Why I love Pakistan?

I was asked to write about the top five reasons for loving Pakistan. I’d like to share this piece with the readers.

 Why I love Pakistan? Top 5 reasons

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 naïve 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 LA 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 an 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 colours, 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.

The genesis of this post:

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 participating in this top-five series 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.

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 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…

Published in: on May 11, 2007 at 3:10 pm  Comments (61)  

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  1. I’ll raise a toast to that !! [totally halal one of course, a lasi toast if I may ;)]

    However my order of preferences will have to be like this.
    a)b)c)d)e)The cuisine:
    I have this fear that Pakistani food due to all its “side affects” will not be allowed in janat..! Can u imagine a guy sitting in his glorious sparkling palace of gold,silver and pearls in the mystifying company of his loving hoor, and….eating nihari!! or haleem,or paey.!?? I dont think hoors will fancy that very much..! In which case I am not sure what I will give up,, the hoor or the nihari !? tough one that,,, real tough one…

    And since I am hoping to move there one day, dodging being myself becoming a “saji”. I often stuff myself to the max with all the indelicate “delicacies” of the glorious Pakistani cuisine..!
    Long live Pakistani food !!
    (Even though it ensures that its lovers have a proportionally short life) 🙂

  2. Reading about all the great things about Pakistan makes me more mad about the bad things that are going on there. 😦 I certanily agree with the your view on ‘ghar ka khana’ – nothing beats it 😉

  3. Ye saali ‘identity’ hi mmaar jaati hai !!

  4. I love u Pakistan

    and I love you Lahore

    Lahore is my Janam bhoomi 😀

  5. delicious piece and inspires me to write a similar one on why i love india despite all its problems of minority discimiation sadia

  6. Beautiful words Raza sb. What a wonderful way to put you love n feelings for your country .

  7. Raza – My eight year old daughter read your article and here are her commments…

    “I certainly enjoyed reading Why I love Pakistan. I learnt a lot about what you should do when you visit. I will keep it in mind until my next visit comes.”

  8. Raza: Your Essay makes me fall in love with ‘the land of my father and his father’ even more than ever before.

    ‘When tilled, this land could be very fertile’ Iqbal

  9. Pleasant to read something positive about Pakistan, which we as a nation have almost forgotten. But isn’t all what you have said too simplistic (not false by any means). We as a nation are so confused about our culture !!
    If we did inherit all … indus civilisation,the Greek, Gandhara, the central Asian, Persian, Aryan and the Islamic . ..how much of it do we proudly own? how much of it have we preserved….?
    We are so good at destroying rather than preserving !
    I keep asking myself , do we have a culture ?? (excluding sectarian violence,
    honour killings etc)

    Yes, Pakistani food is the best!

    But are the people of Pakistan, resilient …or indifferent? power just keeps changing hands amongst the elite but have we seen a revolution yet?

    Its refreshing to read your preceptions/ views and remind one self that we do have things that we can be proud of.

    Your music is sweet but distant! (or lost)

  10. So, basically its not the country, its the land which is now called as Pakistan, somehow.
    am with you!

  11. Dear Raza

    Your piece “Five Reasons Why I love Pakistan” represents all of us. I’m glad you have the potential to lead enlightened moderates not the moderately enlightened. Congrats.


  12. Amid all this gloom and chaos , this post definetly is a current of fresh breeze to revitalize the thoughts of patriotism among us Pakistanis. We are hoping for these moments of national frustration to pass swiftly and the days of glory to start soon. May Allah preserve and prosper our dear homeland! Amin!

  13. simplistic and charming Rumi ji.
    My reason for loving Pakistan is much simpler :
    Cheers, Sajid

  14. well, yes. but it is in the forced nature of saying it that one is pressed to ask why?


    like tony blair saying the other day that the brits are the most blessed people on the earth…

  15. nisar teri galiyon key aye watan k jahan
    chalii hai rasam key koi na sar utha k chaley

    jokoi chahney wala tawaf ko nikley
    nazar chura key chaley, jism o jan bcha k chaley

  16. Rumi Ji,
    very nice piece of prose indeed. But represents very small minority. Most of Pakistanis would start their history from 712 AD, the arrival of Mohammad Bin Qasim. They would not like to unite under the same identity of the “Indus Man”. An average Pakistani is not proud of figures like Dr. Abdussalam. Very few would even know Shazia Sikandar. Most of them would rather glorify Nuclear Bomb and Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan as their hero who has made them nuclear capable nation! Pakistanis would like to use mystics and sufis like Bhitai, bullhay Shah, baba farid etc. just to sloganeer.Very few would be exposed to their teachings and their original kalaam. None would recognise that these sufis have never been a part of tablighi cmpaign to bring people in the folds of Islam.

