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

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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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On Top of the World [1 of 2]

This photo  of Ultar Peak and glacier was taken from the foot of the Ultar Glacier, near Hoper in the Nagr Valley. You reach this point by driving up a steep and dangerous road and hiking down an equally steep and precipituous path. The glacier itself is extremely dangerous to climb. There are pathways adjacent to it’s main course that can be used to approach the foot of the mountains. Photo via http://www.flickr.com/photos/55319163@N00/





by Jeffrey Tayler


BEYOND the mud-and-stone houses of the Chinese town of Tashkurghan (altitude 12,136 feet) the grassy plateau and granite-hued mountains climb into the sky. Though majestic, this view is just a preamble to the geography in Pakistan, eighty miles to the south; there the Karakoram, the Pamir, the Himalaya, and the Hindu Kush Mountains abut. Amid this jumble of ranges some thirty peaks top 22,000 feet, and even most of these are dwarfed by Rakaposhi, at 25,551 feet; Nanga Parbat, at 26,660; and K2, at 28,250, the highest mountain on earth after Everest. (more…)

On Top of the World [2 of 2]

The impressive Baltit fort sits on top of Karimabad in the Hunza valley. The foundations of the fort are said to date back around 700 years, but there have been rebuilds and alterations over the centuries. In the 16th century the Thum married a princess from Baltistan who brought master Balti craftsmen to renovate the building as part of her dowry. The architectural style is a clear indication of Tibetan influence in Baltistan at the time.
The Mirs of Hunza abandoned the fort in 1945, and moved to a new palace down the hill. The fort started to decay and there was concern that it might possibly fall into ruin. Following a survey by the Royal Geographical Society of London, a restoration programme was initiated and supported by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture Historic Cities Support Programme. The programme was completed in 1996 and the fort is now a museum run by the Baltit Heritage Trust.



by Jeffrey Tayler ·


AFTER the dust, crowds, and endless noodles of China, northern Pakistan was salve for the soul and the palate — a land of solitude, of clean air and lapis lazuli sky, of hearty food. Fortified by a meal of chapati (unleavened bread), curried chicken, and fried potatoes, I hiked up the mountainside that evening, before the sun sank beneath the peaks, to the Wakhi Tadzhik hamlet of Nazimabad. Two brothers in their early teens, Tariq and Aziz, followed me, eager to show me their environs. (more…)

Flashback: A pillar of strength

During the Taliban occupation, Swat Valley, which was visited by Queen Elizabeth in 1961 and many other dignitaries turned into a mess. Long gone were the backpacking students from Europe who biked their way through the valley. Even Pakistanis who took the annual summer vacations, frequenting Bahrain and Mingora, stopped as news of the Taliban takeover spread. The destruction of Malam Jabba ski resort, a picturesque spot that was frequented by skiers from the region, was savage. The footage beamed all over the world was a stark reminder that the valley was in the grips of mad men. Schools set up by the last rulers were blown away and for many, the images they saw of Afghanistan on TV seemed to have become a horrible reality. But the sad part is that it was religious minded people who supported the maulana, thinking of him as a man of faith who was true to the spirit of Islam.




by Sumaira Jajja


A note from Raja Mujtaba of Opinion Maker: Mussarat Ahmedzeb is the widow of a dear friend of mine Capt Ahmezeb who was my course mate in Pakistan Military Academy. It’s indeed an honour for me to republish what was published in Dawn about her role and conduct in Swat during all those years of insurgency and terrorism. [Raja Mujtaba] (more…)

Sanitizing the infestation in the Wakhan Salient [2 of 2]

Dr.  Ahmad Hassan Dani in his book “History of Northern Areas of Pakistan”, states: “Wakhi is spoken in Chitral (Upper Yarkhan valley), in Upper Ishkoman valley and in the Upper Hunza valley (above Gulmit)..the Wakhi speaking communities settled in the northern Areas of Pakistan, came there (more than one hundred years ago?) from their Upper Oxus previous location through the Irshad Pass, which connects the Wakhan, Yakun, Ishkoman and Chapursan Valleys”. He continues “Wakhi is an ‘Iranian’ language but Wakhis are inhabiting for a long time in the Pamir Valleys (Wakhan). They are not Iranians and do not stem from present-day Iran. ‘Iranian simply means that 4000 years ago some groups were speaking a language related to that of Zoraster very different from Wakhi as we know it, but which evolved in course of centuries and is now Wakhi”. The British conspiracy separated Tajikistan from Pakistan.



by RupeeNews


The prodigiously brilliant article by Dr. Naveed Tajammal sheds light on a subject which has rarely been discussed in Pakistani or world history books.

The birth of the new geographic entity of Afghanistan was based on global events as they started to unfold, and so the British Empire the ’’ King Makers’’ from the turn of the 19th Century set about creating new states, by awarding them new names, and thereby delinking them from their past heritage, Khurassan, too met the same fate as did the Sindh Valley, whose integral part it always had been, Sir. Thomas Holdich, writing in 1901 was correct when he confessed the same in his book,” The Indian Borderland’’, ’’We have contributed much to give a National Entity to that Nebulous Community which ‘’WE’’ call ‘’AFGHANISTAN’’ (but which the Afghan, Never, CALL, by that name) by drawing a boundary all around it and elevating it into a position of a Buffer State, between ourselves and Russia, all this has been done at great expense, and with infinite pains……….’’. (more…)

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