Brother, you are from Pakistan and you don’t speak Arabic?

Published: July 22, 2014

Western media for barely documenting the real Pakistan. But the responsibility to revamp our own actions to influence how others perceive us is solely ours.

One of the biggest advantages of living abroad is the chance to hear what people think about your country. I have been living in Germany for the last three months and during this short stay, I have made friends from different regions of the world. At first, it appeared mystifying, the fact that everyone that I had met, knew something about Pakistan.

It is no surprise that with the ongoing situation in Pakistan, where every day there is horrifying news that in the imagination of people I have come across, Pakistan comes closer to being an aberration.

Wishfully, I often think how wonderful it would be if my foreign friends asked me about Pakistani cricket, the spicy food, the resilience of people, the sheer beauty of the country, the warm and fabulous hospitability and the amazing moral stature of Pakistanis. But what I often encounter, on the contrary, makes me realise that Pakistan, even after more than six decades of its existence, remains an enigma to world.

Here are few questions you should expect being a Pakistani abroad. Each one reflects not only our identity dilemma but also an acute challenge of transforming the common perception of Pakistan as the most savage country into the stabilising force of the world.

1)  Brother, you are from Pakistan and you don’t speak Arabic?

The most intriguing question that many ask is how come Pakistanis don’t speak Arabic. It is may be due to their ignorance about other countries. But part of the answer for this inheritance crisis also lies in our own yearning for Arab-ness that preoccupies all of us.

Especially, since 1970s with Pakistan’s turn towards the Middle East, there has been an attempt to escape from Pakistan’s Indian roots and emphasise on shared a consciousness of Islamic Brotherhood. It was reinforced by the programme of Islamisation with an objective of ‘other-ising’ India, which meant removing the historic, geographic, civilizational and cultural traces of Pakistan’s South Asian identity. What this desire ‘to be a Middle Eastern’ country has done is that it has established a national narrative which is essentially not rooted in history, but rooted in fantasy.

To date, the struggle to define ‘the Pakistani’ remains unabated. Unless, we revisit the national narrative to clearly reflect what constitutes a ‘Pakistani identity’, we as nation would remain confused and conflicted in different parts of the world.

2)  Why does Pakistan export terrorism?

In the minds of many, Pakistan is a warrior state , a hothouse for jihadism , where Osama bin Laden was found and many other militant groups flourish. Of course, there is truth in this brash assertion. For long, we have used jihad both to gain domestic support and to fight against imagined security threats from neighbouring countries. This consistent pursuance of foreign policy within the narrow spectrum of security obsession has come to haunt us in many ways. Internally, it has made us a paranoid and xenophobic nation. Externally, it has made us a pariah state, as isolated as North Korea and Iran.

The choice is clear- we either become a modern, progressive and developed South Korea or remain known to the world as a nuclear armed North Korea. If we prefer the former, then we need to adopt a radically different path. A path that includes: getting rid of the menace of terrorist groups that define us today, reversing our attitude towards India and redefining our geographical calculation.

Over all these months, I have come to two overarching conclusions. Firstly, the world is not all wrong about Pakistan. Secondly, the people abroad need to go beyond the media and news channels to see the real Pakistan.

My reaction to aforementioned questions has always been to support people when they are right and to correct and rectify them when they are wrong about Pakistan. For instance, I tell the world around me that Pakistan is not a jihadi state, how its people are moderate and have always opted for democratic self-expression, but I can’t be oblivious of the fact that there are a lot of militants who live in Pakistan and we need to do something to get rid of those.

However, to their doubts over the fundamental question of Pakistan’s identity, my effort has always been to correct our own historical flaws and to explicate to those around me that we have much in common with India than the puritanical strain of Islam that has influenced us in defining our identity. After all, Ramadan was Ramazan and Allah Hafiz was Khuda Hafiz in Pakistan until 1980’s. Whether we like it or not, this is what our history is and we can’t escape history.

Having said that, there are a few others to be blamed for our international image – especially Western media for barely documenting the real Pakistan. But the responsibility to revamp our own actions to influence how others perceive us is solely ours.

Kashif Ali

Kashif Ali

The writer holds Masters in governance and public policy from Germany and works in the development sector. He tweets as @s_kashif8 (

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

  • Malveros

    Excellent article. We should stick to our South Asian roots as we have nothing in common with arabs except religion.Recommend

  • MNH

    So brother, why you don’t speak Arabic? :pRecommend

  • نائلہ

    You speak truth Mr Ali, you speak truth. Recommend

  • Sami

    Well first of all I have lived for many years in Germany as well. Germans are reserved people and they dont ask such questions like you have mentioned here. But you must avoid illiterate people at all costs. Most probably you are meeting mainly Arabs and Turks who always ask Demeaning and Even Racist questions. Also Indians and Afghans bad mouth a lot about Pakistan . In my experience The Kurdish are the most Rudest people in Germany and it is better to avoid them. I would suggest you to meet Germans mostly and even the Pakistani German Community is very educated as well. They will talk in a productive manner and they will not go into these trifles at all.
    Also German loves Pakistani food. The best way to change perception is to invite them for a dinner.

