“al-Bretannia” – my country!

There comes a point in any 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 supposed misdemeanours of my ‘amorphous community’. It’s funny how entire ethnic minority communities are routinely blamed for the actions of individuals or groups. And so like most ‘British-Paharis’, yes that’s how we self-affirm in the UK, I didn’t set out to buy a book on ‘British-Pakistanis’ or ‘Muslims’ to discover, accidentally, 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 s*** that goes on in the British-Pakistani community?” The resounding, thumping, unequivocal answer is predictable “…the MirpOOOris of course!”

I guess I’ve had enough.

But just so you know, we don’t call ourselves “the Mirpuris”. When our forebears came to the UK, they were more than happy to tick the Pakistani box for their ‘ethnic origins’. When probed a little further by fellow Pakistanis, they would say that they came from “Kashmir” on account of coming from a territory that was part of the old Jammu & Kashmir Princely State whose full name was often shortened to “Kashmir”. This convention predated them by decades. The term “Kashmir” became territorial shorthand for an entire State comprised of diverse peoples and cultures. This continues to be the norm today.

It was British-Pakistanis that started the trend of calling us ‘the Mirpuris’. ‘Mirpur’ was the name of a District in the erstwhile Kashmir State, 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’, and who actually understand the nature of ‘power-dynamics’ in a wider community, which in our case means 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 than not, the anecdotal impressions turn out to be false. Laypersons for their part are just amenable to these facts, 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 putting into print 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 really irritates me 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 are being portrayed. BME ‘mainstreams’ everywhere have their fringe communities. And, as it so happens, if the mainstream is placed under scrutiny, its members feel under siege, and some of them quickly apportion blame to the other members in their group. This is a bit like kicking the can down the street.

Just look beyond any number of popular tropes.

Look to the power-dynamics behind the tropes.

Here’s an example for you. When “Eastern Europeans” are scapegoated as the less-amenable “EU” immigrants in the UK given their propensity to do “work” that no one else wants to do, 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. Just as we can’t do without engineers, doctors, lawyers, bankers, we can’t do without plumbers, electricians, builders and a whole host of unskilled workers.

Every society needs cleaners, fruit-pickers, people prepared to work monotonously dull, boring jobs. This is the type of work, upwardly-mobile people shy away from, because it’s low-paid and beneath their dignity, however bloated their egos, however warped their mindsets.

And yet from a power-dynamic perspective, some immigrants are more significant, they have prestige and privilege, others are not so significant because they are less-powerful on account of the ‘status’ they hold. They have less prestige and even lessor privileges. 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’ sterotypically. 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.

If individual members of these communities engage in vile acts, damaging to society, you can bet your last fiver, that there will be no mention of their immigrant backgrounds in any disparaging way. Their status as respectable ‘nationals’ means their actions do not represent the communities they come from.

Their ‘collective’ crimes will be deemed as the failings of individuals.

There’s a wider point here.

The thing about stereotypes is that they are true to some extent; yes, some members of a community give life to the stereotype but it doesn’t follow that everyone in the group should be defined, or even categorised on the basis of the stereotype. That’s what we mean by sterotypes. Some stereotypes are positive, whilst others are negative. But ultimately all stereotypes are false when applied to every member of the group.

Not every British-Jew is rich. Not every British-Indian owns a local grocery shop. Not every Bengali works in a restaurant. Not every British-Pakistani male works as a taxi driver. Not everyone from a council estate is on benefits. Not every British African-Carribean youngster is involved in knife crime, neither are British-Pakistani youth involved in drug dealing. Not every member of the “Roma” community is involved in pick-pocketing. Not every Muslim woman is oppressed. Not everyone in the South of England is rich; not everyone in the North is poor.

And why are the communities defined in this way? Why are some communities presented through positive stereotypes whilst others are presented through negative stereotypes? Why are we ascribing ‘value judgements’ in this way? For one thing, it has absolutely nothing to do with the individual worth of the communities. If you believe this to be the case, you are very naive and don’t understand how power-dynamics work. Communities are usually represented through outsiders. It is not experts who help us form these opinions. It’s usually journalists “reporting” on power-dynamics they don’t understand. They shape our unsuspecting thoughts as many of them turn to the same grapevine we all turn to for our salacious gossip. If some communities have access to power, they will tend to be presented more positively. If they exist on the fringe of society, they will be presented negatively.

Plus, gossip sells papers! There is an audience for gossip. Facts, especially nuanced facts don’t. Facts are boring. Facts require some intellectual investiture. How many of us like to research a topic, on our own initiative, as opposed to reading about some social vice through the behest of the popular media? How many of us can even question what we read?

There is a reason why we are always counselled against thinking of people through stereotypes particularly when we have no exposure to them. If you know people from a certain community, having befriended them, you would be less likely to buy into the idea that they are ‘bad’, ‘evil’ or ‘dangerous’. Why? Because you know them!

And let’s face it, how many people from the mainstream are going to have opportunities to hang out with such people?

Mirpuris, for instance, make up 70/80 percent of the British-Pakistani community, some 1.2 million people according to the 2011 census. In other words, they make up just roughly around 1.5 percent of the wider British population.

So let me ask you two rhetorical questions.

  1. What are the chances of everyone in the mainstream meeting a “Mirpuri” or “MirpOOOri”?

This is how some British-Asians pronounce the word. It was actually a play on pronunciation by some British-Pakistanis trying to insult Mirpuris; Mir-“Poo”-ri. It’s a bit like the word MP, for Mirpuris, as the rejoinder to TP – “typical Paki” used by young Mirpuris, born and raised in the UK slurring their Pakistani-born counterparts including those from Mirpur. A lot of these “TPs” were international students, and they didn’t like how they were being described. The modern street equivalence would be “Freshies”. Today we still hear the term MP thrown around, but how many come across the word TP? The nature of unequal power-dynamics behind the continued use of such words can be seen in how such words are being recycled by unsuspecting people unaware of the British-Pakistani/Mirpuri cleavage.

2. What are the chances of the mainstream reading about Mirpuris through the agency of the journalist-turned-detective ready to spill the beans on this particular community, now deemed an expert by virtue of authorship?

Yup, there’s a reason why both negative and positive stereotypes can be dangerous.

The fact that a populist like Nigel Farage from UKIP can weigh in on any number of stereotypical observations, married to an EU ‘national’ 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”. Unsuspecting people, predisposed to his way of thinking, would just accept his description.

“It’s not racist to speak about immigration”, they would say. “Besides the country’s full!”

Farage doesn’t seem to be concerned about German or French ‘immigrants’ though when he says the country is full?

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, not us!” 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 this 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 this has become ubiquitous.

Conveniently, people everywhere blame the least powerful members of their society for their own misfortunes. In monocultural 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.

The streets of London were dirty and unclean because of all the vagrants stinking up the place! Yup, this is what they used to say about poor white “layabouts”, ambiguously I add given how ideas of pure white race notions poisoned such attitudes. There weren’t any blacks, or immigrants to blame back then.

So they shipped off these “inconsequential souls” to the new colonies where new ‘mainstreams’ emerged and ‘fringe communities’ arose. We tend to forget that it wasn’t just “blacks” who were maltreated and stigmatised during colonialism, given how “blackness” become inextricably linked with the American-slave trade. There was a whole hierarchy of victims. For a time, even the Irish were considered “black”, a little less worthy than the poor “anglo-saxon” whites who all eventually coalesced with their southern-european “cousins”. Notions of whiteness took some time to catch up with the melting-pot experience for the ambiguous whites vying to get accepted, legally, as white people. Even in America today, certain European backgrounds still seem more prestigious than other European backgrounds.

How come no one talks about this?

How many of us like to re-imagine our humble beginnings as we pick on the ‘newcomers’ unaware of how our own linear forebears were treated historically?

What about our upwardly mobile social climbers who go out of their way to behave like this, to somehow prove something to their new peers?

They do this even as their anxieties define their aspirations, more so than the identities they want to assume.

Times change, new identities are constructed. The ‘bad guys’ are no more. A ‘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 dropped, changed or misappropriated as individuals consciously move away from their older memories of where they actually come from in the hope of coalescing with the ‘established’ nobility.

Decades later, as new families emerge, the descendants of James the cobbler are positively denied this history, as they think they are the children of 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 asserts itself, we start to ask new questions, and the paradigms shift.

In Britain, and in the New World, our poor, destitute, unwanted ‘whites’, there was even a pejorative term for them, ‘white trash’, were a constant irritant for the Eugenicists of their time. The “progressive” “Eugenicists” happened to come from the intellectuals of their age. Adventitiously, the white race triumphed as landless labourers moved from the estates of their Lords, from the rural countryside and into the emerging towns and cities, gradually evolving into the ‘working class’ we take for granted. They were now gainfully employed thanks to the industrial revolution and the progressive march of imperialism, and the forced transfer of wealth from many parts of the world, not barring humans.

Serfdom was over though, thank god!

But, all good things must come to an end. Everything good and edible, seems to have a shelf life. And so in the absence of alternatives, the blame game begins in earnest. Economies contract, and the left behind want simple answers to their ‘new’ but ‘old’ 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, as people quickly rush to judgement about the British-Pakistani culture that in recent years has produced Britain’s “Pakistani grooming gangs”- a constructed idea if you understand that individuals don’t deliberately sit around conspiring the creation of ‘organised gangs’ with the intention of trafficking children into prostitution rings.

The emergence of such crime is a lot more adventitious than that.

But, people are now asking, “why are so many Pakistanis involved in this nasty crime?”

And the answer comes directly from the mouths of our fellow British-Pakistanis as they attempt to redeem their own ‘reputation’ courtesy of their friends from the mainstream press/media.

“Don’t call them Pakistanis!”

“They are Kashmiris from Azad Kashmir, and not the Panjab Province of Pakistan”

“Well, actually they are “MirpOOOris”.

“Real Pakistanis don’t commit these crimes. We’re too ‘middle class’ to commit these vices. Don’t you know we live in the South of England? Mirpuris live in the North beyond the wall! These crimes reflect the Mirpuri mentality.”

And then some smart Alec retorts,

“But, why is there so much honour-crime against women 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… “…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 self-affirming twaddle! 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 in the British-Pakistan press – 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, perhaps like ‘attitudes’ and ‘values’?”

But, of course, none of these vile acts reflect the character of Pakistani society. The overwhelming majority of Pakistanis, like people everywhere, are just ordinary people, trying to get by, living their inoffensive lives as best they can. They are polite and courteous; if you happened to be dying of thirst and starvation, they would happily feed you with whatever little they have.

This is the real Pakistan. The Pakistan of the ordinary person, even if this person has a couple of rupees in his pocket, and is never celebrated.

Is this not the norm for most human societies whatever a particular society’s social problems, fault lines, wealth or ‘status’?

And so when you hear another self-affirming British-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 1 percent of the Pakistani population.

Technically, they don’t even feature in Pakistani government statistics because the area of ‘Azad’ Jammu & Kashmir is treated differently. It is considered a separate territory on account of its unresolved status due to the Kashmir Conflict. 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-conscious, ‘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. And so these interactions between various Pakistani groupings is much more than just the recycling of negative stereotypes courtesy of a journalist who wrote a book.

For ordinary Muslims, the practise of cousin-marriage 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 the agency of journalists, mindful of the power dynamics I described above, that the Mirpuris are somehow responsible for all the vices in the British-Pakistani community, and recessive diseases, highlights a solidifying cleavage between British-Pakistanis and their Mirpuri peers from ‘Azad’ Jammu & Kashmir.

And this is exactly what you get when you read books like “al-Bretannia, my country” by James Fergusson. He sets out to present Muslims in a better light. He wants to give Muslims a voice, so that his “white” readers appreciate how diverse the British-Muslim community is. Because British-Muslims have a large contingency of British-Pakistanis, he naturally devotes a lot of pages to their experiences.

And so what of the ensuing narrative as far as “my” community is concerned?

It is the recitation of British-Pakistani anecdotes and ‘trope-telling’ about “Mirpuris” through the confirmation-bias of British-Pakistanis. Fergusson is simply out of his depth as he happily buys into the tropes, speaking of ‘racial differences’ between Pakistanis that are all but imaginary. At one point, he quotes a British-Pakistani comedian from posh “Harborne”, a middle-class area – (note the anxieties) after describing her appearance in terms that implied in his own mind that she was unlike the common Pakistanis he had encountered in say, “Bradford” or “Birmingham”. How he came to this conclusion, I leave to his conscience.

But the words of the comedian, if indeed she said them, are quite insightful of individuals who know nothing of the actual Pakistan they want to redeem by disconnecting Mirpuris from the country’s actual social fabric. He quotes a particularly disparaging line from her, “I know Pakistanis who think of Mirpuris as self-ghettoizing cousin-shagging Neanderthals”. These are words that could get her killed in Lahore and Rawalpindi, the places from where her parents come from. 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.

Pakistan is not Britain. British-Pakistanis, however they want to imagine their new ‘status’, are not part of a Pakistani liberal aristocracy. Their parents came to this country as immigrants because they were poor, from humble backgrounds, and more than likely the product of cousin-marriages.

And so it’s kind of ironic of some cocky people who try to put down others less-threatening to them as a means of proving how “integrated” they are. I doubt our comedian is 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 Islamabad 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 with some insights on Pakistan.

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 to my community. 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 unproven. Some of these writers are ignorant of the anecdotal nature of the claims being made, putting into print ‘disinformation’ and contributing to a narrative that is ‘dangerous’. 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 have their own 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 the Pakistan State and its peoples, than what Pakistan and Pakistanis have 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 now 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 into ‘A’JK 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. It’s that simple.

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 British-Pakistanis 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, a 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 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 (many of whom have worked hard to earn it – to be fair to them), 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. Journalists in Pakistan constantly whip this dead horse. They tell us that the “elite” do not 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!

Pakistan’s modern “cities”, tiny but fabulously rich ‘gated’ areas surrounded by sprawling shanty towns 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!

This is the Pakistan of the ordinary Pakistani and not the Pakistan of our deluded social climbers here in the West.

But, 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 what 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. They’re a diverse bunch of people with all sorts of divergent attitudes and beliefs. 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, state-enforced propaganda and ideology; the army is in the business of writing Pakistan’s history, 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’ paragons, 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, that ‘enormously powerful’ and equally impoverished country that needs billions of dollars of American aid to fight the Taliban. Oh, lest I forget, there’s others who speak disparagingly of Malala Yusuf, that 12 year old girl shot in the head by the Taliban for daring to advocate for female education. Yup, to many British-Pakistanis it’s just one big conspiracy. Just read some of the tweets about her dress, from fellow Pakistanis outraged by her immodesty.

And all these guys are from the “cities”!

And we’re being told the real villains of the British-Pakistani community are from Mirpur because “that lot comes from villages” and there is some sociological determiner to their backward ways in the UK?

Give me a break, please!

It’s now time for members of my own community to speak up. No amount of waiting around for well-wishers to help us out is going to stop the vilification of our community. That’s not how power-dynamics work. Vilification always precedes discrimination, sometimes decades in the making, and it is a waiting game until we see the shoots of this enterprise as the far-right are on the march all across Europe. Our community is dispossessed and disenfranchised. If you think our community is aloof from social prejudice that has impacted numerous communities across the world, then just hope your children don’t fall foul of your optimism. If, on the other hand, you think you’re not a Mirpuri, because you no longer associate with the humble beginnings of your forebears, perhaps you will find contentment in your new identity. And I really hope you the best, genuinely; all group identities are illusory and fluid, we morph into new identities all the time.

For the rest of us, no amount of social climbing, or self-hatred, is going to make the negative portrayal of our community disappear on account of denying our heritage and the enormous dispossession our forebears experienced as they left their homeland for greener pastures. We have academics in our midst, politicians, professionals, business people, individuals with a lot of talent, but sadly they are as disconnected from the community as many others are, in some bizarre twist of irony of thinking they are somehow aloof from the common folk of Mirpuris.

All of this contributes to our ongoing vilification.

In 2005, when three of the four 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 c*** 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 to Mirpur; it’s just assumed on the basis of anecdotes and ‘numbers’ – i.e., impressions. Because Mirpuris are the majority British-Pakistani community, it must follow that they commit all the crimes in the UK not least because of the negative stereotypes being recycled by fellow British-Pakistanis.

Sometimes, this type of statistical determinism can be proven wrong.

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 and not Mirpur. Some days later, a journalist decided to write a piece on the culture that produced the mindset of such terrorists. Clearly she wasn’t an expert on Radical Islam to know that Islamism, or political Islam, the mindset that produces radicals in the West, is a product of the Muslim city, and not the rural areas from which the majority of Muslims hail. It is absolutely the case, that the majority of Muslims who come from rural areas subscribe to apolitical Sufi interpretations of Islam. It is the children and grandchildren of these people, ironically in western cities, who are becoming fodder for the extremists, as journalists condemn the ‘conservative Islam’ of their elders. And yet Madeline Bunting decided to write an article 9 days after the attack entitled Orphans of Islam; the history of Britain’s Mirpur population may help to explain why some became suicide bombers. 

Aside from the need to get the ‘story out’ ASAP, it’s pretty clear to me, from which group, “gate-keepers”, she took her insights. Other writers recycled her mistaken claim that the suicide bombers were from Mirpur; one Samira Shackle visited Bradford, even describing the attire of the ‘Mirpuris’ she interviewed to give some credence to the negative stereotypes about the community. She unwittingly shared her own prejudices about Mirpuris, coming from the respectable sorts of Pakistanis no doubt, who would refuse to marry Mirpuris because of their backward culture!

Other writers discovered the error of Bunting’s ‘impressions’ even as they endorsed the ensuing narratives. Imagine – an entire indictment of a community based on the mistaken identity of its members. To date, there has been no apology to the Mirpuri community, and we don’t need to exercise our minds to understand the reasons.

Mirpuris are not important or significant enough to warrant an apology. However, this makes British-Mirpuris feel, to use an ethnic label that isn’t even of our choosing, it is the sad reality of negative stereotypes and narratives pushed by our fellow British-Pakistanis.

I guess respectable journalists, or members of production companies and those fronting such programmes, who claim to care about reporting the facts, and not merely recycling popular anecdotes should take heed when they want to write about any dispossessed community. You know you can’t slander powerful communities, because you are aware of the repercussions (yup, you’ll lose your jobs and be publicly shamed), and not just because your moral compass still works.

But here’s the thing brothers and sisters.

You don’t have to be a journalist, or documentary maker, to endorse prejudice. We all do this in our ‘common sense’, and unreflective ways, and I don’t see this stopping any time soon. Humans have been gossiping about one another, ‘groups’ and ‘peoples’ for centuries. It’s easy to malign an entire people because of the actions of individual members. It’s become an intellectual reflex for a lot of people. But, if you claim to care about the people you report on, assuming for yourself some responsibility, and you’re proud to be a journalist, a truly honourable profession, than you can’t take your facts from the grapevine.

This lazy sort of journalism will be the death of journalism, because ultimately no one will trust what they read in print anymore or watch on their TVs via “the mainstream media”. You have to critique what you’re being told before you share such ideas with much larger audiences.

“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, even racialising the differences between ordinary Pakistanis.

I’m from Birmingham. Trust me, when I tell you this, ‘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 3 million or so Muslims. It takes an even rarer genius to think he’s actually made us all more the wiser as the accolades come tumbling in from well-wishers.

SHARE
Previous articleFleeing poverty and becoming even poorer; the truth of dispossession
Next articleThe Muslim-Ummah Syndrome & Modern Myths

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.

232 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.

      • Really, type Mirpuriya, Mirpuriye, or Mirpuryes into twitter and see the love from Pakistanis in Pakistan. Mirpuris don’t live all throughout Punjab and they clearly can’t be scapegoated for the problems which Pakistanis have caused themselves, but it seems wherever Mirpuris are present like in places in Northern Punjab and Islamabad, they seem to be hated. Certainly not to the extent of the hating and scapegoating in the UK, but it still exists. Everything said about Mirpuris can indeed be said about other communities, so why does it only seem to be directed against Mirpuris?

  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.

      • Thanks for your response.

        Internalising the hatred of others, as a community, is not proof that there is something inherently wrong with your community. The Mirpuri community is being scapegoated, and there is a huge body of knowledge that shows how this happens. Our community is not unique, this has happened to lots of communities around the world.

        If you read Fergusson’s book though, carefully I add, to get some sense of underlying misconceptions, he is parroting bigoted views, perhaps unconsciously, when he seeks to describe Mirpuris – he’s not merely presenting our “community” as a neutral outsider, but he is describing our community through his own social class prejudices, reinforced by the prejudices of others, or vice versa. Everything he says about Mirpuris, is more or less negative – he has nothing good to say about our community, and I’m mindful of the Index and the entries under “Mirpuris”, page 380.

        Isn’t that odd? A little strange? Perhaps, a tad unbalanced? Go to the Index, and then read the related paragraphs to understand why I am saying what I am saying.

        At page 198, when describing a Pakistani comedian, Shazia Mirza, from which he allegedly quoted verbatim a particularly provocative statement – “I know Pakistanis who think of Mirpuris as self-ghettoising, cousin shagging Neanderthals”, (I’ve spoken to a guy who personally knows Shazia and he’s adamant she would never use this disgusting language; apparently he came to Shazia with a rehearsed script), look how he describes her physical appearance contrasting her to the rest of the Mirpuris of the North, “…with her ‘long, languorous face and heavily lidded eyes’, she seemed a ‘sophisticated’ ‘citified’ kind of Pakistani, quite different to the ‘working-class’ ‘Asians’ I had been spending time with in the ‘ex-mill towns’ of the ‘north’. She had been brought up in the “very white” Birmingham ‘suburb’ of ‘Harborne’ (I don’t think he’s ever been to Harborne), by parents who were very definitely “not rural Mirpuris” but from ‘Lahore’ or ‘Rawalpindi’.” Page 199. (I don’t think he’s been to Rawalpindi or Lahore either, he knows nothing about how Rawalpindi folk are disparaged by the citified folk of Islamabad – the term “Pindu” (simpleton villager) usually comes up in their own prejudicial descriptions).

        Clearly he doesn’t know what he is talking about. His ignorance of these internal rivalries is breathtaking. But, yet he wants to share biased anecdotes as facts because his hung out with likeminded people telling him what he wants to hear. This sort of lazy journalism looks for confirmation bias, the narrators don’t want to burst bubbles but reinforce the tired stereotypes that lazy people can relate to, so they don’t have to think outside their own bubbles. His book is an attempt to show that Muslims are diverse, so, he wants to tell his readers, “hey readers don’t hate on the respectable Muslims, good folk, just like you and me, hate on the “uneducated” “working-class” Muslims, from ex-mill towns, in the north who come from villages in Pakistan – they’re difficult to integrate, no different to the white chavs living in council estates, who all look and behave a certain way; there’s a whole history behind their dysfunctionality”! Even as he feeds into negative and grotesque stereotypes to make his argument stick.

        How he physically describes Shazia and her background, contrasting her to the “working-class” “Asians” he met in the “old ex-mill towns” of the “north”, is therefore very revealing of this bias. Which fair-minded person would ever describe the physical appearance of a person as some proof of an illusory social status distinctive of a larger group, if that person wasn’t actively peddling stereotypes?

        The fact he can even utter such a false contrast tells us a lot about how he categorises, and perceives people in his own mind. These writers are a major problem as they package prejudice as insights, to an unsuspecting audience as they claim to be neutral observers with benign intentions.

        But there’s an irony here.

        When describing the so-called “sophisticated” “citified Pakistanis” “from Lahore and Rawalpindi”, the complete opposite of the “rural Mirpuris” (and by that I mean all British-Pakistanis from rural places), he doesn’t seem to understand his own inconsistencies as he parrots a false dichotomy between ordinary British-Pakistanis.

        Following on from the same paragraph I just quoted, he says “Her father used to drive her to school every day, taking her right to the school gates to avoid any possibility of socialising beyond them”. Of Shazia’s mother, he had this to say, “She used to enjoy swimming but her mother stopped her when she was 13 because the costumes were unseemly”. And let’s not forget a running theme for a lot of these commentators on Islam, the sexual repression of Muslim women, he had this to say, “she hung posters of Tom Selleck and Don Johnson on her bedroom wall but there was no chance of even talking to a real boy, let alone kissing one.” He then quotes her, if he didn’t put these words in her mouth, “the Muslim girls she taught, she recalled “never talked about Islam or foreign policy or anything. All they ever talked about was boys”.

        I thought Shazia was brought up in a “very white” “middle-class” “suburb” of Birmingham by “citified Pakistanis” who were “definitely not rural Mirpuris” but “from Lahore or Rawalpindi”, so how are they different from the ‘working-class’ ‘Mirpuris’ bought up in ‘non-white areas’ who deny their daughters freedoms and everything else taken for granted by our “enlightened middle class whites” whose culture predisposes people to a benign form of ‘liberalism’ that guarantees gender equality and personal autonomy?

        And so, his book tells us nothing about the actual realities of our communities, and the struggles of ordinary Muslims, he merely speaks to one coterie of Muslims, and relies on their agency to describe all the others, even as he claims to be a neutral bystander, which he clearly isn’t.

        For Mirpuris trying to understand our own heritage and social issues, you’ve been warned, be careful when production companies turn up on your doorsteps wanting to do documentaries on your communities, or writers, humbly requesting your hospitality so they can write their books and slur your communities. They have preconceived ideas about your social worth, and they are looking for confirmation bias. If you don’t fit their stereotypes, they won’t be interested in what you have to say. This is how they sell their “products” to their audiences. None of these actors have the intellectual investiture of academics, and this can be seen in the ridiculous insights they give. All they do is reinforce the old stereotypes and caricatures, looking for the old villains, describing them through the old sterotypes, as they imagine the good guys to be just like them. And it’s these sorts of “insiders” to our communities that give them a pat on the back, because they feel their reputation has been redeemed as they claim, insincerely, to have belonged to a shared British-Pakistani fraternity.

  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.

        • Yes I have been to Poonch. Also I am well aware that Poonch people are very anti Mirpuri and I have yet to meet one who is not. My personal problem is not with the Pakistan Government, that is yours. My problem is with those who hate me and my people and denigrate my ancestors and that is what affects me and what I will never accept it.

    • According to the author Shams Rehman who is very familiar with the AJK community in the UK, 99% of all people from AJK in the UK are from Mirpur division. Whilst it’s possible to be racist and bigoted against your own people, the idea that a few hundred Poonchis and Muzzafarabadis in the UK, spread over thousands of square miles in a country of 60 million, are responsible in any significant way for Mirpuri vilification in the UK or online is so ludicrous a proposition, that it’s really not worth responding to except to point out that we have to beware of propagandists and people willing to spread disinformation to divide people based on deceit with no arguments to back themselves.

    • Great post. Very insightful. My mother is from Lahore and my grandfather was originally from Mirpur which is in Azad Kashmir. I’m simply British. There’s no conflict between being Pakistani, Mirpuri or British. My mother speaks Urdu and she can speak Mirpuri, I wish I had learnt Panjabi when I was younger, and it is true we do put Urdu on a pedastal. I can’t recall my mum’s family ever speaking bad about Mirpuris. She’s never looked down on other Pakistanis. It does happen in the Panjabi community but I’ve heard negative comments from Mirpuris about Lahoris, although not on the same scale. We should not hate an entire country because of the actions of a few individuals who I’m sure would feel embarrassed once educated. We should be moral people. I would like to add, most Pakistanis would agree that slurs against Mirpuris are unfair, and I would like to think these people are a small minority.

      • There absolute is a conflict between being Pakistani and Mirpuri. Mirpuris are not seen as real Pakistanis by the Mirpuri haters. If Brit-Pakistanis want Mirpuris back on their side, they shouldn’t be dictating how Mirpuris react to vilification against them, they should be going online and fighting the racism within their own community WHICH IS RAMPANT….Until Mirpuris don’t see Pakistanis fighting against racism within their own community, which they all know exists, why on earth should Mirpuris think there is any fraternity between them?

  6. Pakistan is a country with a lot of problems. I have my roots in Lahore, and Karachi respectively as well as links to Islamabad. My grandparents didn’t come to the UK as poor immigrants, assumed by the author. That is not the story of every Pakistani in the UK, and it annoys me when certain Pakistanis assume the majority experience applies to everybody. I know Azad Kashmiris who’s grandparents also came here reasonably well off. Obviously the majority came poor, and uneducated which explains ghettoisation, and criminality. It is not an experience limited to Azad Kashmiris, it has been the experience of a lot of immigrant communities in western countries. This raises the question as to whether these countries are really as inclusive, and equal as they claim to be.

    Drug dealing is a youth culture adopted from American ‘gangsta rap’ culture, and is not limited to any particular community. All ethnicities are equally involved in this, and drugs is a problem affecting our youth, the world over. Rape is also a problem the world over, and manifests in many different forms.

    So why is it then that the Mirpuris get stereotyped in this way. The author seems to lack some knowledge about Pakistans biggest cities. Karachi has the highest crime rate in Pakistan. Certain communities in Karachi are stereotyped for crime these include Sraiki immigrants from the Panjab province. Pathaan, and Afghan immigrants, Urdu speakers with links to MQM, and last but not least Balochis. So this shifting of blame or kicking the can down the road is going on well before one ventures out of Pakistan, and in the heart of Pakistans financial capital. I would like the author to question why Azad Kashmiris are not being stereotyped in Karachi. The simple fact is you can only stereotype a community once it has grown to an extent that such opinions can be formed.

    The Azad Kashmiri community from the villages in Mirpur and neighbouring districts have grown to an extent in the UK, that opinions can be formed. People will point to the many Pakistani areas within the UK as evidence, Bradford, and Birmingham being two of many. However, what they fail to realise is it’s the culture of these cities which produce gangs not a rural village in a remote part of Pakistan. The same way the culture of Karachi produces gangs in that city, not ethnic background. The fact remains though that those in the majority will commit most of the crime. For example one couldn’t argue that people from Jhelum commit most of the crime in Karachi. The numbers are simply not there to make such a claim. In the same way nobody could argue that Karachi people commit most of the crime within the UKs Pakistani community. The reason people argue this about Pahari people is because they are the majority. If Pahari people were in the minority in the UK it would be unfair to apportion blame to that community. However, given the shear number it’s not surprising minority Pakistanis in the UK are quick to attribute blame to the Pahari community.

    The UK is the opposite of Pakistan where in most areas especially outside Greater London, Azad Kashmiris are in the majority. This is in complete contrast to Pakistan where Azad Kashmiris are a tiny minority. Therefore now that Panjabis Pathaans and Urdu speakers are a minority it’s not hard to see why they blame the majority for the ills of the community. I agree that mainland Pakistani’s do have more power in the UK. Those of Pakistani origin in the most powerful positions in the UK are mainlanders. However, if anything this shows a failing in the Pahari Pakistani community. Why is it that even after being a majority they are not the ones holding the highest positions within the UK Pakistani community. After all, this isn’t Pakistan where some Pakistani’s get into powerful positions within politics, and the media through safarish. The Pakistani minority in the UK have worked hard to enter into politics, and the media. Sadiq Khan, and Sajid Javid were the sons of bus drivers.

    The problems I’ve found in the Azad Kashmiri community are not really related to crime. Crime is a problem the world over as mentioned above. However the elders in the Azad Kashmiri community, and those who have arrived recently from Pakistan tend to be averse to outsiders including those from other parts of Pakistan. This is not true of everyone but it’s something I’ve experienced first hand. They seem very insular, and unwilling to become too friendly with outsiders. However, once they get to know you that behaviour tends to disappear. I think the insular views of some Pakistani born people in the UK from Azad Kashmir help to perpetuate a culture of ghettoisation.
    However it’s important to understand where this isolationist thinking comes from. It comes from years of Pakistani rule where the people have been side lined from mainstream Pakistani life unless they choose to leave their area and move to the mainland. Pakistan has failed to integrate Azad Kashmir into Pakistan even on a basic level, building proper transport links, and developing the area. In fact the little development which has taken place in that region has largely been funded by UK nationals with roots in the region. Therefore Pakistan needs to look further at how it integrates its regional areas, and although progress is being made on this front it’s slow.
    Things in Azad Kashmir have improved a lot especially in terms of education, and facilities. The UK born Azad Kashmiri community are becoming increasingly educated as are the youth in Azad Kashmir. I see this whole British Pakistani Mirpuri ghettoisation issue disappearing in as little as 30 years. Similarly I believe the Sylheti Bengali gang culture which emerged in certain parts of the UK is also on its way out within the next 30 years. Going forward there are new challenges in the UK as communities from other parts of the world arrive to make Britain their home. Obviously there will always be youth involved in trouble from every background but at a community ghettoisation level I think we are moving on as Muslim Asian people.

    In conclusion I don’t care about minor difference’s because we all share the same skin colour which is the first thing people notice about us. They don’t think well he must be Mirpuri and he must be Sahiwali, and he must be Faislabadi. In that sense just like black people are black, white people are white, we also share a collective identity as Asians. Most importantly we all share the same religion, and in troubling times like this it’s especially important to support each other rather than attributing blame or throwing around accusations around, and causing divisions. The author makes some valid point but the article as a whole seems to have strayed into an attack on British Pakistani’s of non Potwari/Pahari backgrounds.

    • Many thanks for your response.

      In sharing my views with members of the British-Pakistani community, even as I’m speaking to my own community, I am not trying to create an illusory identity of “us” against “them”. This does not preclude stating the facts for what they are, or airing grievances to people who claim to share a sense of”Pakistani” fraternity with members of my community in the UK, all the while they stand at the front of the queue slurring them, in some weird cathartic desire to redeem the reputation of ordinary British-Pakistanis in the UK, “the genuine Pakistanis Vs the pseudo-Pakistani Mirpuris” aka “Azad Kashmiris” from a fringe and disputed region of Kashmir that’s not “really” part of Pakistan.

      I’ve been almost religious to point out that these individuals are a minority within the British-Pakistani community whose online presence far-exceeds their numbers, even as they voice prejudice that they’ve most likely learnt from their home environments.

      If you are indeed familiar with the AJK community in the UK, ask individual members about how they are portrayed by fellow British-Pakistanis, to appreciate the strength of feelings. By all means disagree with them if that assuages your conscience, or insights, but let us not delude ourselves to the problem at hand.

      Mirpuris are being presented negatively, I argue, unjustly. That is the core argument of my post.

      This is not about ethnic differences, which you’ve rightly acknowledged, but about social class anxieties, even as attempts are made, by some British-Pakistanis, to racialise their observations about the delinquency of my community. So there’s an irony here. How did an entire community of 1 million British-Pakistanis from Mirpur Division in AJK become subjected to vile characterisations, ostensibly racist, prejudicial, bigoted, ahistorical, ethnologically-flawed, sociologically-flawed, and that at the behest of fellow British-Pakistanis re-imagining their own backgrounds/social identities crucially in the UK?

      I’ve been looking at this online material for a number of years now, and I’ve spoken to an array of people from our communities (British-Pakistani), from different social, ethnic and professional backgrounds, including academics, who acknowledge that British-Mirpuris are being slurred, vilified and demonised by members of the wider British-Pakistani community.

      To argue that this is not the case, is to deny sentiments that are being internalised by lots of young professional British-Mirpuris who are now asking their own questions about identity, fraternity, nationality, citizenship, the status of ‘A’JK, the meaning of Pakistan etc. To be dismissive, is to give oxygen to voices who perhaps are not as benign as us, and who would want to create real divisions between British-Pakistanis who are more or less reconciled with the idea of Pakistan, even as others are unhappy with the direction of travel in Pakistan.

      How we interpret these facts, or social realities, or try to understand the ensuing cleavages, is an altogether different matter though. And so, I welcome your comments as I would any comments from members of our wider British-Pakistani community even as I’m keen to point out that AJK is being exploited by Pakistan Officialdom.

      We can disagree, present different arguments, but we shouldn’t make slight of what’s happening, or name-call and say, you have strayed in attacking British-Pakistanis of particular backgrounds. I can assure you that’s not the intent behind the post.

      You’ve rightly pointed out, Pakistan has lots of problems and AJK is not unique; political and economic inequalities exist all over Pakistan. But this does not mean that we are imagining the grievances in the UK in terms of how a particular community is being identified within the context of trying to resolve such problems between brothers and sisters, outside “us and them” type narratives.

      I am a little surprised at the idea that my post has strayed into an “attack”, not least because not one sub-Pakistani identity is self-sustaining including the Pahari or Mirpuri one. It is not Mirpuris who are calling themselves “Mirpuris”, it is British-Pakistanis who started the practise of calling us Mirpuris negatively I add, inadvertently creating a cleavage that seems to have created, decades later, a much welcomed awakening in the very people denigrated in this way.

      Just google the term “Mirpuris” to understand what I’m saying, to appreciate the direction of travel of such slanderous characterisations. If you can show me Mirpuris, slandering British-Pakistanis particularly those from the cities – again an illusory identity borne of social class anxieties in the UK – I will be grateful. Personally, our searches haven’t returned anything of substance, and we’ve been looking at this material for years.

      To deal with the specifics of your observations, and the questions you’ve posed, I would say that there are a number of underlying assumptions that call into question your conclusions.

      1. Being poor and uneducated does not automatically lead to ghettoisation and criminality. This is a dangerous slur; as is the related idea that impoverished cities predispose immigrant communities to criminality.
      2. Drug dealing is not youth culture adopted from American gangster culture; aside from where cocaine and heroin are harvested for onward exportation to the West, and the social problems drugs have posed for such societies and law-enforcement, I can assure you that the heroin addicts in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran etc., are not listening to rap music. The drugs epidemic in America includes suburban housewives from “Middle Class” households, addicted to crystal meth, similarly, they are not consumers of rap music. These are dangerous slurs against a particular genre of music, HipHop, which does have a problem with how it promotes “hyper-masculinity” which inadvertently glorifies certain form of criminality as proof of some “bad boy image”. None of this predisposes people to selling drugs; drug dealing predates rap music by decades, if not centuries. India’s Mughal rulers were keen opium smokers, many of whom became addicts as they listened to Persian poetry accompanied by dancing girls and classical Indian music – this is akin to the high brow culture many people in the West celebrate as they see themselves aloof from the dregs of society.
      3. I’m not speaking about Karachi; Mirpuris do not fare in the popular imagination of “Karachites”; To reiterate, I think you’ve missed the core argument of my post as I pointed out Pakistan is no heaven, including the cities, as a separate space to the fringe region of AJK. You have reinforced my point nonetheless; dispossessed communities can be slurred without repercussions, this isn’t based on some miraculous statistical determinism that the “majority” commit the “majority” of crimes thereby validating the ensuing prejudicial stereotypes; working class people commit crimes, middle class communities don’t – middle class areas are more safer, less crime ridden than working class areas; rich people are cultured; poor people aren’t – look to whose producing culture in a society; educated people are more moral; uneducated people are less moral – look to the educational attainment levels of criminals; you may not have explicitly said this, but this is what I’m arguing against in my post. When these ideas are connected to illusory identities, they are little more than self-affirming slurs, not based on datasets or empirical studies; the ideas are dangerous for a reason, they lead to stigmatisation, discrimination and persecution of ordinary people and not simply the perpetrators of the crimes, history is replete with such examples. The fact that the far-right is now recycling anti-Mirpuri slurs on social media as proof of the bad immigrants vs good immigrants narrative courtesy of the one-sided rivalries between British-Pakistanis is a point in question.
      4. Middle class anxieties have seriously warped the sensibilities of certain British-Pakistanis who buy into confirmation bias that educated Pakistanis come from certain “non-humble”, “non-rural” backgrounds and end up in affluent parts of Britain. The majority British-Pakistani community that happens to live in the South, as opposed to the North, particularly the Greater London area, live in areas that are “deprived” according to government poverty ranking indices. However we understand the affluence of the South against the North, or the higher educational attainment levels of communities in the South against the North in general terms, this is not proof of any social class distinction between British-Pakistanis living in the South and the North. The idea that only a tiny minority of Mirpuris live in the Greater London area, or the South, is similarly a myth, and is not borne out by the data – the idea is borne of British-Pakistani anxieties and insecurities that presents citified Pakistanis as living in the South and villager-type Pakistanis living in the North. The demography of British Pakistani groupings in the UK is being conflated with such social class anxieties. These are inconvenient facts for people who buy into the south-north divide, a false social dichotomy on the basis of an illusory identity, thinking that all “Londoners” or “Southerners” are somehow more culturally suave, more socially sophisticated than the “common folk” living in Birmingham or Bradford.
      5. Existing power-dynamics within the British-Pakistani community are disadvantageous to the AJK community in the UK not least because British Pakistanis from mainland Pakistan have become gate-keepers to our community, and it seems their negative portrayals of our community are solidifying the ensuing cleavage between the AJK community and the mainland Pakistani community. British-Mirpuris have nothing to gain from this status quo, not least because they are the majority Pakistani grouping in the UK and yet they are saddled with the priorities and self-image of a tiny minority of insecure Pakistanis unreflective of a larger minority that may come from Pakistan’s urban areas that also lives in the South but they’ve never once seen themselves as being separate from other British-Mirpuris because of some warped illusory divide between citified or rural Pakistanis. This is a perverse way of thinking not least because the overwhelming majority of British-Mirpuris are born in cities in the UK making the village-city dialectic defunct and nonsensical. Pakistan’s cities do not automatically predispose people to assuming a middle class status in the UK. To think otherwise is to posture through an illusory identity. No one can argue that the cities of Britain are less sophisticated than the less-affluent cities of Pakistan – the fact that people do argue this point proves my point about social anxieties around middle class sensibilities.
      6. The British-Mirpuri community is incredibly diverse, this reality is lost on people who have no serious exposure to the community; the amount of inter-racial marriages within this community debunks ideas that British-Mirpuris are isolationist. People who think like this are looking for stereotypes that confirm their own confirmation bias. Most Mirpuris don’t self affirm as Mirpuris, so how would anyone know that they are dealing with Mirpuris except by way of popular stereotypes? We are being presented as isolationist by British-Pakistanis, who also fail to understand that British-Mirpuris are married to non-Mirpuri Pakistanis from diverse ethnic backgrounds. As British-Mirpuris have nothing to prove about how “integrated” they are, they don’t posture through such “illusory qualities” as proof of their “integration” and their “social status”. These are the anxieties and insecurities of people looking into the community as they seek to separate themselves from their peers, having never once engaged in self-introspection, or challenged their own assumptions, prejudices and bigotry.

      I’m not saying you are doing this or you have ill-intent towards Mirpuris, far from it. I am merely pointing out that a lot of what you said, however reasoned in your own mind, is not borne out by the social reality of my community that has its share of social problems, like any other community. We’re not an exemplary community, far from it. But we’re not the devils of the British-Pakistani community either.

      There comes a point, when you become tired of being presented as the villains of a community, not because of evidence or facts, but because of social anxieties and insecurities on the part of individuals posturing as the “educated”, “middle class”, “citified Pakistanis”, who never once believed in a shared sense of fraternity with the overwhelming majority of British-Pakistanis as they argue that British Mirpuris are somehow giving Pakistanis a bad name.

      It was this particular point that I was arguing in my post. In fact, a Pakistan-based newspaper with a UK readership wrote an article entitled “Don’t call them Pakistanis”, but rather call them “Mirpuris”!

      And we want to talk about divisions?

      It may be lost on some British-Pakistanis, but I can assure you, members of my community acutely relate to what I am saying and these are the conversations we are now having, as others question the things we take for granted. As for belonging to the same community, if we belonged to the same community (skin colour, religion, nationality etc), why is there all this talk about how bad Mirpuris are, and how different they are from the other British-Pakistanis?

      Who created the divisions? Who created the slurs and misinformation? What is the identity of the people who are speaking to mainstream writers and journalists, and informing them about the “nefarious” activities of Mirpuris and their exact origin to “villages” in AJK?

      Are you aware of this literature? It’s not elusive and it’s very clear how these writers formed their opinions, not least because they make it a habit of saying, “this is what “Pakistanis” are saying to us about “Mirpuris”!

    • I don’t think stereotypes about Mirpuris is the real problems here. A stereotype implies a common perception of a group which might not be entirely true for all of them. What we’ve witnessed from British-Pakistanis is something quite different. I’ll give you an example:

      “Jews are cheap and have big noses” is a stereotype. “Jews are war loving, power hungry bankers who are the sole cause for all the world problems” is something entirely more sinister, I think you will agree. I will say more than 90% of the rhetoric I have seen from Pakistanis against Mirpuris seems to be in this second category. They not only stereotype us as being backwards, criminals, uneducated but the sole cause of all that is wrong within the British Pakistani community. The moment anything bad is written about the British Pakistani community, it’s entirely the Mirpuris who are giving the rest of the Pakistanis a bad Image. Whenever a British Pakistani does something wrong, he is immediately dismissed as “definitely a Mirpuri” who is nothing like the rest of the Pakistani population without his background ever being checked. It’s this type of scapegoating that we’re sick and tired off, because, as you rightly suggested, most people can’t really tell the difference between a “Mirpuri, Sahiwali, and Faislabadi” in the UK and that gives free reign for the rest of the British Pakistani community to sleep well at night because “it’s not their problem” they tell their white and Indian friends the next day after a Brit-Pakistani does something nefarious, “it’s a backwards community called Mirpuris who are nothing like us normal Pakistanis and we are ashamed off them”…

      I wouldn’t play the demographics game here either. Any bad news regarding Brit-Pakistanis and we’re told Mirpuris are 90% of the the Brit-Pakistani population. Anything positive and we’re suddenly lowered to 55%. The same Wikipedia(where most Brit-Pakistanis seem to love to get all their information from, having never ever lived in these “Mirpuri Ghettos” that they are demographic experts on) also states that People from Pak Punjab make up 500,000 of the Brit-Pakistani’s 1.2 million population. If London only has 200,000 Pakistanis and not all of them are from the mainland(Mirpuris are the majority in Waltham forest and have huge populations in the other London boroughs, I live there so I’m familiar with the makeup), then where do the rest of the 350-400,000 mainland Brit-Pakistanis live.

      Answer: I would suggest they live as Large minorities in the places denigrated as “Mirpuri ghettos” outside of London. I say large minorities meaning they number anything from 20-45% of the people there. Their populations are not so insignificant to the point where one can simply dismiss anything bad that happens there to simply “Mirpuris”.

      So in conclusion, we don’t really have any problems with the stereotypes about us being backwards and uneducated, since we do come from the same village background that most non-Mirpuri Pakistanis in Britain seem to forget they also come from. We do have a problem with being scapegoated as the sole cause of all the ills within the Brit-Pakistani community especially when again and again, when background checks are actually made of Brit-Pakistanis who are involved in crimes we get stereotyped for, they nearly always turn out to be from the mainland.

      • Farooq Ali,

        You said I agree that mainland Pakistani’s do have more power in the UK. Those of Pakistani origin in the most powerful positions in the UK are mainlanders.

        Really, would you like to provide some evidence for that.

        Most of the Pakistanis who are doing well in Politics, law, medicine and business are in fact from Mirpur and not as your trying to say non Mirpuris.

        Also the biggest community in London is from Mirpur, and the vast majority of southern Pakistanis are also from Mirpur. Regarding southern England, Woking, Chesham, High Wycombe, Aylesbury, Perterborough, Slough, Reading, Maidstone, Watford, Luton, Bedford and other areas have large and in many cases overwheliming Mirpuri Majorities.

        I live in London and in fact I was born in London and the biggest segment in every area is from Mirpur. Mirpuirs may not be the majority but they are larger than any other district of Pakistan in all London Boroughs.

        Regarding the north and other poor areas, Nelson, Burnley, Sunderland, Newcastle, Newport, Bolton, Liverpool, Dundee and other areas are virtually all non Mirpuris and in other areas the non Mirpuris are above 30% like Blackburn, Preston, Hudersfield, Manchester, Oldham etc

        Also regarding isolationism in Mirpuris, It is fake, and limited. However saying that after suffering decades of abuse, I do not blame some for not wanting to invest their valueable time with those that they think would only turn out to be racists and anti mirpuri in the end.

        Finally for sterotyping, as they say there is no smoke without fire, but we have been wrongly accused of many things for the last 40 years. All the accusations are common in Pakistanis and so not unique to us. Therefore by blaming us we can see there was malicious intent on the part of the offending Pakistanis.

        We are no more illiterate than other parts of Pakistan, Mirpuris never had less education than the other pakistanis, we all know that the education level of 99% of people of Attock, Pindi, Jhelum, Chakwal, Gujrat, Fasialabad, Sahiwal, Poonch and Lahore was low, and not better than Mirpur. The Karachi people included many very disturbed Biharis who came from slums in Orangi, Korangi, Federal B etc.. they were not more educated than us.

        Inbreeding was more of a problem in Pakistanis than us.

        We hardly had any criminals when we got tarnished in the 1970s etc.. So why did they hate Mirpuris ?
        Why we got blamed for everything and all ills in Pakistani community when we know that in fact the major ills of Pakistani society are not in us but in other communities of Pakistan.

        All Terror suspects are non Mirpuri Pakistanis.

        All suicide bombers are non Mirpuri Pakistanis.

        Most of the most segregated communities are non Mirpuri. Please google Nelson the most segregated town in the the UK, where Pakistanis ALL Of whom are non Mirpuri live in Colne and the Whites live elsewhere.

        The least integrated with the whites are non Mirpuri Pakistanis, who live in segregated communities away from whites, whether in Southall or Green street or Bolton.

        The overwhelming majority of Student visa and work permit frauds are are committed by non Mirpuri Pakistanis.

        Over 99.99% of Mirpuirs are legally here and have come here legally. Non Mirpuri Pakistanis have come to some extent as illegal enterants and regularised their stay later.

        Alot of the welfare dependent Pakistanis in London are non Mirpuris and in fact hardly any Mirpuri in London is in receipt of Public funds, but Karachi’s ex Governor Eshrat Ul Ebad is a convicted benefit fraudster who stole money from us Mirpuri tax payers. Just google his name and see.

        So lets sit down and get to the bottom of who is what and I can assure you that Mirpuris are no where close in anti social activity compared to mainland Pakistanis as you allege.

        • they been insulting us for years. I remember reading wikipedia about Mirpuris 2005 something about mirpuri word being insult and offensive. It was bad then. jus left it. 2018 its the same stuff nothing changed. some of its vicious hatred. they talk **** behind our backs all the time. they tell their friends its mirpuris, its not us. My Sikh colleague he was a good guy, told me my Pakistani co-worker was speaking crap behind my back, and he defended me. saari diyaar mirpuris this, mirpuris are that, telling him punjabis need to stick together cus they were Punjabis. Then they say were muslims we need to stick together. This was my work colleague, I never once spoke bad about this Pakistani brother. I always respected him, and he thought it funny to insult me cus I was a Mirpuri. if I saw him now, I would love to sit down with him and ***** *** in his face. ***** ***********

          ADMINISTRATOR

          I’ve edited your comments, please can you ensure you don’t use disparaging language to make your points in the future, or demean those who may not necessarily agree with you. Thank you.

  7. Raees Haider, Faisal and Jatt Punyal,

    British Pakistani’s are a minority in the UK. As you well know, when someone from a minority commits a crime the whole community gets tarnished. However, when a White person commits the same or worse, no such stereotyping occurs. Therefore some will obviously take the opportunity to shift the blame onto the majority.

    The idea that most crimes in the British Pakistani community are committed by Panjabis or Pathaans is clearly false. They are committed by a variety of people, as I said crime has nothing to do with background. Gangsta rap culture plays its part in the gang culture of western countries. However, I’m not arguing that drug production, and consumption globally, is the result of rap music.

    It’s obvious to anybody with an ounce of knowledge that some Azad Kashmiri’s from the Mirpur district are clearly involved in crime. By denying this fact you are doing exactly what you are accusing the other of doing.

    It doesn’t matter who lives in London or in the north. Waltham Forest is a deprived borough where ghettoisation is an issue. However, London is so diverse that Pakistani’s don’t stand out in the same way as they do in Luton, Birmingham, Bradford, Oldham, and other such places. These are some of the worst areas for British Pakistani ghettoisation in the UK, and they are majority Azad Kashmiri areas. What people fail to realise is, all of these areas are moving on, the youth are increasingly educated, and things are changing. Bolton, and Blackburn have large Indian Muslim populations.

    Sajid Javed Home Secretary, Sadiq Khan Mayor of London. Neither have any links to Mirpur Azad Kashmir. So that is all the evidence you need.

    It’s clear that first generation elders from Central Panjab, and Karachi were more educated than those from rural Azad Kashmir. These areas of Pakistan were way ahead of AJK in terms of education, during the 60’s 70’s and 80’s. Although AJK now has one of the highest literacy rates, the best Universities in Pakistan are still in Lahore, and Karachi. Both cities are literary cities with an intellectual class pre dating the existence of New Mirpur city. Most Azad Kashmiri’s in the UK claim Mirpur was built with drug money. It’s not some Karachite saying this, it is people who are from that region. Furthermore, are you aware that Azad Kashmiri’s from neighbouring districts such as Kotli also slate ‘Mirpuris’. Also Kashmiri’s from the valley who speak Koshar, deny that ‘Mirpuri’s’ are even Kashmiri, and refer to them as Panjabi’s. Pathaans are also involved in ‘Mirpuri bashing’. Potoharis from neighbouring areas in Panjab such as Jhelum, Gujar Khan, and Kallar Syedan are also playing their part. So the idea that this is all the work of city Panjabi’s in conjunction with Karachites is false.

    The question is can we change this stereotype by causing more division. Pakistan is a poor country with a lot of issues. British Pakistani’s in the UK can benefit the community here as well as in Pakistan, if they stand united. By dividing further you are handing yourselves to the far right on a plate.

    Look, I know how you feel. I’ve experienced racism from Azad Kashmiri’s. I’ve been told I’m Indian pretending to be Pakistani for speaking Panjabi in response to Pahari. I’ve been told I don’t know how to speak my language because when I was younger I didn’t understand Pahari very well. I now understand it, and it’s not actually that different from Panjabi. I could use incidents like this to hold a grudge against Azad Kashmiri’s. However, I have chosen to walk the path of unity. Some of my closest friends are Azad Kashmiri. My fiancé is Azad Kashmiri, and the fact is times change, people move on. I’m optimistic about the future, the youth in the UK, and Pakistan are increasingly educated, and I believe change is coming.

    • Farooq Ali,

      Are you ethnically Pahari? You seemed to suggest it was your language in the last paragraph.

      My point about Mirpuris being the majority in some London boroughs was nothing to do with depravity/non-depravity. It was only to call into question the London/Outside-of-London, Main-lander/Mirpuri dichotomy that was being suggested. Mirpuris have a huge population in London and the other areas in the south. Mainland Pakistanis are the majority and Mirpuris are a large minority.

      However, outside London, Mirpuris are a majority and Mainlanders also make up a large minority. All areas outside of London are by default Azad Kashmiri areas in the mindset of most Londoners. It’s almost futile to call deprived Pakistani areas outside of London “deprived Azad Kashmiri majority areas”.

      Are the mainland populations in these areas so insignificant to the point where we can simply dismiss all the ills that happen there to the majority Mirpuri community? It was you who made the comparison of mainlanders in the UK to Jhelumis in Karachi. Answer me this, do Jhelumis make up an insignificant demographic in Karachi(1-3%), or are they like mainlanders in the UK who are 30-45%. Therefore your attempt to explain away the bigotry of your fellow Pakistanis based on Mirpuris being an “overwhelming majority” doesn’t stand up.

      There are some underlying prejudices among British Pakistanis against Mirpuris which causes them to scapegoat us for all the ills in the community. You’ve mentioned all the communities that seem to hate Mirpuris(Kotlis are Mirpuris btw), and I don’t think this can be explained away by being the majority. It’s more do with seeing Mirpuris as the Paindu other from Kashmir and not “real Pakistanis”. Also, Pakistanis always need a scapegoat to blame for their own faults and the usual culprits(Hindus, Jews, Americans) were not available. The fact they made their “fellow Pakistanis” that much needed boogeyman proves my point about them not seeing us as one of their own.

      One only needs to look at Pakistani-American community where Mirpuris are also the bad guys to see this in play. Mirpuris are not the majority there. They are not the ones giving Pakistani-Americans a bad name around the world. These people are:

      Aafia Siddiqui – Pakistani Al-Qaeda operative, currently serving an 86-year sentence
      David Headley – pleaded guilty to helping Lashkar-e-Taiba carry out 2008 Mumbai attacks[114]
      Faisal Shahzad – convicted Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan operative sentenced to life in prison for 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt[115]
      Farooque Ahmed – sentenced to 23 years in prison in 2011 for plotting to bomb Washington Metro[116]
      Hamid Hayat – convicted and sentenced to 24 years in prison for attending an al-Qaeda terrorist training camp in Pakistan and lying about it to the FBI[117]
      Iyman Faris – sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2003 for supporting Al-qaeda[118]
      Jubair Ahmad – sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2012 for supporting designated foreign terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba[119]
      Mohammed J. Babar – sentenced for helping July 7, 2005 London bombings accused Mohammad Sidique Khan[120]
      Samir Khan – editor of Al-Qaeda web magazine Inspire, killed along with Anwar al-Awlaki in a drone strike in Yemen[121]
      Shahwar M. Siraj – Islamist sentenced to 30 years in prison for plotting to plant a bomb in the 34th Street – Herald Square station of the New York City Subway[122]
      Syed F. Hashmi – sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2010 for aiding al-Qaeda[123]
      Syed H. Ahmed – sentenced to 13 years in prison and 30 years of supervised release for supporting terrorism[124]
      Syed R. Farook – with Tashfeen Malik, a perpetrator of the 2015 San Bernardino attack
      Uzair Paracha – sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2006 for providing support to al-Qaeda

      They are all mainland Pakistanis. All people giving Pakistanis a bad name around the world in the UK whose backgrounds have been checked have also been Pakistani.

      There is a big problem with the Pakistani mindset. This has to be addressed and shouldn’t just be dismissed to mere stereotypes about being looked down upon for the language we speak. The majority of people on here at least seem to be proud of our language so it makes little difference whether another Pakistani finds it attractive or understands it. The fact you decided to compare your experiences of not knowing Pahari to the vast amounts of literature stigmatizing our community is dismissive and frankly insulting.

  8. Reiss Haidar, I apprecitae you taking the time to respond to my points. Although we may disagree on some points, it is always a pleasure to read a well structured reponse. I apologise for spelling your name wrong, in my initial response, it was a long night, and I was extremely tired.

    Faisal, I am a Panjabi, my grandparents migrated from Indian Panjab during partition, to Pakistan. Initially to Lahore but then settled in other areas of Central Panjab. My mothers side of the family later moved to Karachi where they have been settled ever since. I can also claim to be dispossessed because my family lost all of its land during partition, and some of my ancestors were slaughtered during the violence which ensued. However, my grandparents made a new life for themselves, they were educated worked hard, and made a life for themselves, and their children in the new Pakistan. Later migration of my grandfather to the UK was as a skilled migrant in the NHS, despite having lost everything in India. Therefore I don’t buy the excuse of people who claim that they are dispossessed, and that is somehow an excuse to hold a grudge against Pakistan, and British Pakistani’s.

    Faisal, I get the feeling you do not consider yourself Pakistani, and are therefore trying to distance yourself from Pakistanis with the exception of those from neighbouring districts in Azad Kashmir. Essentially, your statement regarding Kotlians being Mirpuris proves this point. Most Kotlians do not consider themselves Mirpuris in fact some claim Mirpuris are Panjabis. This is true for a lot of Kashmiris on both sides of the LOC who try, and distance themselves from association with Mirpuris. Similarly Pakistani mainlanders do the opposite and distance themselves by claiming Mirpuris are not Pakistani but Azad Kashmiri. Therefore the problem of Mirpuri stigmatisation is a lot more complex than you imagine it to be.

    There are areas of the Panjab province which border the Mirpur district of Azad Kashmir. People from these areas are ethnically and linguistically very similar to Mirpuris. You will find many Potohari Panjabis from areas bordering Azad Kashmir living in Azad Kashmiri majority areas of the UK. However these Potohari Panjabis are very quick to differentiate themselves from Mirpuris at every opportunity. Claiming that they are good people and Pakistani, where as Mirpuris are a problem in the UK.

    I agree that Kotli, Mirpur, Jhelum, and areas to the East of Rawalpindi all share the same linguistic, and cultural heritage. I often tell people from Kotli, Jhelum, and Eastern Rawalpindi that I cannot see much difference between them, and the people of Mirpur Azad Kashmir. They are quick to point out to me that they are totally different, and I only think like this because I’m a Central Panjabi, and do not understand the differences. In fact an Azad Kashmiri from Kotli once told me he finds it insulting that I would categorise him in with the people of Mirpur Azad Kashmir. He went on to claim that the people of Mirpur Azad Kashmir are in fact Panjabis.

    A lot of the Panjabis you claim live outside Greater London are actually Potoharis who have more in common with Mirpuris than they do with Panjabis. However, they will run a mile at any mention of sharing a common culture with Mirpuris. Therefore, I agree with you that most British Pakistanis are trying to distance themselves from Mirpuris in one way or another.

    Now, ask yourself the following question. If the Mangla Damb displacement had never occured and people from the Mirpur district had not come here in large numbers would this stigmatisation still occur. People from the Mirpur district of Azad Kashmir make up 70 percent of the UK Pakistani population according to most estimates. This means that the other 30 percent minority British Pakistanis including those from other parts of Azad Kashmir are looking to shift the blame onto the majority. Having spent time in Canada, and America there is no widespread demonisation of Mirpuris taking place across the pond. There maybe instances of behaviours learned from the UK which have spread into North America but on the whole the Mirpuri issue is a UK one. Having travelled the length and breadth of Pakistan I have heard anti Pathaan rhetoric, anti Potohari rhetoric, anti Lahori rhetoric but I’ve never heard anyone slagging of Azad Kashmir or the Mirpur district in particular. Some people in Pakistan might make fun of the way Mirpuris speak but they will do this with other communities as well. Essentially Pakistan is a country where you will get the piss taken out of you, and have to like it. Everybody makes fun of each other in that country, and I’ve seen no evidence of Mirpuris being singled out for discrimination in Pakistan. A lot of the grievances that people from the Mirpur district have against Pakistan are the same grievances people all over the country have. In fact in 2018, the situation in urban areas of Pakistan is far worse than in the Mirpur district of Azad Kashmir. Therefore distancing oneself from Pakistan, and playing the victim is not going to achieve anything in the long run. The people of East Pakistan were discriminated against but I’ve never seen any evidence of Azad Kashmiris in Pakistan being discriminated against in the same manner.
    Ealing, Redbridge, Newham, Brent, Barking and Dagenham do not have Azad Kashmiri majorities but I agree people from Azad Kashmir live in these boroughs. London has the most diverse Pakistani community in the UK, with Panjabis, Pathaans, Azad Kashmiris, Sindhis, and others making up the Pakistani population of Greater London. I believe that this is a good thing, it would be nice if other UK cities had a more diverse Pakistani population. Although I’m aware that Panjabis make up a significant minority outside London. Central Panjabis have a strong presence in Cardiff, Manchester, Rochdale, Huddersfield, and Glasgow.
    You are attempting to belittle my experiences of racism at the hands of Azad Kashmiri youth. Being told you are not Pakistani but an Indian pretending to be Pakistani is a big insult. Also, being told that you can’t speak your own language because you don’t understand Pahari was another big insult. My attempts to explain that I am from a different part of Pakistan were laughed off. I speak Urdu, and Panjabi the two most widely spoken languages in Pakistan, and yet I was being ostracised by fellow British Pakistani’s who speak a sub dialect which is only spoken in a small area of the country. So for you to belittle my experiences is quite frankly insulting in and of itself. Moving from Greater London, leaving behind friends was bad enough but to then be turned on by your own people at a young age was even worse. Not only was I subject to racism from white people but from my own people as well, if that makes sense. I think you grossly underestimate the impact such discrimination can have on a child of Pakistani background growing up in an already racist society. However, as I got older, I realised that these people were immature school age children. The Azad Kashmiri’s I now mix with not only understand the differences but respect those differences. Some of the best Pakistanis I have met have been Azad Kashmiris, and I have no problem relating to them, and seeing them as my own people.

    Unfortunately Faisal, people like you are only going to cause further division even if that is not your agenda. I agree that online you will not find many examples of Mirpuris bashing other Pakistanis. However, in the real world many Pakistanis can give you examples of Mirpuris discriminating against them. For example a friend of mine was telling me that in High Wycombe some years ago, the Mirpuris who owned factories wouldn’t give jobs to anyone who wasn’t from Azad Kashmir. His dad who was a Potohari from the Panjab struggled to find work because the majority Mirpuris were only taking on Azad Kashmiris.

    Considering Mirpuris are 70 percent of the UK Pakistani population it’s not surprising that there are criminals, and racists among them. It’s also not surprising that the other 30 percent want to play the blame game. People from the Mirpur district would do exactly the same. This is human nature and quite common in Pakistan. However, to turn it into a grievance against all Pakistani’s excluding other Azad Kashmiri’s shows a separatist Kashmiri nationalist agenda.

    The proper way to address the issue of Mirpuri stigmatisation is to include Azad Kashmiri’s from other districts, as well as the people of Jammu and Kashmir in your analysis. Limiting your analysis to the people of Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad is quite frankly absurd. Unfortunately the people of the Mirpur district are seen as ‘jungli’ in the British Pakistani community. To what extent Kashmiri heritage plays in this is unclear. I am aware that some Central Panjabis demonise Mirpuris but they also class people from parts of Panjab in with Mirpuris. People from those parts of Panjab bordering AJK are quick to distance themselves from such a label. Then there is the Kashmir issue with people in the wider Kashmiri community trying to distance themselves.

    It is obvious what is going on here, Mirpuris were the largest group who migrated to the UK which is why such a stereotype formed in this country. Since the formation of this stereotype British Pakistanis from a variety of backgrounds have been trying to distance themselves from any association with Mirpuris. However, these same British Pakistanis will still mix with people from the Mirpur district of Azad Kashmir. Essentially, in the UK people from Mirpur, and other parts of Pakistan know that it is in their interests to relate to each other as Pakistanis. There are very few people who are officially calling for division but unfortunately the tiny minority seem to have the ear of the media, and the far right. Hardly surprising when you consider the British media, and the far right have been ‘Muslim bashing’ consistently for the past 17 years, post 9/11.

    • with all due respect Farooq Ali, I dont see Faisal causing divisions, or even name calling, he is just defending his people, my people, the 1 million British people who come from so-called Azad Kashmir? Why is it divisive for someone from Mirpur to speak up for AJK, as Mirpur is in AJK not Pakistan? Azad Kashmir is a territory, not a Province of Pakistan. I respect the people here who say they are Pakistanis or want to remain part of Pakistan, I disagree with them but why are you denying our choice to demand independence for AJK?

      theres lot of things u said, but I want to correct you, because you are so wrong about the Kotli people. completely wrong to the point of not knowing the history of our people or even our ethnic identity. Kotli is Mirpur. please visit Kotli to realise how far off the radar you are about my people, my cousins are from Kotli. Kotli people are Mirpuris. they say they mirpuris. who have u been talking to? this is ignorance of the worst kind, who are these people who are from Kotli but make fun of Mirpuris, are they under-cover Pakistanis trying to create divisions and divide and rule between us? do they even exist?
      are these the people Gujjar was talking about when he said dont believe everything you read about anti-mirpuri hatred, its sinister, its the Indians? This is like saying, Birmingham people make fun of the West Midlands people, or that people of Westminster make fun of London people. its illogical. if it doesn’t make sense, its not true.

      AJK 1 TERRITORY – 3 DIVISIONS – 10 DISTRICTS ACCORDING TO THE PAKISTAN GOVERNMENT

      http://www.pbscensus.gov.pk/sites/default/files/admin_districts/AJK.pdf

      • Farooq Ali, RSKhan

        Kotli people are Mirpuris. They’ve been Mirpuris for at least 160 years and this doesn’t change just because some of them may be ignorant of this fact. I wasn’t attempting to exculpate my ethnic kinsman based on a separatist agenda. I was merely stating a fact.

        America is a much bigger place than the UK and the demographics of Pakistanis compared to Mirpuri is much different there. It’s quite possible that most people have not even come into contact with a Mirpuri before. I have come across Pakistani-Americans online claiming Mirpuris are giving them a bad name. It’s possible they are taking Mirpuri stereotypes from the UK and imposing the Mirpuri label on every Paindu person that resides there. However, they were adamant that this wasn’t the case and they came to this conclusion independently from their peers across the pond. One conversation I remember observing where a Brit-Pakistani was bashing Mirpuris and an American-Pakistani responded by saying: “Wait, do Brits also hate Mirpuris?”.

        My intention was not to belittle your experiences. No one should be made to feel like an outsider in their own community especially for speaking a different language. To say this is the same as decades of dehumanizing abuse met at an entire ethnic group calling us jungli, self-ghettoizing cousin shagging neanderthals etc does feel like you are downplaying the rampant hate you yourself have documented above in your personal experiences with Brit-Pakistanis and which has countless examples online too.

        I feel you did acquiescence to all my main premises. ‘Pakistanis in general’ do still see Mirpuris as the other. ‘Jangli’, not ‘good people’, not ‘Pakistanis’ meaning ‘Kashmiris’, I guess. The demographics argument is used by mainlanders as a justification for their pre-existing bigotry and prejudices. And to “shift the blame onto the majority”.

        I don’t share your optimism though. Gaining wealth and becoming more educated doesn’t necessarily lead to less criminal behavior. Terrorists also come from educated and middle class backgrounds. Even if this renaissance in Brit-Pakistani communities is occurring, there will always be people who will continue to be involved in some nefarious activity or another and these people will still be branded with the Mirpuri label regardless of where they come from.

        Regarding being divisive. The division between Pakistanis and Mirpuris was made by mainlanders. Mirpuris were more than happy to take collective blame as ‘Pakistanis’ for all the ills in the community. Once this separation was made and all the bad guys became Mirpuris, it became necessary to call out this double standard. If every villain in the Brit-Pakistani community was made into a Mohajir Punjabi, you would do exactly the same thing.

  9. RSKhan

    I disagree with Kashmiris who want independence from Pakistan because I don’t believe they are a marginalised group. Some of the wealthiest people living in Rawalpindi, are people from the Mirpur district. Also Kashmiri migrants from the Indian side of the LOC have integrated better into Lahore, than they have into Azad Kashmir. In Azad Kashmir they are still called ‘Majir’ where as in Lahore they are accepted as part of the fabric of the city.

