Top Five Reasons for Loving Pakistan

Posted on June 10, 2007
Filed Under >Raza Rumi, Society
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Raza Rumi

I am averse to the ratings and rankings that characterize the junk-journalism of our times. Much like the embedded style of reporting such a view remains partial and often ignorant of the nuances and layers of subtext that are almost unachievable in the pop-view of the world.

Readers might question this apparent paradox as on the one hand I am making my top-five list and on the other I am also being critical. Well, well, this is kosher from a South Asian perspective as we remain a mythical-modern bundle of contradictions.

Pakistani girl

The real reason for me to ‘submit’ my top 5 is the inquiring spirit of Mayank Austen Soofi whom I don’t know and have never met but who originally asked me to do so for his blog. But I am quite empathetic to his efforts at understanding Pakistan. At least he ventures into the ‘other’ territory and unlike the mainstream media and writers, does not view Pakistan as a threatening collage of burqa clad women, terrorism and gun toting radicals. Even if my young friend employs a cliched format in this series, it is better than ‘high writing’ churning more cliches!

So, here are my top five reasons for loving Pakistan. Maybe ATP readers will add their own reasons to this list.

The Civilization

Pakistan is not a recent figment but a continuation of 5000 years of history: quite sheepishly, I admit, that I am an adherent of the view held by many historians that the Indus valley and the Indus man were always somewhat distinct from their brethren across the Indus. I do not wish to venture into this debate but I am proud as an inheritor of Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and Mehrgarh (not strictly in this order) and this makes me feel rooted and connected to my soil as well as ancient human civilizations and cultures.

It also makes me happy that no matter how much the present-day media hysteria about Pakistan (and “natives” in general) diminishes my country and region, nothing can take away this heritage and high points of my ancestral culture. Pakistan is not just Indus civilization – it is a hybrid cultural ethos: the Greek, Gandhara, the central Asian, Persian, Aryan and the Islamic influences merge into this river and define my soul – how can I not be proud of this?

The People

I simply love the Pakistani people – they are resilient, diverse and most entrepreneurial. They have survived calamities, famines, upheavals, injustices and exploitation and yet, by and large, retain a sense of humour. I am not naieve to say that they are totally free of the various bondages of history but they display remarkable entrepreneurial and creative potential. Most of them are “real” and rooted and yet not averse to modernity.

There is an urban revolution taking place in parts of Punjab and Sindh and the drivers are neither the state nor external donors but the people themselves. The private sector has even contributed to build an airport. There is an ugly side as well: the absence or predatory activities of the state (e.g. Karachi) has also provided a breeding ground for mafias but this is not a unique Pakistani phenomenon. From Los Angeles to Jakarata, such groups operate within the folds of urbanization.

I am proud of my people who have proved themselves in all spheres and countries – whether it is Professor Abdus Salam, the Nobel Laureate or Shazia Sikander, the miniaturist of international fame or Mukhtaran Mai who has proved her mettle in giving a tough time to forces of oppression.

The Spirituality

There is inordinate focus on Pakistani madrassahs, the pro-Taliban groups and the violent jihadis. How representative are these groups? Only Pakistanis know that such groups are marginal to the mainstream attachment to and practice of religion. The rural folk are still steeped in Sufi worldview and many versions of Islam exist within the same neighborhood. Of course there is manipulated curse of sectarian violence but that mercifully is not embedded despite the attempts of big external players and the octopus-like state agencies.

Ordinary Pakistanis, such as me, value their Islamic beliefs, are God fearing and follow what is essentially a continuation of the centuries old traditions of spirituality that survives in the folk idiom, in the kaafis of Bulleh Shah, and in the verses of Bhitai and Rahman Baba. Our proverbs, day-to-day beliefs are all mixed and laced with history, oral tradition, Sufi lore and of course Islamic simplicity. It is another matter that there are individuals who want to hijack this thread and impose their nonsense on us – but we as a people have resisted that and shall continue to do so. After all we inherited the confluence of ancient religions and practices.

Pakistan is where Buddha taught and Taxila shined, and where Nanak preached and the great saints – Usman Hajweri, Fariduddin Ganj Shakar, Bhitai and Sarmast – brought people into the fold of Islam. Despite the revisionist, constructed history by extremists in India, the sword had little to do with Islam’s rise in this region.

The Natural Beauty

Well the spirituality of my homeland is not just restricted to the intangible belief systems. It also reflects in the splendors of Mother Nature. From the pristine peaks in the north to the mangroves of the Indus delta, Pakistan blends climates, geographies, terrains in its melting pot. Within hours of leaving an arid zone, one enters into a fertile delta. And again a few more hours put you right in front of otherworldly mountains. The deserts of Cholistan radiate the moonlight and the surreal wildernesses of Balochistan are nothing but metaphors of spiritual beauty.

Where else can I experience the aroma of wet earth when the baked earth cracks up to embrace every droplet and where else can one find a Jamun tree with a Koel calling the gods? An everlasting impression on my being shall remain the majestic sunrise at the Fairy Meadows amid the Karakorams and the melting gold of Nanga Parbat peak. I love this country’s rivers, streams and the fields where farmers testify their existence with each stroke, each touch of earth. I cherish trees that are not just trees but signify Buddha’s seat or the ones in graveyards nourishing the seasonal blossoms.

The Cuisine

Yes, I love the aromas and myriad scents of Thai cooking, the subtlety of the French and Lebanese or the Turkish dishes but nothing compares to the Pakistani cuisine. Forget the high sounding stuff; ghar ka khana (homemade food) no matter which strata are you from is difficult to find elsewhere.

Whether it is a simple Tandoor ki Roti with Achaar or Palak (in the Punjab) or the intricate Biryani with ingredients and spices of all hues, the food is out of this world. In my house, we were used to at least ten different rice dishes (steamed white rice/ saada/ green peas/ vegetable/ channa/ choliya/ potato Pilau), three types of Biryanis (Sindhi, Hyderabadi, Dilli or just our cook’s hybridized Punjabi version), and my grandmother’s recipe of Lambi Khichdee. The list continues.

In the Northern areas, there are Chinese-Pakistani concoctions, in the North West Frontier there is meat in its most tender and purest form. In Balochistan there is Sajji, meat grilled in earthenware at low heat until all the juices have transformed the steaks into a magic delight. And, the fruits and the sweets -the mangoes that come in dozens of varieties and colors, melons of different sizes, the pomegranates and the wild berries that still grow despite the pollution everywhere!

How could I not love this eclectic cuisine?

And Finally . . .

The sum-total of all five: I love Pakistan as this is my identity – immutable and irreversible. Simple.

Raza Rumi blogs at Jahane Rumi.

105 Comments on “Top Five Reasons for Loving Pakistan”

  1. Rohit says:
    June 10th, 2007 12:31 pm

    My apologies for the discordant note.

    Indus Man- Lothal, Dholavira, Alamgirpur, are all on the other side of the border.

    I remain intrigued by the Indus valley connection to present day Pakistan. Imagining Pakistan as a territorial nationality linked to the past is sort of odd, given that it was supposed to the homeland for all South Asian Muslims and several Pakistanis came from other parts of the subcontinent. Also several people who occupied the geographic space left, so I remain confused about the nature of this claim.

  2. Zia says:
    June 10th, 2007 1:51 pm

    Raza, very rightly put

    “… I love Pakistan as this is my identity – immutable and irreversible. Simple”

    Fortunately I had the opporunity to live in entirely different geographical locations and I always thank Allah who has given us such a rich land. Hard to find all things in such a compact area.
    In late 80s we used to have an org ‘Proud Pakistani’ that had the slogan ” we are if Pakistan is” , I just wonder what happened to it.

  3. ahmed says:
    June 10th, 2007 2:06 pm

    Out of top five, top one will be the people.
    They are so brilliant, compassionate and trust worthy.
    I dont find example of a nation that came into being only
    sixty years ago, started from scratch, remained this whole time under continuous threat of occupation from ten times
    bigger neighbour, fought four wars, and still has done so well for itself( though there is alot to be done ).
    One might differ with my opinion and give example of poverty, and other difficulties that we have but still, if you really look at the achievements, we are way way better than sixty years ago and we have done very well as compared to other countries in south asia.