    I live in Punjab as well and atleast the people of Punjab and Sindh must realize that we are inhabitants of one of the oldest civilization on earth ( Indus Valley and Gandhara ( Potohar plateau) Civilization.). We are not Arabs. Ofcourse some people do have Arab and Iranian ancestry especially in the current Punjabi population but this does not change the fact that Punjabis are historically North Indians just like Kashmiris, Himachalis and others. We should be proud of out existence. Rather than making association with any other nation just be proud of who you are. Also work hard to change the outlook of your country.Recommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    I live in Germany for 7 years..studied here and now working… and no one actually said tht I speak Arabic usually they say Pakistanisch oder Indisch…Pretty strange tht u came accross tht!!!!…
    Do you know tht RTL made a whole Program where they invited Merkel a campaign to prove Pakistanis are not terrorists and that Germans should donate more for flood victims……do tell me ur city and the group of people you hang around..RegardsRecommend

  • kdp

    ” amazing moral stature of Pakistanis”

    Please elaborate about our morality in politics, society and social practices.Recommend

  • Fighter Man

    The article seems to be based on lies. I have been living in USA for last 8 years and none of my Arabian friends asked me that why don’t you speak Arabic and they never ever asked me that why Pakistan exporting Terrorism. Most of such Questions raised by Indians friends.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Lol neither the arabs, nor the indians will accept us as their own, but south asian roots sounds good.Recommend

  • Prashant

    You are right Kashif but would you help me understand why does a Pakistani lose his temper when the same things are said by an Indian.

    Some of those who have commended you for this blog are actually the people who were ranting against me for saying what you have said here.Recommend

  • Fed Up

    This post did not contain much information and was pretty inaccurate.
    I’ve been to America and whenever I tell an American that I’m from Pakistan, they always ask me “how’s it goin in the middle east” or the ask me if I speak arabic, it has nothing to with Pakistan trying to imitate Arabs or trying to escape our “Indian” roots(South Asian would be the better word), it’s just that people in the West assume that Pakistan is in the middle east, especially since 9/11, it’s not that we’re any less South Asian but it comes from their ignorance, in fact I have Indian friends who have been mistaken for middle eastern, just last year Miss.USA who was actually of Indian origin received a lot of flak because many Americans believed she was “Arab”.
    So I would request writers in Pakistan to stop repeating the same thing over and over again, in every publication and tv show, that we’re all “Arab wannabes” and forsaken our South Asian roots, which is just not true, this is getting exhausting because every other post in every other Pakistani publication sounds exactly the same.
    @ET moderators it would be nice if you could post my comment.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    The things that foreigners know about a country are rarely what it is all about. I often end up telling people that Pakistanis are just like Indians once they step out of their country – and that we get along famously on an individual level. Pakistan is usually seen as a country that has little law and order, with violent extremists roaming the streets – and of course the fact that most people have not met any Pakistanis adds to the degree of exaggeration. Recently someone told me that he did not want to go to Lahore for a business meeting because he might get hit by a drone, and I had to tell him that drone strikes were nowhere near Lahore. However, despite the greater familiarity, even India is simplified into Desperate poverty/ IT/ Bangalore/ Crowds/ Spirituality/ Cows on the road/ Huge market/ Yoga/ Spicy food in many of the conversations that I have had. I carry a INR 500 note in my wallet to show people some of different scripts and languages that we have since they can’t wrap their minds around such diversity – they think India is filled with Hindi speaking people who eat Punjabi food and ride on top of trains.Recommend

  • Fed Up

    “After all, Ramadan was Ramazan and Allah Hafiz was Khuda Hafiz in Pakistan until 1980’s. Whether we like it or not, this is what our history is and we can’t escape history.”

    I don’t know what world you live in, but in Pakistan the vast majority people still call Ramadan “Ramzaan” and people still say “Khuda Hafiz” instead of Allah Hafiz, I don’t understand why Pakistani pseudo-liberals fuss over the most trivial of things.