    You’re also wrong that Azad Kashmir is not a part of Pakistan. An Azad Kashmiri can live, and work anywhere in Pakistan without a visa, and has the same rights as any other Pakistani. The reason Azad Kashmir has not become the 5th province of Pakistan, is because by doing so Pakistan will automatically concede defeat to India, and the LOC will become the official border. This is why Pakistan has always maintained that Kashmir will become the 5th province once the whole of Kashmir has been liberated.

    Although there is plenty of poverty in Azad Kashmir, a similar level of poverty exists across Pakistan. In fact a lot of money has been pumped into the Mirpur district by expats in the UK. There is no evidence at all that Azad Kashmiris are an oppressed minority ethnic group. On the contrary, if you look at the history of East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, there was plenty of evidence of discrimination taking place. The Bengalis were a marginalised people, and as British Pakistanis we should recognise that. This is not about Pakistani nationalism it’s about disagreeing with people who are pretending to be marginalised. Much worse has happened to the people of the subcontinent than having their land flooded due to the construction of a dam. I’m not trying to denigrate the plight of the people of the Mirpur district but the reality is they have not suffered any more or less than other areas of Pakistan. In fact they have benefitted quite a lot from their migration to the UK, and the only reason the Indian army is not in Mirpur today is Pakistan spends a large part of its defence budget on keeping the Indians out. If Pakistan were to hand Kashmir over to India, and the war came to an end a lot of that money could be spent on development within Pakistan. Don’t get me wrong I’m not suggesting that Pakistan should hand over Kashmir, but the sacrafices of Pakistan, and its people are often overlooked by Kashmiri nationalists like yourself.

    As a British Pakistani I can quite clearly see the problems in Pakistan, and the faults of that country. I’m not a nationalist but I oppose division from other Muslims unless the cause is just. In the case of Mirpuris there is no cause other than British Pakistanis stereotyping them, which has nothing to do with Pakistan, I might add. It’s a massive leap from opposing stereotyping in the UK, to calling for independence. Unfortunately, many Azad Kashmiris are confused about their identity, they are essentially Pakistani, and Kashmiri at the same time. They will support Pakistan during cricket matches, and relate to the positive aspects of Pakistani culture. However, when it comes to anything negative about Pakistan, they are quick to distance themselves as Kashmiris. This is human nature, nobody wants to be associated with negativity which is why the can is constantly being kicked down the road, by people of all backgrounds.

    I know a lot of Azad Kashmiris, my fiancé is from the Mirpur district where as some of my closest friends, and family friends are from the Mirpur, and Kotli districts. Most Kotlians I know claim that their Pahari is somewhat different to that of the Mirpur district. They claim that the language of Mirpur is Potwari and is closer to Panjabi than their own language. However, I generally can’t tell any difference, and have mentioned this several times to my Kotli friends. However, they insist that I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference because I’m a Lahore side Panjabi. They also claim the behaviour of Mirpur and Kotli people is different. In fact a town known as Dadyal is especially described as a Jungli area by most Kashmiris I’ve had such discussions with. Essentially what I’ve found with Kashmiris is, our town, our area, our village, the people are well mannered, decent, educated but those people in the next town they are the Jungli ones. This is essentially typical of Pakistanis in general who tend to promote their own area over others, and once they are in their own area will start promoting their own cast over others. However, I’ve noticed that castism is on its way out in the cities of Pakistan. However, it still seems to be a major issue in Azad Kashmir.

    I think the point I’m trying to get across here is the Pakistani people have no hatred for the Kashmiri people. In fact the people have a lot of love for the Kashmiri people, and support the struggle of Kashmiris on the Indian side where the people are oppressed. However, the behavior of some people from the Pakistani community, in the UK has caused some British Pakistanis to try, and disassociate themselves by claiming Mirpuris are the main culprits, and they are Kashmiri not Pakistani. Since people from the Mirpur region are the majority it stands to reason that they will commit more of the crime within the community. Also lets be clear Mirpur was historically part of the Panjab, and wasn’t even in Kashmir. That’s why Mirpuris have a lot more in common with their Jhelumi cousins than they do with people from Srinagar, for example. I have some friends, and relatives from Srinagar, long term settled in Lahore. They refuse to entertain the idea that Mirpuris are Kashmiri.

    So this is whole situation is a lot more complex than the author, and those commenting, imagine it to be.

    • Farooq Ali,
      You have made alot of assertions that are all wrong and not backed up by any objective evidence while ignoring facts.
      For example you stated:Most Kotlians do not consider themselves Mirpuris in fact some claim Mirpuris are Panjabis. This is true for a lot of Kashmiris on both sides of the LOC who try, and distance themselves from association with Mirpuris……Furthermore, are you aware that Azad Kashmiri’s from neighbouring districts such as Kotli also slate ‘Mirpuris’.

      Kotli was a tehsil of Zila Mirpur until 1976 when it was made a Zila. It is still a part of the Mirpur Division. All people from Kotli who were born there pre 1976 will have their place of birth recorded as Mirpur. I am from Dadyal and the district of Kotli is a few miles from my own village. Also look up my clan name it is also present in Kotli. There is therefore no major issue between Mirpur and Kotli.
      You also stated, Sajid Javed Home Secretary, Sadiq Khan Mayor of London. Neither have any links to Mirpur Azad Kashmir. So that is all the evidence you need.
      I guess your trying to imply that non Mirpuris are more successful and savvy. But then, Rehman Chishti – Conservative MP for Gillingham and Rainham
      Nusrat Ghani – Conservative MP for Wealden
      Imran Hussain – Labour MP for Bradford East and Shadow Minister for International Development
      Khalid Mahmood – Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr
      Shabana Mahmood – Labour MP For Birmingham Ladywood
      Naz Shah – Labour MP for the constituency of Bradford West
      Mohammad Yasin – Labour MP for Bedford, elected in 2017
      Nazir Ahmed, Baron Ahmed – unaffiliated peer in the House of Lords, formerly Labour
      Qurban, Lord Hussain – Life peer Amjad Bashir – Conservative MEP for Yorkshire and Humber; former UKIP Small & Medium Business spokesman, Sajjad Karim – Conservative MEP; are from AJK.

      You also said, Most Azad Kashmiri’s in the UK claim Mirpur was built with drug money. It’s not some Karachite saying this, it is people who are from that region.
      Well seeing as there are probably about 700,000 Mirpuris in the UK most will mean 351,000, saying that Mirpuris are drug peddlars, this is again false. Hardly any Mirpuri says such things.
      You also said I’ve experienced racism from Azad Kashmiri’s. I’ve been told I’m Indian pretending to be Pakistani for speaking Panjabi in response to Pahari.
      You are attempting to belittle my experiences of racism at the hands of Azad Kashmiri youth. Being told you are not Pakistani but an Indian pretending to be Pakistani is a big insult. So for you to belittle my experiences is quite frankly insulting in and of itself.
      However you yourself bizzarely went on to confirm as follows:
      My grandparents migrated from Indian Panjab during partition, to Pakistan. Initially to Lahore but then settled in other areas of Central Panjab. My mothers side of the family later moved to Karachi where they have been settled ever since. I can also claim to be dispossessed because my family lost all of its land during partition, and some of my ancestors were slaughtered during the violence which ensued.
      Well seeing as all your grandparents are from what is India, it cannot be called racism if someone calls you an Indian as it is clear that all your family history is from a land that is known as India. In fact you could be accused of being a racist by implying their is something wrong with being an Indian, and you may even be accused of being a self hater as all four of your grandparents and all your ancestors were from a land that is today India. No mirpuris are accusing you of being a drug peddlar, inbred, terrorist, islamofacist,pedo or anything of the sort all they said was and rightly so that you are Indian. You can hardly compare the attacks on Mirpuris with your own experience, Mirpuris have been falsely accused of issues that they are either not involved in or no more involved in than other Pakistanis.
      You also stated that A lot of the Panjabis you claim live outside Greater London are actually Potoharis who have more in common with Mirpuris than they do with Panjabis. However, they will run a mile at any mention of sharing a common culture with Mirpuris. Therefore, I agree with you that most British Pakistanis are trying to distance themselves from Mirpuris in one way or another…… Unfortunately the people of the Mirpur district are seen as ‘jungli’ in the British Pakistani community. To what extent Kashmiri heritage plays in this is unclear. I am aware that some Central Panjabis demonise Mirpuris but they also class people from parts of Panjab in with Mirpuris. People from those parts of Panjab bordering AJK are quick to distance themselves from such a label. Then there is the Kashmir issue with people in the wider Kashmiri community trying to distance themselves.

      So we can agree that most Pakistanis hate Mirpuris and are racist towards them. Well this is what Faisal and everyone is pointing out that the fault lays with Pakistanis who spread false information of Mirpuris. As has been pointed out the major reason for anti Pakistani feeling among non Pakistanis is due in part to what Pakistan as a state does and a part on the behaviour of the diaspora. One of the biggest causes of hatred is the Pakistanis insistence on supporting terrorism and Islamofacist movements. The recent westiminster attacker included one Pakistani called Shahzad Butt. Some of the people involved in terror are, Babar Ahmed, Omar Sheikh, Zia Ul Haq and six others in the limosine bomb plot. Saajid Badat, sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment for “conspiring to place a device on an aircraft in service”.[1] His co-conspirator, Richard Reid, was convicted of terrorism offences in the United States.
      Tariq Al-Daour, sentenced to 6½ years’ imprisonment for “inciting another person to commit an act of terrorism wholly or partly outside the UK which would, if committed in England and Wales, constitute murder” and conspiracy to defraud banks and credit companies.
      Waseem Mughal, sentenced to 7½ years’ imprisonment for “inciting another person to commit an act of terrorism wholly or partly outside the UK which would, if committed in England and Wales, constitute murder” and conspiracy to defraud banks and credit companies.
      Younes Tsouli, sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for “inciting another person to commit an act of terrorism wholly or partly outside the UK which would, if committed in England and Wales, constitute murder” and conspiracy to defraud banks and credit companie]
      Abu Hamza al-Masri, sentenced to 7 years’ imprisonment for “possessing a document containing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”. Umran Javed, convicted of soliciting murder, sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment.
      Abdul Muhid, convicted of soliciting murder, sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment.[3] Convicted of further terrorism offences in 2008.
      Mizanur Rahman, convicted of soliciting murder, sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment.[3] Convicted of further terrorism offences in 2016.
      Omar Altimimi, convicted of six counts of possessing computer files connected with the preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000,
      Muktar Said Ibrahim, convicted of conspiracy to murder, sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 40 years.
      Hamdi Adus Isaac, convicted of conspiracy to murder, sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 40 years. Also known as Osman Hussain, Hussain Osman, or Hamdi Isaac.
      Ramzi Mohammed, convicted of conspiracy to murder, sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 40 years.
      Yasin Hassan Omar, convicted of conspiracy to murder, sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 40 years.
      Adel Yahya, convicted of collecting information likely to be useful to terrorists, sentenced to 6 years and 9 months’ imprisonment.
      Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, convicted of conspiracy to cause explosions, sentenced to 33 years’ imprisonment.[9] Also known as George Nanak Marquaye or Sumaila Abubakari.
      Ibrahim Hassan, convicted of inciting terrorism overseas.
      Abu Izzadeen, convicted of terrorist fundraising and inciting terror overseas.
      Sulayman Keeler, convicted of terrorist fundraising and inciting terror overseas.
      Abdul Muhid, convicted of fund-raising for terrorists.
      Abdul Saleem, convicted of inciting terrorism overseas.
      Rangzieb Ahmed, convicted of belonging to a proscribed organisation (namely Al Qaeda).[
      Habib Ahmed, convicted of belonging to a proscribed organisation (namely Al Qaeda).[
      Wahbi Mohammed, convicted of assisting the plotters, sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment
      Siraj Ali, convicted of assisting the plotters, sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment.
      Abdul Sherif, convicted of assisting the plotters, sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment
      Ismail Abdurahman, convicted of assisting the plotters, sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment
      Muhedin Ali, convicted of assisting the plotters, sentenced to 7 years’ imprisonment
      Yeshi Girma, convicted of failing to inform the police about the plot, sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment.
      Fardosa Abdullahi, convicted of assisting the plotters, sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment
      Esayas Girma, convicted of assisting the plotters, sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.[
      Mulu Girma, convicted of assisting the plotters, sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.[]
      Mohamed Kabashi, convicted of assisting the plotters, sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.
      Ahmed Abdullah Ali, convicted of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to murder using explosives on aircraft, sentenced to life with a minimum term of 40 years’ imprisonment.
      Tanvir Hussain, convicted of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to murder using explosives on aircraft, sentenced to life with a minimum term of 32 years’ imprisonment .
      Arafat Khan, convicted of conspiracy to murder, sentenced to life with a minimum term of 20 years’ imprisonment.
      Assad Sarwar, convicted of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to murder using explosives on aircraft, sentenced to life with a minimum term of 36 years’ imprisonment.
      Ibrahim Savant, convicted of conspiracy to murder, sentenced to life with a minimum term of 20 years’ imprisonment.
      Waheed Zaman, convicted of conspiracy to murder, sentenced to life with a minimum term of 20 years’ imprisonment.
      Anjem Choudary – On 5 August 2015, Choudary was charged with one offence under section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2000 for inviting support of a proscribed organisation, namely Islamic State, Mizanur Rahman – On 28 July 2016, Rahman was convicted alongside Anjem Choudary of inviting support for a proscribed organisation, ISIS. Reporting restrictions were imposed on the conviction, preventing its publication until 16 August 2016.[21] Rahman was sentenced to 5 years and 6 months imprisonment.[24]
      Umar Haque, convicted 2 March 2018 at the Old Bailey London of a range of offences including plotting terrorist attacks, and collecting information useful for terrorism. In addition, he tried to create a jihadist child army
      This is a partial list the actual list is longer and after careful analysis I can confirm that only one person overall has been from Mirpur and despite the full list running to a hundred convicted people only one is a Mirpuri. So we make up just 1 % of those involved. The people in the west also take exception to Islamofacism, well no islamist party has been created or headed or led by any Mirpuris. Being inbred is also viewed negatively but that is a common problem in Pakistanis and other muslims and is not peculiar at all to Mirpuris. Criminality is not viewed as the above as crimes are committed by all people and hence the above two are viewed as particularly Pakistani problems.

      Finally you said, Unfortunately Faisal, people like you are only going to cause further division even if that is not your agenda….It is obvious what is going on here, Mirpuris were the largest group who migrated to the UK which is why such a stereotype formed in this country. Since the formation of this stereotype British Pakistanis from a variety of backgrounds have been trying to distance themselves from any association with Mirpuris. However, these same British Pakistanis will still mix with people from the Mirpur district of Azad Kashmir.
      Your statement is contradictory as your accusing faisal of causing divisions and at the same time admitting that Pakistanis want to distance themselves from Mirpuris.

      • Jatt Punyal

        I prefer qualitative evidence over quantitative evidence, which is why you will see me making very little reference to so called facts, and figures in my posts on this site. Whilst I do not want to dismiss the importance of facts, and figures, they are not the best way to address complex issues like the one we are discussing. This is essentially a sociological issue, and if you ask any Sociologist, they will tell you the importance of qualitative evidence in their research. This is why I’m choosing to relay a lot of personal experiences. There is no possible reason why I would want to make up stories about conversations I’ve had with British Pakistanis.

        I’m not a Pakistani nationalist, and therefore if Pakistan was renamed Kashmir tomorrow it wouldn’t make any difference to me as long as it wasn’t run by a bunch of thieves. However, I haven’t seen any evidence that the people of Azad Kashmir are any more moral, and less corrupt than the rest of Pakistan. Although I have heard plenty of Azad Kashmiris claiming that they are simple good people in comparison to the people in Pakistani cities. On the other hand the people in Pakistani cities claim that they are good, decent people, and it is the villagers who are coming to the city and bringing bad behaviour with them. If I’m honest I don’t have any time for either of these two arguments. There is a saying in Urdu “Panj unglia kabi barabar nai hoti” you will find good, and bad people in all areas.

        You’re proving my point, and preaching to the converted. I already pointed out that I believe people from Mirpur, Jhelum, Rawalpindi rural Tehsils, and Kotli all share the same cultural, and linguistic heritage. However, when I make this point to people from Jhelum, Gujar Khan, Kallar Syedan, and Kotli, I’m told I’m wrong, and they know better because they are from that area. So your argument is with those people, and not with me because I’m in agreement with you, on this point. I’m not trying to imply anything, Azad Kashmiris doing well in the UK, is a good thing for all British Pakistanis. I simply pointed out that the most powerful Pakistanis in the UKs political, and media sphere, are mainlanders, which was a point I made in agreement with Reiss Haidars article. It wasn’t made to try and promote mainlanders over Azad Kashmiris, but it is clear you have misinterpreted it in that way.
        A lot of Azad Kashmiris claim that Mirpur was developed with drug money. I have no vested interest in making up such a claim, and I do not know what percentage of Azad Kashmiris make this claim. However most Azad Kashmiris I know have made this claim including some from the Mirpur district. However, they have not made this claim as an attack on Mirpuris but rather to make a point. For example, as a mainlander I might say there is a lot of corruption in Pakistan but that doesn’t mean I’m opposed to Pakistanis.
        Jatt Punyal, the Indian point is clearly nonsense because a large proportion of people who make up Pakistan’s most populated areas originate from India. Lahore, Karachi, Faislabad, as well as large parts of Central Panjab, have seen huge migrations from India. However all of these people claim to be Pakistani, and not a single one of them will claim that they are Indian nationals. I think this is partly why some Azad Kashmiris feel out of their comfort zone with Pakistanis further south. A lot of people in the South are from India, and have more in common culturally, and linguistically with Indians than they do with Northern Pakistanis. However, population wise Southerners dominate Pakistan which is why they have more influence in the media, and politics of that country. Pakistan’s largest urban areas are in the South, and the current PM has his roots in Jammu Kashmir, and Indian Panjab. However, nobody refers to Nawaz Shareef as Indian no matter how much they hate him. They might refer to him as Modi’s friend and a suck up but not as an Indian national pretending to be Pakistani because his ancestors were from India. This is a nonsense argument Jatt Punyal, and more to the point the Azad Kashmiri kids who accused me of this could barely speak their own language. Furthermore they were not basing it on any knowledge of where my ancestors migrated from. They based it on the fact that I was speaking Panjabi which is even more absurd when you consider Panjabi is the second most widely spoken language in Pakistan. Furthermore, to tell me I can’t understand my own language because I couldn’t understand the Pahari dialect is even more discriminatory. It’s exactly the same as mainlanders who claim Mirpuris speak drivel, can’t speak Urdu properly, have raped the beautiful language of Panjabi, and have no language of their own. This was not a one of insult by these kids, they made a concerted effort to single me out for discrimination because according to them I couldn’t speak my own language, their language. Had these kids claimed that my ancestral homeland was India, and I’m now a British Pakistani, I would have had no problem with their analysis. They knew very well I was Pakistani Panjabi but were deliberately being discriminatory based on linguistic differences.
        No we can’t agree that most British Pakistani’s hate Mirpuris because such a statement would need some sort of survey evidence to support it. What we can agree on is that Pakistani Muslims are a hated minority ethnic group within the UK. A lot of negative stereotypes are associated with Pakistani Muslims which date back many years. Some of the old stereotypes have been replaced by new ones but the problem of discrimination against British Pakistanis goes back decades. This is where the word ‘Paki’ takes origin as a racial slur against all Asians. It is in this climate of hatred that British Pakistani’s have tried to distance themselves from these stereotypes by claiming Mirpuris are the culprits, and not Pakistanis. It’s a cry for acceptance more than anything else, a calling on the white majority to blame those people instead of us. This is the point I have been making all along. British Pakistani’s are looking for acceptance claiming that they are an integrated minority, whereas Mirpuris came over by the lorry load, failed to integrate, and instead stood out by taking over certain areas. There is some truth to this, the practice of British born children, marrying cousins in Pakistan is a lot stronger among Mirpuris than it is among any other Pakistani group within the UK. From a mainlanders point of view the Mirpuris are causing them to be further discriminated against in their daily lives. However, I take the view that the British invaded most of the known world at some point within in history. So they can’t really complain when people from those countries migrate to the UK. Furthermore, most migrants, and their children are hardworking decent people who contribute to Britain, whether Mirpuri, or not. Therefore there is no need to pander to the far right, or the right wing media by accepting their stereotypes as accurate, and claiming it is one group within the community.

        I don’t know what relevance this list of names has to the discussion. I’ve never claimed that violent extremism is a Mirpuri monopoly. There are violent extremists of all backgrounds including White European. We cannot determine the background of everyone on that list but from reading the names, it’s quite clear that some of them are not even Pakistani at all.

    • Many thanks for your response Faruq Ali.

      I don’t necessarily agree with what you’re saying, and I hope to respond to keep the discussion going between peoples who occupy the same political spaces. I like to think we are brothers and sisters, even as we want to speak about “identities”, “ethnicities”, “cultures”, “languages”, “geography”, from our own perspectives, and sense of grievance(s). You’ve probably gathered I don’t identify as a “Kashmiri”, – it’s literally written in my bio here, neither do my family, relatives, friends, and others from the region, other than to state the obvious – “Kashmir” is territorial shorthand for Jammu & Kashmir State, that’s it, nothing more.

      Like the others here, we are more concerned about our region’s actual cultural heritage, history and our migration to the UK, we would like to celebrate our forebears life stories. And this is what we hope to impart to our children and grandchildren. We don’t like how we are being presented by our fellow British-Pakistanis (some not all), whom we consider our brethren, but it seems they don’t. That’s why I wrote the post.

      Lot’s of us from Mirpur, and the rest of AJK, find debates about AJK people being “Kashmiri”, “not Kashmiri” a little weird. I don’t know where this anxiety of exposing the “fake Kashmiris” has come from, but it isn’t our anxieties, and perhaps, the activists are right in their many years of counteracting such claims even as they are intimately familiar with the realities in the Vaadi – again I’m not a pro-independence Kashmiri, I’m concerned with AJK, and our experiences in the UK – but they argue that this a deliberate ploy on the part of people to obfuscate what is happening in both parts of Jammu & Kashmir State. They may be right. They may be wrong. I don’t know.

      Politics is a dirty game, and strange things happen.

      To reiterate, Kashmir, for the purposes of the dispute between India and Pakistan is divided TERRITORY not an ethnic sphere – the Kashmiris separated between the LOC are ethnic Paharis, the ETHNIC KIN of the people who live in “Dadyaal” – the people you describe as “Janglees” through the agency of our Kotli brethren, whom I have yet to hear such remarks from personally, quite literally, speak the same dialect as the dialect spoken in Andarhal, and Chakswari, and neighbouring areas as it meanders its way into Kotli. The clans in Dadyal have major connections with the people of Kotli, not least because many of them originate from there. So forgive me, if we find the idea that Kotli people insult Mirpuris a little far-fetched. It’s the same dialect; the dialect spoken in Mirpur proper, around the Kharri Plains, is slightly different, and people confuse this dialect for the dialects spoken further north in the hills. But essentially these are dialects and accents of the same language, what we in AJK call “Pahari”.

      In Uri, and Karna, in what is today Baramullah, people speak “Pahari”; the linguists there, who are researching this language, funded by the State JK Government, always point out the connections between these dialects that includes the dialect spoken in Mirpur. JK state has five cultural spheres, Pahari-Patwari Ilaqa is one of the five areas – the Patwari regions fall in the Pothohar Uplands, so we are aware of our connections to what is today “Pakistan”.

      AJK is NOT PAKISTAN according to Pakistan’s official POLICY. It is a territory, not a Province. It is part of a contested region, a conflict that goes unresolved day by day, as the people of this region, complain about what is happening in AJK. You’re not aware of what is happening in the region, clearly; so I take offence, that people in AJK are living idyllic lives; they are not, AJK is a dysfunctional state that doesn’t work.

      That said, everyone in the wider JK State appreciates that we come from one state, even as they disagree amongst themselves about the solution. There are lots of people who want to either remain part of Pakistan, or join Pakistan from the Valley side, but even these people would take offence to the idea that they are distancing themselves from Mirpuris. The anxieties you’re seeing in the UK and the hatred against Mirpuris from fellow-Pakistanis, does not emanate from them, and they would take umbrage at the idea that they also slur and insult “Mirpuris”. No LOC people have ever slurred Mirpuris, they have no reason to, and to intimate they also engage in anti-Mirpuri bashing is outright slander.

      Why would they? They have had no interactions with Mirpuris, so why would they think negatively of Mirpuris? Clearly this is a projection on your part, and I don’t understand how you arrived at such an idea.

      Pahari/Patwari mean different things to different people, but essentially, we are speaking about the same people. I have spoken to Patwaris who have told me, categorically, they have less in common with “Panjabis” than Paharis of AJK, and yet it is assumed that because they live in the Panjab region, they must automatically identify as “Panjabis”. Well the ones I’ve spoken to, don’t. When people blame them for anti-Mirpuri bashing in the UK, they don’t like it. Others, are intelligent enough to realise that when the “Mirpuri” language is being “slated”, their parents dialects are also being denigrated, which creates distance between them and the British-Panjabis who do this, unaware of how colonial linguists described the Panjabi language of the Plains. This irony is not lost on us, as many Panjabis happily adopt Urdu ashamed of speaking Panjabi, as they want to comment on the worth of Patwari or Pahari, or what they call Mirpuri.

      But, you’re saying from direct experience, they do make these remarks. I would like to think that this is a moral failing on the part of some deluded individuals.

      Finally, on the whole “Kashmir” thing, the people who constantly want to point out the differences between the ethnic communities of Jammu & Kashmir State, should realise how dangerous this ploy is, not least because even “Muslim” Valley Kashmiris are getting sick and tired of it. It is palpably false to reduce a territorial conflict between India and Pakistan to ethnic claims, and I think this reality is lost on people who keep repeating these same tropes. It’s as if the peoples of this region are unaware of their own history, culture and struggles.

      I hope to address the other points in due course.

  10. Reiss Haidar,

    Thank you for your reply, and I appreciate your desire to promote Pahari culture in the UK. I agree that your linguistic, and cultural heritage has been side lined in the UK, even though you are the majority here. I think this is because Pahari culture is not really recognised much in Pakistan either. Potohari people in Pakistan are viewed as Panjabis who speak a different dialect of Panjabi. In fact some mainlanders, and even Potoharis in the UK have claimed the language is a slang version of Panjabi. I have read such comments online, and heard them first hand. The problem that the Potohari/Pahari people have in promoting their own culture, is they need to show a significant difference from Panjabi culture. The difference is clearly there but is it enough to claim an altogether separate identity, such as the Pashtun identity. I think this is where ‘Kashmiri’ identity plays a part by increasing the difference and making the idea of a separate identity more plausible.

    A Jhelumi trying to claim a separate identity would have much harder job because Jhelum falls into the Panjab province. However, in recent years there has been more recognition of the cultural differences between Southern, and Northern Panjab, even talk of diving them into two separate provinces. I have links to Islamabad, and Rawalpindi city, and what I’ve noticed about this area is the Southern Panjabis, and Potoharis are integrated. They will speak to each other in their own dialects of Panjabi, and understand each other perfectly fine. Furthermore Urdu is widely spoken too, and nobody has a problem transferring between the languages. Pathaans are pretty much a part and parcel of the city as well. This is Pakistan, it’s a multi lingual country with a lot of cross over languages. Transitioning between different languages is common place in Pakistan, and should be celebrated.
    I think you misunderstood my point, I never claimed Kotlians insult Mirpuris. I said Kotlians claim they are different from Mirpuris in order to distance themselves from the Mirpuri label. I’ve also heard people from Kotli use the term MP on more than one occasion. As far as Dadyal is concerned, I’ve heard people from Mirpur, and Kotli districts referring to the town as a jungli place. Also that the language there is a more jahil and badtameez version of Pahari. I’ve been told that the people of Dadyal have money but no education. It is not in my interests to waste my time making things up about places I’ve never visited. They are not my views I’m just sharing what I’ve been told by some members of the Pahari community. The reason I’m including these views for the purposes of this discussion is to make a point. The point being that is not only urban mainlanders who are guilty of this kind of stereotyping.

    Azad Kashmir has a similar status to Scotland, I think that this is a good comparison to help us understand the situation better from British perspective. Just as the Scottish are not an oppressed minority in the UK, the people of Azad Kashmir are not an oppressed minority in Pakistan. Azad Kashmir is dysfunctional just like the rest of Pakistan. This is why I said that the grievances of the Azad Kashmiri people are the same as those in the rest of Pakistan. If Pakistan was a properly functioning democracy the country wouldn’t be in the mess that it is. Pakistan’s institutions are dysfunctional right across the whole country, and nowhere more so than in Panjab itself. I agree with Kashmir’s right to self determination, there should be a plebiscite on the Kashmir issue, and the people of that region should decide whether they want to be part of India, Pakistan or independent. India will never allow such a vote because they know full well the result will be Pakistan or an independent state. Pakistan on the other hand will only allow the vote on condition that the choice is India or Pakistan, thus preventing any chance of independence. So when you have two nuclear states fighting over the region independence is unlikely to ever materialise. Therefore Kashmiri nationalists living in Britain from the Mirpur district need a reality check. Furthermore, they also need to understand that they don’t have just cause to call for independence from fellow Muslims. The behaviour of some British Pakistani’s is not reason enough to start pursuing a separatist nationalistic agenda. Especially when the people of Pakistan support the Kashmiri struggle whole heartedly.

    I think you misunderstood my point about people from across the LOC. I have some British Pakistani friends and relative who are Lahori Panjabis, but originate from the Indian side of Kashmir. Around 20 percent of Lahore’s population is made up of ethnic Kashmiris who migrated from the Indian side. These British Pakistani’s of Kashmiri origin claim that Mirpuris are not Kashmiri but Panjabi. I have even read comments online from such British Pakistani Kashmiri’s referring to Mirpuris as ‘Black Panjabis’. I have met students from the valley of Kashmir studying in the UK who claim that they are ethnic Kashmiri’s and the people of Mirpur don’t speak their language, and are in fact Panjabis. I have read a few comments like this online as well, stating that the language of Kashmir is Koshar, and Mirpuris are Panjabis based on their language, and dress.

    My intention for highlighting these differences in opinions is not to cause division among Kashmiris. It’s to make the point that some British Kashmiris and British Potohari Panjabis are involved in trying to distance themselves from Mirpuris, in the same way some other British Pakistani’s are. I think I’ve already made clear the reasons for this phenomenon in the UK.

    • Pakistanis hate mirpuris as they are trying to pass the buck for their own shortcomings.
      Pakistanis are looked down upon and have a bad reputation. The reason is that Pakistan as a state is looked upon as a basket case. The Reputation Institute in its annual RepTrak index has named Pakistan in the list of countries with the worst reputation.
      The index is calculated based on the level of tolerance, safety, standard of living and attractiveness to tourists. The overall marks are given out of 100.
      The lowest three are Iraq, Iran and at third worst for reputation is Pakistan. This reflects on the diaspora whether you like it or not. As we all know most People in the Uk have not met Pakistanis and rely on what they believe are traits that are related to them. Ask any 1000 english, Scots, Irish, French, Italians, Americans etc.. what they think of Indians and then ask them what they think of Pakistanis.
      Indians may be called veggies, IT guys, placid, Curry, colourful festivals, bollywood, emerging economy etc..
      Pakistanis will be known only as Muslims, Islamofacists, Terrorists, ISIS, Osama Bin Laden helpers, Pedos, inbred, rogue state etc..
      These impressions that the world has of Pakistanis are NOT the doing of Mirpuris who are left holding the can for the actions of the rogue state Pakistan. The irony is that the Mirpuris contributed nothing to these stereotypes but are being punished due to them whereas all other Pakistanis did contribute in some way and now they want to pass the buck.
      As regards drug dealing Mirpuris/Pakistanis are not noted for it and the big drug dealers are known as Colombians, Mexican, Blacks, Turks, Albanians, Afghans etc..
      In fact the only time Pakistanis got called out for drugs was when ISI chief Asad Durrani stated that he wanted to sell heroin to pay for global Jihad.

    • Brother Farooq Ali

      Thank you for your most recent response, I believe that’s 6 in total. I’m going to be a little less charitable than my fellow commentators, given your comments. I normally try to strike a conciliatory note, but in your case, I’m going to have to make an exception given the offensive nature of your claims. Your comments are not merely borderline racist, but they are racist, even as you are at pains to assign the content of such characterisations to your Mirpuri, Kotli, Pothohari, Valley Kashmiri, Kashmiris from Lahore, Pakistani, “friends”. To read your comments, one is left with a horrible feeling in the pit of his stomach about the hatred that exists for British-Mirpuris, supposedly from fellow British-Pakistanis. In trying to exculpate “urban-Pakistanis”, (you seem to wear this badge with pride), you say they are not alone in hating Mirpuris, all these other communities are involved.

      There’s no way of knowing what you are saying is true, and so I would like to err on the side of caution and believe that you are misrepresenting all these diverse communities. As an advocate for Pakistan unity, you have struck a rather bizarre cord, a little inconsistent and incoherent, in the claims you have made.

      I get the impression, that you harbouring ill-well against the community of Dadyaal in particular, and your comments, at times, seem deliberately spiteful. It’s as if you’ve got a vendetta against Mirpuris in general, even as you claim to have friends from the community and a “Mirpuri” fiancee.

      As I initially went through your comments, with the intention of an open-mind, hoping to be redeemed by the goodwill of well-wishers from the Pakistan mainland, it dawned upon me, you had ingested all of the stereotypical representations online that we’ve been collating over the years about Mirpuris. Much of it amounts to “disinformation”. Anyone with a basic familiarity with prejudice and bigotry would agree with me, you come across very bigoted.

      Your claims are quite insightful of the mindset I’m opposed to, to understand the nature of bigotry, the incoherence in such claims, and how far some people will go to redeem their own citified “identity” by savaging its rural opposite – the dichotomy is all but illusory.

      You may consider yourself liberally-minded but this is not what’s coming across in your words. This can be seen in how you describe people, languages, areas, and how you “present” in the general sentiments you’ve expressed. You seem to be more connected with the prejudices of an older generation of Pakistanis.

      When people behave like this, they do so to impugn the integrity of the people they’re describing. It’s not because they want to contribute their voice to an ongoing conversation between “brothers and sisters”, and work out their differences, it’s merely to give vent to some deep seated ‘hatred’, or sense of superiority complex, although there’s nothing in your comments to suggest that you come from an “aristocratic” background. The false city-village dichotomy does apply to you, as you seem to want to celebrate the urban spaces of Pakistan whilst denigrating the rural areas, even as you’re unaware that you’re doing this.

      You’ve repeated old, worn out, tired tropes about Mirpuris. You haven’t added anything to that ”disinformation”, you’ve just given expression to the factoids, through the agency of your friends from Kotli and the Patwar. If indeed these friends exist, I think they would feel embarrassed by what you are saying about them. The point being, you are attributing to them, every negative statement about Mirpuris. There’s nothing charitable about any of their comments towards Mirpuris. How odd?

      I also get the strong impression, you’re not that familiar with the people from this region. Patwaris speak Patwari, and they live in the Patwaar, but you’re referring to such people as the Pothoharis; a term used by linguists and geographers describing the region, or dialects. With the level of intimacy you claim to have with such individuals, your choice of words seem out of place.

      You’ve also said that you haven’t visited any of the places that your friends, relatives, have spoken about so disparagingly, even as you claim to have visited the length and breadth of Pakistan, which is also odd.

      You’ve commented 6 times on this post. So clearly, you must have emotional investiture in the things we’re discussing here. Curious people by nature, visit the places they speak about especially if they are going to offer a running commentary on the social worth of the people. But, you seem to have no expertise on the claims you “parrot” except to demonstrate that Mirpuris are indeed “hated” by lots of British-Pakistanis, and not just urban-Pakistanis from Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad.

      That’s the “constant theme” in your claims.

      Also, your words are revealing of anxieties, you’re keen to point out that you have no reason, to make up such claims, but yet you feel fully justified in sharing such insights without any form of substantiation. On a number of occasions, you’re at pains to point out that you do indeed have these connections, and you’re merely repeating what you’ve been told, without the intention of creating divisions between “Kashmiris”.

      That’s an odd thing to say, if it weren’t a freudian slip. Are you deliberately trying to create divisions between “Kashmiris” I ask? You seem to be fixated with the idea of Kashmir, and the identity of “Mirpuris” to negate any connections between the peoples of the State, even as you describe the community as almost counterfeit.

      You religiously repeat the line that Mirpuris are “Panjabis”, and at one point you referred to the people of Dadyal as being “black Panjabis” – a rather bizarre concept. Aside from the colourism that seems to be energising your mind, are you by any chance a “white Panjabi”, for me to understand how you coined this term? I doubt it’s from the net, as I’ve never come across this term. There is a distinction between dark and fair skinned “Pakistanis” but this illusory idea concerns a south-north divide in Pakistan; southerners and immigrants from India post-1947 are considered dark-skinned whereas those living in the mountainous tracts of Pakistan are considered fair. Such ideas are crass and false, and do not take into consideration the diversity of India, let alone Pakistan. Ironically, the Panjabis from the Pothohar Uplands are considered fairer than the Panjabis from the Plains, and it seems you are at pains of connecting Mirpuris to the “Pothoharis” Again these are illusory distinctions that do not take into consideration the vast diversity that exists in Pakistan within communities and between communities. People who posture through such ‘ideas’ are backwards.

      There are more than a million Mirpuris in the UK, how many of these fit this description of yours? Or are you contrasting the physical appearance of Kashmiris of Lahore with Mirpuris, unaware of how outlandish these remarks sound even to Valley Kashmiris who are at pains to point out, they are not responsible for such absurd ideas. The idea that Kashmiris are the fairest of all Indian sub-groups is a myth, that can be very easily debunked; not everyone in the Vale is fair-skinned.

      You spoke of the Pahari spoken in Dadyal as being “Jungli”, “bethmeez”, the people of Dadyal are “Jungli”, you said, Mirpur was built on “drug money”, Mirpuris marry their cousins more than other British-Pakistanis; Pahari isn’t even a language, it’s a sub-dialect of Panjabi spoken in a small area of the country, you on the other hand speak Panjabi and Urdu, Pothohari is “slang”, its ruined the Panjabi language, etc.

      You’ve constantly repeated “ethnic” anecdotes of bigoted people, to give credence to a political roadmap for Jammu & Kashmir State, and I can clearly see these anxiety coming through your words.

      I am a British-Mirpuri, I think I’m correct in saying I know more about my people’s experiences than you do? In fact, everything you said was anecdotal, contradictory, and lacked coherence. There’s a lot of ill-intent behind your words.

      Let me “educate” you about some simple truths, not lost on any of us who come from the region; “Mirpuris” have historically been described as “Paharis” by outsiders, even through the vantage of Patwari speakers living on the opposite side of the river Jhelum. Even the Hindu Mahajans, traders of this area, who used to live on the flatter lower plains of Mirpur, used to be called Pahari Mahajans. It was usually snootier Mirpuris, who took their cultural cues from the Plains, who shied away from the label, applying it to others living on more hilly terrain – “oh we’re not Paharis, you’re Paharis, no, they’re Paharis!”

      So, because you’re clearly not from the region, speaking on behalf of imaginary people, even as you claim a connection to Islamabad – (where exactly is Islamabad located?), you do not seem to be aware of the “negative connotations” that come with the label “Pahari”, or “Pahreye”!

      Do you understand the implications, and how absurd the idea of someone “slating” a Mirpuri sounds, if, according to your narrations, he simultaneously self-affirms as a true “Pahari” speaker or person from Kotli!

      These are clearly the anxieties of outsiders, agents of “fitna and fasaad” since you want to employ the language of Islam. You are trying to create divisions between the people of this area, as they are now mobilising around their own interests and priorities, trying to whisper into their ears, rumours and innuendos, so they forget about the “real identities” of the people demeaning them in the UK.

      I come from a generation, born and raised in the UK, who doesn’t have its forebears anxieties, and we will speak up for our own culture, our own traditions, for the dignity and honour of our parents, and grandparents, for the preservation of their memories – our heritage, who made huge sacrifices for us, so we could have a future in the UK. We use the label “Pahari”, deliberately, aware of our heritage, fully aware of the dispossession of this region dating back many hundreds of years. The Pahari label is ours, inherently ours, because we come from, and have lived, and have done so, for centuries, in the western Himalayas. 

      We don’t come from the Indians Plains where you come from post-1947, I wouldn’t dare speak about your people, or lived experiences, and I would respect your background, so please don’t speak on behalf of my people, putting words in the mouths of our ethnic kin, as if we don’t know our landscape and where the various communities live. We know who we are, we know who our people are, we know how our forebears dressed before they adopted the fashions of the Plains, what clothes they used to wear, the foods they ate, the physical appearance of our people, the actual dialects our forbears spoke, the wars they fought in, the oppressors that came and went, and the immense sacrifices they made for this country we call “Pakistan” now at the mercy of corrupt people. 

      It was our grandparents who fought the Dogras in Mirpur and Poonch, side by side, with the Pakistan army, soldiers who come from the wider region, that we call the Pahari-Patwari Ilaqah. You don’t have a greater claim to Pakistan, than any of us, even as our region is being exploited by officials who do not care for the wellbeing of ordinary people. We will speak on behalf of our people, whether unthinking patriotic Pakistanis like it or not. Panjab is no less a victim of this political order; Panjabis are our brethren, they may belong to a different cultural sphere, similar to ours, but what makes you think, we think we’re separate to them?

      So, you see, we don’t need your approval, your blessings, to tell us our future is with Pakistan. If that’s what the people of AJK want, that’s their right. If the people want independence, who are you to denigrate this option for such people? And then you claim to be a democrat and not a nationalist.

      I’m committed to not separating; I’m a firm believe we can resolve our problems together. Your words are offensive.

      I’ve collated your claims, to show my readers, what we are up against when we point out that there is no genuine British-Pakistani fraternity between us and our brothers and sisters from mainland Pakistan in the UK. The vast majority of British Pakistanis are absolved of these attitudes, and we must build alliances with likeminded people.

  11. Regarding Kashmir point that you keep repeating Faroq, Reiss has already explained to you and we are state subjects of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and the whole planet uses the word Kashmir to describe it in shorthand as reference to the whole state. It is not a complex matter.

    The people of the state of J&K will decide their own future in due course and until that time they are not accepted as Pakistanis according to Pakistan’s own law. Also the Mirpuris do not need a reality check Faroq, as they have a right to choose their own future and do not need Pontification from ethnic Indian migrant living in Pakistan. In truth you sound like a sterotypical Pakistani, always playing the religion card, that we must live together as we are Muslims. These were the words of your father’s generation to your full Pakistani citizens the banglas, but they rang hollow. There is no such thing as a muslim race and Islam is just a religion like all other religions and is not a foundation for any national state. We are more than capeable of making up our own minds of how and why we will vote in a certain way.

    Faroq you said Furthermore, they also need to understand that they don’t have just cause to call for independence from fellow Muslims. The behaviour of some British Pakistani’s is not reason enough to start pursuing a separatist nationalistic agenda. Especially when the people of Pakistan support the Kashmiri struggle whole heartedly.

    It is clear from your statement that you know nothing about Kashmir struggle and we all know Pakistan is not supporting the kashmiri struggle at all and instead has destroyed the same.

  12. Farooq Ali,
    I see what you are doing but you are wrong in your analysis. You feel like mainland Pakistanis are being targeted and the supposed bigotry from our J&K brothers is being brushed under the carpet because there is a ‘separatist agenda’ to show fellow Paharis on this site how much Pakistanis hate them and we should advocate for separation.

    This has caused you to overemphasize the small town rivalries between different groups from J&K which you yourself admit is not unusual in Pakistan. Actually, it is not unusual any where in the world whether that is US or UK. It even happens even within cities. North London has this sort of stuff between persons within the same boroughs and the famous North London derby.

    By engaging in such rhetoric you hope to show that Mirpuris are wrong for advocating separatism based on scapegoating from Pakistanis because our J&K brothers are doing exactly the same thing.

    What you fail to realise is there is no direct link between Mirpuri bashing in the UK and Kashmiri seperatism. Neither, I, nor Jatt or Reiss advocate for this. These are entirely two seperate ‘grievances’.
    I’ve come across hundreds of people online who are concerned with Mirpuri bashing and the bulk either consider themselves Pakistani or are not opposed to Pakistan.

    Similarly, those who are knowledgeable on the politics of Kashmir, very hardly if ever mention Mirpuri bashing in the UK as one of their reasons for separatism. They have more pressing concerns such as cross-border firing, lack of jobs, government etc etc.

    If anything, there is an indirect link between these two as those of our community like myself who are completely oblivious to Kashmiri politics may see how our community is being presented online and learn about what’s going on in Kashmir just by chance.

    It is therefore incumbent on us all, whether Pakistani or from J&K to fight this virus online. You are concerned with Mirpuri scapegoating just like we are. You have a good way with words also and can argue a case very well and know your politics.
    Why don’t you go to some of the big Pakistani political platforms online and tell them how wrong they are for singling out Mirpuris and that the problems they blame Mirpuris for are common in all/most Pakistani groups. I would recommend defence.pk because over there, not only is Mirpuri bashing absolutely fine(bashing other cities in Pakistan is not) but the moderators also engage in it. Here is an example,
    https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/pakistanis-in-uk-fuelling-corruption-says-law-chief-attorney-general-warns-politicians-to-wake-up.288408/
    The two guys Oscar and Jungibaaz doing the most of sh*t talking are a two of the few hand selected moderators.

    This will create a lot of good will between our communities.

  13. SUMMARY OF THE TYPES OF CLAIMS THAT ARE DANGEROUS FROM FAROOQ ALI CONVERSATION; I’m making the point sometimes, we don’t realise how bigoted our views are. We all need to engage in self-introspection, as we air our own grievances.

    1. You have roots in Lahore, Karachi and links to Islamabad; your grandparents did not come to the UK as poor immigrants, to assume otherwise, annoys you. Your forebears were well-off; the majority experience of British-Pakistans was that of poverty; this was not your experience
    2. The Azad Kashmiri community in UK came from villages in Mirpur and neighbouring districts have grown to an extent in the UK, that opinions can be formed
    3. the culture of cities where AJK people live produce gangs not a rural village in a remote part of Pakistan.
    4. the majority will commit most of the crime
    5. Those of Pakistani origin in the most powerful positions in the UK are mainlanders. This shows a failing in the Pahari Pakistani community.
    6. The Pakistani minority in the UK have worked hard to enter into politics, and the media. Sadiq Khan, and Sajid Javid were the sons of bus drivers.
    7. Mirpuris seem very insular, and unwilling to become too friendly with outsiders until they get to know you.
    8. This insularity breeds/perpetuates a culture of ghettoisation
    9. Isolationism was caused by Pakistan; to avoid it you need to leave your villages and join the mainstream
    10. Pakistan has failed to integrate Azad Kashmir; 
    11. AJK prosperity/development entirely reliant on UK remittences
    12. UK-AJK community, AJK Community Youth are becoming educated
    13. British Mirpuri ghettoisation will disappear in 30 years
    14. We all share the same skin colour, which is the first thing everyone notices
    15. People cant make distinctions between Mirpuris, Sahiwal or Faislabadi (the latter two areas in central Punjab)
    16. We share a collective identity as “Asians
    17. We share the same religion, Islam
    18. In troubling times we should support each other
    19. My post has strayed into attacks on British Pakistanis

    1. Blame is being shifted on British Pakistanis because they are minority in UK; 
    2. When white people commit crimes, no stereotyping occurs.
    3. Gangster rap culture plays a part in gang culture
    4. It is obvious Azad Kashmiris are involved in crime
    5. Waltham Forest is deprived; ghettoisation is an issue; 
    6. London is diverse; British Pakistanis dont stick out as they do in Luton, Birmingham, Bradford, Oldham (i.e., Mirpuri areas)
    7. The worst areas of British-Pakistan ghettoisation, are areas where Azad Kashmiris live
    8. Bolton, Blackburn have large Indian Muslim populations; in such areas youth are becoming educated
    9. Sajid Javed – Home Secretary; Sadiq Khan – Mayor of London; neither have links to Mirpur, And Kashmir, – this is EVIDENCE
    10. Central Panjab, Karachi elders from first generation were educated; rural Mirpuris weren’t
    11. Central Panjab/Karachi were WAY AHEAD in terms of education in the 60s, 70s, 80s than AJK
    12. AJK has one of the highest literacy rates in Pakistan
    13. Best universities in Pakistan are in Lahore or Karachi; both cities are literary cities
    14. Most Azad Kashmiris in UK claim Mirpur was built on drug money; Karachi people dont say this, AJK people say this
    15. Kotli people, and people from neighbouring districts to Mirpur, “slate” Mirpuris
    16. Valley Kashmiris who speak Kosher deny Mirpuris are Kashmiris but refer to them as Panjabis 
    17. Pathans are involved in ‘Mirpuri’ bashing
    18. Pothoharis from neighbouring areas in Panjab, Jhelum, Gujar Khan, Kallar Syedan also play their part in Mirpur Bashing
    19. City Panjabis, karachities, are not entirely responsible for Mirpuri bashing; to say otherwise is false
    20. we cant change the stereotypes by causing more divisions.
    21. Pakistan is a poor country with lots of issues.
    22. British Pakistanis can benefit community here and in Pakistan.
    23. By dividing further, British Pakistanis hand themselves over to far-right
    24. You know how Azad Kashmiris feel, you have been a victim of racism from Azad Kashmiris
    25. You’ve been told you’re an Indian pretending to be Pakistani for speaking Panjabi and not Pahari; 
    26. you couldn’t understand PAHARI very well when you were younger; you now understand it, its not different to Panjabi
    27. You could use the racism experienced from Azad Kashmiris to hold a grudge against them, but you walk the path of unity
    28. Some of your closest friends are Azad Kashmiri, your fiance is Azad Kashmiri
    29.Your optimistic, change is coming, youth in uk/Pakistan are becoming educated

    1. You apologise for misspelling my name because you were tired; you spelt it according to the Pakistani pronunciation as opposed to anglicised version
    2. You are Panjabi from Indian Panjab; your family moved to Lahore, and then settled in Central Panjab. Your mothers family moved to Karachi
    3. You can also claim to be dispossessed as your family lost everything because of partition violence, your grandparents made a new life for themselves in the new Pakistan
    4. Your grandfather was a skilled migrant in the NHS, lost everything in India; you don’t buy into excuses of people “claiming” they are dispossessed, and holding grudges against Pakistan and British Pakistanis
    5. One of the contributors here, Faisal – you got the impression, he was distancing himself from Pakistan for neighbouring people in AJK; his statement about Kotli people proved this
    5. Kotli people do not consider themselves Mirpuris, some claim Mirpuris are Panjabis
    6. Lots of Kashmiris, on both sides of LOC try and distance themselves from associations with Mirpuris
    7. Pakistani mainlanders do the opposite and claim Mirpuris are Azad Kashmiris and not Pakistanis
    8. Mirpuri stigmatisation is a lot more complicated than people imagine
    9. Pothohari Panjabis differentiate themselves from Mirpuris, they come from neighbouring areas, they are ethnically, linguistically similar to Mirpuris 
    10. At every opportunity Pothohari Pakistanis differentiate themselves from Mirpuris in UK, saying they are good people and that Mirpuris are the problem in the uk
    11. You agree Kotli, Mirpur, Jhelum, east Rawalpindi all share the same ethnic and linguistic heritage.
    12. You tell the people of Kotli, Jhelum and east rawalpindi that they are the same people; they tell you they are different and you couldn’t know because you are from Central Panjab and you do not understand the differences
    13. An Azad Kashmiri from Kotli told you he finds it insulting to be categorised with people of Mirpur, Azad Kashmir. He told you Mirpuris are Panjabis.
    14. Lots of Panjabis outside Greater London are actually Potoharis who have more in common with Mirpuris than with Panjabis. 
    15. Yet these same Pothoharis run a mile at any mention of sharing a common culture with Mirpuris.
    16. You agree British Pakistanis are trying to distance themselves from Mirpuris in one way or another.
    17. You asked faisal, if Mangla Dam displacement had never occurred, and people from Mirpur District hadnt come to the UK in large numbers, would stigmatisation still occur?
    18. As Mirpuris make up 70 percent of the population; the remaining 30 percent is shifting blame onto Mirpuris, including those from other parts of Azad Kashmir.
    19. You have spent time in Canada, America, there is no widespread demonisation of Mirpuris “across the pond”.
    20. There is some learned behaviour, of North American Pakistanis recycling these attitudes, but on whole Mirpur issue is a UK Issue.
    21. You have travelled the length and breadth of Pakistan; you have heard of anti-Pathan rhetoric, anti-Potohari rhetoric, anti-Lahore rhetoric but you have never heard anyone “slagging” off Azad Kashmir or Mirpur in particular.
    22. Pakistan is a country where the “piss is taken out of you” and you have to like it. Everyone makes fun of everyone else
    23. You have seen no evidence of Mirpuris being singled out for discrimination in Pakistan.
    24. Mirpuri grievances are no different from grievances from around Pakistan.
    25. Mirpuris playing the victim and distancing themselves from Pakistan wont achieve anything.
    26. Bengalis were discriminated against in Pakistan;  you have seen no evidence that Azad Kashmiris are being discriminated in the same manner.
    27. Ealing, Redbridge, Newham, Brent, Barking and Dagenham do not have Azad Kashmiri majorities, but you accept Azad Kashmiris live in these areas. 
    28. London has the most diverse Pakistani community in the UK, this is a good thing, and you wish the other UK cities had the same diversity.
    29. You are aware that Panjabis make a significant “minority” outside London, Cardiff, Manchester, Rochdale, Huddersfield, and Glasgow. 
    30. Faisal belittled your experience of racism at the hands of Azad Kashmiri youth; being told you are not Pakistani whilst pretending to be Pakistan, but an Indian is “a big insult”.
    31. Being told you cant speak your own mother-tongue because you don’t understand Pahari is another “big insult”.
    32. You speak Urdu and Panjabi, the two most widely spoken languages in Pakistan, and yet you were being ostracised by fellow British Pakistanis who speak a “sub-dialect” which is “only spoken” in a small area of the country.
    33. You left Greater London at a young age, leaving behind your friends and you were turned on by white people, and your own people; you were subjected to racism. You believe Faisal greatly underestimated the effects of such racism on a young child.
    34. As you got older you realised such behaviour was the behaviour of immature children.
    35. The Azad Kashmiris you now mix with, not only understand differences but respect differences; some of the best Pakistanis you have met have been from Azad Kashmir and you have no problem “relating” to them and “seeing them” as your own people.
    36. Faisal is going to cause further divisions even if that is not his agenda.
    37. You agree online, Mirpuri-bashing is evident, but in the real world, many Pakistanis can give examples of Mirpuris “discriminating” other Pakistanis.
    38. A friend of yours, some years back, told you about Mirpuris in High Wycombe, who own factories not giving jobs to non-azad Kashmiris. His father was a “Pothohari” from the “Panjab” and he struggled to find work because the majority Mirpuris were only taking on Azad Kashmiris.
    39. Mirpuris are 70 percent of the UK Pakistani population, it is not surprising that there are criminals and racists, among them.
    40. It is not surprising the other 30 percent want to play the blame game. Mirpuris would do the same, this is human nature and quite common in Pakistan.
    41. To turn this into a grievance against all Pakistanis excluding other Azad Kashmiris shows a separatist Kashmiri nationalist agenda.
    42. Proper way to address mirpuri stigmatisation is to include Azad Kashmiris from other districts, as well as the people of Jammu & Kashmir in the analysis.
    43. Limiting analysis to Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad is absurd.
    44. Unfortunately the people of Mirpur District are seen as “jungli” in the British Pakistani community.
    45. Panjabis bordering AJK are quick to distance themselves from Mirpuris.
    46. Kashmiri community tries to distance itself from Mirpuris too.
    47. It is obvious to you why this has happened, Mirpuris are the majority Pakistani community, this is why “stereotypes” have formed and British Pakistanis are distancing themselves from Mirpuris. But these same people still mix with Mirpuris.
    48. Only a small group of people are officially calling for division but they have the ear of the media and the fair right.
    49. The far right and the media have been muslim-bashing consistently since 9/11.

    1. You disagree with Kashmiris who want independence from Pakistan because you dont believe they are a marginalised group
    2. Some of the wealthiest people living in Rawalpindi are people from Mirpur District.
    3. Kashmiri migrants from Indian side of LOC have integrated better into Lahore than into Azad Kashmir. 
    4. In azad kashmir, these people care called “Majr”, but in Lahore they are accepted as part of the fabric of the city.
    5. RSKhan, another contributor, is wrong about AJK not being part of Pakistan. AJK people have the same rights as Pakistanis.
    6. AJK is not the 5th Province of Pakistan because Pakistan does not want to concede defeat over Kashmir and accept the LOC as the border.
    7. Pakistan has always maintained that Kashmir will become the 5th Province once the whole of Kashmir is liberated.
    8. Poverty exists in both Pakistan and Azad Kashmir.
    9. Money has been pumped into AJK from expat community in UK. 
    10. No evidence that AJK people are an oppressed minority group.
    11. Plenty of evidence that Bengalis were an oppressed minority group.
    12. This is not about Pakistani nationalism, but disagreeing with people who pretend they are being marginalised.
    13. Much worse has happened to the people of the subcontinent than Mirpuris having their lands flooded by a Dam.
    14. You’re not denigrating the plight of Mirpuri people but merely stating that they have not suffered any more or less than other Pakistanis.
    15. They have benefited quite a lot from the migration to the UK.
    16. Only reason why India is not in AJK is because Pakistan army defends this area with a huge cost to Pakistan’s budget to keep Indians out.
    17. Pakistan would be better off by handing this area to India so it could spend money on development in Pakistan; you’re not suggesting this but pointing out sacrifices overlooked by Kashmiri nationalists like RSKhan
    18. You’re not a nationalist, you can see the faults of Pakistan. You oppose division from other Muslims unless the cause is just.
    19. Mirpuris are being stereotyped by British Pakistanis but this is not the fault of Pakistan. 
    20. Massive leap from AJK community being stereotyped in the UK to demanding independence for Jammu Kashmir.
    21. Azad Kashmiris are confused about their identity, as Pakistanis and Kashmiris.
    22. Mirpuris support Pakistan during cricket matches and relate to Pakistan culture, whenever bad things are said about Pakistan, they distance themselves as Kashmiris. This is human nature, no people whatever background wants to be associated with negativity; you give metaphor of can being kicked down the street.
    23. You know lots of Kashmiris, you repeat you’re fiancee is from Mirpur District, your closest friends are from Mirpur, and Kotli Districts.
    24. Most Kotli people claim their Pahari is different to that of Mirpur district.
    25. Kotli people claim Mirpuris speak Patwari not Pahari.
    26. You cant tell any difference, and you’ve pointed this out to your Kotli friends.
    27. Because you are a “Lahore-side Panjabi”, your friends tell you, you cant tell the differences.
    28. Kotli friends tell you behaviour of Mirpuris and people of Kotli is different.
    29. “Kotli” friends tell you “Dadyal people” are described by “Kashmiris” as especially “Jungli”.
    30. You have discovered that Kashmiri people accuse other Kashmiris of being less-civilised than them, town, area, village, and this holds true for Pakistanis; but once these people are in their own areas, they promote their “caste” over others.
    31. Casteism is on its way of the cities. You believe it seems a major issue in Azad Kashmir.
    32. Your repeating the point again, Pakistani people have no hatred for Kashmiri people.
    33. Pakistanis love Kashmiris especially those on Indian side struggling against India.
    34. Bad behaviour of “some people from Pakistan community” has caused “Pakistanis” in UK to distance themselves from “Mirpuris” by blaming them to be the culprits.
    35. You repeat, Mirpuris are the majority, it stands to reason they will commit most of the crimes within community. 
    36. “Mirpur” was “part of Panjab”, they have a lot more in common with their “Jhelum cousins” than “people from Srinagar”.
    37. You have some friends and “relatives from Srinagar”, long term settled in Lahore, they “refuse to entertain the idea” Mirpuris are Kashmiris.
    38. Issues are more complicated than imagined by author of post, and those commenting on post.

    THIS IS WHEN IT GETS BIZARRE

    1. You prefer qualitative evidence over quantitative evidence, you make reference to the discipline of sociology; you say you dont make reference to so called facts and figures but you relay personal experiences.
    2. There is no reason, you say, to make up stories about conversations you’ve had with British Pakistanis.
    3. You repeat you’re not a Pakistani nationalist; Pakistan could be named “Kashmir” as long as it was not run by thieves.
    4. You have seen no evidence that people of Azad Kashmir are more moral, or less moral, than Pakistanis.
    5. City people accuse village people of being, village people accuse city people of being bad, as they consider themselves good.
    6. You quote an Urdu proverb; intimating that good and bad people live everywhere.
    7. You accept, that Mirpur, Jhelum, Rawalpindi “RURAL” Tehsils, and Kotli all share the same cultural, and linguistic heritage.
    8. You repeat your non-Mirpuri friends disagree with you, distancing themselves from Mirpuris.
    9. You repeat the premise of my post, that Pakistani-mainlanders in UK have greater access to power than AJK, but you disagree with Jatt Punyal, who you say, misinterpreted what you said, when he gave a long list of Pakistan-mainlanders committing crimes, and a list of prominent British Mirpuris involved in politics. You dismissed the lists.
    10. You repeat your claim, that Mirpur was built on drug money, and you point out again that “Azad Kashmiris” told you this.
    11. You have no vested interest in finding out the percentages of the people who make such claims, but you repeat the claim, that even Mirpuris have told you this.
    12. By stating these claims, it doesn’t mean, you agree with the idea but you are merely relaying what you have been told.
    13. You make the point that South Pakistan is comprised mostly of Indian immigrants from India proper, and they have more in common with India’s culture than with Pakistan’s Northern cultures.
    14. You repeat again, the AJK youth who accused you of being “Indian”, could barely speak their own language.
    15. You repeat that Panjabi is the second most widely spoken language in Pakistan as a way of reprimanding the “Azad Kashmiri kids” of accusing you of being an “Indian”.
    16. You say the idea that you couldn’t speak Pahari because you were speaking Panjabi, on account of these exchanges between “kids”, is akin to being discriminated.
    17. It is akin to mainlanders saying Mirpuris speak “drivel, cant speak Urdu properly, have raped the beautiful language of Panjabi, and have no language of their own”.
    18. You say the “kids” were deliberately discriminating you because of linguistic differences, and not because of your Indian “roots”.
    19. You repeat, you don’t agree that British Mirpuris are being hated on by British Pakistanis, because you need “survey evidence” to prove that.
    20. You counter this claim by saying you agree that British Pakistani Muslims are a hated minority ethnic group within UK.
    21. You make mention of the word “Paki”, the emergence of stereotypes associated with Pakistani Muslims, and connect this with Mirpuris, arguing the racial slur was then applied to all Asians. This is the context in which British Pakistanis are distancing themselves from Mirpuris.
    22. British Pakistanis distancing themselves from Mirpuris is a “cry for acceptance” more than anything else; to appear to be integrated as they accuse Mirpuris of coming to the UK “by the lorry load, failed to integrate, and instead stood out by taking over certain areas”.
    23. You say there is some truth to these allegations, you cite, cousin marriages amongst British-Mirpuris as proof of Mirpuri cultural practises which you claim is non-absent amongst British-Pakistanis.
    24. You say, from the mainlander perspective, British Mirpuris are causing “them” to be discriminated because of the practises in their daily lives.
    25. You say the British invaded most of the known world, so they cant complain when people from these countries migrate to the UK.
    26. You dismiss Jatt Punyal’s list again, for being irrelevant, as you state, you never claimed that “violent extremism” is a Mirpuri monopoly. You say violent extremists include white Europeans.

    THIS IS WHEN YOUR CLAIMS GET EVEN MORE BIZARRE AND A TAD SPITEFUL 

    1. You thank me for me reply, and appreciate the desire to promote Pahari culture in the UK
    2. You agree the cultural heritage of Paharis has been sidelined in the UK eventhough Paharis are the majority British-Pakistani grouping.
    3. You say, you think its because Pothohari people in Pakistan are viewed as Panjabis who speak a “different dialect” of Panjabi.
    4. You say some mainlanders, even Pothoharis in the UK, claim the language is a “slang version” of Panjabi.
    5. These opinions, you say, you have also read online.
    6. You believe that there is a difference, but you’re not sure if its enough to claim a separate identity from Panjabis.
    7. You think that the Kashmiri identity plays a part in “increasing” these “differences” and “making the idea” of a “separate identity” more plausible.
    8. You give the example of a Jhelumi, as evidence of why the identity might be difficult to pursue, as you claim Jhelum is part of the Panjab Province.
    9. You say there is recognition of cultural differences between Southern and Northern Panjab, of separating the two areas into separate provinces.
    10. You repeat the claim you have links to Islamabad.
    11. You mention the commonalities between Pothoharis and Southern Panjabis; and that they understand each other’s dialects, as Urdu is also used. You “celebrate” the multi-lingual nature of Pakistan.
    12. You say you didnt claim that people of Kotli insult “Mirpuris” but that they claim to be different in order to distance themselves from the Mirpuri label.
    13. You made reference to the “MP” term, you said you have heard people of Kotli using the term on more than one occasion for Mirpuris.
    14. You say the people of “Mirpur”, and “Kotli”, refer to the “town” of Dadyal as a “jungli” place.
    You say, you have heard from the people of “Mirpur” and “Kotli” say that the language of “Dadyal” is “Jahil” and “badtmateez” version of Pahari.
    15. You say, these same people say “Dadyal” people have “money” but no “education”.
    16. You again repeat that you are merely reporting statements you’ve heard of places, you’ve “never visited”.
    17. You feel by repeating these statements, you’ve made a point, that it is not merely urban mainlanders guilty of stereotyping Mirpuris, but every neighbouring community to Mirpur.
    18. You then claim Azad Kashmir has a status similar to Scotland. In your mind, this is a good comparison; because the Scots are not oppressed in the UK, this proves Mirpuris are not oppressed in AJK.
    19. You accept Azad Kashmir is dysfunctional, but also remark Pakistan is dysfunctional, where people have the same grievances.
    20. You accept that Pakistan is not a functioning democracy, that it is in a “mess” because it is not functioning as a democracy, and you claim Panjab is the most dysfunctional of areas in the whole of Pakistan.
    21. You say you agree with the right of self-determination for Kashmir region, and you cite all 3 options, merger with Pakistan, India or outright independence.
    22. You say India will not allow such a vote because the outcome is either independence or merger with Pakistan.
    23. You say Pakistan will only allow such a “vote” on the condition that Kashmir joins India or Pakistan, thus preventing any chance of independence.
    24. You mention both country’s nuclear arsenal.
    25. You say, Kashmiri nationalists living in Britain from Mirpur District need a reality check.
    26. You say, they need to understand they don’t have a just cause to call for independence from fellow Muslims.
    27. You repeat the behaviour of some British Pakistanis is not reason enough to pursue a separatist nationalistic agenda, especially, to quote your words, “the people of Pakistan support the Kashmiri struggle wholeheartedly” 
    28. You again clarify what you meant by LOC people hating on Mirpuris, this time saying you have relatives who are Lahori Panjabis, with roots in the Valley, but migrated from the Indian side, who do not accept Mirpuris as Kashmiris.
    29 You say you have read comments online from British Pakistani Kashmiris referring to Mirpuris as “BLACK PANJABIS” (I’ve made this bold for a reason.
    30. You say, you have met Valley Kashmiris who claim to be ethnic Kashmiris and they say Mirpuris are not Kashmiris becasue they dont speak their language, and are in fact Panjabis.
    31. You say, you have read comments online that say Mirpuris are Panjabis, their dress and language is Panjabi and not Kashmiri.
    32. You conclude these comments of yours by saying you do not want to “cause division among Kashmiris”.
    33. You want to make the point that everyone from Pakistan, that lives in the vicinity of Mirpuris distances themselves from Mirpuris, even as they are the ethnic kin and countrymen of Mirpuris, the people of Jammu & Kashmir State – I emphasise this last point for a reason.

    If you read these words carefully, this is what we are up against in the British-Pakistani community; this is literally a summary of the all the “caricatures” of our community online, I’ve collated them for this reason, as I was shocked at how casually Farooq Ali repeated them.

    If we want our communities to live harmoniously, we need to address this hate from various Pakistani quarters. This hate is now entering the mainstream, and it’s not fair for British-Mirpuris to be singled out like this, as British-Pakistanis operate under the cover of their small numbers, conflating AJK-Kashmir politics, with social anxieties in UK, and culture, religion and language in Pakistan, with our very real grievances about how British Pakistanis represent us to the mainstream.

  14. Referring to me as ‘an Indian’ is a racial slur, I’ve always had family on both sides of the British boundaries drawn in 1947. My Nana was living, and working in Lahore at the time of partition, and my Nani grew up in Gujrat not far from the Azad Kashmir border. I consider myself a British Pakistani with ancestral origins in what is now Indian Panjab. You do not have the right to refer to me as any different. I have not once questioned your identity as a Mirpuri, Pahari, or Pakistani.

    Since you don’t like me pronouncing your name according to how you spell, I will spell it according to the Pakistani pronunciation. Raees I came to this site to learn more about Pahari culture from a Pahari perspective because I’m forging links with Azad Kashmir through marriage. Therefore if Allah (swt) blesses me with children in the future they will be half Panjabi, half Pahari. However when I read your article I took issue with you trying to insinuate that Mirpuri bashing is a mainlander monopoly, especially those from the cities. This is certainly not my experience, earlier on this evening, I sent your article to a Kotli friend for his thoughts. He told me Chakswari, Dadyal and these sorts of areas are full of drug dealing, and fraud, hence they are looked down upon. He also mentioned that these sorts of areas where most Mirpuris come from are the slums of AK unlike Kotli, and the nicer parts of Kashmir. He also went on to claim that Mirpur was historically in Panjab, and therefore he views Mirpuris as Panjabis. I took issues with this, and the argument went on for a while. I can send you the screen shots of the conversation because it’’ clear that you, and other commentators believe I’m making up stories to exercise prejudice under the guise of being civilised.

    I agree that I’m not free from prejudice, it is a human trait and none of us are free from it. Anyone who claims to be totally free from prejudice is either lying or deluded. Prejudice against Pakistani mainlanders is quite clearly being exercised here but according to you Azad Kashmiris can do no wrong. Therefore you are excusing the behaviour of Azad Kashmiri racist I encountered during my teens. I was a child but I wasn’t 5 years old, those kids knew what they were doing. I have been to Azad Kashmiri friends houses and heard elders from your community crack Lahori jokes. It starts off with Lahorie, Lahore neh, or Lahore na, whereas when I go to Panjabi friends houses or to extended family members houses it starts off with Mirpurie, or Mirpur deh, or Mirpur da. Our languages are not that different after all but I guess you wont like me saying that because you clearly have a grudge against Panjabis. Panjab is the most populous province in Pakistan which is why more of the wealth and development is concentrated in that province. However more of the corruption is concentrated in that province too. Human rights abuses take place in Azad Kashmir but they also take place in the rest of Pakistan, and the Panjab Police are especially well known for such actions.

