Stories about foreigner

A Bakistani in Cairo

My Egypt moment wasn’t when the protests started or when they ended. It wasn’t during CNN’s live coverage, and it wasn’t in the 100 or so ‘Can this happen in Pakistan?’ discussions. It was when someone casually yelled out in the school corridor, “Hey Meiryum! Your hometown’s burning!” Cairo was my hometown. Tahrir Square was a 45-minute drive from my apartment. I lived in Cairo from the age of four till eight years – four years of my life. I was old enough to remember and store away memories and young enough to still understand nothing. My first day at the ...

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Diplomatic criminal: Will Raymond Davis go unpunished?

On January 27, when American national Raymond Davis was arrested for shooting and killing two Pakistani civilians on a busy road in Lahore, he identified himself as a diplomat. Following this lead, the media initially dubbed Davis as a diplomat; he was then called a consular employee and finally, some reports claimed he was a civilian visiting Pakistan on a business visa. The US State Department has not divulged much information regarding his identity. On the day of the incident, Assistant Secretary of State Philip J Crowley refused to discuss Davis’ identity and only referred to him an employee at the ...

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The racist within us

It’s sad how we don’t want to be called racist and how callously we use the word for others, even though there lies an evident mindset that we as a nation harbour a feeling of division deep in our hearts — not only amongst ourselves on regional lines but even at a global level. It’s obviously offensive for Pakistanis to be called “brown” or to be more precise, “Pakis”. Nothing could be more offensive to us. But I could never measure it, in the true sense of the word, until the time I called an American friend of mine “Gora sahib”. ...

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Islamabad Etcetera: The navab’s guard of desi farangis

This little preamble shall serve as a disclaimer, for in one’s present attempt, one is by no means being actively obnoxious or wilfully indelicate about one’s chosen subject today, fellow compatriots. Taking swipes at one’s countrymen is nearly always construed as bad taste. Some creeping abasement, some personal impulsion staining one’s argument, denying its objectivity. But regardless of this oft-resorted to response, one will press on. Pakistanis in the employ of foreigners are a special breed.  Like a Gunga Din, an Uncle Tom, these trusted servants, like their literary or historic forebears, are a buffer to their employers, factotums who ...

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A few American brats you know

Alarmingly large numbers of Pakistanis are heading to colleges abroad. It’s become a status symbol. Parents dole out ridiculous amounts of money to make sure their kids – especially their sons – get a degree from a foreign college, however bad, or expensive. Experiencing life at a college in the US makes it easy for me to see what becomes of most of them. Forgive me; I’m going to take the liberty to generalise. The way I look at, if you place the typical Pakistani male at an American college then he’ll be sure to fall into one or more ...

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A brief tale of Pakistani hospitality

I got to see a total of six foreigners on my week-long trip to Lahore. I don’t know whether that is a good average for July, but it seemed low. Five of the individuals I caught a mere glimpse of at the Wahga border. I was in a line with one hundred men jostling for position to enter the gate for ensuing border festivities; they were in a Mercedes with tinted windows pulled down momentarily to take in the ‘local flavor’ before proceeding inside with their protocol. The sixth was a young woman, perhaps twenty five whom I ran into ...

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