    If somebody wants say Allah Hafiz or call Ramzaan “Ramadan”, let them be, how is it different from a westernized ‘burger’ pronouncing haspathaal as “hospital” or Fervary as “February”, if some people want to enunciate words in their original pronunciations, it isn’t a big deal, it doesn’t make me a “French wannabe” because I like put on a fake French accent when I say “bourgeois”.Recommend

  • Hammad Mian

    Are you sure you have nothing in common with Arabs except religion, Large numbers of words in your Urdu Language are derived from Arabic, Moreover the food you eat is common between you and them. for example you have “Jalebi” in south Asia whereas “Zalabia” is eaten in Arab region.Recommend

  • Moiz Omar

    I hate it when people call me an Arab. Pakistanis are not Arabs!Recommend

  • Tom Tom

    It’s good to speak many languages. Hundreds of years ago, Catholics from every country needed to also speak latin as the bible was written in latin. Then a few changed it into their native tongues. Today, maybe the prayers need to be changed from Arabic into the mother tongues of its followers so that the common person can understand it. Traditionalists will say no, but realists will say yes. Agree or disagree, but learning Arabic is not a top priority for the vast majority who are striving to survive and learn skills to make a living and support a family.

    God is not monolingual. He speaks and understands every language. Trust me :)Recommend

  • Malveros

    I am talking culture wise. U can nitpick and choose about similarities whatever u want Mr.Hammad.Recommend

  • Omair

    I’ve been studying in Germany for over two years now and I’ve never been asked such questions even once. The most common question I’m asked is how/why i can speak English so well.

    As far as the question of terrorism is concerned, the closest thing I’ve been asked is how many people are in favour of the Taliban in Pakistan. Strange that you get asked such questions.Recommend

  • observer

    A very honest analysis. I would offer some points:

    “The choice is clear- we either become a modern, progressive and developed South Korea” Before shooting to be the next South Korea, a good start on a role model would be Bangladesh.

    “I tell the world around me that Pakistan is not a jihadi state, how its
    people are moderate and have always opted for democratic
    self-expression,”. The polls point to a different situation, that, over 78% of Pakistanis sympathize with radical Islamists.Recommend

  • bigsaf

    Surprised that someone would ask if you spoke Arabic. Can certainly read Arabic though.
    I’ve only encountered ‘Do you speak Pakistani?’, if they don’t know if you speak Urdu or Hindi, with the latter more known.

    The country’s real issues and image of being a safe haven for militants and terrorists harmed Pak considerably. It was never more obvious than trying to gain donations for flood victims where kind donators literally struggled to rationalize that they were doing it for good and innocent people and not terrorists, hoping into go into funding them. At the same time, Pak needs serious PR, which can only translate with more solid positive developments behind it.Recommend

  • Anoop

    Greeting is Arab. Some Clothing styles – like Burqa is Arab. Festivals are Arab.

    All these things pretty much define a culture of a society.

    So, there is a lot of commonality.Recommend

  • worst post

    It depends on how you see it. Most Pakistani`s are viewed as Extremist and disliked due to different reasons.
    1. Attacks like 9/11, londontube, 26/11, Madrid Bombings etc have Pakistani connection.
    2. Most Pakistani`s wear the Beard/Hijab and look truly Islamic. All Sr Militants also wear beards. So, An image is formed in the eyes of westerners that Pakistani`s have militant outlook.
    3. Most Pakistani`s living in the west fear western influence (Alchohol, skimpy dresses, girls hanging around with boys, marrying white men). They generally dislike the west which is well known atleast in the UK.
    4. Large number of Pakistani`s live on social Benefits (housing). They also have large number of children (7 on a average). This is also documented by the BBC.
    5. Pakistani`s are the direct competition of lower strata of British Society. Large numbers of Pakistani`s and Bangladeshi`s drive Taxi`s in the UK and compete with local britishers. This causes heart burn.

    While Indians are working in Software/Banking and other white collar professions, Pakistani`s are being pushed down. Something needs to be done.Recommend

  • Honey

    The writer is probably the only person from the entire country who has ever come across such a question. I presume you need to change your company/friends.Recommend

  • vasan

    Too many contradictions in this blog.
    1. Why would Germans talk about Pakistani cricket, or for that matter even cricket, when it is not played at all in Germany. May be the pakistani cricket politics, spot/match fixing etc interests them??
    2. If the world is not wrong about pakistan, why people abroad need to go beyond media etc to see real Paklistan, After all they know something about pakistan and they know they are not wrong.
    3. Blame Western media for not documenting real Pakistan ?? Which world do u live in mate. Why they need to do that. What is that Pakistan has done to the world for it to portray except violent jihadists, OBL sanctuary, etc, And by the way, what is real Pakistan ?? Shooting Malala?? Muktran mai got raped to migrate to Canada, according to your president? Governor’s own body guard shooting and killing him and the lawyers showering rose petals on him?? Doc getting charged for blasphemy for throwing visiting rep’s card into dustbin, (the rep’s name was mohammed), the exquisite, colourful, beatiful and peaceful people of Kalash getting threatened to get converted to the wahabi islam,
    Every prime minister/dictator getting killed, exiled or charged with treason and Pakistan not solving even one such case?? The list goes on.
    Pl tell me which is real pakistan. It died long ago along with Jinnah.Recommend

  • Intabb

    Good thinking “brother” Ali. Our moral compass derives from wannabe descendancy from Mohammad Bin Qasim and and our love for Riyals and Dinaars.Recommend

  • Rps Hundal

    I have been living in Germany for the last three months and during this short stay, I have made friends from different regions of the world.
    Wow, many friends in three months. I am living here in Canada since 1990 and I have fewer friends than you.

