“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 came 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, 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. 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’ few, almost always from the cities, “911” was a mere figment of the western imagination and Bin Laden was never ever caught in Abbottabad, northern Pakistan.

It was staged!

It’s all one big American conspiracy to control ‘nuclear’ Pakistan, 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. 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. 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.

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 their 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 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, who 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, and not just because your moral compass still works.

But here’s the thing. You don’t have to be a journalist, or documentary maker, to endorse prejudices, 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 label entire peoples because of the actions of individual members. It’s almost become an intellectual reflex. 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 respectable 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. You have to critique what you’re being told.

“Al-Britannia, My country” by James Fergusson is one such example. In as much as he shares his wider-insights about British-Muslims, he merely gives credence to bigoted voices within the British-Pakistani community when he describes Mirpuris possibly on account of not understanding the subtext behind the anxieties – this rivalry is one-sided I add.

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

I’m from Birmingham. Trust me, when I tell you 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.

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

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

67 COMMENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • 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.

    • 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.

  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.

    • 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.

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