Pakistanis and Pukhtuns

I recently read an article on a bloggers community by someone who wrote nasty things about Pukhtuns (saying they are gays, pretend to be good Muslims and other such things).

I was not going to go into the details of racism because it’s not worth it but I had a big deal of it especially in Karachi. I have found for people to be disrespecting towards Pukhtun people, and the word “Khan Sahib” has become a kind of a sarcastic and cynical phrase. There are good and bad people everywhere, but generally labeling the whole tribe is not fair. Perhaps our appearance, language or culture is slightly different than the rest of the country but we still make a big part of it. We love our country. Pukhtuns have helped Pakistan with their blood many a times. Recently I came across this article.

“WE found his body parts in different parts of the compound”, recounts constable Ghulam Murtaza, a close friend and colleague of the 30-year-old Faisal Khan, pointing towards the spots. The hero was blown up to smithereens holding on to the suicide bomber who tried to enter the G-7, Islamabad special police branch on March 23. “He saved all of us, if it weren’t for what Faisal Khan did, we would have all been dead that day,” Mr Murtaza said. – Pakfellows Forums

And then I read the news about the pilot who saved the lives of school kids by dying in his jet instead of simply ejecting himself from it and letting it crash into a school when the jet encountered technical problems. – Dawn News

You can read more about it here (just scroll down and there is a lot of information collected from various sources into one place about this incident.)

Two of Nishan-e-Haider winners are Pukhtuns: Captain Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed and Havaldaar Lalak Jan Shaheed


Doctor Abdul Qadeer Khan is another Pukhtun.

Tipu Sultan was a Pukhtun too. His real name was Sultan Fateh Ali Tipu one of the bravest people in his time who was known as the Tiger of Mysore. His next in command, his right hand was Yar Mohammad a name that is still a common name among Pukhtuns. Although the source does not state his being a Pukhtun. Here you can read more about him.

There are numerous ” Khan Sahib ” jokes been passed on every day. Listen! we are all Pakistanis, we all serve this country and we are all born here. If Pukhtuns are integrating into the society, then they should be treated with the same respect as other Pakistanis, this is only fair. I’m sure the arrogant behavior of people like this is what has given birth to Pukhtunkhawah and Pukhtunistan, the dream of a separate Pukhtun country. I’m sure no Pakistani wants for them to separate as in that case MQM would separate Karachi and of course the Jirga system of Baluchistan wouldn’t take much longer to separate followed by the lawless regions of Pakistan and Kashmir, there will be no Pakistan left.

Please remember that we are all Pakistanis and we should all respect each other, especially if we have done much for the betterment of the country. It is no fable that Pukhtuns are indeed very brave.

My whole point here is that Pukhtuns are just as part of the country as all the rest, I am not saying Pashtuns do this and the rest of Pakistanis do not, there are brave and good people from each province and culture but Pukhtuns are there too and they make a difference too. I have not even begun to tell the achievements of all those people in our family, tribe and villages although I cannot forget the efforts of those students of medicine from Khyber Medical College Peshawar who collected alms and charity by hand, asking themselves going door to door after the Kashmir earthquake and then arranging for trucks and going to the wrecked place themselves and distributing help with their own hands since our political and otherwise situation can be corrupt.

The most amazing thing is I have read so many books about North Western Frontier Province by the West, and not once have I come across anything negative in them. These accusations are made by poorly educated racist people. I have come across well researched books which have their bad things in them being written by authors from a non religious Western society but nothing like the way Pakistanis themselves talk of Pukhtuns. I would recommend for the readers to read a book called “A History of Pashtun Migration” by Robert Nichols in which the Pashtun and his connection and integration into Pakistan has been well written.

As my husband says every culture has its own way, if Pukhtun men hold hands (not that I know of but some do) its a way of culture, Arab or scandinavian men kiss 3 times on each others faces or rub noses, is that gay too?

It is time for a change of attitude, we as Pakistanis have lost much due to our restricted minds, let us not lose our unity.

