“al-Bretannia” – my country!

There comes a point in a community’s timeline for its members to stand up and be heard. And that time has now come for members of my community, the British-Pahari community otherwise known as the ‘Mirpuris’. For far too long, our absence from the discourse on all things “British-Pakistani”, “British-Muslim”, “British-Asian” has allowed our fellow nationals – the proper Pakistanis if you like – to fill a cesspit that supposedly exposes our illicit dealings in the UK.

“Cesspit, that’s a little harsh – how dramatic!”

Perhaps I’m being ‘over the top’. I don’t know. But I know how I feel every time I pick up a book on “British-Muslims” or “British-Pakistanis” and end up reading about the misdemeanours of my ‘amorphous community’. Like most ‘British-Paharis’, yes that’s how we self-affirm, I don’t buy a book on ‘British-Pakistanis’ or ‘Muslims’ to discover sordid details about my community. I don’t go looking for the ‘trash-talk’ about everything that’s improper about my specific ‘nation’. Far from it. I just want to learn from other people’s insights in the hope that they’ve something tangible to teach me. And so when I do casually skip through the pages, I’m always stupefied to read in print, what all of us instinctively know to be ‘impressionistic’ tropes, now nuanced as valuable ‘insights’. It goes something like this, “whose responsible for all the shit that goes on in the British-Pakistani community?” The resounding, thumping, unequivocal answer is predictable “…the Mirpuris of course!”

I guess I’ve had enough.

But just so you know, it’s British-Pakistanis that like to call us ‘Mirpuris’. ‘Mirpur’ was the name of a District in the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir, now split between India and Pakistan. The ethnic peoples of Mirpur occupy a vast cultural expanse that includes many regions in mainland Pakistan, “Azad” Jammu & Kashmir and Indian-administered-Kashmir. The same people that live in Mirpur also live in Attock, Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Abbottobad, Haripur and Mansehra, all of which are areas in Northern Pakistan beyond the Indo-Gangetic Plains. On the Indian side Rajouri, Poonch, Uri and Karnah all come to mind. They speak related ‘Himalayan’ dialects of the same language and share the same ‘hill-mountain’ culture. I doubt mainland Pakistanis in Britain will be attuned to these ethnic ‘facts’

Of course no ‘group’, however you define the supposed commonalities between its members is uniform. The few tempered and reclusive ‘experts’ out there who know a thing or two about ‘identities’, their ‘types’, ’causes’ and ‘group-identification’, who actually understand the nature of ‘power-dynamics’ in a society, and in our case that amorphous ‘lump’ of ‘Mirpuri-cum-Kashmiri-cum-Pakistanis’, yup, the local dilettantes are still trying to work out how to define us, tend to stay silent! They know how poisonous such ‘misrepresentations’ can turn out. More often, the impressions turn out to be false. Laypersons for their part are just amenable, and they can be excused for fanning the flames of what they hear from other lay-experts.

That’s just the nature of apocryphal ‘facts’.

But what do we say of ‘journalists-turned-experts’ who not only give a platform to such anecdotal representations but they profit from them as the custodians of some hidden insights? This is a particular brand of writers who think their borrowed ‘insights’ actually count for something. And yet their expertise is just assumed because they spent time writing a book. By virtue of publishing popular tropes, having ‘hung out’ with the ‘shakers and movers’ of a community – the knowledgeable ‘insiders’ if you like – they add their own veneer of respectability to claims that are otherwise fanciful. And they think that they’ve somehow demystified an otherwise complex social landscape.

Many writers have given succour to British-Pakistani tropes about the fringe status of British-Paharis – the “Mirpuris”

It pisses me off when this happens, and in respect of my community, it seems to be happening all the more. But, my community is not unique. We’re not a peculiarly well-known band of ‘villains’ to feel sorry for how we’re being portrayed. Mainstreams everywhere have their fringe communities. And, as it so happens, if the mainstream is placed under scrutiny, its members feel under siege, they’re very quick to apportion blame to the less powerful members of their society.

You don’t believe me!

Just look beyond any number of popular tropes?

Look to the power-dynamics behind the tropes? For instance, when “Eastern Europeans” are scapegoated as the less-amenable “EU” immigrants in the UK given their propensity to do all the ‘dirty work’, no one ever questions the underlying proposition – why are immigrants being placed in different baskets? From a labour-shortage point of view, immigrants come because vacancies need to be filled. There’s a reason why immigrants are here – the economy absolutely needs them.

But from a power-dynamic perspective, some immigrants are more important, they have prestige and privilege, others are not so important because they are less-powerful. These sorts of immigrants do not matter in the overall scheme of things. Who cares if what’s written about them is false and why bother asking the more probing question, “why is the comparison being made in the first place between good immigrants and bad immigrants? The jobs immigrants do will always be diverse, that’s just the nature of modern economies, right?” But you’ll hardly ever hear anyone speaking disparagingly about ‘German’ bankers, ‘French’ Models or ‘Scandinavian’ teachers – given how we imagine ‘immigrant communities’. Very rarely will the media shine its torch on them, and yet they exist, like every other ‘generic’ immigrant group, and they absolutely have their rotten apples.

The fact that a populist like Nigel Farage from UKIP can weigh in on such conversations, married to an EU ‘immigrant’ from EU-prestigious Germany, shouldn’t be lost on any of us when he laments, for instance, the “criminality” of the Slovakian and Bulgarian “Roma”. And you don’t see the Slovakians and Bulgarians coming out from under their bunkers to defend the Roma, absolutely not. Some in these ‘mainstreams’ make the point of trying to point out that it’s actually the ‘Roma’ doing all the pickpocketing, the thieving – they’re the benefit cheats! Some go as far as saying, “give them ID cards, so we can distinguish the Roma from the true ‘European’ nationalities they assume” unaware of how that makes the architects of the EU project feel in Germany. And this from the mouths of individuals who work on the same orchards as the Roma picking apples so they can feed their children in an alien land!

