Is it okay to awaken the dead to settle a score with Adnan Sami Khan?

Published: October 10, 2016
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Most of these responses have attacked Adnan Sami Khan’s character, evoked patriotic sentiment and accused him of betrayal. PHOTO: REUTERS

Last Monday, a young writer by the name of Ahsan Mehmood wrote a hypothetical letter  from Adnan Sami Khan’s (ASK) deceased father to his son for a newsblog called The Weekly Pakistan. The letter was written in response to a tweet from Adnan in which he congratulated the Indian armed forces and PM Modi on a “successful surgical strike against terror”.

The letter essentially consisted of the father, a decorated PAF officer, talking about his own patriotism and the sacrifices a soldier makes for his country. It ended with the “miserable” father referring to the son as a “disgrace”, a “cancerous part” of him and his “deepest regret”.

Let’s get this straight; there is nothing commendable about ASK’s tweet. It reeks of the same chauvinistic garbage being vomited out on social media and cable television on both sides of the border. But let us also examine the sort of reaction that the tweet has received, epitomised by this vicious and self-righteous piece of writing. There are literally thousands of strong-worded replies to the tweet by ASK and there is not one Pakistani news publication that has not carried some sort of rebuke or criticism of the tweet.

Most of these responses have attacked ASK’s character, evoked patriotic sentiment and accused him of betrayal. The aforementioned hypothetical letter stands out for its intentional brutishness and its breaking of the unspoken cultural taboo of evoking the dead.

Much as we do not like to step into any shoes other than our own, this sort of response makes one no different from the war ensemble on display in the Indian media. It makes one no different from the host and commentators that ganged up on Om Puri during a talk show and accused him of offending patriotic sentiment and betraying the sacrifices of Indian soldiers. It makes us no different from the imbecile who filed a legal complaint against Om and accused him of treason.

If our sensitivities are so fragile that we throw a collective fit at a tweet from a musician then there is something within us that we need to examine. If this riles us up more than the myriad homegrown afflictions that plague us, there is something here that we need to fix. For, if we continue to contribute to the hostility between India and Pakistan, we continue to host the depraved demagogues who alone benefit from this conflict.

Thing is, if a tweet from ASK can consume us entirely, one wonders why we were so parsimonious with our anger at the sickening murder of four Hazara Shia women last week. Even the brazen hijacking of the PEMRA meeting to discuss complaints of hate speech against the Ahmadi community has been drowned underneath the deluge of our supposed patriotism.

On the other side of the border, relentless brutalities against the Kashmiri people and the continuing suicide pogrom of destitute farmers are relegated to the fringes of public discourse. The pathological preoccupation with Pakistan reigns supreme.

Let us reject the narrative that allows the hustlers of communal schisms and ultranationalism to prosper.

The insufferable jingoism of Pakistan-India politics ensures that poverty, sectarianism and corruption are perpetually triumphant. Let us stop being a part of it.

Khusro Tariq

Khusro Tariq

The author is a Pakistani-American Psychiatrist currently pursuing training in Jungian psychoanalysis. He blogs on Huffington Post on matters of psychology, faith, politics and poetry. He tweets as @KhwajaKhusro (twitter.com/KhwajaKhusro)

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

  • Ze-yom-Durrani

    Adnan Sami Khan’s grand father was the governor of Herat,Balkh and few other provinces of Afghanistan and one of the companions of Ghazi Amanullah Khan in defeating brits in 3 Afghan-anglo war.

    Adan Sami Khan proudly confessed that he is an Afghan and hails from Herat, pakistanis that hate Afghans and ask them to be deported should remember that we have always brought you name and pride, he and his father and his family hail from Afghanistan and his grand father was a great and brave man who lost his life for his country.

    By chosing not to be called a pakistani he has done a good job, you have to be a pakistani at the first place to leave it anyway. Pakistanis should educate themselves and learn that not everything and everyone belongs to Pakistan.Recommend

  • ASK

    Atleast Sami moved to another country in the proper way,by staying in a country for a period of years and then applying for citizenship,,

    Unlike many Pakistanis nowadays who fly to Turkey,burn their passports and then claim as Syrian refugees and enter Europe….Recommend

  • Modi

    Indian insanity speaking.Recommend

  • Bairooni Haath

    Adnan Sami has joined a select group of intellectuals that includes Tarek Fatah, Hussain Haqqani and selected others who realize what Pakistan actually represents. A country run for the benefit of the Punjabi Muslim military officers. A country where local cultures and languages including Sindhi, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Baloch, Saraiki, Hindko, Pathan have been wiped and Urdu, an Indian colonial language imposed. A country where a Sunni Muslim can snatch the life, property and freedom of a minority with a baseless allegation, kidnap their women and convert them against their will. A country whose army stands accused of the most heinous crimes in Bangladesh and Baluchistan.Recommend

  • Karachiwala

    Why didnt you kept all your beloved belongings inside afghanistan?
    Pakistani dont hate Afghans! period. you can not twist this fact by saying it million times. Fact will remain FACT always.
    And the FACT here is that Pakistanis has welcomed afghan presence for 40 years. we have lost our social fabric because of Afghan migrants.