    There is differentiation, and racism on both sides but you, and other commentators are playing the victim, and pretending Azad Kashmiris can do no wrong, and Potohari Panjabis are also angels. You are doing exactly what you accuse mainland Panjabis, and other British Pakistani ethnic groups of doing. You are favouring your own ethnic group, and dismissing any behaviour on their part. Faisal is right in his analysis, you are attempting to project a one sided in argument in which British Pakistanis from the cities are the villains. In reality there are villains on both sides, and although prejudice online might well be more one sided, it’s not exclusively one sided. In the real world however it is definitely evenly split but even still I don’t see any evidence of seriouse hatred between the mainland community, and Azad Kashmiris. Most British Pakistanis can mix, and relate to each other as Pakistani despite regional, and linguistic differences. This is evident to anyone who lives in a city with a significant amount of British Pakistanis.

    My opinion is that Azad Kashmir should remain a part of Pakistan, however I’m not forcing that view upon you, Jatt Punyal. If anyone is forcing anything it is you trying to force your opinion of my identity onto me, in a racist manner. I’m not telling you what to do as an Azad Kashmiri, I’m sharing my opinion from a Muslim point of view. You claim that I’m behaving like a Pakistani mainlander but in fact I’m behaving like a Muslim. Go and read Islamic scriptures, and literature to learn that these are not Pakistani views they are mainstream Muslim views. Those who wish to divide from other Muslims are firmly in the minority. The 1971 war, and the pre-existing discrimination, and marginalisation of the Bangla people was wrong. I don’t know why you are bring my father into this, as if he was somewhat involved or supportive of it. My father was always opposed to the war, and the oppression of Bangladeshis. He also did a lot of work with the Azad Kashmiri community, and got little to no thanks in return. All people like you can do Jatt, is sit on your computer, venting your racist views towards Pakistanis. You have no solution to the Kashmir issue or the problems of Pakistan in general. I don’t agree with everything Imran Khan says but at least he’s making an effort in practical terms. What are you doing in practical terms to improve things in the Pahari diaspora or in AJK?

    I will reiterate the point that there is no evidence whatsoever that the Pahari community are an oppressed minority in Pakistan, suffering more so than any other group within the country. The poor people in the villages of rural Panjab and in the slums of the cities, are facing exactly the same problems as their brethren in neighbouring Azad Kashmir.
    Raees I understand that you are not calling for independence from Pakistan but you do seem to be labelling British Pakistanis from the city as racist. This is the point of contention with you, have you ever though that you might be alienating those who would otherwise support you against the minority of bigots within the community. Holding Shazia Mirza up on a placard as a good example of British Pakistani behaviour is quite frankly insulting to most of us. You are stereotyping my people as racist, and that is what I find unacceptable. I have no problem with you challenging British Pakistani Panjabi bigots so long as you don’t excuse the British Pahari bigots, which you have consistently been doing since the discussion started. My views might seem bizarre to you but that is your perspective, and interpretation, taking snippets of what I said out of context from the argument as a whole.

    Finally I was not dismissive of Jatts list. Jatt provided a list of names some of which are Pakistani, and others are clearly nationals of other countries. He claims one person on the list is a Mirpuri but doesn’t provide any supporting evidence as to how he came to this conclusion. Has he been to every person on that lists home address to do a background check? This is why I dismissed his list as irrelevant to the discussion because I have never argued that violent extremism is a Mirpuri monopoly. So he really needs to post this list to someone who is arguing this, and then prove his claims about the backgrounds of those on the list.

    Part of the reason British Pakistanis of non Pahari background represent you to the mainstream is because for a long time you haven’t represented yourselves. I think its a good thing, that you’re starting to do so, and it’s the reason I’m on the site, to learn more from a Pahri perspective, even though you assume that I’m also racist and have a hidden anti Mirpuri agenda which I’m airing under the guise of having a civilised discussion. If you, and other commentators hold such a view there is nothing I can really do about it. I’m simply sharing my views within the context of the discussion, and attempting to do it in a respectful manner.

    I don’t feel that I have made any racist assertions about the Pahari people. Cousin marriage is widespread across Pakistan, and not limited to AK. However, the practice of taking British born kids to the motherland to marry cousins is more common among Pahari Pakistanis in the UK, than other groups. This is one of the reasons why the Pahari community has grown to such an extent in the UK. I do not consider this a racist comment it is a simple observation, if you disagree that is fine. However, without accepting this fact you can’t explain the growth of the Pahari community in the UK.

    • Farooq,

      I know that you never said Mirpuris are involved in terrorism and islamofacism. This was my point, that you and many others conveniently forget that point or brush it under the carpet. The fact is that as I said in my earlier post which you also ignored, Pakistanis are viewed negatively worldwide for their association with terrorism, Islamofacism, Osama Bin laden, ISIS and Taliban. This is a major reason why people hate Pakistanis and that Is NOT the fault of Mirpuris as we are not involved.

      Anti Pakistani feeling is due to actions of non mirpuris from Pakistan like Anjem Chaudhary, Shazad Butt and others who have done untold damage to Pakistanis. But as I said that this does not fit in your narrative and so it is conveniently ignored.

      Farooq, you also said the practice of taking British born kids to the motherland to marry cousins is more common among Pahari Pakistanis in the UK, than other groups.

      As usual you just made that up, as you have not provided any objective evidence to back that up.

      Also you keep refering to this Kotli friend of yours, who seems to hate Dadyal and Chakswari people. It is bizzare and I cannot comment on this person, but you using him as an authority implies your inability to understand facts. I have already told you that Kotli was a tehsil of Mirpur and is still a part of Mirpur division. Hence such views are not held by people from Kotli and are negligible and irrelevant. In fact calling Dadyal a slum is hillarious as it is a beautiful green tehsil in Mirpur.

      The real problem is as you call it mainland Pakistan. What I am saying is that the sterotypes are false and not true. Mirpuris are no more involved in cousin marriages or trans national marriages or crime than any other Pakistanis. Mirpuris have been unfairly and unjustly targeted by other Pakistanis and I would suggest that you seem to be excusing and justifying that behaviour. I bet if Jews or blacks were called negative stereotypes, most British Pakistanis would rightly unreservedly condemn them and would not attempt to excuse or justify them. If Jews were called greedy and tight fisted I bet no ethnic Indian from Pakistani Punjab would refer to a conversation with a Jew friend in Golders Green as evidence that they are indeed greedy and money minded.

      The fact is that Pakistanis from Karachi or Faisalabad or wherever have to unreservedly condemn anti Mirpuri views and comments for them to disappear, but instead they laugh along and the nice PC ones may try and admonish the naughty mirpuris for being inbred and marrying from Pakistan, or he may produce a newspaper cutting from Alum Rock of a drug peddlar being arrested to justify vile anti mirpuri attacks.

      So mirpuris are effectively blamed for all attacks on them and further warned to stop ruining the Pakistani name.

      No mention will be made of any mirpuri achievements and all negativity will be passed onto them. It is a serious problem, and all who know me, know that I am not anti Pakistan or Pakistani and never have been.
      But the fact remains that alot of Pakistanis from the provinces of Punjab and Sindh ( Karachi) are racist and we have not responded as we like to remain cordial. We can also respond but have not as that would be the end of Pakistani community in the UK.

      Finally Farooq you said,

      My opinion is that Azad Kashmir should remain a part of Pakistan, however I’m not forcing that view upon you, Jatt Punyal. If anyone is forcing anything it is you trying to force your opinion of my identity onto me, in a racist manner. I’m not telling you what to do as an Azad Kashmiri, I’m sharing my opinion from a Muslim point of view. You claim that I’m behaving like a Pakistani mainlander but in fact I’m behaving like a Muslim. Go and read Islamic scriptures, and literature to learn that these are not Pakistani views they are mainstream Muslim views. Those who wish to divide from other Muslims are firmly in the minority.

      Firstly I just said your an ethnic indian in Punjab Pakistan, as that is what you said earlier. There is nothing factually wrong in that statement.

      Secondly it is also clear that you knowledge of Islam is limited, and the mainstream muslim view is to have national states and not one state and that is supported by the fact that the muslims live in 80 countries as nationals happily and there is zero demand for them to form one state outside of a few nutjobs. Therefore either 1 billion muslims are now murtad or it is an accepted that the muslim view is to live in your own nation state.

      Pakistanis are not together due to religion and that is why Banglas seperated. We are together due to a general shared culture, history and geography among other things. This can be ended by racism and unfairness and that is why there are problems in Baluchistan and KPK. The mistake Pakistan made was that it thought that they can always pull out the religion card to trump all others but it will not work and that is why Turkey and Iraq have Kurd issues. To stay as one there has to be fairness, rule of law and general respect for others.

      No one here will say anything negative about Lahore or Faislabad, as they are our countrymen, no one says Lahoris are intrinsically bad as they are born in Heera Mandi. So why say Mirpuris are bad as there are less schools in Mirpur.

      So Farooq, my point is that please do not try and justify anti mirpuri comments. Please do not give them any credibility as these attacks on us are not credible.

  15. Isn’t that the problem though Jatt, we have people like Anjem Choudhary, or on the other fringe Majid Nawaz types representing us, rather than people of knowledge. It seems the media loves to give air time to the fringe lunatics of all denominations. I think all Pakistani’s, and more to the point all Muslim’s in Britain feel that they are negatively portrayed, and represented by people who do not speak for them. There are plenty of knowledgeable non sectarian Scholars the media could choose to give credence to but instead they portray fringe nutters as the mouth piece of the community. However why only mention fringe lunatics, why not mention British Pakistani’s within the media like Mehdi Hasan who are trying to portray a positive image of Pakistani Muslims. What about BBC documentary maker Adnan Sarwar who’s documentaries on Pakistan, and more recently Iraq have been quite positive.

    In the West Muslims in general are hated, and not just Pakistani’s. Largely because of negative media portrayal of Muslims for the past 17 years. Mirpuris are only a tiny proportion of the Pakistani population let alone the Muslim population so it’s absurd to even suggest that they could possibly make up the majority involved in militancy. However, I have heard one or two mainlanders suggest that Mirpuri’s were behind 7/7, and they have therefore given Muslims worldwide a bad name. The alleged mastermind of 7/7 was of Azad Kashmiri origin but out of the bombers themselves I think only one was a Pahari from Azad Kashmir. The rest were Patwaris from the Potohar, and I think one was a Panjabi from Central Panjab. However, I don’t want to get too much into the whole extremism debate because a lot of the issues in Muslim countries have been caused by ill thought out western foreign policy. To talk about this issue without recognising the elephant in the room is pointless.

    We are detracting from the real issue at hand which is domestic issues within the UK, and since 7/7 there hasn’t been any terrorist incident which can be directly or indirectly pinned on the ‘Mirpuri label’. The issues people blame Mirpuris for in 2018 are generally more to do with the grooming of white girls in northern England, and some southern areas. British Pakistani mainlanders are wrong in this regard, and you have a right to be upset with some of your fellow Pakistani’s trying to shift the blame entirely onto Mirpuris.

    I haven’t made it up there is a lot of academic research to prove this but you will just argue that it is mainlander influenced which is why I’m not linking any research. Instead I will ask you a simple question. How did a small community in a remote part of Pakistan grow to become 70 percent of the British Pakistani population, with significant numbers in towns, and cities up, and down the UK?

    My Kotli friend doesn’t hate anyone but it’s clear from his views that he differentiates himself from Mirpuris, which is exactly what you are accusing mainlanders of doing. Mainlanders blame Mirpuris for giving them a bad name, and so do some Azad Kashmiri’s, and mainlander Panjabi Kashmiri’s. Patwaris from Potohar are also involved in the blaming of Mirpuris. Therefore I’m not disagreeing with you on the point that it is wrong to entirely blame Mirpuris for all the ills of the community. However, you are limiting it to Panjabis, and Karachi people. Do you even know how diverse Karachi is? Have you ever been to Karachi? I have visited Karachi on many occasions especially when I was growing up. I stayed there for 4 months, back in days when MQM had a strangle hold in the city. Do you know that I couldn’t even speak Panjabi outside my house because it was dangerous to do so. The MQM also had their grievances but they created a climate in which in Panjabis and Pathaans were the enemies. The demographics of Karachi are continuing to change, the Pathaan, and Afghani Pashtun populations have increased further, and so have Sraiki, Balochi populations.

    Every major city in Pakistan is diverse therefore when you talk about city people being racist which ethnic group are you referring to? Also do you know anything about the actual racism in Karachi which has subsided in recent years but at its height was much worse than anything you could’ve possibly encountered in Mirpur district, or at the hands of British Pakistani’s online. Maybe this is why mainlanders are representing the Pakistani community in the UK because some Mirpuri’s seem to be ignorant about Pakistan as a country. There is no such thing as an ethnicity called Karachi people, it is made up of variety of ethnicities. Even Lahore has a large Kashmiri, and Pathaan population. Azad Kashmir has seen an influx of Pathaans, and also some Panjabis but the diversity is no where near on the level of Karachi. I think most people understand that when they say Mirpuri they mean Pahari speaking people. However this same logic cannot be applied to Pakistan’s largest city. In Panjab’s rural areas the culture is very similar to Azad Kashmir, even in some of the towns the culture, and language are very similar. So why would those people hate Azad Kashmiri’s or more specifically Mirpuris. They’ve got no reason to do so, some snobby city Panjabis may look down their nose at villagers but that is not limited to Mirpuris.

    The problem in the UK you are describing is not actual racism. This is why you do not see much evidence of it in any of the UKs Pakistani communities. Give me an example of a city or town where mainlanders, and Azad Kashmiris are segregated from each other divided by hatred. There is no such area because hatred on that scale doesn’t exist. Most of the racism is banter, Lahoris making fun of Mirpuris and vice versa. However, I agree it gets serious when people from the community start portraying one group as sub human to the mainstream. The point is that only a minority of people seem to be doing this, and largely online. Shazia Mirza is in no way representative of the British Pakistani community, and I don’t know why you’re giving her views so much credence. The two most powerful British Pakistanis in UK Politics are Sajid Javid, and Sadiq Khan. I’ve never heard of either of them trying to blame Mirpuris for any of the problems within the community.

    The problem here is that you expect mainlanders to condemn anti Mirpuri comments but refuse to condemn Mirpuris who make anti mainlander comments. I’ve heard Mirpuris make anti Lahorie, or Lahora comments. Mirpuris make a lot of the same assertions about Lahoris that Lahoris make about Mirpuris. The question is Jatt do you have the guts to admit to this, and condemn it. It seems you only want to condemn mainlanders especially those from the cities while sweeping any racist behaviour by Paharis or Patwaris, under the carpet, as Faisal said. I’m not trying to accuse anti Mirpuri prejudice I’ve already agreed it is wrong. My point is firstly it is not just Panjabis, and Karachi people, as you put it. Secondly, that Mirpuris are also guilty of racism, towards Panjabis, and Karachi people. Therefore if you seriously want to address the issue of racism within the British Pakistani community it is better to take a holistic approach rather than singling out certain groups as racist, especially when Karachi people are not even an ethnic group.

    There is no such thing as an ethnic Indian, India is a country made up of many different ethnicities, and languages. I am an ethnic Panjabi, and the people on the Pakistani, and Indian side of the border are the same ethnicity. Ethnicity does not separate East and West Panjab, religion does. Partition divided people along religious lines not ethnic lines, and Panjab was the worst affected area. If I am an ethnic Indian then so are you because once upon a time we were all Indians. However, today none of us are Indian nationals, we can have roots in modern day India but that doesn’t equate to being an Indian national. Since there is no such thing as an Indian ethnicity, your Indian point is clearly flawed.

    Jatt, Islam clearly tells us not to be divided among ourselves, and also that the Ummah is one body. So your knowledge of Islam is clearly limited, not mine. I am not arguing that Pakistan or other Muslim countries have practiced Islamic brotherhood. If you do not behave in an inclusive manner then eventually it will lead to revolution or the emergence of independence struggles. So I’m not arguing for the Pakistani elite or the elite of any Muslim country. In fact if you look at history all of these so called Muslim countries were carved out by Colonial powers. These countries might have a lot of Muslims living within them but the behaviour of the ruling classes in these countries is quite far away from the teachings of Islam. Therefore it’s not surprising that people are fed up, the point I’m making is the people in Panjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, and KPK are just as fed up as those in Azad Kashmir. However you are offering no practical solution whereas at least people like Imran Khan are trying to create a more inclusive society. Your argument seems to be British Pakistanis are racist, and mainland Pakistan is the problem, which actually achieves nothing other than to alienate your fellow Pakistanis.

    • Belated eid Mubarak Farooq Ali,

      I spoke to a couple of my friends from Kotli about the experiences you shared with us, and they would love to see these screenshots of the conversation you had with your “friend” from “Kotli”; I would be grateful if you send them to “info@portmir.org.uk” concerning “Kotli people not being Mirpuris” or claiming Mirpuris are Panjabis (“Patwaris”); it would be nice if we could talk to this person too, to confirm he exists, as we are brothers and sisters from the same region, and I don’t think there would be any harm in that?

      One of these guys is an activist friend of mine from Kotli, his family have been there since generations, (he had a chuckle when I told him your claims; I’m not trying to demean what you said, it’s just the idea is so absurd to us from this region, that it begs the question, why anyone would make such a remark in the first place? He was convinced that these are the “tactics” of the “agencies” paid to cause division between people, even as the claim would backfire given how ludicrous this particular sentiment was – I’m taking your claims face-value, and I so would be grateful if you oblige me on this request. He used this point to reprimand me, arguing that those like me from the AJK community are naive, impressionable and deluded, his exact words were, “wet around the ears”, that it is only a matter of time we learn the hard way that we have no future with Pakistan, or its British-Pakistani fraternity, except to chart our own course in the UK and AJK. I respectfully disagreed, and yet, we are still brothers from the same region, and the earth has not swallowed him or me.

      If what you say is true, I think it proves the level of self-hatred that now exists in my community, as people are running away from their own cultural backgrounds BECAUSE OF “HOW” OUTSIDERS HAVE MADE THEM FEEL due to no fault of their own. There is nothing in our Pahari, our Mirpuri culture, our rural hill/mountain culture that includes entire swathes of Pakistan/Kashmir, that predisposes us to become bad, or social outcastes, or worthy of the insults of bigoted people. Prejudice is prejudice for a reason, and bigotry is rightly condemned across the world for the false “fault lines” it creates. Bigots are intolerant not because there is some social truth to their superiority complex, but because they are arrogant people unaware of how bloated their egos are. They belittle people who are in many ways better than them, their insecurities being the basis of their outbursts.

      So you don’t think I’m attacking you, given you accept that Kotli is Mirpur and the people are the same, let me explain why I find the whole Kotli anti-Mirpur idea far-fetched; you said you have no reason to make things up about places you’ve never visited – so I accept your claim in good faith. I give the example of Sialkot and Lahore, I would have preferred Amritsar and Lahore, but because of partition, this option wouldn’t apply to you; (Sialkot is problematic because a lot of the people are from areas further north in Jammu originally, and claim to be from “Jammu & Kashmir” but they identify as Panjabis, and are Panjabis culturally speaking). No doubt you’re familiar with your ethnic homeland around Lahore? If I said to you, my Panjabi friend from Sialkot told me, in the UK, that Lahoris are not Panjabis, and he doesn’t consider them Panjabis either, would you not be dismissive too? How would you react? If I then repeated this line, again and again, how would you react? But yet you seem to be committed to promoting this “claim” about your Kotli friend, which I find strange.

      If we want to create good will between brothers, we need to accept certain facts for what they are, right from the outset. We can’t start re-configuring old places and communities because it suits our priorities, playing communities off one another, for political gain. This is the policy of “divide and rule”, and it always backfires – the colonial Brits were experts at this. Every one with integrity despises the people who operate like this. As a Muslim, as it was you who injected this ‘identity’ into our discussions, there is a verse in the Quran, in Surah Baqarah, which reads, “when it is said to them, don’t spread mischief (fasad) on the earth, they say, no, we are surely putting matters straight. Alas, they are the mischief-makers, but they don’t know.”.

      Lot’s of us on this site are committed to “not separating” as members of the same fraternity in the UK, even as we have frank conversations about our grievances, “supposed” or otherwise. Even as we disagree on the nature of Mirpuri-bashing and the direction it is coming from; we cant start making up ‘facts’ about Kotli being separate from Mirpur; similar remarks have been made about other areas in AJK even as this place is a ethnically homogenous, and has been homogenous for centuries; we are aware of the political priorities behind the attempts to divide these people under new “cultural” identities; as agents of mischief have tried to divide the ‘ethnic’ peoples of Jammu & Kashmir into illusory identities. They don’t do this for Pakistan, or India, but they insist on doing this for our “contested” region, even as we are all fed up of this conflict and want to live in peace and dignity, like other people, in our own homelands.

      Please, think about that for a moment.

      Now, to the more substantive points, to be fair to your observations

      I’ve not denied the existence of anti-Mirpuri sentiment from Patwaris, or from members of the AJK community against Mirpuris. If you can show me where I have denied this, I will retract my claim. In fact, I can’t even recall making a distinction between these groups for the purpose of my own discussion; I have been keen to expose the illusory identity-differences between “citified” Pakistanis and “village” Pakistanis.

      The key is in the word, “illusory”.

      For me, the social distinction between citified and rural Pakistanis in the UK is false, and is borne of social class anxieties on the part of the former against the latter. That is the basic premise of my argument. This distinction feeds into a false narrative that presents Pakistan’s urban spaces as the launchpad for good immigrants in the UK, whilst those that come from rural spaces, are presented, or assumed to be dysfunctional, not able to integrate with British society. Confirmation bias is sought to substantiate this illusory difference, and Mirpuris are scapegoated constantly on the basis of assumed “crimes” because of their numbers. There are no datasets that prove Pakistani crime to be the doing of Mirpuris – it’s just assumed anecdotally by British-Pakistanis. The idea is simple, citified Pakistanis don’t commit crimes, that’s more the prerogative of Mirpuris because they come from villages. I find this supposed social difference crass and offensive, not least because if British-Mirpuris, born and raised in the UK, are not citified Pakistanis, no one is a citified Pakistani in Pakistan.

      How on earth can anyone compare Pakistan’s cities to Britain’s?

      Are you going to really tell me that Lahore, a small urban area surrounded by a metropolis of shanty towns, produces en mass, enlightened people, but Birmingham doesn’t? That Lahore University is more acclaimed than Birmingham University (redbrick/Russel group) or Bradford University? Where exactly is Lahore University in international rankings? Can anyone say, with a straight face that “Lahorites” are more culturally suave than, say, individuals from Bradford? Not one northern city, or inner deprived area in the Greater London area is less affluent than Pakistan’s most thriving cities.

      Such narratives of villager/citified British-Pakistanis are based on false equivalence.

      This distinction does not curry favour with sociologists; the only people who project through it are looking for affirmation of their own social status. For all intents and purposes, they are bigots, when they go on to contribute their own voices to the growing body of “hatred” against Mirpuris.

      The people promoting these ideas in the UK, do not understand, how dangerous such ideas are, not least because even “white people” find such ideas crass and offensive. There are young Pakistanis from London, self-affirming as Pakistanis from “Lahore”, “Karachi”, “Islamabad”, lots of them are probably, originally, from rural-backgrounds who claim to be citified Pakistanis, on twitter and social media, calling Mirpuris from Bradford, Bolton, Oldham, and even Birmingham, “northern monkeys”.

      Do you think their antics endear them to the Working Class English of the North anymore than it would endear them to the Middle Class “whites” of London? You don’t see Mirpuris, throwing this in the face of the whites and saying, look at this arrogance, this is how Pakistanis from the mainland describe northerners? And yet, not a day passes, but you have British-Pakistanis pointing out the “differences” between Mirpuris and Pakistanis.

      Where is this fraternity between British-Pakistanis?

      When British-Pakistanis attack Mirpuris for being socially-backwards, they’ve begun the process of differentiating themselves. Some of the ideas they’ve been generating over the years are now entering the mainstream, and even far-right extremists are repeating such “tropes”.

      This is a clear case of “kicking the can down the street”.

      If you re-read my posts, no where in any of my posts have I used the term “hate”, that Patwaris, or Pakistanis “hate” Mirpuris. Where I have used the term “hate”, it is in the context of denying a people’s actual background, of our humble roots. We, including you from the cities in the Panjab, have humble roots, and the thousands of Pakistanis from Karachi and other cities, come from humble backgrounds. You are not the son of an aristocrat, or a Mughal Nawab, or a Rajput scion, who still possess his jagir, and has an ‘army’. We are the sons and daughters, the grandchildren of immigrants. Whether some were educated, and had money, does that make them nobility in the UK.

      For the small minority of British-Pakistanis to look down their noses at Mirpuris is the height of arrogance, and this is what I was trying to get across in my posts, not least because I have spoken to such people, who make fun of Mirpuris because they speak “Pahari”, as they can barely string two sentences in either Urdu or Majhi Panjabi – the second is a beautiful language done huge disservice to it by the very Panjabis who refuse to speak it, denying their own children, their connections to the “real Panjab” of their ancestors. It is the children of these people, who want to pass comment on Mirpur and Azad Jammu Kashmir, as they haven’t even bothered to learn about Pakistan’s wonderful cultures and peoples. So, yes we are agreed, the dimwits in the Mirpuri community who ridiculed you when you were younger, are fools, and they are no friends of mine, or anyone on this site.

      I also agree with you about social upward mobility. It is not a bad thing. It is commendable, but never at the expense of hating one’s former life, our parents and grandparents, and their forebears, to the point of pretending that one’s original peers belong to some other social group, some foreign people, whilst re-imagining one’s past.

      Of the people who now live in Lahore and Karachi, the overwhelming majority come from humble backgrounds – this is the reality of all cities across the world. People flock to cities for jobs and prosperity. To then laugh at the people who remain in the villages is just shocking. But to somehow create a ‘cleavage’ on the basis of this ‘status’ in the UK, proof of a social marker, is thus outrageous.

      We are agreed these social differences have nothing to do with ethnicity.

      I contend they are based on social anxieties, born of a false dichotomy, that citified Pakistanis are somehow more respectable than rural Pakistanis; from this seed, has grown an entire tree with enormous branches, that has given life to the slurs about Mirpuris. Mirpuris, are not a self-sustaining people, but represent an illusory identity that aspiring middle-class Pakistanis can criticise, and deploy, as proof of their own respectability.

      This has been going on for many decades.

      As for the criminal enterprises of some Mirpuris, unjust social practises, cousin marriages, domestic violence, etc., I am not denying these realities. These practises no more define my community, than they would define any other community, including yours.

      Finally, I don’t think you realise that I am not distancing myself from “Panjabis”; in my mind, the Panjab is not merely an ethnic or linguistic space but a geo-administrative space with a history that predates the emergence of the “Panjabi” ethnolinguistic identity by centuries. Even if we have commonalities with Panjabis, we still have regional differences. We are an ethnic people, separate from Panjabis – were I’m from, the hills and mountains of the western Himalayas, and not the Indo-Gangetic Plains where you’re from, no one, historically ever claimed a Panjabi ethnic identity; this is a basic fact that is overlooked by people projecting backwards into history. The colonial census material exists as does the “identity labels” when applied to the groups, the colonial Brits were categorising. This history is not elusive, it’s just people don’t understand how identities emerge, tribal, regional, geographical, ethnic, linguistic, social, caste-based etc., and how identity labels were used historically. So they want to create associations between people unaware of how people identified historically. The notion that Kashmir was some amazing place, where people lived separately, in some idyllic paradise, away from Panjabis, is another myth promoted by Hindu Pandits in India keen to separate the pro-independence Muslim Kashmiris into separate ETHNIC enclaves. These are their anxieties, not ours. Kashmir is part of “South Asia”, and the people are closely related to the peoples of the North Indian Plains as they are closely related to the peoples of the Hills. In maintaining our own identity, it is not, and never will be, at the expense of fraternity with Panjabis, not least because many of us have come from the direction of the Panjab, like you, and from regions, even further afield, although many, many centuries ago.

      Where do people think Valley Kashmiris came from? The moon? They come from the same stock as the Panjabis, and everyone else.

      Point being, we need to unite and not divide. But we won’t be able to do that if we don’t accept the grievances that exist, however we interpret them.

      I’m prepared to have this conversation with British-Pakistanis in a spirit of cordiality and mutual respect. If British-Pakistanis continue to insult Mirpuris, – the term we use is British Paharis – and insult our culture, language and family traditions, not even sparing our parents – then why are they shocked with the backlash.

      I can assure you Brother Farooq, lots of British-Paharis are having these conversations in their homes, and we’re not all ‘ignorant’, ‘poor’, or ‘uneducated’, and most of us are reconciled with the idea of Pakistan. For how long this remains the case, that’s anyone’s guess, until people less benign to the idea of Pakistan than us, take up a different cause, and the rest of us join them tired of this false “Pakistani” fraternity imposed upon us.

      The writing, my friend, is on the wall.

      • Eid Mubarak bhai, and thank you for your reply. I spelt your name wrong the first time around because I’m half way through watching the Indian movie Raees on Netflix. Not that I’m a big fan of Bollywood but I suppose this is further evidence of me being an ‘etnic Indian’ 🙂

        With the greatest of respect, I see what you’re trying to do here, you’re attempting to portray me as the enemy. All be it through the agency of your Kotli friend. Essentially you are trying to use the same tactics against me, that you believe I’m using in the discussion. To put it another way, you believe I’m the Pakistani occupier using divide, and rule, a tactic used by the British Empire in India. Therefore, you believe there is a Pakistani agenda at play on Portmir. An agenda of trying to turn Kashmiris against each other, in order to destabilise, and destroy the Azad Kashmiri awakening.

        Forgive me for the chuckle, but it’s all a bit farfetched, considering I responded to an article on a website. An article which points the finger firmly at city dwellers from mainland Pakistan. The examples I drew upon were to counteract the blame game. I’m opposed to any part of the community entirely blaming another part of the community for the ills of the whole community. Racism is a problem within the Pakistani community, and wider Muslim community. Crime, drugs, and gangs are another problem affecting our youth. However, these are not Pakistani or Muslim problems they are worldwide problems. Similarly terrorism is a worldwide problem, and appears in many different forms. So this is the angle I’m coming from, and it seems you, and your activist friend, have failed to understand this. I seek to dispel the myth that mainland Pakistanis from the cities are entirely responsible for racism within the British Pakistani community. However, since I’ve been contributing to the discussion here, I’ve noticed that none of you see me as part of the community. In fact you are all displaying a pack mentality, categorising me as the outsider. This is actually more common among British Mirpuris than you may realise, and it’s also a form of racism within the community. This could be one possible cause of anti-Mirpuri sentiment among British Asians. I’ve heard some British Pakistanis, as well as a few other British Asians, making comments to the effect that Mirpuris only like their own people. I believe there is some truth to this when looking at the community in its entirety. Obviously many individual families will be different. Based on the ‘Pakistani enemy’ label I’ve been branded with here, you are doing a good job of reinforcing this stereotype. Conveniently forgetting that my fiancé is from an Azad Kashmiri background. Obviously in the land of smoke, and mirrors, which seems to have become Portmir, this is also a tactic being used by the racist imposter, to say ‘Look I’m not racist, I’ve got black mates I’m even marrying one of your own’. This is where we fundamentally differ because I believe I’m marrying someone from a different region, not a different community. You have differentiated yourself from British Pakistanis, and believe you are a separate community. Being from a different region does not lead to automatic separation. Pakistan is a country made up of many different regions. It doesn’t matter to me if we use the old name Bare Sagheer, Pakistan, or Kashmir. The point is I believe the strength of Muslims in the subcontinent lies in their unity. One only needs to look back to 1971 to realise that the Muslims of the subcontinent never recovered from East Pakistan/Bangladesh.

        I am a Unionist of sorts, whereas the people I’m in discussion with are separatists. It’s akin to an Arab Iraqi from Baghdad trying to convince Kurds that they are in fact Iraqis. However there is one fundamental difference between the Kurdish struggle and the Mirpuri struggle. The Kurdish people are quite clearly a different ethnic group to the Arabs, they were also gassed by the Arabs. No such massacre of Azad Kashmiris by the Pakistani military has ever taken place. The Mirpuris are the closest ethnic group to the Panjabis in the whole of Pakistan. Consider that Pathaans, Sindhis, and Balochis are linguistically further from Panjabis than Mirpuris. The Mirpuris are the same ethnic linguistic group as the Patwaris from modern day Northern Panjab. The language is riddled with Panjabi words, pronounced differently. This is why mainlanders generally refuse the notion that Mirpuris are an inherently separate group of people but instead view them as villagers. To be honest I also hold the view that the indigenous inhabitancy of Rawalpindi, Mirpur, and even Kotli, speak a hill dialect of Panjabi. I respect your view that you are an altogether different ethnicity, and culture, however, it just seems illogical to me. If you listen to a Kashmiri from the valley speak, it’s clear that they are a completely separate entity from Panjabis. The same is not true of Mirpuris, and you can call it Panjabi supremacy if you wish but its plain old common sense, to me. As a Panjabi I can now understand your dialect word for word. When I was a child growing up I struggled to do so, in the same way that a kid growing up in London might struggle to understand, the Welsh, Liverpudlian, or Scottish accents. I feel the differences between Standard Panjabi, and Pahari are greater than those between Standard English, and the Scottish accent. However, I maintain the view that it is a hill dialect of Panjabi. Pakistan is a country of transitional dialects, the further you go in a particular direction, the more the language merges with another language. In this case Hindko.

        Some of the views expressed on Portmir are not yet the majority view within the British Mirpuri community. However, they are gathering pace, and may reflect the dominant view in the next 15 to 20 years. I think it all depends on the success of Pakistan as a country during that period. If Pakistan succeeds the separatist ideology among Mirpuris will subside. If Pakistan fails people will be looking to jump ship. This is human nature people don’t want to be part of a sinking ship especially when some of those on the top deck are telling you that you’re not part of the ship anyway. Therefore I understand your argument, and I respect it. Some may say I’m a dreamer but……….. I believe the people of Pakistan can be united under strong leadership. I think under Imran Khan Pakistan has a chance.

        The writing maybe on the wall for the Pakistani elite. My personal view is that there should be a plebiscite on the Kashmir issue. The people of the state should be given three options, India, Pakistan, or Independence. The fact remains that India, and Pakistan will never agree to this. We have our origins in a part of the world where any attempt at separation, leads to violence, and bloodshed. One needs to look no further than partition, Bangladesh, Kashmir, and Baluchistan, to realise this. Therefore I’m more about finding practical solutions which will benefit the people of Pakistan, and the subcontinent in general. If the Azad Kashmiri separatist movement grows. It will eventually find itself at odds with the Pakistani military, and then we will have the same problems on the Pak side as the Indian side. Let’s assume a future Pakistan withdraws from Azad Kashmir which is unlikely but a possibility. The movement will still have the Indians to contend with. The suffering of the Kashmiri people is bad enough as it is, without Azad Kashmir also being thrown into the fire.

        I have spoken to my friend about your invitation to a discussion but he refused on the grounds that he has more pressing issues to deal with than discussing Mirpur. However, he did say Mirpuris are welcome to see themselves as Kashmiris if they wish. He also said “Mirpuris are our brothers, and sisters”, while maintaining the view that Mirpuris are culturally, and linguistically different. I will send some screenshots to the email provided. It should be clear to you when reading the conversation, that it is not an elaborate plan at divide, and rule by mainland city dwellers. The conversation is largely informal text speak but you should be able to recognise the authenticity of it.

        I will respond to some of your other domestic points later on.

        • Thanks for your response Farooq.

          So there’s no substantiation.

          There’s no way of knowing the truth of your claims. But you think, I’m using the same tactics that I’m accusing you of using – doesn’t this seem a little inconsistent to you?

          So you want me to follow you in this maze, where I say something, and then you throw it back at me, where exactly is this going to lead? This is the end of this particular discussion for me, I’m happy to discuss other issues with you.

          I am however going to debunk some erroneous ideas you have of Portmir, and the whole “Panjabi” imposition.

          Portmir Foundation is a blog, we’re not ‘plotters, ‘agitators’ or part of a ‘political movement for the independence of Kashmir’. Even if I had the means, or the capacity, to pursue such an undertaking, I wouldn’t. I despise the sorts of people who behave like this, because they create toxic environments. We are sharing our ideas with likeminded people; you can agree if you want; you can disagree, but, if you say something that’s off the chart, it is reasonable for us, to respond.

          I’ve taken your words ‘face value’; I honestly believe that some of your earlier remarks were racist, I don’t think you’ve disagreed given they came through the agency of 3rd parties. But, in your mind, you’re accusing me of what you think I’m accusing you. You’re playing mind games, and there is no need for this behaviour.

          I don’t think you’re a Pakistani agent. I think I’ve said as much. My Kotli friend has his suspicions, I respectfully disagree with him on this point and on other points. I’m sure the Pakistani intelligence services would have much bigger fish to fry, than a couple of brothers and sisters sharing their thoughts with likeminded people though a UK-based website that seems to have lots of Indians, Americans reading our posts. If the Pakistanis are monitoring our activities, they should be sacked, as they’re not ‘value for money’ courtesy of all the aid money they’ve received from the US.

          So let’s not patronise one another.

          Myth No2

          You are part of our fraternity, we’re not part of your fraternity – that’s what I’m arguing. How have you missed this point?

          It is patently absurd to accuse me of racism, when we’re the victims of racist slurs – we have evidence to prove our claims. Your claims are not factual but entirely anecdotal; why should we trust your experience of conversations with people who cant help back up your claims? From an evidentiary point of view, your standard is much less than ours.

          Crucially, our people accept your people; your people don’t accept our people. Your people are citified Pakistanis. My people are Rural-folk. I didn’t create these illusory identities, your people did. To clarify, I’m not speaking about the majority of British-Pakistanis, I’m speaking about an influential minority, that has been impugning our integrity, insulting us, and distancing itself from us, at every turn.

          You have conceded this point, if it hadn’t even been up for contention.

          But, you now go one step further, and insist on imposing your “Panjabi” label on us, because of the transitional nature of Panjabi dialects, even as you’re probably aware (I don’t get the impression you are), that there is no consensus in the entire subcontinent about the exact boundaries between various dialect-continuums, and their internal dialects. So why talk about transitional dialects? But you think, your linguistic insights somehow prove your point that we are all “Panjabis”, even as the matter in contention, has nothing to do with determining the exact status of a speech-variety (linguistics), but the actual identity of the speech-community (sociolinguistics). Languages aren’t merely denotional but indexical; so I get tired of having these discussions with people who think they are experts in such multidisciplinary realities, even as they are committed to extolling political arguments under the cover of ethnolinguistic ones. You’ve just stated the obvious, AGAIN, as it doesn’t even apply to my specific arguments.

          Furthermore, do you think that’s going to create goodwill?

          But, let me entertain your proposition just for one moment, out of deference to your intellectual investiture in such issues, so those reading this exchange, don’t get waylaid by such simplistic insights.

          You now understand Pahari. You didn’t before as a Panjabi speaker.

          In your mind, (I don’t think you’re a linguist, correct me if I’m wrong), this is proof that both languages are the same, according to you. You also make the argument, that of all the communities in Pakistan, Paharis are the closest to Panjabis ethno-linguistically by virtue of their connections to Patwaris. On both counts, these arguments are flawed.

          I cite the example of Paharis who did not understand Urdu. They do now.

          Like you, without any formal learning in the language, but through exposure to the language, media, friends, they are conversant in the language. Where does this leave your argument that Pahari is Panjabi, not least because no one would make the claim that Pahari is Hindi-Urdu?

          And yet, on your second count, the culture of Hindi-Urdu speakers is as easily accessible to Pahari-speakers, not least because it is imposed on Pakistanis through Urdu-hegemony. In other words, ethno-linguistically speaking, Pahari speakers, could pass, as Urdu speakers very easily. Does this mean Paharis belong to the same ethnic group as Urdu speakers who have roots in Northern India?

          These are ridiculous arguments.

          It seems you are also unaware of the effects of diglossia in the Indic belt, sociolinguists of Indo-Aryan languages have constantly decried the multilingual nature of such societies, and yes, they included the Dardic branch of Indo-Aryan that includes “Kashmiri”. Please have a read of Masica or Cardona, to redeem yourself from such simplistic insights – you’re just repeating the tired, borrowed tropes that are being recycled over wikipedia and social media.

          On both counts, your reasoning is flawed possibly because you are committed to aggregating Paharis and Panjabis for political reasons, and thus your intentions become suspect, when you start speaking in ethnic and linguistic terms. My friend from the same fraternity as me, we are tired of these superficial claims, as they are out-dated, and it only proves, our detractors, have no other arguments.

          On a separate point, the dialect-continuum to which Panjabi belongs IS SEPARATE to the dialect-continuum to which Pahari-Patwari belongs. There is no debate on this, even as linguists had a problem with the term Lahndi (f). Where they have been considered to be dialects of the same language, by some linguists who have always pointed out that the Pahari-Patwari belt needs to be researched in greater depth, they are not saying that Pahari is a dialect of Majhi Panjabi, but rather, both these dialects, are related and descend from an older branch.

          Not one of these linguists has ever ventured into debates on ethnology, because that’s not their domain, don’t you think you’re being over-confident with your “ethnic” claims?

          In fact, colonial linguists argued that Pahari-Patwari belonged to a separate language, to which Hindko was included, called Northern Lahnda; the term western Panjabi was used to denote the area where ‘varieties’ of the Lahndi branch were spoken. I doubt you had greater competence that Grierson on this matter, even if you take Shackle’s position – if you’re aware of the ensuing discussions, but I can assure you, neither Grierson nor Shackle would dare speak about “Pahari” or Panjabi in the way you do.

          You are conflating linguistics with sociolinguistics, (ethnology) even as you seem to show a weakness in both areas of expertise, and an even lesser grounding in the history of this region in terms of how the polities emerged and how regions were mapped (cartography). To repeat, you’re not making linguistic arguments.

          YOU ARE RECYCLING tropes that need to be put to bed, once and for all.

          As for ethnic Kashmiris, I encourage you to visit the Valley of Kashmir. You may not know this, some “curious” Mirpuris have already visited the Valley of Kashmir, and they know, from experience, the desire to separate Mirpuris from Kashmiris is an essentially Pakistani (Panjabi caste-Kashmiri) and Indian (Hindu-Pandit) obsession. Side by side, Paharis have lived in the Valley with Kashmiris, for centuries; the idea that Kashmir had always been an ethnic Kashmiri space to the exclusion of other ethnic groups is a FRAUD being perpetuated by people who know nothing about the illusory nature of ethnic identities because of nationalistic claims. Speak to academics who specialise in nation state politics, and you won’t repeat these claims again, out of some desire to separate Paharis from Panjabis. Kashmiri exceptionalism has been observed, but not in the way you frame the current discussions, and I doubt you’re even exposed to such debates.

          Point being, don’t believe everything you read on wikipedia.

          But, what is this “Panjab” that you seem to obsess about as the locus of a primordial identity that binds peoples together? Have you read Alyssa Ayres, and other writers about how the Panjab idea emerged? What about Grewal? According to Spate, “Punjab” does not include the Salt Range and the Pothohar, not even the Jalandar Doab”? There are authors specialising in Panjab studies who do not make the silly remarks of our wikipedia experts, about this penumbra we call “Panjab” and “Panjabi”. The idea of greater Panjab is an illusion, it’s a projected identity. In any case, Jammu Kashmir was never included in the British version of the Panjab, and we have these experts that want to talk about the river Jhelum, being the artificial border that split the Patwar from Mirpur, completely unaware of the discussion on what constituted historical Panjab. Most geographers have never included the Pothohar Uplands in definitions of the Panjab – the British for their part, were keen to point out these differences. There’s an old book you can buy, a lot of pseudo-experts on Panjab’s history like to quote it, it’s called the history of the Panjab “HILL STATES” by Hutchison and Vogel; they are clear about the historical relationship of a number of hill tracts with “Kashmir”. There’s another colonial gem, that these “experts” like to quote entitled “A glossary of the tribes and castes of the Punjab and NWFP” by Rose”; this particular writer was keen to point out how different the Salt Range Tract was from India, let alone the Panjab, it contrasted so greatly from the “Panjab”, that this area could hardly be said to belong to India except by “geographical location”.

          The most we can say about the Panjab is that it was formed as a politico-administrative unit by Akbar, it has never been conterminous with an ethnic, or linguistic space. This is what numerous experts on the Panjab say in their works, and these people are fully familiar with the extant literature going back to the Akbarnama and the Khulasa ul-Tawarikh. Read the char bagh-e-Panjab, the first “dedicated” book to Panjab history, the author, Ganesh Das, excludes the hill tracts under the various “Raje”; how can you, as a person, coming hundreds of years later, give a definitive account of what constitutes the Panjabi “language”, even as you are unaware of what constituted the Panjab “region” geo-administratively. By reading your post, you’re repeating tropes that have been repeated constantly; where’s the originality, cant you find something new to say about the Panjab?

          On this side of the debate, we’ve been doing our homework because we are committed to understanding our region’s history as honestly as possible; I get the impression, the people on your side of the debate, have no genuine intellectual investiture in the claims they “parrot”.

          I don’t really care what the mainland Pakistan community thinks of our identity; identity labels are the product of power-dynamics, not the opinions of people who’ve never once believed in fraternity but then demand it, as proof of brotherhood. But apparently we’re the racists, and we’re accusing you of ‘unfounded’ racism. You’ve completely ignored everything that was said on the matter – you’ve hardly created any dialogue. The contributors here are people of conscience; you disagree, okay, but we’re still discussing your points.

          I think the inference is clear.

          How are Mirpuris being described by “fellow” Pakistanis – the citified Pakistanis – (an illusory identity). But all of this seems to be a non-issue for you, as you talk about “black Panjabis” (this is a major insecurity on the part of the people who think like this), “Jahil people” and “bethmeez languages”, Mirpur and Chakswari was built on drug money, Mirpuris commit most of the crimes, Patwaris have destroyed the Panjabi language etc, etc, – how can anyone repeat such offensive remarks? These words are beyond ignorance.

          Myth No3
          We’re not pro, anti, anything, we try to be intellectually honest, even as we accept we could be wrong in our opinions. You’re coming across as someone very pro-Pakistan, you seem convinced of your truth, and you’re accusing us, or me, (I can’t speak for the others), of treating you unjustly. In our posts, we have been very critical of the pro-independence Kashmiris, and we’ve said our future is with Pakistan as we can’t relive another partition, but you seem to have overlooked this. Just because we show compradore with our activist brothers from Jammu Kashmir, doesn’t mean we share their outlook for the State. If Pakistan works, its going to work for all of us, if it doesn’t, you need to blame the architects for this mess.

          Myth No4

          No one is bailing from a sinking ship. Pakistan’s treatment of AJK is abominable. There’s a reason British-Mirpuris self-affirm as Pakistanis in the UK, this is changing, noticeably, you might not be aware of it – mainland Pakistanis might not be aware of it – we are acutely aware of it. Both, Indians and Pakistanis are fighting proxy wars over Kashmir and a lot of disinformation has been generated on the Kashmir conflict – you’ve engaged in some of that here, perhaps, unwittingly – this is what irritates people from the region. You want to present a territorial conflict between India and Pakistan in ethnic terms. That is disingenuous, and we can see the agenda here; can you explain to me, how “the Kashmiris being ethnic Kashmiris, and the people of AJK, not being ethnic Kashmiris, changes the dynamics of this conflict?” If you tried, you would be laughed at, as everyone knows the Kashmir Conflict is about territory, water resources, timber, geographic location, ideology, and not ethnicity.

          The only people engaged in such disinformation are propagandists and they have been exposed; they’re not very good at propaganda either!

          But, you insist on repeating this line, and you think we’re somehow disingenuous, when you are actively conflating non-issues with the points raised here. To that effect, disinterested 3rd parties have weighed in, against Pakistan and India, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and others have exposed the Pakistani farce on AJK.

          Myth No5
          I’m not a separatist, with the exception of a few pro-independence Kashmiris on this site, two of whom are close friends of mine, and another, a caste-Kashmiri from the Panjab, believe it or not, he wants to explore his connections to Jammu & Kashmir and not this mythic identity called “Valley Kashmiri” (he too is tired of all this talk about Mirpuris not being Kashmiris) most of us are reconciled with the idea of Pakistan, so where are these “Mirpuris are not Kashmiris” anxieties coming from?

          I’m not biased, I’ve taken a position that’s quite hard to justify given the direction of travel in Pakistan; independence for AJK seems much more tenable now, AJK has a small population of young literate people; most of whom are healthy, a large diaspora, huge natural resources, a massive market by way of India – why shouldn’t we normalise relations with the Indians? Pakistan has exploited AJK consistently, and denied AJK people the right to represent themselves. We in the diaspora could become a bridge for the activists with the blessings of those giving aid to Pakistan. Pakistan seems to be imploding, the elite seems to show no concern for the masses of Pakistan; Imran Khan seems to be fighting a losing battle – the very people we have our strongest connections with, seem to be occupying a minority position in the country. So, it seems we’re on the losing side of this argument when we advocate for Pakistan, except to argue that AJK doesn’t seem ready for democracy and civic engagement on a larger scale.

          On principle, I’m against separating because group identities are illusory, including linguistic and ethnic ones (I think this is lost on you). Indians and Pakistanis constituted the same people (without minimising ethnic diversity); the Pakistani identity is not historical, it is ideologically constructed; and you think I have some ill-well against the Pakistanis when you point out that Kashmiris are ethnic Kashmiris but Mirpuris aren’t?

          You’re being inconsistent, and you don’t realise how shoddy your reasoning actually is.

          You are the one that is insisting that we are all Panjabis, even as you’ve completely ignored a whole body of knowledge that does not support, not one of your claims.

          Finally I don’t have a problem with you being an “ethnic Indian”, for me this idea makes no sense, how are you an ethnic Indian? India is landmass, a nationality, not an ethnicity. And in any case what’s wrong with being an Indian? You are a Pakistani national of Panjabi ethnic descent, where I have a problem with you, is when you impose your ethnic label on us because you’ve determined that we are all the same because you understand our language.

          You have no grounding in our experience, or even the history you extol, which means, we should be discussing other things. Pakistan isn’t just about language, geography or ethnicity, we can discuss politics if you like.

          My apologies for the length of these posts. For me this is the end of this discussion, as I don’t think we’re going to find a middle ground. Plus, we’re operating from different frames of reference, I don’t know where you’re getting your ideas from.

          • Farooq, you said none of you see me as a part of the community. That begs the question of which community, British, Brummie etc.. You are a Pakistani, but you are not a Mirpuri and so I would say you are not a part of the Mirpuri community, but are a part of our shared, British or Pakistani etc.. community.
            Also you insist that AJK which is not a part of Punjab is essentially the same as Punjab, and so by that logic they should be unified. At the same time you pose the cricket player Imran Khan as saviour for Pakistan, but that same cricket player has stated that he will be divide Punjab as southern Seraiki people are not Punjabi. As a result Punjabi hating seraiki fanatics have joined PTI. The only anti Punjabi person is Imran Khan, but you see him as a saviour.
            Now coming back to Mirpur, I would say that from my experience Mirpuris are by nature a nation who is loyal to their land and love their land, and I have found them to be the most patriotic of Pakistanis as opposed to all other ethnic/regional groups in Pakistan. Further Mirpur is the only part of Pakistan that fought and joined Pakistan voluntarily.
            The British made Pakistan and no one else, no one in Lahore or Jullunder or Ludihana made it and certainly the Bihar people never made it, they may have supported the idea but it was British who made it and gave it to them. In 1947 when Pakistan was made by the British ( the people of Pakistan may have supported it but never done a damn actual thing, and fleeing india is not actually a sacrifice as they had no choice but to run for their lives). At that time Mirpur was a part of the independent state of J&K. Mirpuris then fought and liberated their area and handed it over to Pakistan for free. Muzzafarabad, was attacked by pathans who helped it join Pakistan and so we are not sure what they want or wanted as they were forced to join Pakistan the same way J&K was forced into joining India.
            So we are the ones who joined Pakistan voluntarily and handed our area to Pakistan, otherwise in a million years Pakistanis could not take this land. After we handed over our land and joined them and agreed to share our resources with them, we realised like the Bengalis that the state was fake and Islam was a religion just used against us for others benefits, Pakistan was and is a totally corrupt basket case land.
            Still we supported Pakistan and carried on our sacrifice for Pakistan and allowed Mangla Dam to be built whereas Pathans refused Kalabagh and in the case of Warsak the Pathans demanded and got free electricity and water. We being supporters of Pakistan ignored the corruption of the state and let electricity generated from our area help Pakistani industry. In my own village electricity never came until 1995. Still we were happy to sacrifice for Pakistan and continued to do so despite the fact that we have zero infrastructure from the state of Pakistan.
            We did this because we felt that we were Pakistanis and did not blame the Pakistani people for the crimes of the corrupt people who were a minority there.
            However a line has to be drawn, for our love for Pakistan and for me that is the absolute racism that we have faced from Pakistanis in the UK.
            We did alot for Pakistan and never once did we carry our mass rallies against Pakistan in 71 years. Please note that apart from Bengalis pre 1971, the Pathans, Baluch, Muhajirs and Sindhis have all had anti Pakistan rallies inside their lands and also in the UK. PTM’s is one recent example of a rally in London.
            However I think that it is unfair for us to carry on as we have for 71 years. We owe it to our children that they should not be faced with despicable rants and hatred from Pakistanis in the UK. Why should we stay quite when no one else does, all groups are fighting for their rights and benefits and poor mirpuris are still worrying about a state whose own citizens hate and revile them more than their official enemy india. I never have heard Muhajirs of Sindh or Punjabis spew the same venom for india as they do for us. It is bizarre and unacceptable. I think that we have to open a dialogue with the people of Pakistan and in particular from the state of Punjab and Karachi city ( Muhajirs) as they are the worst offenders. I am including Potohar in this and agree that they are also major offenders involved in hate crimes. I am not blaming hate crimes on urban areas as most Punjabis are from rural areas. We need to see if Pakistanis want to address this problem in their Punjabi, Pathan and Muhajir communities or not. If not then I ask why are we wasting our time with them?
            As regards Kashmir I think for a clear approach we should also see what India is actually saying and here from them as well, all cards should be on the table so that we can decide which way we should act. One more point I wanted to make was that religion must NOT play a part in this, the reason is that their is no Ummah and no Islam, no muslim country on the planet has ever supported Pakistan or Kashmiris and in fact Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, and even the Palestinians supported India against Pakistan and so there goes that biggest myth of the century the muslim Ummah. So lets re evaluate what we want and then act.

          • Raees,

            I’m familiar with the work of Irish linguists such as Grierson, however I do not need to base my opinions solely on the work of outsiders. I have my own mind, and can form my own opinions, while at the same time respecting the views of others, and even agreeing with their views, at the same time maintaining my own. This may seem bizarre to you but my views are transitional just like the flow of language in Pakistan. My views can flow back and forth because we live in a world where everybody has to be right, we are all human beings, and many a time we are wrong. I’m not Irish, I’m from the subcontinent, and I don’t need to be a linguist to see the similarities between Urdu, Panjabi, and Pahari. Learning another language like Pashto, for example, is a lot more difficult. Although I can understand some Pashto words, understanding, and speaking the language, is a whole different ball game. I would like you to ask yourself how it is that a British born English speaker of Panjabi origin, and proficient in Urdu can now understand, and speak your dialect. I have been able to pick it up all by myself, while not being able to do the same with Sylheti Bengali or Pashto despite being exposed to both. The differences between Panjabi, and Pahari are in the pronunciation of words. Also in the sounds certain words start with or end in. There are actually very few words within the Pahari dialect which are entirely different from Urdu, and Panjabi. If you believe you speak an entirely different language that’s fine by me but most of the subcontinent will disagree with you, despite the work of western linguists in the region.

            I do not discount your view that I displayed prejudice during this discussion. However, I also hold the view that you, Jatt, and Faisal, have displayed prejudice. There is some truth to all of our arguments but also some falsehood. I just want to point out that I’m not from Birmingham, Jatt. I live in the South of England, where everybody ‘speaks posh’, and lives in mansions, while all you northerners live in caves. Well at least that’s the stereotype right? It’s the same in Pakistan so I don’t know how you can blame village Panjabis for hating Mirpuris. It is the city dwellers but it’s not racism it’s snobbery in my view. Just like Londoners look down their nose at northerners or areas north of Watford. I’ve got no problem with Raees’s snobbery argument. It is when he conflates it with racial discrimination, and makes it a city dweller monopoly. Racism is not the monopoly of any particular city. However if your argument is that city dwellers look down at villagers, then I agree with this. It’s the same in most of the known world, just like first world countries looking down at third world countries. The wealthy looking down on the poor, which is particularly common in India, and Pakistan, I might add.

            I agree that my claims are anecdotal but if someone calls you a ‘Paki’ in the street tomorrow, can you prove it? A lot of people recount incidents of racism, and that is how we come to know about such racism. You can’t always prove incidents of racism which happen in the real world. In fact a lot of the discrimination which takes place in the workplace is indirect racism. Indirect racism is very difficult to prove. So your argument that experiences of racism do not count in the discussion, is clearly false. You claim to have superior documented evidence but a lot of these comments are online. It could quite easily be the work of Indians pretending to be Pakistani, in order to cause division, or the far right. I know you claim it’s only a minority of British Pakistanis but others on here claim it’s the vast majority, and are further emboldened by your article.

            Take a look at this on a Sikh forum, the commentators are all Sikhs, and engaging in Mirpuri bashing https://www.sikhsangat.com/index.php?/topic/76020-pakistani-punjabis-or-mirpuris/

            How about this, a Mirpuri person slating their own people on an internet forum https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=4629302

            So as you can see online Mirpuri bashing is not limited to Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad people, from Greater London. There are a variety of people who hold these views which they seem to have formed within the UK. I have not heard such views being widely expressed in the cities of Pakistan. In the cities they use the term ‘gow waale’ and ‘jungli’ which are all encompassing terms, not limited to a specific area.

            It seems that the three of you are more than willing to accept my claims about British Pakistanis making anti Mirpuri comments. However, any mention that a Kotlian has made anti Mirpuri comments, and all manner of accusations fly in my direction lol.

          • Raees

            It is for you to decide what your identity is, and you have wrongly interpreted my posts as trying to force a Panjabi identity upon you. My argument is this that we share a commonality in language and geography but I have never argued that we are the same. If you read my posts carefully I point out the differences between Central Panjab, and the Potohar repeatedly. In Pakistan, the are around Rawalpindi is referred to as Potohar, and most Pakistanis understand that the Panjabis, and Urdu speakers living in Islamabad, and Rawalpindi are in fact immigrants. The indigenous people of that region are Patwaris or Potoharis. The point is that we should focus on our similarities rather than our differences to maintain unity as Muslims within the subcontinent. You are confusing nation states with the Muslim population. When we talk about the Muslim Ummah we are talking about individual people, and not the corrupt despotic rulers who hold power within majority Muslim regions of the world. We have to recognise our Muslim identity just as the Hindus recognise their Hindu identity. India was divided along religious lines, and therefore the conflict in Kashmir is a religious issue for most people in the subcontinent. This is not about the religiosity of persons but identities. I’m not arguing that Mirpuris are Panjabi although I know some Indians, and Pakistanis argue this. My argument is that we share commonality, in language, and culture, despite being from a different region. I have never argued that Mirpuris are not Kashmiri, and have no right to call themselves Kashmiri. Most of my points have been in the context of explaining that it is not only British Pakistani’s from the cities who make anti Mirpuri statements. A minority of Kashmiri’s seem ot be involved in this as well. Unfortunately you have equated this with the propaganda of some of our online trolls of subcontinental origin who make the claim that Mirpuris are the low caste people of Panjab. However, I do not share such views, I’m in favour of commonality, and unity because unless we focus on our commonalities separation is inevitable. However, I’m not necessarily talking from a nationalistic point of view but from a point of view of unity among peoples that share the same religion, and culture. Essentially that which unites us, is stronger than that which divides us, and this is the antidote to any racist ideology, from wherever it may come.

            As far as defending the Mirpuri community online is concerned, I have done so, but do not feel it is relevant when attempting to respond to the article. On Eid I defended Mirpuris from the usual stereotypical “oh jere Mirpurie hunde” comments which have passed the dinner table test among British Pakistani circles. However, I have heard similar comments about Lahoris made in British Pakistani Pahari circles. I’m not a Pakistani unionist, and I’m not naive enough to believe that all Muslims are holding hands, and living happily ever after. I believe that to oppose the threat of the far right in the west, and Hindu nationalism in the subcontinent, we must remain united, regardless of the behaviour of the Pakistani state. I do not agree with the actions, and behaviour of the Pakistanis on a state level, and haven’t done so for many years.

          • Farooq Ali,

            You have said that stereotypes about a community can only be made once it has grown to an extent that opinions of it can be formed. This was one of your main arguments for why Pakistanis stereotype Mirpuris.

            Now you are claiming that Mirpuris are doing the exact same thing about Lahoris.
            Does this not call into question your reasoning?

            Furthermore, you have implied quite a few times that Mirpuris stick to their own and don’t mix with other communities, “only like their own people”.

            How then can you say that Mirpuris sit around making Lahori jokes if they are insular and it requires major exposure to a community for stereotypes about that community to be formed.

            It seems you want to have it both ways.

            When you want to make a point about unity and brotherhood, you point out how Pakistanis and Mirpuris get along so well in the real world..

            However, when you feel like you are being attacked because we disagree with your arguments, your claim Mirpuris have a “pack mentality”, “only love their own” etc etc.

            First of all, “pack mentality” was a poor choice of words since you already admitted your people see us as “Janglee”. The connotations was quite apparent for all to see.

            Secondly, why shouldn’t Mirpuris love their own? It’s not like we are getting a lot of love from Pakistanis.

            Also, I don’t see you as part of the community. Every other group whether that’s Punjabi, Gujrati, Tamil or Bengali identify by their ethnicity. They may well love their country but if you ask them what they are they say will say they are first “punjabi, gujji, tamil, bengali..” Not indian, Bangladeshi, or srilankan.

            This is regardless of their religion. My sikh friend used to call me ‘Punjabi Muslim’ and not Pakistani. Now he calls me Kashmiri, but that’s a different story.

            It’s only Pakistanis that have a knack for self-identifying with a constructed identity like ‘Pakistani’.

            You are a Punjabi, and we are British Pahari. Be proud of your indigenous culture, language, people, and not the false histories,culture and languages of other peoples which was imposed on you.

          • Faisal ji, banda ban yera. That’s Panjabi but you understand me right? Banda ban means the same thing in your dialect, which is why you understand me perfectly well. Lahore chalie? You understand me right? Because in your dialect it’s exactly the same word pronounced Lahore julie. Ala instead of acha again hardly any difference. Acho instead of aja or ajow, what about usni instead of uski or odi. Gaddi ni service karasi instead of Gaddi di service karani. You can try to divert away from the reality with as many claims to be different backed by handpicked studies as you like but the fact still remains the actual dialect of Pahari is a variation of Panjabi, which is also backed up by studies, and research. Stating clearly that these are hill dialects of Panjabi, and not altogether separate languages, which is probably why your Sikh friend initially thought you were Panjabi. Standard Panjabi is spoken by the majority, and dialects are spoken by a minority. It’s not racist to claim that you speak a dialect, just like it’s not racist to claim that the Birmingham accent is a regional accent.

            No it doesn’t call my reasoning into question because I already stated to you that it is banter not racism. The Lahori (Central Panjabi) community is hardly small in the UK, it is the second largest grouping after Paharis, and Patwaris. There is no serious level of hate on either side, and I’m suspicious that some of these online racists are in fact Indians. I’m sure a minority are British Pakistanis but some of the online comments I’ve read seem dubious. There is of course an element of blame shifting which I’ve already alluded to. Mirpuris are now attempting to stereotype Lahoris in the same way that Lahoris stereotype them. This might have something to do with some mainlanders trying to blame Mirpuris for the ills of the community. However I’ve noticed Mirpuris stereotype Lahoris rather than all British Pakistanis from the mainland. Such divisive mentality between Mirpur, and the rest of Pakistan is still a minority held view, even though you argue it’s the majority. I remember a guy from Birmingham referring to me as a ‘Paki’ online some years ago, and claiming to be a proud Kashmiri. I laughed at him, and said speak for yourself, what do gore call you, to which he had no answer so resorted to swearing.
            You take idiots online too seriously, most of them are trolling for amusement purposes, and others are just bored. Furthermore, I posted two links above of online Mirpuri bashing where the perpetrators are Sikhs, and Mirpuri but you’ve got nothing to say about this. It only interests you when the perpetrators are British Pakistani’s from the mainland because anyone else doing it doesn’t fit with your agenda. Therefore the links above have been completely ignored in your response, and my Kotli friends statements are apparently lies, and the plotting of Pakistanis.

            Mirpuris do mix with other Pakistanis, and even Indians and Bengalis but they like their own people better. This is because Azad Kashmir is a very clan orientated rural area where people feel comfortable among their own clans from their villages, and surrounding areas. Outsiders are seen as the other, and therefore Azad Kashmiris in general tend to be a bit funny with outsiders until they get to know you. However I’ve seen this behaviour in other Asians as well so it’s not limited to Azad Kashmiri’s.

            I never said they get along so well, there are clearly differences but on the whole there is mixing, and interaction as one community. However, you reject this one community notion but can’t give me any examples of separate communities within the real world Pakistani communities of Britain. Even in Birmingham where separatist ideology is probably at its strongest there is no evidence of widespread segregation between mainlanders, and Azad Kashmiris. You say this is because Mirpuris are docile, and basically turn the other cheek but this is not my experience of Mirpuris. Mirpuris are not the type to take racial abuse lying down, and still mix with the perpetrators.

            “Also, I don’t see you as part of the community.”

            This is part of the problem Faisal, you invite me to join with you in defence of Mirpuris but clearly state that I’m not part of the community. Sikhs Tamils, and Gujaratis can’t have a conversation with each other in their own language. Unlike Panjabis, and Kashmiris in the UK who regularly have conversations in Panjabi, and Pahari respectively. Also these groups you mention strongly identify as Indian with the exception of Tamils because they are of course not Indian! They are a subjugated group within Sri Lanka. The same cannot be said for Mirpuris in Pakistan.

            I have multiple identities, I’m British, Pakistani, Panjabi, Karachite, and most importantly Muslim. Once I forge links with a Pahari family through marriage that will also be a part of my rich cultural identity. I don’t need to isolate myself of on a piece of farmland, and pretend neighbouring areas are nothing to do with me, and my culture, despite the obvious similarities.

          • Faruq jee, “takki talli paani ba’ murri-ah?”

            Translate that into Panjabi first, and then into English please? I don’t know why, but you don’t strike me to be speaking eastern Panjabi – from areas where you said your parents came, you seem to be speaking the ‘variety’ spoken in Gujrat as it transitions into the ‘variety’ spoken in Mangla/bhimbar area. Which dialect of Panjabi did your parents speak? Do your parents actually live in Lahore? There’s something fishy about you?

            In any case, I don’t think you understand the whole diglossia, triglossia point I made? Neither do you understand the dialect-continuum point, nor the difference between language as a means of communication and language as a means of group identity; it’s clear you’ve no exposure to such ideas. So why are you adamant on repeating the same points, literally repeating the same points, again and again? Sometimes, it’s good to reappraise what it is you actually believe.

            You’ve now ventured into talking about dialects of majorities and minorities; turning dialects into a purely numbers game! There’s no point me explaining to you why that idea is so stupid. You haven’t counteracted my point about the ambiguous definitions of the Panjab, clearly you’re unaware of the chronology of how the idea of the Panjab identity emerged; to help you out, the metaphor came first, then the geography, then the politico-administrative unit, and then the “Greater Panjab” equated with the territories of Ranjit Singh, re-configured by the British further, and then the linguistic identity. I would be grateful if you could explain to me how a land of five rives has four “doabs”? Don’t you think you’re taking the metaphor of the Panjab, a bit too literally in your desire to force us into your “Panjabi group identity”, even as you’ve insisted that you’re not doing that!

            So you think, differences between Panjabi and Patwari, “Pahari”, Hindko, Dogri, etc., are merely in pronunciation; you said in the “ending of words”; you don’t think there’s any difference in syntax, morphology, etc?

            You’re not adding anything new. You’re just contradicting yourself now. I feel like we’re back in this maze of yours, as you’re repeating the same directions, by emphasising the words in different regional accents, as proof of your linguistic mastery of the map. I think that’s an apt metaphor for what’s happening here.

            I believe I have adequately debunked your “primordial” take on “Panjabiyat”; would you like me to repeat my arguments again, I could change the colour of the fonts?

            Seriously brother Farooq, on a serious point, how are we going to move this discussion further? It’s as if you insist on driving the car forward whilst demanding the car also be placed in reverse gear.

            This is just getting ridiculous now.

            BTW, don’t be so dismissive of linguists, and sociolinguists – (are you aware of the difference?), when appraising the relationship of speech varieties, it’s as if you’re a die-hard Pakistani nationalist with the crescent and star stamped on your forehead – I don’t get the impression you are, I think your intentions are sincere, but you’re going about this the wrong way. Are you are aware it was the British who began the process of writing the grammars for the “Indian” regional languages – the linguistic identities came afterwards. Are you aware of this history? I don’t think you are. Are you aware of how languages are standardised and how they become standards – and the ensuing linguistic group identities usually connected with dominant groups?

            This is the end of the discussion, is there anything else you would like to add? Please don’t repeat the whole Panjabi argument again!!! As for the links, oh dear, they prove what we’re saying, but you’re also arguing the claims are banter.

          • Farooq Ali,

            So sorry brother, I didn’t see that post of yours. I only saw the one underneath it.

            I’ll surely give it a read later on.

