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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A pluralistic past

Takht means “throne” and bahi, “water” or “spring” in Persian/Urdu. The monastic complex was called Takht-i-Bahi because it was built atop a hill and also adjacent to a stream. Located 80 kilometers from Peshawar and 16 kilometers Northwest of the city of Mardan, Takht-I-Bahi was unearthed in early 20th century and in 1980 it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list as the largest Buddhist remains in Gandhara, along with the Sahr-i-Bahlol urban remains that date back to the same period, located about a kilometer south.




by Huma Yusuf


ONE of the most peaceful places in Pakistan is the Buddhist monastic complex of Takht-i-Bahai near Peshawar. Situated on a hill, the grand cluster of stupas, courtyards, residential cells, and meditation chambers remains enveloped in mist and mystery. (more…)

The “Extortionist” Is the Tyrant Making the Demands

Talking of principles is not very pretty when one has been on a killing spree, killing children, civilians and older people-the more the merrier. Talking of principles is not pretty when you invade one country after the other. Talking of principles is not very pretty when an American citizen goes trigger happy causing deaths and when his hide is saved on basis of the very Shariah Laws US curses. Talking of principles is not very pretty when US decides to unilaterally attack Abottabad for Osama Bin Laden.



by Yasmeen Ali


US Senators John McCain and Carl Levin, the chair and ranking members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said US must not pay $5000 per truck as demanded by Pakistan, for supplies to troops in Afghanistan, which McCain called extortion.

Extortion, dear McCain, is defined as, the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one’s office or authority’. He also stated, while talking to ‘The Cable’ “We can’t look at aid in that light. It’s now becoming a matter of principle”.

I love it!

Is it the first time US will be paying for transit of NATO supplies? They are paying an average of about $250 a truck, as per a senior US official as reported in a report by David S. Cloud, from the Los Angeles Times published May 19th 2012. (more…)


In April 326 BCE, Alexander arrived in Taxila and it is from that time we get the first real notice on this wonderful city. Several members of the Macedonian’s staff wrote diaries that were subsequently published. Some of those works are lost entirely, others preserved by later historians.
Whatever the case, they provide a fantastic window into the city. Taxila, then was a city of Buddhists and Brahmans and of yet another class that did not bury its dead. They exposed them in isolated places for the bones to be picked clean by the birds.
This was a clear reference to the followers of the great Zartusht or Zoroaster — the people we today know as Parsees.
We are told that the Brahmans were a very powerful class, actively engaged in the political life of the city and serving as counsellors to the court.
With such magnificient history in the prehistoric as well as post Christian eras, even today Taxila is home to over 150 sites/mounds/monuments of archaeological significance that remain unexplored.
With each site in the ancient land of Taxila as rich as the other, if not richer, archaeologists are surveying to begin excavation work on their next project.




by Salman Rashid 


  A bureaucrat, mutated into an ‘intellectual’, hogs the waves of an Urdu television channel and tells the ignorant television viewing public what it wants to hear. One of his not-so-recent gems was about the country that is now Pakistan being a wild and savage land until illuminated by Islam in the early 8th century. That, until that time, this land had no culture or sophistication. The man is a liar and a charlatan.
· (more…)

To the End of the Karakoram Highway

Sino-Pakistani Border Crossing (Khunjerab Pass), elevation 4,693 metres or 15,397 feet is a high mountain pass in the Karakoram Mountains on the northern border of Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region on the southwest border of the Xinjiang region of China. Khunjerab Pass is the highest paved international border crossing in the world and the highest point of the Karakoram Highway. The roadway across the pass was completed in 1982, and has superceded the unpaved Mintaka and Kilik pases as the primary passage across the Karakoram range. On Pakistan side, the pass is 42 km (26 mi) from the National Park station and checkpoint in Dih, 75 km (47 mi) from the customs and immigration post in Sost, 270 km (170 mi) from Gilgit and 870 km (540 mi) from Islamabad.





Here I am, almost a year after my travel expedition to the Northern most part of Pakistan. I was craving for a sanity cleanup, just returned, back to my hometown Karachi, after having to leave it behind for greener pastures.


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