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14 thoughts on “Pakistanis and Pukhtuns

  1. Cool down cool down 🙂

    First of all I did not like title of your post 😛
    Pakistanis and Pakhtoons ——> Who are Pakistanis and who are pakhtoons? Are Pakhtoons not Pakistanis ??? 🙂
    The other day I was discussing the same issue with Aadil. He was surprised to read my comment in a very good pushtu on his blog. He was surprised coz he knew that I am a Punjabi and I AM learning pushtu . So far he has taught me just few sentences. Then I explained it to him that I ‘m blessed with the ‘pure’ and ‘sincere’ love of Pakhtoons. Many of my friends are from that belt. My Lala ( a pakhtoon ) was online and i requested him to translate a sentence for me in Pushtu. He not only did so but also gave me following link for learning pushtu.

    http://www.khyberwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5516

    Many people get surprised why I want to learn pushtu. Bhi quite simple. When you love a person , you try to do everything that you believe can bring you closer to him/her. My Pakhtoons friends are so near to me that I can’t think of LIFE without them. One of my brother’s wife has asked for the hand of my daughter for her son ( both are not born yet hehehehe). And I need to teach pushtu to my daughter 😉 . When a Punjabi is doing all that for pakhtoons so why to highlight such occasional nasty remarks? Why not to talk about ME;-)

    And trust me these nasty things are not one sided. Back in 2005 a person was having chat with me. He thought I was pashtoon . He wrote 8-10 sentences about Punjabi’s in Pushtu. I copied those sentences in Lala’s window and asked what was that. Lala replied ,’ oho Beta leave it … kuch nahi hae yeh’. Later I came to know what was that. I never discussed it with Lala . Now it is 2009.My relations with him and with other pushtoon friends are even stronger now.

    In Punjab, I’ve noticed that people have grudges even against other castes/ clans of Punjab. They say bad things about eachother. Same is the case in Sindh. (I know nothing about Balochistan). I blame politicians for that who have been using differences among people since independence.

    So dear don’t give an ear to all these fazol fazol log. Discourage them by ignoring them. Need of the time is not to highlight these issues but to do efforts to keep this country united. 🙂

    Now give me a smile 😉

    1. Assalamoalaikum,

      Thank you for your comment. I know there may be good “non pathans” who dont make fun of them but honestly I wrote this because i have met only 3 in me entire life. All of them my really good freinds who I actually met after moving to Peshawar.

      I amso happy there are people like you, MashaAllah.

      If you read closely ( title critique:P) I in my entry wrote we are one, the rest of the pakistanis and us:P

      InshaAllah I will reply in detail after the weekend.

      P.S dufferistan latest entry ahs a pathan joke in comments, surprise, surprise:D

  2. People degrade Pushtoons but overall we, as Pakistanis lack ethnic unity. And that’s been since the creation of Pakistan. I think it all depends on the parents as to how they brought up their kids. If they would feed negative feelings about other ethnicities the child would grow up hating them. I remember I had a class fellow who used to call any non-Pushtoon ‘Punjabrat’ 😕

    I know, I know this word sounds so derogatory!

    I think now every sensible person knows that Pushtoons are educated people who have made name in all the good arenas of life. Personally, I feel Pushtoon and Punjabi are more close as compare to Baluchi, Pushtoon or Sindhi, Punjabi.

    My two cents! 🙂

    1. Assalamoalaikum,

      the panjabrata made me laugh 😀 hahaha

      Although I may have heard it very few times, the sentiment exists. Yet no matter how degrading a pathan can be, it cannot compete with the regular and common disrespect the pathans have. I have hear pathan jokes a lot, never have iheard a “punjabi” or “sindhi ” or “balochi” joke which degrades them.. you see.. all of us are racist to some extent, but we pukhtuns have a bad reputation

      in any case, I was very angryw hen I wrote that and I have calmed down now 😀

      thanks for your contribution 🙂

  3. I totally agree with what you’ve written in this very good article! I usually avoid scanning for conspiracies but this sms thing, to me, is a well thought out plan to malign the Pukhtuns; I’ve had heated debates about it with a few people who take pleasure in promoting this anti-pukhtun short messages and are equally disturbed when termed as racists and hate-mongers pretending to be just having some fun.

