Recommend

  • leila rage

    I think they visit their motherland too often and can’t leave it behind and so fail to assimilateRecommend

  • our pakistan

    the author sounds so patronizing. we don’t need your pity zab!Recommend

  • Afrah

    yeah but in fairness british pakistanis don’t have the best reputation at the moment with the child sex grooming thing and all. i’m not trying to generalise but a lot of them bring it on themselves by briging their village mentalities from pakistan to the west.Recommend


    lolz @ the sabzi wala. yaaaaa our culture is da best!!Recommend

  • bat for lashes

    @our pakistan there is no pleasing some people! Say something nice about Pakistan you get criticized. Say something bad about Pakistan you also get criticized. God knows what keeps you happy. Being a cynic perhaps?Recommend

  • arti

    gud job now we c smthin nyc abt pak in da worldRecommend

  • Shamim

    To become 100% British when you have Pakistani roots does result in an identity crisis. It’s denying who you are.Recommend

  • Leglas

    Theres more to pakistan then the sabzi wala and street art. Why not look at the real issues like loadshedding and corruption and poverty. I’m sure you wouldnt be loving pakistan if you saw that!Recommend

  • George

    My wife is Pakistani-English and we both really enjoyed reading this! In our house, we are taking the best of both cultures. As I’m British, I’m also learning Urdu and cooking amazing Pakistani food. I’ve been to Lahore two times and both times, it was a truly amazing experience.Recommend

  • George

    Ps I forgot to add that our baby son will know all of his background and roots when he grows up :-)Recommend

  • Gupt Rogue

    Anoop rocks.Recommend

  • GM

    I’m american-pak and i feel the same. i couldn’t have put it better than this! proud to be pakistani even though i my parents and i were born in texas!Recommend

  • politically incorrect

    Why should a British Pakistani would like to visit Pakistan? when he/she can live like a true Pakistani in Britain itself (and in many cases enjoying British charities like NHS,unemployment allowance etc.) Recommend

  • Angry girl

    Aunties are so stupid. Why can’t they just be modern and civilised? Like whats the big deal paying for £1 for a cup of coffee? They sit around thinking they’re so religious but just gossip about other people all day. I always get talked about because I’m “too much like a gori” but there is no pleasing them.Recommend

  • modern liberal

    i’m really glad the writer didn’t just talk about the rich parts of pakistan. she talks about REAL things and real people.Recommend

  • observer

    @Zab Mustefa

    If I were to tell cousins in the UK that the street art along the walls of Garhi Shahu in Lahore is more impressive

    Nice time to remember Garhi Sahu. Tomorrow i.e. 28th of May, marks the second anniversary of the massacre of 88 Ahmadias at prayer in two places of worship in Garhi Sahu.

    Personally, hearing the sabzi walaa (vegetable seller) push his cart through the narrow side streets makes me smile.

    Sabzi?? Who eats Sabzi in Pakistan?
    Sabzi and Daal, isn’t that what the poor Hanood live on?Recommend

  • Hema

    I can’t believe that art is in Lahore. I would never have thought of Pakistan being artistic and having so much culture. My arrogance has only led me to visit family in rural parts and that’s about it! Have so much to learn about this mysterious country!Recommend

  • rose

    exactly what i was thinking although i didn’t know how to quite express it in words.Recommend

  • sunshine

    i think ppl would be so surprised of how much brightness art and music is in pakistan. all you see is the mullahs and extremists in media stories so there should b more positive stories that show we are really a peaceful nation.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @hassan: “Inside every Pakistani, whether British or American or French, a radical is just waiting to jump out. All it needs is a spark to light the radical fire – for some, the spark could be small and for many the spark could be bigger. But, the reality is, given the right amount of provocation, a Pakistani irrespective of his nationality, is willing to release his latent destructive force on the rest of the populace of the world.”

    Looks like Mullhas are doing a good job at brainwashing people and turning them into radicals. I don’t know what you mean by “right amount of provocation”.. Unemployed youth, people of welfare are most likely to be exploited. Real destruction will start if WHITE converts become Jihadis and get their higher education in Pakistani madrassa’s. Some WHITE converts already hold high level leadership positions in Al quedaRecommend

  • Vikram

    Where are those so-called successful thousands hiding? In fact, working at a grocery store or driving a cab are the most prevelent jobs that Pakistanis do in the U.S. This is also true of UK and Canada.