This way of thinking is ubiquitous. People everywhere want to blame the least powerful members of their society for their own misfortunes. In mono-cultural Britain not so long ago, back in the days when the land was green and the people ‘pale’, the ‘powdered-whites’ blamed their ‘duskier’ ‘peasants’ for all their society’s woes. They even shipped them off to the new colonies where new ‘mainstreams’ emerged and ‘fringe communities’ arose. Times change, new identities are constructed, the ‘bad guys’ are no more, and the ‘new ruling’ class morphs into its ‘timeless’ ‘national’ label. Bias and prejudice remains. It just assumes new personas as people aspire to be like the dominant group, hating everything about their past lives. Even surnames are misappropriated as individuals consciously move away from their older memories of where they actually came from in the hope of coalescing with the ‘established’ nobility. Dave the ‘water-carrier’ who made his fortune collecting and bottling mineral water becomes David ‘Paxman’ and his descendants begin to reimagine the ‘world’ his ‘ancestors’ came from. This history has been well-documented in many societies. We’ve even got a new academic discipline – ‘whiteness studies’ – the world starts to feel different, people develop new priorities, the underclass assert themselves, we start to ask new questions and the paradigms shift.

In Britain those poor, destitute unwanted ‘whites’, there was even a pejorative term for them ‘white trash’, were a constant irritant for the Eugenicists of the time. But, gradually they evolved into a ‘working class’ of their own, now gainfully employed thanks to the industrial revolution and the progressive march of imperialism. But, at the end of the day, all good things must come to an end and the blame game begins in earnest. Economies contract, and people want simple answers to their ‘new’ problems.

We don’t do soul-searching in these British Isles, we do finger-pointing!

“Where are all the jobs?” “The Immigrants have taken them!”

“Why is there so much crime in this area?” “It’s a poor area dimwit, what did you expect! It was messed up before, and then the immigrants arrived!”

Such is the pecking order. And this is exactly what has been happening with my community.

“Why is there so much honour-crime in the British-Pakistani community?” Wait for it. It’s coming…“the Mirpuris commit honour crimes!” “No, not us – respectable ‘Urdu’ speaking Pakistaaanis – we don’t commit honour crimes, we’re originally from the cities – we’re immigrant-aristocrats – our ‘secular’ and ‘liberal’ values… (imagined no less) …are tied in with the sophistication showcased by that lovely, distant, country of ours’ called Pakistan – a beacon of human rights and human development built on the banks of the River Indus!” Just look at Pakistan’s lovely Crescent and Star!”

But, someone, somewhere inevitably retorts, “But you Muslims are extremists!” You don’t want to integrate with the rest of us, ‘foreign-loving’, ‘open-minded’, ‘progressive’, ‘cosmopolitan’ ‘global citizens!’”

Wait for it. It’s coming…

“Nope, you don’t understand the subtleties and complexities of the British-Pakistani community. The least educated Pakistanis, hmm…, you know the sort that live in the ‘North of England’ are from Mirpur, ‘Azad Kashmir and they’re not really Pakistanis, at least not like us progressive sorts with our grammar-English!” They mean to say they speak the ‘Queen’s English’ unaware of how even the BBC accent has changed over the years.

And then, wham, bam, they hit you with caveats and the assumed wisdom of the grapevine couched in sociological observations.

“Not all Mirpuris are that bad by the way. Just the majority! Most of ‘them’ are uneducated, live off benefits, sell drugs, kiddy-fiddle, beat their multiple wives, breed like rabbits and…” wait for it, it’s coming “…they’re poor and come from a rural place, from hills and mountains – that’s not really Pakistan but AZAD KASHMIR!”

And then you confront the glees and self-assuredness of individuals who really don’t know what they’re talking about, “by the way we’re from the cities, Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, in these bastions of high-brow culture these kinds of things don’t happen!”

Of course, it’s all bollocks. The extremists are blowing up Churches, Mosques, schools, hospitals in the cities. They’re killing minority groups everywhere. The honour crimes you read about in Pakistani newspapers – the sort that get reported – happen in the cities and not just in the villages. Yes. Absolutely. It’s members of the citified gentry that are currently throwing acid on women’s faces, their egos bruised by having their advances turned down by inconsequential ‘poor women’ sick and tired of a patriarchal society that has its male votaries, and its most outspoken defenders living in the cities. You have cases of women being physically abused, pelted to death in front of court houses in the city by people living in the city as the Police watch on. Can any of us not be forgiven for asking, “wow -Pakistan’s cities seem a lot more violent than its villages. Is this really about cities and villages or something more profound – like ‘attitudes’ and ‘values’?”

And so when you hear another self-affirming Pakistani admonish you in his highfalutin accent, “my friend, it’s the Mirpuris that marry their cousins, not us, they are backwards!” Please spare a thought for us, the rest of us, who don’t have people speaking up for us because of the power-dynamics I mentioned earlier. Just scratch your head and ask your own questions as to why one section of a supposedly ‘self-coherent’ BME community is so keen to push the blame further down the street.

Let me just give you one insight – one backed up by the “experts” and not your average journalist-Joe turned ‘detective’. Cousin marriages are practised by more than a billion people on earth. They are also practised by Pakistan’s self-affirming city dwellers. You don’t believe me? Do your own research and read about studies written on consanguineous marriages in Karachi, for instance. The number is in the millions. Yes, health experts are trying to stop the practise because of all the congenital diseases that come from it.