    The only time you felt that Pakistanis asked Afghans to leave, when we clearly see what you have been cooking with indians and throwing it in Pakistan.

    i will not ask you to STOP cooking that. because you will not STOP. But i have a right to ask you COOK it in your own house!

    Adnan sami is a disgrace- he should have atleast though of shelter and bread that his family enjoyed for serveral years while in Pakistan.

    To the Writer. Your argument is fine, but in this world of lies… where indian media is repeating lies million time.. Pakistanis has to reply with some sort.

    remain Idle in this case, would only make things worse for us.
    they are lieing in thousands and by million time…. it has some effect to other observers…Recommend

  • abhi

    I think Adnan Sami knows his father better than the man who has written this hypothetical letter.Recommend

  • Ze-yom-Durrani

    They also claim to be Afghan, remember the Pakistani guy who killed ppl in train and posed as an Afghan but then the Germany officials clarified and said he is of Pakistan… there are heaps these Pakistanis in Australia, Europe and USA, they use Afghan/Pashtun names but can’t talk a sentence in Dari or Pashtu all you could hear is the language of heera mandiRecommend

  • Ze-yom-Durrani

    You started the cooking, you sheltered all the terrorists who wage war against my country so we retaliated.. don’t like it I don’t care.
    You have your social development because of Afghans – Peshawar was a desert when Afghan entered it, actually if you check history your country was a desert and was developed as a route of Afghans to India. You lost your social fabric because of your politicians not because of Afghans or Indians. Since separation your state have been waging war against its neighbours, none your neighbours is happy with you and now you have lost your respect at the international level, where there is talk about Pakistan, there is talk about terrorism and sponsoring terrorism.. in the very short age Pakistan has fought many wars – think about it, no one invaded you guys!
    If Adnan Sami Khan is a disgrace that he left Pakistan then on that logic whole Pakistanis are a disgrace for leaving India and Afghanistan!Recommend

  • Karachiwala

    What have you been smoking? Afghanistan voted against the formation of Pakistan. Since then you are supporting terrorism in hopes to break Pakistan. We only started with Afghans in 1975. India is a naive country? Good lie. Yeah Bangladesh Nepal and Afghan are playing stooges to India. Keep playing. We as a Pakistani still want Afghans to go back after 40 years….adnan sami is a disgrace for Afghans and Pakistan people…you cannot comprehend that…and I understand your shortcomings. This elite of yours who looted and benefited through wars..always play like he is playing. Rest assured if Pakistan is so bad…and I agree with you..please leave. And go back to Afghanistan…or maybe go to India…they are nice and eager to want you there.
    Recommend

  • Ze-yom-Durrani

    You know what I believe Afghanistan did the right thing by voting against Pakistan’s creation, I wish Gandi and Ghafar Khan knew how their people would suffer by allowing and taking part in creation of a country that would bring nothing but misery into the lives of people who live in the regions. Millions were displaced, thousand were killed because they were either Hindu or Muslim, hundreds lost their life making the journey from one country to another – then Bangladesh happened and again close to millions lives were lost, don’t blame India or Afghanistan for that cause it was your mess.. actually to be frank in every mess it is your fault but some how you find Afghanistan and India and bring their name into it to fee better. if you were not a Pakistani you would have agreed with me that yes every other country present at that UN session should have voted against creation of Pakistan, South Asia and world would have been a better place to live, there would neither have been dispute of Kashmir nor dispute of Durand line, no threats of Sind water and no threats of Kabul river. Look at where you are, still a poor and undeveloped country, not my problem I don’t care, what I care for is that you are like a hole and a drain that pulling all the prosperity around it towards itself and pushing them into that hole of misery.
    India could be a monster, Bangladesh could be the same, Nepal could be the same Afghanistan could be the same how about Pakistan, the victim.. wake up mate you must have smoked our heroin lol
    Afghans will decide what they want to do you can scream for another 40 years but they will go whenever they want cause you have not proved ownership of your country to them and they don’t believe it is a different country yet!
    Adnan is an artist who hails from Afghanistan and has earned huge respect from world, forget some extremist Pakistanis, they don’t count. We are proud of his achievement and his talent that offered him an opportunity to return to his roots (Afghan).
    Tell you something I have never been to Pakistan and will never come there unless we march towards it invade it and occupy it! Don’t think nuk would save you, you have to have Eaman not arms.
    India is our ally and friend and can go whenever I like and want so wake up stop thinking that whole world is living in your tiny country with extremely hot weather and polluted weather that lack basic health services standard and its ppl prefer to leave the country pretending to be Afghans.Recommend