    There are people of other nationalities including Indians doing suchcash job. Most of these people t pay very little taxes and try to take all government benefts they can by claiming they don’t have any income. Most of the small businesses owned byrecent immigrants which involve lot of cash transactions, hire workers and pay them cash. If a study is done I think South Asians may be Rank on top for declaring bankrupties or avoiding paying credit card bills in USA.Recommend

  • Umair

    Leave the company of anoop. You’ll hear many good things about Pakistan.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Critical: BTW,Mods….May I know the reason why you allow Kaalchakra’s comments…Today in another article,he is praising an american who attempted to bomb USA….

    Learn to accept comments from people who have radical views or whose views you may think are hateful or who are just different. Let moderators do their job. It is good for people to know that people like Kaalchakra exist and what they think like.Let every one enjoy “freedom of expression”

    ET staff is doing a good job at moderating comments. If it was some other Pakistani paper they will probably not allow many blogs debated on this forum and will most probably delete 80% of the comments.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @American-Pakistani: ” We don’t have a welfare system in America, it’s every man for himself, we’re self-reliant here compared to our counterparts in Britain and Canada.”

    I don’t know what do you mean by welfare system. Government here takes care of poor people, especially families with kids. Government provies rent free housing, free medical Insurance, free food stamps, free spen9ing money. Goevrnment gives away billions of dollars of TAX MONEY called EARNED INCOME CREDIT to people with low income and kids. Many people who own small businesses (the includes cab drivers, gas stations, grocery stores) where most business is done in Cash pay very little tax.Some of these people taken advtange of welfare services too. Many Pakistani doctors and pharmacists (and Indians too) have been convicted or arressted for millions dollars of medicare fraudRecommend

  • stenson

    British Pakistanis came and worked in Pakistan during ever crisis. Even if most Pakistanis in the UK are poor, they are still ready to serve their homeland with dedication. We are proud of you despite your social problems in the UK.Recommend

  • politically incorrect

    Visiting Pakistan at regular interval will help British Pakistanis to remain Pakistani at heart, provided it doesn’t interfere with their rights to things like doles,council house,NHS membership etc. Recommend

  • Nandita

    Critical clearly wrote that respect is earned. Describing ones negative approach towards someone doesn’t mean freedom of expression. Recommend

  • Amina

    @ observer, why do people always have to bring the negatives into everything? By your comments, you’re assuming that the author is from a privileged background because she probably wouldn’t eat sabzia right?

    Who eats sabzi in Pakistan? Is that a stupid question? I think so. Millions of Pakistanis eat vegetables regardless of their background.

    I would complain if she related Pakistani culture back to fancy malls and restaurants in Lahore. But no, she talks about the REAL things she sees.

    It’s not a story about massacres and poverty. It’s a story about heritage. Recommend

  • Bianca

    @ Politically incorrect “Visiting Pakistan at regular interval will help British Pakistanis to remain Pakistani at heart, provided it doesn’t interfere with their rights to things like doles,council house,NHS membership etc.”

    Omg you are so right. A lot of Pakistani immigrants to the UK just squeeze every drop they can out of the welfare system. It’s so wrong and undermines traditional working values of real Pakistanis who have a hard working reputation.

    I actually witnessed a stupid Pakistani woman driving to the welfare office in her BMW! Like where are her morals?! So greedy for every penny! They should work like everyone else.Recommend

  • Dave

    Some of these comments are ridiculous. If I say something good about pakistan, it’s like, wait, what about the taliban and corruption? If I say something bad about pakistan, then people turn around and say, you are generalising pakistanis as crazy sleazy corrupt murderers! How do you make people happy??!!Recommend

  • identity crisis

    do second gen pakistanis have a right to call themselves pakistani? Recommend

  • Omar the ambassadorial of peace

    Nice article it really is pathetic when people try to associate themselves and try to be somebody they are not. I am not saying that a person shouldn’t assimilate into a society but they should not forget their rootsRecommend

  • American-Pakistani

    I’m talking about the majority of Pakistanis in America, and the majority of them have integrated very well, and are making good money and integrated in American culture.

    I was born and raised in America, went to school there, had many friends of different races, played football, went to prom and many Pakistani girls also went to prom.

