Stories about British Pakistani

Ashamed of being ‘too Pakistani,’ is Sajid Javid ‘British enough’ to become the PM?

Home Secretary of the United Kingdom Sajid Javid, son of a Pakistani bus driver, has reached the top of the financial and political world. His life truly does make for an inspiring story.  Javid has modelled himself around the idea of a ‘British Dream,’ where if you work hard, anyone can make it. However, the greatest irony of his ascent is that he has continuously alienated the community that he was born into. Throughout his political career, he has become the mouthpiece of the right wing to legitimise their protestation against migrants, the working class and a whole host of progressive international causes. In ...

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Home Fire: A Muslim love story for the modern world

The latest novel by Kamila Shamsie has won numerous accolades, the most recent one being the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction. The novel, based on the Greek tragedy Antigone, delves into the modern-day spasms of jihad and terrorism, and also examines the concept of loyalty, belief and love. Not having read Antigone, Home Fire came across as a juxtaposition of the notions that have been shuffling in religious and political debate of late. The cover of the book – one of the most profound covers out of the books in my possession – is a simple maze of red-orange fire with two ...

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Are forced marriages a form of modern-day slavery?

In one of the old dictionaries I’ve been using since my school days, the definition for ‘forced marriage’ is: “A marriage in which one or both of the parties is married without his or her consent or against his or her will.” Growing up in Britain and in an Asian community, I’ve heard countless stories of young girls – at the young age of 16, even before they’ve received their exam results – being taken abroad for a ‘family holiday’, only to discover one evening that the very next day was their wedding. It even happened to one girl I ...

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Jerusalem, Sadiq Khan, and the right to call a place ‘home’

Earlier this month, two major incidents captured the world’s attention. Both are in dissimilar contexts and with starkly different repercussions, yet both unified by the sentiment of belonging, and a notion that was once familiar but is now complex – home. The first event was the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the US, whereas the second occurred with a few words uttered by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, during his visit to Pakistan. When asked by a BBC reporter if coming to Pakistan felt like coming ‘home’, he promptly replied, “No, home is South London, mate.” On one hand, for Palestinians, their wounds were reawakened ...

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A father, a daughter, and the tug of being in three places at once

The only certain thing in this life is death. I learnt that very early on in life. It was one evening back in 1995, the time on my watch had stopped at 7:35pm. It was a Tuesday, February 28th, to be exact. That was when time rendered still for my father. And for me. I was only a teenager. My father had been ill for a few days and the doctors had put it off as a mere cold. I still remember the day before it happened, my sister and I were at a local pharmacy and decided to get some over ...

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Amir Khan’s sexist comments on ‘women belonging in the kitchen’ are nothing but a reflection of our misogynistic attitude towards gender roles

Amir Khan, the world famous British boxer of Pakistani lineage, is no stranger to controversy. Although an extremely successful and talented boxer, most of the time, he is in the news for “other” reasons. We witnessed a very public meltdown of his marriage, followed by the umpteenth reconciliation. We heard him bragging about being a celebrity and also public admissions regarding his infidelity, and of course the leaked sex tape, which merely confirmed his adulterous nature. He appears to be someone hungry for attention, be it of any kind, and I have a strong suspicion that many of his antics are deliberate ...

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Stop celebrating Sadiq Khan’s victory, Pakistan, you have no right to celebrate

Sadiq Khan is now the mayor of London. There are countless reasons to celebrate this feat. On a personal level, it is indeed a great achievement for someone who was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His father was a Pakistan immigrant and a bus driver who brought up Sadiq and his siblings in a council property. Imagine the son of that particular immigrant getting elected by a record mandate in London; it’s a truly superb moment. Congratulations to him for a truly remarkable victory. But can every Pakistani and every Muslim personally feel proud over the appointment of the new ...

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Are British Pakistanis uncivil and lacking basic common courtesy?

According to a leaked email by Paul Sabapathy CBE, the former Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, the British Pakistani community must be taught basic ‘common courtesy and civility’, after he attended the August 14th celebration in Birmingham. His comments caused uproar amongst the British Pakistani community, who demanded an apology from him, which he promptly offered, followed by a hasty resignation after serving eight years in this post.  He was the first member of the Asian community who held a prestigious post. At the event celebrating independence, he was apparently dealt in a manner which was unbecoming and disrespectful after which he vented in ...

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One pound fish to million pound hit!

An artist by nature and a talent in the making – the story of Muhammad Nazir is truly awe-inspiring. By means of introduction, Nazir was a student and a part time fishmonger based in the UK. Originally from Pattoki (a small town near Lahore), Nazir migrated to the UK in hopes of a brighter future, and boy, was he in for a surprise! He possessed a unique, charming style of selling his product; he sang to the ladies. A marketing expert, Nazir insisted that if he was able to get the ladies to buy his product, the males would follow their lead. Surprisingly, ...

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Shafilea’s honour killing: Will we ever learn?

Like so many second or third generation British Pakistani girls, Shafilea Ahmed wanted to socialise with her ‘gora’ (white) friends, wear western clothes and have a boyfriend. The reality was very different and sour; daily beatings, turning up to school with cuts and bruises, a life of violence subjected by her parents Iftikhar and Farzana, which eventually led to her death in 2003. The police shied away from the word ‘honour’ this time and instead insisted that Shafilea was just murdered, simply murdered. Despite the cultural sensitivity from the Cheshire police, it is clear that an honour killing ...

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