  • Karachiwala

    I guess either you are illiterate or maybe hooked onto Bollywood craps. Reality is far more different. Afghans are leaving, and will do so. Rest assured, all your wild dreams are panning out very differently for you and for your masters in India.Recommend

  • Ze-yom-Durrani

    You said Bollywood crap? Well as a matter of fact we are not hooked up onto Bollywood and I don’t think it is crap either but I can say you have fallen for that crap. I see your artist die to get a role of a gay or a striper and pole dancer.. that is what Pakistanis getting, they are not embarrassed that after being humiliated by Indians still go and dance for them, so you have fallen for a crap and God knows how crap you’d be.
    You stay assured that Afghans are leaving go and tell your fellow Pakistanis who tore their throat shouting Afghans should leave.. but Afghans are leaving Karachi and ilahore not Pakhtunkhwa cause it is part of Loy Afghanistan.
    Did you know how many residents of pakhtunkhwa call themselves Afghan.. you go and find out and I am sure this will make you distressed and your dream of pakland will shutter!Recommend

  • Karachiwala

    Your problem is you take up 1 point and rather to finish the argument, jump on the second one.
    As contrast to Pakistani artist begging for any role, you forgot what the main topic was about.
    It was about Adnan Sami Khan, and clearly he was begging the indian master of his for an indian citizenship.
    I have no issues with Afghans as an ethenic identity ( and no one should) , as we have Afghans in Khyber Pukhtoonkhuwa. But as a Pakistani, i have serious reservation about Afghans from Afganistan. They have lived in Pakistan for 40+ years. And they should go back home, and build their country.
    Lets say, we are bad. we as a Pakistani are very rude to them for 40 years. And Pakistanis are the worst, call as many name as you think of. But Please Leave!!!!! Leave this land that has given space to your mothers to deliver babies, Leave this land which provided the very first food for those infants. Forget about this Land that given your children time and space to play and grow.

    do one favour unto yourself. Ask Adnan Sami Khan to come back to Afghanistan.
    Not for fighting, or helping nation building… just ask him to come and collect some more MONEY/Land in inheritance from his grand father. Lets see what he does.

    And i am waiting anxiously until every Afghani go back to Their Purest Land- if not, at least take refuge in INDIA. but not any more in Pakistan. hope you uderstand.Recommend

  • Ze-yom-Durrani

    Mate you went on calling Bollywood crap and accusing me of falling for it.. I had to address it right?
    Regarding Afghans in Pakistan, lets be clear, as mentioned money times by our National Hero Shaheed Ahmad Shah Massoud, by our former President Hamid Karzai and by many other Afghans, we were grateful and will be grateful to those Pakistanis who shared their homes with Afghans. I haven’t been there in your country but I know Afghans would have continued to voice and show appreciation to the good gesture that normal Pakistani citizen extended to Afghans at difficult times.

    We stopped because your establishment is playing games and calling freedom fighters the savages who kill school student, woman and kids..
    That is the humanitarian-civilian side of the matter. Lets not forget that it was the ordinary Pakistanis that offered their help and they would receive similar treatment if they happen to come to Afghanistan; by the way we hosted 10000 Pashtuns from the tribal area and extended help and assistance.
    Lets not forget that you received billions of $$$ for hosting those Afghans and you skimmed the aid and spent on your infrastructure and army.. before 1970s your country was like a far poor village with no sign of civilization that would portray a country and a proper city – Peshawar was a desert go and google and see if for yourself.
    So for every single Afghan you received $$$ hence you were happy to host them.
    You know you are screaming leave leave leave here but the thing is your establishment doenst want that, deep inside they disagree with you. They want those refugees to stay so that they enrol their kids into maddrasas and recruit soldier for Taliban and that is why you have lost the respect from Afghans. You can host them for another 40 years but they know that you are playing a game and don’t expect them to love you are appreciate cause they know they can’t return to their home as long as you keep the flames burn.
    If you really want those Afghans to leave then go after haqani, queta shura, and other terrorist organization that burn their houses, kick them out then we can get our ppl back.. don’t be selective, if you are selective then you suffer too and don’t blame us for it.
    One more thing I need you to realize, I don’t care about Pashtuns on either side of the Durand line but that drama will continue as there are ppl on both sides of the line that doenst accept it and you gotta put up with refugees (they call themselves native land owners residing in Peshawar and other kpk cities) and they are welcomed by the Pashtuns there..
    Re Adnan Sami khan, I don’t expect him to come and do anything for us, there are scores of Pakistanis having luxuries life in western countries and I can bet you can’t get them spare a cent of their money for their pureland. It is human nature, you wouldn’t do so either!Recommend