  16. Farooq Ali,

    I find it really odd that you don’t seem to be concerned about online Mirpuri bashing at all, except to now say that racism is being practiced by both sides “in the real world”. I did entreat you to join hands with our community as a gesture of good will and condemn prominent fellow Pakistanis online who are purveyors of this type of behavior but you completely ignored that and now you are saying we must first condemn Lahori bashing before you do anything about Mirpuri bashing online. In other words there is no genuine fraternity between our two communities. I’ll scratch your back and then you’ll scratch mine. I do condemn Lahori bashing in the real world by Mirpuris and please do send me a link where this is happening online and I’ll be sure to send them straight…

    My “analysis” which twice you have said was correct was not in favor of you but an indictment of your mindset. You’ve been accusing everyone but yourself of having an ‘agenda’, but you’ve now basically admitted to having one yourself. Your not honestly relaying your experiences with persons you claim to know from AJK, but are “overemphasizing”, and probably exaggerating these dialogues you had with them to fit your narrative that AJK persons are just as bad as those from the mainland. These experiences of yours can now be dismissed without further inquiry.

    We know there is massive amounts of literature, whether print or online and now in the mainstream misrepresenting our community. It is the authors hypothesis that this is a majority city dweller phenomenon. I believe this is not an unreasonable inference and neither do you with your previous comments about them seeing Mirpuris as ‘Janglees’ and in your recent post you said “some snobby city Panjabis may look down their nose at villagers but that is not limited to Mirpuris.” As you well know, Villager-Pakistani in the Brit-Pakistani community is synonymous with Mirpuri and so when they are venting their frustration at Mirpuris and their ‘Janglee’ ways they are really talking about all Pakistanis from a village background. It’s the same way the BNP was getting called racist for using “Asian” all the time and so changed their language to “Muslims” and therefore became more mainstream. Similarly, the city dwellers have used the word Mirpuri in order to not alienate their village brothers from the Punjab and this has allowed their views to become more mainstream in the Brit-Pakistani community.

    In regards to some commentators calling you an ‘Indian’ because you are a Mohajir Punjabi. I won’t call you an Indian. That is beneath me.
    I will say this though, I have Pakistani friends from various different backgrounds and THEY call your people Indian. Not me though, I don’t do it, they do it.
    In fact they talk so much shit about your community that I can probably write a ten thousand word essay online about all the stereotypes and bigoted views they hold about your community.
    No, I didn’t get these impressions about your community from google. I have nothing better to do then to ask all my friends and relatives their views about your people and they all just happen to be massive bigots and racists.

    Not me though. I’m not a racist. My fiance is Mohajir Punjabi.

  17. Faisal,

    I think that we all know that the anti Mirpuri views are mainstream among Pakistanis and they do not think twice in insulting and defaming us. They know that there will be no come back and the other Pakistanis will just concur with their views and agree that Mirpuris are the only reason why Pakistanis are backwards and poor in the UK. Sadly these views are so deeply entrenched that changing them will be hard. About 22 years ago I knew some pakistanis who were hardcore Khalifah nutcases and they used to preach about Islam and the establishment of the Khalifah. They said asabiyyah is haram etc.. and yet they never thought twice in defaming mirpuris for being inbred and poor scum, when I pulled the chap up on it, he said oh they are all brelwis, in the hope that this would excuse and justify his views, as he thought that I was maybe deobandi ( BTW I am not interested in their religious nonsense). My point is that the despicable nature of the Pakistanis is so embedded in their minds that it will be as hard to change as it is to change their anti indian views. They hate us on par with indians.

    • Jatt,
      The future is bleak. Farooq Ali thinks Mirpuris are all becoming educated and therefore this problem will go away in 30 years. So he does blame Mirpuris for the current situation and thinks we’re “playing the victim” when we point out there is a big problem with this one sided scapegoating of Mirpuris by mainlanders.

      In the future there will still be problems in our communities both AJK and Pakistanis regardless of education and money. Whose going to have to take the bullet for all these problems?

      The majority of course. Mirpuris will continue to be the majority in the future.

      Therefore by not acknowledging this is a problem we must tackle now and comparing it to “racism” he faced by individuals from Mirpur he is definitely downplaying the situation we now face…

  18. Farooq

    You said
    The problem in the UK you are describing is not actual racism. This is why you do not see much evidence of it in any of the UKs Pakistani communities. Give me an example of a city or town where mainlanders, and Azad Kashmiris are segregated from each other divided by hatred. There is no such area because hatred on that scale doesn’t exist. Most of the racism is banter, Lahoris making fun of Mirpuris and vice versa.

    It is actual prejudice and hatred. The reason that the communities are not segregated is due to the generosity of Mirpuris, as if we launched a campaign of equal hatred and attacks on Pathans or Muhajirs or Punjabis I am sure they would never want to meet or befriend us. Also show me the anti Lahori attacks by mirpuris, you can see the anti mirpuri hate, but I cannot see an anti Lahori or Muhajir campaign.

    • Farooq,
      I have read Sikh Sangat and there are a few Sikhs on it talking about Mirpuris and some are from Canada and asking who are Mirpuris, and the respondents in the UK are I can gather from London and probably from Southall and are using second hand hearsay evidence, so one Mr Singh GGG says:
      My pakistani mate from Gujar Khan told me that 90% of pakistanis are mirpuris and he said his people dont really like them, although he has a lot of mirpuri friends lol
      So we know where these Sikhs get their evidence from. Most are told by Pakjabis that the Mirpuris are scums and the ones to avoid. The Pakistanis feel so proud that they are able to warn the poor Sikhs from the dangerous Mirpuris. Also in front of Sikhs no Pakjabi ever talks of religion and are busy in Paaji, Paaji Kidhan, lets go for a glassy. It is the usual nonsense. Once a Sikh told me that he had a friend from Pindi who said Sikhs and Muslims get on well, only Mirpuris are the ones that hate you Sikhs. But in truth it was Pakjabis who found Sikh in Punjab and had nothing to do with us.
      I can tell you that in the UK Paki was a swear word, used by the far right and in 1990 a University professor went to Sweden a land with few migrants at that time and hardly any Pakistanis but the professor stated that even the far right there adopted the language of the more developed UK right wing and said Pakis out. One month ago in Al Jazeera there was a report that the blacks attacked some shops in the Black township areas of South Africa and said Pakis out and burn the paki shop. All the shopkeepers were Somalis and Ethiopians. This Paki word has now been popularised on the planet thanks to the Far right.
      Similarly Sikhs and Afghans and others will now talk of Mirpuri as this word has been popularised by the Paki far right from Punjab and Karachi. The words of the authentic Pakistanis holds weight and all Sikhs and others quote them for their views on Mirpuris. Mirpuri hatred has been started by Pakistanis from Punjab and Karachi and they have been the main propagators of the same while at the same time having us as friends as has been confirmed by Mr Singh in his post. Most Pakistanis do not realise that when they tell Sikhs that they hate us the same Sikhs see them sucking up to us and also calling us Paaji and so Sikhs know that Pakjabis are in fact munafiqs. Anyway we can talk till the cows come home but I do not see any Punjabi or Karachite unequivcoably and without reservation condemning these racist attacks.
      Also Farooq, I am not so bothered to be united with these Pakistani haters against the far right in the UK, as I know you guys are the ones backing the far right up online and supporting their views by agreeing that Mirpuris are the bad guys. As regards the Hindu right in the Indian Sub continent they are not my problem as I am not from Gujarat or UP and so far have not been insulted by them. I think Mirpuris should worry about what is happening to them and not let these haters now side track us with religious nonsense.

  19. Faruq jee, “takki talli paani ba’ murri-ah?”

    Paharo thaali paani neeche lya ke mur-ay

    She brought a bucket of water down from the hill, and came back.

    My Nani was from Gujrat Reiss, but her parents were from Amritsar. My Nana was studying in Lahore at the time of partition. My mother was born in Lahore after partition, and lived in Panjab until her early teens when the family moved to Karachi. My father grew up in Greater London but kept links to Pakistan and spoke fluent Panjabi as well as Urdu. My father’s side of the family are mainly settled in the UK, Canada, and America. Some are still settled in Central Panjab and some of those who served in the Army, and Navy are settled in Rawalpindi. Our ancestors lived in what is now Indian Panjab, all of their land, and property was lost during partition, and some family members were killed including women. Only a sick individual would make up such claims, I’m disappointed that you think I’m lying about my ancestral origins. The accusations of lying are getting out of hand now, and need to stop. I have not accused anyone on here of lying but it seems as though these accusations are being directed towards me on a regular basis.

    The Panjabi wording I’ve used on here is not a dialect it’s the Panjabi we all speak with the exception of the term ‘yera’ which is used instead of ‘yaar’ or ‘yaara’ in Rawalpindi, Gujrat, Jhelum, and other northern areas in modern day Panjab province. If you want to get into specifics based on geographical location, I guess my father spoke Doabi, and my mother speaks Majhi. However I could hardly tell my mother, and fathers Panjabi apart, and both sounded polite, and cultured in Panjabi.

    Maybe I haven’t understood your diglossia, triglossia point because you haven’t previously mentioned it in such terminology. My understanding is that Potwari/Pahari is an informal dialect of Panjabi, although my point of view could be wrong. Neither is the point of view a sly attempt at insulting the Pahari community. In the Pakistani context Panjabi is also seen as an informal language as compared to Urdu. They will listen to Panjabi songs, and enjoy Panjabi creativity but at the same time claim Panjabi is a Jahil badtameez language. This is especially true of Karachi but has also spread to other cities in Pakistan, and Azad Kashmir. I have experienced this in Karachi as a Panjabi, and therefore I understand the Portmir point of view to some of extent. A lot of young people of our generation in Pakistani cities, are abandoning their Panjabi roots, and only seem to speak Urdu, and Americanised English. Speaking Panjabi is seen as somewhat uneducated, and even comical these days. Also the stereotypes of being hot headed, criminal (badmaash) are associated with Panjabis in Pakistan. Even though the largest group of Pakistanis are Panjabi, and most people accuse Panjabis of having too much power in the country, it’s clear that the Panjabi language, and culture is being denigrated. I’ve also heard Pahari people in the UK claiming Panjabi is a badtameez language. Stereotypes they’ve picked up from the Pakistani mainstream where Urdu speakers of all ethnicities, are pushing this narrative. It’s funny how Pakistan looks down at Panjabi but the Urdu Mohajirs, Urdu Panjabis, Pathaans, and Patwaris, are all dancing to Panjabi music.

    I do not consider standard Panjabi a dialect because it’s spoken by the majority, and is the same in most parts of Central and Southern Panjab, and as far north as Jhelum. Even in Jhelum there are many Panjabi speakers who speak standard Panjabi rather than Pothwari. For example my friend’s father speaks the same Panjabi as we do with an accent variation. Similarly another Jhelum friend speaks Panjabi with the odd Pothwari word included. However there are yet more Jhelum friends who seem to be speaking a dialect similar to Pahari while claiming to speak Panjabi. I’m not sure why this is the case, my only explanation is that Jhelum is an area where standard Panjabi, and the Pothwari dialect merge. Perhaps you could shed some light on this issue for me. What you have in the plains of the Panjab are accent variations but once you enter into Potohar the dialect is Pothwari Panjabi. There might be some Sikh dialects in Eastern Panjab which are different to standard Panjabi. I’ve found some Sikhs, speaking the same Panjabi as us, and others speaking a rough style of Panjabi which is difficult to understand. However, I’m not sure about the name of this dialect, and haven’t researched it.

    I understand your point that you believe Potohar was historically a separate region to the Panjab. However, I can also state that Mirpur was historically part of the Panjab. You are basing your argument on the opinions of others. So, and so considered this, and this was not considered that based on the opinions of x. However if you look at the actual borders of the Panjab province it not only includes Potohar but also included Mirpur historically. I’ve noticed that you also hand pick from the works of others, statements which suit your agenda. The reason I haven’t been able to respond to this properly is because of time constraints. I’m guessing your day job is related to your work on Portmir.

    “The classification of the northern “Lahndi” cluster has been problematic. Masica (1991:18) writes, “In the broken hill country to the north of the Salt range are the more diverse dialects of ‘Northern Lahnda’, Grierson’s pioneering subclassification of which most experts agree is particularly unsatisfactory.” For instance, Grierson’s classification does not show the close relationship between Punjabi and Pahari (or “Lahndi”).this:”

    “Kashmiri is preferred equally with Punjabi for participants in Mirpur. It is difficult to know whether Punjabi indicates Punjabi spoken farther south in the plains or the language spoken in Mirpur, since some participants in Mirpur call their mother tongue Punjabi.”

    “Participants in other areas seemed to prefer the local languages. In Murree, the most common response was Pahari. Abbottabad galliat (AG) participants commonly reported Hindko and Pahari—about a third each responded with Hindko, Pahari, and Urdu. Most likely, they gave these two language names since participants from the surveyed area in the Abbottabad galliat are on the borderline: some call their mother tongue Pahari and some call it Hindko. In Mirpur, there is a clear preference for Punjabi (47%).”

    http://www-01.sil.org/silesr/2010/silesr2010-012.pdf

    This research clearly demonstrates that a lot of people in Mirpur claim to be speaking Panjabi, which is also the case in Jhelum I might add. It’s clear why they are making such claims because Pothwari is a dialect of Panjabi, and I cannot tell the difference between Pothwari, and Pahari. You have also maintained that the Pothwari people of the Potohar, and Mirpur city are the same as the Pahari people of the Mirpur district.

    Finally, I will attempt to debunk your British Pakistani racism myth once and for all. You seem unable to decipher between racism in the British understanding, and in the Pakistani understanding. The British Empire invaded most of the known world, and had it not been for this, it’s unlikely we would be in the UK today. So in the first instance Britain went to other lands treated those people as inferior, and later invited them to the UK to rebuild the country with every intention of later, kicking them out. It is in this context that racial discrimination emerged as a problem within the UK, once people started settling with their families. Pakistan is a relatively new country, and although the people are divided by language and geography they are also accepting of each other. The different ethnicities of Pakistan will invite you into their home, and offer you whatever food they have in their house. Racists in the UK will not even sit next to you let alone invite you into their house. This is the difference which you do not seem to be able to grasp despite claiming to be a Sociologist. I’ll give you an example, I’ve got an Uncle in Manchester who claims to like the city better than Bradford because in his view Manchester has a Panjabi atmosphere whereas Bradford has a Mirpuri atmosphere. His wife, my Aunty, made the point that his sister is married to a Mirpuri. Uncle started laughing, and said his brother in-law is a very nice guy. I then asked Uncle, if he’s a nice guy what’s wrong with the others, and Uncle began smiling and said at the end of the day “assi saare phen pra hege”. I think this is a great line to end the discussion on, and despite our difference of opinions it’s been a pleasure. Thank you for your time brother Reiss.

    Jatt Punyal I will respond to your post later.

    • Brother Farooq,

      You said,

      “I’m disappointed that you think I’m lying about my ancestral origins. The accusations of lying are getting out of hand now, and need to stop. I have not accused anyone on here of lying but it seems as though these accusations are being directed towards me on a regular basis.”

      When I said, “there’s something fishy about you”, I meant that in jest. I should have put “lol” after that remark. I was trying to say you seem obsessed with this whole “Panjabi” thing, that from Lahore you’ve now moved to the variety spoken in Gujrat to prove your point, even though you’re not from there – in other words, how far are you going to go to make your point? I was trying to say you’re being obsessive. I’m sorry if I offended you. That was not my intention, and I apologise sincerely.

      I hope you are aware, that I consider “you” from my fraternity; to reiterate, your people don’t consider my people from your fraternity – again, I’m referring to the illusory social-class divide between British-Pakistanis and Mirpuris. That’s the point I’m making Farooq, and I’ve given you ample reasons, in the post and in the comment sections. I think you are being stubborn in your refusal. You’re reducing everything to “some harmless banter, some Pakistanis fooling around”, “oh don’t worry about it, don’t take it too seriously, it’s just some misplaced fun”. In doing so, you reject our grievances.

      The good thing though, you’ve finally moved the debate further, slightly though.

      Couple of things from the outset, stop being sarcastic; again, I apologise for my own sarcasm, I was a little frustrated with the lack of progress on this discussion.

      I’m not pretending to be a sociologist and you haven’t debunked anything. I wish I could devote more time to Portmir, that’s why I’m writing this response so late in the night.I’m exhausted as it is.

      Your “Panjab” point again. No one in Mirpur has ever considered themselves to be “Panjabis”. How did you get to this point? We are reading the same texts, are we not? You’ve misunderstood the statement, “In Mirpur, there is a clear preference for Punjabi (47%)” – (btw where in Mirpur does this 47% apply, on the Kharri Plains, the areas around Bhimbar, or the hills to the north? Naming a speech variety, is not the same thing as self-affirming through an identity-label by way of ethno-genesis. This is what you’ve failed to understand throughout our discussions; linguistic analysis is very different from sociolinguistic analysis; the two considerations are not the same, even as they overlap to some extent. You’ve completely overlooked this factor in your obsession to impose a Panjabi identity on the people of AJK because, in your mind, ‘you think’ you understand completely the dialect(s) spoken in AJK. Also, I get the impression, you don’t understand what the writers are saying, but you are accusing me of being selective – please re-read what I said in previous comments when I tried to explain to you, Pahari (‘Lahndi’) is not a dialect of (Majhi) Panjabi MSP, these are separate branches of an older dialect which we also call “Panjabi” on account of the geography/region where these languages were spoken. This does not mean they are the same language – the paper you cite, the authors have this to say,

      “The Pahari-Pothwari [language] complex includes three major but mutually intelligible [dialects]: Pahari, Pothwari and Mirpuri. Those speaking the latter, Mirpuri, also refer to their language as [Pahari]. The actual names used have some variation among speakers, but we will begin by defining the area covered by each dialect.” And you’re talking about this branch being the exact same language you speak, being a [dialect] of [standard Panjabi]? lol Why aren’t they calling it the Panjabi language then if they thought like you? I’ll tell you why, because they are engaged in sociolinguistic analysis???

      To this effect, “takki talli paani ba’ murri-ah?” doesn’t mean “Paharo thaali paani neeche lya ke mur-ay”, translated into English by you as “She brought a bucket of water down from the hill, and came back.” It means “go down the slope/escarpment, fetch the water (get water/collect it), and return”. So you don’t understand Pahari? You’ve confused tense, gender, mood, but more clearly, in the translation of the “standard” Panjabi you’ve given, there are major differences in words, word order, syntax, morphology.

      Self-affirming “Panjabis” like you, claim you understand our language, when you don’t. In the example given above, you clearly don’t. How can speakers of the same language make such a mistake by confusing a command in the second person singular/masculine with the 3rd person feminine indicative past tense?

      There are wider social ramifications though.

      Please, listen to me when I tell you this. The exact sentence I mentioned concerns a real event. It was cited by a Pahari speaker to illustrate that the Panjabi interpretor provided for a Pahari-speaking elderly woman by the City Council did not understand the woman’s language. The interpreter, was adamant that he could speak her language even as it was observed that he did not understand the woman; the woman couldn’t understand what the guy was saying, the Council were trying to help her out with a serious matter but she couldn’t speak English. So they hired an interpreter for her. The interpreter went on to mistranslate her words. The Pahari-speaking male, an employee of the Council – a Mirpuri, just happened to be present and was shocked at the level of “service” being provided to an ethnic member of his community. This interpreter was being paid for his services, as it was assumed by the Council that the woman spoke a dialect of “Panjabi” because she was from Mirpur; according to the advice given by some British Pakistanis, Mirpuris speak “Panjabi” and can also understand Urdu. There was no Urdu translator available, so they hired a “qualified” Panjabi interpreter who I would like to add, claimed he had studied Panjabi in his native Panjab, India. Like you, this guy, was adamant that the woman’s language was in fact a dialect of Panjabi, so the Pahari-speaker said, “okay, just translate this, ‘takki talli paani ba’ murri-ah?” The guy responded with some humility, “I only understood the word water, and the rest I’m not sure”.

      Why should my community be subjected to this injustice, because there are people like you, who are insisting that we come from the same ‘linguistic group’, because of a history you don’t understand? Just because some ‘actors’, five hundred years ago, determined that a particular “place shall be called Panjab”, some time later, they determined, “and here lies its borders”, some time later, another group of actors determined “the diverse speech varieties of this area shall be determined “Panjabi”” etc., doesn’t give you any credence in your desire to disconnect us from our own people in another artificially created territorial polity called “Azad” Jammu Kashmir, whilst lumping us with you?

      Don’t you think there’s something rotten about such ‘unjust’ power-dynamics? The fact history is not on your side, given the ambiguous nature of the Panjab should stop you in your tracks.

      Although this is a separate point to the vilification point I was initially making; it’s you whose got me talking about “Panjabi”, because of your anxieties that refuse to acknowledge clear cut differences between the peoples of the hills and those of the Panjab Plains. We are not Panjabis. We don’t speak Panjabi. Whether you think you understand our language is neither here or there for this discussion. It is, however, a form of hubris when you refuse to acknowledge what we’re actually saying to you. You are IMPOSING your identity on us. We are not IMPOSING our identity on you.

      To reiterate, you are conflating various Panjabi dialects, wrongly assumed, with how people “should” self-identify. The linguists and sociolinguists you are quoting are not arguing what you arguing. You are arguing something completely different. Categorising/classifying a language according to linguistic standards is not the same thing as ascribing a linguistic identity to people, this does not automatically lead to an ethnic identity by way of some self-affirmation. Classificatory systems of linguists do not lead to linguistic group identities – trust me, linguists are much more humble than that. You have completely misunderstood what the authors are saying. In any case, how have I been selective with the texts I cited, you haven’t counteracted the geography argument, you’ve merely opined on the matter that I’ve been selective. Where’s your rebuttal from your own sources to prove I’m using selective sources? There are other sources. If you’re honest, I don’t think you were aware of how the idea of a geographical Panjab emerged, and the fact lot’s of writers didn’t even include the Pothohar Uplands in that, Mirpur is part of this geographical space, and not the Panjab Plains.

      As for the racism argument. Stop making superfluous points and illusory distinctions. We’re not discussing British colonialism. We are discussing vilification – the act of disparaging Mirpuris, in speech and writing, by the use of abusive language that is now entering the mainstream courtesy of British Pakistanis. The people who do this are racists, because they think they are superior to Mirpuris; that’s the definition of racists – the content we have cited proves that, there’s loads more, but we haven’t uploaded it because of how inflammatory it is. But this vilification doesn’t stop there, it leads to discrimination of Mirpuris, (which you’re confusing with racism; a belief that people are superior than others because of their race). You want examples? Lot’s of articles have been written by British Pakistanis, who point out that British Pakistanis refuse to marry their children to Mirpuris. Some of these writers seem to gloat about this fact, read Samira Shackle and how she describes Mirpuris, and the British Pakistanis that look down at Mirpuris. Others, have scapegoated the Mirpuri community in the mainstream, arguing that Mirpuris are less amenable immigrants than Pakistanis from urban areas, saying British Pakistanis don’t like associating with Mirpuris. I don’t know what world you are living in brother, but it’s as if you think we are imagining what is happening to us. This is not merely snobbery, but an arrogance on the part of some Pakistanis who have never once believed in shared fraternity between members of my community.

      This was the proposition all along, as you diverted my attentions on this distraction of arguing we were “Panjabis” all along. I hope those reading these comments, go back and read all the other comments to make up their mind about the points I was making.

      And yes, on the note you ended, I still consider us brothers and sisters, even as we chart our own future in the UK as British Paharis. Like I said it wasn’t us who started the internal differentiation, we are merely responding to it, decades later, perhaps too late in the day.

      All the best brother and take care.

      • In theory, my last post was supposed to be the end of the discussion but clearly not. You’ve made some points which I feel compelled to respond to, and I fear we will continue to go round in circles. Therefore I will keep my response as brief as possible.

        Brother Reiss

        It’s not at all fishy for me to use the term ‘yera’. I have links to Islamabad, and Rawalpindi as well as some friends, and relatives from Gujrat/Jhelum. Our world view is at odds because you identify with a small portion of one region. On the other hand I identify with several areas of the subcontinent, and feel more enriched for doing so.
        It is widely accepted by most Pakistanis as well as outside academics that Pothwari is a dialect of Panjabi. I understand that you do not subscribe to this view but you have not provided any strong evidence to support a view to the contrary. Pothwari, and Pahari are part of the same language grouping so it stands to reason that if Pothwari is a dialect, Pahari must also be a dialect. The highlighted paragraphs from the research paper I referenced support my point of view.

        It’s quite clear that ethnic Kashmiris have a different language, and culture to Mirpuris. You don’t need to be a linguist to figure that out, a 5 year old living in the subcontinent can point it out. The culture of Mirpuris is closely related to their brethren in Panjab. The language, the culture, and even the way Islam is practiced, strongly resemble that of Panjab. Ethnic Kashmiri language, and culture is very different to Mirpuri language, and culture. Therefore I am not trying to impose a Panjabi identity upon you, I’m merely stating the obvious.

        As far as identity is concerned I’ve already explained that I do not have the right to tell others how to define themselves. If you feel a closer connection to the ethnic Kashmiris from across the LOC than your ethnic brethren in Pakistan that is fine by me. However, it is mainly British Pakistani Kashmiri Panjabis who make the claim that Mirpuris are Panjabis. It’s not in the interests of British Pakistani Panjabis to make such a claim. They instead make the claim that Mirpuris are Kashmiris, and not proper Pakistanis in order to differentiate themselves, and blame all problematic behaviour within the community, on Mirpuris. I think this sort of behaviour comes naturally to the people of the subcontinent, and human beings in general. They will look at their own interests, and how they can benefit themselves regardless of the impact their behaviour has on others. All the while they will continue to claim that they are in fact good people. I have not seen anything different in the general behaviour of Mirpuris, and I’m sure if the boot was on the Mirpuri foot, the can would be kicked just as hard. In fact, in the past I’ve had people ask me why certain British Pakistanis are calling themselves Kashmiri now days, and what the difference is. It’s quite common for British Mirpuris to tell non Pakistanis that they are Kashmiris with no mention of Pakistan, while telling other Pakistanis that they are Pakistani.

        My mother worked as interpreter for mainly Pothwari, and Pahari speakers. By the time she took early retirement she was managing the service with a team of interpreters working under her. Patients would regularly request to see my mother over a Pothwari member of staff. This is because my mother took an interest in the patients, listened to their needs, made them feel at ease, and most importantly worked tirelessly in the interests of her patients. The Pothwari interpreter was lazy, and wanted the same respect as my mother without doing any of the work. Patients would regularly comment that the Pothwari interpreter speaks their language but doesn’t listen to their needs. Therefore your interpreter example is clearly wrong, it all depends on your approach, and how you deal with people.

        Jatt Punyal

        The commentator on Sikh Sangat also says that his friend from Gujar Khan doesn’t speak Panjabi, as he understands it. Gujar Khan is a Potwari area, and therefore doesn’t fall into the Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad, British Pakistani axis of evil, being propagated in Reiss Haidars article. This is not the only comment on the forum there are others where commentators are claiming their opinions have been formed through observed behaviours. A further commentator speaks ill of Mirpuris but claims Panjabis, especially those who migrated from the Indian side are “especially nice”. Therefore one comment doesn’t prove that all commentators get their views from British Pakistanis. The cities claimed to have the worst offenders for ‘Mirpuri bashing’ are not even mentioned on the forum. Furthermore you have completely ignored the comments of the Mirpuri girl engaging in ‘Mirpuri bashing’ on student room, and why does this not surprise me.

        On the contrary, I accept your grievances are very real because the areas you originate from are now part of the Kashmir struggle. However you are not different from the Pakistani people in terms of religion or ethnicity. Therefore your grievances are largely with the Indian side where the independence struggle is taking place, and the vast majority of Pakistanis share your grievances. I’m talking about the ordinary people not the ruling elite.

        In the UK, you have accepted that it is a minority of British Pakistanis who vilify Mirpuris. The British Pakistanis from the mainland are a minority in any case, compared to Mirpuris. You may consider me part of your fraternity but it is clear other commentators do not. Similarly I’ve come across Mirpuris in the real world who do not. I’ve also given you ample examples, and can continue to give plenty more. My point is that the mainlanders, and Azad Kashmiris have no official spokesperson telling us what the official view is, on either side. There are clearly some on both sides who do not want to mix. However, if we look at the overall picture in the UK we see no evidence of widespread segregation. This has led me to believe that a minority of British Pakistanis are actual racists rather than the majority. Others are displaying what could be described as ignorant behaviour but still choosing to mix with each other as one community. There is a third group who are choosing to mix, and not displaying any prejudicial views, at least not deliberately.

        Online vilification of Mirpuris is wrong, and I’m not seeking to downplay the impact this has on my brothers and sisters from Azad Kashmir. The only point I’m challenging here is your claim that it is largely the work of British Pakistanis from Greater London, with origins in the three largest cities of Pakistan.

        So much for keeping my response brief lol

        Faisal, I will respond to your post later on.

    • Farooq Ali,

      Farooq, why was it “racist” when Mirpuris were calling you Indian, but you calling Paharis Punjabi is “not racist”?

      “No it doesn’t call my reasoning into question because I already stated to you that it is banter not racism. The Lahori (Central Panjabi) community is hardly small in the UK, it is the second largest grouping after Paharis, and Patwaris.”

      Farooq, this does call into question your reasoning. Your explanation for all the one sided racism online of Pakistanis against Mirpuris was that Mirpuris had grown to an extent that stereotypes could be made about them. The reason that Mirpuris were not equally involved in this was because mainlanders have an insignificant population like “Jhelumis in Karachi”, so Mirpuris had not been exposed to them as much. Now you are claiming that Mirpuris have been exposed to one community(ie lahoris, but you can say mainlanders in general), that they are equally involved in stereotyping.

      We know that the mainland community is roughly 30% or more of the population and they are no angels and Mirpuris have been exposed to them also. So why aren’t Mirpuris equally scapegoating Mainlanders online for all the ills of the community.

      You said that it’s natural for the “minority to blame all the ills on the majority”, actually we are more likely to see the the Majority blaming the minority for all the ills in the community. So why aren’t Mirpuris doing this?

      The first step to solving a problem is admitting it exists and then eradicating it. There is Mirpuri bashing going on and it’s racist which you admitted before but are now calling banter. If mainlanders can’t admit they have a problem with racism and scapegoating then this is what will cause the divide between the communities and you will have Mirpuris in future blaming all the ills of the community on Mainlanders in response to the unfair treatment we feel we are receiving. Whether you feel people are taking it “too seriously” is irrelevant. A lot of people see this as an attack on the community and the culprits are all claiming to be Pakistanis. You can blame the Indians and also the self-hating Mirpuris(Kotlians and Mirpuri city folk). But at the end of the day, the vast majority of the people spreading this rhetoric are self-identifying as ‘Pakistani’. They are doing it in your name, but you seem to be more worried about the reputation of your own community(city Punjabis) being bruised than the British Pakistani in general.

      ““Also, I don’t see you as part of the community.”

      This is part of the problem Faisal, you invite me to join with you in defence of Mirpuris but clearly state that I’m not part of the community.”

      I don’t see you as part of my community so you will not join me in the defense of the Mirpuri community. You say this even as you claim that there IS a Pakistani community and you see Mirpuris as part of that community/fraternity. These are vain words!

      Farooq, my point is there is no Pakistani community. There are Pakistani communities but no actual community, with each community looking out for their own interests. You demonstrated this well with your willingness to drag into the mud all other Pakistani communities in order to redeem the name of your own.

      I used to believe in the Pakistani community but I don’t now; a lot of Mirpuris are waking up to this reality, and I’m seeing a lot of reverse racism lately in the comments sections against many Mainlander communities. This is due the fact that mainlanders are not willing to accept the problem of racism and scapegoating within their own community, and maybe in 10-15 years there will be more animosity of Mirpuris against Pakistanis.

      • “Farooq, why was it “racist” when Mirpuris were calling you Indian, but you calling Paharis Punjabi is “not racist”?”

        Because I haven’t made racist comments such as you’re not from Kashmir you’re an ‘Ethnic Pakistani’, or called you a ‘Stateless Mirpuri’. You are the ones using racist terms such as ‘Ethnic Indian’ and ‘Mohajir Panjabi’. My argument is a purely linguistic one, which is, if Pothwari is a dialect of Panjabi, then the Pahari spoken in Azad Kashmir must also be dialect. I have not sought to tell you what your identity is. My identity is British Pakistani with ancestral roots in Indian Panjab, you have no right to define me as anything else.

        “Farooq, this does call into question your reasoning. Your explanation for all the one sided racism online of Pakistanis against Mirpuris was that Mirpuris had grown to an extent that stereotypes could be made about them. The reason that Mirpuris were not equally involved in this was because mainlanders have an insignificant population like “Jhelumis in Karachi”, so Mirpuris had not been exposed to them as much. Now you are claiming that Mirpuris have been exposed to one community(ie lahoris, but you can say mainlanders in general), that they are equally involved in stereotyping.
        We know that the mainland community is roughly 30% or more of the population and they are no angels and Mirpuris have been exposed to them also. So why aren’t Mirpuris equally scapegoating Mainlanders online for all the ills of the community.
        You said that it’s natural for the “minority to blame all the ills on the majority”, actually we are more likely to see the the Majority blaming the minority for all the ills in the community. So why aren’t Mirpuris doing this?”

        Some Mirpuris make negative comments about ‘Lahoris’ you know this as well as I do. Why have they have not been as successful in tarnishing the image of Lahoris online, and in the mainstream? Essentially because their claims are as follows, Lahoris are generally fraudsters, liars, and cheats, with no Iman who would even sell their mums given half a chance. Yes these are the kinds of comments I’ve heard about Lahoris from some Mirpuris. However it’s difficult for them to bring such claims into the mainstream, and back them up with evidence.

        Mainlanders, on the other hand, can easily point to the problems within the Mirpuri heartlands of the UK, and blame it all on Mirpuris by virtue of them being the majority in these areas. This is the point I was making, it is not British Pakistanis who stereotype areas such as Luton, Birmingham, Bradford, Rotherham, and others. The mainstream media negatively portray British Pakistanis in these areas which has led to a backlash from some British Pakistanis. However, they have gone about it in the wrong way, attempting to kick the can, rather than challenging the negative portrayal.

        “The first step to solving a problem is admitting it exists and then eradicating it. There is Mirpuri bashing going on and it’s racist which you admitted before but are now calling banter. If mainlanders can’t admit they have a problem with racism and scapegoating then this is what will cause the divide between the communities and you will have Mirpuris in future blaming all the ills of the community on Mainlanders in response to the unfair treatment we feel we are receiving. Whether you feel people are taking it “too seriously” is irrelevant. A lot of people see this as an attack on the community and the culprits are all claiming to be Pakistanis. You can blame the Indians and also the self-hating Mirpuris(Kotlians and Mirpuri city folk). But at the end of the day, the vast majority of the people spreading this rhetoric are self-identifying as ‘Pakistani’. They are doing it in your name, but you seem to be more worried about the reputation of your own community(city Punjabis) being bruised than the British Pakistani in general.”

        That’s not true some of the comments I’ve heard from Bengalis, and Indians might surprise you. Overall, you have blown this whole thing out of proportion because how many Asians are sitting around making anti-Mirpuri or anti-Lahori comments on a daily basis. There is obviously a rivalry between Mirpur, and Lahore which exists in the UK. However, most Mirpuris who bad mouth Lahoris are careful not to bad mouth Jhelumis Sialkotis, Sahiwalis etc, to the same extent. Similarly the mainlanders who bad mouth Mirpuris will not view the people of Rawalakot, and Muzaffarabad in the same light.

        I’m not denying that Azad Kashmiri, and Mainlander differences play their part but it seems more about the ‘Mirpuri’ and stereotypes associated with that label, rather than an attack on Kashmiris. For example a lot of mainlanders from further south in Pakistan will class Jhelumis and Pindi Pothwaris in with Mirpuris.

        ““Also, I don’t see you as part of the community.”
        This is part of the problem Faisal, you invite me to join with you in defence of Mirpuris but clearly state that I’m not part of the community.”

        “I don’t see you as part of my community so you will not join me in the defense of the Mirpuri community. You say this even as you claim that there IS a Pakistani community and you see Mirpuris as part of that community/fraternity. These are vain words!

        Farooq, my point is there is no Pakistani community. There are Pakistani communities but no actual community, with each community looking out for their own interests. You demonstrated this well with your willingness to drag into the mud all other Pakistani communities in order to redeem the name of your own.

        I used to believe in the Pakistani community but I don’t now; a lot of Mirpuris are waking up to this reality, and I’m seeing a lot of reverse racism lately in the comments sections against many Mainlander communities. This is due the fact that mainlanders are not willing to accept the problem of racism and scapegoating within their own community, and maybe in 10-15 years there will be more animosity of Mirpuris against Pakistanis.”

        Just because I will not join you does not mean I do not challenege racism, and bigotry within the Pakistani community, or indeed outside of it.

        You did the same by dragging the Panjabi community into the mud claiming that some of those committing crime in Mirpuri areas are Panjabis. Similarly I pointed out that some of those who are engaged in ‘Mirpuri bashing’ are Potoharis, and Kashmiris. Just as is it is not fair to blame all crime within the community on Mirpuris, it is unfair to blame all racism in the community on mainlanders from the cities. Why should you be allowed to claim that you are a victim of negative stereotyping while labelling others in the community? Does that not make you a hypocrite?

        There is a British Pakistani community with some like you trying to identify separately as British Kashmiri. I have no issue with you identifying as such, and even those who identify as Kashmiri rather than Pakistani find themselves mixing with Pakistanis because of the obvious linguistic, cultural, and ethnic ties. There is no evidence of widespread segregation within British Pakistani communities between British Pakistanis, and British Kashmiris.

        • Farooq Ali,

          “Because I haven’t made racist comments such as you’re not from Kashmir you’re an ‘Ethnic Pakistani’, or called you a ‘Stateless Mirpuri’. You are the ones using racist terms such as ‘Ethnic Indian’ and ‘Mohajir Panjabi’. My argument is a purely linguistic one, which is, if Pothwari is a dialect of Panjabi, then the Pahari spoken in Azad Kashmir must also be dialect. I have not sought to tell you what your identity is. My identity is British Pakistani with ancestral roots in Indian Panjab, you have no right to define me as anything else.”

          Farooq, you believe Paharis are ethnically Punjabi and this is what your trying to prove by arguing that Mirpur is culturally, linguistically and geographically Punjabi. You’ve only shown me that the two languages are similar and belong to the same language family. Not that they are dialects of one another. Majority of Mirpuris do not see themselves as Punjabis or their language as Punjabi. They clearly differentiate themselves as Mipuris/Pothwaris/Paharis and you as a Punjabi. I don’t know what your trying to achieve by making us the same.

          “Some Mirpuris make negative comments about ‘Lahoris’ you know this as well as I do. Why have they have not been as successful in tarnishing the image of Lahoris online, and in the mainstream? Essentially because their claims are as follows, Lahoris are generally fraudsters, liars, and cheats, with no Iman who would even sell their mums given half a chance.”

          Farooq, as Jutt Panyal showed you, there are powerful Mirpuris in politics. There are probably hundreds more in the mainstream who are self-identifying as ‘Pakistanis’. Even if your not willing to accept this, there are between 750,000-1,000,000 Paharis with a keyboard and mouse. Due to the anonymous nature of the internet, people are able to express their unsavory views without reprisal. Using the internet, we can deduce the attitudes generally held by one community against another and measure its magnitude depending on the volume of information returned one way or another. If these views were widespread, we should expect to see hundreds of pages with Lahori bashing going on by Mirpuris. You’ve failed to show this on any of the popular search engines or social media websites. Try doing the reverse and searching for ‘Mirpuris’ and it will lead you down an unending spiral of hatred coming from mainly Pakistanis against Mirpuris with absolutely nothing positive to say.

          “Yes these are the kinds of comments I’ve heard about Lahoris from some Mirpuris. However it’s difficult for them to bring such claims into the mainstream, and back them up with evidence.”

          None of the mainstream Mirpuri bashers use evidence, Farooq, let’s not kid ourselves. It’s been called vilification for a reason.

          “Mainlanders, on the other hand, can easily point to the problems within the Mirpuri heartlands of the UK, and blame it all on Mirpuris by virtue of them being the majority in these areas. This is the point I was making, it is not British Pakistanis who stereotype areas such as Luton, Birmingham, Bradford, Rotherham, and others. The mainstream media negatively portray British Pakistanis in these areas which has led to a backlash from some British Pakistanis. However, they have gone about it in the wrong way, attempting to kick the can, rather than challenging the negative portrayal.”

          Farooq, the mainstream media are right to point to these areas as having problems. Mirpuri and Brit-Pakistani communities through out the UK have problems including in London. You’ve acknowledged Brit-Pakistanis point to these places and try to shift all the problems of the area onto Mirpuris and this is wrong. I accept that. My problem is that you’ve attempted to excuse this behavior from your fellow Pakistanis by arguing that Mirpuris would have done the same. You’ve also said that it’s “natural” or “not surprising” for the “minority to put all the blame on the majority”. I’ve tried to explain to you that each of these areas for example Bradford has a large minority of 25% non-Mirpuris. People are equally inclined to believe that it’s only a minority of people in a community doing all the nefarious activity and not the majority. So Mirpuris could have equally put the blame on the minority mainland Pakistani community. Scapegoating could be blamed on the majority, but people are also equally inclined or perhaps more inclined to believe that the minority is doing the crimes. For this reason, Mirpuris have had equal or more reason to scapegoat the minority community for all the crimes in the community. But Mirpuris are not scapegoating Pakistanis. Pakistanis are scapegoating Mirpuris. So therefore, there is a problem with scapegoating in the Pakistani community. Can you unequivocally condemn this without making justifications or excuses for your fellow Pakistanis by pointing to demographics or speculating that they would’ve done the same thing had the roles been reversed?

          “Just because I will not join you does not mean I do not challenege racism, and bigotry within the Pakistani community, or indeed outside of it.”

          Farooq, this is the problem. Not enough Pakistanis are challenging this bigotry from fellow Pakistanis which has allowed these views to spread. Actions speak louder than words and until I see Pakistanis challenging these negative portrayals, your appeals to brotherhood through our shared Pakistaniyat, Ummat and ‘Punjabiyat’, are worthless.

          “You did the same by dragging the Panjabi community into the mud claiming that some of those committing crime in Mirpuri areas are Panjabis”

          Farooq, no one knows who exactly is committing these crimes. That’s the point. It’s all about perception and I was challenging this perception by asking if Punjabis/Pakistanis make up a large minority in these areas, does it not stand to reason that they are also responsible for crimes in those areas? It is still possible that Mirpuris are doing most of the crime but we can’t deduce this from demographics alone. That’s my point. I wasn’t putting the blame one way or another.

          “Similarly I pointed out that some of those who are engaged in ‘Mirpuri bashing’ are Potoharis, and Kashmiris. Just as is it is not fair to blame all crime within the community on Mirpuris, it is unfair to blame all racism in the community on mainlanders from the cities. Why should you be allowed to claim that you are a victim of negative stereotyping while labelling others in the community? Does that not make you a hypocrite?”

          Farooq, you have no right to speak on behalf of other communities and say, “They believe X about you, and they believe Y about you and most of them think Z about you”. You can defend and speak on behalf of your own community without dragging the others down, all the while speaking of how we should stick together for the sake of Pakistani fraternity and Muslim Unity. Muh mein Ram Ram aur bhagal mein churi.

          “There is a British Pakistani community with some like you trying to identify separately as British Kashmiri.”

          I have yet to self-identify once as a “British Kashmiri”. By imposing this label on me, you are a racist according to your own standards.

          “I have no issue with you identifying as such, and even those who identify as Kashmiri rather than Pakistani find themselves mixing with Pakistanis because of the obvious linguistic, cultural, and ethnic ties. There is no evidence of widespread segregation within British Pakistani communities between British Pakistanis, and British Kashmiris.”

          This is a straw man. The majority of Mirpuri bashing is being done covertly behind our backs, hence why it’s suddenly become an issue. Mirpuris are largely oblivious to these views held about them by Brit-Pakistanis. It’s only with the creation of the internet that we’ve become aware. Farooq, you know these views are widespread.

          I’m born and raised in London and I’ve interacted with all types of Pakistanis. The closest living Pakistani families to me are ethnic Sindhi, two Lahoris(one ethnic Kashmiri), two Pathans and a Rawalpindi-Mirpuri family who speaks Urdu. A decade ago, when I used to tell Pakistanis I originate from Mirpur they would reply with what you called banter(i.e Mirpuris are cheapskates, don’t feed their guest properly etc). Now all I get is weird looks or questions like “why do all Pakistanis seem to hate Mirpuris?”, or “Is it true what they say about Mirpuris”. The frequency at which I’ve received these questions has been steadily growing, so I know these ideas are becoming more and more widespread. Like you, I can also give personal anecdotes of discrimination, but you will probably dismiss them as my experience based on limited interactions. This is why I prefer to argue through things that can be proven. If you don’t think racism leads to discrimination then your deluded.

  20. Farooq, Faysal, Jatt Punyal

    [I deleted this post, as it was too long, and in any case, it seems that Farooq has since accepted that “Pahari” and “Panjabi” are two separate languages in his recent comments? so in my mind, the debate has moved forward for the good, I would have discarded my comments. But because Jatt Punyal as asked for these comments to be re-instated, I have obliged. I originally intended to use the core arguments here for different posts on the blog about propaganda, status of Panjabi language and caste-Kashmiri Panjabi identity, thus the length – apologies].

    Farooq, what you are saying about the Panjabi language and the relationship of various ‘dialects’ – varieties within linguistic frameworks – is just wrong. You are misinformed in your “linguistic” claims ON BEHALF of “all” Pakistanis and ACADEMICS. You shouldn’t be speaking on behalf of “experts” and entire “populations” in Pakistan when in fact, all you are doing, is repeating the same tropes.

    It would have been better for you to say, I want all of you to be included in the Panjabi category because I have some anxieties about how “Paharis” from a particular cultural area want to identify. You should have said, “I’m “Panjabi” and you are also “Panjabis” – EVERYONE KNOWS THIS BECAUSE I KNOW HOW EVERYONE THINKS, EVEN EXPERTS ON THE PANJABI LANGUAGE!”

    Farooq, this is hubris. This is how you are coming across. What is this obsession of your’s that wants to put us in this generic “Panjabi” group that has never existed according to the experts you are so fond of quoting?

    This hubris is further coupled with a lack of knowledge – and you are demonstrating this beautifully here, as you keep to the same script. Knowing what I know of conflicts and how the occupiers try their utmost best to control the discourse, it could be a fair inference to say, whilst you’re not an occupier, you are engaged in a form of propaganda.

    It doesn’t occur to you that the people you are speaking to, are, for the most part, reconciled with the idea of Pakistan, but yet you want to antagonise us by repeating propaganda. It’s a technique used where simple crude claims are repeated so many times, that eventually everyone believes them to be true.

    At least have a modicum of respect for your interlocutors as it seems we are on the same side of the argument for the most part?

    But, you just repeat the same line, again and again; the same claim, again and again. Propagandists skilled in their art-form, know that once the “lie” is exposed, you should not repeat the same claim, because it calls into question everything else you are saying – you need to find another crude claim. In other words, it jeopardises the actual agenda of trying to convince people of your position even when it’s to their disadvantage.

    Propaganda exists for a reason, I can’t stand those who deploy this “method”, but it absolutely exists. Propagandists have clear goals to spread a particular “message”. They almost always seek to maintain the status quo, so they have an unfair advantage against those challenging the status quo, as they are part of the power structure. We therefore know from which direction these priorities flow.

    The world we live in, is unjust, unequal, unfair. Dominant groups benefit from the status quo., fringe groups do not, so they want to keep the status quo as it is. The people of Jammu & Kashmir are victims of this status quo – there’s a reason why people want to talk about Mirpuris in the UK as counterfeit Kashmiris – an absolutely outrageous claim that anyone with basic familiarity with this conflict understands as “propaganda”. We’re not stupid, we know what is going on – if we didn’t come from this contested part of the world, we wouldn’t be having this conversation on “Kashmir” and “Kashmiris”.

    So, what has my post about the vilification of Mirpuris got to do with Kashmir or Panjab?

    Why is Kashmir/Panjab at the back of your mind? Why is it so exercising your insights, that you have to keep repeating Kashmir/Panjab in your comments?

    I am speaking about the vilification in the UK, why are you conflating your ANECDOTAL claims about ethnic identity of Mirpuris with Kashmir/Panjab to make the irrelevant point that Mirpuris are separate from Kashmiris? There’s nothing objective about your claims though, they are biased.

    On a lighter note, I don’t think you’re a propagandist, personally. You are, however, a self-proclaimed defender of Pakistani Unity – so we have something in common, although we pursue this priority from different outlooks on life. Like you, I don’t want Pakistan to implode; Pakistan can work if everyone worked together to see out the corrupt elite that pities ethnic peoples against one another as they enjoy power. Pakistan IS unfair and unjust, BUT it can work, if the right people were at the helm. Because AJK was never part of Pakistan, our status is different to the Provinces; I look to my pro-independence activist brothers as my countrymen, I disagree with them, but I accept only AJK can decide its own future; I happen to sit on your side of the argument, although I’m scratching my head thinking, may be this lack of “Pakistani” fraternity is worse than I initially thought.

    Your recent anecdote is to call Mirpuris “stateless Mirpuris”, let’s add this to the long list of slurs and insults of your supposed peers, remember “jungli people?”, “disrespectful language?”, “black Panjabis?”, “Mirpur built on drug money?”, but you think, you have some profound insights to share with us. Apparently, you can tell us what Bengalis and Indians think of Mirpuris also. I’m looking forward to that conversation!

    I mean is there no end to these slurs Farooq? Don’t you think we have the right to be offended? Why repeat such anecdotes when they’re clearly wrong?

    This is exactly what propagandists are doing with Kashmir, as they keep telling people Mirpuris are not Kashmiris, Mirpuris are Panjabis, Kashmir is a million miles away in Venus, Mirpur is in Pakistan in the Panjab, and they repeat this “propaganda”, again and again. You can check this out on the net – this is the concerted campaign of a few actors, paid or otherwise, who have inadvertently empowered pro-independence Kashmiris to now expose the dirty tactics being used by their rivals. The sad thing, most Mirpuris were reconciled with Pakistan, this is changing noticeably because of the arrogance of people who think they know what is best for AJK even as they exploit AJK and then demean the people.

    If you’re intellectually honest, you won’t even disagree about the sham status of AJK? If you’re wise, you would agree that it’s territorial status is actually a problem for Pakistan – how can Pakistan function like this, with a territory being run by “officials” and not bona fide “Pakistanis”?

    What you don’t understand is 1) the deceitful lies on the status of “Azad Kashmiris” are unravelling because the Kashmir conflict is territorial not ethnic or linguistic, and 2) Mirpuris are not Panjabis because there is no consensus on what the “Panjab” is – geographers define it differently from linguists; anthropologists define it differently from historians; the powers-be have different official maps for the Panjab – its size has changed throughout the centuries; the peoples who occupy this Panjab penumbra have different opinions, they don’t all think the same. It takes a naive person to say, I know what all these people think because I’m so rooted in this all-encompassing experience, and I’m telling you that “Mirpuris are Panjabis, because Patwaris are Panjabis” even though my logic here is very faulty because the original premise in question, from which I deduce my conclusion, is actually FALSE and it has never ONCE been proven.

    So you see, Farooq, I am nauseated by this ridiculous claim of yours – and I don’t think it comes from a good place. Your claims are political not ethno-liguistic.

    To repeat the obvious, again!

    Mirpuris have never in their history ever identified as ethnic Panjabis, so your rigidness on this point is propagandistic. The experts who write about these sorts of things know the word Panjabi means different things to different people – you don’t because you have demonstrated no serious intellectual investiture in the crude line you repeat, again and again.

    You said, you were compelled to respond to my concluding remarks, okay, with something new perhaps?

    Nope, nothing new. The same line.

    This is where I take umbrage at the tactics you’re using. You’re not a linguist, CLEARLY, and you haven’t even read the works/authors you’re quoting – if you have, you don’t understand what they are saying. I believe you have taken your understanding of Panjabi from wikipedia – which is an outpost for propagandists, and every serious researcher knows this. No self-respecting student, let alone a researcher looking for facts, would ever consult wikipedia; but it seems, your entire take on the Panjabi “identity” is from wikipedia.

    In other words, you are learning from “greater Panjab actors” who hold the exact same opinions as you, so you are looking for confirmation bias; this is exactly what my community is up against. People like you, want to deny us our space, even though you claim to be well-wishers, caring about our community, when you really want us to be an extension of your community, a poor man’s extension, of you. No thank you! Don’t you think, you should probe what it is you believe with facts, rather than force us to re-think our own positions because of your anecdotes?

    Anyone can add, edit, delete any entry on wikipedia. We can change the entries, but we’re not doing this, because we want to show everyone how biased the content is, as you can trace the amendments from when the earliest entries were first written, and you can see the timeline, and the things that are really motivating people. This is fascinating, try it for yourself, and you’ll see what I mean. This is where ideologues come along, with their own anxieties, and the entries on Mirpur, Mirpuri, Pothwari, Kashmiri, Azad Kashmir, even random people like the famous Pahari singer Tahira Syed whose mother was from erstwhile Mirpur, are especially revealing of what is actually happening.

    I did say to you don’t repeat the same argument. I wanted to engage with you. You’ve merely repeated the same line, again and again, – you haven’t even edged one bit away from the tired claim – “Paharis are Panjabis just like me”. You’ve been keen to introduce all sorts of anecdotes, the latest being, your mother is a Panjabi “interpreter” who works with Paharis who love her, even as they disliked Patwari interpreters because they were lazy!

    I’m sure she’s a lovely woman, but this is not proof of anything. It’s also disparaging of Patwaris, unjustly and unfairly. It’s borderline racist. Why would Patwari interpreters be lazy because your mum came from outside the community, but according to you, cared more for Mirpuris than Patwaris?

    Hear me when I say this to you.

    “I’m not Panjabi”. “You’re not Pahari”.

    Do you understand the dynamics here? It’s you calling me “Panjabi”. I’m not calling you “Pahari”.

    It’s not Mirpuris who have occupied Pakistan.

    Pakistan has occupied parts of Jammu & Kashmir, and calls it “Azad” Jammu Kashmir. This is an “imposition”, as are the “identity-labels”.

    Because of this history, there are major problems in AJK; Pakistan Officialdom refuses to listen to the people of AJK, and we all remember how the Bangladesh freedom movement started out in the 1950s. What started out as a language-movement, to protect Bengali from the unfair and unjust stigma being accorded to Bengalis from West Pakistanis morphed into an independence movement. Power dynamics can and do change.

    If you can’t see what is really happening here, you will never appreciate the actual conversations about the vilification of the Mirpuri community in the UK and how dangerous these developments could become; you’re just part of the wider problem.

    We can still be from the same fraternity and have diversity – isn’t that something we could celebrate? By demanding our space in the UK, incidentally from the UK government, (Pakistanis are irrelevant to this consideration), we’re not separating from Pakistanis like you, we’re just saying, we don’t want people like you, telling others who we are – you don’t have our interests in mind, and you have no grounding in our experience, let alone understand the troubling history of our region.

    Finally to disentangle this web you’ve created on irrelevant facts.

    I’m not averse to Panjabi culture, I love the language. People who say it is harsh or sounds ugly, “hard on the ears”, the colonial officers used to call it a mongrel language – (they didn’t say this about the North Lahndi dialects btw – they had a particular aversion to the “Panjabi” language; the hill peoples were excluded from this aversion) are backwards beyond belief; I don’t go around repeating their anecdotes. In Pakistan, and India, the Pahari language of the Jammu Hills, and beyond is considered to be more purer than the Panjabi that morphs into Hindi-Urdu. The people here view this Pahari language much more favourably than they view their own Panjabi – you’re not aware of these scenarios, because you’re not exposed to these realities. What you are seeing in the UK is an anomoly as a minority seeks to demean the majority, unaware of how their particular Panjabi was viewed. Even for Sikh and Hindu Panjabis in India, they are fighting to preserve their language as many of their impressionable speakers are switching from Panjabi to Hindi. The power dynamics in India are thus a problem for Panjabi, even though the State has guaranteed official status for Panjabi. The situation in Pakistan is far worse and more complex.

    For the most part, I have always been endeared to Panjabis, especially those who respect their roots; particularly those from similar backgrounds to us. I hate it when Panjabis look down at themselves, and mock their own language, trying to speak Urdu as other “real” Urdu-speakers laugh at them – this is the nature of unjust power dynamics that individuals perpetuate themselves. This is a particular illness on the part of some British Pakistanis, not Indian-Panjabis in the UK, who think speaking Urdu will give them “respectability” – this is not the fault of Urdu, or Urdu-speaking people either! Urdu speakers like others, like your mother and father, are just getting by in the UK, the majority of them did not create this anti-Mirpuri vilification. Your mother and father are like my own uncles and aunts, these are our elders, they never went around creating illusory differences in the UK between Pakistanis. They’ve got better things to worry about, please re-read my post. The people who do hate on Mirpuris have major insecurities, and are usually at the front of the queue hating on others, speaking ill of lots of different communities, you can sniff them out from the crowd.

    What is ‘Panjab’ and ‘Panjabi’ as analytical concepts?

    Lots of people have studied the history of the Panjab. They know how this particular ethnic identity emerged, more so than the people claiming a Panjabi ethnolinguistic identity. But, unlike you Farooq, they would never dare speak about the lived experiences of Panjabis. This is what you’re doing even as you offer really simplistic insights about Paharis, the linguistic relationship of Patwari to Panjabi, etc.

    This is what irritates me about your claims. You don’t know that not even Shackle said Pothwari is a dialect of modern standard Panjabi. No one has ever said this! It is hubris on your part because you don’t even know how these linguists are defining the various dialects spoken in a region called “Panjab”. The term “Western-Panjabi” does not create an automatic relationship of parity between “Central Panjabi”. Are you aware of these distinctions? These are two separate linguistic areas; the one has not evolved from the other, for you to claim the one is a dialect (Patwari) of the other (Panjabi); this view of your’s is incorrect. To argue this proves how unfamiliar you are with the actual debates on Panjabi dialects, and exposes a kind of Panjab hegemony that Patwaris should find distasteful; who are you to comment on their language by telling them they have destroyed Panjabi when in fact they are speaking their own language?

    Can’t you see the irony behind your claim, and why such dialect-hatred would be misplaced? By all means, disparage Panjabis who cant speak Panjabi properly if you want to force prescriptive grammar down everyones throat, but don’t lecture speakers of other dialects who are speaking their own language just fine.

    You don’t understand the debates though.

    Of all the dialects spoken in “Western Panjabi”, the least controversial is Pothwari, but this doesn’t mean that it is connected with your “Panjabi” dialect of Lahore! For crying out load, no one is saying this. Please read a book on Indo-Aryan languages, to realise that “Panjabi” is always placed in a different category to Western Panjabi or Lahndi. Here’s an example for you, quoted directly from a highly respected book written by a linguist on Indo-Aryan languages. Please note the numbered entries.

    2.1.16; “Finally we come to Panjabi, on the northwestern flank of the Hindi area,… this assessment is CONFUSED by the continued use of the term “Panjabi” by SOME to cover both “Lahnda” and “Punjabi”, admittedly poorly defined, at a line running north-south through Montgomery and Gujranwala Districts, west of Lahore, that is, well within Pakistan. (Following Shackle, we may call the Punjabi-speaking Lahore-Gujranwala-Sialkot area Central Punjab).

    Previous entry; 2.1.15; “…Dogri, once considered a “dialect” of Panjabi, now thought to be more closely related to West Pahari, and in any case now claiming independent language status”.

    Previous entry, 2.1.14; “This brings us to Kashmiri itself, essentially the language of the Vale of Kashmir, certainly not the whole state of that name, the greater part of which (Ladakh, Baltistan) is Tibeto-Burmese-speaking. Kashmiri influence, however, or the same tendencies that are shown by Kashmiri, are perceptible in bordering Indo-Aryan languages of both the “Lahnda” and “West Pahari” varieties.” [Note, he is not talking about any influences on “Panjabi”; a separate “language” for the purposes of this enquiry; do you understand the implication?]

    Previous entry, 2.1.13; the valley of the Indus and its tributaries in Pakistan north of Sind up to the Pir Panjal range on the frontier of Kashmir is occupied by a series of dialects known by various local names, and to outsiders first as “Western Panjabi”. Noting that these – or some of these – had as much in common with Sindhi as with “Panjabi” [note, how this linguist is using the term] , and differed strikingly from the latter in some features, Grierson bestowed the name “Lahnda” (from a Panjabi word for western) on them collectively as a “distinct language”. This has caught on only among linguists (who later began to prefer the feminine form lahndi, matching the usual names of Indo-Aryan languages); it has no currency among speakers themselves. It will accordingly be used here – for convenience, as there is no ready substitute – always in quotes.

    Why is entry 2.1.16 separate to 2.1.13 if these dialects belong to the same linguistic space? Are you aware of the implications, of how absurd your “linguistic” observations seem within the context of this analysis by a real linguist who is merely stating the majority opinion on these languages?

    This linguist than mentions Shackle who is the only recent linguist who had studied this area, even though he specialised in “Hindko” and not “Pothwari”, so not even the great Shackle would have made the ridiculous claims you are making. “Shackle… has challenged the “Lahnda” construct even in terms of convenience, as well as Grierson’s subclassifications of the dialects comprising it… although WITHOUT PRESUMING TO COME UP WITH A FINAL SCHEME HIMSELF.” (Masica, 2001)

    Who exactly are you Farooq to proffer such knowledge on Panjabi dialects, not as a linguist, neither as a geographer, not even as a historian, nor as an Indologist, but as an expert “Anecdotalist” even as you don’t understand the nomenclature of the linguists at your disposal? It is you who is making up claims, you’re not sincere to the texts in front of you.

    Please note the following line,

    “the situation is complicated for indigenous scholarship by the rival claims of old (i.e., pan-Punjabi) and new language movements.”

    Please show some humility, as even these linguists are aware of the profound differences between sociolinguistic analysis and linguistic analysis – something you have no grasp of, as you want to tell people what languages they speak because you think in your mind, you understand their languages, better than they do.

    Ironically, you demonstrated, all by yourself, that you don’t understand Pahari the way you think you do. You completely mistranslated a simple sentence in Pahari into “Panjabi” and English, confusing tense, mood, gender, person – everything! There were clear lexical differences between the Panjabi you translated and the Pahari statement I gave. This is proof, not an anecdote, that you shouldn’t be speaking about the linguistic status of the Pahari language in the way you do.

    Don’t you think you should stop in your tracks now, do some more research, and then present your “political worldview” without masquerading it through “ethnic” or “linguistic” arguments? Who knows, you might just convince me otherwise. I’m very open to correction as are the rest of us, I don’t think you are. But, you insist on repeating the same arguments again and again – if this isn’t propaganda, then explain what is?

    Understanding a dialect is not proof of shared identity

    Language acquisition

    It is because of diglossia that you have been exposed to Pahari, because lots of “Panjabis” have moved into the area after partition. Panjabi has encroached upon Lahndi varieties, so Panjabi is an INTRUSION in this area because of political events. These realities are impacting the dialects that used to be spoken in this area. Sociolinguists that have studied this area are aware of this and always point it out. This does not hold true for AJK as it does for Western Panjab except for the areas around the Kharri Plains. Lots of partition refugees were settled in Western Panjab. Today, the Pahari many AJK people are accustomed to sounds very different to the Pothwari spoken in Rawalpindi, which to us, sounds “Panjabified” – this is the term dilettantes use when pointing out “differences”. You don’t seem to be aware of these realities, and how this skews the way you view the people.

    Again, this doesn’t detract from the fact that if you’re exposed to different languages, used for different purposes, you will inevitably be able to move between the languages. This is similar to how children learn languages from birth – they are exposed to the languages. If people spoke 10 languages, to a child consistently, that child could potentially grow up speaking 10 languages as a native speaker. If I lived amongst the Zulus of South Africa, over many years, I too would be able to speak their language eventually. Verbal communication is innate to human beings – languages do not presuppose linguistic identities restricting people to the languages they can learn. Being exposed to a language is the fastest way to learn a language, it’s much more effective than formally learning a language in a classroom. You don’t seem to understand these dynamics as you make simplistic claims about your own exposure to Pahari – I know people who could potentially speak the Pahari of their grandparents to you, using all the old words that we’ve expunged from the language, and you wouldn’t have a clue about what they are saying.

    Returning to your points.

    There is no axis of evil, Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad – the fact you are accusing me of creating this illusory menace, means you don’t understand my post. How many times do I have to say that identities are illusory for you to get the point, especially when people posture through them as a means of separation; upward mobility for lots of British Pakistanis in the UK has warped their sense of history, and origins – that’s what I argued, not what you accuse me of. It’s the IDEA of coming from an urban space, not the reality of the urban space, or who lives there.

    But, why are you still arguing with me, if as you say, you agree that you don’t have the right to impose your identity on me? What is it about this contradiction you don’t understand as you go on to share contradicting insights?

    I would like to offer this advice to you in ending this discussion because you keep repeating the same line.

    Read about origin myths, how the idea of linguistic and ethnic group identities emerged VERY recently, and why ‘nationalism’ has been such a problem. It has something to do with trying to imagine “peoplehood” on the basis of illusory identities, “language”, “ethnicity”, “countries” – what you’re doing here. These ideas are flimsy and have been debunked by experts within these academic fields.

    Understand how regions were mapped, and the power dynamics behind them that created regional identities. Then, perhaps, I hope, you’ll appreciate why it’s so wrong to lump people into artificial group categories – clearly you’re not aware of this history.

    Propaganda doesn’t work within our context, because people have moved on from that older simplicity, so you need to engage with them, not tell them what you think they should believe. This is what Pakistan has become – a joke! Critics in Pakistan, highly respected intellectuals, have criticised the direction of travel in that country, and how pseudo-intellectuals are being paid to falsify its history. By criticising Pakistan, they are not self-haters. They don’t even hate the “architects of national solidarity” but they expose how unimaginative and uncreative they are, because ultimately their claims are unraveling. That’s the thing about falsehood, eventually it gets exposed; no one likes propagandists – they are disliked immensely. When you keep repeating the same lines, again and again, you’re engaging in propaganda, whether you know it or not.

    To finally get this point across to you, the “Panjabi” “language” and the “Panjabi” “identity” are two very separate considerations. Not even linguists and sociolinguists claim what you claim – you’ve misunderstood the texts you’ve highlighted for me to read; this is apparent to anyone who knows anything about how linguistic group identities emerge.

    Ethnic Kashmiris are different people to ethnic Paharis? Yes. Yes. Yes.

    So, what’s this obsession of pointing out this difference?

    You are on a website that promotes Pahari culture as it connects the communities of this area together, Pothohar Uplands, Hazara Hills, Pahari Ilaaqah of Jammu Kashmir – Lahore is not part of this ethnic space. Even the Sikhs of the Sarkar-e-Khalsa knew this when the Panjabi identity was emerging, but you think your skewed insights, confused with the idea of greater Panjab – a territorial idea not an ethnic or linguistic one lend credence to your impressions and anecdotes.

    They do not.

    You’re coming across desperate to prove this irrelevant point to your ethnic argument at hand.

    Your anxieties to disconnect Mirpuris from Kashmiris, show through your words – no one here is stupid, we know what’s going on Farooq, and we can see through people’s anxieties. At one point, you were disconnecting Mirpuris from the community of Kotli – again through your anecdotes. Others, before you, tried to disconnect Mirpuris from Poonchies. Before that they tried to disconnect Mirpuris, Poonchies from Muzaffarabadis. Before that they were separating all of AJK from Indian-administered-Kashmir. When that didn’t work, they started to create new cleavages. I’m sure they’ll start using caste, or something else.

    Pakistani propagandists traditionally use Islam, that’s failed miserably, so now they’ve turned to ethnicity again, unaware of how dangerous this argument is for Pakistan itself. You’re doing that here, speaking of “ethnic people” from “Pakistan” as separate from Kashmir, that Mirpuris are closer to “Pakistanis” than “Kashmiris” – as if Kashmir is a completely separate space from the rest of the subcontinent. Where did this ignorance come from, as people speak about Kashmir, and they’ve never ever set foot in this place we call “Kashmir”?

    Ironically, you have no clue whatsoever about how the “caste-Kashmiri identity” even emerged on the Panjab Plains.

    Let me explain.

    Caste Kashmiris, ethnic Kashmiris, and Kashmir; occupational castes, famines, migrations

    Caste-Kashmiris from the Panjab, especially on the Plains, are not ethnic Kashmiris!

    They are “ethnic Panjabis” like you – so they are not a standard by which we adjudge ethnic identities. There’s a reason why they identify as caste-Kashmiris, and not through their “original” occupational caste-backgrounds, and it has a lot to do with dispossession and later, upward mobility. I have yet to come across one caste-Kashmiri in the Panjab who claims a “wattal” background? What happened to all the market-gardeners, cobblers, weavers, who fled the region because of poverty and oppression; you don’t think their UK-based descendants are re-imagining this history when they go on to speak, according to you disparagingly, about AJK’s people? You don’t think this particular form of propaganda is going to unravel?

    Do you see “Jats” of your eternal Panjab region – going around claiming to be “Panjabis” from Sindh, Baluchistan, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, UP etc? Not one Jat from Rajasthan or Sind claims to be a “Panjabi”. There have been Jats living in Khyber Pakhtunkwa for centuries, even as far as Afghanistan. Even writers, such as Andre Wink, (look this scholar up; read his works please), claimed that Abu Hanifa al-Nu’man – the “Persian” was from the Zuta tribe, a scion of the Jats whose forebears had been migrating to Iraq, Syria, even before the Arabs conquered the Sindh region and deported some of them to the Iraq marshlands, where they coalesced with the emerging “Marsh Arabs”. Sassanian rulers settled lots of “Jats” in the Persian gulf; it was this area of the subcontinent, which falls almost entirely in Pakistan, and not modern-day India, that was connected to the old Persian, Greek colonies etc. Thus, the shared heritage that connects people across this space in ancient times, the further you move away from it in the direction of the Indian Plains, the further you move away from this heritage. Through the Sassanians, the Jats introduced new farming technologies and water buffaloes to the region. I get the impression, you have a very shallow understanding of this history and how later “identities” emerge. Ethnic identities are other than how you imagine them.

    To recap, there’s nothing “ethnic Kashmiri” about Panjabis in Lahore, the “cousins” you mention.

    It’s not caste-Kashmiris from Panjab, living in Panjab, who are creating these divisions between real and false Kashmiris in Kashmir, or AJK, it’s people like you in the UK. Ironically, you are calling these “relatives” of yours, “Kashmiri Panjabis” – you don’t think you’re being a tad inconsistent when you use them as an argument against “Paharis” for not being ethnic Kashmiris?