    Personally I’ve had difficulty carving a place in this Punjabi dominated circle of people I work with; they tried to create hurdles for me not to settle in my job while I was new to the environment, for a multitude of reason, the most obvious being I a pukhtoon, which some of them confessed me later.

    There are numerous occasions where I was made to feel sort of inferior just because of my ethnicity. These things are especially heart breaking for someone like me who takes pride to be a Pakistani and who’s always negated the tacticians of separatist views and politics.

    Pity the nation who don’t have a common sense of unity and that too at a time when destruction is on a lookout to set in!

    1. Assalamoalaikum,

      Very true indeed. We can deny the facts but they remian unchanged. I must say that I also diagreee with pukhtunkhwa, which reminds me I will send you this funny piece of poetry in urdu I found, can you read it?

      And about unity and destruction of our land, Id say Who cares? The rich leave the countrya nd por dnt ahve anything to eat, what are they going to complain about! Huh

      May Allah knock sense into us in a mild way and unite us, ameen.

  4. beautiful article.
    i am my self a pukhtoon and this is my first ever time i am telling any one..not just cuz i feel bad or something..but its cuz i like the idea of being a Pakistani only..

    and yeah on thing being a Pukhtoon you have this advantage of learning many languages like i do Urud, Punjabi, English, Arabic and lil bit persian too 🙂

    1. Thank you 🙂

      And welcome to my blog, hope you find something here that benefits you inshaAllah.

      oh yes, I can speak itlaian, french, arabic, pushto , urdu and eglish, Alhamdolillah 😀

      I am a continous source of swiss envy :p

      and oh thank you for commenting here..:)

  5. We all are abandoned into depth of hatred and disrespect. Sparsely, we feel “Pakistani”; most of the time it’s all about being Punjabi, Pakhtoon, Baloch or a Sindhi. We have disregarded the last sermon of Prophet (PBUH),
    “You know that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. You are all equal. Nobody has superiority over other except by piety and good action. Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.”

    He knew, His Ummah is going to astray hence made it extremely clear and simply and yet we don’t read. Being a Baloch by birth, spending over ten years in Punjab, extensively travelled throughout not only cities but outskirts of NWFP and AJK & a good knowledge of Sindhi attitude, makes me feel ailing that none of us can think as a Pakistani, as a Muslim and as a nation. I go into AJK and they will say, “Oh! You have come from Pakistan.” Alas!; A Punjabi goes to Baluchistan, he will remain fearful of being shot dead anytime. Punjabis won’t spare even a second, making millions of jokes of Pakhtoon, Sindhis and Balochs. Sindhi people hate every single Pakistani except a Sindhi. I am speaking about general attitude, obviously person to person behavior is far different. Good people, ill-minds, responsible, ignorant each nation is composed of different genre of people.

    Why are we so much into caste system? First and foremost reason to me is, influence of Hindu culture upon Islam. Over the centuries, living along Hindu’s with sarcastic mindset of castes, we have become used to of it. Thanks to our political leadership who kept exploiting it, to give a new color to their politics. Unfortunately, as a nation we have been mentally dumb and deaf; whatever way shown by, we kept following it. Unfortunately, the hatred has reached a level that it’s almost impossible to get out of it now, despite of the fact that the nation is awaking out of fantasies forecasted by politicians. May Allah help us being a good Muslim.

