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Dude, where’s my flag?

Published Jun 21, 2012 04:12pm


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Protesters burning the American flag is one of the most ubiquitous sights around the world.

A lot of American flags go up in flames in Pakistan as well.

I have directly experienced this phenomenon first-hand on at least three occasions. The interesting thing is the experiences have been more about glaring ironies than anything revolutionary as such.

My first experience in this respect arrived in 1986. I was an intermediate student at a state-owned college in Karachi where I was also a member of a progressive student organisation and a frequent participant at many anti-Ziaul Haq rallies.

During one such rally held against the support the Zia dictatorship was getting from the United States for its anti-Soviet manoeuvres in Afghanistan, the student organisation decided to burn an American flag.

An activist of the Communist Mazdoor Kisaan Party.

We were weary about the cops who had started to gather outside the college gates, and expected the usual barrage of tear-gas. But just as a group of radicals from the organisation torched the American flag, instead of the cops, we were confronted by members of the student wing of a well known politico-religious party.

They said that they would not allow the burning of the American flag because the US was a friendly country that was aiding a jihad against the atheistic Soviets.

I won’t go into the details of the jaw-breaking and head-bashing clash that followed, but today whenever I see televised pictures showing members of the same politico-religious student party torching American flags, I am flattened by the irony of it all.

An American flag goes up in flames during a Jamat-i-Islami/IJT rally.

The power of the American Dollar. When it is flowing your way, the giver is given the status of a glorious partner to be praised and hailed, and those opposing it are to be denounced as ‘anti-Islam’ and anti-Pakistan.

But when the flow is diverted or stopped, the same glorious partner then becomes the political manifestation of Satan, ‘murdering innocent Muslims everywhere.’ Then people like me from being ‘KGB agents’ become ‘US agents.’

Today, most anti-American punters and protesters have become unintentional self-parodies. They are conveniently incapable of grasping the irony (if not the downright hypocrisy) of their actions, especially when it comes to burning the American flag.

They have become so intellectually and politically bankrupt that to fill the gaping existentialist holes in their whole thinking, they have created the US as a bogey to beat their bony chests about and obsessively blame.

They have given the concept of midlife crises an ideological twist. Albeit, not a very convincing one.


My second experience in this respect came a year later (1987) at the same college.

A group of Sindhi and Baloch nationalist students within the progressive students’ alliance I was part of wanted to torch a Pakistani flag during a demonstration.

Some of us thought that it was not such a good idea because the Zia regime would then get a bigger excuse to crackdown on the organisation with even more brute a force.

I remember one Baloch student (who later went on to join a Baloch nationalist party), reacted by calling us hypocrites: ‘So, being a Marxist means one can only burn an American flag?’ He asked. ‘What’s so not imperialistic and oppressive about the Pakistani establishment?’

A video grab of a Pakistani flag being torched.

In a meeting at the college canteen, we reached a consensus that two flags would be burned (‘to strike a balance’): The Pakistani and the American flags.

But some members (including myself) disagreed. We suggested that instead of flags we should torch pictures of Ziaul Haq and the American President Ronald Reagan along with those of some Afghan militants, such as Gulbaddin Hikmatyar (who was close to our politico-religious opponents at the college).

Our suggestion was vetoed until a fourth option was put forward: Why not torch American, Pakistani and Indian flags!

I have no memory left of exactly who raised this option and why, but I do remember we finally poured out of the canteen and moved towards the college’s common-room outside which the rally was to be held.

Yes, pictures of Zia and Reagan were torched, slogans raised and the cops stationed outside the college taunted. But, alas, out came a Pakistani flag. I thought that was it.

But the feisty Baloch instead of torching it rolled it up and announced that he now had a snake in his hand that would dance. He suddenly ran towards the cops, screeched and broke into this amazing Balochi boogie! It was awesome.

Nevertheless, some students of the opposing party complained to the college administration that we had insulted the Pakistani flag.

But, Lo and behold! As the administration was gazing its collective navel trying to determine what to do with ‘traitors’ like us, an incident took place at the college.

Some girl students were rudely teased by a group of idiots. The girls’ parents arrived and asked the administration to take action against the teasers. An inquiry was launched and four students were found to be the culprits. Guess who they were?

They were the same patriotic and God-fearing lot who had denounced us as being traitors for ‘desecrating the Pakistani flag.’


The third experience occurred two years ago in Karachi.

Coming out from the Karachi Press Club after having lunch with a friend, we saw a number of young men belonging to the Shia sect burning the American flag.

A Shia protest rally in Karachi.

They were protesting against a bomb attack on their community in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by the Tehreek-e-Taliban.