  4. BD says:
    June 10th, 2007 2:25 pm

    I think Pakistan can also claim to produce world’s first dentists i.e. 9000 years before christ was born!

    check my post on the same:

  5. June 10th, 2007 4:30 pm

    One reason to worry about it too.

  6. omar r. quraishi says:
    June 10th, 2007 6:01 pm

    this has to be among the most pretentious/immature pieces of not-good writing that i have read in quite some time

  7. tina says:
    June 10th, 2007 6:33 pm

    The racial claim strikes a discordant note. Pakistan is, like all important crossroads, made up of a racial mixture. I would argue that there is no such thing as Indus man, but there certainly is such a thing as group of present day people who want to claim one part of their ancestry, namely any part that could be construed as “white”, but not any part that might include, for example, Dravidians. See also the first comment.

    I don’t believe for a second that the Greeks for example left any significant racial footprint in the area. There is no evidence of this and they never settled there. As for the once-in-a-while greenish eyes and red hair found among Kalash or other mountain peoples, this is a common happenstance in different parts of the world. But this idea is appealing to Pakistanis. You don’t, on the other hand, hear much about people who have undoubtedly contributed much to the gene pool of Pakistan, and much more recently, namely the Bengalis and Muslims of south Indian descent.

    Story: I once taught a class which included a young man (Pakistani) whose Iranian grandfather attended medical school in Heidelberg–in the 1940s. During an excursion to visit the countryside the man was mistaken for a Jew by the other passengers, who accosted him and called for the conductor, who mishandled him and arrested him at the next station. He actually went to court on charges of being a Semite, and was faced with a concentration camp. He submitted to the whole battery of ridiculous, arbitrary racial tests, such as being measured with calipers and so on. The race doctor (maybe a decent sort who was out to save as many lives from the madness as he logically could) submitted a judgement which stated that the Iranian was “a pure Aryan albeit of a primitive type”. This decision not only saved his life, but the conductor was called in to publicly apologize and was fined.

    Now for the kicker….the young man greatly admired the Nazi Germans for this! He thought it proved that Pakistanis were Aryans, and therefore “really just like whites”. In other words, he was buying into the Nazi world view, in which it is possible to not only prove relative “whiteness” but also impossible not to assume that it is better.

    I liked the idea of the list but found it very vague; really you could say these things about any country–Ethiopians love their ancient culture, friendly people, rich traditions of spirituality, striking landscapes, and good food too: so do Peruvians and Hawaiians and Italians and Irish and even Eskimos probably, although the cuisine end of the list might suffer with that one.

    What uniquely Pakistani things do we love about Pakistan?

    For me one thing would have to be the traffic. Seriously. I know the traffic jams are hideous, but where else in the world do you get such a show of flamboyant, shall we say, “personalized” vehicles going down the road? It’s wonderful, and after prolonged stays in more than 15 countries I can say I’ve never seen anything remotely like it.

    Other thoughts?

  8. tina says:
    June 10th, 2007 6:41 pm

    As for the claim that red headed people point to descent from ancient Greeks, I would point out that practically no Greeks have red hair and very very few have green eyes. I don’t think these people had to “come from” anywhere outside–there are red headed Arabs also. It just happens.

  9. SJH says:
    June 10th, 2007 6:44 pm

    My identity is through Pakistan, regardless of where my parents came from. We lay claim to greatness on either side of the border, if others are confused by that claim, visit any number of rather remarkable sights in and around Agra, Delhi etc. I assume all of us (on either side of the border) are taught that Pakistan is a grand exercise in minority rights much before the protection of such rights became fashionable in political theory.

  10. Saad.. says:
    June 10th, 2007 7:03 pm

    well said.

  11. nazir says:
    June 10th, 2007 8:48 pm

    Jingoism at its worst! What a pity you need to invoke imagined ancient history to retain your identity!

  12. Eidee Man says:
    June 10th, 2007 9:05 pm

    [quote]

    My apologies for the discordant note.

    Indus Man- Lothal, Dholavira, Alamgirpur, are all on the other side of the border.

    I remain intrigued by the Indus valley connection to present day Pakistan. Imagining Pakistan as a territorial nationality linked to the past is sort of odd, given that it was supposed to the homeland for all South Asian Muslims and several Pakistanis came from other parts of the subcontinent. Also several people who occupied the geographic space left, so I remain confused about the nature of this claim.
    [/quote]

    Rohit, the fact that it seems odd to you may reflect your biases than reality. The fact is, Pakistanis feel very much connected to their long connection to the land, regardless of where they came from.

    If one were to follow your logic, one can conclude that Caucasian and African Americans have no right to feel an attachment to the land and its past….this, of course, is ridiculous.

  13. tina says:
    June 10th, 2007 9:39 pm

    Eidee Man–not nearly as ridiculous as you might wish to think–Caucasian Americans have been told endlessly how they stole the land from its “rightful owners”, and African Americans have been denied their connection to the country since the day they were dragged there. If you want to think about who has a right to have a connection to the land, you have to think about how they got it.

  14. Faraz says:
    June 10th, 2007 10:09 pm

    I can agree with cuisine being a reason. I have yet to eat better food anywhere else in the world. Nature too – Paksitan definitely has its share of natural wonders.

    I think you are pushing it too much when you say all or at least most of Pakistanis are descendants (or inheritors) of the people of Harappa and Moenjo Daro. Sorry, this claim just doesn’t ring true.

    But spirituality? It’s one of the reasons I don’t love Pakistan. We have too many people on the wrong extremes of spirituality. And sectarian violence, as you mentioned.

    Personally, I would like to add the delicious fresh fruits to the list. And cricket. Because cricket is definitely a part of what makes us Pakistanis.

    Eidee, Raza Rumi was not talking about “connection to the land,” but rather the people who thrived on it thousands of years ago. As for the analogy you stated, yes caucasians and AAs do feel a connection to the land, but not with the native people, namely the “Red Indians.”

  15. Owais Mughal says:
    June 10th, 2007 11:31 pm

    The cuisine part is definitely very distinct Pakistani. Over the years Pakistani dishes have evolved very different from Indian dishes. This difference is all too evident outside Pakistan where Pakistani restaurants have a very unique food style which is not found anywhere else.

  16. mahi says:
    June 11th, 2007 12:43 am

    Raza, fine attempt, but too generic. First off, a close version of these five, varying a bit based on your personal sensibility, would be espoused by practically all people about their country. I think the reasons, if a bit more specific, and unique, would carry more weight.

    Going deeper, its not clear what you mean by the ‘Indus man’ and his being ‘always somewhat distinct from their brethren across the Indus.’ Does not make sense off the bat. I guess you are arguing for some kind of racial continuity for the people west of Indus, constituting modern day Pakistan. I dont recollect ever reading anything making/substantiating such a claim.

    Spirituality – I dont know the ground situation in Pakistan. Is real spirituality still alive and not drowned out by the more vociferous orthodox religion? Maybe you are referring to the greater subcontinent and the overall predominance of a spiritual bent?

  17. June 11th, 2007 12:55 am

    “this has to be among the most pretentious/immature pieces of not-good writing that i have read in quite some time

    The above quote has to be one of the most self-righteous, arrogant and rudest comments I have read in quite some time. Perhaps the author of this comment ought to read some of his own articles to get a taste of ‘not-good writing’.

  18. Zia Hashmi says:
    June 11th, 2007 2:05 am

    Reading about Top five reasons for loving Pakistan makes me feel proud of the glorious heritage and rich identity this nation is endowed with. It refreshes my urge to appreciate true sense of belonging and strengthens my convicition that this country will rise to its rightful place. These five are indeed valide reasons and thats exactly why i believe in better future for our country despite repeated kockyings for power by few at the cost of many’s desire who are constantly trying to bring some sense to the affairs of the nation. Just a note that on my list of priority, the resilience of the common Pakistani would have obtained an important reason for loving Pakistan.