But, of course statistics are on a much better footing than impressions, so here’s a ‘fact’ for you as quoted in a Pakistani newspaper, The Express Tribune in 2014 whose readership is mostly made up of ‘citified’ Pakistanis. According to the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Health Sciences Lahore, approximately 82.5% of ‘parents’ in Pakistan are blood-relatives. Now, I don’t think much has changed since then, but in any case Mirpuris make up less than 0.1 percent of the entire Pakistani population. Technically, they don’t even feature in Pakistani government statistics because the area of ‘Azad’ Jammu & Kashmir is treated differently and not necessarily benignly. So, why blame the Mirpuris for such a practise in the UK simply because it’s assumed that it must be on account of ‘them’ “because that lot are from the villages” – because the upwardly-mobile, self-aware ‘citified’ Pakistani ‘libertines’ are telling you so. There’s a subtext here that you need to familiarise yourself with, sadly one I have no time to discuss but it has a lot to do with upward-mobility and social-climbing.

For ordinary Muslims, the practise of cousin marriages goes back to the earliest days of Islam. The Prophet of Islam was married to a member of his extended network who descended from a ‘common’ ancestor. His companions were married to their cousins. Imam Ali, the fourth Caliph, was married to Fatima, the prophet’s daughter who was, of course, his cousin.

But cousin marriages aren’t solely a feature of Muslim societies. From Egyptian Pharaohs to European Royal families, everyone has been dabbing their feet in this pond. Even a great luminary like Darwin was married to his first cousin. And what about that other great mind, ‘Einstein’, yup, he too was married to his first cousin. Even the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, for a time, was married to his cousin. But to hear – through Fergusson’s ‘trope-telling’ – a British Pakistani comedian whose parents are from Lahore and Rawalpindi say on behalf of her sophisticated cohorts, “I know Pakistanis who think of Mirpuris as self-ghettoizing cousin-shagging Neanderthals”, could get her killed in Lahore and Rawalpindi. I’m not joking either. This is not hyperbole. She can only share such insight because she’s living in Britain and precisely because of power-dynamics that she doesn’t understand.

It’s kind of funny to realise how stupid some cocky people are as they try to put down others less-threatening. But, in any case I doubt she’s more accomplished than Einstein or Darwin, or more ‘refined’ than the ‘cousin-shagging’ Royals of past ages simply because, in her mind, she lives in a nice suburb of Birmingham! If indeed she comes from an enlightened people from the heart of civilised Pakistan – as many self-affirming urbanites would have us believe – she can prove me wrong by flying over to Lahore on her private jet – PIA is apparently bankrupt – and say exactly what she said in front of her city peers. I doubt very much, the citified Muslims of Lahore and Rawalpindi would like the idea of their most famed personalities, religious or otherwise, being described as ‘cousin-shagging Neanderthals!’

They’d probably lynch her.

To sum this up, it is unfair to apportion blame to the Mirpuri community for the social ills of the British-Pakistani community. This is exactly what has been happening. As social commentators and observers move effortlessly in their multicultural – one dimensional – circles listening to their ‘insecure’, ‘aspiring middle-class’, ‘Pakistani’ friends and peers, they end up giving credence to tropes that are untrue. Some of these writers are just ignorant of the anecdotal claims being made, putting into print ‘garbage’ and contributing to a narrative that is just ‘bollocks’. There are no other words in the English language to adequately describe such behaviour. Impressions do not give way to facts – that’s why we have experts.

British-Mirpuris are a product of their society, as immigrants from “Pakistan-administered-Kashmir”. They too have their grievances against fellow-Pakistanis not least because they feel their region is being exploited by a political elite living in mainland Pakistan. They are not wrong in saying they have given more to Pakistan than what Pakistan has ever given them in return – this inconvenient fact is becoming a burden too heavy to carry for some. A huge ‘cleavage’ can be seen developing on the ground, as ordinary youngsters in Mirpur are prepared to toy with the idea that ‘India’ would’ve probably been a better choice than Pakistan – ‘attitudes’ can and do change even if the foreign ‘elite’ bussed in from the Punjab Plains are impervious to the feelings of the common folk.

Sadly, some of the activists from my region confuse political structures with the bigotry of ordinary people and create their own tropes and false narratives against ordinary Pakistanis. The crucial point being, you don’t see mainstream journalists repeating these particular tropes in Britain.

Why is that then? Well, because it’s about power-dynamics!

And yet the social and cultural practises of the “Mirpuris” are not peculiar to ‘Azad’ Jammu & Kashmir. These practises are ubiquitous throughout Pakistan, in both cities and villages. For the citified gentry of Pakistan to think of themselves as the embodiment of sophistication in the UK all the while they distance themselves from the ‘hillbillies’ of ‘Azad’ Jammu & Kashmir is truly mind-boggling.

Aside from why they would make such distinctions between various groups from Pakistan, we should look at their substantive claims. What exactly are they proud of when it comes to extolling a ‘city identity’ (‘sheri’) as opposed to a rural one (‘dhiati’)? They need to be reminded about the reality of Pakistan – yes that landmass that has become the butt of international jokes, not least Pakistani ones.

This is a country that sits at the bottom of international development indices. It’s a poor country with a massive population and a tiny government budget, procured mostly through foreign aid, loans and remittances. It is a ‘corrupt’ country, internationally recognised as a ‘corrupt’ country, where an unelected army calls the shots whilst its civilian-elite bicker with each other, siphoning funds earmarked for the poor. Pakistan does not produce anything. It does not contribute anything to science and technology. Where exactly are its patents? Its few notable academics are renowned on account of their western university credentials – many of whom have left the country to teach in North America and western Europe! The ‘elite’ sends its children to foreign universities. When the rich get ill, they quickly head for foreign hospitals – they have money, and lots of it, so their visa applications are less likely to be denied. Without exception, they invest their money in foreign countries and even deposit their savings in foreign banks. They don’t trust Pakistan’s weak institutions not least because they come from the same people who apparently run the country – or at least that’s how they like to present themselves abroad! The cities are no more a collective liberal utopia than the villages are nightmarish dystopias. Life is hard for ordinary people whether they live in villages, towns, cities or mud-houses. If you don’t come from the ‘elite’ and are socially and politically connected, you’re screwed, literally!

