January 28, 2013

This is Pakistan, dummy

When I first came to the USA, I expected certain stereotypes to be associated to me. I wasn't wrong. The only problem however was all the stereotypes being associated to me were factually incorrect! This then is an introductory lesson to Pakistan. Pakistan 101, if you will.

The biggest anomaly that a lot of Americans know as fact about Pakistan is that we're Arabs and Pakistan is located in the Middle East. Below is a map of the Middle East. See if you can spot Pakistan.

The Middle East

What's that? You couldn't find Pakistan in the Middle East? Oh no! But wait, oh yes. Pakistan is NOT in the Middle East. It never was, it never will be.

Once upon a time Pakistan and India were the same country. Then one fine morning in August 1947, the people of subcontinent decided we should have TWO countries in the same place where one existed. Guess what? Pakistan was born.

Map of Pakistan when it was part of India (left); map of Pakistan when it
was part of... well Pakistan. (Source: BBC)

But that's not all. You see not only are we NOT Arabs, we're also not from the Middle Ages. As one friend of mine so casually pointed out the fact that we shit in holes, and 9/10ths of our country is rural and overrun by the Taliban. If it wasn't for his ginger hair (being a rarity as it is), I might have actually taken affront to this blatant stereotyping of 200 million people.

As it turns out though, we do not shit in holes in the ground. Animals do that. Even in the USA. Now how about that? Also, please. We're much more dignified when it comes to wiping our bottoms. While the western world TP their asses raw (uncivilized. You're from the Middle Ages!), we have the luxury of using a Muslim shower which squirts soothing cold water onto our bottom.

Illustration of a Muslim shower
Then there's the problem of 90% of Pakistan being overrun by the Taliban. Uhh, no. You never believe what the TV tells you. Because the TV lies. This is Pakistan. The real Pakistan. See if you can spot a Taliban in the pictures below.


Old Lahore. That's the Badshahi Mosque in the background. Built in the 16th century.
In French, it is magnifique!

Port Grand Karachi

That's the highest elevation bridge in Asia located on the motorway
in the Pakistani salt range

Karachi again

The Harbor front building in Karachi

National University of Science and Technology - by the way, Pakistan's education system is in
English. Don't act all surprised when you find out we can converse in English.

Sher Shah Suri's tomb

Katas Raj temple near Chakwal. And right next to my village

Head Marala, Sialkot

Bridge connecting Rohri with Quetta in Balochistan

Sand dunes meet ocean on the Balochistan coast

Reko Diq. The land of gold and copper and hungry international vultures.

Basharat, Pakistan

Looks Photoshopped doesn't it? It's not. The Hindu Kush mountain
range in Pakistan

Lansdowne bridge, Rohri Pakistan

The Biafo glacier

The snow desert of Skardu

The Dudipatsar Lake 


This is Pakistan. A beautiful land with kind hospitable people. We're not overrun by Taliban. That's something you're fed so that pressure can be enforced on our government. We're not without faults. We're not without sins. But the faults of those in power should not associated with the people who live in that land. We're not what you make us out to be. We're awesome. You're surprised by us because you judge us too soon. You don't give us a chance. You stereotype us and for that shame on you.