    I know many Pakistanis as well as Indians that drive cabs and work at 7/11, but many people actually do white collar jobs.

    Some people do blue collar jobs, while studying and or becoming a licensed doctor,engineer or a CPA.Recommend

  • Mariam

    Wow so much hatred from our American and Pakistani brothers and
    But I would like to point out a few things
    1. Not all British Pakistanis are the same. Please do not club all of us together with the paindo and jahil people from Roachdale. There are a great number of successful British Pakistanis, Amir Khan and Dr Mohammad Javed ( the doctor from saving faces) to name 2 international British Pakistani representatives. There are rich Pakistanis and poor Pakistanis in all 3 countries so please do not claim that Britain got the poor, idiotic Pakistanis immigrants and America got the intelligent, rich Pakistani immigrants
    2. (from my own experience and experiences of other educated Pakistani families i know) British Pakistani parents have always instilled a sort of dedication towards Pakistan from an early age, that is why so much money has been donated and will continue to be donated to Pakistan from British Pakistanis and the Pakistan cricket team gets a roaring welcome
    in any British city they go to.
    3. Working as a lawyer in London, I can confirm that it is not a British Pakistani disease of obtaining benefits or welfare, even though they don’t need it, it’s a disease that all people have, whether they are the indigenous population or immigrants. In my office, I have had
    Iranians, Somalis, Afghani and white British nationals who have been caught for claiming benefits and asking for my help. I don’t for a second think that all Pakistani American claim welfare, nor am I blind to the fact that some do claim it when they don’t need it

    So please people, lets not make sweeping or general statements about each other, lets support each other instead.Recommend

  • Well said!

    @ Mariam that’s an amazing way to put it! Definitely put a huge smile on my face – thanks for that!Recommend

  • Annie

    couldn’t agree with the author more :) pakistan rulesRecommend

  • Aanya

    The feedback to this article is truly ridiculous and completely misses the point. What I find saddening is that this article is trying to draw out the things that make us proud to be Pakistani, yet we do turn out to be our own worst enemies.

    As a British-Pakistani from a highly educated family (I find it preposterous that I’m having to define myself as this, but this what this conversation has come to.) I am proud of my heritage – even as some of you may be surprised of my Indian heritage also. I take pride in the fact that my culture, be it British or Pakistani is so rich in history an tradition.

    Surely, this is the thing that we should be focussing on, not apologising for the crimes of those few idiots who unfortunately seem to define Pakistanis for some reason. Lead by example folks that is the only way you will change the minds of others not by attempting to belittle them with your argument. Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui

    You spoke my heart !Recommend

  • Help!

    The aritcal is very good but one more point i want to raise is you (british-Pak, Amer-Pak or Cand-Pak) have educated and more experiance living in different cultured people, my request to you is please do help Pakistani people through any way education or art or fashion any field. Even if you are coming for a week you can do lots of things, little drop of water makes a mighty oceanRecommend

  • Yes!

    @Aanya you rock! The comments on this are so stupid! People complain just for the sheer sake of it. I always say, if you don’t have anything worth while to say, don’t say it!Recommend

  • gajar


  • jonny

    Love this! Haha aunties! They are so ghetto sometimes!Recommend

  • jonny

    It’s also good to know that Pakistanis born outside of the country think like thisRecommend

  • ProudPakistani

    Another burger living in her bubble, talking about the wonderful life in pakistan. Try being a person earning 10,000/month with wife-kids and old parents to take care of, no electricity, no security, disdained by middle class and the powerful, no ancestral bungalow or land inherited than only you will you know what it is like to be a pakistani. Recommend

  • UKIndian

    @George May 26, 2012 – 11:39PM
    “My wife is Pakistani-English and we both really enjoyed reading this! In our house, we are taking the best of both cultures. As I’m British, I’m also learning Urdu and cooking amazing Pakistani food. I’ve been to Lahore two times and both times, it was a truly amazing experience…”
    Congratulations! My gf with benefit is extremely smart and hot pakistani girl…we might even get married in a year or so, once she has finished her college. All her cousins are pretty too!Recommend

  • Zab Mustefa


    Didn’t feel the need to comment until I just read what you wrote. Actually, I’m not living in a bubble and not necessarily talking about the wonderful life in Pakistan. I’m highlighting the cultural heritage that I have a link to. I’m just writing from the perspective of a British-Pakistani, which in no way means I’m middle class. I clearly know what it’s like to be Pakistani, so I don’t really need a condescending lecture about poverty in the region thanks.