    Why does Pakistan export terrorism?
    I have some Pakistani friends as well. I have never asked this question to my Pakistani friends.

    To me this article is a fiction because in the West people seldom distinguish between and Indians and Pakistanis. They are ignorant about world cultures and Eastern languages. The height of imagination is that author’s friends from different regions of the world ask him this question in Germany that being a Pakistani he does not speak Arabic. And that too in three months. Normally for a Desi to acclimatize in the West takes minimum five years.Recommend

  • Rps Hundal

    Mr Shah, I think this is a fictional article. People in the West are not rude and will not ask why your country is exporting terrorism. The article made mockery of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Ocean

    I met a Pakistani in a Pub in Germany. I started a conversation because he looked very much South Asian. I am an Indian. However he identified himself as Egyptian and said he dont speak Hindi/Urdu and moved away. Later on I saw another Pakistani guy I knew talking to him. When I asked him, he said the guy he was talking to was indeed Pakistani, and from Karachi. He also said that guy was hesitant to reveal his true identity because he was ashamed of drinking beer and being in a Pub as a Pakistani and Muslim. I dont judge people, but this kind of behavior by Pakistanis shows that how confused and under pressure they are. Not able to do what they want and enjoy. Not a sign of healthy society.Recommend

  • Iftekhar Khokhar

    The article is quite convincing though difference of opinion may exist. Furtherance, I would quote international opinion is so because we derive pleasure from indulgence in taking effect from others thereby loosing our own identity! Now, we see Arabic inscriptions viz “Al-Bakistan” and the likes on the number plates of vehicles etc substantiating the fact we are devoid of even wee bit sense!!!!Recommend

  • نائلہ

    You yourself said that he is ashamed of drinking beer as a Pakistani and a Muslim. Pakistanis are automatically associated with Islam and since alcohol is not allowed in the religion, maybe that’s why he did not want to reveal his identity.

    Pakistanis are allowed to drink, Muslims are not. Recommend

  • pakone

    Prashant s’b, a Pakistani might loose his or her temper if these questions are asked by an Indian because we would expect Indians (being our immediate neighbours and sharing centuries of history and culture with us) to know better about us than some ignorant americans or europeans.Recommend

  • Khan

    “Wishfully, I often think how wonderful it would be if my foreign friends
    asked me about Pakistani cricket, the spicy food, the resilience of
    people, the sheer beauty of the country, the warm and fabulous
    hospitability and the amazing moral stature of Pakistanis”
    Yes you are right but we ourselves and our media is responsible for that and shamefully I must say that our Security Agencies has now fail to throw out how many terrorist from a very small piece of land of Pakistan and are a very few in number, for how many bomb blasts and terrorist attack they are responsible in 2009, 2010 and 2011 what wee were doing and why not took any action against them and why have launched Zarb-e-Azab now? have a few question in my mind as we are claiming the world best or one of the world best secret services and combat army then why we bear all this like paralyzed nation, isn’t it mean that after our incompetent Politician our security agencies also fails to main law & order in the country and its not all about operations but strong intelligence is very important.

    Our media are very poor knowledge and very poorly portray Pakistan as a Jihadist, how many time you all watched any program in Prime time about the hospitality of the people of Pakistan, the karai tikka of Namakmandi and food street fo Punjab, the baloochi Sajji , they only show violence.
    There are so many separatist movements in India but did you saw any news channel broadcast their threats their speeches no never, this called responsibility educated and sincerity to the Country.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Mian saheb, large number of words also applies to Hindi then. By the way, how many Pakistanis can understand and speak Arabic?? People learn Quran by heart but still don’t know what it means!!

    The food we eat is more common with the Indian food. I don’t even know what these Arabic dishes mean!!

    Jalebi!! Are you serious? This is all Indian. I googled Zalabia and I found Jalebi! Explain that please.

    By this logic you are implying Indians are very close to Arabs! Give better arguments. Sorry to burst your bubble anyway, we are not Arabs!

    Not saying we have a culture same as India’s. I don’t think so, we have evolved and have a lifestyle of our own that has more in common with India than Arab.Recommend

  • siesmann

    The questions remain valid nontheless.Recommend

  • Soprano

    You make no sense, for somebody that lives his life on Pakistani websites, you know very little about Pakistan.

