Why British Pakistanis should visit their motherland

We may not be a nation that abides by rules but there are some unwritten laws that we Pakistanis never break; such as running down our country every chance we get. Wherever you see four or more of our countrymen together you can be sure to find some Paki bashing going on.
Whether it`s politics or society, fashion shows or TV dramas, absent servants or ever-present in-laws, heck, even the person next to us, as long as he is out of earshot. And so, on as we gather to snitch and moan about how the country has gone to the dogs, let`s take a break and think of those who are no longer there to join in the bonding…I mean complaining.
Yes, those very same ex-countrymen who escaped to greener pastures….green being the colour of longing for a time when they too were Pakistani.



by 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.

 Zab Mustefa is a British journalist who specialises in women’s rights and culture. Read more by Zab here, or follow her on Twitter @zabadabadoo

Related Posts:

1. My beautiful Pakistan: Gilgit-Baltistan, 2. The Wonders of Deosai Plains 3. My beautiful Pakistan, the land of Balochistan, 4. Traveling through Pakistan – The Katas Raj Temple, 5. Pakistan, A Treasure Trove of Wonders. But do we care! 6. Do We Understand Tourism? Asks the Industry Guru, 7. Tourism: A Vista of Opportunities for Our Ailing Economy
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Discovering a totally different country – Pakistan

The highest point in the Vale of Kaghan, Babusar pass is more like a meadow of bright flowers; of all colors, shades and patterns. Situated at a distance of 75 km from Naran, and an altitude of 4146 m (14,000 ft), the fabulous Pass looks more like a huge panoramic spreadsheet. On a clear day you can also see from here, the majestic Nanga Parbat (26,660 ft).
The valley itself is at its best during summer (months ranging from May to September). In May the maximum temperature is 11o C (52 F) and the minimum temperature is 3o C (37 F). From the middle of July up to the end of September the road beyond Naran is open right up to the Pass. 



by Rome Jorge


    Filipinos, we know how wrong international perception can be. The western media just doesn’t get it right. Trouble in far-off Basilan is no excuse to miss all the beauty of Mindanao, a big place with misty virgin forests, rich indigenous culture and the friendliest of people. Or to avoid the entire Philippines for that matter—7,100 islands of the most spectacular beaches with talcum powder fine white sand, breathtaking dive sites of iridescent coral gardens, cuddly dugongs, majestic humpback whales and whale sharks, not to mention hundreds of colorful fiestas in which to revel and indulge.

   There is another place in this world much like our own country with a noble people, a rich history and a diverse culture—the often-unseen paradise that is Pakistan. (more…)

From India with Love: See Pakistan!


by Rama Goswami


For all of us here in Pakistan, my blogger friend Rama Goswami has sent us a message from West Bengal in India. I am happy that the word of love spread by ‘Wonders of Pakistan’ is growing in India as well. Now we have a far more number of friends in our neighbourhood. The mission started with the help of such esteemed writers like Eric Margolis, John Maszka and Ron Jonson, Aijaz Zaka Syed respectively in North America and the UAE, and then my young friend Sidhu Saaheb in Delhi, India joined us in this friendship drive. I pray and hope that this number continues to grow till such time that this individual friendship turns into a friendship of nations as well.

And now the message from Rama Goswami who edits the blog Cuckoo’s Call. http://cuckooscall.blogspot.com

So says R.G.

It is vital, particularly so in the present context of “war on terrorism” and for the unfortunate association of terrorists with that country – that the people across the world need to know and see themselves the country and its people. They would then realise that everything they read, heard and conjectured about Pakistan – was a wrong – was a distorted image, an image much different from what they otherwise see through the tainted lenses of media and the state sponsored propaganda machines milling around the western world. The real Pakistan is much different. It’s a land of amazing human warmth and cultural / spiritual wealth that has the power to captivate anyone – of sensibility. After a visit to Pakistan, says Rama Swami, every sensible visitor would return as an ambassador of the country.