  19. omar r. quraishi says:
    June 11th, 2007 5:18 am

    and i dont think its half as bad as this — besides since when does criticism make one arrogant or self righteous olive?

    here is my Sunday column olive —

    RIPPLE EFFECT
    Censorship

    By Omar R. Quraishi

    One cannot fathom why the government is bent on cutting its nose to spite its face. Why the need to open yet another – potentially dangerous — front with another institution of society, the press and media, at a time when the judicial crisis is at its peak? Who is advising the president to do this and if he is doing this on his own, can he not see the damage it will do to his and the government’s credibility?

    The changes made to the PEMRA law, promulgated via a presidential ordinance on June 4, are such that they can only be interpreted as part of a concerted effort by the government to tighten the screws, as it were, on the media, particularly the electronic one. The amendments go against natural justice which lends itself to natural law, the foundation stone of much of our own law, which comes primarily from British and Anglo-Saxon law. Also natural law is called ‘natural’ in a sense that it relates to rights that are so fundamental that no legislation or government sanction is even necessary for them to hold. It is such crucial and basic rights that the new Pemra ordinance has ridden roughshod over.

    For instance, the state electronic media regulator will now be able to confiscate equipment and seal the premises of any TV channel which violates its rules and regulations without even referring the matter first to a complaints council. This means that such action can be taken without due notice and/or warning and without recourse to the channel to seek legal redress to stop such action. You don’t have to be a student of law to understand that this violates the due process of law, which is that any person or entity charged with breaking the law must be given proper notice and warning of the action to be taken against it and — equally importantly — must be given a chance to defend himself before an appropriate justice-dispensing forum (usually a court). The changes made through this ordinance are tantamount to condemning a party without even hearing its side of the story.

    The ordinance also empowers the regulator to suspend a channel’s licence to operate after a ‘duly constituted committee comprising the authority’s members’. This means that the regulator plans to be judge, jury and executioner all in one. Now this wouldn’t be so much of a problem were it not for the fact that there is practically no parliamentary oversight over Pemra (or any other industry regulator for that matter) and that the views of all stakeholders, particularly ordinary citizens, are hardly, if ever, taken into account. After all the Federal Communications Commission or the Food and Drug Administration in the US both have considerable sweeping powers as well but both are subject to close scrutiny by Congress and are held accountable for their actions. Most importantly, their actions have shown that by and large they tend to act in a manner that furthers the public good in and does not further any particular vested interest. Also, they are independent of the US government, which is something that certainly cannot be said of how regulators function and operate in Pakistan.

    For some, the clamp-down on the media may seem reminiscent of General Zia’s dark days and in general goes to show how quickly media freedom can be taken away by a government/state. Also, it shows desperation, particularly the amendment that brings under Pemra’s purview video images on the Internet and on mobile phones. This means that the government wants to now control what people are watching on their mobile phones and the Internet, clearly an attempt to prevent them from watching videos of the rallies and protests related to the ongoing judicial crisis that can be seen on either medium (particularly in demand after the blanket ban on live coverage by TV channels).

    Though one normally abhors giving quotes (because that seems a most unoriginal way to write — borrowing ideas from others), there may be a case for mentioning what others have said on censorship. The first is Demosthenes, a statesman and orator of repute who lived in Ancient Greece in the fourth century BC. He said, “The readiest and surest way to get rid of censure, is to correct ourselves.”

    The second is Winston Churchill (who doesn’t really need any introduction). He said, and it probably is very apt of Pakistan today: “Everyone is in favour of free speech. Hardly a day passes without it being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage.”

    The writer is Op-ed Pages Editor of The News.

    Email: omarq@cyber.net.pk

  20. omar r. quraishi says:
    June 11th, 2007 5:28 am

    and this is a particularly bad piece of writing by me — hope you approve olive

    Editorial, The News, June 8, 2007

    One-man rule
    The dangers of one-man rule are becoming increasingly evident with every passing day. The problem with such a dispensation is that the system of checks and balances, which is an inherent part of any free and fully functional democracy, is either absent or not able to operate in a manner that furthers the public good/interest. Further, even if parliament is there, it is usually ridden roughshod over or bypassed, as happened in the promulgation of a presidential ordinance early this week making several changes to the laws that regulate the electronic media in the country (the implementation of the new ordinance, however, has now been suspended pending a review by a government-media committee). To those who would say that one-man rule is very good when that one man is forward-looking, progressive and is able to get things done, one can place the equally valid counter-argument that what happens when this benevolent ruler chooses to act in a not-so-benevolent manner.

    Furthermore, the other problem with one-man rule or with a dispensation where one post has been vested with considerably disproportionate power is that the ruler is under no real obligation to abide by advice given to him by those around him. This seems to be what is happening if one goes by the account reported in this newspaper on Thursday of President Musharraf’s address to a parliamentary meeting of the ruling PML-Q and its various allies. From what the MPs had to listen to, it seems that they are being held in the wrong for not defending the president — in fact, he also told them that he was fighting “their war” for them and hence the implication that they should at least be defending him. Perhaps, it needs to be considered that one reason for the fact that the MPs are not, as the president himself would think it, defending him is because they disagree with many of the policies that are being pursued by the government — particularly after March 9.

    Not only this, it seems that much of the rest of the country agrees with the view that the government needs to step back from its confrontation with the judiciary instead of opening another front with the media and the press. The view that the steps taken since March 9 have served to only exacerbate the government’s problems and damaged its credibility, both at home and abroad are much more widespread than some in the government would like to believe and in fact this refusal to see reality and act accordingly is further queering the pitch. The generally held view now is that the events of May 12 and now the frontal attack on the media have compounded the situation. To the struggle for the independence of the judiciary has been added the struggle for the independence of the media and the press and this is surely not good for either the public or the national interest. Valid concerns about the military’s role in the politics and its interference in matters that should be best left to civilians is being equated with a malicious campaign to attack the military. This in itself is reflective of flawed reasoning because it fails to see the point that those who are saying (and this chorus is ever-widening) that the armed forces should stay out of politics are not being traitorous but only pointing out an age-old rule of society and nationhood. This is that the military has a specific and very important role to play and that is to guard the frontiers and not play politics because that would be bad for the military itself and leave it open to public criticism — as has happened. One-man, which usually finds it basis in the military, suffers from the fact that this valid and justified criticism from civilian quarters is usually swept under the carpet and seen as a symbol of unwarranted defiance which must be crushed. Hence the new front against the media and failure to realise that the only way to go forward is to step back.

  21. June 11th, 2007 8:20 am

    O.R.Q,

    “i didnt know raza rumi here needed people like you to defend him”

    He doesn’t. I was just stated my personal opinion of your comment and your writing.

    “yes what i write is publicly available in a newspaper olive unlike a self-published blog”

    A self-publishing blog is publicly available on the internet for anyone to read the world over. And your point is?

    “besides since when does criticism make one arrogant or self righteous olive?”

    Since the time when the 16th BLOG post by Raza Rumi on ATP, which incidently is an opinion of his own personal preference, gets labelled ‘pretentious/immature’. Other commentators here have questioned/critiqued Raza about his post with a lot more civility. I couldn’t give a jot if you are the Opinions Editor at The News or for that matter, had won the Pulitzer for Journalism, I would still think you have a tendency to be rather crass and rude in your comments towards others…and this is the not the first time you are doing it.

    Apparently you just need an excuse to post your articles here as part of your comments. Why dont you post everything you’ve ever written as an (un)professional journalist and get it over with.