    I think such insights are lost on you. Most caste-Kashmiris in the Panjab didn’t even come from the Valley, but you don’t know anything about this timeline, the actual famines, migrations, how the “Muslim Kashmiri” identity emerged for census purposes – the Muslim Kashmiri identity is on account of power dynamics not group consciousness or solidarity. This identity was adopted later by people of very modest backgrounds as they were forced to leave their region.

    This is the history of the western Himalayas, the history of dispossession, and it is this history we are trying to preserve to stop people from thinking they are better than others; so you see, the Kashmiris of the Panjab if indeed they came from the hills/mountains, are actually part of our heritage, much more than the false “associations” you are creating.

    Lot’s of people in cities come from modest backgrounds, this would hold true for your family too. Even in Pakistan, commentators have observed how upwardly mobile people adopt the Ashraf backgrounds to the chagrin of the people who come from these backgrounds. By the way, in the Valley of Kashmir, it is the Ashraaf backgrounds that have social prestige, not those claiming to be “bhats”, “dars”, etc. Because you don’t have any exposure to such realities, you’re just repeating anecdotes from the circles you move in.

    If someone from Lahore – a relative of yours, claims that Mirpuris are not Kashmiris because they are themselves Kashmiris, it’s not proof of anything. These people are utterly ignorant of their own prejudice. It’s similar to the many anecdotes you’ve been spreading here. They are just impressions – ones that have been spread so often that they’ve become apocryphal in nature.

    The whole world calls the peoples of Jammu & Kashmir – “Kashmiris”. Again and again, you repeat the same old tired mantras. But, you think you’ve discovered something great when you repeat this ridiculous argument; of the 5 year old boy who can tell the difference between languages – you’re a lot older than 5 and yet you don’t even know what a ‘dialect’ is, even after it was pointed out to you dialects have nothing to do with number of speakers, or majorities.

    Some humility is needed.

    As for Islam, and how it is practised in Kashmir, please; Muslims all over Pakistan are fed up with the extremist movements with roots in “urban” Panjab, where do you think lashkar-e-tayba. Jaysh-e-muhammad, harakat-ul-mujahideen are from? And now you want to start a conversation about how different Islam is in Vadi-e-Kashmir?

    What is this obsession really about?

    The Islam of the hills and mountains has always been Sufi-centric. It used to be like this all over the Panjab, before certain elements started to “Islamise” the Pakistani State during the Afghan-Soviet war, happy to accept Saudi largess and whatever that entailed. You should know what I’m talking about.

    But, how far will you go to extol these imaginary “identities”? I thought it was Islam that kept us united? But according to this new argument, even the Islam of the Vadi is different, so what right does Pakistan have to Vadi-e-Kashmir, if the Islam over there is different? When you say this, why are you rubbishing Pakistan’s official narrative over Kashmir, especially the one that came after 1971? According to this narrative Pakistan could now, finally breathe and function, because of its internal coherence; the regional peoples, although linguistically and ethnically diverse. were more or less the same, all that was missing were the Kashmiris, who belonged to Pakistan not India?

    You sound like the Hindu Pandits who try to convince everyone else that ethnic Kashmiris are so different that they are not, even, from India or Pakistan, as they themselves, ironically, claim a Saraswati Brahman background – Indian Plains background. These same propagandists are ashamed of speaking “Kashiri” even to their own children, as they claim Kashmiri is completely separate from any “Indian” language. They speak Hindi, and English at every opportunity, but they point out real Kashmiris speak Kashmiri, even as they recognise that ‘A’JK is part of Jammu & Kashmir, not Pakistan, and so Mirpuris, by their own logic, are occupied by the Pakistanis.

    You clearly move in very isolated circles Farooq, and your exposure to these realities is limited. We want to educate British Paharis and open their horizons. Your views would be a liability for us, as you would be taking us back to a dark age.

    This is the end of the discussion for me – you are free to repeat the same lines, again and again if you get intellectual and emotional fulfilment from that. No one is censoring you here, because we believe in freedom of expression; we’re not in Pakistan, where the books of Maqbool Bhat “SHAHEED” are banned, and where British nationals from AJK have been banned from visiting their own homeland courtesy of the Pakistan Establishment – what madness is this! When you say, AJK people are not being persecuted, you don’t know what you’re talking about, tell that to the activists who are being imprisoned, tortured, disappeared; you think these people are imagining what’s happening to them?

    You are free to be the Pakistani Patriot in the UK that gets a pat on his back from likeminded individuals, as they want to crack jokes about Mirpuris in some cathartic exercise of redeeming their “reputation”. The world looks at Pakistan and sees the same extended network running the country; these parasites live in gated communities, away from the shanty towns that comprise the greater part of Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad. This is not the experience of ordinary Pakistanis.

    Why should ordinary Pakistanis feel inconsequential, have no hope, no future, in their own country?

    This elite is a problem for the millions of Pakistanis who don’t even have access to clean drinking water, who is going to speak up for the children of these millions of people? Are we going to also blame their children for being corrupt, ill-mannered, dirty, undisciplined, lazy; so we can look down on people less fortunate than us, and excuse ourselves from any culpability or agency?

    And we have Pakistanis in the UK who want to re-imagine their past, as the scions of “aristocrats” from cities in Pakistan, even as they speak terrible English, live in some of the poorest neighbourhoods of Greater London, all on the back of an illusory identity that distinguishes them from Mirpuris.

    That my friend was my argument all along. I wasn’t arguing about Kashmir or Panjab!

    We’re not stupid though, our people are being discriminated in AJK; AJK is a dysfunctional State. Ignore all the human rights reports written on AJK and this unjust place, if you want, it doesn’t make Pakistan benign, or your arguments any truer.

    Pakistan is far from benign, it is economically and politically exploiting AJK. I’ve never blamed Pakistan, an idea for everything that is wrong with Pakistan, I blame those who “run” this State, and not the millions unfortunate to “live” in it.

  21. Farooq, you believe Paharis are ethnically Punjabi and this is what your trying to prove by arguing that Mirpur is culturally, linguistically and geographically Punjabi. You’ve only shown me that the two languages are similar and belong to the same language family. Not that they are dialects of one another. Majority of Mirpuris do not see themselves as Punjabis or their language as Punjabi. They clearly differentiate themselves as Mipuris/Pothwaris/Paharis and you as a Punjabi. I don’t know what your trying to achieve by making us the same.

    I don’t believe Pahari people from Azad Kashmir are linguistically the same as Panjabi people from Lahore, and surrounding areas. This is not what I’m attempting to prove. My argument is that Pahari people from AK have a lot more in common culturally, and linguistically with Pakistanis than they do with ethnic Kashmiri’s. This is why historically most AK people have identified with Pakistan, and many still do.

    Farooq, as Jutt Panyal showed you, there are powerful Mirpuris in politics. There are probably hundreds more in the mainstream who are self-identifying as ‘Pakistanis’. Even if your not willing to accept this, there are between 750,000-1,000,000 Paharis with a keyboard and mouse. Due to the anonymous nature of the internet, people are able to express their unsavory views without reprisal. Using the internet, we can deduce the attitudes generally held by one community against another and measure its magnitude depending on the volume of information returned one way or another. If these views were widespread, we should expect to see hundreds of pages with Lahori bashing going on by Mirpuris. You’ve failed to show this on any of the popular search engines or social media websites. Try doing the reverse and searching for ‘Mirpuris’ and it will lead you down an unending spiral of hatred coming from mainly Pakistanis against Mirpuris with absolutely nothing positive to say.

    Faisal I think you’re missing the point as to why some British Pakistanis take to the internet, to vilify Mirpuris. Also why some feel the need to negatively portray Mirpuris to the mainstream. They feel aggrieved that Mirpuris are giving the Pakistani community a bad name. This is not an attempt to downplay Mirpuri bashing, it’s simple cause, and effect.

    Mirpuris have no such grievances, they routinely tell non Pakistanis, they are Kashmiri, therefore avoiding the Pakistani label altogether. Therefore why would they go online to ‘Pakistani bash’ especially when most identify as Pakistani within the community.

    Farooq, no one knows who exactly is committing these crimes. That’s the point. It’s all about perception and I was challenging this perception by asking if Punjabis/Pakistanis make up a large minority in these areas, does it not stand to reason that they are also responsible for crimes in those areas? It is still possible that Mirpuris are doing most of the crime but we can’t deduce this from demographics alone. That’s my point. I wasn’t putting the blame one way or another.

    Farooq, the mainstream media are right to point to these areas as having problems. Mirpuri and Brit-Pakistani communities through out the UK have problems including in London. You’ve acknowledged Brit-Pakistanis point to these places and try to shift all the problems of the area onto Mirpuris and this is wrong. I accept that. My problem is that you’ve attempted to excuse this behavior from your fellow Pakistanis by arguing that Mirpuris would have done the same. You’ve also said that it’s “natural” or “not surprising” for the “minority to put all the blame on the majority”. I’ve tried to explain to you that each of these areas for example Bradford has a large minority of 25% non-Mirpuris. People are equally inclined to believe that it’s only a minority of people in a community doing all the nefarious activity and not the majority. So Mirpuris could have equally put the blame on the minority mainland Pakistani community. Scapegoating could be blamed on the majority, but people are also equally inclined or perhaps more inclined to believe that the minority is doing the crimes. For this reason, Mirpuris have had equal or more reason to scapegoat the minority community for all the crimes in the community. But Mirpuris are not scapegoating Pakistanis. Pakistanis are scapegoating Mirpuris. So therefore, there is a problem with scapegoating in the Pakistani community. Can you unequivocally condemn this without making justifications or excuses for your fellow Pakistanis by pointing to demographics or speculating that they would’ve done the same thing had the roles been reversed?

    The problem with your analogy is, in Asian communities people in an area generally know each other. They generally know who the criminals are which families they belong to, and therefore it would look very odd if Mirpuris in Bradford suddenly took the view that Lahori residents commit all the crime within Bradfords Pakistani community.

    Lets not kid ourselves Faisal we both know that some Mirpuri young men are heavily involved in crime, and often become the ring leaders by virtue of being the majority. They wear this label like a badge of honour in the context of crimes such as drug peddling, and the problem is in no way confined to Bradford. The prejudice arises when people assume that no jhelumis, pathaans, lahoris etc are also involved. The situation is further complicated when some Lahore side Panjabis assume Jhelumis are Mirpuri anyway. Pakistan is a complicated confusing country, just watch Pakistani news, and observe how they argue. The British Pakistani community also seem to be a confused complicated bunch.

    Farooq, this is the problem. Not enough Pakistanis are challenging this bigotry from fellow Pakistanis which has allowed these views to spread. Actions speak louder than words and until I see Pakistanis challenging these negative portrayals, your appeals to brotherhood through our shared Pakistaniyat, Ummat and ‘Punjabiyat’, are worthless.

    You’re using the ‘do more’ argument in a situation created by discrimination. British Pakistanis seek to blame shift, and Mirpuris seek to use the ‘Kashmiri’ label among Non Pakistanis. People essentially look out for their own interests especially when they are a minority. Therefore unity can only occur through emphasising shared identity in religion, and culture. Focusing on our commonalities rather than our differences. Giving an ultimatum of disunity unless your expectations are met, is both unrealistic, and unhelpful. You are using a far right argument here, “Unless I see evidence of ordinary Muslims doing more to challenge……..!!!”

    Farooq, you have no right to speak on behalf of other communities and say, “They believe X about you, and they believe Y about you and most of them think Z about you”. You can defend and speak on behalf of your own community without dragging the others down, all the while speaking of how we should stick together for the sake of Pakistani fraternity and Muslim Unity. Muh mein Ram Ram aur bhagal mein churi.

    Pothwaris, Paharis and Pathaans are part of my community. You have no right to define to me what my community is. Keep your separatist opinions as that, and stop trying to impose them as identities upon others. While most of us recognise our differences we also share a common identity as Pakistani Muslims. If you want to detract from this identity that is your choice but do not pretend that there is no such thing as a Pakistani Muslim identity within the UK. So within this wider community I’m relaying experiences of Mirpuri bashing from varying towns, and cities, including Kotli Azad Kashmir, and also from Panjabi Kashmiris. I’m not making any assumptions as to whether a minority or a majority hold such views. I think we’ve already established that those involved in outright vilification, are a minority.

    I have yet to self-identify once as a “British Kashmiri”. By imposing this label on me, you are a racist according to your own standards.

    I’m not imposing I’m assuming because you claim to no longer identify with the British Pakistani community. Identifying as British Mirpuri or British Pahari does not automatically take you out of the wider British Pakistani community.

    This is a straw man. The majority of Mirpuri bashing is being done covertly behind our backs, hence why it’s suddenly become an issue. Mirpuris are largely oblivious to these views held about them by Brit-Pakistanis. It’s only with the creation of the internet that we’ve become aware. Farooq, you know these views are widespread.

    On the contrary Mirpuris know they have a bad reputation. However, having a bad rep doesn’t automatically lead to online Mirpuri bashing. Some Mirpuris make negative comments about Lahoris, Pathaans, and others but you are refusing to acknowledge that this even takes place. You have a ‘Mirpuris’ can do no wrong attitude towards the discussion, using your online example as evidence. I’ve already explained to you why online Mirpuri bashing occurs. I’ve also explained why Mirpuris had no reason to do the same, until recently. If you still don’t understand the point then I don’t know how many more ways I can explain it to you.

    I don’t discredit your Greater London experiences. However, there are a lot of Panjabis, and Pathaans in Greater London mixing with Mirpuris. Marriages between Panjabis, and Mirpuris in the capital are also becoming more commonplace. I can easily use some previous experiences to label a majority of Mirpuris racist. I’m guessing the majority of British Pakistanis you’ve come across throughout your life have not responded as described in your experiences. I’m take the opinion that you, like many others, have been mixing with Pakistanis as well as other Muslims throughout your life. If every funny look, ignorant comment, were to be taken to heart, we’d all have left the UK by now.

    You seem to be hand picking examples to insinuate that the majority of Brit Pakistanis are racist towards Mirpuris. On the other hand I shared examples of my experiences to prove that there are a minority of ignorant people in all sections of the community. I will take it further to say there are ignorant people in, and among all ethnicities. Racism however, is a top down affair. It is perpetrated by those in a position of power over you. Brit Pakistanis have no power over Mirpuris, and Mirpuris are a part of the British Pakistani community. Growing up I came across a few racist black people. However, I can’t then go and accuse British Blacks in general, of racism.

  22. Some years ago, in fact it was about 20 years ago there was a nail bomber who planted bombs in london in black and asian and LGBT areas and one explosion led to a loss of life in Soho. The Nail bomber was caught and his partner was an asian. So marriage between Mirpuris and Punjabis does not mean that the Gujar Khan or Faisalabad person and their family and friends like Mirpuris. It just shows how hypocritcal they are.
    My reading of the situation is that there is widespread hatred and vilification of Mirpuris by people from Punjab and Karachi, I do not know about Pathans vis a via Mirpuris but I know Pathans have zero respect for Punjabis.

    But the same Punjabis and Karachis will like to benfit from Mirpuris whilst hating them. This could be by use of Mosques and community centres created by Mirpuris or in selling their services and products to their brothers who they actually hate. They can also say we are the same so that they can claim interpreting fees while laughing at the rubbish inferior mirpuri language. I have yet to meet one Punjab or Karachi who has ever unequivocally condemned Mirpuri hatred.

    It is these same Pakistani Punjab and Karachis who also disturb our community by failing to unequivocally condemn all terror outrages in the world and UK. These are the people who always say what about Palestine or Syria, and so now they will say what about Mirpuris hating us and we marry them. I personally doubt these discussions will get us anywhere, the Muslim people from Punjab and those who are living in Karachi will never accept any responsibility for their actions the same way these exact people failed to take responsibility for the basket case land of Pakistan which they rule and dominate and the same way they have yet to admit the genocide in Bengladesh, they did. Sadly Mirpuris are gentle and forgiving people who always respect all humanity, contrary to the image of a drug dealer being portrayed by Faroq ali. Until we realise that this will never end we will never get respite.

    Also Reiss your comment has disappeared and I only read half of it and so please re instate it.

  23. Jutt Punyal, Reiss Haidar, ……

    What can be done in this situation? When those who claim Mirpuri bashers are wrong for scapegoating and dehumanizing Mirpuris then go on to use the same arguments as those Mirpuri bashers in order to justify scapegoating and racism against Mirpuris?

    Then they ask why I don’t see them as a brother.

    A lot(not all) of British Pakistanis are bigots. The rest who aren’t just make excuses for the ones who are.

    What’s the solution?

    Majority of them are morons. You can shut them up by giving them facts. But you don’t change their minds or hearts. They carry on believing as previously.

    The rest who are more astute don’t believe in facts. They rely on sociology and qualitative evidence.

    The’re are some who are well intentioned but they will simply ignore this behavior. They will make no effort to practically challenge it either online or within their own Pakistani circles.

    At the end of the day, Mirpuris must look out solely for their own interests. Not because we are close hearted or don’t want to be part of their fraternity. The simple fact is we are not accepted in their fraternity and never will be. The second generation Pakistani is worse than the first and the current one is more racist the previous. I don’t see this tide changing.

  24. Jatt has made an array of assumptions about Panjabis, and ‘Karachis’ whatever that means.

    Jatts ignorant list of imaginary facts.

    1. Panjabis, and Karachis hate Mirpuris, including those Panjabis, and Karachis who are married to Mirpuris.
    2. Panjabis and Karachis who marry Mirpuris are hypocrites because they are all racists anyway.
    2. They (Panjabis and Karachis) want to claim linguistic similarities in order to obtain interpreting fees.
    3. Panjabis and Karachis support terrorism.
    4. Farooq Ali is portraying Mirpuris as drug dealers.
    5. Pathaans have 0 respect for Panjabis.
    6. No Panjabi or ‘Karachi’ will condemn Mirpuri bashing because they are all racist at heart.
    7. Panjabis and Karachis will never highlight the problems in their country lol. Clearly Jatt has never watched Pakistani news or sat in a room with a group of Pakistani born people.

    Reiss Haidar, and Faisal, ask yourselves what is wrong with Jatt Punyals post.

    I’ve already condemned ‘Mirpuri bashing’ where as Jatts statements will never be condemned by either of the two of you.

    This is exactly the problem, Pakistani people will look out for their own. Whether it be own family, friends, caste, regional area.

    The Mirpuris can do no wrong attitude is clearly coming across on Portmir. Even when Jatt makes ignorant statements right under your noses, it is ignored.

    However, my much more balanced posts are reinterpreted as covert support for online Mirpuri bashing.

    Faisal, it’s clear from your post that you concur with Jatt. I’m glad you used ‘a lot’ while bordering on Jatt territory. At least you believe there are a few good British Pakistanis. However, you go on to claim that they are also guilty by association lol.

    Compare that with my posts where I use ‘some’ ‘a minority’ for both Panjabis, and Mirpuris.

    Reiss, I never said Paharis are Panjabis. I said Paharis from AJK have a lot more in common with Pakistanis linguistically and culturally, than they do with Ethnic Kashmiris. I correctly illustrated linguistic, and cultural similarities to make this point. It seems you have no answer to this which is why you’re reconfiguring it to ‘Paharis are Panjabis’ lol.

    Too many points to respond to tonight, however will pick up on them in due course.

    • Farooq

      I have read Jatts comments, and I think he could have expressed his views a little better, as they are coming across as generalisations, you too Faruq made a number of generalisations in your earlier comments though. I don’t agree with any generalisations, we cannot hold entire communities responsible for the actions of individuals, even if they happen to comprise large sections of their wider population.

      As a point of principle, I believe that the overwhelming majority of people across the world are good people; this is my starting point in any discussion and this holds true for British-Pakistanis.

      That said, I agree with the sentiments in Jatt’s comments; he is saying that there is no genuine reciprocation between Mirpuris and Pakistanis, the latter forget about the all the good things Mirpuris have done for the wider Pakistani community (building Mosques/community centres/charities etc.,) making full use of such community largess all the while they are quick to extol our bad qualities. In his mind, this is a form of hypocrisy especially when such individuals invoke Islam as an identity between Muslims, invoking Syria/Palestine as a common cause, when they don’t really believe in Muslim brotherhood with us, he gave the example of Bangladesh as proof. So there’s historical context to this hypocrisy.

      Also in terms of the interpreter point, it is the case that Pakistanis have benefitted exponentially from this unjust status quo; so many of the interpreters provided to members of my community come from the wider British-Pakistani community; so they get jobs courtesy of the British taxpayer, whilst others more proficient in Pahari lose out to Panjabi and Urdu interpreters due to lack of official recognition for this language. We’re not Panjabis and neither do we speak Urdu natively, the elders in our community speak Pahari – so we can see practically why the imposition of such identities is bad for us. Our elders should be provided Pahari interpreters; why are jobs being guaranteed to the Pakistani community even as we have individuals looking down their noses at our language? I think Jat made a pertinent point in this respect.

      I think, on balance, Jatt’s claims are pretty reasonable except when they are generalised to include much larger numbers of people – that’s unfair to the many good folk of these communities who would similarly object to the vilification of Mirpuris.

      Jatt, Faysal do not agree with me, as they think there is no appetite on the part of British-Pakistanis to address Mirpuri vilification. It’s for you, Faruq to convince them otherwise. You are doing a terrible job! I can’t see how you are going accomplish that given your own line of reasoning which is not conciliatory but rather exculpatory in favour of British-Pakistanis. You’re defending British-Pakistanis as you roam around fields of identity-politics telling us who we are, and what we’re not; why would you begin and end your discussion on such consideration?

      You don’t come across balanced Farooq, you’re still pushing illusory identities – what do you mean by “ethnic Pakistanis” and “ethnic Kashmiris”? This is false equivalence, it adds nothing to the debate, you’re just adding irrelevant points – Pakistani is a nationality not an ethnicity; Kashmiri is an ethnicity, not a nationality – the last time I looked at a map of the world there was no country called Kashmiristan. The “country”, “state” and “nation” ethnic Kashmiris come from is called “Jammu & Kashmir”, when the pro-independence Kashmiris demand independence, it is for the inhabitants of this State; the multi-ethnic “country” they are fighting for has been multi-ethnic for centuries, so what do you get by repeating the same propagandistic claim that Mirpuris are closer to ethnic Pakistanis than ethnic Kashmiris?

      This is flawed reasoning on your part; if I didn’t consider you well-intentioned, I would have said you had an agenda to push this propaganda. So why do you carry on repeating this point?

      So Faruq, you’re not exactly tempered in your own views?

      I contend anti-Mirpuri actors are a minority within the British Pakistani community, although their influence exceeds their numbers which is the reason why this problem has become so acute. We need to move this debate forward.

      I’ll respond to the other points later this evening.

      • Reiss
        So you will not condemn Jatts statements which is what I expected. Instead you’re claiming I have made a number of generalisations. Please feel free to quote me.

        So you agree with Jatts statements on the basis that British Pakistanis do not appreciate Mosques, community centres, and charities, run by Mirpuris. Quite a generalisation, if I may say so. Furthermore, what about the Mosques, community centres, and charities run by Gujaratis, Panjabis, Sri Lankans, Pathaans, Bengalis, Arabs, Somalis, and people from a mixture of backgrounds. Mirpuri run Mosques tend to be cultural hubs for Uncles in Shalwar Kameez. Not that I have anything against this but they’re hardly engaging of British born youth. Things might be changing slowly but a lot of these Mosques were a Pakistani Uncle fraternity in which the youth, and other ethnicities were not part of the club. You can add Kashmir to that list too because a lot of British Pakistanis view Kashmir as a common cause. How on earth is Bangladesh proof that British Pakistanis do not see Mirpuris as fellow Muslims?
        I thought I already explained the interpreter point to you. My mother was on the panel which recruited the Pothwari speaking interpreter. She was recruited partly because she spoke the same dialect, as many of those, who required language support services within the community. The Pothwari interpreter’s failings have nothing to do with her being a Pothwari speaker, and everything to do with her work ethic. The point being that just because someone speaks the same dialect doesn’t automatically make them the best person for the job.
        They are right, there is no appetite on the part of British Pakistanis as a whole to challenge Mirpuri vilification. Most are busy challenging Islamophobia or racism against Pakistanis or Asians in general. Minorities generally look out for their own interests, and are not going to challenge something which doesn’t affect them, and actually diverts discriminatory blame elsewhere. You are applying the standards of the White British majority to a minority within a minority. Essentially you are asking the 30 percent to challenge the vilification of the 70 percent within the context of being a minority themselves. However, you will find some British Pakistanis challenging Mirpuri vilification as and when they come across it.
        Panjabis, and Potwaris are Pakistanis, and Pahris from Azad Kashmir have a lot more in common with their neighbours in Pakistan than their ethnic Kashmiri neighbours in Indian administered Kashmir. You’re correct, Kashmiri is an ethnicity but ethnic Kashmiris are not the same as Pahari speaking Kashmiris in terms of language, and culture. Azad Kashmiri Paharis share stronger linguistic, and cultural similarities with the people of Pakistan than they do with ethnic Kashmiris. The wider point here is that Bengalis struggled for a homeland based on linguistic, and cultural differences. What are the activists among the Pahari community basing their struggle on?
        During a quick browse through the defence.pk forums I came across the following comments in a thread entitled Pothowari Culture.
        “Pothowari SHARE the same culture as punjabis, i would 75% of my friends are pothowari and the only difference between us is the dialect of punjabi they speak i.e. pothowari. The rest of the culture is the same.”

        “I’d be inclined to agree with this. Pothohari/Potwari is simply considered a dialect of Punjabi. There will be slight differences in the culture perhaps with Pothowaris as they live in more mountainous parts of the Punjab region/Azad Kashmir but even looking at the pictures you posted, you can see the clear similarities in dress and culture.

        I’m guessing your Mirpuri though based on your location. There might be slight differences between Mirpuri culture and average Punjabi culture but Mirpuri culture and traditions are closer to Punjabi culture than Kashmir Valley culture (ie Srinagar, Baramulla, etc.).”

        Now look at the response from the other side of the debate.

        “bullsh1t.
        there is no similarity b/w pothowari culture and punjabi culture.we consider lahoris disgrace to the name of punjab because of their dirty habits.like jumping/dancing,prostituation/hera mandi.and lahoris are very liberal than pothowaris.
        and pothohari is also very different to punjabi.punjabi speaking can’t understand pothowari,but we can understand all dialects of punjabi.id disagree ,translate 1 min of this video.”

        It’s obvious which side of the debate the racist comments start from on this thread.

        • Faruq,

          We’re just going in circles. If you believe we are from the same fraternity, don’t you think we should be looking for solutions to the problem at hand?

          As for Jatt’s comments, Jatt can speak for himself, and he can explain to you why he said what he said? Aside from the generalisations which I’ve already condemned, yours are pretty obvious, you just need to read your own comments; the latest, Mirpuri mosques are cultural hubs for Uncles in shalwar kameez? – why do you feel the need to describe them in this way – I detect some prejudice against Uncles who wear Shalwar Kameez in the UK? Would you prefer that they wear trousers and shirts instead – would this be proof of progress, integration, cultural sophistication in your mind?

          Why these anxieties brother Faruq? I’m just curious.

          However, in terms of Jatt’s sentiments including those of Faysal’s, I absolutely agree with both of them except to say we can work out our differences and still belong to the same fraternity in the UK. I don’t discount what you’re saying either – you are right in a number of your own observations, but it doesn’t mean there’s no Mirpuri vilification. The problem with your reasoning is that in one breath you accept it, in the other you reject it, as you then go on to repeat the same ethnic arguments, again and again, speaking of realities you’re not exposed to, adding even more irrelevant points.

          You said, repeating the same irrelevant line of argument, as a propagandist would,

          “Panjabis, and Potwaris are Pakistanis, and Pahris from Azad Kashmir have a lot more in common with their neighbours in Pakistan than their ethnic Kashmiri neighbours in Indian administered Kashmir.”

          Now, you’re talking about Indian-administered-Kashmir as a point of contrast to AJK, what you’re really saying is AJK should remain part of Pakistan, because, Paharis are ethnically similar to “Pakistanis”, in this case Patwaris. That’s all you’re saying, you have no other argument, it’s a very crude and skewed argument, and you’re preaching to the converted. When you engage in these flawed “ethnic” arguments, you’re not adding anything new to our specific debate – Mirpuri vilification in the UK, that should be our focus?

          However sentiments are not facts, and propaganda should be avoided at all costs.

          Indian-administered-Kashmir is a multi-ethnic region though, the Kashmiris are only a majority in the Valley of Kashmir and areas in Kishtwar, as they also have large contingencies in neighbouring areas. They are only a majority in “parts” of Indian-administered-Kashmir, the Dogras are a majority in their own ethnic areas, the Paharis are a majority in their areas, the Shias of Kargil who have their own ethnic identity of sorts, are a majority in their areas, as are the Buddhists of Ladakh, etc, etc. You have the Gujjar and Bakarwal, and they are also indigenous to the areas they move between during the seasons with their livestock. In the entire Jammu Kashmir State, ethnic Kashmiris are actually a minority; in terms of actual landmass, they occupy a tiny region within this historically 84-85000 square mille region. There are large contingencies of Paharis living in the ethnic areas of Kashmir Valley; members of the other communities similarly live all across this State, they consider this entire area their homeland. Ethnic Kashmiris have been studying in the Universities of Jammu for decades, as the people of the wider State study in Srinagar.

          The ethnic diversity of Jammu & Kashmir is just taken for granted by everyone in the State; the ethnic Kashmiris are part of this State, not Pakistan. The majority who want independence, want independence from both India AND Pakistan. They include every bit of AJK and Gilgit Baltistan in their “Kashmir”. AJK is part of this State, not Pakistan. It is because of conflict, AJK is controlled by Pakistan, subject to UN resolutions – this is Pakistan’s official position. The clue is in the word “Azad” Jammu & Kashmir? On the old Pakistani passports for AJK “state subjects”, it read “Former Citizens of Jammu & Kashmir State”. You mentioned previously that Mirpur historically was not part of Jammu & Kashmir State, can you please desist from such comments, as it shows insincerity to state facts for what they are. It’s just not true, and the people who make these comments are getting exposed for propagating “falsehood”.

          As for the false contrast between AJK and Indian-administered-Kashmir.

          Someone from Rajouri is more similar to someone from Mirpur than he would be to someone from Lahore, so where does that leave your Pakistan argument, as you keep connecting Paharis to Patwaris, when this linkage isn’t even up for debate? The peoples of Indian-administered-Kashmir consider the people of AJK their countrymen, the Paharis of IAK consider the Paharis of AJK their ethnic kinsmen, they are much more connected to the idea of Jammu & Kashmir than the Paharis of AJK. Someone from Rajouri or Poonch in Indian “Kashmir”, would feel fraternity with someone from AJK, not necessarily with someone from the Patwar, or someone from Lahore, or further afield in Pakistan. Your exposure to these social realities is limited, as you don’t move in these circles. Even the Hindu Dogras feel connected with the Muslim Paharis of AJK but they don’t feel this connection with people in Lahore, because they consider the Plains a different region to the hills and mountains of their State. For many non-muslims in IAK, Pakistan is off-limits for them, they wouldn’t even dream of visiting Pakistan. The only exception they make is AJK and GB, why do you think they do this, if they weren’t attached to the idea of Jammu & Kashmir?

          Many Dogras have expressed interest in visiting AJK, they’ve never once expressed any interest in visiting Pakistan. Kashmiris in the Valley have also expressed interest in visiting AJK, they don’t seem to care much for Pakistan. Lot’s of people in AJK want to visit Indian-administered-Kashmir; they express less interest in visiting India.

          This obsession of yours, of trying to connect AJK people with the Panjab, RELIGIOUSLY, is a ‘one-way’ obsession; it’s borne of political anxieties, even in your latest comment, you’ve repeated the same point again.

          What do you hope to achieve by making these superfluous points?

          As for Jatt’s argument, I think Jatt should explain himself to you. Like me, and the others, he is isn’t a Kashmiri separatist, so why would he say there is no genuine British-Pakistani fraternity? Jat was talking about reciprocation, where is the reciprocation of brotherly and sisterly fraternity in the UK brother Faruq?

          The conversation you’ve cited as proof of racism, if Faysal is correct, demonstrates racism between “Patwaris” (Pothohar Uplands) and Panjabis, how does that detract from Mirpuri vilification from Pakistanis? All you’re demonstrating is racism also exists between Pakistanis.

          Faisal,

          As for the level of debate on this Pakistani forum, what do you expect if they are resorting to wikipedia? They’re just quoting sources written by people like themselves to prove their own points. I would hazard the guess that literally everything written on AJK or Panjab is written by Pakistanis or Indians, many of whom are pan-Panjabists, with anti-Pakistan or anti-India anxieties.

          For British Paharis, avoid Wikipedia like you would avoid the Plague! If you don’t believe me, just trace the journey of these various posts on Kashmir, Mirpur, AJK etc., by looking at when the posts were first written, and the subsequent amendments/edits and you’ll discover something very sinister.

        • Let’s all have a good laugh at the notion that these people are challenging or are somehow victims of “Islamaphobia and racism”. HA. By and large, they live in some of the most liberal, multi-ethnic, multicultural, plural, tolerant parts of the country. 99.9% of the time when they hear the “Paki”, it will be from fellow Asians using it in non-derogatory manner.

          No, what these people do is they point to actual areas of racism, segragation and Islamaphobia in the country, so called “Mirpuri Ghettoes” and then cry victim about how oppressed they are and then get thumbs up and pats on the back from their white liberal friends.

          Then they go to their far-right circles and then point to these same areas and say, “look at these Jungli Mirpuris, even the whites want nothing to do with them. We are the good immigrants!”. Apparently, if there’s no segregation, there is no racism. So where’s the segregation happening in the Greater London or Greater Manchester areas?

          If there is any such segregation, it is self-induced. No one is forcing Pakistanis to congregate in places like Ilford or Barking. Places which are also hotbeds for radical Islamic views. Just look at Anjem Chaudhry and the London bridge attackers. Look at all the sharia law retards who are Pakistanis; they use words like AKHI instead of brother and have a strong Arabic accent. They go to places like speakers corner and speak about how shit this great country is, embarrassing the rest of us. And then due to Brit-Pakistani privilege, people just assume they are Mirpuri despite London being 70% Pakistani. The demographic argument doesn’t seem to work in London does it? There are still people who say Anjem Chaudhry is Mirpuri.

          This is why so called “Pakistani liberals”, are generally dislike everywhere. I think people see through their hypocrisy. People see their arrogance and their disdain for the common man. I think a lot of that has been shown here also.

      • Here is the link for those interested:

        https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/pothowari-culture.142613/

        1. This post is started by a Pahari from ‘A’JK who is making a distinction between Paharis/Patwaris/Hazaras and Punjabis. Not one person claiming to be from the region disagrees with him. He gets a lot of likes in fact.

        2. Some of the commentators, none of whom claim to come from the region, begin questioning this distinction. They feel that Paharis/Pothwaris are all basically Punjabis.

        3. The guy who is offended at this is NOT a Mirpuri but a Patwari from Pakistan. He begins insulting Punjabis and differentiating between them and Patwaris by their language, culture and bad habits. He claims to have a Lahori mother also.

        4. Patwari guy begins arguing with an ‘American’ Punjabi called ‘infiltrator’ who claims Pahari-Pothwari is a dialect of Punjabi. Infiltrator says Seriaki is a seperate language, whereas Pahari-Pothwari is not. He cites Grieson’s Linguistic Survey of India.

        5. Patwari guy asks the American Punjabi to translate a two minute video in Patwari, American Punjabi admits it’s difficult.

        6. Another user called ‘Pahari’ apperciates the thread and links to wikipedia
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pahari-Pothwari where it is clearly mentioned Pahari-Pothwari is a distinct language from Punjabi.

    • “I’ve already condemned ‘Mirpuri bashing’ where as Jatts statements will never be condemned by either of the two of you.”

      Farooq, I do condemn this post of Jatts. But “had the roles been reversed” and this was a Lahori website, “you would have done exactly the same thing” as him, so “stop playing the victim”, it’s “mere banter”, and you “are taking it too seriously”.

      Farooq, do you accept this heartfelt condemnation of mine? This is exactly how you have been supposedly “condemning Mirpuri bashing”.

      It’s been really disappointing to see you that you didn’t respond to my request to “unequivocally condemn Mirpuri bashing without making excuses for your fellow Pakistanis”. Now you’ve come up with a new excuse that it’s not a mere stereotype that Mirpuris commit more crime but that Pakistanis know who all the drug dealers are; implying that they are all Mirpuris.

      Farooq, you seem to agree and defend every racist premise that the vilifiers believe in. I don’t believe you are one of them, but you do hold all their racist views. This was what I first contented, that “there is a problem of racism in the Pakistani community” especially against Mirpuris. This is clear to see when those who do not consider themselves racist also hold these racist views. I never once said most, but this is a “virus” within the “Pakistani mindset”, and I don’t know if it will ever change.

      Also Farooq, your interlocutors are not Kashmiri seperatists and you know this. That Mirpuris have “culturual and linguistic” similarities with Pakistanis is something you also know since you were told exactly this when you were claiming it was “religion” that kept Pakistanis together.

      You are wrong about the Mirpuris bashers wanting to differentiate themselves ethnically from Mirpuris. They differentiate themselves as Pakistanis but see us as Punjabi trash or Punjabi chavs. It’s easier to look down on people when they exist within your own ethnic group and then feel like your not a racist. Farooq, although you hold racists views, I don’t believe you are a racist and your whole purpose has been to defend yourself and your community from the tag of racism. It’s clear you detest this tag. Your last post is also you doing exactly this. One thing for sure is had this been about Pashtun bashing, or Baloch bashing, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion as it would be blatantly obvious to all(including you) that these views are racist and problematic. It’s clear where your actual anxieties lie.

  25. Faroq stated that this is
    Jatts ignorant list of imaginary facts.
    1. Panjabis, and Karachis hate Mirpuris, including those Panjabis, and Karachis who are married to Mirpuris.
    2. Panjabis and Karachis who marry Mirpuris are hypocrites because they are all racists anyway.
    2. They (Panjabis and Karachis) want to claim linguistic similarities in order to obtain interpreting fees.
    3. Panjabis and Karachis support terrorism.
    4. Farooq Ali is portraying Mirpuris as drug dealers.
    5. Pathaans have 0 respect for Panjabis.
    6. No Panjabi or ‘Karachi’ will condemn Mirpuri bashing because they are all racist at heart.
    7. Panjabis and Karachis will never highlight the problems in their country lol.
    None of my facts were Ignorant and they are in fact all correct,
    From the objective evidence we can see that there is a deep seated hatred in Muslim Punjabi families against Mirpuris, I do not think we need to go back to step 1 and post all the proof, I think all Mirpuris will agree on this point. The fact that a Punjabi married a Mirpuri does not prove that he is not anti mirpuri at all and I gave an example of the Nail bomber and so again it cannot be termed an ignorant comment as it is a factual comment.
    Mirpuri and Punjabi are different languages and so why should a person who does not speak Mirpuri just sign up for a job and provide a shoddy service. I condemn all non Mirpuris who take paid work as Mirpuri interpreters when they cannot speak the language and that is unfair.
    Also Muslim Punjabis do use Mosques started by Mirpuris and DO Not use mosques started by as you said Arabs, Somalis and Sri Lankans, which is hilarious as these nations have a tiny footprint in the UK and were virtually non existent 25 years ago. Farooq you have never told me where you live and as you have stated that your not from London, I can assure you that there were never non Mirpuri mosques in the south East as that is where you said you live. Arabs and Somalis have a few mosques in London now and even they were probably assisted massively by Pakistanis ( Mirpuris).
    Muslim Punjabis do support terrorism and the objective evidence shows that most of the Pakistanis who were arrested for terror in the UK and abroad were from Punjab or Karachi. Also the province of Punjab is Pakistan is where all the terror organistions originated and are based whether the Lashkar Tayyaba, Lashkar Jhangvie, SSP, Jasih Mohamed, Sipa Mohamed etc..
    All the members and leaders are Punjabis and none is a Mirpuri and so it is a factual statement.
    The rest of my points are clear and yes I repeat Punjabis never condemned Mirpuri bashing comments.
    The irony is that faroq then says, Panjabis, and Potwaris are Pakistanis, and Pahris from Azad Kashmir have a lot more in common with their neighbours in Pakistan than their ethnic Kashmiri neighbours in Indian administered Kashmir. I guess we are therefore more closer to Punjabis.
    But then you Farooq speak the same language as Gurpreet singh from India, so why you Muslim Punjabis hate Indian Sikh Punjabis after all you are exactly the same people. It cannot be a religious reason as no Sikhs ever stopped a muslim from praying or carrying out their religion. I just want to know why muslim Punjabis are so full of hatred.
    Why are Muslims Punjabis like this.
    I will guess that there is a massive identity crisis in Muslim Punjabis and it is leaving them with insecurities that they are trying to pin on us.
    At the end of the Day Pathans speak Pushtu, Baluch speak Baluchi, Sindhis speak Sindhi, Biharis speak Urdu their mother tongue and Mirpuris speak Mirpuri/pahari, BUT Muslim Punjabis only speak Urdu, they are the ones who want to be something that they are not. They want to imagine that Urdu is there language and that they are all ethnic arabs and Turks and Mongols or Iranians and that all their ancestors were not only arabs and Turks but invariably famous arabs and Turks like the Prophets or sahaba or once all of the Khalifa Rashida are taken up the muslim Punjabi becomes the son of Mohamed Bin Qasim.
    They the muslim Punjabis think that they are sons of Mughals and born rulers, they are great and sophisticated and all powerful, they are the supreme leaders of Islam and worthy of great respect.
    But the reality is the opposite and the more they try to be arabs, the more they try to talk of Palestine and Syria and the more they dress in that Bedouin long dress ( unlike the mirpuri uncle in shalwar Kameez) the more strange and rejected them become by the very groups they are trying to impress. Then when the time comes to rationalise the Muslim Punjabi says the only reason we are being looked down upon by the nice arab refugees, indians or Somalis is because of Mirpuris who insist on wearing Shalwar kameez in the mosque and speaking their language and talking of Kashmir as opposed to Syria. There are massive problems in Pakistan and the truth is that the muslim Punjabi is trying to run away from his shadow and he cannot. The fact is that you are the same as Indians from Punjab and the more faster you run from your shadow the more tired and upset you will be. Just accept what you are and let us be who we are. Everyone in Pakistan should be allowed to be themselves and when I said Pakistanis never criticise their own shortcomings, well they never acknowledge them and so cannot criticise them, forget the tired stale nonsense of Nawaz sharif and corruption. Fact facts that Pakistan has been trying to forcefully assimilate its people for 70 years despite the objections of the whole land and the only willing participants and the Muslim Punjabis who will agree with what is told to them. Pakistan’s national dress is Sherwani, a dress that a part from Punjbai muslims no one has ever worn. Faroq, be yourself and not what others want you to be and stop hating Mirpuri uncles for wearing Shalwar Kameez.

    • This idea that Paharis that want to be themselves, wear their own clothes, speak their own languages have a “single identity”, whereas those who identify by “Pakistani” and speak a foreign language have “multiple identities” is absolutely comical.

      It is the Pakistani government that wants to hegemonize all ethnic groups and assimilate them into one single faux Mughal, faux Arab, Urdu speaking identity.

      Those ethnic groups that are resisting this process are therefore preserving the diversity and distinctness of the region, not destroying it.

  26. Brother Reiss

    Ask yourself why people are suddenly getting worked up about the negative stereotyping of Mirpuris. Consider this, before the mainstream media, and far right, started taking note of these stereotypes, Mirpuris were not at all concerned by them. This is because they were largely identifying as Kashmiri within the wider community. Reiss, you yourself admit to doing this in another one of your articles. You should’ve started challenging these stereotypes for the right reasons, many years ago, not now, just because ‘whitey’ is also becoming aware of them.

    I read a research paper written in 2004 by Sociologists at the University of Leeds, investigating the Bradford riots. They went to Bradford to talk to young people about the riots. In that research paper these Sociologists highlighted differences between Azad Kashmiris, and Pakistani Panjabis. They said that the Azad Kashmiris claim they have a separate culture and heritage to Pakistani Panjabis. Please note, this was written in 2005, and I have read articles, and research papers dated before then where Mirpuris are claiming to be ‘different’. I’m not sure that all of this differentiation is the result of online Mirpuri bashing, especially as it goes back decades. Rather, it’s an attempt on the part of some Mirpuris to distance themselves from the negative stereotypes associated with Pakistan, and Pakistanis in the UK. So why complain when some British Pakistanis, shift the blame back the other way?

    If you read what I wrote properly it would’ve been clear to you that I find nothing wrong with Uncles wearing Shalwar Kameez. The problem arises when the Shalwar Kameez fraternity are not inclusive of British youth or other ethnicities. For a long time they’ve been living in the UK as if it were the village back home. It’s only recently dawned upon them that they need to engage the youth, and be more welcoming of other ethnicities, instead of living in a bubble.

    The list of other ethnicities complaining about racism in Pakistani Mosques is endless.

    I’m repeating it because you don’t seem to be understanding the point being made, therefore I will word it differently. Some British Paharis want recognition as a separate ethnic group from Pakistani Panjabis. The problem with this is, a large number of Pothwari speakers in the UK identify as Panjabi. Many people living in the UK with origins in the Potohar claim they speak Panjabi. Therefore my point is if you want to differentiate yourselves from Pakistanis, as Kashmiris, then do so. I don’t have a problem with this, it’s your identity, and you can define yourselves as you like. The confusion arises when you start saying well no we are British Pakistani but we’re different and separate as well, and we will not identify ourselves as Pakistani to the wider UK population. This point of view makes no sense to me, perhaps you could shed some light on it.

    My point was about the Kashmiri ethnicity, however I’m well aware that AJK has a diverse ethnic makeup, and I’m not here disputing that. However, I do not agree that all ethnicities in Kashmir are holding hands and skipping along the streets together. Firstly you have the issue of caste Kashmiris from Pakistani Panjab residing in the UK. These people are probably the most vocal in their claims that Mirpuris are not Kashmiris but Panjabis. You may dismiss these people as Panjabis but they are ethnic Kashmiris who migrated to the Panjab. I cited the view of my Kotli friend who also believes Mirpuris are Panjabi, which you couldn’t stomach. Furthermore a friend of mine had Kashmiri students from Indian occupied Kashmir living in his house. What struck me about these people is how astute they were in comparison to Azad Kashmiris. They not only had a much better understanding of the conflict but they were also clear in their identity. They identified as Kashmiri not with India or Pakistan, and it was clear from our discussions that they were not interested in becoming Pakistani. They did not make any anti Mirpuri statements either but did not view Mirpuris as their countrymen, which is what you are claiming here. In fact all of your claims about what the people in AJK think are your own opinions. It’s a bit like me saying all Pakistanis believe x, and providing no evidence for my claims.

    It is not an obsession of mine, India was divided along religious lines, not linguistic or cultural lines. I have more in common linguistically with a Sikh Panjabi than a Mirpuri. However, as a Pakistani Muslim I have more in common with a Mirpuri because Sikhs identify with neither of these two identity labels. Furthermore, culture is heavily influenced by ones religious beliefs, and practices. Therefore the religious aspect strengthens the cultural similarities in terms of dress, and food, which already exist between the people of Pakistani Panjab, and Azad Kashmir.

    It’s important to demonstrate that racism exists within Pakistanis. This is why I cited Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city as an example, in my very first post. The Mirpur district has never witnessed anything like the ethnic, and sectarian violence Karachi has seen over the years. This is because Karachi is a melting pot but within that melting pot, problems and differences emerged. Thankfully, the worst of Karachi’s troubles seem to be behind the city. For me, Karachi is central to the success of Pakistan, it’s a place very dear to my heart. Despite its problems I’ve found the ordinary people there to be the most friendly, tolerant, outward looking, and progressive in all of Pakistan. The very fact that you’re claiming the thread demonstrates racism between Pakistanis shows that you do not consider Mirpuris Pakistani. Had the Patwari commentator been from the Mirpur district, would it still not demonstrate ignorance (racism) among Pakistanis?

    • Faruq,

      We’re just going in circles brother. You’re arguing different points to the ones I’m arguing, and you keep constantly conflating Pakistan, Panjab, Azad Kashmir, Mirpur, Valley Kashmir. I’m getting tired of this now. I’m arguing ‘Mirpuri vilification’ within the UK context; how it started; which groups were involved; the implications for a sense of shared British-Pakistani fraternity in the UK; developments since; Mirpuri “stereotypes” entering mainstream etc; what would happen if pro-independence Kashmiris exploited these sentiments etc.

      You don’t seem to be concerned about any of this.

      It makes no sense to keep repeating out-dated, unscholarly, anecdotal claims, whilst you accuse me of the same thing. The fact you think caste-Panjabis are ethnic Kashmiris because they claim to be from the Valley, I’m afraid is just ignorance. How on earth can you say this with a straight face? Please look up the definition of ethnicity; and I encourage you to re-read my comments about the “Jats”, which adequately debunk the idea of a primordial Kashmiri “race” in the Panjab. What about all the colonial surveys that were done on the people fleeing famine in what is today Jammu & Kashmir who ended up in the British Punjab Province? The actual numbers of Kashmiri-speaking Kashmiris was a tiny proportion of those self-affirming as Kashmiris, many of whom did not come from the Valley but from surrounding areas. The idea that all these ethnic Kashmiris lost their language within a couple of generations is ridiculous. It’s only because of the Kashmir conflict, that there is some prestige in Panjab to self-affirm as “Kashmiris”, in Kashmir, these groups belonged to occupational castes, but again, you are unaware of this history and social stratification, because you have no exposure to it.

      You’re not interested in these facts, Wikipedia is not a substitute for facts as caste-Kashmiris resort to Wikipedia to speak of their Panjabi-based diaspora; if I’m wrong counteract what I said? Don’t repeat the same tired line that “they”re ethnic Kashmiris because they say so!”

      Is this the best argument you can deploy against Mirpuris to try to disconnect Riyasatis from Jammu Kashmir by citing “non-Riyasatis” who claim to be caste-Kashmiris in the Panjab? You’re not speaking for caste-Kashmiris in the Panjab though, you’re speaking for your friends in the UK, your cousins from the Panjab, who probably aren’t even from a Kashmiri heritage in the first place, if one resorts back to the ironies at hand.

      They can call themselves Kashmiris if they want, it’s of no consequence to us; they are irrelevant to our concerns except for the ones who want to learn something about their Pahari cultural heritage.

      No one from Lahore, who claims to be an ethnic Kashmiri according to you, “not a caste-Kashmiri”, has any say over the future of Jammu & Kashmir. Mirpuris do because they come from Jammu Kashmir and are “hereditary state subjects” (Riyasatis) of JAMMU & KASHMIR. So again, these ridiculous anecdotes you’re presenting here about Indian-administered-Kashmiris being more astute on the affairs of the State, because, according to you, they don’t consider their future with AJK, exposes a constant underlying anxiety, of wanting to separate Mirpuris from Jammu & Kashmir.

      This is an obsession on your part. You’re being insincere when you keep parroting this line. One, it’s irrelevant to what I’m arguing, but two, it’s just another of your anecdotes.

      You might as well start churning out race science too, and start giving me genealogical lists of Kashmiris to Prophet Adam to prove they are ethnic Kashmiris. What on earth is this? We want to educate Mirpuris, not repeat the conversations that are typical of Pakistani online forums as the interlocutors there claim to be “true Aryans”, all the while they claim to be of Arab ancestry, from Iran, or Central Asia!

      The anxieties behind your claims are becoming more obvious to me. I’m surprised that you can’t see this for yourself? The heading of this post, is “the Mirpuri Villain”, not “Mirpuris are like Pakistanis, similar to Panjabis, different to Jammu Kashmir people ESP VALLEY KASHMIRIS (this obsession)!”

      God forbid if Mirpuris express any sense of shared fraternity with the “Riyasatis” of Jammu Kashmir, a territory of which Azad Kashmir is inherently a part of, and not Pakistan. You or I had no say in the course of history, we are at this juncture because of past events. It seems you want to distort history for political reasons as you throw around your ethnic arguments. The ironies here are tenfold; Pakistan claims to be defending “all” “Kashmiris” at the United Nations by demanding they have the right to vote on the future of their divided State, but you think, in your wisdom, you know what is best for Mirpuris because they are similar to “ethnic Pakistanis”. Pakistan says, it’s for Kashmiris to decide their future; but you say “astute Indian Kashmiris” don’t consider Mirpuris Kashmiris.

      Am I not being fair to your comments Faruq? You don’t think this is bigotry at its finest?

      Let’s recap.

      You started off by saying, don’t blame Pakistanis from the cities, I’m from the city, I come from a well-off background; I take offence at your line of reasoning Reiss. Okay, fair enough, you have that right. You then said, blame all these other people instead, who say “X, Y and Z” about Mirpuris. You conveyed racist comments as you went along; you said, I know all this because “X, Y and Z” told me as much. Look Kotli people even say this about Mirpuris! They say Mirpuris are not Paharis, they are Panjabis!”

      You then said reiss you can’t stomach Kotli people not accepting Mirpuris as Paharis, or was it Kashmiris? Because, I’m sure in your mind you’re conflating these two labels given the agenda here. I explained to you why the Kotli claim was absurd.

      Am I wrong in pointing out your anxieties Faruq?

      The “Pahari” label is much more loaded than the “Mirpuri” label, it carries many more negative connotations than the Mirpuri label; traditionally people in the hills/mountains used to avoid using it, describing everyone else as Pahari negatively. Because you’re not from this cultural space, you don’t understand these social realities; if you were you would understand what’s going on. I had a comment from a guy living in Mangla, from the Jhelum/Dina side, he was related to me, and so he commented on my post. Ethnically speaking he belongs to the Pahari-Pothwari cultural sphere; he disagreed with the “Pahari” label for our people in Mirpur, saying why on earth are Mirpuris being told that we’re Paharis now, when Paharis used to be looked down at!? I have my reasons as to why we are identifying as British Paharis and I won’t bore you with the reasons just yet, but I respect the right of my distantly-related “cousin” to call himself a Panjabi; he lives in the “Patwar” of the “Panjab Province” located in “Pakistan”. He said he’s using his identity a bit like a passport; I respect this position – it makes sense to me. I’m not a Panjabi though, and he respected that too. My people who continue to live in Mirpur Division have never once called themselves “Panjabis” or even “Patwaris”. That’s not the experience of the people living in these hills; they used to self-identify on the basis of their clan networks. Ethnic identities are quite recent; the idea of connecting the identity of people to what language they speak, or what region they come from, is very recent indeed. You have shown no appreciation of this history as you continue to repeat anecdotes dismissive of Mirpuris to have agency in their own affairs.

      I think, if I’m correct, in every one of your comments, you’ve repeated the same claim – this is exactly what Pakistani trolls do online, on anything to do with AJK, it’s become a joke for those aware of these realities. These twitter handles are run by certain elements (no conspiracy theory here my friend, this is a fact), literally every account is committed to praising the army, expressing religious sentiments, obsessing about Kashmir, attacking pro-independence Kashmiris as disloyal “Pakistanis” who are not even “Kashmiris”; the tweets run in the thousands, every other account has similar tweets – this is the creativity behind Pakistan’s online propagandists! No one is stupid about what is happening; it’s as if you’re employing such tactics here amongst people who are genuinely looking for answers; you’re interlocutors have said, again and again, they are not Kashmiri separatists BUT they respect the stance of their ‘activist’ brothers, because they actually believe in political freedoms, something denied to the people of “Azad” Jammu & Kashmir by Pakistan.

      Since you entreated me and Faisal to condemn Jatt about his generalisations, which aside from the generalisations, where actually quite enlightening, can you please condemn Pakistan for denying pro-independence Kashmiris the right to partake in the affairs of their State? Can you condemn Pakistan Officialdom for demanding that AJK officials and political incumbents swear an oath of allegiance to “Pakistan” and “Islam”; why should Pakistan have the right to choose the “Azad Kashmiris” who run AJK on behalf of them? Condemn the farce of AJK which is a client state of Pakistan where the people are the biggest losers of such constitutional affairs?

      You lack an awareness of what is actually happening in AJK. Realities have massively changed in AJK in the past years.

      You need to actually speak to AJK people to know why you’re so out of touch with this community; it seems you’re not exposed to this community in the way you think you are. You don’t seem to be aware of the developments in AJK, or the UK. There is an acute sense of “separation” between Pakistan and AJK on account of political grievances not ethnic facts or imaginary identities – the sort you are keen to promote. The diaspora in the UK has yet to catch on to these feelings of resentment in AJK, this is proof in my mind that British Paharis were more or less reconciled with the idea of Pakistan – for a lot of the activists this is a false sense of group consciousness. They have always argued that there is no fraternity between us and Pakistanis. In AJK, people are acutely aware that AJK gives much more to Pakistan than what it receives back from the federal government (you can disagree if you want; I’m tired of stating commonly accepted facts recognised by international observers). AJK “Muslims” are fed up with all this talk about “Muslim brotherhood”, and how Pakistan loves Kashmir; they live in Pakistan’s “Kashmir” and they feel aggrieved. But you want to repeat out-dated tropes about how different “Azad Kashmiris” are from “Valley Kashmiris” – this is so irrelevant to what I’m arguing. You’re obsessed about distinguishing the people of Jammu Kashmir, more than we are; you failed to recognise the irony of your position, as Pakistan is diverse, India is diverse; you’re happy with Pakistan’s diversity, but like Faisal said, you want to impose upon us a uniform identity, whilst you celebrate your own diversity.

      Isn’t this a little unfair?

      The only relevant thing you’ve said so far is Mirpuris started the internal differentiation between themselves and Pakistanis when they began calling themselves Kashmiris, so why are they upset now when Pakistanis pursue this differentiation in the mainstream, right? That’s what you said; I can counter that by arguing where’s the proof of this? Again, you’re just basing everything on anecdotes and your limited experience of this community. I mentioned previously, the UK government investigated whether the Kashmiri label should be used as an alternative to the Pakistani label for the AJK community, the department concerned discovered there was no “buy-in” for such a proposal despite a campaign being orchestrated by a group of pro-independence AJK “Kashmiris” most of whom were from Kotli and who identified as Mirpuris in the UK – look up Dr Serena Hussain who produced a report on this, and Shams Rehman who founded the campaign. Serena concluded there was no buy-in for the Kashmiri label; as far as I know she also self-affirms as a British Pahari, as do lots of members from our community. When AJK people were offered the choice of ticking “Kashmiri”, or “Pakistani”, they ticked Pakistani. So Faruq your argument is flawed because AJK people in UK voluntarily self-identify as Pakistanis and not Kashmiris; the vast majority of British Paharis have always self-affirmed as Pakistanis – that’s just a fact. But you’re here arguing Mirpuris started calling themselves Kashmiris EN MASS and then you misquoted one of my posts where I mentioned, self-affirming Kashmiris were a minority and they never once made associations with Valley Kashmiris, something that is not understood by people looking in, as outsiders, including yourself. Although they created a cleavage between certain Pakistanis, especially those who felt uncomfortable identifying as Pakistanis for whatever reason, this doesn’t account for the fact that lots of Pakistanis in the UK feel embarrassed about being Pakistani. I argued in that post it’s probably because Pakistan has been falsifying its history, creating a cleavage with India whilst denying any claim to India’s civilisation as it looks to the Muslim World. What exactly is Pakistan celebrating if it denies its subcontinent heritage? There has been no genuine reciprocation between the Muslim World and Pakistan to date, and Pakistanis in the West seem confused about who they are. There is a palpable sense of “inferiority” on the part of lots of Pakistanis, they behave obsequiously for no good reason with other Muslim nationalities; I contend that some of the worst exemplars of this are self-affirming urbanites in the UK who seem to revel in making distinctions between good Pakistanis like themselves, who speak Urdu, belong to a “primordial” middle class, live in the South of England – a totally imaginary identity – and Mirpuris, the exemplars of a village identity who are obsessed by baradri politics, caste and honour. This is how they present Mirpuris. Is there little wonder why these people are out of touch with us, as they claim to be Sayeds, or Siddiquis, claim to be connected to the Mughals of Delhi, have no proof of their own backgrounds except the distinctions they make with the villager sorts of Pakistanis in the UK AKA the Mirpuris.

      As for why we are saying we are British Paharis in the UK? This label belongs to us intrinsically and it’s inherently ours because of where we live in the western Himalayas. We use this identity for the Pahari peoples of Jammu & Kashmir, a separate region from Pakistan, even as we recognise we have commonalities in culture with the peoples of the Pothohar Uplands and the Hazara Hills. We are not denying our heritage, we are taking ownership of it. The latter are not Paharis, they do not identify as Paharis, so why should we identify as Pothwaris or Hindkowan in the UK, any more than identify as Panjabis when Panjabis don’t identify as Paharis in the UK. Keep your ethnic or geographical labels, we will keep our own; we have our own identity separate from Panjabis, and this includes Pothwaris and Hindkowan, even though we express solidarity on account of a shared cultural background. We will preserve our own culture, memories, and we will choose our own identity labels in the UK. We can speak for ourselves, and pursue our own interests in the UK, as we will speak on behalf of our people in AJK who need us to advocate for them.

      Even though we are reconciled with the idea of Pakistan, Pakistan Officialdom treats AJK like a fief, it has little to no respect for the leaders of AJK and treats the Paharis of AJK like sheep. We get called “Pahari Bakreh” by individuals who need to look to their own humble backgrounds to understand the ironies of their insults. It is not us who have forced upon AJK an ambiguous identity as ignorant and uninformed people from Pakistan want to comment on our identity, speak ill of our culture and even insult our forebears.

      Where is the Pakistani fraternity brother Faruq when people like this exist in our midst?

      Please read some of the comments you made about my community? Show me where I have made similar comments about Panjabis?

      I think I’ve nothing more I can add on this. So I will take this opportunity to thank you brother Faruq for engaging with me on this important topic, even as we passionately disagree with one another. I don’t have any ill-feelings against you, or ordinary British-Pakistanis; I would have changed my views if you proved me wrong. I wish you all the best for the future, genuinely. I hope you every success with your marriage to a member of my community which is proof that we are not as isolationist as some Pakistanis make out, unfairly and unjustly. It wasn’t Mirpuris writing articles proud of the fact that Pakistanis from Islamabad, Karachi or Lahore don’t want to marry Mirpuris because they are so backwards. Surely, they should be relieved that we no longer wish to reciprocate with such Pakistanis. Indeed, we have our problems in our communities, so we will deal with them; British-Pakistanis are now free to espouse and celebrate their success as we deal with our own problems; they can proudly say they are Pakistanis, Mirpuris aren’t because they identify as British Paharis from Jammu & Kashmir.

      As for the Pakistani shared-fraternity, we can revisit this when Pakistan Officialdom treats AJK with respect and equality, and the AJK people choose freely to become Pakistanis and stakeholders in Pakistan. They must have the choice to decide between Pakistan, India or independence. We are not nationalists, we are democrats. Until that moment, we will say we are British Paharis from Jammu & Kashmir, our bit falls under Pakistan on account of conflict, and we have no enmity against the diverse and wonderful peoples of Pakistan or India.

      This is the end of the discussion for me. Salamu alaikum.

      https://www.facebook.com/BritishK4shmiris/videos/dr-serena-hussain-telling-about/1656631841234231/ This may be of some interest to you.

  27. Brother Reiss, Farooq addressed you with the following point
    Ask yourself why people are suddenly getting worked up about the negative stereotyping of Mirpuris. Consider this, before the mainstream media, and far right, started taking note of these stereotypes, Mirpuris were not at all concerned by them. This is because they were largely identifying as Kashmiri within the wider community. Reiss, you yourself admit to doing this in another one of your articles. You should’ve started challenging these stereotypes for the right reasons, many years ago, not now, just because ‘whitey’ is also becoming aware of them.
    So there you have it, This is what Farooq thinks, that whitey has driven you to act and I personally think that You wanted to open a discussion about anti mirpuri hatred. But the truth is that I knew from the outset that the Pakistanis will never admit what they are doing is wrong and the reason is that they think it is right.
    I picked up on the Islamofacist tendencies of Pakistanis from Karachi and Punjab ( I include potohar in Punjab always and do not identify them as akin to me personally, I know you disagree on this point) there was a reason behind this. Pakistanis unlike AJK people from Mirpur are heavily influenced by Islamofacist ideology and this means that they do not act reasonably and rationally, educated and polite Karachi and Pakistani Punjabis show irrational hatred for Jews and Non Muslims and believe in conspiracy theories, and identify with a fake and comical theoretical state called Khilafah.
    All these acts are irrational and not what a reasonable person would do. However they do it and so Reiss what were you hoping for ?
    Did you hope to have a rational and objective discussion by people who by enlarge supported Saddam Hussain, Ayatollah, Hamas, Hizb Tahrir and other lunatics, did you hope to come to an agreement that hatred against mirpuris is wrong from a people who to this day are happy that Killers like Gen Niazi and Gen Tika Khan killed 3 million bengladeshis. Speak to these same people about what they did in Bengla and are doing in FATA and Baluchistan and they will think that it is good and great and will never condemn the killings. As I said it is a mindset that they have been nurtured with for decades and we cannot change them.
    I personally have no problem with any racial group and what I found strange in Karachi and Punjabi peoples was a view that the Hindu was genetically a demon. I always queried them that your ancestors were genetically the same as the Hindu and so how can they be bad, you’re the same people. At that point the dalit looking people of Karachi and Punjab insisted that they were all arabs and Turks or Iranians and had nothing to do ethnically with Hindus. Hence I realised over a decade ago that these people can never be changed by our efforts alone. So Reiss I like the work you do and it is invaluable and I thank you for it, but I doubt these Pakistanis will ever understand what they do is wrong, as I said these are the people who revel in the death of innocent people and deny human rights to all while they dream of a Shariah state. Just follow the Anjem chaudhrys from Pakistan and see.
    Mirpuris have lived in the UK for 60 years and so we were insulated from the Islamofacist ideology propagated by Pakistan and at the same time our sense of fair play meant that Mirpuris never accepted any Islamist party ever in Mirpur and have always opted for secular parties. Please note that no Islamist party has ever come 1st 2nd or 3rd in any constituency in Mirpur and in fact in my area Dadyal they never even stood. Compare this to their mass appeal in Punjab and look at Tehreek Labbaik and others in MMA and JI in Pakistan.
    I can only hope that Pakistanis improve but as they are the most segregated people in the UK I doubt it.

    • Jatt

      I don’t necessarily disagree with your sentiments. I’m not a nationalist, I’m a democrat, so in principle, I have no qualms with the idea of Pakistan, as it now exists as a fact of history, as long as it’s inclusive of its various ethnic peoples. I don’t think there’s any appetite on the part of British-Pakistanis to accept the grievances of AJK except for some isolated intellectuals who have major problems with the direction of travel in Pakistan. Ultimately it is for us, from the AJK diaspora, to start voicing the grievances of our brethren in AJK as we deal with our own problems in the UK. We are British Paharis from Jammu & Kashmir and we need to work for the betterment of our own community. We are not opposed to Pakistan, or India for the matter, but only the people of AJK can decide its future, as we speak for our own interests in the UK.

      This is what I believe and I say this without any ill-feelings against ordinary British-Pakistanis whom I still consider part of a much broader fraternity. Although I am not in the business of claiming fraternity with people who refuse it to my people.

  28. Faroq who has not seen much positive with Mirpuris then says,
    Karachi is a place very dear to my heart. Despite its problems I’ve found the ordinary people there to be the most friendly, tolerant, outward looking, and progressive in all of Pakistan.
    Despite the fact that Karachi has always voted for MQM since the 1980s and previously for JI. They are therefore far from tolerant and in fact Afia sidiqi a terrorist is from karachi, and just google how all the terror networks are flourishing in Karachi. But Faroq has decided in his own mind that Karachis are good and Mirpuris are not and are to blame for their own position. In this discussion Faroq has failed to unequivocally condemn anti mirpuri racism. He has also given many accolades to Karachi people and people from Punjab but never has he accepted that in fact Mirpuris are THE MOST educated and tolerant people in Pakistan the proof is that I attended one of the top universities in the world which is in London and I guess the same is true for Faisal and Reiss, but in the whole of Pakistan there is not one single University in the international rankings in the top 100 or even top 150 Universities in the World. Our old Polys are probably better than the top Unis of Pakistan and so I am sure we are far more educated than any pakistani despite being considered illiterates and Junglis etc.
    As I said Faisal and I both live in a world class city called London and all Mirpuris live in excellent cities all better than any slums like Karachi or Lahore but we will still be viewed as villagers. The point is that these people have made up their minds and they are closed minded people and will never change and so I think we need to engage more with non Pakistanis and non Muslims to get our views across.

    • Jatt, me and you are lucky, we don’t have to deal with a lot of this hatred either from racist whites or Pakistanis. They go after some of the most unfortunate areas in the country and take a big shit on the people living there. Many of the people there are not even Mirpuri but their own Pakistanis.

      At the end of the day, personally for me, we live in a free country. If a Mirpuri wants to marry his cousin, speak a shit language, not interact with people who hate them, then that’s their choice. Every other community is allowed to live in their own ethnic enclaves and preserve their own culture except for Mirpuris. There’s a double standard. Farooq should open up a map of London and see where his Pakistanis live, they do the exact same thing in a more open minded city. That’s absolutely fine. Everyone does it. As long as your not causing problems for others then who cares if others have a problem with it. You are paying your taxes just like them.

      In terms of education, the standards are the same. We don’t need to show them we are more educated than them. These are their anxieties.

  29. I am not a nationalist either as you know from my previous posts. But I am not willing to be counted among people who insult us.

  30. Farooq,

    On your first point about Mirpuris only being in arms after “whitey” found out. You are wrong! You’ve read the other articles on Portmir so you know Reiss said he only found out about Mirpuri bashing after googling “Mirpuri”. It wasn’t because of whitey. The same thing happened to me.

    After being discriminated against by Pakistanis for being Mirpuri, I also googled the term Mirpuri. At the time, I didn’t know they were hated. This was in 2012. I found loads of websites with Mirpuri bashing going on and in some of them Mirpuris were responding to these attacks by PAKISTANIS. “Whitey” had nothing to do with it.

    At the time, I also found an earlier version of Portmir. Reiss can confirm this. There was a section called “trash attacks by Pakistanis”. This was responding to vilification online by Pakistanis. None of it was responding to books or articles online by the mainstream media. Farooq, you want to deny these are the doings of Pakistanis and put the blame first on Indians and now Whites. This is typical of Pakistanis, you don’t want to accept the blames for your own actions. There will be consequences.

    Your other point about differentiation. You are using the term loosely. Let’s just assume the use of the ‘Kashmiri’ label is wide spread when it’s clearly not. Let’s also assume they were using it to distance themselves from negative sterotypes assosiated with Pakistanis which is also an assumption of yours.