    Saying Salaam doesn’t make us Arab, many non-Arab Muslims use that phrase.

    We don’t dress the same as Arabs, we wear Shalwar Kurtas/Kameez and they wear Thawbs/Jilbabs.

    Burqas are only worn by a minority of women in Pakistan, you haven’t even been here, and if you speak to any Arab, they’ll let you know that the Burqa is indeed not part of their culture.

    “Festivals are Arab”

    This is the dumbest part of your comment,what Arab festivals do we celebrate?!Are you calling Eid an “Arab” festival, it’s a religious festival and it’s celebrated by Muslims the world over, it’s no different from Christians celebrating Easter, it doesn’t make Easter a middle eastern festival just because it originated from there, and Arab Christians do no celebrate Eid, so it is most definitely not an ethnic festival.Recommend

  • Rania

    Wanted to say the same exact thing you did (except Im here for a little less 2 years and not 7 :) )Recommend

  • Rania

    Except its not really like that in Germany…unlike perhaps in UK, here in Germany only number 1 partially appliesRecommend

  • Sarah

    Exactly my point. Half of my family lives in Germany and I have been there many times as well and not even once someone asked me this Arab speaking thing. I think he is creating a story about since this Arab thing has quite created a stir ever since Ramzan began. Why would anyone say this? If people already knew a thing or two already about Pakistan then they would definitely know that we don’t speak Arabic. Why didn’t anybody say French or Italian? Recommend

  • Sarah

    Ocean this is not called unhealthy or someone leading a boring life. It is however called being unfaithful to your roots, religion or say moral values. He was ashamed of being a Muslim and drinking rather than being a Pakistani and drinking because saying that he was a Pakistani you would have naturally gotten that he was a Muslim. And how healthy a society is when it drinks is not an explainable thing. Recommend

  • Rania

    The article does sound like fiction but in my experience Germans are very well informed and not ignorant at all… With my German friends we talked relations with Iran, Afghanistan, India, the Kashmir conflict, the influenced, the dictatorships in Pakistan , the new democracy, the treatment of women and Food and a lot about the food and whether or not we can distinguish between Pakistani and Indian food…but never have I ever been compared to an Arab.
    Germany I found was an extremely easy place to adapt and acclimatize to, at least for students :)
    viele GrüßeRecommend

  • Jehanzeb Mahar

    “Secondly, the people abroad need to go beyond the media and news channels to see the real Pakistan.”

    Any suggestions?Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Being an Indian, who’s perspective, opinion, objectivity on a certain subject will you accept? A Pakistani’s or an Indians? I think you have your answer.Recommend

  • Ocean

    Everyone has own point of view. A person has the right to live life their own way, without causing harm to someone else. If a man wants to drink, dance on music, its his personal choice. It is wrong to subjugate them with fear of religion or society.Recommend

  • SamSal

    Burqas are only worn by a minority of women in Pak? :O

    Since when?Recommend

  • Critical Thinker..!!!

    Dude you please read some books to understand cultures etc…I dont know how to help you..Feel sad when ever i read your comments..that this is the level…:(Recommend

  • نائلہ

    You must live in Peshawar thenRecommend

  • trishi72

    So if he is from egypt the conclusion would not be drawn that he was muslim?????Recommend

  • Golnath Agarwal

    Looks like the call center in Pune gave him a vacation.
    He is back again. Embarassing Indians.Recommend

  • Bolnath Kidwai

    The Arabs will definitely not ACCEPT an AHMADI.Recommend

  • OLG

    we have much of our own…. but the world would see what it wants to see… you can see burqa but your eyes cant see the traditional dresses of balochistan, sindh, kpk and punjab… these dresses have nothing to do with arabs… majority of the people speak their regional language i.e is punjabi, siraiki, sindhi, balochi, makrani, pushtu, shina and so many others far away from arabic. our festivals belong to religion.. and there is nothing bad in celebrating our religious festivals. like celebrating christmas and easter while living in pakistan or india do not make someone an american or british, similarly celebrating religious festivals do not make someone arab.

    i hope you get it now …Recommend

  • Omar Tahir

    South asian culture has exerted huge influence over thousands of years. You see that in language, food, music, science etc. Sugar cane is not native to Arabic lands this is a plant which they got from South Asia. Sweets like Jalebi derived from sugar is one the many things the Arabs copied from South Asians.Recommend

  • Gulwant Singh Bedi.