How do I know all this? Because, NGOs and well-wishers have been writing about Pakistan’s problems for decades. There is a huge body of knowledge that condemns Pakistan for the joke it has become. Besides, my family originates in areas controlled by Pakistan, on either side of the PAK-‘A’JK border. Members of my extended family live in the cities and villages that span this border. Aside from having witnessed life in the cities and villages first-hand, not a day passes in Pakistan except social and media commentators condemn ritualistically their country’s plight. From dirty water, intermittent electricity (the rich have generators), inedible food, carcinogenic cooking oil, malnutrition, stunted growth, massive poverty, huge corruption, sectarian squabbles, religious violence, enormous gender and wealth inequalities, a ‘dumbed-down’ population – the list is endless.

Then there are those who blame India for everything, literally everything whilst glued to the latest Bollywood movie. And what about the ‘conspiracy theorists’ – oh yes, the superstars of the intellectual class. For these ‘enlightened’ few, almost always from the cities, “911” was a mere figment of the western imagination and Bin Laden was never ever caught in Abbottabad, northern Pakistan. It was staged! It’s all one big American conspiracy to control ‘nuclear’ Pakistan – yes that ‘powerful’ poor country that needs billions of dollars of American aid to fight its own home-grown terrorists. Oh, lest I forget, there’s others who speak disparagingly of Malala Yusuf, that 12 year old girl shut in the head by the Taliban – yup, its one big conspiracy!

And all these guys are from the “cities”.

And we’re being told the real villains of the British-Pakistani community are from Mirpur? Give me a break, please! It’s time members of my community started to speak up. In 2005, when three of the 4, 7/7 bombers, were incorrectly presented as ‘Mirpuris’, no one from the community spoke up. Ever since then, all sorts of bogus claims are being made about our nefarious ways – there comes a point when you get sick and tired of listening to crap especially when you know it’s not true. For instance, there are no data-sets that tell us definitively the origin of the Pakistani sex-groomers; it’s just assumed on the basis of anecdotes and ‘numbers’ – i.e., impressions. The Beeston area of Leeds, apparently, was an area with a large Mirpuri presence and it turned out that the ‘Pakistani’ parents of the 7/7 bombers came from the Panjab Province. How do I know this? Because some journalists went ‘digging’ in the wake of Madeline Bunting’s bogus article written 9 days after the attack – Orphans of Islam; the history of Britain’s Mirpur population may help to explain why some became suicide bombers, and they discovered the error of her ‘impressions’. Imagine – an entire indictment of a community based on the mistaken identity of its members!

I guess respectable journalists should take heed when they want to pen writings based on such anecdotes and present them as objective observations of inter-communal relations all the while endorsing prejudices. “Al-Britannia, My country” by James Fergusson is one such example. In as much as he shares his wider-insights about British-Muslims, he merely gives credence to bigoted voices within the British-Pakistani community when he describes Mirpuris possibly on account of not understanding the subtext behind the anxieties – this rivalry is one-sided I add.

To be fair to the author – I actually spoke to him via twitter messaging and he seemed like a genuine guy looking for answers. He was unequivocal though that he wasn’t an expert and had so much more to learn. He was clear his insights were ‘impressionistic’. Some of the tropes he fastidiously recorded gave me a chuckle. He spoke of a ‘Pakistani’ guy from ‘Punjabi Attock’ living in multi-cultural ‘Sparkbrook’ perturbed by the “mono-cultural” neighbourhood of Alum-Rock a couple of miles away populated almost entirely by ‘Mirpuris’ – yup, those ‘cousin-shagging Neanderthals’ – lest you forget!” He went on to quote him, “There’s nowhere like it in the UK,… You hear Patwari, [a Mirpuri dialect] on the street. They’re a claustrophobic monoculture compared to us. I’d think twice about living there myself!” Immediately Fergusson endorsed the underlying proposition speaking about the differences between ‘Alum Rock’ and ‘Sparkbrook’ folk.

I’m from Birmingham – trust me, when I tell you, ‘Sparkbrook ain’t no Beverly Hills’ for this particularly rare ‘cosmopolitan’ resident to look down his nose at his Alum Rock peers.

It just goes to show that it takes a rare genius to religiously parrot what he’s been told in the hope of trying to shed light on an important topic. It takes an even rarer genius to think he’s actually made us all more the wiser.

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Editor at Portmir Foundation; liberal by values, opposed to tribalism in all its guises; love languages and cultures – want to study as many as I can; proficient in some; opposed to social and political injustice wherever it rears its ugly head even from within my own British-Pahari community (a little unsure about the juxtaposition. The term ‘Pahari’ can mean different things to different people – stay posted. Grandparents from the Himalayan mountains of Jammu, presently split between India and Pakistan – get the impression no one cares about the people stuck between the LOC – currently researching the ‘Pahari-cultural-heritage’ outside political and territorial paradigms and the narratives of the political ‘mainstream’. Ultimately, hoping to create a space for members of the British-Pahari community to discover their own wonderful heritage. I believe – ‘life’ is a wok in progress so nothing is fixed even our thoughts! If you’re from the region, feel free to contact me – always prepared to widen my intellectual horizons and stand corrected – don’t insult me though. Be grown up and tell me why you think I’m wrong. If you make sense, I’ll change my views.