  22. omar r. quraishi says:
    June 11th, 2007 8:29 am

    olive — please spare me the personal attacks this time

    there is a difference in calling a person immature and pretentious and what he has said immature and pretentious — but with all your bitterness i dont think you can see the distinction — the rest of your post does not merit any response — what i am or not am as a journalist does not need to be validated by someone like you

  23. omar r. quraishi says:
    June 11th, 2007 8:39 am

    actually — if it werent your overflowing bitterness you would be able to see that i posted this in response to your personal attack (not the first time, surprise surprise) – the rest of your post merits no response

  24. MQ says:
    June 11th, 2007 10:25 am

    I feel a little uncomfortable when someone has to proclaim publicly that s/he loves his/her country. One, it is stating the obvious. It’s like proclaiming “I love my familyâ€

  25. SS says:
    June 11th, 2007 1:15 pm

    A few observations on Tina’s comment above:

    “The racial claim strikes a discordant note. Pakistan is, like all important crossroads, made up of a racial mixture. I would argue that there is no such thing as Indus man, but there certainly is such a thing as group of present day people who want to claim one part of their ancestry, namely any part that could be construed as “whiteâ€

  26. Eidee Man says:
    June 11th, 2007 2:14 pm

    [quote]
    Eidee Man–not nearly as ridiculous as you might wish to think–Caucasian Americans have been told endlessly how they stole the land from its “rightful ownersâ€

  27. GSR says:
    June 11th, 2007 3:37 pm

    This post is just a friendly reminder of the good times that all us Pakistanis living abroad have had while growing up in Pakistan. It felt like RR peeped into my soul and put the recent “born again pakistaniat in me ” to writing. By that I am only referring to the fact that no matter where we end up living and how worse the political situation gets in pakistan it still is our identity. it might be breeding home for extremists, might be a place run by a dictator but that does not take away from us our fondest memories of life lived on that land, loyalty to her and all other great things which uniquely identify us as being of Pakistani descent.
    Omar R Quraishi- I respect your right to criticism- however disagree with you- It depends on whether you live in pakistan or away from it- For us non resident Pakistanis it appeared to have a lot of depth as consciously and sub consciously the contenet and aim of this post is a constant debate within us and in the form of expression as well.

  28. tina says:
    June 11th, 2007 4:55 pm

    SS–the presence of a few Greek overlords, who would have had their own Greek wives, is not evidence of the kind of large scale resettling that would have changed the racial makeup of the area. This is an example of what I am talking about. To significantly change the native stock would have required not individuals but entire communities moving in. This didn’t happen in the case of the Greeks. There is nothing to prove your assertion that portions of the Greek armies stayed behind after history records that they left. This is an assumption. Again I would point out that Greeks are not blue eyed and Greeks and Italians were not considered by other Europeans to be “whites” until recently. Since race is a social construct rather than a biological one, this is understandable.

    According to the social construct of race, Pakistanis are no longer “blacks” as they were in the days of the Raj, neither are they “Whites”; most people today would just shrug and say “well, I guess they are Asian but not Chinese”. The increasing vagueness of the racial definition is a good sign; it means that the importance of racial identity markers is declining. And nothing could be better than that.

    Saying that “Indus man” is distinct from people from on the other side of the Indus, is a kind of “racism lite” that many Pakistanis subscribe to (even RR says he’s “sheepish”, a.k.a. “ashamed”, of it). It’s one of the many delightful legacies of Zia, who wanted to forge a notion of a national racial identity distinct from Indians. Hence, all Pakistanis were to be heirs to the Moghuls, whereas Indians and Bangladeshis were to be different, less warlike, darker skinned, i.e. inferior. Very typical fascistic myth-making in action.

    Anybody who knows the history of the two countries since their inception knows how hollow this claim really is. It’s really sad. Many Pakistanis are not even “lite” racists; you ought to hear them talk about Africans or African Americans or even their own brethern who are dark skinned.

  29. June 11th, 2007 6:25 pm

    An interesting topic Raza even though i disagree with most of your top 5. But that makes it even more interesting as there is quite a lot of diversity in our reasons to love Pakistan. So many people have a lot of interest in Pakistan and that is a very strong sign for her.

    Civilization:
    As an NRP most of my life, I believe its good to remind oneself of our civilization even though it appears a bit racist to some. In Germany, people are overwhelmingly proud of thier Aryan decent just like the Sarhadis in Pakistan. In the Arab World, there is again a strong sense of identity associated with one’e lineage. From the Berbers of North Africa to the Wahabs of Saudia, everyone likes to associate oneself with a tribe, a culture, an ancestory.

    I myself belong to the Kutch people, most of which are fishermen. We came to Sindh even before Alexander did, when Mai Kolachi decided to stay here. Although I feel sad there isnt much written about her or her earlier tribe. Even though I am proud of being a Kutch (an internally of having an identity), i dont think anyone will take that as a racist notion after considering the miserable condition Kutchis are in.

    People
    I’d like to add lethargic, kaam chor and jazbaati in my list.
    Spirituality
    I totally disagree with your notion of spirituality and your implicit deductions that Pakistani Madrassahs are unrepresentative of the people at large or Islam in general. Secondly, I find a tone in your text which indicates that there is no problem in the mixing of religions, sort of evolving and i certainly disagree with people terming something as Islam as ‘orthodox’. Since when we had the philosophy of worshipping shrines, and cutting off from material life in its totality a part of Islam? There is no such thing as ‘orthodox’ Islam, however, there is something as a new religion evolved from Islam whose Gods are at data darbar and abdullah shah ghazi mazhars and music its sole mode of worship.

    And you didnt mention Imam Ghazhali, the most influential Islamic cleric in the region.

    Natural Beauty
    Agreed, wonderful place we’ve got.
    The Cuisine
    Agreed to some extent. Its delicious but sometimes I find it a bit on the wrong side of healthy eating. I just made achhar gosht out of our fav. brand, Shan, and am still burping from its ‘tez’ masaaala.

    interesting article though, keep writing…

  30. tina says:
    June 11th, 2007 8:07 pm

    Atif,

    That whole Aryan business is a source of deep and abiding shame to Germans (I lived in Munich for five years and speak the language fluently). Most Germans today would not embrace the notion of a “German race”.

  31. Wasiq says:
    June 11th, 2007 8:07 pm

    A wise American once said “My country, right or wrong. When right, to keep it right; When wrong, to set it right.”

    I agree with Raza that Pakistan is our identity but I also agree with those who think that self congratulatory nationalism is not a substitute for anlysis of what is needed to build our nation.

    Our love for Pakistan should manifest in thinking through why we have failed to convince the rest of the world of the greatness of our country.

    Just as a son need not declare frequently that he loves his mother and then list reasons for why he does so, love of the motherland, too, does not need such declarations and lists of reasons.

    If the son stands accused of breaking the law or engaging in delinquent behavior, he must address the issue. I am sure Raza wrote this as a response to the frequent criticism of Pakistan (which is actually the criticism of its ruling elite) around the world. But no one criticizes Pakistan for not having an ancient civilization, bad cuisine or inadequate natural beauty. All critiques of pakistan relate to its lack of rule of law and wrong policies or processes.

    Of the five things listed by Raza, we inherited our civilization and did not make our country’s natural beauty, so we can’t take credit for them. Sprituality is a mixed blessing, as the crazier Islamists keep reminding us. That leaves us with the people and the cuisine!

    Instead of repeating that we love our country and then proceeding to list reasons for why we do so, why not proceed from the assumption that as Pakistanis love of our country comes naturally to all of us. Our love of Pakistan is instinctive and does not always need rationalizing.

    The next step should be to address Pakistan’s political, structural, constitutional, and institutional problems, which are the creation of the post-independence generations and for which we are collectively responsible.

    Discussions in our media –including blogs– should focus on these analytical matters. Stating the obvious “As Pakistanis we love Pakistan” and then trying to develop an argument for why we do it may make us feel good. It does not advance our thinking process.

  32. Ibrahim says:
    June 11th, 2007 8:29 pm

    Salamalikum,

    For most, the top reason would be: Dar-ul-Islam, Dar-ul-Muslimeen!! Also, I second every single word of Atif Abdul Rahman about “Spirituality” in Pakistan. The post is trying to rewrite the history of “spirituality” in Pakistan. Also, please note some oddities:

    * “hybrid cultural ethos: the Greek, Gandhara, the central Asian, Persian, Aryan and the Islamic influences”
    What’s wrong with this statement, you ask? Greek is an ethnicity, Gandhara is enthnicity/civilization, ditto for central Asian, Persian and Aryan. But, then we suddenly find “Islamic influences” in the sentence, a religious reference. What’s missing? Of course, if the author wanted to present just facts, this should have been Arab/Arabic. Yet, the author couldn’t even bring himself up to even say that much because today’s intellectuals in Pakistan dislike anything-Arabic and want to promote “Indo-Pak Islam”, “our Islam”.