My friend (who also belonged to the Shia sect) managed to get hold of one of the protesters.

"You are protesting against the Taliban suicide attack, right?" my friend asked.

"Yes," the protester answered.

"Then why is that man burning an American flag?" he inquired.

"Because America is against Muslims!" The protester proudly announced.

"I see", said my friend, chuckling. "But it was the Taliban who attacked your people, and Taliban are Muslims, no?”

"No, they are terrorists! They are not Muslims!" The protester charged.

“But they are not American either, are they?” my friend smilingly mocked. “Shouldn't you be torching something belonging to the Taliban instead?"

The protester answered by shouting out the name of Iran’s revolutionary leader, late Imam Khomeini: “Imam Khomeini was anti-America!"

"Fine," my friend replied. "But America did not bomb the people you are protesting for!"

"Taliban did!" said the protester.

"Yes, I know, but why are you guys burning the American flag then?" my friend asked.

"Because we are followers of Khomeini!" The protester reiterated, this time looking a tad frustrated.

"Of course. Very good. Well done," my friend chuckled again, exasperated.  Then condescendingly patting the protester on the back, we returned to the Press Club for another round of chicken shashlik and fresh lime.

‘The next bunch of Shias that will be slaughtered by sectarian organisations or the Taliban,’ the friend explained, ‘these fools will again come out and this time burn the Israeli flag!’

I laughed, but my friend, shaking his head, did not say a word about the incident during our (second) lunch. Sarcasm had given way to disgust.

Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and He is also the author of two books on the social history of Pakistan, End of the Past and The Pakistan Anti-Hero.