While reading posts from Pakistan, continues the writer, it struck me that someone like the Pakistani bloggers should be organising conducted tours of discerning people / groups from across the world. I remember the advertisements for cultural tours in magazines like New Yorker and Harper’s (or CAM, the Cambridge Alumni Magazine). The posts I see from Pakistan, establish that Pakistan is a prime candidate for similar tours.

Yesterday evening I was talking to Mick Douglas, a friend from Melbourne, who had organised an inter-cultural project in Karachi and Melbourne, highlighting the fabulous “mini-bus art” of Karachi. Mick agreed with me that aesthetics and art is impregnated in the daily lives and activities of the common people over there.

One comes across Visit Thailand Year, Visit Malaysia year, even Visit India Year. I don’t recall a Visit Pakistan Year. India organised several Festivals of India in different countries in the 1980s. I don’t know whether Festivals of Pakistan have taken place anywhere. It’s high time …

I would like to see a ‘Come and See Pakistan’ movement, taken up by the people of Pakistan: civil society organisations, business and professional groups, artists, performers, sportspersons etc.

Pakistan is a very special country, a precious treasure in the world community. The world needs to start discovering this now, and thus be uplifted towards building a better world, a real Pakistan would then emerge out of the dark clouds that have overshadowed this beautiful land for a long time.

At the end of his post, R. G. has inserted a poem which with some minor additions, is being reproduced so that readers of WOP too have an opportunity to meet people with such beautiful minds like Rama Goswamy who think so sweet about our dear homeland.

                                    The Fairyland Pakistan

         Where the high mountains are …

Come and see that fairyland
A beautiful country of

Alice in the wonderland

Where people on the Indus soil

In the Cradle-of-Civilisation

Nestled in its delta, toil

And where the high mountains

Are like a fairyland,

A beautiful country

Of Alice

In the wonderland….

Where treasures of antique abound …

Where mystics, saints, poets the ordinary minds confound

Minds that simply go around …

but to people with the spirit,

The soul

To them offer they everything

To their goal.

The land of the Vedas and puranas

Where every one got Nirvanas

And where the high mountains

Are like a fairyland,
of Alice

In the wonderland

Where songs make

The ecstasy – resound …
where Sufis dance to make

The joys abound

And where the high mountains

Are like a fairyland,
of Alice in the wonderland

Come and see that country

A beautiful country

Called the fairyland

of Alice in the wonderland

Where textiles bedazzle and sway …

Where the friendliest people

So near

But so away …
Come and see that country

With the high mountains

Like a fairyland,
for Alice in the wonderland

Where feasts give you treat

Like emperors invite …
and offer you seat

Near to the heart

So come and see Pakistan,
A beautiful country.

Come and see Pakistan,

Come and see that country

With the high mountains

Like a fairyland,
for Alice in the wonderland

A beautiful country

Come and see Pakistan.

My holidays in Pakistan

 John is doing his doctorate at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He came to Lahore at a time when three major cities in the country (our nerve centres) were hit by a continuous spate of violence and heavy explosions.
At such time it was a bit surprising that a young man and that too a gora boy roaming the streets of Lahore in such a carefree manner. A very happy experience indeed for us Pakistanis to learn that Pakistan as a country has such charm that a foreign guest would not even bother about the security here and travel all the way from London to Lahore just for sight seeing. [Image above: John at the Wahga Border Crossing, Pakistan side]





Interview John R. Bradley

by Nayyar Hashmey


 John a doctoral student at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland came to Lahore at a time when three most important cities in the country (our nerve centres) were hit by a continuous spate of violence and heavy explosions. At such time it was for me a bit surprising to see a young man and that too a gora boy roaming the streets of Lahore in such a carefree manner.

I had many questions in mind although it was a very happy experience for me that Pakistan indeed  as a country has such a charm that a foreign guest would not even bother about the security situation here and travel all the way from London to Lahore just for sight seeing.

So I asked questions which irked my mind and John who is a young smart guy, replied these questions in a pleasant manner. (more…)

Published in: on 08/08/2008 at 10:17 pm  Comments (8)  
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