My opinions are not necessarily those of the Portmir Foundation; the Foundation does not do censorship; if you disagree with any us, and you’re from our background, write your own opinion piece and we’ll publish it. You can contact us at info@portmir.org.uk.

23 COMMENTS

  1. I have been googling the term “Mirpuri” as suggested in this post and I am shocked at the level of anti-Mirpuri hatred or what the writer described as a “cesspit”. There is no way Mirpuris are producing this online content (yes I agree we’re ethnic Paharis and not Kashmiris and we should start celebrating and preserving our own culture), but what is the identity of the people that are making this crass generalisations and bigoted comments? Anyone from outside our community would agree with us that the claims are racist and full of bile. I think I know who these people here; the very ones who tell us we should love Pakistan because it was created for Muslims even as they harass and insult their own communities because they are ashamed of their own backgrounds. I can’t believe our community has been asleep all this time.

    • Not all Pakistanis. There is hardly any of this Mirpur-bashing happening in Pakistan, and if there is negative comments its usually because of envy. It is a human failing. Nothing more EEverything said about Mirpuris can be said about any community from Pakistan. In Pakistan, Mirpuris are seen by locals in neighbouring areas as prosperous and are generally respected a lot, very generous apparently. Half of Islamabad is owned by Mirpuris for gods sake.

      Pakistan is a big place so don’t tarnish all Pakistanis with the same brush.

  2. I read this book and this guy doesn’t know what he is talking about. He is just borrowing impressions from the people around him. He is hanging around with peeps who don’t represent Pakistanis at all. I feel like I’m in some Muslim Vatican City. Where are all the ordinary Pakis???

    • Funny I read the same book and I didnt come to your conclusion. its a really good book. and I think he was sincere in painting a positive image of muslims by showing how diverse we are. Agreed, he was not balanced when presenting Mirpuris. Mirpuris do come across in a bad light but its because he was relying on Pakistani voices when presenting Mirpuris so he was biased in his views. But thats not his fault, he can only form his views on the opinions of the Muslims around him and they happened to be mostly Pakistanis. The book is about Muslims and not Mirpuris.

      Be honest, how many Mirpuris would agree with him though, lots of Mirpuris come to the same opinions. I do agree with the writer of this article, I am miffed too about how our community is being presented. I just think Mirpuris are much to blame for all the stereotypes about them as they are quick to recycle them. You can’t blame outsiders for this problem if Mirpuris talk bad about themselves.

  3. “Mushtaq” just proved the publisher’s point!

    Pakistani Punjabis are indeed the most racist/prejudice people in South Asia. There is a reason Baluchistanis want to be free from the shackles of Punjabi racism! Pakistani Punjabis are currently committing horrific war-crimes against the poor Baluch people! Freedom for Baluchistan! It’s time for the world to expose Pakistani Punjabis’ exploitation and genocide against the honest, humble Baluch people!

    Pakistan is a backwards, failed state that continuously ranks amongst the lowest in the Human Development Index. Pakistan actively funds terrorism in its neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan and India; Pakistan is the root cause of all the terrorism, wars and unrest in the South Asian region.

    The reason Pakistan (rightly so!!) has a horrendous reputation is because of its incompetent, deceitful Punjabi elite. You racist Punjabis should think twice before trying to defame the name of the proud ‘Mirpuri’ i.e. Pahari people.

    • It’s not Punjabis that are the problem in Pakistan but the political elite from Punjab who are so ashamed of speaking their own ethnic language that they speak Urdu whilst denigrating other languages native to Pakistan. They think speaking punjabi is some desease inflicting parasite. They are a serious problem to Pakistan and if Pakistan implodes we will know the culprits who laid down seeds for such crisis. Pakistan can work for the ordinary Pakistani even Baloch if the right people ran the country. The current incumbents totally corrupt are known for their corruption all over Pakistan.

    • Orchid, Pakistan has not funded terror in it’s neighbours of India or Afghanistan. It is the other way round. Afghanistan supported armed and funded the Baluch terror outfits in the 1970s and also funded the pashtoonistan movement in the 1970s. India has funded the Baluch terror outfits since after 2002. Even the MQM has confirmed that Altaf has been funded and armed by RAW of India. Also Modi already confirmed that he was involved in the Bengali movements of 1960s and 1970. RAW funded terror in erstwhile east pakistan.

      Please therefore do your research. Also Pakistan is backwards and it would be the same as somalia if we take out Punjab. The rest of Pakistan has always been very backward and it is not a recent phenomenon. The Lahore to Islamabad belt is the only really developed area of Pakistan and that area includes our own Mirpur. In AJK only Mirpur is developed and all this is due to historic factors that pre date 1947.

      Finally Punjabis are no more racist than anyone else. Most Pakistanis in Pakistan do not even know mirpur and mirpuris and so they don’t hate them. The racism in the UK is an odd phenomenon and I found the worst racists to be from Pindi and Poonch and they maybe your pahari buddies.