He tweets @NadeemfParacha

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (141) Closed

Sohaib YAHIA Jun 21, 2012 12:13pm
Superbly expressed!! The outpouring of reaction and frustration in a completely bizarre manner is the result of imbalance between EQ and IQ of our beleaguered nation deprived of quality education and sincere leadership.
Abbas Jun 21, 2012 01:33pm
I second that!
Pramod Jun 21, 2012 01:31pm
US and Israel are allies . accepted. Iran does not have good relationship with Israel so that's why they hate American.but what makes pakistani shia do that.
zeeshan Jun 22, 2012 06:25pm
that exactly what we don't want in our country Uncle Sam. we hate America because they have made Pakistan a hell by fighting their battle in our soil. how many people were killed in 9-11 incidient, perhaps 5000. and how many lives, innocent lives have been taken by American crooks since october 2001? countless. as for as terrorists hiding here in Pakistan, we can handle them, YOU need not to worry. OK.
Kalim Dewan Jun 21, 2012 10:38am
Yes, I remember the first two incidents very well, Paracha. But why didn't you take names? The progressive alliance was Socialist Students Alliance which you yourself help form by bringing together PSF, NSF, BSO and Jeeay Sindh. I think APMSO was also a token part of it. It was IJT we were up against. You should have also mentioned that Baloch guy's name. I don't think he joined a party but went to UAE. Don't know what became of him. But, yes, what a guy he was. You were always the more liberal Marxist. And yes, I am really happy to see you rise as one of the finest and most prolific columnists in Pakistan. Keep it up. I believe it is 40something comrades like us who still have a role to play in all this myopic and obscurantist madness that has gripped Pakistan. We were right, comrade. We saw this coming. Your friend, Kaleem Dewan
Jairam Jun 21, 2012 11:36am
I am not sure who craeted who and what led to what, but let us put a point to the table. it's happening in Pakistan and nobody else but Pakistanis can close it. Does not matter who started it, but for your own country's sake you put an end to it. I feel energy-sapped and frustrated by the sheer understanding of what Pakistan could be only if invested into something fruitful. had they just not been different sects but IT engg, journalist, educationalist, enterpreneurs, creative(s), service providers, musicians, film makers, etc and good at that. Saab sochey, if we share so much, why be so much seperated. We exemplify hatred which should not been the case.
kayenn Jun 21, 2012 11:42am
Pakistan believes in conspiracy theories...... for all its misfortunes, it is either US or India or Isreal at fault..... This is unfortunate. US and Isreal are friends and foes depending upon the environment but India is eternal enemy..... everybody needs to grow up and look at realities !!!
Karachi Wala Jun 21, 2012 04:09pm
Same thing which allies Punjabi Taliban with their brothern in the North.
A Rehman Jun 22, 2012 11:02am
Why Omer Patik chose to become a terrorist, is something for you to think. And shame for THOSE who use terrorism as a state owned policy. Mere jugglary of words will not wash away the blood of 80,000 Kashmiri youths, and hundreds of those who were burnt alive in Gujarat, and hundreds of those who were slaughtered in Samjhota express. SHAME FOR THE SHAMELESS FOR POINTING FINGERS AT OTHERS.
Zalim Khan Jun 21, 2012 08:26pm
"Sub-Continental Monkeys" Conversion from hindu`s to muslims hasn`t made the "slightest bit of difference" Its in their Genes , to behave like they do.
master Jun 21, 2012 10:18am
Dear Sir, this is nice article though but the last indecent you mentioned about the shia people burning American flag is the twisted story you mentioned here. You know everything about it, i will not waste my time as effort to write it down. They are burning U.S flag because imam Khomeini told them to do so??? it is completely wrong sir... shia here in Pakistan burning U.S flag because Iran hates U.S.. this is also completely wrong... they are burning Israeli flag because U.S and Israel are Allie... alas this is also not justifiable to mention in your post... but the truth is you know very well.. and you reluctant to write it down here... because you don't want to... sorry sir
Cyrus Howell Jun 22, 2012 05:22pm
The less developed Pakistan in some ways reminds me of America in the Late 19th Century. Many of the progressive battles were the same. The corrupt politics, the many ethnic groups - forty years before the actual founding of labor unions where people could raise wages and protect each other and not compete with banned child labor. American women were a big part of the progressive movement in the cities. They had trash removed from immigrant neighborhoods, bath houses to wash the children, settlement houses to teach English to new comers and feed the hungry give some medical care. Even give lessons in civic responsibility and American history. In Pakistan women can't leave home to go on their own and do charity work and raise money for it. Your religionists care for the poor but they are not progressives. They cannot move society forward.
manish Jun 22, 2012 06:24pm
maybe you forget the massacres of tajiks in central afghanistan by taliban...they were slaughtered in thousands..the women were treated as sub-human, and worse than cattle...they turned a war ravaged country into a into a replica of 7th century arab.. US, before attacking afghanistan, asked talibans to hand over obl, but they did not comply.. also US attacked after a period of around 21 days..most of the civilian had fled by then...., no doubt casualities were there..but it was because talibs instead of fighting went into hiding.. the us killing in iraq was preceeded by decades of sustained murder of shias, kurds, and kuwaitis.. not many in the islamic world objected to it..the iran-iraq war was again a needless one, imposed by evil saddam on unsuspecting iranians who were just fresh from revolution....i do not appreciate america for what it did to innocents, rather stand by you in condemning these attacks, but to replace a larger evil with a smaller one is a hard decision, and as humans we sometimes are compelled to take such decisions.
Cyrus Howell Jun 22, 2012 09:38pm
Sweden has not had a war for almost five hundred years, and they strive to be the most progressive nation in the world. They are an industrial society that experimented with socialism. Norway may even be better.
Cyrus Howell Jun 22, 2012 09:48pm
Chinese tradition is not to fight wars. American tradition is not to fight wars of conquest. Pakistan and Afghanistan have nothing we want. America is simply the police force for big business. Washington never quite knew who they were dealing with in the Middle East or South Asia. Now Washington at least knows.