    Whether we recognise it or not, the fact remains that most of the people who converted to the folds of Islam in late 8th century and early ninth century under the wrath of the then rulers. Their popular slogan ws “ama-ul-qatl wa ama-ul-islam”. This eventually became the bais of the tadition of changing the names at the time of conversion. The changed nmes were used to increase theeir acceptability by the powerful Muslims and to decrease their vlnerablility of falling prey to the wrath of ruling elite. No where in the wold do muslims have similar sunding names as they do in this region.

    You hve written about the cuisine. I think every japanese would love sushi more than anything else in world, every south idian would love dosa and idli, every chinese would love chinese fried rice.So it is but natural that you love punjabi food. If I like the taste of nicely cooked taco, it would certainly not mean that I love Maxico!

    Scenic beauty: The premise is cute, but not realistic. I really loved the sight of vast desert of anniya Kumari / Jaipur / Bahawalpur etc. I loved the hilly sight of chandigarh as I liked serene ambience of Babu sir Top, I really liked rain forest of Punchak – 35 miles from Jakarta – the scene that we miss in Pakistan! So the indicators you have used are the ones that immediately put me in love with the entire universe! The entire range of eople arlund the world. Where is the KHAAS elements peculiar to Pakistan? I’m not saying that there is nothing that could make me love Pakistan. The fact that I am not able to leave this country just because general society is averse to the views I have. But I would not buy Sajid’s view of “loving Pakistan because he cant help it”. It is rather an approach that has its roots in excessive sloganeering in our education system.

    I think we’ll have to find reasons – solid reasons to love Pakistan!


  17. I love Pakistan

    and I love Lahore

    Lahore is my Birth-place

  18. Marvi- When I used to live in Pakistan I shared your views! But believe me having lived 7 years away from it, I actually romantisize Pakistan. Rumi’s post was a great way to kick off my weekend as if someone just peered into my soul and put all the dots of feelings to writing. it is only when one starts living away from Pakistan does one begin to question oneself on “Why I love Pakistan” and neither the question nor the answer need to have a solid reasoning. It is merely the inner workings of the soul which facilitate this particular QA session not reason.

  19. I respect that. But don’t you think that our “love” can be transformed into an unbeatable strength if powered by logic? I totally understand what you are saying. And I realised it when I reached the Land of Abundance – USA. Could not live there for more than a couple ofmonths. I missed frequent call-ons by my freinds and colleagues on slightest of my migrain attacks, I missed the shopkeeper on the ‘nukkar’ of my street,who would often lend me dozens of cigerrette packs without even giving faintest inkling of reminder to pay. Not because he didn’t care about his money, but because he knew I’m there, and he has to facilitate me. I missed that police wala who made it a point to help me when my car’s wheel got flat one evening, I mmissed that “always available” support network of relatives, neighbours and freinds who would baby sit my daughter whenever I had an odd time meeting. And then, I missed the hullabaloo at the time of iftar, I missed people who wanted to fulfil sunnat-e-rasool at the cost of law of the land . . and even at the cost of fellow citizens’ llives! I missed the sight of that tablighi with ankle high shalwar, spitting with full throttle of his throat in the middle of the road, hurrying to say prayer! I missed the sight of that feudlprince who threw acid on his wife’s face with impunity, missed people who were sitting at the apex of corruption pyramid, talking earnestly about the implementation of shariah law . . . . kahan tak suno gay kahan tak sunaaon, hazaron hi shikway hein . . . . Almukhtasir:

    nisar mein teri galiyon ke aye watan ke jahan
    chali he rasm ke koi na ser utha ke chalay
    Jo koi chahnay wala tawaaf ko niklay
    nazar bacha ke chalay, jism-o-jaan bacha ke chalay


    Khudawanda safar dushwaar rakha jai ga kab tak
    merey jaaday ko na-humwar rakha jai ga kab tak
    mujhay in jaahilaan-o-soqian-e-sifla perwer mein
    Khudawanda zaleel-o-khwaar rakha jai ga kab tak

  20. Living in this day and time in Pakistan rather makes one write on five most detestable than loveable things about Pakistan. I dont want to sound cynical but frankly the way things are happening on evry front fast eroding the very basis of holding simliar passionate views on five things enumerated in this post.