      • “With Friends Like These…” Human Rights Violations in Azad Kashmir; HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

        https://www.hrw.org/reports/2006/pakistan0906/pakistan0906webwcover.pdf

        Exploitation of Pakistan in Azad Kashmir in field of Hydel power, Dr Shabir Choudhry

        http://drshabirchoudhry.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/exploitation-of-pakistan-in-azad.html

        No Taxation Without Rights: Riches of Gilgit-Baltistan ‘non-province’ being exploited at the discretion of Pakistan

        http://www.firstpost.com/world/no-taxation-without-rights-riches-of-gilgit-baltistan-non-province-being-exploited-at-the-discretion-of-pakistan-4214237.html

        Pakistan playing with sentiments of Kashmiris, says UKPNP

        http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/pakistan-playing-with-sentiments-of-kashmiris-says-ukpnp/401512/

      • @Jatt Punyal – Racist Punjabi detected! I’m from Rawalpindi and there is no hatred against Mirpuris because we’re the same people to the core. Only some self-loathing Potoharis on the Internet slander Mirpuris in order to impress you racist Punjabis. Anybody who doubts Punjabis’ blatant intolerance please go on Twitter or do a Google search of the word “Mirpuri” and see all the poignant hatred by Pakistani Punjabis towards us Potoharis/Mirpuris. They’re actively promoting animosity against us; some of them even go as far as aligning with far right fascists to sabotage our image! Unbelievable! Funny part is, every little thing they accuse Mirpuris of unequivocally applies to Punjabis. I could tell endless stories of Lahori and other Punjabi criminals I have personally encountered. Just look at the state of Pakistan to get a taste of how successful and progressive Punjabis are lol.

        Punjabis are not only committing crimes against humanity against the Baluchistani people, but they’re allied with the American Military Industrial Complex and play a huge role in droning and killing thousands on innocent Pashtun civilians in Pakistan’s FATA region. Poor Pashtuns are paying the price for Punjabi greed and racism….these Punjabis are making millions whilst exploiting and killing the innocent people of Pakistan. But “Jatt Punyal” here believes non-Punjabis in Pakistan are inherently backwards whilst downright ignoring the real factors that contribute towards the rampant poverty and lack of opportunities that are so widespread in KPK, AJK, Sindh and Baluchistan. Why do so man Baluchis and Pashtuns resent Pakistan? Now Mirpuris are being exposed to the real face of you Punjabis too.

        • Orchid, I left my name there. I am a Jatt and a Punyal clansman from Mirpur, Andraal area of Dadyal. All our Punyal are from AJK, you have no clue about us. Anyway I never lie as I do not need to, I am proud to be a Jatt of AJK. Now go back and read the same google posts and you will find that Pindi people are the worst offenders, but still I never make wholesale attacks on the province of Punjab. Further if you are referring to the hatred of Patahns and Baluch, they actually love Pakistan and are patriotic and hold high positions in the country, there are allegations of killings by the Pakistan army and guess where the Pak Army comes from ? Yeah you got it Pindi.
          Finally Punjab has always been richer and more developed than the rest of Pakistan and that has nothing to do with the state of Pakistan. Punjab was always richer through out history due to the rich farmlands and attendant industry which pre dates partition. Hating Punjab and advocating seperation will not improve the lives of Pathans of Baluch but at the end of the day that is their choice.

  4. I added this comment on the previous related post (call them Mirpuris please) and feel it’s relevant here too.

    Pakistani or Panjabi bigotry against Mirpuris is nothing more than ‘jealousy’. Since I came across this article I’ve been doing the google search on Mirpuris, and it is mostly jealousy, even though my blood boils!!! :(((((((((

    I came across this observation from an expert writing on the impact of remittences to local economies abroad; “At one level the answer is clear; it goes straight to the rural areas from which the majority of transnational labor migrants are almost invariably drawn. District Mirpur is one such area. To non-Mirpuri Pakistanis, the prospect of such areas is evident, so much so that emigrants’ success elicits active feelings of jealousy, even among members of the urban elite. Returning migrants may be mocked for their bizarre behaviour, such as importing wide-screen televisions and enormous refrigerators to villages that are hardly yet served with electricity connections. From the perspective of the urban elite, returning migrants have more money than they know what to do with.”

    Remittences and the local dimensions of the national economy; edited by Samuel Munzele Maimbo, Dilip Ratha

    Please buy the book or borrow it from your local library.

    Mirpuris and we are really speaking about AZAD KASHMIRIS need to start reading about what’s happening to our region. The author makes really good observations about how remittences improve the relative wealth of an area but the absence of government-infrastructure such as “roads, schools, hospitals, markets and so forth” continue to hamper the same area, forcing a kind of dispossession on the people. So the urban elite from Pakistan, those jealous individuals, feel they have the the right to mock, in our case, the Mirpuris, even though they are motivated by jealousy. THAT URBAN ELITE IS BRING PROPPED UP BY THE CORRUPT GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And yet its Pakistan that is actively denying Mirpur and Azad Kashmir prosperity. Why after so many decades in the UK, is there no airport in Mirpur? Because they don’t want us to have an airport, they want to skim off us by channeling all the airport-related trade to Islamabad. They want to rip us off so they can ensure that their own people have jobs whilst our people in Azad Kashmir having nothing but remittences.

    How many times have we heard Pakistan is deliberately keeping Azad Kashmir poor, its deliberate disinvestment. THOSE JKLF PEOPLE WERE RIGHT!!!!

    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=IVhiyHtrkh0C&pg=PA111&lpg=PA111&dq=pakistani+jealousy+against+mirpuris&source=bl&ots=cblwYoxkwS&sig=dZnYgaLQauZ-xXeJF6CO5qijehM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj_3ee94PDXAhXSKlAKHVY-BzwQ6AEIczAN#v=onepage&q=pakistani%20jealousy%20against%20mirpuris&f=false

    • Myra, what are the remittances. Can you provide any figures ?.
      I doubt that they will be much and the vast majority of remittances are from the Gulf states, Mirpuris send very little back home, since they have been in the UK for over 60 years and 99% are British citizens. Your views are therefore unfounded.

      • Bro we aint Pakistanis and they aint done nothing for us. whatever is in Mirpur and the surrounding countryside is because of remittences. dont even doubt that dude because it was our parents, uncles, grandparents that helped mirpur, dont sell their contributions cheap bro.