    * “…Bulleh Shah, and in the verses of Bhitai and Rahman Baba”, “…Usman Hajweri, Fariduddin Ganj Shakar, Bhitai and Sarmast”

    Poorly researched post, to say the least. Whatever happened to Muhammad bin Qasim and his “adal” (justice) and his army, to Mahmood Ghaznavi, to Muhammad Ghori, to al-Mujaddid alf Sani Sirhindi, to al-Mujaddid Shah Waliullah, to Ahmed Baralwi Shaheed, to Shah Ismael Shaheed, to Taqi Usmani, to al-Muhadith Sanaullah Madani to countless significant many in between, to the great jamias (universities) of learning Islam? Or, does all this not fit today’s definition of spirituality? And, please don’t respond and tell me that some of the names I have mentioned are “Indians” and this is about Pakistan. That would be too funny.

  33. June 11th, 2007 10:21 pm

    @Tina
    das ist interessant, aber Baveria ist sehr unterschiedlich von Baden oder Rhine oder Sacshen.

    Well thats the max German I can scribble right now:$, I dont know but people ive met do leak out their proudness of their race. esp. the ones in saschen anhalt, which still has a small faction of Nazi group roaming around. Other than that, I was surprised to find some Badisch people talk the same thing. The only reason they dont like the whole concept of race is how Hitler used it as his propaganda model to imperialize and mutinize the world and they fell for it!

    Besides, im not talking about being proud of Aryan as something being superior. It can also be a historical thingy. A sense of achievement I guess…

    on another note, so many germans took the movie 300, as a movie between ‘us vs them’, even though the era shown is far older and civilizations radically different, yet ppl make out some resemblance. or maybe im too paranoid…

    bis bald, :)

  34. mozang bijjli says:
    June 11th, 2007 11:52 pm

    meri pehchaan pakistan
    pakistan pakistan
    tabhi tarekh ne rakha hay is ka naam
    pakistan
    pakistan pakistan
    pakistan pakistaan
    mera inaam pakistan

  35. June 12th, 2007 4:29 am

    Asalam o Alaikum,

    i like this website and i am regular reader of daily posts.
    i want to know that who can post ?? i mean can i post my write ups ? or i can only post comments ??
    i will be waiting for your reply . thank u

  36. omar r. quraishi says:
    June 12th, 2007 5:44 am

    i agree with you on that GSR — i think there is often a big difference inthe way expats and those living in pakistan see pakistan — tho i suspect raza rumi here lives in pakistan

  37. June 12th, 2007 6:50 am

    A child doesn’t need any reason to love his mother. Pakistan is dearer to me like mother. I love this country without any reason.

    Ghar tu akhir apna hay

  38. tina says:
    June 12th, 2007 7:08 am

    Atif–

    provincial Germans remain proud of their ethnic group–Bavarians for example or Fries people. I think that’s different than a racial idea. But you are right, the whole experience with Hitler has left them cold, with a few exceptions that you note. Good reason for that! And yes, Bavaria tends to be a bit different from the rest of Germany.

    The only people who have a true claim to being “Aryan” in the strict sense are really Iranians, where the word originated. Of course we can say lots of Iranians went to Pakistan, so Pakistan has Aryan influences, if you want to say that instead of “Persian”. It’s clear it’s still a very loaded issue, even for me.

    And no, you’re not too paranoid, many Americans saw the movie “300″ as beating the war drums for Iran by portraying ancient Persians as decadent, whereas the Spartans (presumably representing “us”) were heroic. Lots of people ended up with this interpretation. I haven’t seen the movie so I couldn’t say.

    Well I think all of us, even Ibrahim, have some takes on the “Civilization” comment by the author, taking us in some different directions. Something like that always ends up by being controversial.

  39. June 12th, 2007 7:32 am

    “tho i suspect raza rumi here lives in pakistan”

    He doesn’t actually.

  40. GSR says:
    June 12th, 2007 8:58 am

    ORQ- Raza Rumi does not live in Pakistan these days.

  41. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    June 12th, 2007 9:26 am

    Dear Tina: (Not knowing you personally and only from your writings, one could deduce that you are a lady of Pakistani origin with extensive world wide traveling experience and Tina is your real name). You have brought race issue in to this discussion even though it was not the intent of the original post. Pakistan is not a race-based country. It is a geographical entity. Even though not all Pakistanis (in the historical sense) initially originated from this land, being a cross road Pakistan has received its people from many lands near or far. Therefore Pakistanis, collectively, have a broad and mixed racial background. But it matters little what our racial background is. We are all Pakistani. All in one and one in all. Taking false pride in our perceived racial background will not take us far. Only hard work for our country will.

  42. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    June 12th, 2007 9:52 am

    Atif Abdul-Rahman on subject of spirituality: “Since when we had the philosophy of worshipping shrines?….a new religion evolved from Islam whose Gods are at Data Darbar and Abdullah Shah Ghazi mazhars and music its sole mode of worship”.

    Atif: It is called “Shrine Culture”. Some here at ATP do promote that. A sort of “easy islam”. Lots of singing, wild dancing and chicken biryani.

  43. June 12th, 2007 10:05 am

    It was amusing to browse through comments made as response to Mr. Raza Rumi’s beloved 5 things about Pakistan which he had originally written for my blog-site Pakistan Paindabad. I was particularly enchanted by the disapproval of a reader who seemed to be anguished by “the most pretentious/immature pieces of not-good writing” that he had the misfortune to “read in quite some time.” The poor gentleman obviously needs a scholarship in understanding the nuances of what stuff fine writing is made of!

    However, let me add my bit to further increase the discomfort of Mr. Rumi. I always feel ‘excited” after reading his undiluted praise of Pakistani cuisine. (Yes, I have read this many times…very elegantly written…fine instance of simple and unpretentious writing!). Mr. Rumi has very cleverly disguised the unpalatable aspects of his country’s culinary styles. My opinion about the food there is quite different.

    Every time I travel to Pakistan, I could not fail to notice the regrettable existence of so many people with pot-bellies! While eating (both in homes and hotels), I was shocked to see the amount of ghee, oil, fried stuff used in the dishes. There seems to be a lack of moderation in the way the food is cooked and eaten. Besides, vegetarian cooking leaves much to be desired. I’m sorry if my judgment is too sweeping but in Pakistan I could not find a simple, unadorned, arhal daal – perhaps the easiest dish to make in the world.

    But other than my reservations about the cuisine, I completely agree with Mr. Rumi in all the other things. Pakistan is a fantastic country. While I have no patience for blind patriotism, I would have considered myself lucky if I were born a Pakistani. I love this country.

  44. ahsan says:
    June 12th, 2007 11:54 am

    To “loveâ€

  45. Raza Rumi says:
    June 12th, 2007 12:16 pm
    It is great to see that there is good discussion subsequent to the post. I would like to thank the readers who appreciated the spirit in which I wrote these lines and I suppose should apologize to those whose literary, religious and historical concerns and beliefs were challenged in any manner.

    One common feature of some comments was that many people had not read the introduction where I had set the context for this post. This was written for a blog that was asking various Pakistanis to contribute their personal reasons for loving Pakistan. Hence I came up with my list….

    Therefore, this is purely a personal piece and has no academic, literary or historical pretensions!

    A few clarifications for Rohit and Tina:

    The view that the present day Pakistan *is based on the “Indus region”, distinct from other parts of India*, has been elaborated by several historians and perhaps its latest exposition was from Aitzaz Ahsan’s book called the Indus Saga wherein he argues that the  ”Indus region, comprising the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent (now Pakistan, has always had its distinct identity-… In the last five thousand years this region has been a part of India politically for only five hundred years.” This is obviously a provocative view but it has been concluded with some degree of academic rigour and research. I am not a complete subscriber of this theory, however. I just wanted to highlight that we are INHERITORS - not DESCENDANTS (as Faraz said above) please - of this great, oldest civilization. Therefore, we have been around and the world should know about it; and our current miseries and position in the world is but a phase in the current of history.
    There was not a single reference to race in my post. There is no single race in Pakistan anyway and everyone including a school-child knows about that. And where did the Aryan superiority comment came in from. And the Aryan/white complex was nowhere alluded. I maintain that we are a mixed stock with myriad influences and racial inter-mingling and this is why Pakistan is a very interesting and fascinating country.