    You based your opinion about
    a whole society, on one guy, drinking beer shamefacedly? Shows
    your closed mentality.Recommend

  • Prashant

    I was just curious to know why would a persons opinion change depending upon whom they are addressing.Recommend

  • Prashant

    Give us a chance to understand you rather than putting us in a position where in we have to continuously ask you questions.Recommend

  • Ayesha

    Once I was on a train in Boston and this guy across from me was trying to guess my nationality … he named a lot of countries but didn’t call out Pakistan – even Israel !Recommend

  • Rama

    Your second question is fiction I live abroad and know many pakistani friends no one directly discuss this about such a sensitive topic,

    If you are Pakistani you should be asking why many terrorist from foreign countries feel safe in Pakistan, why do Osama from Saudi and Khalid Sheikh from Kuwait choose to hide in Pakistan

    You should also ask what are there contribution to Pakistan by Hafeez Dawood Ibrahim and many other runaways who choose to hide in Pakistan. As a nation you cannot stand by these gangsters and terrorist and use tax payers money to go overboard to protect them.

    It does not matter what other people thinks about Pakistan, it’s about what you think about your countryRecommend

  • Adpran

    I am Indonesian, and I speak “Bahasa Indonesia”, a language that has large numbers of words which derived from Arabic. Then, does it make Indonesian people become Arab?.

    Just like Urdu, Bahasa Indonesia also contains large numbers of words which derived from Sanskrit. And it doesn’t make Indonesian people become Indian.Recommend

  • Roja

    Article is fiction, not ‘a’ fiction. For someone living in Canada, your English is very poor.Recommend

  • Sid

    Brother. And I mean seriously, “brother”. I am Hindu Indian, grew up in Mumbai in a place called Masjid Bunder. Those who are familiar know its predominantly muslim. Until the unfortunate riot in 1992, I have never ever seen any enmity between Hindus and Muslims living here. Neither I have seen such after that.
    We hate people like Shiv Senas and RSS as much as you do. Simply because these fanatics are main reasons for communal disharmony. As a common citizen I respect your faith and path of belief. I do strongly believe people from different religion can co-exist. Not just believe, I have lived through it and am still living it. My wife is muslim and we celebrate Id as much as we celebrate Diwali. Our relationship has never come across our choice of religious believes. And have never ever disrespected each other’s practices.
    This is how I live in West too. My friends here are from various religious background and many are muslims.
    So to answer you, there is no reason why we would not accept you as our own. There will always be elements in our society who are so stuck up on their religious glories that they would never budge. But why are we letting such people decide our fate ?
    I want to make friends with Pakistanis and I do have Pakistani friends I made here in west. I wish I can do the same in India. I dont like anybody telling me whom I should be friend with. I dont want to to let my freedom be hijacked by religious zealots.
    Anyways, hopefully we see such dream becoming true in our lifespan. Amen :)Recommend

  • Anoop

    You do know that, don’t you, that India forms 80% of South Asia, be it in Population, Cultural influence, Area.. Whatever be the parameter.

    So, replacing the words “Indian roots” with “South Asian”, is only word play.

    South Asia – India = Well, nothing..Recommend

  • Sid

    I use many English words in my day to day speech. Just that makes me British ?
    every American and many countries speak English, does that make them British or even British wannabe ?

    Your identity is not defined just by language.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    FYI, Arab does not equal MuslimRecommend

  • نائلہ

    Lol it’s sister* :)

    And I have nothing against Indians If that’s what you’re thinking. Two of my best friends are Indians- one Hindu and the other Sikh. And these are people I chose to be in my life.

    I agree with your sentiments and everything that you said, but sadly this point of view is either not owned by the majority or not expressed by them. Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Keep hoping :)Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Well at least there’s no copyrights on the word ‘south Asian roots’. Recommend

  • Ocean

    Thats how perceptions are formed. Turkish people don’t bear this perception, at least here in Germany. Though its a muslim majority country. Common Pakistani civilian hates terrorists but the perception is otherwise. Indian men do respect women, but the Delhi rape case gave an entire opposite image to west. It is not idle to draw conclusions, but humans do it unconsciously.Recommend

  • Moiz Omar

    Once me and my sister were having dinner at a restaurant in China. Somebody asked us whether we were Spanish. So apparently besides for Middle Eastern, we Pakistanis also look like Europeans. -_-.Recommend

  • Prashant

    ” it’s not that we’re any less South Asian but it comes from their ignorance”

    I got your point. If you are being ignorant, hope you are not accused of being so and if someone did, blame them of being ignorant.Recommend

  • Sid

    Alright …”sister”…. Majority of people who express their frustrations here do not represent “majority” of Indian and am sure neither represent majority of Pakistani either. If you even count the usual chatters here they are not even 0.000001 % of the entire population. To call them majority is absolute prejudices against the mass isn’t it ?
    Throughout history it has always been the majority whose presence are less felt then those handful of troublemakers. Because my dear, “Empty utensils makes more noise”. Khuda Hafiz :)Recommend

  • Nynaeve

    3 months isn’t enough to give opinionated statements about a country or its people. I’ve been living in Germany for over 2 years and still I meet all sorts of people, asking me all sorts of questions, not because of what they’ve heard in the media but because distances, cultural relevance, community-differences are so big that people are simply not informed enough about Pakistan. Apart from that, Pakistanis do not help in stemming the stereotypes here. Most of the Pakistanis I’ve met in Germany refuse to integrate with foreigners in the true sense; hide when they drink alcohol or go to clubs; and are overall not ready to put down their own cultural and religious walls when interacting with people. Meanwhile, what do we know about Germany and the German as a whole? I say there is not enough knowledge on both ends. So instead of criticizing, we should just try to integrate more and show our true selves.Recommend

  • Atif

    Good article!