        A lot of us are becoming suspicious now of all the ‘Pakistanis’ among us who keep telling us how great Pakistan is and how bad India is even as they insult us daily, day after day, online, with their groupies and white friends, on twitter, on youtube, its happening in front of our eyes. seriously no one is making this up. We all know this is happening.

        To tell mirpuris that our remittences didnt help mirpur is to insult us. where the only ones in Pakistan that actually cared about our region, and the proof is in the pudding, we bought so many of our cousins and village friends to the UK and we spent our hard earned savings in Mirpur; we kept going back to visit our homeland bankrolling PIA – this is another inconvenient fact for many Pakistanis. Theres nothing in mirpur that hasn’t been built by the money from valayt and abroad. there is no government infrastructure in mirpur. no commercial sector in mirpur. the service sector caters for all the British-Mirpuris returning to have their egos pampered by distant cousins who survive off the UK but also have a love-hate relationship with us. everyone there complains about what Pakistan is doing to Azad Kashmir; bad roads, no electricity, terrible school buildings and facilities despite our children outperforming those in Pakistan, hardly any hospitals. The Pakistan government doesn’t even give Azad Kashmir royalties for the Dam in Mirpur, and your talking about Poonchies hating on Mirpuris. There is no Pakistan-government money spent in Mirpur, so many MANY writers have written about this since the 1990s. This is something I dislike, because it proves to me, AJK is completely reliant on remittences, thats why its only Mirpur that seems to be prosperous. The rest of AJK is dirt poor. There are no jobs worth doing in Mirpur; our people get more money in remittences from us than if they had to work. And when you said to this ‘myra’ her claims are unfounded, actually your claims are unfounded because what she’s saying is what’s written in the books, newspaper articles, journals, in documentaries, JKLF and pro-independence-Kashmiri protests, Pakistani newspaper columns.

        Bro I aint hating on you (thats what some Pakistanis do, including our Patwari cousins, they hate on us like the Poonchy and the Muzaffarabadis, we know what ‘envy’ feels like), and i’m happy this website exists to teach us otherwise. its a blessing cause its got me thinking about our human failings. Mirpuris have had a raw deal because of Pakistan and we’re here in the UK not because of Pakistan but because of a history that predates Pakistan’s creation to our involvement in the British Indian Army and much earlier the British Merchant Ships.

        This bull**** they keep telling us about the Mangla Dam, we came here much earlier, so they didst do us any favours by flooding our lands for their own energy needs in Panjab. Oh apparently they gave us passports – WOW, they gave us travel documents to move out and in of our lands, big deal!!!!!!!!!!! This is them helping us?

        If I was in Pakistan I would join groups fighting for rights in Pakistan, so this is not about ordinary people but challenging corrupt elites and their cronies.

        I’m a Jatt too by the way 🙂 nice to meet you 🙂

      • Jatt Punyal, no one can deny remittences to Mirpur from the British-Pahari community. It has been in the tens of billions of pounds over the years since we came here and has radically transformed Mirpur beyond all recognition. Are you really asking for figures? Since I’ve been reading about Azad Kashmir that’s the most common thing that is said about Mirpur, its huge reliance on remittences from Britain. Read Ballard, Sneddon and all the others on so-called Azad Kashmir? Have you not read what Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Transparency International have wrote on Azad Kashmir’s occupation at the hands of Pakistan and the fact that had it not been for remittences from the British Mirpuri community, life would have been really hard for ordinary
        Mirpuris.

        In fact only recently, remittences to Mirpur have reduced massively because of the fall of the British Pound which is now affecting people there.

        published 2017 https://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/29/10/2017/Brexit-hastens-Pakistani-Kashmir-s-economic-break-with-Britain

        published 2009 https://www.dawn.com/news/446247

        Had it not been for remittences, Mirpur would be like the rest of ‘Azad’ Kashmir, it still lacks the normal infrastructure projects paid for by the Pakistani government in Lahore and Islamabad. So why are they treating Azad Kashmir differently then if it’s part of this Lahore-Islamabad belt?

        PAKISTAN KASHMIR – NOT FREE https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2015/pakistani-kashmir

        Read this paper written by Dr Richard Ballard comparing remittences to Mirpur to Jallandar in 2003. http://www.casas.org.uk/papers/pdfpapers/selectctte.pdf

        It’s very sad many Mirpuris have been duped by the Pakistan Establishment to think Pakistan somehow cares for the ‘Azad’ Kashmiris. I just hate it when they bring India into the equation.

        • With all due respect, I personally know Roger ballard and have known of him and his writings for the last 27 years. He is retired now and all his field work was based on the past, and none of it is current. I also know all the arguments and rants of the JKLF and the JKNP as I personally know and knew the leadership of both the organisations. They have their axe to grind and have their views and like all others anyone can try and give their twist on anything for their benefit. As you can see by my name I am a Jatt, and Jatts do not need to base their case on fake or twisted or outdated information. We can tell it how it is. Well here are some recent facts:
          THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE > BUSINESS

