My impression of Pakistan as a white, western woman

DailyTimes: Pakistan, the strange country that no westerner can really understand. So many contradictions and so many half-truths — what is Pakistan really and how can a westerner comprehend this? How can a westerner, especially a woman, understand Pakistan? Is it possible without the language? Yes, one can read about the culture, religion and moral values. So what are the moral values of the young generation in Pakistani? Where is the truth and were are the lies? I would venture to say: somewhere in between the two. They evoke God but they do not follow true Islam; it is almost as if religion is the last resort and turning to God can alleviate all sins. They do not pray five times a day. I have seen this again and again and I do question their relationship to God, a relationship they use all the time. It seems almost ironic that one can praise God and lie at the same time at a minute’s notice. It is a phenomenon that I have observed during my four visits to Pakistan.
First of all, every foreigner is a CIA agent. They do not have any concept of an academic who wants to learn and see how real Islam works and what it truly means. As a western, white woman one can be a novelty, a toy to play with and almost a showcase for some. At times, one can feel like a strange animal in a zoo: “Come take a look! She is dressed in our national clothing.” Until you scratch deeper, you never really see the truth and that is rather puzzling from the western point of view. Of course, you are their guest and, as a guest, you will receive a present as a way of being welcomed.

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Categories: Asia, Pakistan

3 replies

  1. How true you are. It is a herd of visionless people. Not only leaders to be blamed rather whole nation is at fault. Ahmadiyya has visionary leadership which can put the nation on correct path but to Ahmadiyya leadership each has deaf approach. No light at the end of the tunnel.

  2. Dear Zubair Khan
    I just came back from Pakistan after a family, work and research trip.
    While, I have similar views as the writer, regarding the role of religion as a too powerful actor in the country, your description of Pakistanis, as “a herd of visionless people” is not only unfair, crude but terrible prejudicial.
    A nation of 200 million people that is only 67 years old politically and have come a long way in its young age is in a learning process. Rome is not built in one day.
    Secondly, if there is one thing, Pakistan certainly does not need is another doze of religion in any form, as you propose. We need a secular, democratic and progressive country and not a land that is governed by one religion or other.

  3. Dear BQ
    Ahmadiyya visionary leadership does not necessarily mean only religion. Mr Zafarullah Khan was an ahmadiyya visionary leader. Secondly I do not repent my comments. I remember in 1962 Korean took Pakistani model. How developed they are and where we stand. 67 years is hell of period. Unless religion is not separated from state nothing will improve in Pakistan. This is what I mean and such leadership currently Ahmadiyya can provide.
    These days I am stationed in Zagreb Croatia and watching how nation leap forward.I never saw such effort in my motherland.

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