  21. Marvi- I totally get your point. yes the tablighis and lawlessness is deplorable and it has gotten worse. And it is a relief not to put up with such sights living here in the US. It is the politics and society in Pakistan that are deplorable but not the land and its real people (sans the tablighis, acid attackers, suicide bombers, jihadis.

  22. GSR (Mr. / Ms. ???): Thanks. It entirely depends upon who we think the real people are. If your notion of “real people” includes the poverty stricken bhatta madoors, industrial workers, kisans, kiosk owners, pheri walas, sanitary workers . . . so on and do forth, then believe me, they have been pushed strictly to the deeeeeeeeeeeep darkness of oblivion; where there is no fresh air of ‘aagahi’, ‘ilm’ and ‘idraak’ of the political realities, social injustices, their roots, power relations between apparently indifferent qaurters of social ladder etc. And that is the reason why status quo is thriving by leaps and bounds!

    If we think its the middle class (urban or rural), then they are too busy in jumping to the next social ladder to even pay any heed to the redress of uneven and unjust distribution of resources. Both these sagments are very rapi8dly taking refuge under the shallow but seren waters of religion. Hence ever increasing extremism in society.

    I’m seeing hope in the youth that is now a days seen on roads protesting against a dictator’s highhandedness and attack on one of the most respectable insitution of the country. Dont you?

  23. Yes there is definitley hope in our youth- the fact that they have driven a wardi clad president to frenzy of competitive jalsaas is mind blowing-

    Its Ms .

  24. So Rumi,

    Can you kindly add something. As you can see, and what i said in my reply earlier, the points you mentioned were about the land NOT the country.
    When it comes to country, it is a failed state. And this ‘state’/’country’ or whatever you want to name it, is ruining what we love, the culture, the people, the land etc..

  25. @ neil em up..
    Only he who has self respect, can show respect to others..
    when it comes to love, it requires no reasons..So first and foremost we love Pakistan unconditionally.

  26. Very nicely written article. Ones’ love for his or her country is as natural as mother’s milk. We Pakistanis love our country because it is ours. We love its sinners and saints, mountains and rivers, cities and villages, deserts and forests, birds and trees, lakes and sea. For us the land, the people, the country is all wrapped up into one. It is our country Pakistan, the land of our fathers. We all love it. Let there be no mistake about it.

  27. necessary for the people who didnot like pakistan.
    useful for the new generation those are very much indulge i western countries.

    Dear Brother and sisters and friends,
    Please tell these media people to stop playing with Pakistan.Start doing journalism in the interest of Pakistan.See how Indian media defends its country.
    These media people are selling this country for news and their on personnel fame.If any thing happens to Pakistan believe me maximum responsibilty will fall on this media people.They are the major source of unrest in the coubtry.Please mail me if you agree with the idea.I want to make some group who can work on it.E MAIL- specialistsurgeon@yahoo.co.uk

  29. Brilliant work! i have to agree with you. How could anyone not love this country :/

    For all who are aware of the need of an identity would definitely agree with you Raza.

    God Bless you.

  30. Salam ,
    RAZA:Im Inspired…
    Pakistani Cmon lets defeat others b4 others defeat us…i love pakistan am unabale to describe in words….PAkistan’s enemy is my enemy….Im a grl who is young in age bt i love pakistan and i want 2 do something for it…
    Long live Pakistan,
    Allah is watan ki hifazat kare AMEEEN!!
    Sincerey Sidrah

  31. Every citizen should love his country in true spirit

  32. You wrote about Pakistan a land to which I ethnically belong although the identity of religion made my grandparents Indians, in 1947.I love India with all its warts and wrinkles but a large partof my history lies in your country…so what does that make me? I have often wondered at what exactly it is that defines our identities and nationalities.

  33. I love Pakistan, because this is my native country.

  34. Dil.. Dil.. Pakistan.. jaann.. jaann.. Pakistan.. I luve Pakistan veryy muchhh!! keep rocking pakistanis long live Pakistan :))

  35. not only 5 reasons i have more reasons.
    I love pakistan . my heart is pakistani.
    Allah belss All Pakistani peoples and my lovely Pakistan.

  36. MARVI & others who are against Pakistan, please donot blame my country as all that has been written above is correct and now where on earth is a place like paksitan and people like paksitanis. LOVE YOU PAKISTAN and hate those people who are paksitanis but pretend to be GORA SAHABS and like their culture, why don’t they leave paksitan? It is your identity and you will feel it when you leave your country that no other country will accept you unless you have an identity which is paksitani. think positive MARVI. If Dr. Abdul Salam or any other hero of pakistan could have written this it is OK but MARVI what have you done for Pakistan if you are blaming it fiirst do somehing for my country then expect something from Pakistan.