    So what?

    This sort of passive differentiation is not comparable to the differentiation currently being done by Pakistanis. Pakistanis are actively vilifying Mirpuris on all the social media websites, forums, mainstream media, in book publications, to their family, friends, other ethnic groups….I can go on.

    Mirpuris are not actively going around whenever they hear about 7/7, Bengal genocide, terrorism, crime in Brit-Pakistani areas, [insert anything bad associated with Pakistan], and telling the whole world “Btw, that’s the doing of Pakistanis, not Mirpuris. Learn to differentiate.”

    No matter how much you want to bring us down to your gutter level Farooq, Mirpuris have not responded in kind yet. Mirpuris have not gone to the rest of the world and the far-right, and the mainstream media and actively told the world about how much low you people actually are even as you claim to be better than us.

    The Mirpuri reputation, no matter how bad it is, does not compare to the Pakistani or Punjabi or Pathan or Muhajir reputation. You guys clearly win hands down when it comes to degeneracy. However, no Mirpuri has actively gone to the world to make distinctions between us and put all your crimes on your own shoulders. Mirpuris have taken your stinky reputation with us. We have been humble and forgiving even as you’ve tried to take all the blame of the Brit-Pakistani community and put it on our backs.

    But there comes a time when enough is enough, and it’s getting to that time farooq. The clock is ticking, and there is only so much kindness you can expect of Mirpuris. What happens when Mirpuris begin responding in kind? What happens when Mirpuris begin treating you like you’ve been treating them? You don’t think that’s a problem? You don’t think you should fight this racism/scapegoating virus in Pakistanis? Well then I can only warn you then, and I hope for your sake Mirpuris continue to do the right thing….

    • Faisal

      I understand and appreciate how you feel. The old website did indeed contain the “trash attacks”, and I can recall vividly the reaction of so many members of our community when we first showed them what was being said about them – to say they were shocked would be an understatement. I remember the reaction of some of the youngsters, young students with no reason to hate anyone, or be hated; these youngsters were polite and courteous, a testimony to how well they were raised by their parents – Mirpuris that wouldn’t fit the profile of how some British-Pakistanis represent us to outsiders. They started to doubt themselves, saying, “oh maybe it’s true Uncle, our community is full of drug dealers and fraudsters, we are backwards; it didn’t even occur to them, that their own social profile would expose the myth of such claims.”

      I know many Mirpuris who have gone onto some of the best Universities, others have entered highly respected professions; how is it possible for me to know doctors, solicitors, pharmacists, accountants, academics, business people who are extremely wealthy, within my own circle – all from the Mirpuri community – but yet I’m being told we’re all a bunch of uneducated, isolationist-type villagers who don’t value education? Am I really unique in my experiences? Absolutely not. These people exist within our communities, they are our friends, our cousins, members of the wider community. They come from the Mirpuri community. And yet these individuals never once make a point of their “status” as if they are no longer connected with their backgrounds. It’s not even a consideration for them, as they happily speak Pahari with their elders, and have no cares about how this makes others feel, who think speaking Urdu somehow proves they are no longer “villagers”. British Paharis are comfortable in their skin, as they are comfortable in their environment; why do we start laughing at people who insist on speaking Urdu with us, even though we know they speak Pahari, Pothwari, Panjabi?

      So, who are these people who want to present our community negatively to the point of generating all this anti-Mirpuri content online? There’s something inherently rotten about such dynamics, their self-image doesn’t accord with reality especially when they contrast themselves with Mirpuris, a community of more than a million people. Obviously, it’s easy to find confirmation bias about our supposed “collective” nefarious ways given how big our community is, all the while these detractors ignore the positive elements within the community.

      At the time of compiling the trash-attacks, Portmir was also hosting sporting events for youngsters and delivering heritage lectures; it hadn’t dawned on these youngsters that the detractors hating on Mirpuris on these online Pakistani cricket forums etc, were in fact speaking about them. This is how innocent they were, because as far as they were concerned they were all Pakistanis, and so the anti-Mirpuri hatred wasn’t even registering with them until it was pointed out to them, that their parents come from Mirpur, Azad Jammu Kashmir. So the claim, “Pakistani international cricketers who apparently can’t stand Mirpuris coming to their games”, was directed at them, that they were being presented as “unruly, rude, who couldn’t appreciate the fine game of cricket!” These claims were just BS, full of self-affirmation and bile.

      This is when I realised by pure accident, our community wasn’t going around saying we’re “Mirpuris”! It was Pakistanis imposing this identity on us; perversely, our community was being accused of pretending to be “Kashmiri”, when in fact most of the people I was speaking to, willingly identified as Pakistanis. It hit me like a bolt of lightening when I realised that what was happening was because of major anxieties on the part of the Pakistanis, who were actively differentiating themselves as the genuine Pakistanis, unlike the imposter-type Pakistanis from AJK who apparently weren’t even Kashmiris despite the fact that the entire world, India and Pakistan called their region “Kashmir”. This hatred was just disgusting; I remember a friend saying, these guys can screw, “I’m never going to humiliate myself by saying I’m a Pakistani!”.

      But this is the thing Faisal, the old website only contained a small sample of the excerpts we collated, and a lot of the incendiary stuff was excluded because it was so vile and disgusting. I can remember how I felt when I was compiling the material, going through the various Pakistani forums and dealing with the hatred that existed for our community. The way our mothers were being described!? Our women folk were being described as “loose”, “sluts”, didn’t know anything about “fashion” apparently, “why do Mirpuri women walk like men?” We had money but no sense of class or style. We were being accused of every crime under the sun; we were accused of being imposters to a Kashmiri identity (as if there was something great about being Kashmiri – whose anxieties are these?). We were being accused of being imposters to the Pakistani identity, even the Panjabi identity believe it or not; even the “Pahari” we spoke apparently lacked the civility of “Pothwari” – I mean these claims were off the chart, incredibly crude, ignorant, that only deluded people would share such insights, unaware of how uneducated they would sound.

      I felt they were getting some sort of solidarity from hating on Mirpuris, as a means of re-inforcing their own sense of fraternity, given their small numbers, and how they imagined themselves; and so lots of Pakistanis flocked to the anti-Mirpuri bashing unaware that they too were being indicted because of this imaginary “Pakistani” identity at odds with the Mirpuris.

      And so, however well-intentioned Faruq is, he will never be able to appreciate what we’re talking about Faisal. He doesn’t come from our community which is being actively vilified by his peers. He doesn’t understand the interactions, and how we are being made to feel because of BS, anecdotes, factoids, anxieties; if Mirpuris have money it’s because they worked hard for it, if they own massive mansions not just in Mirpur but in Islamabad (and they do; they don’t live in apartments in Islamabad), why the envy? Because it’s assumed that they couldn’t afford such luxuries because they’re from villages with no education, so how on earth have they acquired so much wealth? Thus the slurs, it’s because they’re all a bunch of fraudsters, drug dealers – this was exactly how the community was being presented. It doesn’t occur to such people, that they are merely looking for confirmation bias of their prejudices, attitudes that a lot of them have just inherited from their own circles.

      I therefore fully understand why you’re so pissed off Faisal, this is clearly coming across in your latest comments. I understand why Jatt says he’s not willing to be counted amongst people who insult his people. To be told, we somehow started all this, or are deserving of it, only confirms to us, there’s no appetite to deal with what’s happening.

      But, does this mean, we become like the “haters”, and start our own campaign of hating Pakistanis in the UK? Do we start creating our own imaginary demons? This is the question I’m posing. Lots of Pakistanis have never engaged in anti-Mirpuri hatred, or any sort of hatred. They are as innocent as our own impressionable youth; it’s the circles they move in, that determines how they react towards a massive community that has no insecurities about its origins, other than the illusory ones being imposed upon it. We can resolve these issues, if we come together, if we have sincerity on both sides. But, of course, never at the expense of denying our own distinctiveness. We are different from Pakistanis; we come from AJK, which was part of the Princely State of Jammu & Kashmir. Our region is subject to conflict, this has had a huge bearing on our ensuing identity. AJK is a fringe region of Pakistan that’s being economically exploited. It gives more to Pakistan than what it gets in return. The truth of the matter is, we don’t need Pakistan, Pakistan can’t offer us anything other than servitude and humiliation; why are all the top officials in AJK, senior ranking people all from Panjab, Pakistan? Why are they so obsessed about disconnecting AJK from Jammu Kashmir? Is India really the villain? Is it not occupation when people are excluded from their own affairs? To scrutinise the UK-based insults within this realisation thus makes a mockery of how we’re being presented in the UK.

      This is the irony of all this.

      • As you may appreciate, I’m debating with three people, and therefore will pick up on a few points first, and respond to the rest in due course.

        Jatt, if you scroll up and read my very first post I said Mirpuris in the UK are becoming increasingly educated. I see this as a good thing, and part of the solution to Mirpuri bashing. The Pakistanis who look down on Mirpuris as gow waale (villagers) and junglis can only be silenced by educated articulate Mirpuri people such as brother Reiss. However, I’m not ready to class you in with the likes of Reiss just yet, given all of your ignorant statements. Also I don’t see the relevance of comparing UK universities to Pakistani universities. In the UK, people attend the same Universities regardless of whether they are from Lahore, Dadyal or Sahiwal. Karachi is a city dear to my heart because I’ve spent time there. My views on Mirpuris, and Kotlians is that they are warm, hospitable people who will offer you whatever food they have in their homes.

        I don’t see how you’ve concluded my praise for Karachi people as an anti-Mirpuri statement. This demonstrates a degree of paranoia on your part. My point was that Karachi has been through a lot of turbulent times, and yet it has come through that era, and some of the ordinary people are great people. I was comparing it to other cities in Pakistan, such as Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad etc. If you’re as educated as you claim, you should’ve realised this point was in the context of Pakistan, and had nothing to do with Mirpuris in Britain.

        I’m from Greater London but my family moved to Leeds when I was young. However, I’ve been living back in the South East just outside London for the past 10 years. I use Mosques both within London, and outside. The two largest Mosques in the UK are in London, both were built by Arabs, and neither of them are run by Mirpuris. Outside London, Gujarati Muslims, and Panjabi Muslims have built Mosques too, especially around Leicester, Manchester, Lancashire, and other areas. In the South East I’ve got a feeling Woking Mosque is currently run by Jhelumi Panjabis, although not a 100 percent sure. It was built by the Turks. The smaller Woking Mosque in the town centre is run by Pathans. Officially, Croydon is not in Greater London, and the Croydon Mosque was run by Indian Muslims. My local Mosque is run by Indian Muslims. Areas which fall on the Essex, Greater London borders have Mosques run by non Mirpuri Pakistanis. So I don’t know where you’re getting your info on the South East. Inside Greater London a lot of the Pakistani run Mosques, are run by non Mirpuri Pakistanis. The point here is do not discount the achievements of other groups within the Muslim community.

        I’m marrying a Pahari girl because I share a deep connection with her, and her family. My family and hers converse in Urdu, and English. However, she speaks Pahari with her family and I speak Panjabi with mine. I have never once tried to impose Panjabi on my future in-laws. An Urdu speaking cousin of mine is married to a Mirpuri guy, and she is very happy. Never heard her or her brothers secretly making racist comments about Mirpuris.

        The fact is that people like you can’t see past your hatred whereas a great many of us including Reiss can. You Jatt, are no different from the racist British Pakistani Panjabi you claim to oppose.

        If Pakistani Panjabis are racist towards Sikhs why do so many live alongside Sikhs in areas like Southall, and Hounslow. I’ve heard Mirpuris complaining about there being too many Sikhs in places like Southall. Not heard anywhere near as many of these types of comments from Pakistani Panjabis. In fact most of the tensions between Muslims, and Sikhs in this part of West London during the 90s were between Mirpuris from Slough, and the Sikhs. Birmingham is another example of a city where tensions were running high between Mirpuris, and Sikhs during the 80s and 90s. I have no problem with Sikhs but I’m not a Sikh I’m a Muslim. I share a linguistic identity with the Sikhs, and have no issue with this. I take issue with you defining me as an Indian Panjabi, my ancestors were forced out of that area. A lot of blood shed occured on both sides, and we are no longer Indian nationals. I have visited Pakistan many times but never India. I have no family left in India but it would be nice to visit one day. My nationality is British Pakistani, and my ethnicity is Rajput Panjabi. I’m not confused about this identity. I’m content with my ancestral roots in Indian Panjab. You are the confused one who claims a Pakistani identity while rejecting it at the same time.

        Moving on……

        This is the link to a Guardian article published in 2001 https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2001/jun/24/race.britishidentity

        Initially the article focuses on a Pakistani Panjabi from Manchester. The article then moves on to document the views of a Mirpuri youth worker from Leeds. Not only does he claim Mirpuris are different but continues on to claim that the riots are Mirpuri riots. He then goes on to further claim that his parents would never marry him to a Panjabi or a Sindhi. A reputable newspaper is publishing these views in 2001. In this era the internet was in its infancy and social media did not even exist. So where does this leave your argument that Mirpuris were all Pakistani Panjabi loving, until the rise of online Mirpuri vilification.

        My view is that a minority of Mirpuris have been practicing racism for decades. Not only towards non Mirpuri Pakistanis but towards other ethnicities of Muslims. This is why I relayed some of my experiences, and those of others. I believe these racists are in the minority both on the Azad Kashmiri side, and Panjabi side. In direct response to Faisal’s point, the vast majority are not racist. Some may make ignorant comments or engage in banter but I don’t view this as racism in the western sense. These peoole will invite you into their home and offer you their last roti. The minority of racists are attempting to cause division. I’m not arguing that these racists do not exist among Pakistani Panjabis. Rather, I’m arguing that this minority also exist in the Mirpuri community. I don’t share the myth that the racist minority among Mirpuris did not exist before the rise of online Mirpuri bashing, and I think I’ve proved this point beyond reasonable doubt.

        I agree that British Pakistanis should work together in the UK to challenge the vilification of Mirpuris. This cannot happen while the entire British Pakistani community is being labelled as racist because of the actions of a minority. Furthermore it cannot happen while people like Jatt take it a step further, and label us all as terrorists. This sort of behaviour only seeks to alienate those people who would otherwise support you in your struggle. Those who have a hatred for Mirpuris will not care to listen to Jatt but they will listen to British Pakistanis from Panjabi, and Urdu speaking backgrounds.

        • “I’m marrying a Pahari girl because I share a deep connection with her, and her family. My family and hers converse in Urdu, and English. However, she speaks Pahari with her family and I speak Panjabi with mine.”

          I think that ends the “Pahari is a dialect of Punjabi” debate, Reiss… I think we all learned a lot.

      • Reiss Haidar,

        You said… “We can resolve these issues, if we come together, if we have sincerity on both sides. But, of course, never at the expense of denying our own distinctiveness. We are different from Pakistanis; we come from AJK,… Our region is subject to conflict, this has had a huge bearing on our ensuing identity… The truth of the matter is, we don’t need Pakistan, Pakistan can’t offer us anything other than servitude and humiliation; why are all the top officials in AJK, senior ranking people all from Panjab, Pakistan?

        That’s a political statement but in your about us page, you said Portmir doesn’t do politics? So my question.

        Reiss, Jatt Punyal, Faysal

        Why should we be part of a Pakistan fraternity in the UK, when AJK is not part of Pakistan IN Pakistan? This is a contradiction. AJK is treated unjustly because of its status.

        Reiss in your podcast u said, the ambiguous status of AJK affects how AJK people are presented in the UK, isn’t this good enough reason for us not to identify as British Pakistanis? But as British Paharis from Kashmir State?

        • Myra,

          “Isn’t this good enough reason for us not to identify as British Pakistanis? But as British Paharis from Kashmir State?”

          Yes I personally prefer British Pahari to British Pakistani. I don’t know about other Mirpuris though. Has there been a survey done about this?
          My parents who are Mirpuri tend to refer to other Mirpuri families as “Pahriya alle”. I don’t think this is a title that a lot of Mirpuris use to refer to themselves. I could be wrong though.

          • Faruq, where exactly is your fiancé from in AJK? She is Pahari right?

            Faisal, the only reason why Pakistanis say Paari is Panjabi is because they cant tolerate the idea of us Pahriye pursuing fraternity with the various communities of Jammu & Kashmir. That’s all it is. It doesn’t amount to anything more. Dirty politics. Look at your conversations, Reiss’, Jatt’s, Faruq’s, Faruq was so keen to disconnect Azad Kashmiris from Valley Kashmiris that he even said Kotlians think they are different from Mirpuris lol. I’m from Kotli, we used to always go back regularly when my grandad was alive. We used to go sight seeing all over AJK. My grandparents were from Sehnsa, mum, dad born in UK. My daada came to the UK in the 50s. He would say Mirpur, when he was asked where he was from. We’re Mirpuris, though we came from further afield. Yet, Faruq has lots of Kotli friends and they told him dadyal and Chakswari people who are all hill people as far as I understand this identity, are not Paharis lol. He also told you what Pakistanis thought of Mirpuris, he didn’t leave any stone unturned from every community. They have all made negative remarks about Mirpuris and Faruq was there to witness and share it with you.

            So there is no fraternity with Pakistanis, Faruq proved it’s not only city Pakistanis but every other Pakistani who looks down at us so ITS UNFAIR TO blame his community ALONE. So what have we got to lose if we pursue our fraternity with others? It is the Pakistanis that have separated us from other Jammu Kashmir communities, which people in AJK want a border with Indian-administered-Kashmir? NONE. ZERO. Which people in Indian-administered-Kashmir want a border with AJK? NONE. ZERO. Is Faruq aware of this Pew survey? NOPE. Please ask Kotli people about the LOC, how many of us have family in Siri, who have family in Rajouri?

            Are people prejudiced in AJK? Of course they are, this like the arguments I had with Jat about Poonchies, but Poonchies would never ever say, Mirpuris are not from AJK, or they’re not Kashmiris. Muzaffarabad people know where Mirpur is, and that we are all state subjects of this territory. It’s always Pakistanis telling us that Valley Kashmiris don’t want to be with us. Please let the Valley Kashmiris tell us this themselves to our faces if that is what they want. We are grown up, we can take rejection. Why do we always hear these scare stories from Pakistanis? Never from “Muslim Kashmiris”, but always from caste Kashmiris in Lahore, or Hindu Pandits in India. lololol

            I have no enmity against caste-Kashmiris. DO YOU KNOW WHY? SHOCK HORROR I am what Faruq calls an ethnic Kashmiri, what Reiss calls a caste-Kashmiri, as my family are “Butt” from the “Khawaja” branch. All we know is that we come from the Indian side; I asked my dad are we really from Valley, and he said he doesn’t know, he just knows we come from the Indian side. We have always spoken Pahari. May be we were cobblers or weavers, I don’t care, the caste system was wrong then, as it is wrong today. Jats and Raje have worked in factories in the UK, my grandad worked in a factory. The Dogras treated us all very badly as do Pakistanis. I agree with Reiss we all have humble backgrounds and we should celebrate this humble past. What do I have in common with these Raje and Jat? We are from Jammu Kashmir, and we have the same culture. We even marry into each others families for God’s sake? Next Faruq will be telling you, Jats don’t marry Khawajas and vice versa?

            I’m from Jammu Kashmir and I’m not a Pakistani. Faisal, the only thing you are going to learn is how much they don’t want us to unite; we have lived together for hundreds of years but they think Kashmir is a galaxy away from us in the Pahar. Go back and read Faruq’s comments to refresh your mind about what he said about Mirpuris.

  31. Faroq you said,
    If Pakistani Panjabis are racist towards Sikhs why do so many live alongside Sikhs in areas like Southall, and Hounslow. I’ve heard Mirpuris complaining about there being too many Sikhs in places like Southall. Not heard anywhere near as many of these types of comments from Pakistani Panjabis. In fact most of the tensions between Muslims, and Sikhs in this part of West London during the 90s were between Mirpuris from Slough, and the Sikhs. Birmingham is another example of a city where tensions were running high between Mirpuris, and Sikhs during the 80s and 90s.
    Muslim Punjabis live in Southall and Hounslow as in the era pre 1985 there was a lot of racism and so muslim Punjabis liked the Sikhs to defend them the same way muslim Punjabis lived with Mirpuris outside London as a self defence mechanism. The fact that the Mirpuris saved the Pakistani Punjabis from severe bearings by the NF does not mean the Muslim Punjabis like them, to the contrary the Muslim Punjabis will insist that they saved the Mirpuris of Birmingham, Walsall, Dudley, Bradford and Leeds from the NF and BNP and EDL. In fact despite the fact that 99% of muslim Punjabis went to mirpuri mosques in the places mentioned above they will deny it. They will all insisit that they went to the Gujerati, Bengali and Somali mosques in these same areas, while helping the Mirpuris who are illiterate peasants. Same goes for Sikhs, it is only Punjbai muslims who hate Sikhs behind their backs, while benefitting from them the same way they hate mirpuris. In fact it is Punjabi muslims who tell Sikhs that Mirpuris are the bad ones who hate you, when that is not the truth.
    Also where is the proof that the mirpuris were the ones fighting the Sikhs in Slough, do send your proof for the same. These are all in your imagination, the same way you imagined hearing mirpuris saying that there are too many Sikhs in southall. This is not the case it is all imagined by you, you always end up hearing things and seeing things to back up your claims which are always lacking any objectivity.
    I on the other hand can give a lot of proof for what I said, yes Pakistanis are terrorists and the proof is that it has been written down that Pakistan has long been accused by its neighbours India and Afghanistan, and western nations like the United Statesand the United Kingdom of its involvement in terrorist activities in the region and beyond. Pakistan’s tribal region along its border with Afghanistan has been claimed to be a “haven for terrorists” by western media and the United States Defense Secretary. According to an analysis published by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings Institution in 2008, Pakistan was, “with the possible exception of Iran, perhaps the world’s most active sponsor of terrorist groups… aiding groups that pose a direct threat to the United States Daniel Byman, an author, also wrote that, “Pakistan is probably 2008’s most active sponsor of terrorism” All sources are available and this is the absolute tip of the iceberg the evidence for Pakistanis supporting terror is unlimited. Pakistan backed and hid Osama Bin Liden and all the Al Qadea people and all the terror plots in the UK have been by Pakistanis and None by Mirpuris. So these are all facts and so why deny the facts that the whole world knows. I can bring 100s of pages as proofs for this and that should confirm what I am saying. But all your comments about Mirpuris are lacking any objective evidence. They are all based on hearsay and that is then confirmed by imaginary meetings and discussions.

  32. Faroq then said,
    I agree that British Pakistanis should work together in the UK to challenge the vilification of Mirpuris. This cannot happen while the entire British Pakistani community is being labelled as racist because of the actions of a minority. Furthermore it cannot happen while people like Jatt take it a step further, and label us all as terrorists. This sort of behaviour only seeks to alienate those people who would otherwise support you in your struggle. Those who have a hatred for Mirpuris will not care to listen to Jatt but they will listen to British Pakistanis from Panjabi, and Urdu speaking backgrounds.

    OK, now please tell me some Muslim Punjabis who have actually supported Mirpuri victims of racial hared committed by Muslim Punjabis and Karachis, you youself have been here for some time and have always looked for excuses to blame the Mirpuris, I cannot point to one of your posts where I thought that you acknowledged that anti mirpuri attacks were wrong and instead chose to excuse or pardon these actions as banter, inevitable for majorities to be targeted, the previous generation for all illiterate, but now your improving etc..
    All you had to do was agree that anti mirpuris attacks are wrong and should not happen. But you always looked for excuses and that is why I personally have zero faith in a turn around in Muslim Punjabis behaviour and I reiterate that a people who think Bin Laden and Saddam Hussain are heroes and who justify the killing of 3 million banglas certainly will not provide any justice to us. The mindset of Muslim Punjabis and Karachis have been made and I am not so keen in engaging with them except with objective evidence and we should provide lists of all terror suspects arrested and confirm that they were all non Mirpuris and all the frauds and other serious crimes were also non Mirpuris. I just want to keep a list to disprove the lies told about us. I want the names of all hate preachers to show who is doing what. I do not want us to carry the can for non Mirpuris anymore. I am frustrated and fed up with the attitude of Pakistanis towards us and I do hope that they self segregate and go to Bengalis mosques, but as I live in London I know that Bengalis hate Pakistanis and there is no way they are overlooking the genocide committed against them in 1971 by Bihairi, Pathans and Punjabis.

    • To Punyal

      It seems you have changed your view about Pakistan and how it treats the people of AJK? I remember us debating these points some months back, you were defending Pakistan back then? This is positive for me because it shows British Paharis are waking up to what’s happening here and over there. Pakistanis are racists towards Mirpuris in Britain, not all obviously but its their voices that matter, not ours. I listened to Reiss’s interview on BBC Asian Network, even the Pakistani host was biased until that prat from Nottingham from Islamabad started to rant about Mirpuris speaking a disgusting language. It isn’t just online, how can Ali say this? Every Pakistani knows that Mirpuris have a bad reputation. I want to know how Pakistanis have got away with blaming Mirpuris for everything that is wrong with the British Pakistani community as they separate themselves because of their small numbers. I was reading Ali’s comments, how can he repeat such comments as proof of some insight, anyone else would be embarrassed to repeat racist comments he heard from his friends, relatives, everyone in society.

      Lots of my comments got deleted on other posts, can they be re-instated please because I was being accused of being divisive and spreading hate, I made valid points about how Azad Kashmiris were being treated.

      Ali,

      do you accept that Azad Kashmiris are being discriminated against in AJK because of the ambiguous status of AJK? I’m asking you this question sincerely? Im not asking about problems in the rest of Pakistan?

    • “I am frustrated and fed up with the attitude of Pakistanis towards us and I do hope that they self segregate and go to Bengalis mosques, but as I live in London I know that Bengalis hate Pakistanis and there is no way they are overlooking the genocide committed against them in 1971 by Bihairi, Pathans and Punjabis.”

      There are Mirpuris and Pakistanis I know that lived in Tower Hamlets their whole life but do not have a single Bengali friend. They have many Somali and other ethnicity friends but not one Bengali. This is because they tell Mirpuris and Pakistanis alike”You raped our women”. Not all of them of course but it depends on the area you live in.

      The Mirpuri could easily turn around and say “Those were Pakistanis, not Mirpuris, learn to differentiate.”. But they don’t. This is another example of Brit-Pakistani privilege.

  33. Just going through these discussions, very informative, long-winded but have learnt a lot about prejudice against mirpuris.

    Im particularly grateful for the discussion on caste Kashmiris as being different from ethnic kashmiris particularly from the Punjab as a lot of noise comes from these areas about mirpuris not being Kashmiris in Britain. Faruq Ali’s assertion that panjabi kashmiris are ethnic kashmiris as proof that the former say the latter are not kashmiris is one of the best expose I’ve read so far because of the political anxieties involved being presented as ethnic arguments. Reiss demonstrated how stupid such a claim is. to use caste kashmiris as reference point that mirpuris are not kashmiris is nonsensical for the reason that there is nothing “ethnic” kashmiri about them except to lay claim to a distant kashmiri past in the valley. That was the argument Ali was making about Mirpuris being closer to ethnic Panjabis than ethnic Kashmiris. y the double standards? lots of panjabi kashmiris actually came from the Pahari areas of Jammu And Kashmir, Chibhal region and other regions, and were later identified as Kashmiris by the British colonial census recorders. Plus these refugees of famine were ashamed of being identified through their occupational caste backgrounds. Reiss said that Kashmiri conflict has given some prestige to people claiming kashmiri identity in Lahore, but weren’t lots of these people from low caste backgrounds originally? lots of Panjabi castes continue to be identified as tailors, weavers, butchers, so it made sense for those fleeing famines in Jammu And Kashmir to say we’re from the kashmiri caste in general and not from the darzi caste in particular because of the Jammu Kashmir connection.

    Some months back, on twitter valley kashmiris, i.e., actual ethnic Kashmiris, were talking about this and they made reference to the census of 1931 where there was a jump in the numbers of occupational castes claiming to be Muslim Kashmiris, a lot of which were returned as non-Kashmiri “speaking”. the jump was in the hundreds of thousands. the only people who didn’t do this were the Zamindar castes. from that conversation which should still be available on twitter, I had the impression these ethnic kashmiris didn’t consider the majority of these “kashmiris” genuinely from the valley of Kashmir, so what about all the non-kashmiri speaking kashmiris in the Panjab?. It’s easy to claim a new background outside your homeland, because no one knows you especially if you become prosperous. Aren’t British Pakistanis from the “cities” of Lahore, Islamabad Karachi doing exactly this in the UK when they demean Mirpuris but say they came from well-off backgrounds?

    But the caste system is wrong completely so British Pahari people should be against it. I point that out because I’m making a different point.

      • It’s becoming clear that all of you have are propagating an anti Pakistan narrative. It’s clear you do not want to work with British Pakistanis (including Mirpuris) but against us. Jatt has become a spokesman for the Bush administration, and neo cons in his views on Pakistan. I have heard more balanced views on Pakistan from the Sikhs. Thankfully you are a fringe minority and do not represent the views of the majority.

        I’ve never justified what happened in Bangladesh. I have good friends who are Bengali. It seems like Faisal, and Jatt live in a world where everyone is racist, or concealing racist views, which they exercise in secret. You guys seem to see racist Muslims around every street corner in Greater London. The EDL will be especially impressed with such views.

        I know about the tensions in West London because I’m originally from that part of London. I can also provide you with newspaper articles written in the 1990s documenting gang violence between the Chalvey area of Slough, and Sikhs from Southall. I see you’ve got nothing to say about the tensions in Birmingham between the Muslim Aston Panthers, and the Sikh Shera Panjab which continued into the early 2000s. One linguistic or religious group did not fight the NF. It was a mixture of Asians, Blacks, and Whites.

        My views are not based on what I’ve heard or imagined. We are discussing British Pakistanis, and British Mirpuris. If I wanted to, I could link you to article after article about the problems in the British Mirpuri heartlands of the UK. However I’m not here to demonise British Mirpuris.

        I accept that a minority of British Pakistanis are racist. There is no excuse for Mirpuri vilification, and I’m not attempting to excuse such behaviour. I take issue with Portmir portraying British Pakistanis as racist. The majority of us are not racist. It is in response to this accusation that I’ve successfully argued that there are also a minority of racists among British Mirpuris. Please read The Guardian article I cited, and respond. You ask for evidence, and then ignore any evidence which doesn’t suit your agenda. Just like the studentroom post where the Mirpuri girl was making anti-Mirpuri comments. It was ignored by Faisal, Reiss, and Jatt. Same with this 2001 article. University of Leeds study I mentioned, ignored. Sikh forum evidence ignored because apparently they get their views from Pakistani Panjabis. To argue this point one comment was picked from the thread as evidence in which a Sikh claims to get his views from a Pakistani Pothwari speaker. Based on that one post you are clear in your mind that all Sikhs get their views from Pakistani Panjabis. Lets not forget that you do not even consider Pothwari speakers, as Panjabi. Furthermore, I offered to email screen shots of conversations with my Kotli friend to Reiss but the offer was later turned down.

        What is your evidence that hatred of Mirpuris is widespread among the majority of British Pakistanis. You have no evidence whatsoever to support such a claim. Such sweeping statements about an entire community within the UK are in themselves racist. Yet in your world racism only exists if the victims are Mirpuri. If I was a British Pakistani who has no contact with Mirpurus, reading these comments, would lead me to believe, British Mirpuris hate British Pakistanis. Luckily I mix with enough Mirpuris to know full well that these are fringe views. I know some Mirpuris are not happy with the state of affairs in Pakistan. Some support the view that AJK should be independent of India, and Pakistan. I can agree to disagree on this point of view while maintaining brotherhood. However I draw the line when British Pakistanis are portrayed as generally racist with no evidence to back up such ridiculous claims. Jatts claims of the majority of British Pakistanis supporting terrorism are a further example of the unadulterated nonsense in the comments section.

        All the while Reiss claims to disagree with these views but goes on to agree with the sentiments within them.

        • Faisal, my future in-laws have a liking for Urdu which is why I converse in Urdu with them. We can understand their Pahari, and they can understand our Panjabi, they are multilingual. However, they prefer listening to Urdu than Panjabi. I guess this is the case with a lot of Pakistanis these days. This clearly shows the majority of Pakistanis are racist towards Panjabis, and I want nothing more to do with my own people. I see racist Pakistanis, and Muslims everywhere. It’s hard to walk the streets of Tower Hamlets, or Waltham Forest these days without seeing racist Asians round every corner. Edl anyone?

        • Faruq,

          I have disagreed with views that appear, to me at least, to be factually false, lack credibility anecdotally, or are illogical according to the reasoning behind such claims. If the sentiments within a particular viewpoint make sense, or resonate with me, I’ve said as much.

          I’ve never once demonised the British-Pakistani community. I’ve taken your claims, a lot of which are racist, and far-fetched, on face value, because you claim to be merely reporting them as an innocent observer.

          But, you think there’s an agenda against Pakistanis here? Ask yourself Faruq, who made you the spokesperson for all British-Pakistanis, and why do you feel you can express such a remark to people from Azad Jammu Kashmir? This is the problem, your superiority-complex allows you to think that you have a greater right to Pakistan than Mirpuris – “imposter-type Pakistanis” – who must have separatist leanings because of the nature of their contested “Azad” polity? I don’t represent all Mirpuris. I am merely expressing a viewpoint that is being increasingly held by lots of British Paharis, and I know this to be true because of the circles I move in. But, you think you can throw around the charge that we’re somehow less loyal to Pakistan because we don’t come from mainland Pakistan. This is one of the reasons we have vilification of Mirpuris in the first place. Mirpuris are not seen as bona fide Pakistanis by other British-Pakistanis, and this arrogance is creating momentum to challenge such bigotry.

          It’s not as if Pakistan is an amazing country that offers well-being to its nationals. Why are you living in the UK? You said you come from a well-off family; most well-off families remain in their countries especially the “elite”, it’s usually economic migrants who leave. As soon as my dad got his airfare paid by his Uncle in the 50s, he left. Isn’t life better in the UK for most Pakistanis though? Like most flag-waving Patriots, your love for Pakistan is because you live outside Pakistan; please return to Pakistan to realise your insignificance; to temper yourself from the accusations you’re throwing at us.

          I’m a person of conscience, I’m not a nationalist or a patriot; I don’t care if I offend Pakistanis, even Mirpuris, by telling them how corrupt Pakistan is – am I lying? Am I exaggerating? Am I distorting the facts because I refuse to fly the Pakistani flag and shout slogans? I’m a democrat and Pakistan is no democracy; it is a corrupt country full of parasites and sycophants who think they own Pakistan. It’s usually these patriots who accuse everyone else of being “traitors”, “Indian agents”, “non-Muslims”, and they’ve never once cared for the ordinary “Pakistanis” of this land, the millions of poor people.

          But here’s the thing, in the circles I move in, no one has been disparaging of Pakistanis in the way you claim all these unrelated communities have been disparaging of Mirpuris. Don’t you think that’s odd? It seems there are huge ironies here, about how we’re being represented by Pakistanis, and how Pakistanis actually behave – our interactions on this website are a good example of that. No one has censured you, or stopped you from making your claims; I know of Mirpuris who complain that they’ve been booted off Pakistani Forums because they said some things critical of Pakistan; they were just blocked from the site. I’m strictly in favour of freedom of expression, freedom of thought and association – these are the sorts of things denied to members of my community in “Azad” Kashmir by the Pakistan Establishment; why would I became a pale imitation of Pakistan by denying such rights on our own community platforms in the UK? Even if I find your views unpalatable, or unsavoury, as long as you don’t incite violence or use offensive language, you will be accorded the same courtesy as everyone else, Mirpuri or otherwise.

          Didn’t our moderator censure Jatt Punyal who is from the Mirpuri community? Yet, you casually make insensitive and cruel remarks about people you claim are part of your fraternity.

          And yet, it doesn’t even occur to you Faruq, that all this time, we’ve been responding to your anecdotes. Surely this means, a modicum of respect has been accorded to you? It doesn’t even occur to you how racist some of your claims are. You said, people from the subcontinent, (that’s almost around 1.8 billion people) say Mirpuris are the “low-caste” people of the subcontinent. You said I don’t believe this. If you didn’t believe it, why say it? Personally, I have never come across this statement in speech or print. But, again, this is another of your anecdotes. It’s as if you’ve been influenced by subtle prejudice that exists in the circles you move thanks to wider prejudice within the British-Pakistani community.

          Here’s an example of this from that guardian piece you’ve cited as if it was some gospel truth. I was already familiar with that article – it’s a good example of subtle prejudice.

          The sub-heading read, “They have embraced Western values and shunned the old traditions. But a new generation of British Asians are still coming to terms with their complex identites. Burhan Wazir reports”

          Describing Ghulam Hussain, the Panjabi, the writer says,

          “Hussain has travelled down overnight by car from Manchester… Unmistakably “upwardly mobile”, the “well-educated” Hussain shares a flat with his “white girlfriend” in Manchester “city centre” and enjoys the benefits of a salary of more than “£30,000”. ‘Not a fortune, but enough to give me and her a “decent lifestyle”,’ he said. (note how this person was described; the subtext)

          Describing Shakoor Haidar, the Mirpuri, he says,

          “In the aftermath of the “riots” – reported purely as an “explosion” of “British Asian rage” – Leeds’ ethnic residents complained of “racial stereotyping”. The city has been home, for nearly 50 years, to “10,000 Mirpuris”, while nearby Bradford now has “40,000. Mirpuris”, traditionally “farmhands”, originate from Mirpur in “Kashmir”.

          Why is Hussain being described as “upwardly mobile”, “well-educated” – an individual, but Haidar is being described through negative stereotypes – British Asian rage, not as an individual but connected to a community? There’s no substantive mention of Hussain’s background, but Haidar originates from Mirpur, Kashmir where the people were traditionally “farmhands”?

          Now the idea that Mirpuris are farmhands is patently false. And the documented caste-history courtesy of colonial census material would debunk such an idea.

          Farmhands are traditionally landless workers on farms, i.e., they work the land to earn money; most Mirpuris own their land – they have been described as subsistence farmers because they worked their own inherited lands according to a system of patronage well documented in this region. You can’t claim to be from a Zamindar background in Mirpur, if you were from an occupational caste, because of how the system worked; the landed groups knew other landed groups.

          So you see, we are tired of this sort of disparaging bullshit written by Pakistanis who don’t even know their own history; the majority of Mirpuris come from Zamindar backgrounds – A FACT NOTED BY COLONIAL ETHNOLOGISTS AND EVERY ANTHROPOLOGIST WRITING ON MIRPUR, the sort that belong to high-caste backgrounds all over Panjab. This is one of the arguments made against Mirpuris, that they belong to Zamindar backgrounds that connect them to the Panjab, and not the occupational castes of Kashmir. In the caste-system, Kashmiris traditionally belong to lower castes, not because they were Kashmiris but because they were occupational workers who started to claim they were Kashmiris – thus the association.

          Now why did you say, in your previous comment that subcontinent people say Mirpuris are low-caste? You said in another comment, that you are Rajput? Why did you say that? You come from Indian Panjab post-partition, there’s no way we can attest your background because you’re of refugee stock – Rajputs are Rajputs on account of attested lineage and lands that they practically possess through the patronage-system – you said you lost everything in India? How could you be Rajput in Pakistan Panjab and you lost your lands? Lot’s of Mirpur’s Jats were originally of Rajput lineage, but they claim a Jat background on account of farming their lands. The Panjab has traditionally been dominated by the Jat who don’t feel a sense of inferiority to the Rajput, not least because of the ascendancy of the Sarkar-e-Khalsa whose rulers were from Jat clan backgrounds. My wider point is, how on earth can Mirpur’s population be referred to as “farmhands”. The idea is false, where did this writer get his “facts” from?

          I’ll tell you, from likeminded people who have been spurting rubbish about Mirpuris for decades. And you think this article proves Mirpuris hate Panjabis because of how the writer wanted to present Mirpuris? If anything it exposes the ironies behind our discussion.

          Now if you’re going to respond, substantively debunk what I’ve said, don’t start introducing new anecdotes.

  34. Faroq you said that The two largest Mosques in the UK are in London, both were built by Arabs, and neither of them are run by Mirpuris according to Faroq.
    ButI did an online search and this is what it says
    This statistic displays the 15 biggest mosques in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2015, by capacity. In this year the largest masjid was Al-Jamia Suffa-Tul Islam Grand Mosque in Bradford, with a capacity of 8,000 people. this was followed by Central Jamia Mosque Ghamkol Sharif in Birmingham and the Birmingham Central Mosque, which both have a capacity for 6,000 people. Of the biggest masjids in the United Kingdom, four of them were located in Bradford and two in Birmingham and one each In Luton and Middlesborough. I think it is fair to say that these were Mirpuri areas.
    Also In London the biggest mosque is officially a Ahmadi Mosque called Bait ul Futtah. The supposed Arab mosque is central Mosque that was made by contributions from four countries and the local British populace. It is in central London and the nearest ethnic communities are Bengalis and Morroccans and a few other arabs, hardly any Pakistanis live in that area and the closest Pakistani community to that Mosque is Cricklewood in NW2 and they are mostly from Dadyal and they go to the Brent Mosque and are joined by many Punjabis and Pathans, who should appreciate the service they are being provided. So I know that most of these Pakistanis do not go to Arab mosques as they insist. It is just another attempt to disassociate themselves with Mirpuris which I am now personally happy with, but please actually do it instead of making up stories.

    Also the major areas of South East are High Wycombe, Slough, Chesham, Luton, Watford, Bedford, Peterborough, Woking, Reading, Crawley and Maidenhead. Mirpuris and AJK people are the majority in all these areas except for Slough and I am not sure of Reading. Interestingly to prove his point Faroq made Slough a Mirpuri town as they had major issues there between Sikhs and Muslims. In fact Mirpuris are a minority there. Also there is no proof that the Chalvey boys are Mirpuris and the Chalvey area of Slough was never a Mirpuri area anyway.

    You mentioned the Shere Punjab in Handsworth, but forgot to mention all the Sikhs who live in Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, Dudley, Walsall, Coventry, Luton etc. they are happily living with Mirpuris and as I said before sikhs never distinguished between Mirpur and Gujar khan or Lahore before as they never knew much about these areas until they Faislabadis and Lahoris and Pindi guys wanted them to distinguish.

    • Jatt Punyal,

      Did you notice the double standards of Farooq? He’s been begging us to acknowledge that thread on Sikh Sangat where they are talking about Mirpuris.
      And Slough which is right next door to Southall is apparently a Mirpuri area.
      But that same thread where those Sikhs who are from Southall are talking about Mirpuris mention that “Slough is a Jhelumi area”…..

      Farooq,
      Since you take the words of racist Sikhs as the Gospel truth, please acknowledge Slough as a Jhelumi not Mirpuri area.

  35. Myra,

    I always call myself a Mirpuri anyway or I say I am from Dadyal. I have not personally identified myself as a pahari, as to me it does not really confirm who I am. Pahari, means mountain, and maybe that is our language, but I call our language Mirpuri, Pahari is quite wide, and so I am not sure that is a good identifier. I consider Mirpuri or AJK as good terms.

    Should we distinguish ourselves from other Pakistanis is what you asked. I would say that Pakistan is a land of people like us Mirpuris from AJK and Punjabis and Pathans and Sindhis etc.. I actually spoke to a friend from Fasialabad and told him my views. He said that he is not surprised by the scum racist Lyllpuria in the UK as in fact they are all indians and none of them is a true son of the soil.

    In Jhang, Faisalabad, Toba Tek singh areas all the natives clans are Harral, Kharral, Marral, Ranjha and Chader etc. All are Jatt clans. They say that the indian refugees who they gave asylum to abuse them and call them Janglees and insult their language and race and culture and try to disgrace the natives whilst taking a superior attitude. He also confirmed that all the religious nutcases are Indian Refugees and that these are all troublemakers.

    So my point Myra is that we are Mirpuris but at the same time from a land linked to Pakistan.

    Myra we have done alot for Pakistan and so we can keep the title of Pakistanis. Do not worry about these indian refugees, it was never their land and they only came yesterday.

    Myra we can reply to the rubbish spewed by the children of indian refugees whose own parents and grandparents came begging for asylum from us. As you will see alot of the hatred is spread by as you said dalit Kashmiri migrants, Punjabi Muslim Refugees and Karachi Bihari group, these groups do not own Pakistan and we have more right to Pakistan then these people who are full of self loathing and are trying to pin there insecurities and imagined importance on us.

    I am still a Pakistani Myra, but if my people prefer to be seperate I will always support the majority view. In the interim we Pakistanis are also identified by our ancestral areas as well and so all the English people I work with, know me as a Pakistani from Kashmir and they even know my areas name in AJK.

    We can expose the truth about these indians and by doing so we can also help them know who they are rather than who they wish they were.

    Finally Myra with all due respect Khwaja is not a clan of Butt. Butt is a tribe with some sub clans and Khwaja is a title with no actual racial reference. I beleive that most Butts live in Baramulla which is close to the border with Kotli near Uri sector and so perhaps one of your ancestors was from there.

    MODERATOR

    I would have censured the word “scum” as it is clearly offensive, but because you are quoting a third party, in this case your Pakistani friend from Faisalabad speaking about “refugees” from India, identified by the label “lyllpuria”, I have allowed it because of the nature of the debate. This also holds true for the term “dalit” which you have used disparagingly; I have allowed it because you are quoting your interlocutor.

    The term “scum” is offensive and should not be used to describe any people you disagree with. This also holds true for adherents of religion, you should not be calling them nutcases because you disagree with them; I have allowed the use of the term on this occasion to make a point.

    I appreciate your emotions are running high, but please be more tempered in your language as Portmir is a forum for debate and discussion, we do not wish to disparage those whom we disagree with, simply because, as you claim, they are disparaging indigenous “Pakistanis”.

    Thank you.

    • Jatt,

      Before you respond to any more of Faruq’s comments, I entreat you to consider the following;

      Some of the ideas you have espoused in your latest post are just out-right offensive. You are now doing exactly what Faruq was doing except you lack Faruq’s “finesse”; Faruq has been very smart claiming everything he has said to date, has been merely “communicated” to him, dispassionately, from a vast array of unrelated people all UNITED in their disgust of Mirpuris including our ethnic kinsmen, the people of Kotli. In his mind, this is proof that we shouldn’t blame a particular demography from the 3 cities he chose for this particular identity, “Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad” – all 3 of which he claims an intimate connection to. As for the other areas, he just happened to hear all these negative claims against Mirpuris. He just happened to be there when these people were spurting out their prejudice against Mirpuris. Aside from his recent claims to have offered this huge body of knowledge substantiating his claims, he has been an expert anecdotalist.

      We all took offence, to what he said, rightly, because everything he said, via the agency of his friends/peers was “racist”. Any dispassionate outsider would agree with me, that the statements in question were racist.

      Brother Jatt, how are you behaving differently, when you call Pakistani nationals – a diverse group of people, who live in Pakistan for the most part minding their own business, living their inoffensive lives, “Indian Refugees”? You’ve called the others “Dalit Kashmiri migrants”, “Panjabi Muslim Refugees”.

      What on earth are you doing?

      There are three options here. Either you rise above such “caricatures”; you respond in like manner,; or you stay silent. The third, we can’t do, because of how bad anti-Mirpuri slurs are; the second, merely proves we’re the same as our detractors, and the first proves, we are indeed more “civilised” – thus the irony.

      I entreat you to be tempered in your response and to follow the first option. I don’t necessarily agree with everything you say, you may passionately disagree with me, but we can deal with it, because we want to promote dialogue amongst our own community. You have contributed positively to the wider debate about the direction of travel in Pakistan. But to hurl insults at the Pakistanis insulting us because you feel spited is, I think, beneath you.

      We have nothing to gain, and everything to lose. And this holds true for Faruq, who has said he wants dialogue and is merely defending his own community, all the while he recycles every slur going against our community, thinking he is merely adding to the wider discussions.

      Let’s get some perspective here please.

    • Excuse me moderator I didnt call anyone a dalit, so Punyal has misquoted me when he referred to kashmiris as dalit migrants. This is prejudice on Punyal’s part against my caste, I’m sure he didnt mean to say that, as he was in full flow arguing against Ali’s subtle racism against Mirpuris or his convenient 3rd party racism. Jat got triggered by Ali but thats no excuse to say some of the stuff he said in defence of Mirpuris. I know having read Punyal’s posts that he’s defending our people against outragious lies, so im not personally offended by what he said cus I know he didnt mean it. At least he spoke back, some thing our community needs to do more often. when I read some of the stuff written about Mirpuris by our fellow BRITISH PAKISTANIS it makes my blood boil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Punyal, its demeaning to people, not just of my background, to be called Dalit. I dont believe in the caste system and you shouldn’t either. I dont feel inferior to any jat, or rajah, neither do I feel superior to any group, nationality, religion or whatever. To be honest the caste system has more or less died amongst us young Mirpuris. Lots of my relatives have been marrying Jats in recent years. In my experience of Jats, they are very open minded, much more democratic, liberal, than the people who want to make fun of them. It’s like when Ali said Dadyal people are Jungli, he doesn’t know what he is talking about even if he wants to put words in other people’s mouths. why did he say that if he didn’t believe it? Reiss, you said we should celebrate our culture and heritage, and thats exactly what I intend to do without any sense of inferiority or superiority.

      Jatt Punyal, to keep dialogue going amongst ourselves…

      Pakistan is a landmass that Azad Kashmir is separate from. You said in your previous post Mirpuris fought to join Pakistan, which is a good point, unlike the people who fled for their lives because they had no choice. But AJK is treated differently to the Provinces, and I’m tired of being told we’re not really Pakistanis, we’re not really Kashmiris because were not from Valley, we’re Punjabis, were not Punjabis, now they want to speak about Paharis! They always have something to say. How must the AJK people feel living like 3rd class citizens in their own homeland? Mirpur is only one part of this homeland it stretches far and wide. Politically it’s all Jammu & Kashmir not Pakistan for definites. Aside from the human rights violations in India, which India is owning up to now, the Indians have spent so much money in Indian-held Kashmir, look at the difference in AJK? If Mirpuris hadn’t spent money in our region, we would have been screwed. Out of loyalty to Pakistan, you previously defended Pakistan, but where’s there loyalty to us? they have NO LOYALTY WHATSOEVER!!!!

      So what are we then? we cant keep identifying through caste backgrounds because we’re separating from other castes, we need to form an identity based on our lived experiences. Because we live in the UK, that is also an important aspect of our identity. So we are British Paharis from so-called Azad Kashmir, because we are using the Paari word positively as it reminds us daily of our homeland and what we hope to accomplish for Pahari people in the UK. I agree with your other points too about Jammu & Kashmir, but we still have our Kashmir, and thats where we come from, not Pakistan. These people are horrible to us and they dont treat us with much respect in AJK either, so like you said, every group puts its own interests first, so we should put our interests first.

      • Reiss,
        I used the word Dalit, but the word Dalit is not a bad word at all in fact this was the preferred name chosen by the Great lawyer and leader Baba Saab Ambedekar. He rejected Gandhis word for his community as Harijins and said no we are Dalits.
        The word dalit is a vernacular form of the Sanskrit (dalita). In Classical Sanskrit, this means “divided, split, broken, scattered”. This word was repurposed in 19th-century Sanskrit to mean “(a person) not belonging to one of the four Brahminic castes”. It was perhaps first used in this sense by Pune-based social reformer Jyotirao Phule, in the context of the oppression faced by the erstwhile “untouchable” castes from other Hindus.
        Dalit is mostly used to describe communities that have been subjected to untouchability. Such people were excluded from the four-fold varna system of Hinduism and thought of themselves as forming a fifth varna, describing themselves as Panchama.
        The term was in use as a translation for the British Raj census classification of Depressed Classes prior to 1935. It was popularised by the economist and reformer B. R. Ambedkar (1891–1956), himself a Dalit, and in the 1970s its use was invigorated when it was adopted by the Dalit Panthers activist group.
        Thus we can conclude there was nothing wrong at all with this word, it is a descriptive word that has a meaning. The word describes most of the Kashmiri migrants who came either directly into Pakistan from Kashmir or who came to Pakistan from Indian Punjab, they were to all intents and purposes Dalits. The Kashmiri migrants were not Jatts, Rajput, Gujjar or Butts. But I agree to use a word to describe them that you think is more apt.
        Personally I think that Dalit is appropriate as this is what they are, and why is it disparaging, some people may say do not call a Mirpuri, a Mirpuri as it is a bad word.
        I remember when I was in University a fellow student from East Asia asked me where a colleague was and he had forgotten her name and so he said the Nigerian Girl, I told him that she is not Nigerian but a Jamaican and he said I know but it is rude to say Black or Jamaican and so he said Nigerian. So in the mind of the East Asian the best description of a black person is Nigerian.
        I understand that Kashmiri migrants might not want to be called Dalit as it is ongoing struggle of many in Pakistan to dis associate with their realities, for this reason I will agree to use a term that you think is more appropriate. In India they are also known as the scheduled castes, may I use this term.

        Myra,
        We are Mirpuris from Mirpur Division. This is our identity. It is a great Identity that has been maligned by people from others parts of Pakistan, like Faroq, who has also attempted to pin the blame on Sikhs and English and finally on Mirpuris themselves. We are a hard working and honest and loyal people. We have contributed hugely to the state of J&K and Pakistan and the UK, and we continue to do so. We are NOT drug peddlars and thieves and benefit scroungers who are at the same time Islamic terrorists and fundementalists and Groomers. These are all false narratives that they pin on us. Like Reiss I picked up the point that a Guardian writer who is also an Indian migrant to Pakistan wrote. This guardian writer wrote that Mirpuris were farm hands, it is yet again more fake news from Pakistanis from Punjab and Sindh ( including Indian migrants). All fake news, comes from Pakistanis when they speak of us.
        It is poigniant that probably 60% of Pakistani Punajbis in the UK and 100% of Karachis are ethnically Indians who came to Pakistan as refugees, these people were starving ( please see all documentaries on partition for proof) and now claim to be from aristocratic backgrounds . In Jullunder, Luidhana, Patiala, Nabha, Amritsar, Hoshiyarpur, Gurdaspur etc.. the Jatt Sikhs were the landlords and so we can fairly assume that the muslims from there were the farmhands. In Mirpur we owned all the land and few were farmhands.
        I want to be identified as Mirpuri, as anything else will have these Punjabis saying we are hiding our origins, we are not as we are extremely proud of our ancestors and unlike tens of millions of Pakistanis we do not make them up.
        My point is that we confirm who Mirpuris are and what our achievements are and at the same time expose those who vilify us ( mostly Pakistanis from Punjab and Karachi ). I think Reiss will not want this particular forum to be used for us to expose the fake background of Punjabis and Karachis but we can still do it outside. We must also inform all that every terrorist and hate preacher is from Karachi and Punjab and also confirm who these grooming gangs were in Oxford and Newcastle etc. We need to clarify when any major criminal is arrested where he is from. The reason is that upto now the Punjabis and Karachis have been spreading fake news by accusing all criminals and terrorists and hate preachers of being Mirpuris.
        Lets reclaim our good name and lets put an end to the Grooming gangs of Pakistanis who are spreading fake news about us.
        Please note that Grooming gangs always Isolate one from his family and then degrade that person and make him to aspire to be like them, this is how terrorists have been groomed by telling them that Mirpuri uncles in Shalwar Kameez are all Bidaa and all involved in Shirk and they cannot speak urdu and so Arabic will be impossible for them and then do not forget that Mirpuris are all Sikhs anyway as they are Jatts. Then the master who is an Arab with his Pakistani ( of arab orgin ) sidekick will make that person their follower. This is how terrorists ridicule Mirpuris in a hope of demoralising and then recruiting them.
        Similarly Pakistanis spend their time insulting Mirpuris while making up fake histories about themselves in a bid to make the Mirpuris become victims to an inferiority complex and to make them self haters.
        We can see that this has happened in the case of some people from Kotli who now do not even want to be identified as Mirpuris as they have been groomed by fake news from Punjabis and Karachis. These people are compelled to be self haters as the fake news has been spread about them for decades.
        So Myra to save our future generations, we must self identify as Mirpuris and we must be separate to Punjabis and Karachis, BUT we can still be Pakistanis. The reason is that we do not have a country of our own and I doubt one is desirable and so we can be Pakistanis with a separate background to Pakistanis Punjabsi and Mahajirs of Karachi. Pathans and Baluch and even Sindhis have managed to be both and so can we. We can be Pakistanis like Pathans whereby we do not buy into their myths but where we accept the de facto ground realities of the state of Pakistan. Pathans do not speak Hindi/urdu and do not wear the Sherwani and spend their lives aping arabs and begging to be accepted by Arabs/turks/Iranians and at the same time trying to run from their real Indian background. We to can speak our own language and spread our own culture and celebrate our own festivals. We can have our own community centres. In India they have Gujaeratis and Punjbais both are Indians and yet separate.

  36. Myra

    “do you accept that Azad Kashmiris are being discriminated against in AJK because of the ambiguous status of AJK? I’m asking you this question sincerely? Im not asking about problems in the rest of Pakistan?”

    Yes I accept that Azad Kashmiris are 2nd class citizens in their own land. AJK is not an independent state, it is a disputed territory, with China also laying claim to a portion of Kashmir. The label Azad Kashmir is misleading. It should be called Kashmir province Pakistan, and included as the 5th province of the country. You may detest this idea but it’s the only solution to the conflict. India will agree to the LOC becoming the official border but they will never agree to a plebiscite on Kashmir. Pakistan has no appetite to fight another war to take the rest of Kashmir. The UN has no power to enforce a plebiscite. So therefore, we will be here for another 70 years.

  37. Jatt ji

    The Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden is run by Pakistani Panjabis something which you conveniently ignored.

    The prayer hall of Ghamkol Shareef in Birmingham is very small in comparison to East London Mosque.

    Leeds had tensions between Mirpuris, and Sikhs when I was living there. It also had tensions between Asians, and Blacks. However, I’ve heard things have moved on just like they have in Birmingham, in West London, and elsewhere.

    Both Brent Mosques in Willesden are run by British Pakistanis of a mixture of backgrounds. Cricklewood is not mostly Dadyal people, it has Mirpuri families living within it, along with Panjabis, and others. Slough has a large Mirpuri population, especially in the Chalvey, and Diamond Road areas of the town. Reading may well have more Mirpuris but it has a significant number of Panjabis as well. I agree, High Wycombe is mainly Mirpuris from Dadyal. Luton, and Watford Kotlians do not consider themselves Mirpuri, and never have. They refer to themselves as Pahari speakers from Kotli Azad Kashmir. Luton and Watford also have a number of Urdu, and Panjabi speaking Pakistanis living as a minority within these towns. I have connections to all of these areas so it’s comical that you are lecturing me on them.
    The point here is racism within the British Asian community has existed for decades. The culprits are a minority of people from all sections of Indian, and Pakistani communities. Reverts have been complaining about racism in Pakistani Mosques for years. A lot of the worst complaints have come from majority Pahari speaking areas.
    You should recognise that there are a minority of racists in all sections of the British Pakistani community. However, you are in denial about this which is why you are ignoring The Gaurdian article published in 2001.

    I also challenged you to provide evidence for your claims that all British Pakistanis are racists and even the odd few who are not, are complicit. You have failed to do this so please retract your accusations.

    • Brother Faruq,

      I would advise you to stop spreading “propaganda” about Kotli, because that’s what you’re doing. It’s really grating, as it just shows how far you’ll go to get your point across even as you claim to be looking for unity. By deliberately antagonising people by spreading falsehood, how are you going to create goodwill between the fraternity you wish to preserve?

      You have no substantiation of your Kotli claim though; I didn’t refuse the screenshots, I’m still waiting for them, but I have no reason to believe anything you say without further substantiation. In fact please send me the screenshots as I would like to upload it to this site to show how far people will go to spread “disinformation”.

      Which Kotli person will come forward and say I’m not from Mirpur? Kotli is in Mirpur for the millionth time! Please, ask your friend to redeem your integrity, because he has nothing to be ashamed of, if he in fact told you this. The most we will say, is he was deluded because of all the hate Pakistanis have been spreading about Mirpuris, so he wanted to separate himself from his own people. Lot’s of Pakistanis pretend to be Indians according to Indians, because they are ashamed of being Pakistani in the UK; this is what Indians say. So from this line of reasoning, your claim is logical. Why should you be made to feel like a “lier” if indeed your friend is saying this? I think that’s unfair to you.

      Kotli is in Mirpur, just as Birmingham is in the Midlands, and Tower Hamlets is in London. You insist on repeating this line, as proof of what exactly? In any case, who are you to say this, you’re not from the Mirpuri community, what right do you have to speak so authoritatively on our community? Who made you an expert on this community as you don’t understand Pahari properly – it all sounds the same to you, (Kotli, Dadyal, Gujar Khan, etc.,) that’s what you said? You mistranslated a simple sentence of Pahari into Panjabi and then English. Yet, you are so adamant to accept that Kotli is separate from Mirpur? Why?

      You’ve been making offensive statements from the start, but ascribing the content to people elsewhere. Insincere people do this to get a reaction, but why would a sincere person do this?

      You’ve just said, “Watford Kotlians do not consider themselves Mirpuri, and never have.” You said, “Cricklewood is not mostly Dadyal people, it has Mirpuri families living within it, along with Panjabis, and others.” Again, you’re trying to separate Mirpuris into different groups. In previous posts, you said, you accept that “Kotlian” and “Mirpuris” are the same people – so what’s different now?

      I don’t understand where you are going with all this? Is this about proving Jatt Punyal wrong?

      • Brother Reiss

        I was going to write long winded response but I’ve got a feeling I will be wasting my time and energy.

        I’ve accepted that a minority of British Pakistanis are racist, and I include British Mirpuris within that statement. I’ve also accepted that online Mirpuri vilification is wrong, and condemned it. You are preaching to the converted, furthermore I’ve accepted that Azad Kashmiris are 2nd class citizens in their homeland.

        My point of contention is that number one, it is a minority of people who are racist. Secondly, that this racist minority exists across all sections of the British Asian population and the non-Asian population. These are very reasonable points that you should have had no problem in accepting.

        I agree that I have displayed prejudice on occasions although not deliberately in the way that Jatt has done. I already admitted in a much earlier post that I’m not free from prejudice so if any of my comments have come across in a prejudicial manner, I apologise.
        I have used a combination of experiences as well as documented evidence to get my points across. Whether you believe me, or interpret the evidence to your liking is up to you.

        I’m happy to email you the screen shots so long as you agree to use them for the purposes of gaining an insight, into the views expressed by my Kotli friend. Neither me or the friend in question are racist, and therefore we will not appreciate you using his comments as propaganda on portmir or elsewhere.

        My personal view is that Mirpuris, and Kotlians are the same people. However, there is nothing wrong with highlighting to Jatt that Kotlians describe themselves as Paharis from Kotli Azad Kashmir, and not as Mirpuris. You claim to know things because of the circles you move in, I can also claim the same, in that case. It is anecdotal when I say it, but your opinions are evidence because of the circles you move in. How is that even logical?

        • Faruq,

          I should have rebutted your last point,

          “…there is nothing wrong with highlighting to Jatt that Kotlians describe themselves as Paharis from Kotli Azad Kashmir, and not as Mirpuris. You claim to know things because of the circles you move in, I can also claim the same, in that case. It is anecdotal when I say it, but your opinions are evidence because of the circles you move in. How is that even logical?”

          It would be illogical, if it was true. I’m not citing anecdotes, but facts. Your anecdotes are not backed up by facts. You have been protesting all along that your Kotli friend has been saying “x”, “y” and “z” to you, but when it is shown to you, such views are factually incorrect, you continue to repeat them. You have no additional substantiation other than reliance on your friend, when such ideas are debunked, you continue to repeat them.

          This is intellectually disingenuous on your part?

          I said Kotli IS in Mirpur. This is a fact, it is NOT an anecdote. Kotli people are Mirpuris. This is another FACT on account of them originating from Mirpur Division. These are facts, not anecdotes. Ethnically speaking, the people of Kotli are the same people who live in neighbouring regions, and they have done so for centuries, this is a FACT, not an anecdote.

          Typographically, the terrain of Kotli is the same as Dadyal and Chakswari, because both areas, for the most part, are part of the Siwalik Hill region of the Western Himalayas; actual elevations differ, this is a defining characteristic of this region, it’s undulating countryside, Kotli might be higher in elevation, but it doesn’t mean the other regions aren’t part of this landscape. Other areas around Kotli are higher. This is a fact, not an anecdote.

          You made disparaging remarks about how Dadyal and Chakswari were slums, but Kotli was developed and picturesque, your friend apparently told you this. This is therefore an anecdote not a fact; Kotli is no more, or less, developed than Dadyal and Chakswari; in fact its market town, (it is not a city) is much smaller than adjacent market towns in the Andarhal region. There are more mansions in Dadyal than there are in Kotli. These are facts not anecdotes. The idea that Kotli is more picturesque than neighbouring areas, is by definition subjective. How do you objectively measure such a claim? The claims of your Kotli friend, are thus patently false, not backed up by facts, which begs the question, did he really make such remarks if he is from the region? It may be, he has never really explored this area, but he is merely stating what he believes to be the case because he is reliant on wikipedia, where uninformed people, are sharing their insights with unsuspecting readers.

          Geographical labels for areas have changed historically, how regions are configured has also changed. This is a fact not an anecdote. This is what I have attempted to get across to you, unsuccessfully I am keen to add.

          How our region has been mapped is akin to how modern-day Britain was mapped, and how the ensuing identity emerged. Modern-day Britons are being called “Britons” on account of an ancient Celtic tribe Roman legions encountered in only one part of the country, which they then applied to the entire Island of Britain. The indigenous Celtic tribes, from this part of the world, centuries earlier, and centuries afterwards, did not call their Island Briton. They had various localised names for various parts of the Island. But through power-dynamics, “Britain” became the established name for this Island, and her peoples were all identified as Britons. In more remoter times, Briton used to be called Albion in the original Celtic tongue, this rendition came through its Hellenised version through Latin, which originally referred to the white cliffs of Dover, which should give you an idea of how geographical-cum-identity labels actually emerge.

          How a region is mapped, tells us nothing about the people who live there; how cartography is determined, does not presuppose some intrinsic truth about the people who live within the borders of a designated geo-administrative or political area. This is profound ignorance on your friend’s part who doesn’t understand that the distinction between Hills/Mountains and Plains is a distinction that predates him by centuries.

          Mirpur is in the Pahar, not the Pothwar, but even this subtle distinction would be lost on you Faruq for reasons I rather not explore as I feel such knowledge would just fall on deaf ears. I think we should just end this discussion now.

    • Farooq,
      “This is the link to a Guardian article published in 2001 https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2001/jun/24/race.britishidentity
      … He then goes on to further claim that his parents would never marry him to a Panjabi or a Sindhi. A reputable newspaper is publishing these views in 2001……. So where does this leave your argument that Mirpuris were all Pakistani Panjabi loving, until the rise of online Mirpuri vilification.”

      Farooq, you joker. It is YOU who keeps mentioning your Pahari fiance as some type of proof that you don’t hate Mirpuris. Marrying outside your community doesn’t make you less racist. Marrying into your community doesn’t mean you are more racist.

      “my future in-laws have a liking for Urdu which is why I converse in Urdu with them. We can understand their Pahari, and they can understand our Panjabi. they are multilingual. However, they prefer listening to Urdu than Panjabi.”

      Farooq, you got found out. Your in-laws are communicating in Urdu and English because Pahaari is not a dialect of Punjabi. Yes, I’m sure your in-laws told you they “prefer listening to urdu rather than Panjabi”. Do you know how ridiculous your sounding right now?

      “My view is that a minority of Mirpuris have been practicing racism for decades. Not only towards non Mirpuri Pakistanis but towards other ethnicities of Muslims.”

      And you are more than entitled to your delusions. Yes, there are people amongst Mirpuris who according to you dislike Lahoris but you later said it was “banter”. It is not as vitriolic as Pakistani hatred of Mirpuris. There is objective evidence of widespread racism against Mirpuris not Pakistanis. Stop equivocating the two.

      “I’ve never justified what happened in Bangladesh. I have good friends who are Bengali. It seems like Faisal, and Jatt live in a world where everyone is racist, or concealing racist views, which they exercise in secret. You guys seem to see racist Muslims around every street corner in Greater London. The EDL will be especially impressed with such views.”

      I clearly said “Not all areas”. Read my response again. Also, it is you who is quoting EDL supporting Sikhs. The EDL, Sikh far-right and Pakistani far-right all share the same exact views on Mirpuris. Strange isn’t that? They even use the same arguments as the Pakistani far-right. I wonder where they got those views from.

      “If I wanted to, I could link you to article after article about the problems in the British Mirpuri heartlands of the UK. However I’m not here to demonise British Mirpuris.”

      And the ironies continue……

      “I take issue with Portmir portraying British Pakistanis as racist. The majority of us are not racist. It is in response to this accusation that I’ve successfully argued that there are also a minority of racists among British Mirpuris.”

      Not one person has said the “majority of Pakistanis are racist”. There is a problem of racism in the Pakistani community against Mirpuris. You don’t want to aknowledge this hence why you’ve change it to “majority of Pakistanis are racist”. You are battling a straw man. The racist minority among Mirpuris that you have unsuccesfully argued for, you said were involved in”dinner table banter”. I’m sure we can all agree racism is no laughing matter.

      “You ask for evidence, and then ignore any evidence which doesn’t suit your agenda. Just like the studentroom post where the Mirpuri girl was making anti-Mirpuri comments. It was ignored by Faisal, Reiss, and Jatt. Same with this 2001 article. University of Leeds study I mentioned, ignored. Sikh forum evidence ”

      Farooq, you are looking at the droplets but ignoring the entire ocean of hate coming from Pakistanis. This is why no one is taking these “evidences” seriously. However, the Leeds study was thoroughly debunked by me and Reiss. Don’t make up stuff. That poor Pahari girl who is being socially pressured into marriage and has internalised the hate of Pakistanis around her shouldn’t be used as evidence. This is very low Farooq.

  38. Myra,

    “Faruq, where exactly is your fiancé from in AJK? She is Pahari right?”

    Apparently, she’s from Mirpur. However, he initially refers to her as his “fiance from Azad Kashmir”.
    Why would someone come on a Mirpuri website with a Mirpuri audience and refer to his Mirpuri fiance as coming from “Azad Kashmir”? Why not mention she was Mirpuri at the outset?
    Also notice in his initial posts he would write 3-4 racist paragraphs and then in his concluding paragraph he would say something like, “But I’ve got nothing against Mirpuris as my fiance is from Azad Kashmir”.
    I’m sure he has some equally ridiculous reasoning for why he did this.