    Now coming to this specific topic; Yes as a Non-Pakhtoon I acknowledge that we have been extremely disrespectful, torturing, impertinent and brazen. Every day, not hundreds or thousands but billions jokes are traversed through communication data servers, either in the form of short messages or electronic mails. Even most of our public and private gathering fun & jokes are surrounded by Sardar, Pathan, Sheikh or Memon like stuff. Well, let’s accept that Pathans are different from others, just like every other sect in Pakistan. The ratio of hyper and somewhat unintelligent people is a bit more in NWFP if we make Punjab as a “standard”. Pathan can never act as a Punjabi BUT where do a Punjabi stand if we look at him on Pathan criteria? Even more dense than the above case. Similarly, it’s true about Balochs and Sindhis. Then why Punjabi is being considered as a standard? Unfortunately, recently some Pathans themselves have accepted Punjabi as a standard as well. Like my boss himself being a Pathan, often calls a colleague “Tum Pathan tou nahen ho?” when he shows extremely irritating attitude. Similarly, I heard some Pakhtoon saying, “Oh well, my speaking accent is just like someone from Lahore.” I personally think, the Punjabi-cored Urdu accent is as poor as a Pashto-flavored one. If you can speak clear and clean urdu accent, without any touch of local languages, brilliant! Otherwise all are the same.

    The achievements of Pakhtoon are remarkable and un-parallel. Being the brave people with full of hospitality and the fairest exterior, they actually rock the world. A couple of drivers (I am mentioning this, to let everyone know that they are not someone extremely educated or modern society touched), Saeed and Nazeer, working in our organization belong to NWFP; the dare, the intelligence in their mindset and the attitude of life they posses is something I NEVER witnessed in someone from other region. Another one, Kamran also belongs to NWFP and literally his humility and simply nature has always impressed me. I rank all of them as great people in my life. Every day I see Pathan digging paths for underground cables, working under extreme conditions in factories and mills, carrying a bag on their shoulders to sell little items and even I remember the Pathans travelling near my village with their group of sheep and camels but I never see a Pathan begging! Let me be a touch more specific, the Pathans of our country Pakistan. Due to severe circumstances, the Afghani people have become blatant and brutal.

    Nayni is very true in saying that the best way is to ignore these kind of racist stuff. Why should, we allow the idiotic stuff ruin our peace of mind? But still I understand the author’s prospect; “How long can we ignore it? Once, twice, thrice … It happens almost every day”. But still, we should be cool and calm because paying attention to these people means you are actually valuing them and hence they are successful. Don’t listen them, don’t respond, they will have to shut up this nonsense. I disagree Nayni that we all are equally offensive against each other. No! aggression against Pathans is way beyond limit.

    I being a Baloch and author of this text a Pathan, but still our relation is Alhamdolillah extremely strong and secure. Hence proving Ayesha’s theory not 100% true:-P. Just joking, it’s true that Punjabi-Pathan are more close, generally. Baloch people are usually confined within Balochistan.

    Aadil is purely factual about Pathan jokes and irritation. You know, comedy and fun is the most toughest thing to write. Why? Only because, comedy is one which don’t hurt anyone, don’t abuse anyone, don’t point fingers rather it’s about things that are harmless yet funny. Since, all of them are illiterate and don’t know how to create something good, they try getting attention by making jokes about people. I would recommend Nayni’s suggestion of ignoring the cheap. Regarding discomfort at job, well in this case Pakhtoon are a bit worse. During couple of years of tenure, I have seen Pathans supporting Pathans WAY more than required. Incompatible people being promoted, making their lives more pleasuring and during hiring process, preferring candidates from NWFP. Anyhow, sincerity is something you can’t beat. Alhamdolillah, I always ignored these things as I know Allah is watching and He does no injustice. Alhamdolillah, I have been acknowledged in no time.

    Alhamdolillah, the author, don’t consider the demolish of unity and destruction of our land as something depriving. Allah is there to see everything and He is justice. Good people shall be rewarded and bad ones retarded. Moreover, worldly wealth is dirt of hands. It comes and vanishes, let’s not make it as final criteria of success.

    Naveed, be Pakistani and feel proud as a Pathan!

    I know, this reply is even lengthy than a new blog entry but this is a topic about which I can keep on writing for ages. May Allah make us amend our ways to His Path and make us follow footprints of Prophet (PBUH) and His companions. Aameen.

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