    On the spirituality, I maintain that madrassas in Pakistan are not representative of Islam practiced by its majority. In any case, a recent report states that madrassas account “for less than 1 percent of all enrollment in the country and there is no evidence of a dramatic increase in recent years” and their proponets have never bagged more than 11 percent of votes even in the most favourable times. Since the 9th century, it was the Sufis from Central Asia who made India their abode and through love and preaching of tolerance converted many local people to Islam. Unfortunately, this cannot be said of the ‘heroes’ cited by one commentator such as Mahmood Ghaznavi who attacked India 17 times and always returned to his homeland. Many Sindhis will also narrate an alternative view of Mohammad Bin Qasim.

    I think the influence of Pakistani textbooks and their simplistic construct of history is here to be blamed. All I am saying is that there is no ONE version of history and ‘Pakistaniat” – it is diverse and complex and let us respect that and as far as possible celebrate it. Al Gazzali was a great thinker but I am not sure how his influence can be localized to Indo-Pakistan. If anyone, it was Ibne Arabi and his philosophy of Wahdat-ul Wajood provided an impetus to spread of Sufism in the region!

    The prevalent shrine culture is a corrupted, jagir-ised form of Sufism and of course it can neither be condoned nor glamourised and I am not sure if my post was making such a point. However, there is a psychological  function of shrines and this has been noted and researched by many anthropologists. I was talking about the culture of tolerance and love of fellow human beings that was, and is, our ancient heritage; and its distortions notwithstanding, survives even today. I respect other people’s point of view but will stick to mine.

    Finally, about the style of writing – pasand apnee apnee, khayal apna apna, as the verse goes. I will not venture in responding at that level, lest I post my other pieces published elsewhere to prove my credentials!

    Thanks to Owais and Adil for their encouragement and posting this piece.

    Let me conclude that our present is inextricably linked to our past and this cannot be denied without denying a collective part of ourselves.

  46. Ahmed2 says:
    June 12th, 2007 12:18 pm

    LEST WE FORGET

    The following from Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) may provide some food for thought:—

    Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
    Who never to himself hath said
    “This is my own, my native land!”
    Whose heart hath ne’er within him burned,
    As home his footsteps he hath turned,
    From wandering on a foreign strand!

    If such there breathe, go mark him well;
    High though his titles, proud his name,
    Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
    … The wretch, concentrated all in self…
    Shall go down to dust, from where he sprung,
    Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.”

    Why do I love Pakistan? Because I am a Pakistani. It is as simple as that. I do not need to give, as Robert Browning did, the many reasons for my love.My love is blind but by no means unseeing, or unfeeling. And it is boundless.

  47. joie says:
    June 12th, 2007 1:31 pm

    My only reason

    Cant help it

  48. tina says:
    June 12th, 2007 6:22 pm

    Raza–thanks for the clarification…I think the unclear generalities of your post led to some people jumping to conclusions, or seeing their own pet peeves reflected in the post (generalities have that unfortunate effect). Also some of us were responding to the comments of others…certainly no intention of starting a conflagration on any issue.

    No worries, every post cannot be a hit every time. Certainly the average quality of ATP posts sets a very high standard, including your other contributions. I don’t think this one quite made that standard, but that’s nothing terrible.

    Thanks again!

  49. The bach says:
    June 13th, 2007 12:16 am

    Hi , I am from India. From long time I wanted to read such a post. Thanks for this. And you have a wonderful blog here.
    I want to read to more on spirituality of Pakistan.

  50. omar r. quraishi says:
    June 13th, 2007 2:30 am

    ok gsr –

  51. Raza Rumi says:
    June 13th, 2007 8:52 am

    Tina: thanks for the comment and your concern. I note your remark on generalities. However, a few people have commented without reading this post carefully and key examples were shrine worshipping and race-debates ascribed to this write up…

    Furthermore, I don’t think I write here for a ‘hit’ (this is not my style – I should be writing on more populist subjects to achieve that). This is a forum to share thoughts and engage with fellow readers/friends – and I think that purpose was well-served.

    About the “standard”: this is quite a subjective issue and we all have different approaches to it. I respect your right of evaluation as a reader though what I write here is for communication and interactive blogging and not for laurels.. And in any case this is not a classroom where my writings need to be graded.

    Nevertheless thanks for your interest and kind words..

  52. GSR says:
    June 13th, 2007 8:59 am

    “I don’t think this one quite made that standard, but that’s nothing terrible”. Tina- Says who????. Tina are you a Lietrature professor at Harvard or an historian?. I am just curious.

  53. Shueyb Gandapur says:
    June 13th, 2007 9:13 am

    One doesn’t need reasons to love one’s land or one’s family, still having someone recount the diversity and splendor of your land and people makes you feel proud. It was a pleasant read.

  54. tina says:
    June 13th, 2007 10:21 am

    GSR–

    Lit professor at university, actually. Since the last 12 years.
    Thanks for asking.

  55. tina says:
    June 13th, 2007 10:22 am

    and it’s spelled, “literature”.

  56. GSR says:
    June 13th, 2007 1:46 pm

    Tina- Thats interesting- where do you teach. Let me make sure that i typed everything correctly lest you notice typos!

  57. tina says:
    June 13th, 2007 10:33 pm

    I won’t say as it will reveal my identity! However I have taught at schools in Canada and Germany, and before that in the U.S. as a graduate student. Enough said, I won’t go on as I may also reveal my age…..!

  58. GSR says:
    June 14th, 2007 8:08 am

    Tina- Thats amazing- If I could go back in time I would love to study more literature than I already have and then teach.

  59. ayesha sajid says:
    June 14th, 2007 5:17 pm

    My 5 reasons for loving Pakistan

    1 ; Because we will only stop at a red light if there is a traffic warden around.

    2 ; Because we love drama, wether its a road accident or a protest rally, we’ll be there in droves.

    3 ; Because every other add on the telly is for either a cell phone company or a biscuit.

    4 ; Because there is Qazi Hussain and then there is Begum Nawazish !

    5 ; Because we will build mega malls and Porche show rooms and show the world how fast we are developing.

  60. MUHAMMAD ADEEL says:
    June 15th, 2007 7:11 am

    I understand that our country is poor we have Army rule, many economic and social problems etc etc but despite these reasons i feel Pakistan is the Unique country (i’ve lived for many years in the UK and i am saying this from my experience) and i say so because whatever we (nation) face in our daily lives no other nation do. I love Pakistan because of its Uniqueness in alomost every manner.

  61. omar r. quraishi says:
    June 15th, 2007 8:58 am

    why do you want to hide behind a nick tina

  62. MQ says:
    June 15th, 2007 10:53 am

    There are three things, among others, that I particularly like about Pakistan or, shall I say, I miss when I am in the US :

    1. I notice the ice candy man on his bicycle while I am having my evening stroll (Islamabad) and decide to buy an ice cream bar. I suddenly realize I am not carrying any money. He says, “never mind, you can pay me some other timeâ€

  63. Rabbiya says:
    June 15th, 2007 11:44 am

    I just want to say that this is a really well article and sums up what we pakistani’s feel as a whole about our identity. it made my hair stand on end. thank you for putting into words.

    also – fantastic work on the site in general!

  64. June 15th, 2007 11:51 am

    Give credit when you use pictures from other sources. This picture, if I remember correctly, is from BBCurdu. From some match coverage I guess.

    Please take a note.

  65. Nazir says:
    June 15th, 2007 5:10 pm

    Would it be too unpatriotic to mention Top 5 reasons for leaving Pakistan?

    1. Injustice
    2. Injustice
    3. Injustice
    4. Injustice
    5. Injustice

  66. MUHAMMAD ADEEL says:
    June 16th, 2007 5:38 am

    For NAZIR (in responce of ur comments)

    I never favour this thought that since we have injustice in Pakistan so its better to leave. Well i would like to ask you; would leave your ailing mother? you certainly would never leave her at any cost. Same goes with the country. If our country has some problems so who will going to eradicate them? WE the people.
    it is very easy to point out problems and later to escape from them without actually putting some efforts to solve them. Now days our problem is ‘brain drain’. We are leaving Pakistan just because we either want to earn more or we feel that life is not good in Pakistan. We have to come out from this thought. if we want to see a prosperous Pakistan than Pakistan needs us. Come on people dont run away from problems dont run away from your homeland.