    However, speaking Arabic is not an Arabization of Pakistanis as much as speaking English is about being British (or American). The Arab countries are one of the largest employers for us and Arabic language skill is a huge advantage. Also I’d prefer people
    learning Arabic to read and understand their religion better instead of being anchored by dogma.

    Viel spass und auf wiedersehen. (No Germanic tendencies, just learning the language)Recommend

  • Hamza

    Your writing shows that you do not know that Eid is not an Arab Festival. It is a Muslim festival. Recommend

  • OLG

    i’m so glad to see someone here who is not a pseudo liberal but a moderate man ….!!!Recommend

  • harry

    ”The difficulties of measuring a human rights violation as private and sensitive as FGM are obvious from the wide disparity in estimates – from a House of Commons estimate in 2003 that there are 3,000 – 4,000 new cases each year in the UK – to an academic study the following year claiming that 22,000 girls in Britain are at risk.”The Guardian, LondonRecommend

  • Rps Hundal

    I agree, English is not my mother tongue. I came to Canada when I was 30, and I learned English here. Many of my Canadian friends tell me that I speak very punctuated English. Thanks for a sincere feedback.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    I know aye!!Recommend

  • نائلہ

    I sure hope that I am proven wrong Sid.

    Alvida :)Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Are you trying to link FGM with Islam? In Africa- where its common, this hideous practice is carried out by mostly non Muslims.Recommend

  • harry

    A large number of Muslims in UK, mostly Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, and Somalis, dress up as Arabs. And most of them are unemployed. They live on state handouts.Recommend

  • Anoop

    Actually it does. What is the percentage of non Muslims in Arabia who have citizenship?

    And it is their culture – dress, prayers, greetings, Religion – that is being followed in most Muslim majority countries.

    It’s like me telling the British the English language is my culture since 400 million Indians speak English well.. That’s absurd! Same logic applies here.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    “South Asia – India = Well, nothing..”

    Lol a bit self centred, is it not? :L Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Ever heard of Lebanese orthodox, Coptic orthodox, Syrian orthodox Christians? I believe they are from the land known as Arabia….and they are high in number.

    And the whole “culture being followed” thing: ISLAM is being followed.- dress, prayers, greetings…Islam does not belong to the Arabs nor does it belong to the Indonesians- the largest group of Muslims. The language logic has nothing to do here, as Islam is for the world and not only for the region where it originated from- no matter what you think. Recommend

  • Moiz Omar

    If they are unemployed how is pretending to be an Arab going to help them? I don’t find truth in your statement. Recommend

  • Anoop

    If you are making BIryani and you remove 80% of the ingredients, will you still call the dish Biryani?

    Please answer. I am just pointing out the obvious. If India is 80% of South Asia, then India is the region’s center, politically, socially, culturally and Economically, which you cannot dispute.

    I don’t know why you attribute such simple things to Ego and Self Centeredness.

    If you still disagree, please prepare BIryani with 80% of the ingredients and relish the “Biryani”. :)Recommend

  • harry

    A lot of Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Somalis dress up as Arabs.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Ego and self centredness are two different things, don’t know how you derived one from the other.

    And there will be baryani, although LESS of it. Recommend

  • Riaz Ali

    your reply is typical of some ignorant people in india who dont know how to differentiate between religion and culture. I am a Muslim and I live in India. So my religion is Islam.I follow the islamic prayer and religious obligations but speak urdu, wear indian as well as western clothes. My greetings are khuda hafiz as well as assalamu alaikum. The same applies to muslims in Malaysia,Indonesia,philippines, turkey,bosnia etc. Even in india, muslims in kerala, Tamil Nadu speak malayalam or tamil and wear the mundu or veshti. Your ignoranceis nothing new. I have known many saffronists in india who always equate hindu to Indian and narrate the same ignorant and false arguments.Recommend

  • Riaz Ali

    And there is more of your ignorance. Festivals all over the world have connections to religions and religious traditions. So a muslim whether in the Arab world, India, Turkey or US will celebrate Eid, the same was christians all over the world will celebrate christmas. FYI, muslims in india wear salwar kameez, pathan suits, sherwani etc. When did this become Arab? the Turkish dress, the malay attire etc when did they become Arab? the language,food, dress etc also are part of culture and that varies from region to region and all muslims do not follow arab culture in these regards. First you should learn the difference between culture and religion before exposing your ignorance.Recommend