    Unless you want every blog post to talk about earning RS 10,000, no electricity, no security, and being disdained by middle class and the powerful, write your own blog mate.

    End of. Recommend

  • French Pakistani

    @ ProudPakistani :

    Stop talking about your sad life and let others get on with theirs. I really appreciate this blog post because I’m French-Pakistani and love going to Pakistan for the very reasons highlighted in this post.

    Just because we don’t talk about beggars and thieves and all the bad things going on in Pakistan, it doesn’t mean that we are in any way in a bubble. Recommend

  • UK transgender

    Although I’m Pakistani born but UK has more rights for ppl like me; last year I met with one Indian muslim. He thinks I’m cute & my family looks kool. He doesn’t know about my reality. Although above lines doesn’t have any relation with this article but I want to describe my bf’s courage.Recommend

  • Pakistanis rule!

    We love Pakistan no matter where we are born. We have that link to our roots and heritage!Recommend

  • Vikram

    Author says “Why British Pakistanis should visit their motherland” British Pakistanis should visit their motherland to get trained in Madrassahs. I bet many Pakistanis are planning ihad to make a Pakistan of Britain itself.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Mariam: “Working as a lawyer in London, I can confirm that it is not a British Pakistani disease of obtaining benefits or welfare, even though they don’t need it, it’s a disease that all people have, whether they are the indigenous population or immigrants. In my office, I have had”

    Muslims are also ripping off welfare by having multiple wives. The following News talks about polygamy and welfare system.


  • Mariam

    @Vikram, I don’t understand your point. My point, in my previous post was that in my capacity as a lawyer, who deals with benefit issues, I have seen a great many people who have falsely claimed benefits, when they don’t need it, not just pakistani’s.
    Now, you are claiming that many Muslims claim benefits needlessly in the UK. This is a statement that I can neither confirm or deny because I dont have the numbers and proper data to make that statement. Also, the article that you have pasted is from a newspaper that survives on printing negative stories abt anyone, be they Muslim, rich, famous, skinny, fat, you name it. Its not a credible paper, but a step up from the trashy tabloids. 
    In addition to this, if u have posted this article to show that Muslims are the only people in the UK that claim benefits and people from Indian descent or any other ethnic origin don’t claim benefits, then that is a lie, because as I have said in my previous post, I have come across a lot of different nationals, including Indian nationals fraudulently claim benefit. It’s just the way most humans are, if they can get money for nothing then they will try that instead of actually working! But i will reiterate again, claiming benefits fraudulently is not a Muslim disease, it’s not a pakistani disease, it’s a human disease.Recommend

  • zindagi

    I was born and raised in Canada, around few other Pakistanis but my family is from Rural Northern Punjab and we often visited our relatives back in the home country when I was growing up. They were the best experiences of my life and taught me so much. I’ve also had the chance to travel and see how some of our relations in the NW of England, so I am in a unique position to contrast and compare. It’s clear that this community has some issues due to cultural baggage, youth alienation, and economics, but overall, the majority are not terrible people and are just trying to live their lives. I’ve also interacted with so-called “educated” and “wealthier” Pakistani communities, and cannot say they are all people of good character. Some are good, some are bad just like the other communities regardless of origin. One thing I can say it is unfair to completely look down and malign the rural communities as “backward”. It’s unfortunate that only the “backward” traditions/practices from these communities get publicity and are perpetuated but there are also good values and traditions from these communities, where people in the past cared for one another, were self-sufficient, and were hard workers. For some unfortunate reason, these aren’t the values we perpetuate through our traditions. Pakistanis, IMO, regardless of class or origin, have all increasingly more selfish, materialistic, radical and ignorant in one way or the other. I agree with the author of the report, that it is important for foreign Pakistanis to visit their home, but only if they come with the proper values, are open-minded and have the ability to think critically and the courage to show Pakistan and their own expat communities, a better way to do things, and to also look under the rubble of what Pakistan is today, to see what good we can extract from our traditions, because there is some good there.Recommend