    “I’m from Kotli, we used to always go back regularly when my grandad was alive. …My grandparents were from Sehnsa, mum, dad born in UK. My daada came to the UK in the 50s. He would say Mirpur, when he was asked where he was from. We’re Mirpuris”.

    There’s been about four people who have said they are from Kotli or have relatives in Kotli that refer to themselves as “Mirpuri”. However, Farooq will ignore all of those people. He will ignore the testimonies of all the rest of us who are telling him Kotlians are Mirpuris. He instead will believe his one imaginary friend who is from Kotli.

    “So there is no fraternity with Pakistanis, Faruq proved it’s not only city Pakistanis but every other Pakistani who looks down at us so ITS UNFAIR TO blame his community ALONE. So what have we got to lose if we pursue our fraternity with others”.

    The funny thing is he listed every single Brit-Pakistani community that hates Mirpuris but he won’t condemn them and denies there’s racism. Also he kept making excuses for Pakistanis who are involved in this racism. When he run out of excuses he straight said Mirpuris are drugdealers and agreed that the sterotypes are true.

    “I agree with Reiss we all have humble backgrounds and we should celebrate this humble past. What do I have in common with these Raje and Jat? We are from Jammu Kashmir, and we have the same culture. We even marry into each others families for God’s sake? Next Faruq will be telling you, Jats don’t marry Khawajas and vice versa?”

    If there’s one good thing that has come about from this racism against Mirpuris it’s that Pakistanis are refusing to marry their kids to Mirpuris. I think this is the best way we can preserve the Pahari culture and language is intermarriage.

  39. My fiance is from Dhamol quite close to Kotli city in AJK.

    I have friends, and family from Sehnsa, Dhamol, Kotli city, Dadyal, Charhoi, Chakswaari, Mirpur city. The joke is on you mate because now you’ve been embarassed, all this time you were trying to portray me as an outsider pretending to have links to your community lol.

    Jatt has said all British Pakistanis are racist read his posts again I haven’t got time to link you to them. He has gone one step further to state all British Pakistanis generally support terrorism. So you’re clearly talking nonsense when you claim that not a single person has said this. See my earlier reply to Reiss re Kotli friend. You’re wrong about my Kotli friend, and this calls into question your judgement on everything else.

    Jatt has also insulted Pakistani people who migrated from the Indian side several times. Reiss further picked up on this claiming I can’t be a Rajput because my family lost land during partition lol. We did but we also owned land in Pakistani Panjab furthermore my Nana was a Civil Engineer, and my Dada a Doctor. Anyway I’m not here to prove my Rajputness to Reiss I don’t even believe in cast. My grandfather arrived here well off in fact I have deliberately downplayed my family history because I don’t want to appear arrogant.

    Reiss, you’re a smart guy in some respects, why do you think I’m in the UK? I’m 3rd and 2nd generation respectively, it would be difficult for me to settle in Pakistan. My father also grew up in the UK, and it was difficult for him and his siblings to settle in Pakistan.

    As it happens I visited Pakistan a few months back, and didn’t have any problems. The Uber taxis there are very cheap compared to the UK, and the drivers are much more friendly. There are positives, and negatives to Pakistan, if you focus on the bad then that is all you’re going to see.

    “If there’s one good thing that has come about from this racism against Mirpuris it’s that Pakistanis are refusing to marry their kids to Mirpuris. I think this is the best way we can preserve the Pahari culture and language is intermarriage.”

    Faisal, you make statements like this as a third generation male living in the UK, and then you claim I am the racist one. Oh the irony……

    • There we have it. Farooq’s wife that he has been calling “Mirpuri” all this time is from Kotli. Farooq KNOWS that Kotlians are Mirpuri. He’s been wasting our damn time.

      Dude, did you think I was stupid, I knew your wife was from Kotli as you only started calling her Mirpuri after it was pointed out to you that Kotli was part of Mirpur division.

      Just like your “Pahaari is a dialect of Punjabi” nonsense, your going to keep hanging yourself out as you know what your saying isn’t true.

      • Faisal

        This is really fascinating.

        If I recall correctly, Faruq was saying his fiancee was from Azad Kashmir, he didn’t make any allusions to her being from Mirpur or Kotli – which is interesting in its own respect? He finally said Sehnsa lol, what’s the difference between the people of Sehnsa and Dadyal, Chakswari? That’s rhetorical, the natives of this wider area would be laughing their pants off, if they’d been exposed to the social norms of this area.

        This is quite an interesting dynamic for analysis, in order to understand which direction these anxieties are coming from.

        In Faruq’s mind, it may be that these “imaginary” differences have been amplified to create “illusory identity differences” between the people who have been part of this area, culture and fraternity for centuries.

        Let’s be fair to Faruq, he did say, he didn’t want to make stuff up about areas he hadn’t visited. If he had visited these areas, would he have religiously repeated such claims?

        Faruq, you come across as someone who tries to make sense of the social issues we’re confronting in the UK through analytical or conceptual frameworks. So I’m genuinely asking you to consider what I’m saying.

        I’m asking you, Faruq, was it your fiancé’s family who’ve have been telling you, “look we’re different to the Mirpuris, on account of all this anti-Mirpuri talk that goes on in your household and the wider British-Pakistani community”, to the point of over-compensating, and denying old-connections for new ones? If so, this is a form of self-hatred, it exists amongst Pakistanis in the UK, as they deny their roots to Pakistan because of the Indian heritage, claiming to be of foreign descent, how many times have you heard Pakistanis say they don’t look Pakistani (i.e., Indian)?

        I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Faruq’s fiancee claims to be from a caste-Kashmiri background? If not, my wider point still stands.

        I’ve come across caste-Kashmiris from AJK being remorseful about the prejudice they’ve been subjected to, as they’ve been made to feel that they’re not really “Kashmiris” because they’re from Azad kashmir and not the Valley of Kashmir, a tiny area of 2000 square miles; Kashmir State is 85000 square miles. So they’ve started to over-compensate by slurring their fellow Azad Kashmiris, saying we’re real Kashmiris ORIGINALLY from the Valley, unaware of the actual history behind how occupational groups were being identified as “Muslim Kashmiris” within, and outside, Jammu & Kashmir State. The territorial shorthand “Kashmir” for Jammu Kashmir predates the conflict by decades, and Kashmir itself has always been a multi-ethnic space.

        If you speak to cultural anthropologists, they hate the claims of nationalists who want to create ideological spaces for their INDIGENOUS ETHNIC “people” who have supposedly lived in the same region for THOUSANDS OF YEARS LOL. People obsessed with the scientifically-debunked idea of “racial identities” will never understand this historical reality especially when they want to separate themselves from their peers because they think they’re better.

        In my experience, the culprits of this UK-based hatred have been from the Panjab Plains, they’re usually “caste-Kashmiris” in the UK, who are similarly over-compensating because of this anti-Mirpur hatred coming from British-Pakistanis, so they have to disconnect themselves from Mirpuris, i.e., the “Kashmiris” in Pakistan’s Kashmir, by saying nope they’re not “real” Kashmiris like us, we’re the real Kashmiris as our parents have been living in the Panjab for generations but we have “Kashmiri blood”, using race claims to support their bogus ideas. They are as much ethnic Kashmiris as I am of martian descent, my ancestor being Zeus, who used to live on the Planet Mars all those millennia ago. I can prove this, because my dad told me so! This is a form of circular reasoning that inoculates them in their confirmation bias.

        Self-hatred is a poison for this reason, you actually start hating on your own people, to make associations with new groups whom you actually admire, who in many ways, started this internal differentiation. This internal differentiation is based on unjust power dynamics.

        Why did Faruq say, his fiancee’s family prefer to speak to his family in Urdu, even though both families understand each other’s native tongues – before Faruq was calling both languages, “dialects” of the same language? If he really believed that, why would a people speak another people’s language around their own own dinner table? And you don’t think their’s a problem here with how “Urdu”, a beautiful language from the North Indian Plains, is being projected on impressionable people because of how they want to assume new personas because of “status” and “reputational standing” amongst new peers?

        This is what the Pakistani identity has become in the UK, Faruq, and this is what I’m fighting against. This singular identity is a cruel imposition on ethnically diverse people with actual roots in their own homelands, and because Islam has become compounded with this false identity, unjustly I add for ideological reasons, when people reject this identity for all the right reasons, they end up rejecting Islam, for all the wrong reasons. You may not necessarily understand this last point Faruq, others will.

        • Brother Reiss Haider,

          Farooq has been more than willing to accept Kotlians as Mirpuris but only makes a distinction when it is convenient. I actually noticed this in very first response to me but he has been doing it ever since.

          His fiance that he introduces as being from “Azad kashmir”, he later on states “comes from Mirpur district” after being told Kotli is part of Mirpur division. Subsequently, you specifically referred to his fiance as his “”Mirpuri” fiance” and he did not correct you. This is an admission in itself.

          Jutt made the suggestion that “Punjabis who marry Mirpuris”, are not necessarily free from racism. You recently said this “I hope you every success with your marriage to a member of my community which is proof that we are not as isolationist as some Pakistanis make out”. Not once did Farooq correct either of you and tell you Kotlians don’t consider themselves Mirpuri.

          Why is this? Because it was entirely convenient not to mention that his fiance “from Mirpur district”, that we have all been assuming is “Mirpuri” from Mirpur district, is from Kotli. The distinction between Mirpuris and Kotlians, that he is been quick to make on other occasions when it suits him, was not made by him as it was not convenient to do so.

          So whenever he would use the “I’m not a racist, my fiance is from Azad Kashmir/pahari” card, we would all be assuming in our mind he’s talking about a Mirpuri from Mirpur district. All the while he’s been getting away with making distinctions between Kotlians, Mirpuris, Chakswari and Dadyal folk.

          His recent ” Luton, and Watford Kotlians do not consider themselves Mirpuri”, is another example of this double standard. As it was convenient for him to make a distinction between Kotlians and Mirpuris, he has told us that the Luton Mirpuris(who are mostly from Kotli) don’t consider themselves Mirpuri. However, he has on numerous occasions referred to this Kotlian stronghold as a “Mirpuri heartland” and a problematic Mirpuri area with no mention that the Mirpuris there are mostly Kotlians. He will only make the distinction between Mirpuris and Kotlians when it suits his argument, otherwise his will remain completely silent on this distinction.

          All people have a moral compass, they know what is right from wrong, but they will do and believe what is convenient and make justifications for those beliefs later.

        • “Why did Faruq say, his fiancee’s family prefer to speak to his family in Urdu, even though both families understand each other’s native tongues – before Faruq was calling both languages, “dialects” of the same language? If he really believed that, why would a people speak another people’s language around their own own dinner table?”

          When people propagate ideas that they themselves do not believe in, they will eventually slip up. Then we get the ridiculous justifications like they “prefer the sound of Urdu to Punjabi”. The only way he can know this for sure is if his in-laws told him this, otherwise it is just an assumption on his part. When Pahaari’s speaks to native Punjabi speakers like Sikhs, they either communicate in English or Standard Punjabi. It’s impossible for the two to communicate to each other in Pahari as it’s clearly a different language.

          • Just to add to my earlier point. Farooq slipped up again in his Pahari is the same language as Punjabi claim.

            “We can understand their Pahari, and they can understand our Panjabi, they are multilingual.”

            Multilingual(adjective): “in or using several languages.”

    • Faruq,

      You’ve misunderstood my Rajput point. I’m not impugning your claim to being Rajput; like you, I don’t care for the caste-system, it is a hindrance in Pakistan, and specifically for my own people. The caste-system is a major liability for Azad Jammu Kashmir, and we are aware of how the caste-system is being used to further a form of tribal politics; lot’s of writers have mentioned this, if you care to read their actual writings. I come from the same land-owning background, as do many people in AJK and the Panjab, and we recognise that the caste-system is a false group consciousness. Pakistanis should be fighting to expunge the remnants of this lingering disease from their midst, so you see, we do have some “values” in common.

      I was making the point that you said, lots of subcontinent people think of Mirpuris as “low-caste” people. You said you don’t. This anecdote is false though, it may be the case, that you’ve heard people make such comments, but the idea is factually incorrect. You then mentioned an article where “Mirpuris of Kashmir” were described as “farmhands”, and you later said you were Rajput. I cannot but help draw the connections as I feel you’ve been influenced by subtle prejudice. And that’s when I tried to explain how the Rajput identity is actually imagined even by those who come from such backgrounds; Rajputs, in our part of the world, by definition possess “ancestral lands” on account of being Zamindar. You don’t become Zamindar by purchasing land, you need to be connected to the old patronage system, because of the symbolism associated with the idea of being a Zamindar (fief-holder). How can you maintain a Rajput background, when you were made to flee your lands, thus the idea is one of false consciousness.

      This is what I’ve said to my own friends in the UK who used to think it’s perfectly fine to look down their noses at “low-caste” people, casually making offensive caste-jokes; I tell them their fathers and uncles used to work in factories, foundries, textile mills; they were dying in “Pakistan” even though they belonged to “high castes” in their warped mindsets. Britain, a non-Muslim country redeemed them, so please show some humility at least and thank god for the poverty of your forebears so you can now redeem your humanity”. They usually look down at the floor, whether they continue to make these comments to others I don’t know. But they don’t make these comments in front of me anymore, and the circle I move in, we don’t tolerate this arrogance.

      As for you being wealthy, or extremely wealthy, whose grandfathers were engineers and doctors, you may take great delight in this status; you pointed out that it irritates you to be lumped amongst poor immigrants to the UK, after all that’s not your experience – I appreciate that your experience was different to ours. It is of no social consequence to me though, if you get well-being from that, I’m happy for you genuinely.

      For my part, I have seen how rich people treat poor people in Pakistan, and this is why I have a strong aversion for the ruling class of Pakistan. When I’m in Pakistan, I don’t catch Uber rides, we have own driver and designated car, and this is how we travel the country. The way some British Pakistanis behave, including scores of Mirpuris, on returning to Pakistan, has influenced how I view such dynamics, as they think they too belong to some higher social group now. There is no hope for poor people in Pakistan as long as wealth is concentrated in the hands of this unjust and corrupt group of people who like posturing through foreign airs, speaking a language that is alien to Pakistan, as they make it a point of speaking English when they can, whilst demeaning entire swathes of the country. This is not what I want for Azad Jammu Kashmir or British Paharis.

      So you see, from this angle, my vision for my own people is separate to how British-Pakistanis want to celebrate their own Pakistani identity.

  40. Faisal Keh Bohniya lala ji?

    “There we have it. Farooq’s wife that he has been calling “Mirpuri” all this time is from Kotli. Farooq KNOWS that Kotlians are Mirpuri. He’s been wasting our damn time.”

    Show me one post where I have been referring to my fiancé as Mirpuri?

    “Dude, did you think I was stupid, I knew your wife was from Kotli as you only started calling her Mirpuri after it was pointed out to you that Kotli was part of Mirpur division.”

    You must be, because I haven’t been calling her Mirpuri.

    “Just like your “Pahaari is a dialect of Punjabi” nonsense, your going to keep hanging yourself out as you know what your saying isn’t true.”

    Pothowari is a dialect of Panjabi, and therefore Pahari must be as well. I’m talking specifically about the Pahari spoken in Azad Kashmir.

    Faisal, and Reiss, we do converse in Panjabi/Pahari sometimes, but English, and Urdu are spoken for longer periods. A lot of the time it’s a mixture of English, Urdu, Pahari, and Panjabi where words from different languages, and dialects will creep into the conversation. I don’t think there’s been a situation where we’ve stuck to one language throughout. I will rephrase and say that we speak English, and Urdu, for a greater proportion of the conversation.

    Reiss,

    Hindi, and Urdu are universal languages within the subcontinent, they are a bit like English in the sense that they transcend regional, and national boundaries. Languages such as these tend to become more popular because they are universal. For many people, they reflect open mindedness, and an outward looking approach to the world. Pahari is confined to a specific regional area, and therefore will not have the same standing within the subcontinent. Also there are many variations of Pahari, depending on the region, which makes the British Pahari title rather confusing to an outsider. Pothowari is actually a more accurate title for the dialect spoken in the region most British Azad Kashmiris hail from.

    My fiancé is Rajput Pahari, and as far as I know her family did not emigrate from IOC. I don’t think I’ve ever discussed Mirpur with my fiance or her family, other than to say I’ve never been but would like to visit.

    My Kotli friend makes these statements in his attempt to challenge online Mirpuri bashing. He thinks that the Panjabis who insult Mirpuris online, are actually insulting their own people. He draws the comparison between the plains of the Panjab and the mountainous terrain of AJK. He thinks because Mirpur city, and near by areas such as Chakswari are flat and closer to Panjab, they are the Panjab. He cites Wikipedia as compelling evidence that Mirpur was historically in the Panjab. I met this friend before I met my fiancé, we met some years ago at Uni, and I can say with confidence that he does not hate Mirpuris, or anyone else for that matter.

    I didn’t claim to be wealthy or extremely wealthy, in fact a lot of what we had in Pakistan has been eaten up by a minority of thieves among the extended family. My point was that my grandfather arrived here for further studies, and training, not to make money, and acquire wealth. I don’t appreciate it when people assume my elders arrived here as economic migrants. A lot of people did arrive as economic migrants, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, some among their children, and grandchildren now feel they have something to prove. Therefore they get into this gutter mentality of constantly competing, and trying to look down at others. This is partly where online Mirpuri bashing stems from. So all I mean by my grandfather came here well off is that he didn’t come here for the money but for the experience.
    My grandparents were decent people, they were educated, hardworking, honest people, they sought to better Pakistan, and like most who choose this path they didn’t become extremely wealthy doing so. In fact my father was too honest, for a country like Pakistan, he always maintained that honesty, and integrity are much more valuable than money, and material possessions.

    Your boast of a personal driver demonstrates that you are of the same elitist mentality. I was offered a driver during my last visit to Pakistan, but opted for Uber instead. I know it’s possible to hire a car with a driver in Pakistan but I don’t think this is what you meant, correct me if I’m wrong.
    Reiss, if you drive yourself around in the UK, why are you expecting a personal driver in Pakistan, a country where ordinary people are struggling to get by. Do you not see a contradiction in your behaviour here? I was also driven around by family, and friends which is normal but why is it acceptable for you to have a personal chauffer. Do you have a driver in the UK?

    Your vision is not separate we all have a strong aversion to the ruling classes. Most of us feel the same way as you about the political classes who speak English instead of their native tongues. So where is this difference you speak of?

    I decided to google Mirpuri to see exactly what comes up, and apart from Portmir there are forum posts by British Pakistanis questioning the negative stereotyping of Mirpuris.

    “What makes Mirpuris have the reputation of being so “Bad”?! I have extended family members that are Mirpuri but why do people have such a bad impression of them?! What do they do exactly to make them seem so “Bad”?!”
    https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2564930

    “Why is there so much hatred for mirpuris here?
    Jokes aside (comma and few others )

    Why is there so much hatred here for mirpuris, in the past few days ive seen a number posters making tons of generalizations towards mirpuris. I don’t get it, and mods do not delete this please, i’m really intrigued.

    Here’s an example of what i mean, if u dont know what i’m on about”
    http://www.pakpassion.net/ppforum/showthread.php?23945-Why-is-there-so-much-hatred-for-mirpuris-here

    “So often when the media and statisticians discuss ‘British Pakistani’s’, they fail to realise that there are significant differences in social attitudes, education priorities, employment – just to name a few – between them due to originating from different geographical areas of Pakistan, between the early migrants (of the 50’s and 60’s) and their descendants versus the later arrivals (including those from East Africa), between those originating from urban areas versus the rural towns and villages.

    For example, those originally from the Mirpur area are usually depicted as being very conservative in social attitudes.

    What do PPers think? How do you feel the different groups are stereotyped by the British Pakistani’s themselves and the way they regard each other?

    Discuss.

    – And if the Indian PPers wish to join the discussion, perhaps they could comment upon these differences in attitudes amongst Indian’s themselves and how they view each other?”
    http://www.pakpassion.net/ppforum/showthread.php?218826-British-Pakistani-s-Why-use-Mirpuri-s-as-a-yardstick-when-they-number-far-less-than-eg-Punjabi-s

    So you see, British Pakistanis are actually questioning these stereotypes, and seem to have been doing so for over a decade at least.

    • Notice how Farooq is still spewing the same old tireless bullshit and not replying to the actual posts where I exposed his double standards.

      “My fiance is from Dhamol quite close to Kotli city in AJK.”

      Unfortunately dude, I didn’t want to expose your lies but you keep making them.

      Farooq, why on earth are you claiming your fiance is from Dhamol in Kotli district when previously you said she’s from Mirpur district?

      “I know a lot of Azad Kashmiris, my fiancé is from the Mirpur district where as some of my closest friends, and family friends are from the Mirpur, and Kotli districts.”

      I’m glad this Pahari fiance of yours doesn’t actually exist and is all in your imagination. No beautiful Pahari women will marry a liar like you.

    • Faruq,

      I’m going to try and keep my response short, because you have this fabulous tendency of just going over the same ground, again and again, hoping to prove your point. I hate to break it to you Faruq, but you’re coming across stubborn, very stubborn in fact. You’re not looking for the middle ground. You constantly repeat the same arguments not once adding anything new to your default perspective. This would amount to propaganda, after all, why are you discussing your points except to share insights to temper views you disagree with?

      Otherwise I would have to say, you’re just being argumentative, right?

      You’re doing this as a self-affirming “anecdotalist”. But your anecdotes don’t substitute facts.

      For the last time, to try and redeem you, of an established fact in linguistic circles, Pothwari is NOT a dialect of “Panjabi” – I know EXACTLY what you mean by the term “Panjabi” – however, this is a linguistic term within the context of our discussions, it is not a geographical term. Do you understand that there is a distinction postulated by linguists themselves? You mean to imply, “Modern Standard Panjabi”, the type that’s been “standardised” on account of power-dynamics that’s been wrongly ascribed the geographical label (of the entire “Province”) to this particular variety – “Majhi”? You are clearly unaware of how this has happened, but you insist on repeating your simplistic remarks even as you ironically claim your views are in transition.

      How are they in transition – you’ve stuck to this belief from the outset. Which of your beliefs has changed?

      Why have I wasted my time explaining to you; 1) how the Panjab idea emerged, 2) why you’re so wrong in projecting backwards to people who never once self-identified as “Panjabis”; and 3) there is a reason why we speak of pan-Panjabis who believe in a greater Panjab idea; if there was no contestation, where did the word pan-Panjab come from? You don’t understand your own inconsistencies when you impose a pan-Panjabi identity on Mirpuris through Pothwaris as you claim to be invested in a Muslim identity all the while.

      Why do you think Indian Punjab was split between Panjab for the Sikhs, and Haryana and Himachal Pradesh for the Hindus; why was a certain demography encouraged to return their “Panjabi” as “Hindi” for census purposes? There is a profound ignorance here on your part, as you continue to lecture Mirpuris about their identity, from a position of unjust power dynamics, unaware of what the Panjab actually symbolises in people’s minds.

      You are so unaware of your own inconsistencies and dare I say, ironies. Your views are fixed. You’re not open-minded even about views you have no grounding in. Where are you taking your views from though? From likeminded individuals who’ve never once questioned what they believe? Am I the only person who has disagreed with you; am I merely recycling anecdotes here? You’ve accused me of that, ok. But, surely, you will go away and do some research, right, if you want to know what I am saying is credible or not?

      As for your Kotli friend and wikipedia, and all this talk about Panjab – what do you want me to say about someone who defers to wikipedia? I have nothing to say to him, except to offer my sadness, my sorrow, my resignation, at how deluded he has become thinking he is separate from Mirpuris – all because of prejudice spread by outsiders, who create illusory cleavages between uniform people.

      Others here won’t even believe this to be the case, they think you’re exaggerating this “prejudice: which is not a fault line. There are clear fault lines, between Mirpuris and Panjabis, between Pothwaris and Mirpuris, but Kotli and Mirpur, there’s no fault line here except in your mind. So what do you get from saying this?

      And no I don’t have an elitist mindset. This is what I dislike about your tactics; you know very well what I was saying. It was you who explicitly stated you come from a “wealthy background” – these are your words, and then you conveniently detract from it because of the inconsistencies in your claims. People from wealthy backgrounds in Pakistan don’t usually use Uber. Everyone, from my community who goes back to AJK/Pakistan, (I also have family who own properties in Islamabad, not just in AJK), have drivers. This is the norm, I didn’t create it. If I was staying with relatives, they wouldn’t allow me to travel alone, especially when you want to cover large distances to actually see places and get a feel for the landscape/communities. So like lots of people, we travel the country via our own vehicles and personal drivers. So what are you talking about when you say to me, do you have a driver in the UK? That’s not the social norm in the UK? It is the norm in Pakistan where you even have servants (mulazams and others) – did I create this social norm?

      That was my original point. Self-affirming British-Pakistanis from the “cities” are some of the most deluded people in the UK as they think they’re better than Mirpuris, even as they espouse an identity that’s not even true in Pakistan. Who are they lecturing, when they speak so ill of Mirpuris, a people who do own expensive villas in Islamabad, whilst they live in apartments? And thus you have the corresponding envy, it must be because Mirpuris are drug dealers, fraudsters, who have money but no “style”, no sense of “class”; you think we’re imagining these crass prejudice?

      Am I making up these slurs, or are you even aware of the power-dynamics in question?

      How do you intend to create conciliation between our communities without minimising the grievances though? Let’s focus on that.

      As for the links you’ve posted, what does that prove? That members of the community are speaking back? Most of them are Mirpuris, and I know this because I know the identities of some of the people who wrote those posts. They’ve been in contact with us previously, you might not know this, but the conversations about the vilification of Mirpuris has been going on for some years now, mostly among Mirpuris.

      It’s just we’ve realised these prejudices have now entered the mainstream, and that’s why there’s going to be a huge backlash against Pakistanis if these issues are not resolved.

  41. Faisal,

    Saying she’s from the Mirpur district, and referring to her as Mirpuri are two completely separate things. Show me where I’ve referred to her as Mirpuri?

    Has it ever occurred to you that I don’t wish to tell you the specific place from which her family originate. She’s not from the Mirpur district, she’s from the Kotli district but not Dhamol, and that’s as far as I’m willing to bring her into the discussion. I have my reasons for this, and I knew that if I said I don’t want to tell you, you would simply accuse me of lying about her existence. Just as you’ve been doing throughout this debate because you can’t stomach the idea, and you’ve proved as much. However, if you were to marry a girl from Panjab Pakistan I would be happy for you, this is the difference between you, and I. I think this latest statement of yours proves beyond a reasonable doubt that despite your false accusations of racism against me, you are the actual racist. I dread to think how you would feel if a male or female in your family wanted to marry a different ethnicity altogether, never mind someone from a neighbouring region.

    You’re not very smart despite your supposed education at a Russel Group university. I have a day job, a social life, so why on earth would I become embroiled in a regular debate on a Mirpuri website. After all I’m not a Mirpuri, and if my fiancé is imaginary then who really cares what Mirpuris are saying, and doing, right? I may have responded to the article once or twice, and left it at that. I have personal investiture in learning more about the politics of your region from different perspectives. After marriage, I may wish to visit the region at some stage, and I want to gain an understanding of where I stand as a Pakistani mainlander within your community, and region.

    Reiss,

    As you know I didn’t just decide Pothwari is a dialect of Panjabi. Many people from Potohari areas living in the UK, such as Gujar Khan, Dina, and Kallar Syedan describe their language as Panjabi. I’m as familiar with the Patwari community as I am with the AJK community, if not more so. Not once have I heard a single Patwari making anti Lahori comments or trying to differentiate themselves from Panjabi on the basis of a separate linguistic identity. I’m sure there are such people, and I came across one such comment online which I posted here. However, I think these linguistic anxieties have a lot more to do with the grievances of some people in the AJK community against Pakistan. If you remember I cited a research paper in an earlier post to support my point of view. You interpreted it differently, and have obviously spent a lot of time researching this issue, and come to your own conclusions. Your point of view that Pahari is a different language, is a valid one, and so is mine that it is a dialect of Panjabi. If you are honest with yourself you will accept that both points of view are valid, and agree to disagree on that basis.

    This is not the first time I’ve heard Portmir style views from the people of your region. The husband of a family friend was propagating similar views despite the fact that he is married to a Panjabi woman from Lahore. The material I’m reading, and viewing on Portmir is only confirming my suspicions that some Mirpuris hate us. This would explain the issues I had at school, and some other experiences I’ve had since that time. For example I was travelling in a car with a friend, and two other people from his circle of friends. During the journey the two guys started making negative remarks about Lahoris unaware that I’m a Central Panjabi. The friend who introduced me to these people started to look uneasy. I then made the point that it is wrong to generalise people from any region, some people say the same about Mirpuris. Suddenly, there was silence in the car, and one of the guys asked where I was from, after I told them, they stopped making such remarks.

    Similarly another friend took me to his cousin’s house who inadvertently started making racist comments about Lahoris, and went to the extent of saying “Lahoris would sell their mums given half a chance”. Again unaware that I’m of Central Panjabi origin. I’m not a Lahori but I found such comments offensive, and an argument erupted after which, me and the friend got up, and left. The incident online where the guy from Birmingham was calling me a ‘paki’ and claiming he is Kashmiri occurred some years ago, and was completely unprovoked.

    Even this Kotli friend who differentiates himself from Mirpuris would make negative comments about Lahoris, Jhelumis, in fact any city in Pakistan. I started to find this behaviour suspicious because he would never do the same about any area inside Azad Kashmir. So one day I said what about all the negative stereotypes about people from Mirpur, he quickly denied any connection to Mirpur. After some lengthy discussions with him he is careful not to stereotype different regions anymore. He’s even come as far as accepting Dadyal might be more towards AK, whatever this means. However, still maintains that the behaviour in areas like Dadyal is heavily influenced by Mirpur, and Jhelum in the Panjab plains.

    The confusion on my part is how much of this is real hatred, and how much of it is British Pakistanis being typical Pakistanis. Not so much with the Kotli friend because I know him well enough to know there is no hatred involved. However the kids at school, the racist cousin, the two guys in the car, the husband of the family friend, the Birmingham guy online, racist comments beneath youtube videos of AJK, and now Jatt, and even Faisal. My Gujar Khan friend from High Wycombe who told me his dad couldn’t find a job in Mirpuri factories because he was a Pakistani.

    So what is the significance of all this in my life. I’m starting to question whether my fiancé, and I, are really from the same country of origin. I’ve been thinking of Azad Kashmiris as Pakistani Muslims all these years but maybe this is not how they are perceived or view themselves. Maybe there are a lot more people with these divisive views than I initially thought.

    I was in a taxi one day, and the driver was Mirpuri, he asked me what my background was, and I told him I’m Pakistani. I then asked him the same question, and he told me he was Kashmiri, I asked him which part and he said Mirpur, so I said so you’re Pakistani too, and he said no I’m from Mirpur Azad Kashmir. To be fair to the taxi driver he was not racist, he seemed like a decent chap, which is why someone like him saying it so blatantly, left me somewhat puzzled. Therefore I found myself online searching for answers, and came across this website, and in doing so I’m coming to the realisation that the division is a lot greater than I first anticipated. I can only speak from my experiences, and do not discount the views of Mirpuris who have had similar or worse experiences with Panjabis.

    After careful consideration I believe that these views among British Pakistanis are still those of the minority. My fiancé, and her family identify as Pakistani Muslims, as do most people I’ve come across from this region. I’ve noticed many referring to themselves as Kashmiri, to ’whitey’ but not overly concerned about this. Even if my fiancé refers to herself as Chinese it makes no difference to me. However I’m confused about where I stand in your region, and wider community, as a British Pakistani Muslim of Panjabi origin, resident of Karachi. Am I viewed as your countryman in your region, and community, or an outsider, or even an occupier? This is what I’m trying to ascertain, and it seems there is no consensus on the views in this region or in the British Pahari community.

    My conclusion therefore, is that the region is in a state of confusion due to its disputed status.

  42. Reiss,

    You can accuse me of being delusional all you like. Having imaginary friends all you like. Anything which doesn’t fit your agenda is either made up, or means something else, or the author was a Panjabi. In other words you are not open minded. You’re trigger happy approach to dismissing anything which challenges your views is nausiating. Therefore I can accuse you of being stubborn.

    Your driver point is the most ridiculous of all. I was staying in a large city, and used Uber locally because it was convenient, and cheap. To travel further afield, relatives, and friends drove us, so why would I need a driver. Covering long distances is fine, but you didn’t say that. You boasted of a driver and designated car.

    I’m deliberately down playing my background, as not to appear arrogant. Since we’re on the subject though, a lot of Mirpuris own property, and hotels in Islamabad and Pindi. I’m fully aware of this, and couldn’t care less. Can you not see the contradictory nature of your statements. On the one hand Mirpuris are a marginalised group oppressed by Pakistan. On the other hand you’re boasting that Mirpuris own villas in Islamabad, while Pakistanis own apartments .

    We own property in Karachi, and Lahore, the two largest cities in the country. Therefore you own property in the equivelant of Manchester while I own property in the equivelant of London, and Paris. I’m speaking in Pakistani terms of course. Islamabad is a fake capital slapped in the middle of the Potohar because Karachi seemed too exposed to Indian bombardment. So the people of Karachi have a right to be annoyed that they lost capital city status to a fake capital.

    According to you all of these posts are written by Mirpuris. You provide no evidence for your claims at all but I should take your word for it while you, and others accuse me of dishonesty on a regular basis.

    Answer this, why would a Mirpuri say they have extended family who are Mirpuri, if they are Mirpuri themselves?

    You sound like the far right, they commonly talk about a backlash against Muslims, and immigrants. Seems like you are speaking their language now. What do you hope to achieve with this backlash of yours?

    • Look Farooq, I do take back what I said earlier about calling you a liar. That wasn’t the right thing to do, and I’ve been getting sidetracked with irrelevant issues when the topic is the “Mirpuri” villian.

      Now you’ve been more open to this idea in your recent posts that there is a problem of racism against Mirpuris from Pakistanis This is the point I’m making. I’m not saying the majority of Pakistanis are racist or there is no racists amongst Mirpuris. Both would be ridiculous propositions.

      I do however think that the racism coming from the Pakistani side against Mirpuris is at such a level that it is a “problem” and needs to be addressed. What is the proof of this? That we are here discussing this issue. Each one of us whether that’s me, Reiss Haidar, Jutt Punyal, Myra, RS Khan, and you are all here discussing the issue of racism coming from Pakistanis against Mirpuris. If we didn’t see this as an issue we wouldn’t be here. If someone wrote an article about racism against Balochis coming from the direction of Muzaffarabad, not one Balochi or Muzaffarabadi would take that article seriously as they both know there isn’t a significant problem in this regard. The proof that WE believe this is a problem is that we are here discussing it.

      Now you’ve said recently “I agree that British Pakistanis should work together in the UK to challenge the vilification of Mirpuris”. I agree with this. You’ve also said “Those who have a hatred for Mirpuris will not care to listen to Jatt but they will listen to British Pakistanis from Panjabi, and Urdu speaking backgrounds.”

      I also think Pakistanis should work together to stamp out this problem of racism in their community and I also agree that the racists amongst Pakistanis will not listen to a Mirpuri, they will listen to a “British Pakistanis from Panjabi, and Urdu speaking backgrounds”.

      Since you agree there is a problem of racism against Mirpuris, that by definition infers not enough is being done to handle it. So what can Pakistanis do that they are not already doing to solve this problem?

      • Faisal,

        It’s good you retracted what you said. It shows there is the will on our side of the argument to engage with our interlocutors from the wider British Pakistani community, however difficult the exchange. We need dialogue, even if something appears a little fishy, it doesn’t mean we’re correct in our observations. It may be that Faruq has experienced the things he narrates; because such encounters seem so incredulous to us, we might be missing something of the wider picture. It may be just a case of how he narrates such incidents; we want to learn and be open-minded, and not close down debates. All we demand is sincerity from the other side.

    • Faruq,

      Your post before this one was more conciliatory, and I was going to agree to some points to reach a middle ground; this one is less conciliatory and you’ve regressed to inconsistencies again. There seems to be a huge difference in tone though; may be you feel insulted, so you want to insult me in return? I apologise if you feel like this, I was just trying to address your points.

      You said something very insightful previously, which got me thinking. You said, the problem with “us” – my side of the argument, is we see ourselves as a different community from your community, but you see us as the same community from a different region. This is a beautiful thing you said, you recognise universal fraternity all the while you acknowledge regional diversity – if every British-Pakistani genuinely thought like this, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

      You said, I’m paraphrasing you, that Urdu is a unifier, it’s not an imposition on people, it should bring people together, and not separate them; Pahari and all the other languages can never do this, because they are limited in their scope. I agree with this sentiment, and there would have been room for discussion on this point, about how this language policy has been incorrectly executed. We could have discussed prejudice of Urdu speakers against other communities (I’m not speaking about any particular ethnic group, lots of non-ethnic Urdu speakers behave like this), and you said, you don’t like it, when people dance to Panjabi music but want to look down at the actual people who speak Panjabi. We are in broad agreement on these sorts of things.

      You made other points that I agree with.

      However, brother Faruq, some of your points create distance. How are we to react, when you’re literally always present when people are speaking bad about other people, whether it’s ordinary Pakistanis against Mirpuris, and now as you’re arguing, more recently, Mirpuris speaking bad about Pakistanis? You are always present to witness such prejudice, to then be able to narrate the events; how am I supposed to react; some of the earlier comments were very offensive? When I meet people for the first time, these sorts of things don’t happen – are you seeking out this prejudice to justify an idea in your head? Anti-Mirpuri prejudice is obvious though, it’s physically out there, in the ordinary conversations we have, online, in the content of books, magazines, journals, even academic papers. If you didn’t go looking for it, it inevitably crops up.

      Let’s agree it’s a two-way problem for the sake of your argument, but are you going to dismiss British-Pakistani vilification of British-Paharis aka “the Mirpuris”? You agreed it’s a problem before? You agreed AJK is not “Azad”, “free”, people are 2nd class citizens – this will inevitably cause all sorts of problems. You agreed this is definitely feeding into how AJK people view their identity, you used the word “confusion”. You said to Myra, do you want another 70 years of problems/chaos?

      You agreed some British-Pakistanis have more power in the UK and they do look down on Mirpuris. You also agreed to the perilous position Pakistan is in, if it doesn’t address how the elite controls power, agreeing with me, that the ‘writing is on the wall’. But you were originally hopeful, things are going to change. We’re not as hopeful as you, we see a big problem brewing.

      You agreed to all sorts of points, but now you arguing something different.

      Being wealthy; not being wealthy; having a driver in Pakistan, using Uber because your humble; you deliberately playing down your background to not appear “arrogant” which means what exactly?; Accusing me of boasting when I’m merely responding to your inconsistent points about wealth and social norms in Pakistan; accusing me of inconsistencies as you argue now I’m boasting; you owning property in Karachi, Lahore, even as your property was stolen by thieves in your family (something that’s actually happening to lot’s of us who’ve ended up abroad); is all pointless and irrelevant. It doesn’t add anything to the original discussion. It’s not me who is stubborn, but you are being stubborn, you’re just hurling insults now because you cant justify your own points – what do you mean Islamabad is a fake capital, why the distinction between Manchester and London/Paris – is this you demonstrating your humility again? On more than one occasion, your points have been debunked, but you introduce new points.

      Mirpuris do own villas in Islamabad, but why? The Mirpuri community has a massive presence in Islamabad, but these individuals are not speaking on behalf of the state subjects of their formerly Azad Riyaasat in Jammu Kashmir. They now belong to Islamabad’s community, not Mirpur’s! Because AJK is being actively disinvested, if these people had the amenities of Islamabad in AJK, they would be buying properties in AJK. Isn’t this unjust to the wider prosperity of AJK as people are being forced to invest their wealth outside AJK? When you said, we are are all part of the same community but from different regions, this means you accept people must have some attachment to their respective regions?

      But in your mind this proves the Mirpuri community is wealthy and shouldn’t complain about marginalisation?

      When have rich people ever cared about poor people to the extent of giving up their wealth to share it with poor people; rich Mirpuris are not different to rich people in Lahore or Karachi; it doesn’t mean poverty, inequality and structural discrimination no longer exists in these places? This is a non sequitur in logic; you can’t go from Mirpuris being rich in Islamabad to there is no poverty, discrimination in Azad Kashmir.

      To end this discussion, there is going to be a backlash because the material being used to demonise Mirpuris is clearly borne of British-Pakistani anxieties; how can you insult people’s mothers, fathers, culture, language, status, class, caste, accuse them of every bad deed under the sun, scapegoat, caricature, stereotype, vilify, say “alhamdulillah I’m not a Mirpuri”, and not expect a reaction from the community you hate/insult/separate from?

      When the media starts to say, it’s not Pakistanis that are the problem, it’s this group called the Mirpuris, and we know this because British-Pakistanis are telling us as much, how do you think people are going to react? Who is creating this cleavage? This division is dangerous, is it not? Whose stoking the differences? What is to be gained if these differences were exploited? Will it benefit Pakistanis? Will it benefit Mirpuris? In both cases, it’s going to damage the British-Pakistani community irreparably. I thought, initially, it was this that united us?

      Finally, please take my advice, we need to stop conflating irrelevant realities, you are presenting me like the far right now, and you as the Muslim victim of Islamaphobia. So you’ve taken ownership of the Muslim identity, as you accuse me of using the tactics of the far right? As a Pakistani you don’t own Islam or Muslims, and you don’t represent the 200 million or so Muslims in Pakistan either. There is a backlash against Islam today because of how people manipulate Islam to exploit people, and lot’s of people are seeing through this deception. Pakistan’s security services have been doing this for decades, and lot’s of people are appalled at the sectarian cleavages in Pakistan now – when you promote extremists to fight proxy wars in someone else’s backyard, these extremists return to wreak havoc in your own country. Pakistan will eventually implode if civilian governments with the help of the army don’t curtail the influence of the security services. Isn’t it odd that lots of observers writing about different things, have all come to this conclusion about Pakistan’s direction of travel?

      In many ways, Pakistan’s autonomous security services are becoming a liability for the army, and one can see in Pakistan, a distrust of the army now; give it some time, eventually no one is gong to be scared to voice this outrage. Although this is an irrelevant point to what we are discussing, this is an example of blowback, or backlash.

      The far right are extremists, and they will exploit minor differences between people to pursue their own agendas, but what did you hope to gain, when you said all these people hate Mirpuris? Wasn’t that an example of this unsavoury tactic being used to pursue a myopic viewpoint with all its unintended consequences?

      Let us end on a positive note. I think, as a member of the British Pakistani community, you will do whatever you can within your capacity to point out vilification of Mirpuris is not just morally wrong but it’s dangerous socially. I will do my best to temper my community, as we acknowledge the grievances and create a cultural space for our community; I will point out that the minority, however influential, does not speak for the majority, that there is goodwill in the wider British-Pakistani community to address such issues, and good Pakistanis are fighting this plague.

      Let us end this discussion cordially as brothers of the same fraternity.

      Wa alaikum al-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

  43. Faisal

    Thank you for taking back your false accusations against me.

    It’s good that you recognise that the racists among those who identify as Panjabi, and Urdu speakers, are a minority of the population.

    Actually this is the first article I read on Portmir, and perceived it as an attack on my section of the Pakistani population. Portraying Shazia Mirzas views as somehow representative of British Pakistani urbanites was particularly troublesome. As was the view that the vast majority of the racists have roots in Pakistan’s largest cities, and live in Greater London. This is why I was discussing the issue in the first place. After exploring some more of Reiss Haidars writings, and reading what he had to say here I understand him a little better, and agree with some of what he says. However, I’ve noticed a tendency of trying to portray opinions as fact in a very articulate manner. I’m impressed at the level of finesse with which Reiss does this but if you read what he says carefully it is somewhat based on opinion. So for example, Reiss knows such and such to be true because of the circles he moves in but if I present with my experiences it is all anecdotal. Similarly he often claims that such and such said this and so and so thought that, and this was thought of as that by such and such.

    Factually speaking the Panjab as we understand it today includes the Potohar, and also included Mirpur until the British annexed it to AJK. Therefore Pakistan’s claim to the Mangla Dam is perfectly legal; and cannot be considered a grievance. Similarly Pakistan has agreed to a plebiscite on Kashmir, it is India who is blocking such a move in direct violation of UN Security Council Resolution S11196 of 5th January1949. So the reason AJK has been in a state of ambiguity for the last 70 years is precisely because of Indias violation of international law.

    Therefore in my view the Mirpuri grievances against Pakistan are slightly unfair. I’m not saying this as a Pakistani nationalist but as someone looking impartially at the situation. I believe that the people of Azad Kashmir are 2nd class citizens in their own land. I mean the poor people of Azad Kashmir, not the British born Mirpuris. Similarly the poor people in all other regions of Pakistan are 2nd class citizens in their homeland. The development grievance is valid, aslong as one appreciates that development in Pakistan is concentrated in urban areas. Villages in Pakistan rarely see any development whatsoever, and this is true of villages in Azad Kashmir. Muzaffarabad is further from the Mirpur district than Islamabad is but it is considered a developed urban area of Azad Kashmir although this probably has little relevance to Mirpur district. The people of rural Sindh, Panjab, Baluchistan, and KPK are probably suffering more than those in Mirpur district. Primarily because many from the Mirpur district had the chance to move to the UK, and invest large sums of money in their region, due to the strength of the pound. Let us also not forget that a lot of city dwellers live in slums, and are suffering just as much as their rural countrymen. Furthermore some of the middle class skilled workforce continue to leave Pakistan because of low wages, and poor facilities. Pakistan is a country for the rich, and this includes Azad Kashmir as well. Things seem to be changing with the demise of at least one corrupt family, and ascent of Imran Khan. Although there is no telling whether this a new chapter in Pakistan’s history or history simply repeating itself under new guises, time will tell.

    I recognise the psychological impact on the peoples of Azad Kashmir who have been torn between two countries for the past 70 years. This should not be underestimated, and can be classed as a form of oppression. Having said that, it is important not to ignore the elephant in the room, which is India. They are the ones refusing to abide by international law, and continuing to supress the voice of Kashmiris by killing, and maiming innocent civilians. There seems to be no solution to this madness, and I can’t see that changing in the foreseeable future.

    I actually typed Mirpuris into google, and proved that British Pakistanis have been questioning these online comments for a number of years. I think the problem is that a minority of British Pakistanis feel threatened by the majority in the UK being Mirpuri. It’s as if the “gow waale” have taken over, and have become the face of British Pakistanis, within the UK. I think this is where these anxieties are coming from which then leads to the online comments. In the real world people from rural AK are comfortable with the fact that they outnumber all other Asians in many parts of the country. They also know that many of the people from Panjab in these areas are their Patwari speaking neighbours from Jhelum, and Rawalpindi districts. Therefore they have no reason to take to the internet, and start making comments against Urdu, and Panjabi speakers. They do it but not to the same extent because Urdu, and Panjabi speakers are hardly a threat to the Mirpuri majority, if we look at the UK in its entirety. To assume, that therefore the racism is mainly one sided is completely false. This is akin to a white person assuming there is no racism because they haven’t experienced any. Reiss, and yourself cannot be impartial because you will never experience some of what other non Mirpuri British Asians have experienced in a real world or online setting. However, it’s important to note that my experiences, and those of others, do not represent the behaviour of the majority of the Mirpuri population.

    I think this racism is a problem on both sides and reading some of Jatts statements, it’s clear we have a lot of work to do. Therefore we should look for a holistic solution rather than dismissing the notion of racism on both sides. I believe the solution actually doesn’t lie in the UK which is why I regularly revert back to Pakistan. An end to corruption, and a Pakistan which starts to work in the interests of all of its people is the solution to the emerging divisions within the British Pakistani community. A change of culture, and an end to the stigmatisation of the poor and those from rural villages, is needed. Once such a society emerges in Pakistan the issues in the UK will be easier to resolve. These anti Mirpuri feelings have their roots in the anti villager sentiments within Pakistani cities. Similarly Mirpuris are aggrieved with what they see as a Pakistan which is not representative of them but seeks to exploit them. I’m afraid this problem has to be tackled at its root, back in the motherland, any attempt to address it in the UK alone, will simply act as a bandaid. Until the culture in Pakistan changes the mindset of British Pakistanis will not change either. Therefore the silent majority will generally remain silent, and go about their business uninterested in doing more.

    • Farooq Ali,

      Thank you for your response.

      It appears we are making progress in this discussion as you are now openly agreeing that there is a problem of racism in the Pakistani community against Mirpuris. However, you are saying this racism problem goes both ways and Mirpuris are equally involved and are racists against Pakistanis. You’ve given your own experiences as an example.

      While I do not discount your experiences, I think you will agree that your limited experiences with Mirpuris cannot be given as proof of widespread hatred against Pakistanis. On the other hand, the hatred of Mirpuris amongst Pakistanis is something you yourself have testified to from the examples of your friends who speak bad about Mirpuris. This hatred has tangible authentication on the internet and the media. Therefore the belief that there is a problem of racism amongst Pakistanis against Mirpuris can be validated by a passive observer whereas the opposite can’t.

      You said that the reason we only seem to find racism against Mirpuris online and not Pakistanis is because Pakistanis are uneasy about Mirpuris being the face of the British Pakistani community. Mirpuris, on the other hand are happy being the face of the British-Pakistani community and do not see Punjabis and Urdu speakers as a threat. This is mere speculation and doesn’t take into account that many Mirpuris are aware of these views held about them. According to your own words, Mirpuris are not “docile”, and don’t “turn the other cheek” and take “racial abuse lying down”. Therefore if the 750,000-1,000,000 Paharis in the UK are as racist as their Pakistani counterparts, they are doing a terrible job of showing it.

      The websites you gave, if they are indeed from Pakistanis, are not challenging bigotry against Mirpuris but are asking why it exists. This is something I agree Pakistanis have been doing for a while as I myself am witness to this. Like I said, well-meaning Pakistanis have come up to me and asked me “Why all Pakistanis seems to hate Mirpuris?”, after being told that’s where I originate from. These kinds of questions from concerned Pakistanis merely indicate that the problem is much more widespread than I would have hoped.

      Your solution to this problem of racism against Mirpuris is a strange one. You still seem to be conflating Pakistani politics with British-Pakistani politics. Teaching Pakistani urbanites in Pakistan that it wrong to look down on “gow waale”, has no effect on the UK. How is this going to stop third generation Pakistani leftists in the UK from scapegoating Mirpuris?

      And I find it strange that the same people who say Asians are the victims of unfair treatment from racists and Muslims are the victims of unfair treatment from Islamophobes are the first in line to dish dirt on Mirpuris.

      Even causes which do not personally affect them such as racism and bigotry against other groups, they will accept those peoples grievances without question to get a pat on the back from “whitey” and feel like they are a good person and changing the world.

      Pakistanis benefit from the status quo where they can just blame anything on Mirpuris. This is why the people who should be challenging this bigotry against Mirpuris are actually the first in line to slander them.

      The only viable solution is for Mirpuris to separate from British Pakistanis and begin identifying as something different. This is the only way Pakistanis will take responsibility for their own actions and we can separate the wheat from the chaff.

    • Faruq,

      I don’t want to put a dampener on the sentiments you’ve expressed of working together – we can engage on this level. Although I’m growing incredibly despondent that there is no British-Pakistani fraternity to redeem. Forgive me if I come across a little frustrated, déjà vu and all that…, but you’ve repeated the same errenous claim AGAIN!

      As for our other conversations, they can be judged by those reading our posts; I’m sure our readers will be able to discern the difference between “anecdotes” and “facts” – I’ve put it to you that yours are entirely anecdotal, and a little far-fetched. You’ve conceded, on more than one occasion, that your comments are indeed racist and prejudicial, unintentionally of course, as you’re merely repeating them to make a point. You’ve acknowledged that you’ve been prejudicial in your views – according to you this is human nature. Can you please show me where I’ve been disparaging of 1) your community; 2) of your Panjabi identity, 3) of your social profile; please show me the “slurs” I used on account of my own failing human nature?

      These “slurs” are based entirely on anecdotes. Thus your anecdotes are a major problem.

      Our comments are in front of us, right? Please direct me to the relevant post? Let’s see where these infractions are coming from, as we speak of a shared Pakistani fraternity?

      I’ve used the reasonable person test; in our specific case, how reasonable is the idea that “X” is forever present when people of diverse backgrounds impugn the reputation of Mirpuris; “X” is also forever present when Mirpuris insult Panjabis? He just happens to be there, to hear the offending statements, to be in a position to offer a rebuttal on a related topic, years later? If we apply the test, it would appear such an idea seems highly unreasonable. Legal practitioners usually use this test, it’s served me well since my Uni days. I said, to not impugn the truth of your varied claims, that it’s possible you’re seeking out this content; to me, this seems more likely if I invest your claims with a truth value. And yet, when it comes to Mirpuri vilification, you don’t need to seek it out, it’s always present in the conversation of British-Pakistanis, otherwise, how do we know that this vilification actually exists? That’s the difference between the anecdotes you’ve cited, and the ones I’ve cited; the circles you move in, it seems there’s a lot of “beef” for people, whereas I’ve not encountered that within my circles. What’s more reasonable, my experience, or your experience? I think that would answer your question as to why your anecdotes do not reach the standard by which we can adjudge them to be “factual”, but merely anecdotal.

      As for facts, where exactly are your “facts”? Like the UN resolution you’ve just cited, both Faisal and Jatt have debunked your claim. That was the height of ignorance on your part, you didn’t even know that the resolution explicitly demanded Pakistan to vacate the territory, as a condition of India holding the plebiscite. Pakistan never left, India didn’t hold the vote. Years later, India reneged on the assurances given to the Kashmiris on the ground that they had voted in elections which, was proof, that they had voluntarily agreed to become part of India. It was now merely a matter of recapturing the rest of Kashmir from Pakistan. Like Pakistani claims, this is sophistry; but ultimately India has a legal right to Kashmir, Pakistan does not. That’s just the reality of legal norms, I say that as someone who disagrees with the Indian position on democratic grounds, the colonial laws in question were unjust. But I have enough intellectual integrity not to lie, which seems to have become a pastime for the various peoples commenting on Kashmir.

      And you’re calling India the elephant in the room. Is this ignorance based on “facts” or “anecdotes” you’ve probably heard from the circles you move in?

      As for the substantive claims I made about “Kashmir”, “Panjab”, their histories, identities – I cited passages from books; gave you some names of authors in Panjab Studies, advised you that colonial census material still existed in terms of understanding how people identified historically, how colonial officers were categorising people, the types of labels they were using, I gave the example of “Chibhali”; I even took the time to give you some background information, there was no need for me to do this, as in hindsight I’ve wasted my time.

      If you were keen to debunk any of this, you would have gone away and researched what I was saying; you couldn’t have simply relied on your anecdotes to achieve this, right? There’s nothing controversial about what I was saying though except for someone who is completely removed from these realities. I said to you, I don’t know what frames of reference you’re using, in other words, it was obvious to me, you were ignorant of the actual definitions you were using. And yet you felt compelled to speak about the Panjab and Kashmir, you argued that Paharis were Panjabis, not Kashmiris, because of your common sense insights. Again, operating in the realm of anecdotes, not facts, exposing how little you knew about this history.

      What are you upset about when I tell you, you’re spurting anecdotes and not facts? You’re citing papers, that in all likelihood you haven’t even read; you clearly don’t understand what the authors are saying, but you’re insisting that I’m offering an interpretation on the text. We’re not engaged in hermeneutics on scripture my friend, were reading linguistic texts that are straightforward to understand. It’s just the ETHNOLOGICAL ideas you’re spurting were not supported by the text; I’ll explain this again to you, just because you claim to speak a shared language, doesn’t mean you are saying you are part of the same ethnic group. But the people being surveyed in the text you cited, where making no associations with the Panjab of the Plains, again, you didn’t know the geographical nuances of the Panjab as distinct from the linguistic nuances.

      I gave the example of Urdu-Hindi, Panjabi and Pahari-Pothwari, separate languages, where speakers, without any formal learning of the other language, could, over time, with enough exposure pick up the other language. No one would ever say that these are all the same languages, but you started to argue exactly that. Did you base your views on facts, or anecdotes?

      I even tried to explain to you how language acquisition works, about diglossia, triglossia, about migrations in and out of the region post-partition, but that has not stopped you repeating this Panjabi-Pothwari claim, even as you MISTRANSLATED A PAHARI STATEMENT exposing the farce of your claim. I gave you an anecdote, a “real” anecdote of an incident where a Panjabi speaker adamant he spoke the same language as our Pahari speaker, retracted his statement out of humility. You mistranslated the same statement, but are still insisting you understand Pahari.

      Where’s your humility Faruq on any of this?

      Those who are aware of the body of knowledge on Panjab, or Kashmir, who live and breathe this material – academics, researchers, writers, etc. – don’t go around using common sense as a proof. They wouldn’t humiliate themselves like this. Common sense is not proof brother Faruq; do you know why? Because a person’s sound judgment might not be sound? An example of a faulty judgement would be your claim that because you “think” you understand a speech variety, therefore, you can determine the “identity” or “status” of that language. Please, have this conversation with a professional linguist, and await his or her response? I explained to you languages are not simply denotional but indexical; communicating thought or expressing commands, is one of the functions of a language but so is the formation of group identity; these are two separate considerations for the purpose of analysis – some linguists study the building blocks of language, whilst others study how languages are perceived by speakers; there are other areas of enquiry. If you really cared about understanding a linguistic identity, you would familiarise yourself with all this. But this was lost on you because you conflated your common sense with “proof”. Again, because you’re probably unfamiliar with the terminology you were using, you don’t understand what facts are, a proof is evidence, an argument that ESTABLISHES a “FACT”.

      Here’s an example of you trying to cite facts. You made the remark about the Kurds, stating that they are an ethnic group separate from their neighbours, Arabs, Iranians, Turks etc. Their demands for a homeland made sense to you, unlike Pahari demands, who are the same people as Pothwaris, who are the same people as Panjabis, but separate from Kashmiris. In your mind, this was amazing proof against pro-independence Kashmiris to advocate for a separate homeland from Pakistanis because they were “ethnic Pakistanis” not Kashmiris. So, not knowing the illustration you cited, you felt even more compelled to use a definition that you were similarly unfamiliar with – this is what we mean by the term ignorance. On both occasions, you are ignorant of the claims you were making.

      Your common sense wouldn’t have helped you, because you didn’t know the definition of ethnicity – Pakistanis belong to a national group on account of the territory they come from, they do not belong to the same collective ethnicity. I would be embarrassed to make such a comment, but despite Pakistan’s ethnic diversity, you have a problem with Jammu Kashmir’s ethnic diversity. Some would say, you are deluded in your insights; I would say, you’re not sincere in the arguments you are making. In addition to that, you had no exposure to Kurds, or had even read substantively about the actual Kurdish conflict. In other words your judgement to make a comparison between Kurdistan and Jammu Kashmir was not sound. Kurds speak MUTUALLY UNINTELLIGIBLE DIALECTS; the Iraqi Kurds can not communicate with the Turkish Kurds who do not understand Iranian Kurds. But they are arguing for a united Kurdistan. For all intents and purposes they are speaking separate languages, are culturally distinct from each other, but “Kurdish” on account of a shared identity that connects them with their homeland – homeland being the operative word. But, you thought this was an argument against pro-independence Kashmiris, despite the same social situation obtaining in Kurdistan as in Jammu & Kashmir? The non-Muslim Yazidi population, stigmatised by other Muslim Kurds, the Alawite Kurds, and other minorities, live side by side with Sunni Kurds, and are all stakeholders of their homeland.

      But the funny thing was, your claim flew in the face of India and Pakistan’s officially published pronouncements on Kashmir, that only the “hereditary state subjects” of Kashmir can determine their future, to either join India or Pakistan. You’re a Pakistani, you don’t have the right to speak about how AJK decides? To tell us how we should vote, you’re being presumptuous, you’re not a stakeholder of Jammu Kashmir, Mirpuris are – that’s the difference between AJK and Pakistan. You don’t even know what AJK is, you’ve never been there, but you want to pontificate about realities beyond your experience and learning? AJK people like the rest of Jammu & Kashmir have the right to self-determination on account of JAMMU & Kashmir being adjudged a separate nation, not because of ethnicity, but because of its territorial status.

      This is the difference between your insights and my insights. You’re very unlearned about the claims you make, because you’re not motivated by actually learning anything about the “ideas” you confront. You want to push certain agendas, because you think your common sense suffices.

      What can you offer us in AJK if you think like that?

  44. Pakistan has agreed to a referendum on Kashmir you say. The truth is that Pakistan is the one that has broken the agreement.
    Resolution of the Commission of January 5, 1949
    The United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan, Having received from the Governments of India and Pakistan, in communications dated 23 December and 25 December 1948, respectively, their acceptance of the following principles which are supplementary to the Commission’s Resolution of 13 August 1948:
    1. The question of the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite;
    2. A plebiscite will be held when it shall be found by the Commission that the cease-fire and truce arrangements set forth in Parts I and II of the Commission’s resolution of 13 August 1948 have been carried out and arrangements for the plebiscite have been completed;
    On 13 August 1948, after discussions with both the governments, the Commission unanimously adopted a three-part resolution, amending and amplifying the UN Resolution 47.
    • Part I dealt with ceasefire, calling for a complete cessation of hostilities.
    • Part II dealt with a truce agreement. It asked for a complete withdrawal of Pakistan’s fighting forces, including the army, tribes and other Pakistani nationals, and stated that the evacuated territory would be administered by local authorities under the surveillance of the Commission. Following the Pakistani withdrawal, India was expected to withdraw the “bulk of its forces” reducing them to the minimum level required for maintaining law and order.
    • Part III stated that, after the acceptance of the truce agreement, the two countries would enter into consultation with the Commission for settling the future of the state in accordance with the will of the people.

    So when is Pakistan withdrawing their troops. The wording is clear and so is India really in the wrong or is it Pakistan.

  45. Maleeha Lodhi from Karachi represented Pakistan at the UN and we all know that she was caught with spreading fake news.

    Pakistani Government is spreading fake news and knows zero on Kashmir issue and so they are the ones that have damaged the freedom struggle of Kashmiris.
    Pakistanis as usual portray themsleves as the big brother there to help, but they cannot even feed their own people. We the people of J&K should be allowed to represent our selves without interference and as that will never happen, J&K problem will continue.

    Faroq is here spreading more fake news, when he said,
    Muzaffarabad is further from the Mirpur district than Islamabad is but it is considered a developed urban area of Azad Kashmir, oh yeah, considered by who ?

    Are there some official markers or sources you are using or the usual made up stories by the families of indian migrants in Pakistan who have never spent one day in any part of AJK or KPK or Baluchistan.

    • Jutt Panyal,

      Bro, he’s deliberately trying to aggravate people with incendiary remarks so he can turn around and claim Mirpuris are also racist.
      Don’t fall for his trap.

  46. Wow! What a fascinating (and seemingly unrelenting) discussion between a Pakistani citizen from its diaspora (Muhtaram Farooq Ali) and various members of the AJK diaspora.

    As the discussion has veered away from the original topic throughout the thread, I think it might be apt to try and source the origins of Farooq Ali’s misplaced anxieties and subtle gatekeeping tactics to hem AJK and its diaspora within the Pakistani nationalist construct.

    The following sentences from Farooq Ali’s numerous comments are most telling in my opinion:

    “The point is that we should focus on our similarities rather than our differences to maintain unity as Muslims within the subcontinent. You are confusing nation states with the Muslim population. When we talk about the Muslim Ummah we are talking about individual people, and not the corrupt despotic rulers who hold power within majority Muslim regions of the world. We have to recognise our Muslim identity just as the Hindus recognise their Hindu identity. India was divided along religious lines, and therefore the conflict in Kashmir is a religious issue for most people in the subcontinent. This is not about the religiosity of persons but identities.”

    Having spent over 13 years in this region un-interrupted while spending the bulk of my childhood and adult life in the UK, I might be forgiven for considering the idea of maintaining Muslim unity in the Indian sub-continent and its surroundings as the most preposterously inhumane idea to ever emerge out of this region.

    The human cost of partition in 1947 and the subsequent nourishment given to Hindu and Muslim nationalism – which shows no signs of abating – is the worst possible predicament this region could have found itself in. ‘Credit’ must be given to the British empire for sowing the seeds of religious communalism pre-47 while celebrating religious diversity and multi-culturalism as a strength, in the Britain of 2018. The British must also be ‘credited’ for converting a region that produced over 25% of the world’s GDP pre British colonialism to a scenario today where Pakistan has over two-thirds of its population living near or below the ‘poverty line while India still has the largest number of impoverished people on the planet.

    Both countries continue to fiercely fight over the territory of Jammu & Kashmir for its water resources, forestry, minerals and strategic geography that connects Central Asia with South Asia as well as East Asia with West Asia. A thousand years ago, you could buy any item produced in any one of the following ‘countries’ in any market of the corresponding countries viz. India, China, Uzbekistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Syria. Guess which region lies between these ‘countries’?

    Not only is it utterly selfish of India and Pakistan to try and co-opt us into their conflicting nationalist paradigms but mutually destructive too. Just imagine what both countries are losing out on economically by not utilising the ‘natural’ trade routes to access each other’s markets.

    In short, using religion (or religious identity) as an excuse to constrict or contain human thinking, travel and trade is amongst the most prominent crimes against humanity. Both countries practice these crimes vigorously with the help of their supine collaborators on either side of the divide in Jammu and Kashmir.

    Farooq Ali’s background (or that of his forefathers to be more precise) is one where his family suffered at the hands of the Hindu or Sikh equivalent of a Muslim extremist in 1947, whereby they had to flee for their lives to what emerged as Pakistan. This horrific experience in itself would be suffice to scar the descendents of the most liberal and humane of human beings for life. His family sought and received refuge in Pakistan, so it would be perfectly understandable for him to act as a gatekeeper to the ‘Pakistani National Project’. Of course, Hindus and Sikhs who fled from Pakistan in 1947 to India would feel exactly the same and would ‘ve endured an identical experience.

    As the partition debacle of August 1947 in Punjab was repeated in the State of Jammu & Kashmir in October and November of that same year, we have the descendents of Muslim migrants from Jammu feeling the same way about Pakistan (after all, they escaped to safety here and are understandably protective about Pakistan).

    Returning to the Mirpuri villain, I think the topic has been covered quite comprehensively and it should be suffice to say that we – the citizens of AJK and its diaspora – shouldn’t fall into the trap of generalising about the Pakistani diaspora in the UK or reacting in a similarly disparaging way towards them but should seek means of communication to address some of their mis-perceptions about us. We should remain introspective and admit our shortcomings too. Not all of us are in the drugs business, foul-mouthed, inhospitable or whatever else they accuse us of but these problems do exist in our society. Those of us in ‘upwardly-mobile’ professions or those who contribute meaningfully to British society have a greater responsibility to act in the better interest of humanity.

    Finally, I think Farooq Ali is entitled to whatever his opinions are but introspection is also a need of the Pakistani diaspora and trying to gatekeep the Pakistani national identity in Britain vis a vis the J & K diaspora and using ill-researched means to make the Pakistani case for Jammu and Kashmir is also mutually destructive. You are not helping Pakistan with this strategy and you are certainly not helping the citizens of AJK or J & K as a whole. If Indians and Pakistanis are protective about their respective national identities which came about through British mediation and agency then it would be prudent to remember that Jammu & Kashmir came about through the very same mediator and agency. The difference is that our ‘nation-state’ is 101 years older than yours. If you are convinced that a Baluchi, Sindhi, Punjabi and Pathan are in sync with each other and are integrated into one national entity then it would be quite distasteful to try and create cleavages between Kotli and Mirpur or between the Valley Kashmiris and the Pahari belt in AJK or across the LOC in Uri, Rajouri or Nowshehra. Division of the Pahari belt in particular has been particularly painful. You only need to witness scenes at the LOC crossing-point every week when families re-unite with (or separate from) each other to understand what I’m talking about.

    You cannot disguise your country’s need for the abundant natural resources in AJK, GB or elsewhere in Jammu and Kashmir by using religious identity/solidarity as a camouflage. It doesn’t work and we’ve all suffered enough for it.

    If it worked, East Pakistan would still exist and you wouldn’t have hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis in the ‘developed’ West. At the very least, you would have received heavily subsidised oil from the Muslim Middle East and the universities of Pakistan would be competing with Oxbridge and the Ivy League in research and development. Indeed, you would have received the Valley of Kashmir on a plate as the ‘Muslim World’ would have boycotted and embargoed India into submission.

    Meanwhile, as further food for thought – if nothing else – you may want to peruse through the following detailed public opinion survey report conducted in AJK:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8NvBPqFcnTVeXRmMjhhdmpjUDg/view

    • Tanvir,

      Ultimately this is what this is really about? Azad Jammu Kashmir’s resources matter for Pakistan. That is the overriding priority for Pakistan Officialdom, they have shown no regard whatsoever for the wellbeing of AJK’s 3rd class “citizens”. Development in India’s JK State, without minimising the human rights situation in the Valley, is exponentially better. Who in their right mind would disagree? Is this not proof that India has been spending money in its Kashmir? Why the complete contrast in Pakistan? Faruq mentioned Muzaffarabad as being a developed urban space; this is the capital of AJK, it is no more developed than any other part of AJK, and that courtesy of aid money from the Turks, international donors, a lot of which was siphoned off. Pakistan Officialdom has disinvested the region, whilst exploiting its natural resources. There is no parity between Pakistan and AJK.

      For those of us in the diaspora this is our homeland, not Pakistan. And the fact that in the UK we are not even seen as forming part of the British-Pakistani fraternity is sufficient reason for us to mobilise around our own interests, here and in AJK.

      • Reiss, I don’t just happen to be there when people make ignorant comments. Such experiences happen in life, and they are not the norm but they take place. I don’t come across the types of comments Jatt has made here, on a daily basis. It doesn’t mean that Jatt didn’t make these comments, and I shouldn’t refer to them in the future. A lot of racism is based on personal experiences, and that’s how a picture of racism emerges. Imagine if you went to the Police tomorrow to report being called a ‘Paki’ and they responded by saying “oh no no, that’s anecdotal how come you happened to be there, at just the right time to be called a Paki”. Such a defence by a racist would be thrown out of court so where does that leave your legal tests? Let’s face it Reiss you can’t handle criticism of your own community even though Jatt has continued to prove to you that the racists also exist within your own community. You live in Birmingham, a city with a Mirpuri majority, which also has a significant number of Panjabis, Pathaans, Gujaratis, and Bengalis. I have come across individuals from all these groups living in Birmingham claiming to have suffered racism from Mirpuris/Kashmiris, with the exception of Pathaans. I’m not saying the majority of people have said this but there are people saying this within British Asian circles not just in Birmingham but across the UK. Just because you are not aware of this doesn’t mean these conversations are not taking place. I know this because of the circles I move in.