  37. i love pakistan but i don’t like the meat i really like pakistan man your description of the food made me so hungry and i jus pictured that steaming hot sindhi biryani ami made it was delicious!!!!!!
    but stilll tilll i die i willl love pakistan i wasn’t born in pakistan but stilll my roots are there but PHIR BHI DIL HAI PAKISTANI!!!! i never describe h much i love pakistan especiallly muree the best but lahore has tooo much people pollution and traffic but everi1 does know that Punjab is the best in pakistan

    but u know last time i went to pakistan we couldn’t actuallly go to Minare Pakistan after going to Badshahi Masjid coz of stupid drunkens near minare pakistan but i saw it close enough but i couldn’t touch Minare Pakistan but stilll i love pakistan

    I also like the weddings in Pakistan the day before Mehndi is alwayz fun and then Mehndi is the best then Shaadi r ok then Rukhsati is bad and then Walima is ok the food is nice though

  38. I do agree 100 & 10 % this media is like a bhand(the person who had a big Drum and he has shouting in the village.
    One of the story came in my mind according to this media.
    Aik sahib ko kuttay nay kat leya
    Reporter say sawalat
    Kuta kiss rang ka tha.
    kahan say aay tha
    Kissi nay kutay ko pakra keyoun nahi
    CDGK kahan thi kuta city mein enter kasay hoa
    acha uskay sath kitnay kutay thay
    Jin sahib ko kutay nay kata hay woh bhounq too nahi rahay.
    Zakham kitna bara hay
    Kissi nay police ko itla ki
    Ambulance aai hay.
    yeh kutoun ki shehar ka aman kharab kurnay ki sazish hay unhein sakhat saza milni chahey
    FIR darj hoi yah nahi.
    acha aaj ka kuta nama khatam hoa hum thori dair baad kutoun ko qanon kay samnay paish karnay ki koshish karein gay.

  39. your fellings really inspires me i just want to say to all citizens love pakistan or leave pakistan but donnot destroy pakistan



  42. we have to remember one thing that when Pakistan our sweet homeland came into being she was badly off but we did not say what to do, but we aimed to achieve a place in the world and we have done today, today Pak is somewhere known as the terrorist/extremists linked country, but we still aim to achieve we have thought. we are a great nation,we have survived the wrost time and is surviving, we have dare to face the world, we have dare to ask the world, we have dare to live in the world. PAKISTAN ZINDABAD

  43. i cant express in words ,how much i love pakistan.!!!..in short i can say pakistan is more than my life for me…

  44. I love pakistan because this is my country.
    Despite my country being a near faild sate, I still love pakistan. I dream of the day when my fellow citizen will be able to live togther in peace. i dream of better times in the year to cvome

  45. Pakistan,Our Pakistan is such an amazing country. Forever being knocked down yet we still got so much. Forever Love Pakistan. ❤

  46. Goodness Gracious, you guys have already wrote alot of GUD stuff about PAKISTAN. I pray to AllAH to save this country from all the evil forces that are trying to sabotage IT ruthlessly. I miss Pakistan alot cuz I waz borned there and spent some time of my life in the real hood… Even though I live in the USA… my Heart is always with Pakistan and it makes this “Dua” inside that Ya RUB u takecare of Pakistan, cuz u r the 1 who gifted us with it… and If there aint no Pakistan there aint any Pakistanis… So ….. Jevey Jevey Jevey Pakistan.. Pakistan Pakistan Jevey Pakistan…PAKISTAN ALL THE WAY BABY…. Long Live Pakistan and Allah is with You… ……. Hater No Need To Reply…..

  47. DANG I FORGOT TO READ the whole article but im sure u worte something good that’s why there were so many comments….but I’ll finish it nw… EAST AND WEST PAKISTAN IS THE BEST…And the real PAKISTANIS KNOW this….



  50. […] […]

  51. Tusi kuty de putr ho tusi pen chaod ho tusi ma yak ha

  52. Pakistan Zindabad!!!!!!

    Love Pakistan
    Build Pakistan or….
    Leave Pakistan

  53. i love pakistan because this is over country pakistan is one muslim country so we all the muslims do this work which allah said .in the last i say pakistan

    @@@@ ZINDABAD @@@@


  54. love the all muslims

  55. allah is one who saw all heman

  56. jan jan jan AMKK

  57. AMKK

  58. I love in pakistan mara pakistan

  59. I LIVE IN KUNDIAN MUNAWALI 03367654132

  60. Bravo bravo

  61. nice words

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