          Saudi Arabia remains largest source of remittances for Pakistan
          SHARE TWEET
          Saudi Arabia remains largest source of remittances for Pakistan
          By Kazim Alam
          Published: July 16, 2016
          Overseas Pakistani workers sent remittances amounting to over $19.9 billion in 2015-16, up 6.4% from the preceding fiscal year, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Friday.
          For the financial year 2016 the remmitance were as follows:
          Saudi Arabia $5.9Bn
          UAE $4.3bn
          Other GCC $2.4Bn
          USA 2.5Bn
          UK 2.5Bn
          Other countries contributed much less. The income from the UK was about 12% or so of the total and even that was not all from Mirpuris. Thousands of Pakistanis are students and workers and illegals in the Uk and much of that money was to their districts and not to ours.
          Also the fact that some Pakistanis in the UK hate Mirpuris based on fake information should not make us so emotional that we ourselves make mistakes. Most Pakistanis are wrong in hating Mirpuris and can be set straight with simple facts. Those are that if Mirpuris are inbred most of Pakistan is involved in cousin marriages. Most terror suspects have NOT Been from Mirpur. Most deprieved people are from Gujrat Kharian and not Mirpur etc.. we can counter them, and we do not need to hate Pakistan to punish the transgressions of some losers in the UK. Finally Pakistan did make the roads in Mirpur, all the roads that connect Mirpur to chakswari, Dadyal, Kotli and other areas are made by Pakistan Government. All the bridges like Dungali and Plak are made by Pakistan Government. The University is also made by Pakistan and so are the Govt hospitals. Also please note that when the funds for AJK university was finally allotted in 1980, Rawalakot and Bagh opposed it’s location in Mirpur and that is why now the AJK university has 5 campuses when it should have been one. Regarding the Airport point this was something the AJK Government had to do the reason is that our country is called Azad Riasat of Jammu and Kashmir. Officially Pakistan is not allowed any mega projects and always AJK Govt has to lead, but they can never lead on anything as in truth they are limited by their own abilities. Anyway I hope this helped.

          • You haven’t counteracted not one of my points. You’ve digressed to give me a breakdown of remittences which doesn’t disprove what I said about remittences to Mirpur? British Mirpuris have been remitting huge sums of money to Mirpur since they came to the UK, if its now less than Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia, doesn’t disprove what I’m saying.

            Instead you want me to believe that Pakistan is really ‘rightious’, and is treating Azad Kashmir wonderfully, and ignore the huge body of knowledge that speaks of the Mirpur community’s huge remittences to Mirpur IN THE ABSENCE OF GOVERNMENT SPENDING. You rather have us blame our own people from Poonch and Muzaffarabad, because they’re the bad guys, and not the elite sitting in Islamabad that is also ripping off the rest of Pakistan, killing the Baloch, maltreating the poor, disappearing bloggers exposing the army and corruption etc etc.

            Oh and we also need to blame the Azad Kashmir government instead despite the fact that we all know ‘Azad’ Kashmir is not free and is controlled by the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs with a tiny budget much less than the remittences ‘A’JK gets from its Diaspora abroad.

            But lest I forget, Pakistan isn’t allowed any mega projects because apparently according to our straight talking Jat brother here, it still built all the roads, hospitals, schools, bridges etc. And it’s the AJK government that’s stopping Pakistan building an airport in Mirpur because they can’t lead? Interesting proposition.
            :(((((((((((((((((((((((((((( hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

            Perhaps ‘A’JK can’t lead because they are being led by Pakistan!

            And I have yet to see all these great roads and schools and hospitals. I’ve been there so many times, where exactly are these great roads and schools?

            Whether it hurts your sensibilities, I’m afraid Azad Kashmir is not ‘Azad’. We all know this to be the case, here and over there, and everywhere else not subject to Pakistan state-enforced propaganda.

            Only recently I was laughing with some friends about our country’s independent ‘status’ with its own flag, constitution, anthem and government; they thought they were “Pakistanis”?!? “Oh wait, we’re not actually Pakistanis!?” I showed them the love from our fraternal Pakistanis, I don’t think they wanted to share any more of this love.

            But its not the British Pakistanis that are the problem, its the Azad Kashmiris from Poonch and Muzaffarabad who really hate us!

            Our “free” government doesn’t get royalties from the Mangla Dam, whilst online Pakistani haters want to tell us that “inbred” Mirpuris don’t know anything about cricket because its such a sophisticated sport that only posh Pakistanis know how to play this colonial sport!!!!

            And you think this hatred is not connected?

            This hatred has always been there, they used to insult our parents and grandparents, and now they are insulting us. if you care for us Mirpuris perhaps you can speak to your fellow Pakistanis and tell them, not to insult us anymore because clearly you have those Pakistani links.
            Azad Kashmir is not part of Pakistan, so we should think about our own future.

            Of course you disagree as a proud Pakistani, flag waving patriot. It’s all India’s fault that Pakistanis cuss Mirpuris in the UK and that Azad Kashmir is so ‘impoverished’ of Pakistan government investment.

            Doesn’t mean you have Azad Kashmir’s interests in mind???

  5. Punjab is an easy target, the artifical border divide, us and them coupled with the mental attitude of victimhood because my chacha had to pay a bribe at Isb airport, BTW he was carrying custom payable goods gives rise to those who wish to make divisions.
    Anyways whats ironic is Kotli lot dislike Mirpuris and Rawalkotis detest. 😯

    • How can the kotli lot hate mirpuris when kotli is in Mirpur ? Kotli is part of Mirpur Division. It’s like saying brummies hate the people of West Midlands. Also I know people from kotli very well because I’m from Kotli and we describe ourselves as Mirpuris so what are you talking about?

    • Taj I agree with you except that Kotli people are rarely anti mirpur as Kotli was a part of Mirpur district and is still a part of Mirpur division. The poonch people are anti mirpur though.

      • In the same vein as the previous comment, how are Poonch people anti-Mirpur? Have you been to Poonch? They are the same people as those in Mirpur Division, literally the same people. They have the same problems as those in Muzaffarabad and Mirpur. All of AJK is treated differently to Pakistan. This is not the fault of ordinary Pakistanis who are in the same predicament as everyone else. It is absolutely the fault of the governments of Pakistan and their puppets in AJK. So what do you expect the AJK people to do? Sit back and let their region be exploited endlessly by the elites of Pakistan? I think it’s time you started criticising the government of Pakistan and not the various communities of AJK.

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