        Reiss,
        “And the answer comes directly from the mouths of our fellow British-Pakistanis as they attempt to redeem their own ‘reputation’ courtesy of their friends from the mainstream press/media.
        “Don’t call them Pakistanis!”
        “They are Kashmiris from Azad Kashmir, and not the Panjab Province of Pakistan”
        “Well, actually they are “MirpOOOris”.
        “Real Pakistanis don’t commit these crimes. We’re too ‘middle class’ to commit these vices. Don’t you know we live in the South of England? Mirpuris live in the North beyond the wall! These crimes reflect the Mirpuri mentality.”
        And then some smart Alec retorts,
        “But, why is there so much honour-crime against women 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… “…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!”
        This is an exert from your article in which you depict an imaginary conversation, and claim it comes from the mouths of your fellow British Pakistanis. No hint at it being a minority of British Pakistanis or individuals within the British Pakistani community. The conversation itself is not a quote you’ve imagined the whole thing. This is the point I’m making you present fiction, and opinion as fact, articulately dressed up as intellectual insight into the subject matter.

        Reiss again
        “I know Pakistanis who think of Mirpuris as self-ghettoizing cousin-shagging Neanderthals”. These are words that could get her killed in Lahore and Rawalpindi, the places from where her parents come from. 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.”
        I’m hoping you’ve actually done some research into where her parents originate from, and this is not another opinion being presented as fact. Also it’s interesting how you’re perfectly willing to accept anecdotes as hard evidence from the comedian in question. However, when it comes to my experiences it is all anecdotal, and there is no evidence. You see the bias here you’re willing to use anything which suits your agenda, and dismiss anything which does not.
        Reiss a 3rd time
        “Pakistan is not Britain. British-Pakistanis, however they want to imagine their new ‘status’, are not part of a Pakistani liberal aristocracy. Their parents came to this country as immigrants because they were poor, from humble backgrounds, and more than likely the product of cousin-marriages.”
        Wrong my grandfather did not come here as a poor immigrant, and my parents were not cousins. You have no right to dictate our backgrounds to us. Learn that everyone is an individual, and has their own story for being in the UK.

        Reiss
        “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.”
        Here you seem to be admitting that some of the activists from your region are racist. Notice how you’re careful to use the word “some” here but you don’t offer up the same level of courtesy to your fellow British Pakistanis, in your commentary about us. The only problem you seem to have with the Mirpuri racists is that they don’t have the ear of mainstream journalists within the UK.
        Reiss
        “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 and not Mirpur”
        This excerpt exposes you further because you oppose the idea of a greater Panjab. Arguing that Panjab as it is known today never existed, and still doesn’t exist in your mind. However, you’re happy to refer to the Potoharis among the 7/7 bombers as originating from the Panjab. I’m quite sure only one of the bombers originated from the area you class as Panjab. The rest originated from a Panjab you yourself don’t even believe in, further evidence of you willing to use whatever suits your agenda, and thus contradicting yourself. Furthermore the alleged mastermind of 7/7 was of Pahari background, and if I’m not mistaken at least one of bombers did originate from the Mirpur district.

        Further evidence that you do not consider Patwaris as Panjabis, unless it furthers your agenda.
        “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.”

        Reiss this is where you generalise the views of people who originate from the two largest cities in Pakistan, and the adopted capital city.
        “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!”

        Reiss
        “Just read some of the tweets about her dress, from fellow Pakistanis outraged by her immodesty.
        And all these guys are from the “cities”!”

        You know all these guys are from the cities, how? Please share your magical insight with statistical evidence otherwise some may stumble upon the idea that you are using anecdotes.

        Now let’s get onto the Panjab. If we use your logic, many countries in the world do not exist. You historical analysis is good for understanding how we came to arrive at the current reality. However, the point is you cannot prove that the Potohar is not in Panjab Pakistan. You cannot disprove the fact that Mirpur was in pre partition, and annexed into AJK by the British. Therefore you pretend to possess a higher degree of intellectualism while politely trying to undermine my intellectual abilities. What you fail to realise is that I’ve understood your historical argument, and do not wish to challenge it. I want you to prove me wrong in what I’ve stated, and you have failed to do so repeatedly. Many Patwaris identify as Panjabi because they are from the Panjab. The language is closely linked with the Panjabi dialects of central Panjab, and Pahari is closely linked to Pothwari. This proves that we all have closely linked mother tongues, and therefore have a basis for focusing on our commonalities rather than our differences. The diversity of AJK is a good thing, and I’m not opposed to idea of on an independent AJK. How many times do I have repeat myself on this point before you understand that I’m not arguing from a Pakistani nationalist perspective. A Pakistani nationalist would never in a million years propose the LOC becoming the official border, as a solution to the conflict. I look for real world solutions I don’t live in a fantasy land, and this is why I believe in unity. Just as I disagree with the separatists from your region I also disagree with those who believe they are somehow going to take the rest of Kashmir and make it the 5th state of Pakistan. Both of these theories have their grounding in fantasy land, therefore I’m looking towards Imran Khan as our best hope at change. That doesn’t mean I’m relying on the PTI but I think the change can only come from within Pakistan. Most of my fellow British Pakistanis from the Mirpuri community understand this. It seems to me that the people on this website are representative of a fringe element.

        • ““Pakistan is not Britain. British-Pakistanis, however they want to imagine their new ‘status’, are not part of a Pakistani liberal aristocracy. Their parents came to this country as immigrants because they were poor, from humble backgrounds, and more than likely the product of cousin-marriages.”
          Wrong my grandfather did not come here as a poor immigrant, and my parents were not cousins. You have no right to dictate our backgrounds to us. Learn that everyone is an individual, and has their own story for being in the UK.”

          https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=tzArDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT28&lpg=PT28&dq=%22british+pakistani%22+%22villages%22+%2295%25%22&source=bl&ots=P2tai-Ro7a&sig=hQQoIIT42jDeUO9J3xARXjkn8HE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj-oLiDg6_cAhVOalAKHbuADWYQ6AEINzAF#v=onepage&q=%22british%20pakistani%22%20%22villages%22%20%2295%25%22&f=false

          “The majority of British Pakistani(95%) are from a specific number of rural districts and villages, mostly in the Punjab and North East.”

          This is the background of the majority of British-Pakistanis to the uk from a neutral source. I doubt the other 5% came from well off backgrounds in central Lahore or Karachi but rather the slums. Feel free to provide your own source. The fact remains though, the majority of Pakistanis in the UK came from areas where cousin marriages and poverty is high. There’s nothing wrong with this except when they posture through city backgrounds and look down on Mirpuris who come from similar backgrounds to them.

        • Farooq, I don’t think what Reiss is doing is passing off anecdotal information. Rather, he’s making a commentary on the Middle-class anxieties of many Pakistanis through an imagined conversation. You, however, are claiming that these incidents of racism actually happened. Your saying Mirpuri uncles spontaneously burst out into anti-Lahori rants and always in your presence. This happened to you when you were guests at their dinner table and also when you were a passenger in their taxi. I think we’ve accepted that this may have happened but you can understand why people are sceptical of this and many other of your anecdotes.

          My point is there is nothing to confirm that these sentiments are widespread amongst Mirpuris. At least you can’t prove that they are so maybe you’ve just had bad experiences with Mirpuris.

          • The difference between Mirpuris and alot of people from Punjab and Karachi is that, when some one asks us where are we from we identify our ancestral villages, villages we left 60 years ago.

            But the people of Karachi and Lahore or Pindi etc, never lived in Karachi or Lahore or Pindi or Islamabad or Faisalabad 60 years ago, they too were rural but refer to where there relatives live now or where they have built a Koti. They rarely identify there ancestral villages, where they have actually originate.

          • Faisal,

            I don’t think Faruq actually understands what I’m arguing, and neither does he appreciate that it was he who took us off course when he started to employ irrelevant superfluous points about language, culture, history, identity. We were speaking about a UK-based phenomenon, I was trying to point out to him that all group identities are illusory, they work for some people, they don’t work for others, thus the curious case of of our pseudo-Pakistani status. This cleavage predates us, and no one can say AJK’s ambiguous status doesn’t play a part in the ensuing vilification of Britain’s “imposter-type” “Pakistanis”. Do you recall Faruq’s remark – “stateless Mirpuris”? So the idea of us not being bona fide Pakistanis is inherent in the prejudice.

            I was also trying to point out that the urban-identity of British-Pakistanis was false as were the underlying anxieties to separate and distinguish from Mirpuris, symbolically, our quintessential ‘villagers’. I was arguing that this was a false consciousness and it undermined a wider sense of fraternity with Pakistanis. I think I’m correct in saying there is no British Pakistani fraternity, we’ve been excluded from this community despite our large numbers, and so it behooves us to just accept this reality, and follow our own course.

            Most of the time, Faruq wasn’t even debating vilification, its truth or falsehood, but he was keen to tell us, who we were, in a very demeaning way. I was offended and I said as much. He apologised, and maintained he had no ill-feelings against the community after all he was marrying into the community; and I’m sure we haven’t forgotten the whole Kotli/Mirpur debacle?

            In the same breath Faruq acknowledges vilification, he says, yes I accept you are different to Plains Panjabis, you have a separate identity/culture, you have the right self-affirm according to your own identity labels, but he then cancels this out immediately by deploying anecdotes laced with a skewed understanding of who we really are. It’s not as if the idea of Kashmir is central to our identity, it isn’t – there are Pakistanis in the UK exaggerating the importance of the Kashmiri identity for us, and this is because they have major anxieties about who they are, and how they imagine “Kashmir”. They are projecting on us their own anxieties, whilst accusing us of going “rogue”. 1.2 million Pakistanis in the uk according to the UK census of 2011, how on earth did we get this figure, if Mirpuris EN MASS weren’t self-affirming as Pakistanis? The actual amount of people who self-affirmed as “Kashmiris” is tiny, and this includes Valley Kashmiris from Indian-administered-Kashmir. This is utter stupidity; Faruq likes to quote some of the passages from my blogs, misunderstanding what I am actually arguing. I thus counteracted the whole Kashmir point, because it was factually incorrect, it reflects popular misconceptions on the part of people keen to denigrate Mirpuris – Faruq exhibited all this, and we’ve already been accustomed to such behaviour.

            Faruq,

            You have taken offence to what I have said, even as you don’t really understand what I’m arguing. You seem to be motivated by something else? You seem emotionally invested in the idea of your “non-humble” background as someone who didn’t come from a “village”, whose parents weren’t “cousins” and who weren’t “uneducated”; you believe I have misconstrued your experience because I’ve conflated it with the majority experience. You must be very rare indeed, given the overwhelming majority of Pakistanis IN PAKISTAN are blood relatives, including entire swathes of urban spaces. And then you present yourself as a spokesman for those from the cities – an identity you think I’m vilifying, employing all manner of inconsistent reasoning, a heavy dose of anecdotes, as you remind me, we are all from the same fraternity, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves, and let’s resolve these issues!

            What is it about this contradiction you can’t see?

            As for accusing Jatt Punyal of racism – it seems you want to hold up Jatt as the poster boy for Mirpuri ill-feeling against Pakistanis? This is what I find so irritating. For decades, Mirpuris have been consistently vilified, some of whom have been ardent supporters of Pakistan, advocating for Pakistan against pro-independence Kashmiris, who you’ve been calling Kashmiri “separatists”. From all parts of AJK, the majority have always been proud to associate themselves with Pakistanis in the UK – British Pakistanis have never reciprocated; the minority insulting Mirpuris is a separate consideration to this particular point, which you seem to conflate as proof that the problem is not that big a deal. Realities are now changing in AJK, but the UK diaspora has been slow to catch up, which reinforces the point that there were no serious qualms with the Pakistani identity for the AJK diaspora. But yet, you think its Mirpuris who go out of their way to deny their Pakistani roots, even though this has never been the norm in the UK. You think your anecdotes disprove this “fact” because it is actually an anecdote on my part – at what point are you going to stop with this “reactionary” line of reasoning? It’s just silly.

            Look at the ironies?

            Pakistan Officialdom calls us (azad) “Kashmiris” in Pakistan, whilst outside Pakistan, here in the UK, it is adamant that we be identified OFFICIALLY as oversees Pakistani nationals! It doesn’t even occur to you how ironic your own anecdotes are, not least because AJK is NOT PART of Pakistan – so there’s a problem at the very heart of the actual idea of who is, and isn’t a real Pakistani. Who created this mess? Was it our forebears from AJK or Pakistan Officialdom, as Brit-Pakistanis endlessly want to comment on our identity, our roots, history and worth?

            So forgive me, Faruq, for hurting your feelings, but it seems you’re at a loss to actually understand what I am arguing. If anything, I’m more convinced now then I was before, there is no genuine British-Pakistani fraternity and we are wasting our time trying to salvage it. Without serious reform in Pakistan, a sea change in attitudes in the UK, Mirpuris will continue to be denigrated by Pakistanis who want to speak for us, represent us, as they never once engaged in self-introspection. They have their own community, we are not included.

            You think this characterisation is unfair, as if there was some parity between the AJK diaspora and the British-Pakistani diaspora? You are so out of touch with these realities, it’s as if you’re writing from Pakistan, or some other place. I hate to break it to you, it is Mirpuris who are excluded from the British-Pakistani fraternity; no Mirpuris insult Pakistanis for “being” Pakistanis.

            So why shouldn’t we self-affirm as British-Paharis, Mirpuris or people from ‘A’JK in the UK?

  47. “So why shouldn’t we self-affirm as British-Paharis, Mirpuris or people from ‘A’JK in the UK?”

    I think this is the real “elephant in the room” that Farooq and other Pakistanis are avoiding.

    Look, we can all make our own theories about who the main offenders are. Reiss believes that it is village Pakistanis posturing through a city aristocrat identity. Jatt believes it’s the partition migrants from India into the cities of Lahore, Faisalabad and Karachi. I blame the leftists, progressives and liberals. I think there is some overlap in our theories.

    Farooq can disagree with all of this and share out the blame to his “fellow Pakistanis” but what does it really matter? The identity of all these people are “Pakistani” at the end of the day. This is what they are self-identifying as….

    What does it benefit our people to continue identifying with the same people who use us as scapegoats for all their failings….The same people who say we should stick together for the sake of Ummah and fighting Islamophobia….The same people who talk of Syria and Palestine but ignore Kashmir…..The same people who go on black lives matter protest all the while denying their “fellow Pakistanis” grievances……The same people who accept every grievance on the planet but deny ours…who benefit from our suffering…….who use us as scapegoats and hide behind their small numbers…

    At the end of the day, if you are a Mirpuri and identify with Pakistan, you are free to do this. But why are we self-identifying as British Pakistani in the UK? Why are we being counted amongst these people when they’ve shown themselves to be treacherous. They’ve done irreparable damage to our community and will continue to do so…We are the majority and will continue being the majority……We will continue being scapegoated for their failings……this is the sad reality I’m afraid….

    • Reiss & co

      Farooq Ali May 25, 2018 at 8:57 pm

      “Pakistan is a country with a lot of problems. I have my roots in Lahore, and Karachi respectively as well as links to Islamabad. My grandparents didn’t come to the UK as poor immigrants, assumed by the author. That is not the story of every Pakistani in the UK, and it annoys me when certain Pakistanis assume the majority experience applies to everybody. I know Azad Kashmiris who’s grandparents also came here reasonably well off. Obviously the majority came poor, and uneducated which explains ghettoisation, and criminality. It is not an experience limited to Azad Kashmiris, it has been the experience of a lot of immigrant communities in western countries. This raises the question as to whether these countries are really as inclusive, and equal as they claim to be.

      Drug dealing is a youth culture adopted from American ‘gangsta rap’ culture, and is not limited to any particular community. All ethnicities are equally involved in this, and drugs is a problem affecting our youth, the world over. Rape is also a problem the world over, and manifests in many different forms.
      So why is it then that the Mirpuris get stereotyped in this way. The author seems to lack some knowledge about Pakistans biggest cities. Karachi has the highest crime rate in Pakistan. Certain communities in Karachi are stereotyped for crime these include Sraiki immigrants from the Panjab province. Pathaan, and Afghan immigrants, Urdu speakers with links to MQM, and last but not least Balochis. So this shifting of blame or kicking the can down the road is going on well before one ventures out of Pakistan, and in the heart of Pakistans financial capital. I would like the author to question why Azad Kashmiris are not being stereotyped in Karachi. The simple fact is you can only stereotype a community once it has grown to an extent that such opinions can be formed.

      The Azad Kashmiri community from the villages in Mirpur and neighbouring districts have grown to an extent in the UK, that opinions can be formed. People will point to the many Pakistani areas within the UK as evidence, Bradford, and Birmingham being two of many. However, what they fail to realise is it’s the culture of these cities which produce gangs not a rural village in a remote part of Pakistan. The same way the culture of Karachi produces gangs in that city, not ethnic background. The fact remains though that those in the majority will commit most of the crime. For example one couldn’t argue that people from Jhelum commit most of the crime in Karachi. The numbers are simply not there to make such a claim. In the same way nobody could argue that Karachi people commit most of the crime within the UKs Pakistani community. The reason people argue this about Pahari people is because they are the majority. If Pahari people were in the minority in the UK it would be unfair to apportion blame to that community. However, given the shear number it’s not surprising minority Pakistanis in the UK are quick to attribute blame to the Pahari community.

      The UK is the opposite of Pakistan where in most areas especially outside Greater London, Azad Kashmiris are in the majority. This is in complete contrast to Pakistan where Azad Kashmiris are a tiny minority. Therefore now that Panjabis Pathaans and Urdu speakers are a minority it’s not hard to see why they blame the majority for the ills of the community. I agree that mainland Pakistani’s do have more power in the UK. Those of Pakistani origin in the most powerful positions in the UK are mainlanders. However, if anything this shows a failing in the Pahari Pakistani community. Why is it that even after being a majority they are not the ones holding the highest positions within the UK Pakistani community. After all, this isn’t Pakistan where some Pakistani’s get into powerful positions within politics, and the media through safarish. The Pakistani minority in the UK have worked hard to enter into politics, and the media. Sadiq Khan, and Sajid Javid were the sons of bus drivers.”

      This is how I started the discussion back in May; the reason we veered off course onto side issues is because of a lack of trust from your side. I was constantly having to justify my sincerity within the discussion, and this is the crux of the problem.

      Look at your most recent claims that I am somehow distancing myself from cousin marriage or poor Pakistani immigrants. Most of my extended family were economic migrants and around 50 percent of the first generation married cousins. This does not detract from the fact that my grandfather was not an economic migrant, and my parents were not cousins. Instead of understanding my point for what it is, which is don’t generalise. You have instead understood it to mean that I wish to disassociate from Pakistanis who came as economic migrants or married cousins. This is what you have been doing with my posts throughout the discussion but then you proceed to accuse me of misunderstanding.

      A quick analysis of The “Mirpuri” Villain!? demonstrates a lot of opinions, and some contradictions. I was not seeking to approach the debate in an accusatory manner. The commentators on Portmir have been using these tactics against me to such an extent that I began to respond in kind. All the while they’ve been making excuses for Jatts racist attitude, and instead accusing me of racism.

      Faisal’s most recent advice to Jatt is to stop falling for the bait, and being racist, which essentially goes like this ‘Jatt, your views are fine by me bro but not in front of Farooq he will use it against us’. Obviously, I am to blame, because by responding to Faisal’s post, I’m actually trying to provoke Jatt into making unnecessary racist references to my background lol.

      “1.2 million Pakistanis in the uk according to the UK census of 2011, how on earth did we get this figure, if Mirpuris EN MASS weren’t self-affirming as Pakistanis? The actual amount of people who self-affirmed as “Kashmiris” is tiny, and this includes Valley Kashmiris from Indian-administered-Kashmir. This is utter stupidity;”

      It’s counterproductive for Mirpuris to self affirm as Kashmiris, and gain official recognition as such. Firstly most Mirpuris as you say, identify with Pakistan, and feel a connection with their fellow British Pakistanis. You say there is no reciprocation but this is your opinion, up and down the UK this weekend Mirpuri, and non- Mirpuri Pakistanis are mixing with each other as one community. Another reason is that identifying separately to Pakistanis will shift the attention of the far right, and media directly onto Kashmiris. The so called British Pakistani ghettos within the UK will officially become known as British Kashmiri ghettos, and British Pakistanis will be seen as a small minority which should be left alone. Minority communities are usually targeted when they grow to an extent that the host community feels threatened by their presence. Furthermore various prominent personalities within politics, and the media will still be known by the British Pakistani label. Therefore giving the impression that British Pakistanis are a small successful community within the UK.
      This has been the argument of a minority of British Pakistanis all along. They believe that if Mirpuris were to affirm separately as British Kashmiris, the spotlight would shift away from the British Pakistani community.

      This does not mean however that within people’s personal interactions they do not identify as Kashmiri when asked the question “where are you from” by non-Pakistanis.

      “I hate to break it to you, it is Mirpuris who are excluded from the British-Pakistani fraternity; no Mirpuris insult Pakistanis for “being” Pakistanis.”

      How do you know have you been to every British Pakistani, and British Mirpuri, and asked them? On what basis have you reached such a conclusion? A minority of journalists reporting the views of a minority of British Pakistani separatists. Is this the best you can come up with Reiss, even though you continually like to claim a higher degree of intellectual investiture in the topic?

      “So why shouldn’t we self-affirm as British-Paharis, Mirpuris or people from ‘A’JK in the UK?”

      If you affirm as British Pahari, you are actually affirming as British Kashmiri. I know about the minority of separatists within my community I have challenged these views when I’ve encountered them. You are not aware of the work I have done while you continue to accuse me of insincerity and racism. Education is the solution, it is the only way we are going to be able to silence the minority of racists. Now go ahead accuse me of labelling the Mirpuri community uneducated instead of understanding the point being made. Pahari kids are highly intelligent from my own personal experience of your community. There is a lot of potential here, however issues still exist within the Pahari/Pothwari speaking communities across the UK. I see these issues fizzling out within the next 30 years.

      I have no problem with you identifying as Brit Pahari, and teaching your youngsters about their identity. However you seem to be doing it from a separatist standpoint which is what I’m opposing. As I said I’m a unionist, and oppose separation within a country where we are the minority, and also in the subcontinent, where Hindu nationalism is on the rise.

      The Muslim Ummah is not imaginary it exists among ordinary people although the despotic leaders of Muslim countries don’t share the interests of ordinary people. Do you think the majority of the people in Pakistan view the Kashmir issue with a desire to exploit the people, and their resources? Most people in Pakistan are deeply disturbed by the murder, and rape of their fellow Muslims in IOK. However, they are powerless to do anything about it, because the corrupt elite has an altogether different agenda.

      Although some Arabs look down on Pakistanis, it doesn’t follow that all Arabs think this way. I’ve come across a lot of decent Arabs who are genuinely interested in brotherhood. This brotherhood should be one of support, and unity among ordinary people rather than being hijacked by extremists, claiming to represent us.

      The anti-corruption movement in Pakistan which includes the people of Azad Kashmir is a good example of people from different regions coming together as Pakistani Muslims to try and effect change.

      • “This is how I started the discussion back in May; the reason we veered off course onto side issues is because of a lack of trust from your side. I was constantly having to justify my sincerity within the discussion, and this is the crux of the problem.”

        Errr…..no. The exact moment you decided to veer off course is when you misunderstood my statement that “Mirpuris are Kotlis” and imagined through your anxieties that I(and by extension the rest of Portmir) were Kashmiri separatists when in reality, I was just stating a fact that Kotli was part of Mirpur division and I wasn’t hiding a separatist agenda. You didn’t reply to this post of mine so I think you didn’t see it. Here I will bring up the quote..

        “Kotli people are Mirpuris. They’ve been Mirpuris for at least 160 years and this doesn’t change just because some of them may be ignorant of this fact. I wasn’t attempting to exculpate my ethnic kinsman based on a separatist agenda. I was merely stating a fact.”

        Based on your misunderstanding of that one statement I made that Kotlians are Mirpuris, you spent the next few posts arguing against Kashmiri separatism by telling us how much Kotlians hated Mirpuris.

        After you were unable to substantiate these claims, you then began arguing that Punjabis were the closest group to Paharis and that the people of AJK were not oppressed unlike the Iraqi Kurds who were clearly a different ethnic group from Iraqi Arabs and who were definately oppressed.

        Both the Kotlian/Mirpuris and Paharis/Punjabis topics were introduced by you into this exchange. These had nothing to do with what anyone else was arguing. You introduced these topics because you have an obsession with Azad Kashmir not separating from Pakistan, and you see Kashmiri separatism in every line that we write which is why your latest post is also about this obsession.

        • Faisal,

          Absolutely, that’s exactly how it happened, I couldn’t have described the situation better!!

          Faruq, you veered off to pursue a myopic view that is at odds with AJK and its diaspora taking ownership of their actual “lived” experiences in both the UK and AJK. It seems you’re much more obsessed about the whole Kashmir thing than we are, these are your anxieties, not ours, and it’s showing. That’s why I said to you, what is really going on here? The fact that you’ve resorted to Islam, as a means of buttressing this Pakistani identity, within the context of subcontinent politics, partition, and the rise of militant Hindu Nationalism, shows that Mirpuri Vilification was’t the actual focus of your post(s), although I concede to you, you did deal with vilification in your introductory post. I don’t accept that it was because we felt your claims were suspect – that’s just not true, we collectively addressed, each and every one of your points.

          I would like some clarification about what it is you actually believe within the wider scheme of things?

          For my part, just to clarify my own position; I am totally reconciled with my “Indian” heritage; Pahari culture for me is a regional outgrowth of that old and long heritage, just as Panjabi culture is, Sindhi culture and even, believe it or not, Kashmiri culture. This wonderful regionalism, borne of a shared past (we’re all the same people Faruq), is something the Pakistan Project wants to deny the natives of the subcontinent as it falsifies Pakistan’s actual history. I don’t subscribe to any form of religious or ethnic communalism; I’ve read about partition and it’s left me in tears. What did any of us achieve with partition, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Atheist, whatever? Political actors pursuing a myopic agenda destroyed the subcontinent; Panjab is split today, look what happened to your own family, Faruq? Neither of the two Panjab’s are in a better position on account of this troubling history. I am a devout secularist, who can also reconcile my Muslim heritage (sufism) with that of India, and the territorial polities that encompass my cultural region. I have multiple identities, I do not believe in any form of ethnic-linguistic primordialism or ethnic/religious nationalism. I am also reconciled with the idea of Pakistan, because it is a fact of history now, regrettably I add, as I feel we are much worse for this political imposition, but we need it to work for the well-being of 200 million people. We cant keep revisiting justifications for Pakistan’s existence. How are the Muslims of the subcontinent in a better position now, as we live in three separate political enclaves with all sorts of regional fault-lines given Pakistan’s neopatrimonial culture – a curse for us in AJK and the rest of you in Pakistan? So I agree, normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan is the way forward – which means speaking honestly about the Pakistan army’s instrumentalisation of Islam for all the wrong reasons, including materialistic ones.

          Faisal, you’ve hit the nail on the head. And if you’re honest, Faruq, you would accept Faisal’s assessment about the anxieties really motivating you?

          So I repeat, what’s really going on here Faruq?

          • Farooq’s anxieties: “Mirpuris are exaggerating racism in the UK and grievances in Kashmir in order to distance themselves from the bad image of Pakistan. If I could convince them that the racism problem goes both ways, that Kashmir is not that different from the rest of Pakistan, and that my Messiah Imran Khan will make Pakistan into a utopia then maybe they will regain some of their lost patriotism. “

          • Farooq,

            Thank you for your input.

            You’ve tried to impose the British Kashmiri label on me before, which according to your own standards is racist. I’m not using you as a poster boy for Pakistani racism against Mirpuris. I just ask that you be consistent.

            The Pakistani ghettoes that you are referring to are already been seen as Mirpuri ghettoes which is the problem as 25% or more of the people who are living there are Pakistani. We are currently at the stage where Pakistanis and many others are pointing to these places and blaming Mirpuris for all the crimes that happen in those areas. If British Pakistanis and Mirpuris began identifying differently then we’d be able to distinguish who the actual culprits are in those areas, whereas right now Mirpuris are having to take all the blame. Also, a lot of these other so called “Mirpuri ghettoes” I suspect are actually full of Pakistanis but are being called Mirpuri ghettoes as we don’t know the actual demographics of any of these places. People just assume anything north of Watford that is a British Pakistani area is a Mirpuri ghetto.

            Your saying that British Pakistanis would be seen as a “small successful” community in the UK if Mirpuris began identifying differently . I will disagree and I refer to our earlier posts where you were given lists of all the Pakistani ghettoes, and terrorists, and hate preachers etc etc. However, you are free to reject all of those as I’m happy if Pakistanis are this deluded about their reputation as it means you shouldn’t be opposed to separation from British Mirpuris.

            Apart from that, I don’t think there’s anything you said that directly relates to separation in the UK, you’ve talked about the Muslim Ummah which is an argument for why Kashmiris shouldn’t separate from Pakistan as a country. This has no relevance to the UK. If different Muslim groups want to identify differently in the UK then that should be fine.

            As of now, I haven’t seen any appetite on the part of Pakistanis to challenge this racism in their community so I think this is the only solution. Every other community in the world that is stigmatised is being unfairly treated however only Mirpuris are actually responsible for their bad reputation and have to “get educated”. I find that this type of reasoning from Pakistanis very disheartening as it means they will never challenge bigotry within their own group.

  48. Faisal,

    I have already confirmed that there are hardly any Mirpuris in Nelson, Burnley, Bolton, Sunderland, Newport, Glasgow etc.. and alot of the other northern towns like Preston, Manchester, Blackburn, Leicetir, Huddersfield and others have alot of non Mirpuris there as well. But we will end up carrying the can for all crimes committed by Pakistanis. For us seperation is a win win, situation we can accept all our criminals and will be rid of many who are from Pakistan and not Mirpur, at the same time any Mirpuri success story can no longer be called a Pakistani or a Muslim. Upto now no Mirpuri who has done well is ever considered a Mirpuri anyway and is always called a Asian, Pakistani or Muslim. We can never loose.

    Pakistanis being considered a small success story is a joke as they are not considered a success story by their peers in any country on the planet where they live and Pakistan itself is a failed state. Non Mirpuri Pakistanis live in Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Canada, USA, UAE, Saudia, Denmark, Norway and Kuwait, where exactly are they viewed as a success story. I have been to many of these countries and the Pakistanis are viewed very negatively. In Canada they are all concentrated in a few ghettos like Missassagua and Brampton and are known as Islamic nutcases and many have been arrested for terror offences while the rest do menial jobs or live on welfare. In USA they are known for the California shootings and Times Square attacks and also as the people who hid Osama Bin Laden in their land, I am sure any Kashmiri there will not miss being labelled a Pakistani. In Europe all non Mirpuri Pakistanis or to clarify at least 90% arrived illegally and are known as illegals and street hawkers or farm labourers and in Italy and looked upon as weirdos who kill their daughters.

    Also Pakistanis are deluded by this umma nonsense, it is all fake. Give me the details of one Pro Kashmir rally in any arab or muslim country in the planet. Kashmiris were slaughtered in many pogroms and no umma stood with them. In the UK go to any Iraq, Palestine or Syria rally and their will a high percentage of Pakistanis jumping up and down, go to any Kashmir rally it will be 99% mirpuri and only 1 % Pakistani, hardly umma is it. The more I think of it, the more I am convinced that we will be better off without the Islamofacists tendencies of many Pakistanis, this behaviour is unnatural for Mirpuris who are a loving and fair minded people, without thousands of years of history in the land of the old University on the planet Shadra in AJK.

    • I’m glad you agree Jatt. People can be Pakistani in their daily lives if they want. But “British Pakistani”? We’ve got nothing to benefit from this….

      Also I think Portmir should compile a list of the diaspora in the UK from Mirpuris who live in some of these “ghettos”. A lot of the places your saying like Nelson are being called Mirpuri areas online and on wikipedia. So if you are right and they aren’t Mirpuri then at least we will have confirmation from someone in the community.

      Whether we like it or not, the “Majority commits most of the crime” argument is actually effective and most people instinctively believe in it.

      I can confirm that Rochdale and Oxford also have a minority Mirpuri population.

      • Faisal.

        We can only do that if our community mobilises around its own identity-label. There are currently no datasets we can interrogate to ascertain conclusively the actual backgrounds of people to either the Pakistan mainland, or Azad Jammu Kashmir. As we all know, most of us, self-affirm as Pakistanis. The Pakistani identity in the UK is a major liability for our people for the reasons we’ve been discussing. So clearly we need to agree on a shared label. I propose “British-Paharis” for our ethnicity and “Azad Jammu Kashmir” for our place of ethnic origin, which shouldn’t be too much of a shock for the Pakistani thought-police given it’s an implicit recognition of the current situation – no one is advocating for the re-unification of the State or it’s independence, so what would be the problem?

        Faruq,

        We’re not demanding that Pothwaris or Hindkowan join us either, they can continue self-affirming as British-Pakistanis as they are bona fide Pakistanis. We’re not, but we have no issues with anyone from our community who continues to self-affirm as a Pakistani, except to point out that it is a false group-consciousness. If Pothwaris, Hindkowan, want to tick the British-Pahari box, to prioritise this aspect of their ethnic identity over a Pakistani territorial identity (perhaps they are people of conscience unhappy with Pakistan), that’s similarly their right.

        If AJK was fully enfranchised, borders were relaxed between AJK and JK (the Pahari areas), there was complete parity between AJK and Pakistan, or AJK was given complete autonomy as promised, we would have no reason to demand a separate identity-label in the UK from mainland British-Pakistanis. In that case, we would just have to convince the minority of “stuck-up” Pakistanis in the UK to stop disparaging their genuine “countrymen” from AJK, Pakistan. If they continue to behave abominably towards us, we can’t blame the Pakistani government, as the problem in question would be UK-based only.

        However, presently, the ambiguous status of AJK, it’s fringe status does allow for huge political and economic exploitation, this feeds into the current vilification. How Faruq has decided to dismiss all this conveniently, as he had conceded previously “AJK’s” status was playing a part in the current problems, shows the lack of sincerity on his part.

        So Faruq, your anxieties are not well placed.

        In fact, contrary to your rather cynical “belief” that we’re all closest separatists (some people, when they cant win an argument, they impugn the integrity of their detractors), and as you accuse me of imagining the current problem at hand, we’ve been forced to try to create a space for ourselves, so we can better speak for our own people. We’re not “separating”, instead we’re “creating a space” for ourselves in the UK – there’s a huge difference. Do you see any of us shouting “Azaadi” slogans here? Show me where I’ve once deployed arguments for Jammu & Kashmir’s independence from either India or Pakistani? I mean it’s quite shocking that I’m having this conversation with you. I’ve only just said that partition was a mistake, Pakistan is a fact of history, separating further would cause more harm (death/carnage/bad blood etc), and normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan is the way forward.

        As for AJK’s status, let Pakistan give the people of AJK the vote first, given you’ve become the spokesperson for a country you’ve previously criticised for being corrupt and unjust; we’re democrats, none of us is a nationalist here; you also claim to be a democrat, it’s perfectly democratic for Pakistan to offer the 3 options – India, Pakistan, or independence? If India doesn’t follow suit, that reflects on India, not Pakistan.

        Sadly, it’s all hogwash. And if you’re honest with yourself, and not just us, you know Pakistan is duplicitous in its dealings with AJK.

        Like your straw man arguments here and your skewed history of the Kashmir Conflict, Pakistan’s dealings with AJK have always been insincere. But you insist on spurting disinformation on the status of Azad Jammu Kashmir, even as you conceded, a few posts earlier, Azad Kashmiris are indeed second class citizens in AJK. Now, please explain how you would reconcile this contradiction?

        But, apparently we’re the ones that are seeing and hearings things that are not there!

        Let me restate the proposition.

        In the absence of a genuine shared fraternity with British-Pakistanis, it is mainland Pakistanis who are the gatekeepers to our community; to preserve their own reputational standing they are accusing us of having gone “rogue” – there is ample evidence online and in the print media of this, you choose not to see this, okay that’s your choice. These Pakistanis are well-placed and have the ear of the media; the media turns to them for its insights. And so it’s just assumed on the basis of an illusory social-class dichotomy that well-to-do Pakistanis come from the cities, the less amenable immigrants come from the villages. These different social classes, from different ethnic backgrounds, have apparently settled in different parts of the UK in some fatalistic kind of way. Mirpuris live in the north, Pakistanis live in the south; Mirpuris are working-class, Pakistanis are middle-class; Mirpuris are socially conservative, Pakistanis are liberal-minded; educational and professional attainment levels for Pakistanis is higher than Mirpuris, – this last point is based on the supposed demography of our community.

        The gate-keepers have been self-affirming on the basis of this imagined cleavage for decades, you’ve exhibited this mindset in your own posts here, and on more than one occasion. This was what I was originally arguing, before, you took us on a journey of self-discovery, reneging on your claims, re-asserting them, qualifying them, protesting you meant something else – arguing we were preaching to the “converted”, insisting we work together to stamp out this racism via the Imran Khan platform (I’m not opposed to this btw); I entreat you to re-read your own posts to see the sheer level of your inconsistencies.

        It’s as if I’m having conversations with a different person – why are you being so inconsistent?

        And, now you insist that the online material of Mirpuri vilification does not exist as you’ve been previously keen to kick the can down the street blaming every other community. At one point, this hate was banter, so I wonder where this material has disappeared? I sigh. Perhaps, we’re living in parallel universes brother Faruq, were this material is not only easily available when we access it, but we are also imagining the validation that came from you on this website as you narrated your anecdotes of all the various people who similarly hated Mirpuris, in addition to citified Pakistanis, who were not solely responsible for this vilification – your initial argument, which has now morphed to “there’s no vilification”. Your argument then, was, we were being selective, choosing not to blame our own ethnic kinsmen from AJK and the Pothohar Uplands. Do you recall this exchange by any chance? Now, in my vocabulary that’s an inconsistency, but in your vocabulary that’s a proof of some truth.

        Forgive me, I don’t quite understand how you can make such a remark. You’re being very insincere.

        But you think we’re deluded, that anti-Mirpuri vilification is just a figment of our imagination? You think I am the only person talking about this, that as you are so familiar with our community, you’ve got all the anecdotes to prove it, I am somehow lying about all the Mirpuris who have decried this outrageous racism from fellow British-Pakistanis? Fair enough, Britain isn’t Pakistan, where bloggers are disappeared for exposing corruption/exploitation, or accused of being Indian agents – a favourite slur; I respectfully disagree with you because I believe in freedom of thought and freedom of expression. Perhaps you can re-visit my claim of ongoing vilification in 10/15 years to see if there was any truth to it.

        Finally to debunk another persistent falsehood you’ve been spreading as proof of my supposed inconsistencies; the 7/7 bombers were NOT from Mirpur, despite living in the Beeston area of Leeds in a supposedly predominantly “Mirpuri” area. You’ve raised this falsehood on a number of occasions now. When we went digging in light of compiling the trash attacks nearly 5 years ago, we used our Mirpuri connections in the Leeds area and they advised us, before we even found evidence in print, that families of 7/7 bombers were not Mirpuris but categorically “Panjabis”. This was exactly how they were being described at the time, that their parents identified as “Panjabis” not “Mirpuris”. So why are you using straw man arguments conflating the Pothohar with Mirpur, when the slur in question was that the “Mirpuri” community had produced suicide bombers? Lot’s of Pakistanis at the time were conveniently scapegoating Mirpuris, and I had read similar claims on Pakistani online forums.

        The “ring leader” Muhammad Siddique Khan’s parents were from Rawalpindi,

        “While his voice was quiet, his diction was clear and he didn’t have the usual clipped and stumbling Yorkshire-Pakistani (or “Yorkshirestani”) accent of many Leeds cab drivers. Having lived all of his life in Yorkshire, Gultasab, like his brother, spoke with a gentle Yorkshire lilt. But when I asked him where he was from, his immediate reply was Rawalpindi, one of Pakistan’s major cities. This meant the Khans were Punjabi, not Mirpuri. In a Pakistani city, this wouldn’t have meant much, but in Britain, where migration had accentuated small differences, it meant the Khans would have been at one remove from Beeston’s community of first-generation migrants.”

        Now I wonder which upwardly mobile Pakistani has been accentuating these differences between Pakistanis and “Kashmiris” for the insights of this Indian journalist friend? Please read the entire article to get an understanding of what is going on.

        http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/features/my-brother-the-bomber-mohammad-sidique-khan

        Shehzad Tanweer’s parents were from Panjab, he was buried in a cemetery close to Samundari.

        https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/oct/28/july7.uksecurity

        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2264298/Life-of-July-7-bomber-Shehzad-Tanweer-celebrated-by-family-in-Pakistan.html

        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/aldgate-bomber-buried-in-pakistan-322908.html

        https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-12621383

        Apparently his death was celebrated as martyrdom; now can you show me where Mirpuris separated from Pakistanis, arguing that these suicide bombers were not Mirpuris but Pakistanis, and they should be identified as such?

        Hasib Hussain’s parents were from Rawalpindi, although I recall hearing at the time if my memory serves me well that his family were originally from Jhelum.

        “In the weeks since the bombings, Hasib Hussain has been cast as a social misfit and drop-out whose overt and sudden radicalisation may have provided an early warning sign. Yet family sources reveal that he was a promising academic about to head for university and an arranged marriage. Their testimony also suggests it was highly improbable that he was exposed to radical madrassas – Islamic schools – in Pakistan, as his fellow bombers were.

        He had won a place on a business studies degree course at Leeds University, starting in September. An arranged marriage to a college student in Pakistan was also in the pipeline. The boy’s only visit to Pakistan since he was eight months old was a trip to the outskirts of Islamabad for his brother Imran’s wedding three years ago. He stayed for four weeks before returning ahead of his brother, to get back to secondary school in Leeds. “There was absolutely no sign of him becoming devoutly religious. He wore jeans and trainers, just like me,” said one family member.”

        “It would have come as no surprise to Hussain that his father wanted him back in school soon after the Islamabad trip. Mohammed Hussain, a former foundry supervisor, holds much store in living by the rules. He frowns on smoking, for instance, and tells Imran’s wife’s Pakistani family that he would not have allowed the marriage to take place, were his son a smoker. His mantra to both sons was that they must “work very hard” to get well qualified before the aged of 25. Then they might be able to earn good money.”

        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/hussains-story-family-struggle-to-understand-why-their-gentle-boy-became-a-bomber-303130.html

        Now where did these journalists get the idea that the 3 “Pakistanis” involved in this heinous crime on the 7th of September 2005 were from Mirpur?

        And why did you say that the ringleader was from Mirpur Faruq? Was that based on an anecdote within the British-Pakistani community, or was it based on some exculpatory ideas being spread by the media courtesy of our Gate Keepers.

        https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/jul/18/july7.religion

        https://syedaunmohammed.wordpress.com/tag/bradistan/ a blog from a self-affirming Pakistani slating Mirpuris, having relied on the same false anecdotes peddled by Faruq here…

        “The three Pakistani’s in the 7/7 attacks all had Mirpuri backgrounds. Mirpur is the biggest city in Azad Kashmir but is largely a rural community that was battered during partition”

        “New Statesman’s Samira Shackle points out, in her excellent article (note excellent article) on Bradford’s Pakistani community,

        “Those from Karachi or Islamabad use the term ‘Mirpuri’ pejoratively, and adverts on online dating sites such as muslimsingles.com often stipulate ‘No Mirpuris’.” Now, can you explain to me Faruq, how a Pakistani woman, whose mother is from Karachi can make such comments, if such ideas were not widespread in her Karachi community?

        She says, having merely recycled this trope as it was being spread in the British-Pakistani community,

        “Another risk – though one that must not be overstated – is extremism. All four bombers behind the London attacks on 7 July 2005 were from Yorkshire, and three of them had Mirpuri backgrounds. ”These recruiters use your weakness – and that’s Islam,“ says Shah, who works with the police on counterterrorism.”

        “The Mirpuri community particularly emphasises clan loyalty, or biraderi, manifested in marriage to first cousins. Studies suggest that 60 per cent of all Mirpuri marriages are to a first cousin, with a substantial proportion of the remainder being between more distant relatives. While other south Asian immigrants tend to work outwards from the family unit through marriage, Mirpuris reinforce existing connections, producing intensely bound communities. The notion of honour, important to many cultures, is reinforced by double or triple ties of obligation – a potential mother-in-law could also be an aunt. This can lead to forced marriage and, in extreme cases, honour killings.”

        What did you say in your previous posts about the Mirpuri community being “insular”, and obsessing about “caste-backgrounds, a practise that was not common among your “kind” of Pakistanis? I wonder where you were getting your ideas from?

        Am I still peddling anecdotes? You don’t think, in your mind, that the above claims in print adds cumulative weight to what we’re arguing about how unjust and unfair British Pakistani attitudes are towards Mirpuris? Why are we beings slurred like this?

        Jatt Punyal,

        I don’t agree at all with your characterisation of the British Pakistani diaspora in your latest post. I think you’re taking a very extreme position that is unbalanced and unfair. We can reconcile Islam with our cultural heritage, not least because our Islam is apolitical. Islam is very much part of our heritage as it is part of our everyday lives. Islam is a beautiful religion, it’s just some impressionable people are being manipulated through “ideology”, they reduce Islam to political grievances, tribal identities, and violent resistance – this sort of “Islam” is destructive. If this is what you mean by Islamofascist, I agree. The Islam we hope to harness in our communities is the one that has co-existed with other faiths in the western Himalayas, as Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs co-existed peacefully. This particular Islam was responsible for a lot of art, culture and Sufi music.

        But in any case, whether its Islam, Hinduism, or various interpretations of these faiths, religion is a private matter, it is merely one aspect of our identity. It has no place in our civic and political affairs, because of what we’ve seen, I don’t want to be governed by Wahhabis who want to impose their norms and values upon me, and this would hold true for Christian fanatics or Hindu extremists.

        • Reiss what Islam is it that you are refering to?
          I hope it is not the Barelvis being painted as the good guys as Mumtaz Qadri, Tehreek Labbaik, Allah ho akbr tahreek are all Barelvis just like the Punjabi muslim barelvi man who killed that Ahmadi shopkeeper in Glasgow. Are you sure we are going to benefit by having these types along with the Pirs in AJK. Just look at Punjab where all the Pirs are taking kick backs and telling their mureeds who to vote for. I remember when the Birmingham Pir Siddiqui of Nerian was alive at the last election he supported Nawaz Sharif, thereby swaying the views of those whose only aspiration in life is to be followers.
          Also Reiss brother tell me more of this art and music and culture that was created by Mullas/sufis/pirs. With all due respect I have never heard any mirpuris in the UK or AJK listening to any mulla music except the odd Qawali ( U P Music).
          I know this point is not directly related to the topic but I think it is important to understand as so far we are being led up the garden path due to Islam and all claim that the miscreants are not real muslims and there is another actual great version of Islam, let me know when you get a chance what that version is.

          • Jatt,

            Islam is very much part of our cultural heritage as it is part of the subcontinent’s wider history – Pakistan wants to conflate India with Hinduism and Pakistan with Islam – this dichotomy is false. There was a point when we were pagans, and then we became Buddhists, Hindus, Sikh, Muslim. I mean to imply that in no strict chronological timeline or espouse the “identities” in question exhaustively. I’m just saying these traditions have roots within our cultural region, and if I had my way, I would be paying for the restoration and preservation of this heritage. All such buildings and artefacts would be treated with respect and dignity, because these buildings belong to our forebears, and the onus is on us, their descendants to honour their endowments. These traditions, even when extinct, are still part of our cultural inheritance. When I speak of Islam within this context, I don’t mean Barelvis, Deobandis, Ahl-e-hadis, jamat-e-Islami, or other sectarian or denominational groups. The Islam of our cultural heritage was very much a syncretic affair, and the religious saint was more valued than the theologian or jurist.

            In our region, our exposure to established religion was through the endowments of Sufi shrines. Our Islam did not come through the complex of religious seminaries, and the Deobandis and Brelvis are in fact imports into the region from North India. I recall reading a Phd thesis on this some years back, it was never published, but was written by someone from our region, and so I was keen to read it. The author spoke of an incident, when a local was asked if he was a Brelvi, or Deobdandi. The chap replied by saying, “neither I am a Gujjar!” Even the idea of Brelvis and Deobands was alien to the locals, these seminary-based movements, I suspect, have been imported into Mirpur via our UK connections, or around the same time we became a settled community in the UK. As our community grew prosperous, and we developed a need for Mosques and Imams, we imported these “Urdu” speaking Imams from Pakistan and India. These individuals introduced an Islam that was much more socially conservative to the Islam our forebears were accustomed to.

            Suffice to say, there were no Mullahs in our region, the type that now exist in the region, who take their religious cues from Pakistan’s urban spaces. Brelvis, Deobandis and all the others, are in fact a product of the Indian city, they have been moulded by the colonial experience, and they are in many ways “reactionary”, even as we have since moved on – they are thus unhelpful throwbacks to an age long eclipsed.

            As for Sufi poems, music, art – yes there is such a thing as Sufi art – all of this was expressed through the regional vernaculars. Sufi poems were sung through the accoutrement of music (qawwali), much inspired by Indian traditions, and this coalescence of the best of the Muslim and Hindu worlds took root in our region, it flowered and blossomed, and I think we were much better for it. This spirituality, is the Islam I am referring to, it is the Islam of the Saif ul-mulook of Mian Muhammad Baksh of Kharri Sharif, who said, “tear down the Mosques, tear down the Hindu temples, but don’t destroy the hearts of men, for truly God resides there.” Incidentally, as he is buried in Mirpur, and just to expose the farce of Faruq’s outlandish claims on Mirpur during our exchanges, he is universally known throughout Pakistan, and the wider Jammu & Kashmir region, as the “Rumi of Kashmir”. So this should give our readers an idea of how far Faruq is prepared to go to try and write Mirpuris out of their historical region, Mirpur, Kashmir State.

            In any case, this is the sufism that I am most comfortable with, it is an Islam that has deep roots in our region, it used to have roots in the neighbourhoods of Panjab too, before certain elements started to expunge this region of the Islam that we had all taken for granted. It may not be to everyone’s liking, but no one who practised it went about his business killing people, imposing himself on others, poisoning relations between peoples of different beliefs and attitudes, or demeaning non-Muslims. It was a very peaceful Islam that tried to improve the character of people, and I think I am much better for it, as I’m sure I’ve fallen foul of its moral standards. This Islam is about sincerity to one’s peers; if you can’t be true to yourself, you can never be true to your peers; righteousness is not ritual, it is how you deal with people. Thus, man is adjudged by God on his dealings with others. God will forgive your infractions against him, but he wont forgive the infractions committed against an innocent person, until that person forgives you. These are the sorts of teachings that our people used to abide by, they weren’t so much interested in hiding their women through dozens of layers of clothing or growing their beards, cycles of excruciating prayer, or long lamentations to assembled crowds of generous benefactors.

            As a secular person, I can reconcile this Islam that our forebears had grown accustomed to, with our other lived experiences. It is not in conflict with our values of co-existing harmoniously with other people; in the olden days, Muslims and Hindus, believe it or not, used to visit Sufi shrines, and I’m sure Muslims also visited Hindu temples, no one thought to think otherwise, and there was no incitement to stop such practises. It may have fallen out of favour given the long reach of today’s Muslim Mullah, who seems to have more influence in the Muslim circles of the west, then his predecessor had in traditional Sufi societies, but it is an Islam that is very dear to my heart.

            Whether someone thinks it’s beyond the pale of orthodox Islam, or whether you, Jatt think, it is the first steps up the garden path, it is of no consequence to me, for my Islam is a purely personal and private matter. It is at its most basic, “do onto others as you would have them do onto you”. What I have learnt of Islam and state power, these two realities should be kept apart, for the biggest temporal tyrants seem to have a loyal fanbase in the circles of autocratic Mullahs – and they always want to encroach upon the lives of ordinary people, as their grateful patrons, courtesy of favours bestowed, give them license to run riot. Imagine, even a country like Saudi Arabia, is now in the process of trying to reign in the religious lunatics who refuse to enter the modern age.

            Ultimately, none of us was born a slave, for others to try to enslave us through their religious manipulation. If I fall foul of God’s laws, I think I should be free to make those mistakes given my immortal soul will be subject to the whim and caprice of religious men who take great delight in describing such suffering in their religious texts or sermons. British Paharis are being subjected to an Islam that has not grown from within our own cultural sphere, and so I would like to return them, to the Islam of our forebears.

    • In regards to the Ummah point. Yes, I’m a cultural Muslim. I agree AJK folk take political Islam much less seriously then our Pakistani counterparts which is a good sign. Pakistanis like Farooq do not realise this and that’s why they are still coming out with these Muslim ummah arguments unaware that they are ineffective.

  49. I wrote it quickly I meant with thousands of years of history. I also meant the oldest Uni in history was Sharda in AJK. It was a centre of learning 3000 years ago.

    We the Mirpuris of AJK have a history and culture outside of Namaaz, burka, Hijab, Jihad and Zakir Naik and Anjum Chaudri.

    Let us identify oursleves or we will forever be described by others who are unable to accept who they are and live in an imaginary world.

  50. HERE ENDETH THE LESSON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

    You guys are saps. U been arguing vilification, but Mr Faruq Ali was obsessing about Azad Jammu Kashmir REMAINING PART OF PAKISTAN all this time lol You guys were motivated by different things. Ali’s focus was identity politics to advance Pakistan’s cause, not addressing vilification to address Mirpuri grievances. He doesn’t care about Mirpuri-bashing in the least, it doesn’t affect him or his community.

    WORDS ARE ACTUALLY REVEALING OF INTENTIONS. He just said how successful his community is, so if AJK people started to identify through their own labels, they will still be the losers. Ali how did you reach that conclusion, so you think Punyal’s list of successful AJK people is imaginary then? You knew exactly which buttons to press to trigger Punyal!!! I’ve been reading the posts, Punyal mentioned he was from Dadyal, a few miles away from Kotli, and you said in the next post, your AJK friends told you about a particular place called Dudyal where the people have money but basically nothing else, bethmeez language, jungli people, “””black Punjabis”””, wt-heck, feel free to visit DADYAL to see how stupid that idea is, I can post pictures of lots of people from your central Punjab to understand the contrast/comparison, but still this is what you said. Punyal, true to form as he is still on the offensive now, told you Pakistan is also effed up and gave you a massive list of how messed up Pakistan was!!!! What the heck Punyal, you’re still in trigger mode? So there are no good Pakistanis? Every Pakistani, or Pakistani Panjabi is an Islamofacist? This is extreme, and Faruq you can snigger all you want but you startedl this.

    Anyway, Reiss’ claim has been proven right. He said British Pakistanis imagine themselves in a certain light (urbanites/citified), and they do this by contrasting themselves with Mirpuris (villagers), they’re UPRIGHT, Mirpuris are basically effed up. Urban Pakistanis are wealthy, affluent, progressive, Mirpuris are backwards, scroungers, no culture, language, or memories – they speak a shitty language called Mirpuri, Pakistanis speak Urdu, they are successful, open-minded, Mirpuris are cousin-shaggers, uncles wear shalwar kameez cus they are isolationist. lolol I’ve re-read these posts a couple of times with my friends, it is revealing of what’s actually happening, but literally it is as Reiss explained. These are anxieties of Pakistanis, and they get something tangible out of speaking bad about us, the Mirpuris, they are the minority, we are the majority. They rally around each other, cus we’re the imposters. They get to redeem the reputation of THEIR country – Pakistan. “Don’t call them Pakistanis, call them Mirpuris” even as none of the accusations about our community HAVE EVER BEEN PROVEN.

    But, then when Mirpuris say, you are right, we are separate from Pakistanis, we’re from Jammu Kashmir not Pakistan, THEY DON’T LIKE THIS IDEA EITHER. So Ali was keen to separate Mirpuris from Kashmiris, he was keen to connect Paharis with Pothwaris and Punjabis, he had an agenda. How can anyone say Mirpur was part of Punjab, it was British who added it to Azad Jammu Kashmir? Mr Ali, why do you keep repeating this ignorant crap? So you’re deliberately spreading falsehood? I read Reiss’ comments, you never counteracted even one point, he told you to go away and learn, he said don’t go to wikipedia, read from professional historians, linguists etc. You didn’t, you repeated the same nauseating claim over and over, accusing him of doing what you were doing, spreading anecdotes. So I did, I’ve been reading about the history of the Punjab, and it’s been an eye opener, thanks to Portmir, and info@portmir.org.uk. The list of reading material should be published here.

    Plz answer this. Q. In which year/decade/century did the word Punjab emerge? For how many years did the Lahore Subah exist? For how many years did the “Punjab” region exist, and how exactly do you determine where the borders of this region lie? In which years did the Punjab region expand? in which years did it shrink? When exactly was the Punjabi term used for geography? When exactly was it used for the territories of the Sikhs? When was it used for the British Punjab Province? When was it used for language? For how long was Mirpur, like other “principalities”, incorporated in the “Punjab” territories/region/geography – you can pick any of these spaces?

    The sentiment Punjab/Punjabi “penumbra” – indeterminate area/group – is now clear to me.

    The word Dogri for instance, is actually older than the word Punjabi, in fact it was used for the language spoken in the hills around Jammu as separate from the “Lahori” language spoken on the Plains. Mr Faruq Ali can you please explain to me how this is possible especially when the word “Punjabi” didn’t even exist during this time? Reiss spoke about the Punjab being a metaphor wrongly applied later to an enormous space, why no response from you?

    Why did Amir Khusrou, in the 14th century make the distinction between Dogri and Lahori? Colonial linguists, centuries later, believed Dogri was a dialect of “Punjabi” as separate from the rest of the languages of the hills westwards which include our dialects NEVER CONSIDERED PUNJABI by these very same linguists. Todays linguists believe Dogri is an independent language, adding it to a different language cluster called western Pahari. Most Dogras consider their language separate from Punjabi, but closely related to the Pahari spoken in Jammu & Kashmir, which they believe to be purer than their own Dogri. They believe their Dogri is being corrupted by Punjabi, which has been heavily corrupted by Hindi. These speakers are mostly high-caste Hindus lol. There is a language movement in Jammu that wants to preserve Dogri.

    Now contrast this with the following passage from a Pakistani newspaper;

    “Mahmud of Ghazni annexed the Punjab in 1027 and settled his army of occupation in Lahore. The famous scholar, Alberuni of Khiva (973 1048) lived there for some time while he studied Sanskrit and prosecuted his researches into Hinduism. Mahmud’s descendants held the Punjab till 1187, when they were defeated by their hereditary foes under Muhammad Ghori who had already sacked Ghazni. The first sultan of Delhi was Qutb-ud-Din Aibak, a native of Turkistan, but a servant of Muhammad Ghori and afterwards his chief general.” https://www.dawn.com/news/827262

    How did Ghazni annexes Punjab in 1027 when the word didn’t even exist? Aside from emerging centuries later with the Mughals, it was a Persian poet, Hafiz, who started to speak of the Panjabi language, before that no one used this word in this way, and the people were not using the term in the way Ali imagines. So I ask, if the word didn’t exist, which “landmass” was being identified in the above passage? And if the word for the landmass did not exist, what do we know of the people who lived in this region?

    Can “Punjabis” really claim this history as their own history, because of an ambiguous word they use to lay claim to numerous peoples, cultures and regions?

    What is this really about, was the question asked?

    Ali’s game plan was to say look you guys are ETHNIC PAKISTANIS, forget about Kashmir, this territory, this identity, THIS CONFLICT, even though we cuss the crap out of you hillbillies in the UK because you are from the hills and mountains of AZAD JAMMU KASHMIR. You guys are not really Pakistanis! But don’t dare to separate from us either, because it will be your loss.

    All of this could have been avoided if Ali stuck to the topic of grievances. But that never happened because of Ali’s anxieties. Let’s see if he accepts he got it wrong?

    Jatt Punyal, Mirpur is one place amongst a huge place, you just mentioned Sharda which is in Neelum. So it makes more sense for us to say we are British Paharis from Jammu Kashmir, by which we mean so-called Azad Jammu Kashmir. Pothwaris, Hazarawal, and others have an identity – Pakistani. We don’t, we’re not Pakistanis, so we have to use our own labels which connects us to AJK and the UK – British-Paharis. Plus Jatt I don’t agree with what you’re saying about ordinary Pakistanis, you’re still vexed. He’s trigged you pretty bad.

  51. This debate has nothing to do with anxieties on my part because I’m speaking from a British Pakistani perspective not a Pakistani nationalist one. I’m not opposed to the idea of an independent AJK, which enjoys good relations with India, and Pakistan. The problem is India, Pakistan, and the international community don’t view the dispute through this lens, and haven’t done so for the past 70 years. What are the chances of that changing within the next 70 years? Therefore why not focus on more practical initiatives, whilst Imran Khan is not perfect he has promised change. I think he should at least be given the chance to make good on his claims.

    “Just google the term “Mirpuris” to understand what I’m saying, to appreciate the direction of travel of such slanderous characterisations. If you can show me Mirpuris, slandering British-Pakistanis particularly those from the cities – again an illusory identity borne of social class anxieties in the UK – I will be grateful. Personally, our searches haven’t returned anything of substance, and we’ve been looking at this material for years.”

    Reiss, this is an excerpt from your first response to me on the topic. I googled Mirpuri as suggested, and not only found evidence of Sikhs, and a Mirpuri making negative comments. I also found evidence of British-Pakistanis questioning this negative commentary.

    You were also interested to know whether I’d come across any negative comments against British-Pakistanis particularly those from the cities. In sincerity, I decided to share some of my experiences with you. I now realise this was a mistake because predictably you were going to accuse me of a dishonest agenda. At the same time conveniently forgetting all of the anecdotal claims you yourself have been making. Now that you are being challenged on your claims for the first time in the discussion, you seem to have no response. In contrast, I have constantly been trying to defend the integrity of my claims to you, and others.

    A better approach would’ve been to point you in the direction of youtube videos of Azad Kashmir. Read some of the comments underneath these videos from members of the AJK community against Pakistanis. Also I will point you in the direction of Jatt as well. He is not the poster boy, he is clear cut evidence that people from your community are slandering people from my background. Even though this has been happening right under your nose during the discussion, you’re still in denial about it. Instead you insist upon repeating claims which you cannot substantiate.
    For example “I hate to break it to you, it is Mirpuris who are excluded from the British-Pakistani fraternity; no Mirpuris insult Pakistanis for “being” Pakistanis.”

    So I will ask you again, how do you know have you been to every British Pakistani, and British Mirpuri, and asked them? On what basis have you reached such a conclusion? A minority of journalists reporting the views of a minority of British Pakistani separatists. Is this the best you can come up with Reiss, even though you continually like to claim a higher degree of intellectualism?

    As far as the linguistic debate is concerned I will reach a middle ground with you, and say these languages are closely related. Therefore removing your grievance that I’m attempting to impose a Panjabi identity upon you. Your identity is British Pahari from Jammu & Kashmir, I have no problem with you self-affirming as such. The problem arises when you try to dictate to British Pakistanis that the people of northern Panjab should also identify as you do, instead of as Panjabis. If people from Jhelum, and Rawalpindi choose to identify as British Pakistani Panjabi then who are you to tell them otherwise. These areas fall into the Panjab province, Pakistan. Furthermore, there are many people from Mirpur Azad Kashmir who identify as British Pakistani. They also have every right to maintain a fraternity with their fellow British Pakistanis. Speak for yourselves not the whole community within the UK, and Pakistan.
    So this is the reason I’m challenging, and opposing your views within the discussion not because of my anxieties over Kashmir.

    You clearly have an agenda of separatism to push, and you’re trying to convince the rest of us that the majority share your views. This is what religious extremists do, they pick up on grievances, and push their agenda claiming that the rest of the population agrees with them. The same approach is used by the far right picking up on perceived grievances creating a divide, and claiming everyone is a part of this divide.
    The commentators on Portmir seem to have a much more puzzling approach. You want to identify as British Pahari from Jammu & Kashmir therefore removing Pakistani from your identity because of perceived grievances. In your opinion, there is no fraternity left to salvage, and British Pakistanis are to blame for this. At the same time you claim that you are not separatists, and I am the one with the anxieties. Do you understand what a separatist is? I should be asking you what is really going on here because you seem to believe in separation within the UK while claiming you disagree with Kashmiri separatists.

    Surely you realise that identifying as British Pahari will not by default exclude you from the British Pakistani label. This is why you want to identify as British Pahari’s from Kashmir. So why are you in denial about your separatist ideals? At least be upfront about what you stand for, and then we can agree to disagree on that basis. At present, you are claiming to sit on both sides of the fence, not even in the middle, and then wonder why I’m objecting.
    You claim Kashmir has official recognition as an occupied territory which is false. Kashmir has never had international recognition as an occupied territory in the way that Palestine has had. Both sides of the divide view the other side as the occupier. If you were to apply for a UK Visa from Mirpur, you’d be doing so as a Pakistani national. Your claims that Pakistani officialdom views Azad Kashmir as a completely separate region from Pakistan are also false. On the NADRA cards of those from Mirpur district it says Pakistan before AJK. These identity cards can be used for visa free entry into Pakistan, Mirpuris can live and work anywhere in the country. They can own property anywhere in the country, and the major political parties in the region are the same as those in Pakistan. This proves false your claim that most young people in Mirpur district are now subscribing to a separatist ideology. If this was the case they wouldn’t continually vote for candidates aligned to mainstream Pakistani politics. I agree that some people are pushing this agenda now but this doesn’t mean these views are representative within the region.

    “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.”

    Reiss, this is what you wrote in your own article so discussing these issues is not actually off topic at all because you brought them up yourself in ‘The Mirpuri Villain’.

    Faisal & Co

    Bradford, Birmingham, Luton, Oldham, Derby, Oxford, Rochdale, Burnley, and Rotherham are the areas which have been negatively reported in the media over the past 20 years where British Pakistanis are concerned. One of these areas Rochdale has a significant number of people who originate from Sahiwal in Panjab Pakistan. The rest of these areas including oxford are predominantly Azad Kashmiri with Sylheti Bangladeshis making up the second largest group after Azad Kashmiris (Mirpuris) in some of these areas. I challenge any of you to prove otherwise. I agree that British Pakistanis from other backgrounds live in these areas but the majority hail from one region, and we all know exactly which region that is.

    As far as your other comments about Pakistanis in other parts of the world. You are entitled to your opinion but in all of these regions, and countries you mention, Pakistanis are not the most hated minority group. In fact before 9/11 and the rise of Islamophobia Pakistanis in North America were seen in a positive light. It was the African Americans, and Hispanics, who were seen as the problem groups within North America. The spotlight has shifted to include Muslims as well but it’s not limited to Pakistanis, it includes Muslims of all backgrounds.

    In the UK British Pakistanis are the most hated minority ethnic group, to the point where an abbreviation of Pakistani is a racial slur against all Asians. Hatred of Pakistanis within the UK predates 9/11, and the rise of Islamophobia.

    • Most of the areas you mentioned are not up for debate. They weren’t areas Jatt mentioned. Your building a straw man. We know they are majority Mirpuri areas. I’m glad you agreed that Rochdale has a minority Mirpuri population. The other area I mentioned was Oxford.

      “The rest of these areas including oxford are predominantly Azad Kashmiri with Sylheti Bangladeshis making up the second largest group after Azad Kashmiris (Mirpuris) in some of these areas. I challenge any of you to prove otherwise.”

      https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=fqHKAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA16&dq=rochdale+mirpur&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiz9ueVnbPcAhVDL1AKHfupCWQQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=rochdale%20mirpur&f=false

      “Oxford Pakistanis are of quite diverse regional origins. The general consensus, supported by my 1984 household survey is that Jhelumis are the largest group while Faisalabadis, Mirpuris and people from Attock are also well represented, in roughly equal proportions.”

      • Faisal,

        This might come as a shock to Faruq, but from my own preliminary enquires through the informal Mirpuri network at my disposal, friends, relatives, members of the community with links to these areas, I’ve been told on a number of occasions, that a lot of the “grooming gang” perpetrators, are not actually from Mirpur but from the Pakistan mainland. One of the chaps I know who’s got contacts in Oxford was adamant about this, and he was convinced that this would also apply to some of the other areas. If the 7/7 bombers are anything to go by, I guess there’s definitely truth to this claim. It serves the self-affirming Urbanites to blame Mirpuris for these infractions because of the demographic arguments, and as we’ve all consistently pointed out to Faruq, Pakistanis are not an insignificant minority amongst Mirpuris. So why do they self-segregate from Mirpuris? It’s not us communicating this to the outside world, they almost take pride in saying that they’re not Mirpuris, that they look down on Mirpuris. If indeed it transpires that there is no truth to this claim, given that mainland Pakistanis are disproportionally represented in these vile crimes given they’re about 30 percent of the overall British-Pakistani population, the AJK community needs to start asking serious questions about our shared future in this country?

    • Faruq,

      I’ve said to you previously, the people challenging anti-mirpuri vilification are mostly from the Mirpuri community. Prove me wrong? Feel free to quote the passages here, and I can show you from the content, that the majority are not British Pakistanis.

    • Faruq,

      I said Pakistan is exploiting AJK. You are just tip-toeing around what I said; Pakistan’s dealings with AJK are exploitative – everyone knows this. Jammu & Kashmir is more or less occupied by Pakistan Officialdom, given how duplicitous its officers behave, and it is Pakistan that makes a song and dance of UN resolutions that expose the hypocrisy of the Pakistani position. It would help if you were actually familiar with the ground realities in AJK, but you’re not, because Pakistan wants its citizens to think everything is great and rosy in its Kashmir, when it’s not. Pakistan does not have the moral high ground on Kashmir. For you to argue otherwise, just shows how biased you are towards Pakistan.

      You’re hardly thinking for yourself?

      But please counteract, the whole plebiscite argument which you raised indicting India as the elephant in the room, I note, you’ve gone silent on that?

    • Reiss,

      I haven’t got a problem with the ethnic Pahari label. I learned about it two months ago after coming on the site after a long time, and I’ve adopted it for myself immediately. I think second and third generation Mirpuris will be more open to this label than our parents, grandparents. The problem I see is getting this information out there. Let’s be honest, not all Mirpuris are going to read 10,000 word articles about their heritage. I think short youtube videos will be good to reach the majority of peo