  67. tina says:
    June 16th, 2007 10:35 am

    GSR–that is wonderful, but it’s never too late, why not give yourself time to read some more now? Books and plays are one of the things that helps us understand life, and understanding life even a little bit makes it much more worthwhile.

    MQ–Your list was magical and lovely, very specific yet universal, captured your yearnings perfectly. I would have liked to see something similar in the post itself! Also, if I might say so, very literary. :) Good things to remember

  68. MQ says:
    June 16th, 2007 11:07 am

    tina,

    Thanks! Coming from a professor of literature, I really feel flattered.

  69. ahsan says:
    June 17th, 2007 4:26 am

    Dear MQ,

    I have always appreciated your writing and your story telling. The way you explain your love to Pakistan is beautiful and your prose reads like a poem.

    Your love is based on your heart felt sentiments. There is no need of looking for any logic involved in it.

    But the same kind of sentimental feeling may also bring some people to love Allaah and His Prophet! Did you ever come across this Divine Love?

    Ahsan

  70. tina says:
    June 17th, 2007 11:55 am

    MQ…I’M not a full prof, not yet! tenure and all, that takes time; esp. given the way I’ve moved around….but thanks :)

    I second ahsan’s comment, for some things, logic is not the right approach. I think you got it just right.

  71. MQ says:
    June 17th, 2007 1:45 pm

    tina,

    I was using the word professor in generic sense. I am sure you will get there too.

    Ahsan,
    The first part of your comment is embarrassingly generous. Thanks, anyway.

    I am not sure, though, if I quite understood the second part of your comment. You ask, did I ever come across Divine Love? Yes, I do come across people who profess divine love. But if you mean ‘did I myself experience divine love?’ that’s a question I cannot answer with simple Yes or No. A couplet of Ali Sirdar Jaffery comes to mind:

    Koi bolta nahiN, maiN pukarta raha hooN
    Kabhi butkadeh maiN but ko, kabhi ka’bay maiN Khuda ko

    which roughly translates:
    No one answers, I have been knocking
    Both at the temple and the Ka’ba

  72. yakman says:
    June 30th, 2007 1:22 pm

    Nanga Parbat and Fairy Meadows are a part of the Western Himalaya and not the Karakorum. In addition, notice the absence of a plural ‘s’.

  73. October 18th, 2007 4:32 am

    i love pakistan more then my own self. i always says an e.g of freedom and brotherhood and sacrifice.we should always be prepared to fight with enimies of pakistan .love pakistan. GOD BLESS PAKISTAN(AMIN)

  74. Dr. Nayyar Hashmey says:
    November 3rd, 2007 10:35 am

    RR. You have done a great job. We Pakistanis as a people have developed a psyche whereby we only lament, curse and deplore every thing in Pakistan. Am also one of them but at least when I try to lament, then I lament the bad governance in our country, the lawlessness, the gradual erosion and corrosion of our moral / ethical values and the corruption every where, but there are our brethren who always find everything negative, everyething deplorable, everything unbearable in Pakistan.

    This is a tendency which can turn people cynic developing into sort of a complex about their own origin and identity and that is something which might one day turn our nation into a mentally defeated folk. That’s the point when nations don

  75. ANWAR RAZA says:
    November 3rd, 2007 10:50 am

    FOR WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.
    PLEASE LIVE AND LET US LIVE.
    PLEASE DO NOT DISTORT OUR PAKISTAN AND
    DO NOT LET OTHERS FEEL HAPPY ABOUT WHAT
    IS HAPPENING IN PAKISTAN.

  76. KASHIF says:
    February 10th, 2008 5:56 am

    Asalam o Alaikum,

    i like this website and i am regular reader of daily posts.
    i want to know that who can post ?? i mean can i post my write ups ? or i can only post comments ??
    i will be waiting for your reply . thank u
    Ordinary Pakistanis, such as me, value their Islamic beliefs, are God fearing and follow what is essentially a continuation of the centuries old traditions of spirituality that survives in the folk idiom, in the kaafis of Bulleh Shah, and in the verses
    pakistan pakistan
    pakistan pakistaan
    mera inaam pakistan.thanks .my frinds i hop you all the best ok ……………………………..

  77. Babur says:
    March 1st, 2008 11:01 am

    You only need one reason. It is the “Piyaraa Watan”. May Allah look after it and its people

  78. Kamal says:
    March 1st, 2008 3:43 pm

    I think there is no dearth of reasons to love Pakistan… the problem is not that we don’t love Pakistan enough, teh problem is that we confuse loving Pakistan with “not loving” others (India, or Israel, or West or whatever). We will become truly independent when our love for our country becomes independent of those who we do not like; so will they.

  79. jasmine says:
    March 23rd, 2008 12:52 pm

    The best things in Pakistan are the people who are friendly, who love visitors and treat them well. They will go out of their way to help.
    Jasmine
    http://www.cidpusa.org

  80. maryam says:
    April 7th, 2008 12:03 pm

    i m pakistani living in USA. doing bechelors. have an assignment to deliver an informative speech and i have decided the topic “PAKISTAN” . people here are very eager to know about pak especially after miss Bhutto’s assasination. so i want to clear their views about pak by telling them pak has still a lot to offer. n i found this site quite helpful. it seems like there are a lot of PATRIOTS in here. keep it up guys.

  81. Brahmin says:
    April 8th, 2008 3:23 am

    Hi
    Nice post. Its good to hear to u remeber ur Hindu past and that u are proud of it .
    remeber ur forefathers were hindus who were killed by Arab imperilats .

  82. Nadir says:
    May 10th, 2008 3:26 am

    I really liked the fact that you pointed out that Pakistan didn’t come out of nowhere in 1947.
    Pakistan as a land existed since the formation of the Earth.

    It’s people existed as a nation for thousands of years pr-Indus civilization.
    And unlike it’s neighbors, Pakistan carries a common identity:
    With it’s native people speaking a common sub-branch of Indo-Aryan languages (indo as in the Indus river)
    The Indus Civilization spread much over Pakistan’s provinces, a good indication that it’s people consituted a nation.

    Unfortunately, these facts are being denied by people who are falsely claiming the Pakistani history & identity for themsleves. I invite you as a patriotic Pakistani to visit our site & forums at pakhub.info
    We have made signifant progress but that progress will move faster if we have more Pakistanis on our side.

    Pakistan Zindabad.

  83. Nadir says:
    May 10th, 2008 4:33 am

    A last thing people of Indus & Vedic were not “Hindu” as they ate beef & buried their dead.
    The people of the subcontinent never constituted a common relgion as “Hinduism” as much as the people of south america or Africa did.
    Each tribe followed it’s own cult. The concept of a “common religion” known as “hinduism” came about from the Mughals who wanted to distinguish themselves from the local cults and thus names them “Hindus” (after the word Hind) and when the British came they continued to use this term. So in conclusion there is no such thing really as “Hindu” religion.

  84. ali awan says:
    May 25th, 2008 3:35 am

    very pretty girl with paki flags in her hands

  85. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    May 25th, 2008 4:55 am

    @ Nadir,

    your comments are very few but indeed very ” Nadir ”

    you say:

    ” Unfortunately, these facts are being denied by people
    who are falsely claiming the Pakistani history & identity
    for themselves.”

    question : All along the Indus Valley the habitants, have they moved out some where else?
    as they were and are dwellers since 5000 years, today they are quasi totality muslims of Pak Punjab (68 % of Punjab) only cradle of Ghandhara, Indus vallley, birth place of Sanscrit, etc, exclusively territorially within Pakistani borders, how can we deny these facts.
    Today it is a reality, a Pakistani reality.
    For 160 millions Pakistani muslims it is as real as sunrise
    tomorrow morning. I, myself deny exlcusively Pakistanis being something else than Pakistanis, even if my ancestors
    were Brahmins Pandits, but its history !!!! old, PAST.
    Politically, I might go against my ancestors ! so what ?
    how about others ??

    Rafay Kashmiri

  86. June 5th, 2008 5:14 pm

    Aslamo e Aliakum:

    Thank you very much for such a lovely post. Detailed, Impressive, and Very well outlined. We have quite so many reasons to love OUR PAKISTAN. We have quite so many things, e.g. Our history, Our seasons, Our people, Our Land, and whole lota more.