  • Riaz Ali

    in this scenario there are two pakistanis in the same pub. one tries to hide his identity, the other does not. and you use the first example to generalise all. Genius.Recommend

  • Ocean

    Its totally unrelated, but the other Pakistani, drinks only Juice and Energy Drink. He was there to socialize and experience new culture. However he thinks its ok to smoke. You clearly didnt get the point. Its matter of personal choice and subjugation by the fear of religion or society.Recommend

  • Vast

    Feeling embarrassed was his own choice though, no-one told him to drink alcohol and no-one told him to feel bad about it afterwards – that was his own choice. Smoking is irrelevant since it isn’t Haram (i.e. forbidden in Islam), it’s still terrible for your health, but it’s OK to do it, so he has no reason to feel ashamed for smokingRecommend

  • Vast

    The last sentence of your post is the sad truth. I only wish Jinnah had lived even 10 years longer so that Pakistan wouldn’t have become what it is today.Recommend

  • Anoop

    In this case, Basant a local festival is banned, but Eid is celebrated. Punjabi is not the National langauge, but a foreign language is.

    You are showing ignorance or downright naivety in not recognizing this.

    Pakistan is slowly moving towards Arabia we can see this in their attire, greeting, language, etc.

    Indian Muslims too are not that different. I know the change which comes over some who visit the Gulf and overnight they start adopting the practices they see there.

    First, tell me if Pakistan is still rooted to its own culture, why has it banned Basant? Or, why was Urdu imposed over Bengali? Or, why Yoga has disappeared? All these were once Pakistani weren’t they, they belonged to the land.Recommend

  • Anoop

    In India there is very little difference. Religion and Culture are intertwined.
    Do not mistake tolerance for acceptance. India is and is not Hindu state. It is because of its plurality and its plurality and tolerance dictates it should not force its customs and beliefs onto others.
    Each of the sub cultures I’ve talked about several times before.
    An ordinary Indian will speak the language of his ancestors, will celebrate the festivals his ancestors did, will wear on special occasions the clothes his ancestors wore.
    Even though 400 Million Indians speak English, nobody will call English their language or an Indian language, which you and some of the people are calling Arab customs.
    You can call yourself an Arab and argue on technicalities all you like.
    But, please don’t argue about Culture and Religion. Sometimes there is no dividing line or will slowly disappear.Recommend

  • Anoop

    There is absolutely no commonality between any 2 countries in South Asia, if you didn’t take India into account.

    All the Religions and Languages that are spoken in those 20% of the countries are spoken and practiced in India.

    India is the Cultural, Geo Political center of South Asia, Be it Bangladesh or Pakistan or Nepal or Sri Lanka, Indian movies and songs are heard, not the other way around.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    It is the centre of those things yes, it’s is the “difference” in the countries yes, but doesn’t mean the chawal, masala, chicken etc. will not exist without india :/ Recommend

  • Anoop

    Did I say that? I merely said South Asia without India are merely a bunch of far away countries who have nothing common with one another.

    Pakistan being a habitable place has all the resources for people to exist. That’s obvious. Why call it South Asian roots if not willing to acknowledge India is the center of South Asia in every single way?

    Pray tell me what commonality does Bhutan have with Pakistan? Do you know what language they speak without Googling? How about Nepal?

    SAARC is just another India centric forum, so is the phrase that you used..

    Why not say you have Asian roots. That’s politically correct and is accurate. Recommend

  • نائلہ

    You’re dragging this on, man. I have Asia roots and indian roots and whatever other roots you want to call a Paksitani. Happy? :) Recommend

  • Anoop

    lol.. Its way to fun!

    Too many loopholes in the Pakistani identity to exploit and have a bit of fun.

    But, let me know what Pakistan has in common with Bhutan or Nepal.. I am very interested to know. All these countries are part of South Asia that you derive your identity from.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Lol you are more worried about the Pakistani identity then Pakistanis themselves will ever be :/

    Never met a person from Bhutan, but Nepalese ppl are nice- they physically look like a mix of china and india. What does Pakistan have in common with Nepal? Well Nepal has mt Everest (highest mountain) and Pakistan have K2 (second highest) ; to me, that’s enough commonality to bond over.

    And if someone asks me what my ethnicity/identity is, I’m not gonna dwell on it like you are and declare myself as a Pakistani. Nepal, India, Bhutan or whatever else don’t have anything to do with who I am or where I come from, so I couldn’t care less. Recommend

  • Anoop

    You care leas because it’s convenient not to care.