    We got to be honest…We Love and Our hearts still beat for Pakistan!

    Your work for bringing this post online is appreciated.

    Kind regards,

    Tina

  87. Shantanu Chatterjee says:
    June 13th, 2008 10:34 am

    I know pakistanis are envious of the respect India gets and they don’t when topics of history etc come up but guys please all these articles about ancient pakistan just makes people laugh more Pakistan was created in 1947 for Muslims of the subcontinent and was carved out of India.Throughout its recorded history the centre of power over what is present day pakistan has been outside of Pakistan.Persia,Mauryan empire,Gupta empire,even mughal empire and the delhi sultanate were all based outside pakistan’s present borders therefore all the history of the subcontinent prior to 1947 is India’s.I can understand it hurts at how everyone outside pakistan calls even islamic history as Indian history let alone antiquity but ancient pakistan is an oxymoron carved out of the India.Those are the facts and believe me I have quite a few Iranian friends and you have no idea how much they laugh at you elite’s agonizingly constructed claims of pure persian,turkish,arab lineage they call you confused Indians or self certified mongrels(their words not mine).So please face the facts.

  88. hara says:
    June 14th, 2008 6:16 am

    There is a 6th reason to be pakistanis to be proud of themselves .i.e. art/poetry that has come post partition.

    I must add that I certainly find some of the 5 reasons laughable. e.g. “Where else can I experience the aroma of wet earth when the baked earth cracks up to embrace every droplet and where else can one find a Jamun tree with a Koel calling the gods? ”

    This is ignorance and arrogance personified

    “The cuckoo is a widespread summer migrant to Europe and Asia, and winters in Africa.” — Wikipedia

  89. hara says:
    June 14th, 2008 6:23 am

    There is no mention of Faiz Ahmed Faiz?!!!! Rumi, you could have been of help to me to know more people like that. But alas your blog has much more to be desired

  90. June 16th, 2008 2:57 am

    We love Pakistan, because its in our nurves, We are living with, and will keep on breathing in such a lovely, and energetic breeze, that goes across our shoulders.

    We love Pakistan, We are Pakistani’s, and We love who we are!

  91. hara says:
    June 17th, 2008 8:56 am

    “We love Pakistan, We are Pakistani

  92. humaa says:
    October 25th, 2008 1:28 am

    heyyz
    i luv pakistan ………..even though i dont live der ……………..buh i am a tru pakistanii lol hahhaha………..pakistan is sooooo beutifull…………..it is one of the best countries in the world if we make it……….n yea …………….this website is sooo hot lmao hhehhe
    aniwaiz tc bye
    lov pakistan

  93. Syed Asif Zaidi says:
    November 14th, 2008 1:43 am

    I like your site i lve pakistan & lve

  94. Aisha says:
    November 14th, 2008 3:53 am

    Pakistan has it all…from snowy moutain tops to rich lush forests and rolling hills to the farmlands and beaches. It has big modern booming cities, old cities rich in history and culture, architectual beauty, archaeological wonders, and remote villages whom seem to be lost in the past. Pakistan is so rich in color…from its landscapes, to its rickshaws and buses, to the cologae of colorful Shalwar Kameez. It’s like travelling through a real life time capsule. On top of everything, is the undeniable pride and love for Pakistan.

  95. Arvind says:
    November 25th, 2008 7:08 am

    I am in the process of writing a book about a friend from Islamabad. I have known the individual for over 14 years now and we share an unbroken bond over the seamless boundaries. Over the years i have realised that, we as individuals of a nation, understand the people of our countries and as individual thinkers, we want the divide to be bare minimum.The politics of our nations, the extremist activities involved and the pain of our forefathers does not effect us today.

    I loved your article Mr. Raza. Would love to interact with you and more friends from across the imaginary border drawn on our maps.

  96. wellwisher says:
    November 25th, 2008 4:10 pm

    Don’t just love Pakistan with empty words. Wake up and help the nation wake up to realize its true potential. The sacrifice rendered in creating this country must not go in vain. Speak out against wrong. It starts with one person, one community, one village … Take the country back from the ignorant mullahs, the murderer rulers, and the thieves …

  97. mustafa kamaal says:
    November 25th, 2008 4:32 pm

    I am surprised that no one has mentioned that Pakistan is the only country on this planet that was created for the Muslims, of the Muslims, by the Muslims. How can we not love this country that owes its existence to the lofty ideals of Islam? But then can today’s ‘modernists’ swallow this truth?

  98. wellwisher says:
    November 25th, 2008 5:56 pm

    The lofty ideals of Islam prohibit mass murder, ignorance, intolerance, hatred, subjugation of women, stifling of progress ..

    Today the Pakistani society beats the transgressions of the tribes of A’ad, Thamud, and the Pharoahs. Name one vice that is not prevelant in today’s Pakistan. The society has gone down the tubes especially after the rules of the self appointed gods self (ignorant mullahs, Zia, Bhutto, and their silent and passive supporters) who take upon themselves to pass judgements that belong soley to Allah SWT.

    Islam is a live religion. Quran is a live book to be read and understood by the living and not only to be read on funerals and barsis. Can the anti-modernists bear the thoughts of reading the Quran and understanding the message instead of relying on the hearsay passed done by the ignorant mullah? If not, there is no hope against the scrouge of talebization and ignorant islamization. The society is reaping the bitter fruit of the tree that was sown by ignorance, hatred, and division.

    Hopeful of Allah Almighty’s Mercy.

  99. Kiran Munir says:
    December 30th, 2008 9:25 am

    Salam, this is a good attempt.. :)
    I was looking for something related to My Identity as a Modern Pakistani and came across your article.. this is well written and kept me intrigued for a long while… I liked this concept of Sprituality.. I too believe that I have kept my moral values and the deep connection of my spirit alive and that helps me alot… Thanks for a lot for sharing this nice piece with us.
    Regards,
    Kiran Munir

  100. Qausain says:
    March 22nd, 2009 4:48 pm

    Proud to be Pakistani…!

  101. K Kalame says:
    June 10th, 2009 5:41 am

    This is by far one of best I have read on the subject.

    Respect !

  102. Amjid says:
    August 2nd, 2009 3:57 pm

    In short ,i just want to say Pakistan is my dream, Pakistan is my romance, Pakistan is my love. I feel proud if i can sacrifice any thing for my Watan

  103. September 21st, 2009 10:14 am

    @Mustafa Kamaal,

    Yes,the modernists of today can admit the fact that Pakistan was made for Muslim,by Muslim but no,not of Muslims.Pakistan equals Christians,Hindus,Muslims,Parsis,Bahai’s,Buddhists,Qadianis and even some Jews in Karachi.
    Also another fact:
    While we modernists and Secularists concede the fact that pakistan was made by Muslims and for Muslims,one fact that the traditionalists(also known as conservatives)need to concede themselves is that Pakistan needs a Secular Democratic government and state institutions.By stating Islam as state religion what this nation as got intself into we all have seen and I dont know if Jinnah wanted it or not,but I do know that people who have free conscience want it,and in fact need it,for there is a difference between want and need.
    Nuwas Manto
    http://www.myhumanistblog.blogspot.com

  104. zahra says:
    September 22nd, 2009 2:32 am

    You could go on and on about it with some more things to adore Pak-land and count up to 7 or up to the magic number of 9 or ….. and yes, you are right the list goes on………
    We all passionately love our country no matter what passports we have and where ever we live we just love PAKISTAN.
    I really got into tears while reading this write up.

  105. Arsalan says:
    May 21st, 2011 3:09 am

    Did anyone ever think that in such a small area Pakistan has the potential of offering EVERYTHING to tourists? From the deserts of Balochistan to the lush green mountains of the north. From the tropical climate of Karachi to the Europe like climate of Islamabad. Do I need to mention the AMAZING coastline along the arabian sea? I watched a documentary on Geo once and aparently we have great diving sites! Also, we have historical monuments and a couple of great malls (Mall of Lahore, Park lane tower). Also, hotels have a better service staff than Malaysia (We were four people with two rooms but only 2 glasses. When I asked for two more they asked me to wash them and re-use them. This was a five star hotel.

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