Cyrus Howell Jun 22, 2012 09:53pm
It is not quite that simple. Ask yourself why is the relationship between the Pakistan Army and all these NW frontier bandits so close? Here is a clue, it is not about voting, and it is not about religion.
Cyrus Howell Jun 22, 2012 10:02pm
Ziaul Haq told Charlie Wilson (the US congressman who raised $1 billion for the Mujahideen fighters), "the arms and money must flow through us" and Ziaul Haq handled the transactions.
Ahmad Nadeem Jun 23, 2012 05:21pm
So that is all left for NFP to discuss ! Every day there is target killing in Karachi, most heinous crime does not catch NFP's roving eyes, ironically trivia does..
Amir Jun 22, 2012 06:46am
So who are these fundamentlist so hell bend on burining US/Israeli, etc flags. These are the same people who got "funds" previously from these flags, and now this cut in flow has resulted in them going "mental".
Just Muslim Jun 22, 2012 04:11pm
BuSaif! There's no big difference in Deobandi and Salafi sects. I have not seen any condemnation from any Deobandi or Salafi scholars against any attack on innocent civilians. Prove me wrong if you show any condemnation from Indian Deobandi's or Saudi Salafi's
Irfan Jun 22, 2012 04:05pm
Jovi, please go and listen to Zakir Naik first. I am sure you would change your views.
raghu Jun 22, 2012 07:10am
Taliban was brain child of saudi's ,usa and pakistan for securing the region from Russian proxies who were later utilized against the americans by OBL.
zeeshan Jun 22, 2012 07:35am
dear Manish we certainly have serious disagreements over this point. Same America is consider wrong when we talk about Vietnam and some other countries, but Lo and Behold same America is consider right when we talk about Afghanistan and Iraq, Why? I do agree that Al Qaida's terrorists were hiding there in Afghanistan. but tell me was that fair to kill so many innocent people in their pursuit to kill Osama and his companions? and what about Iraq? Americans invaded Iraq in search of weapons of mass destruction, did they find any? why you guys justify this heinous crime of America? what is this if it is not a hypocrisy?
Sam Jun 22, 2012 02:38pm
greatest country of the world... who you talking of ??
shrirang, Mumbai Jun 21, 2012 02:21pm
Superb Article. NFP gave example shia wrongly protesting against US, for wrong doings of taliban. Similarly Mr. Zaid Hamid accusing india for whatever evil happening in pakistan. Please learn something from Mr. Hassan Nissar & Mr. Najam Sethi
Wazir Khan Jun 22, 2012 10:54am
Yes Bharat is soon becoming our friend.
Wazir Khan Jun 22, 2012 10:55am
Use of correct article is recommended before pointing fingers towards the greatest country of the World.
RSChauhan Jun 21, 2012 04:29pm
This is one funny article. As funny as people cheering for rule of law and our present judges in the same breath. Almost as funny as patriotic people cheering for uniformed rulers.
Syed Ali Aamer Jun 21, 2012 10:48am
I understand what NFP was trying to communicate by relating that incident. I too feel that Shais of Pakistan are too influenced by Iran. Shias in Iran are not being wiped out by sectarian and Salafi organizations like tbey are in Pakista. They are being attacked here by the very forces that the US is at war with. Thus your explanation is strange and rather confused.
Gurdeep Jun 21, 2012 04:22pm
@Sunil, look at it in a positive light. There are entrepreneurs who have seen an opportunity in the flag burning industry, to cater to trendy and hip flag burning mobs. :)
Baighairat Kafir Jun 21, 2012 12:33pm
Well said Mr. Rana. Burning of US, Indian, Israely flags is what unites Bakistanis instead of coming together and raising your own flag and country higher. No wonder the country is in a bottomless pit. Bakistanis live in glass houses and throw stones at others.
Khalid Jun 22, 2012 07:56pm
are you a zoologist?
RIP Jun 21, 2012 10:59am
Burning a flag is a much better way to get rid of anger and frustration than bombing a market square.
sameer Jun 21, 2012 03:50pm
While writing article, you forgot to see irony of your own action. Back then you were anti American and you were part of group burning American flag. Now when so called rightist are doing the same thing now, they are hypocrite. Cant you notice hypocrisy in your own action. You were anti American at one point because they were supporting Zia and now you have become pro American even though American supported Musharraf. What an irony!
G.a Jun 21, 2012 12:35pm
There is no void in these protesters' thinking. There is a void in their brains. In other words Neanderthals DO exist.
Cyrus Howell Jun 22, 2012 04:23pm
There are no friends at cards or world politics. Finley Peter Dunne
Cyrus Howell Jun 22, 2012 04:28pm
These are trolls.
Cyrus Howell Jun 22, 2012 04:48pm
Sad but true. I know two brothers from Somalia who crossed the desert to Libya and left from there to the USA. They are doing well. If people accept their fate, or a young man's father does not want him to leave the farm they are chained to the land. Bin Laden's father started out as a construction laborer. Hard work on the farm doesn't pay off, but hard work and good ideas in business do. Opportunity = Freedom. Chairman Mao ze -dong cursed his father and left the farm to go to elementary school. Henry Ford (founder of Ford Motor Company was a farm boy who left the farm to make automobiles and became a ruthless capitalist, but he did have a vision - that every American family could afford one of his cars. + "In America we judge you by what you do, not by who your father was." * --- Major General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain ( who was a professor of religion and the classics). Wounded eight times in the American Civil War and winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor at Gettysburg.
BuSaif Jun 22, 2012 04:51pm
Jovi, we are not discussing the people living in India following the deoband school.... one of the point i wanna clarify is that this Taliban movement is the out spring of deoband sherif in India... Incidently if the deobandis are not doing as bad as these guys, it is good for the Indians.... Furthermore the Jamat e Tabligh who does not harm much physically is also a movement from Deoband sherif. To drag a country Saudia in something related to Taliban is quiet away same like the guys burning flag in the last para of NFP above... Hope things are clearer... Peace
Cyrus Howell Jun 22, 2012 04:56pm
"I only look objectively and value justly what I see and express it honestly. Whoever does not admire great beauty is a person who lacks sensitivity, taste, and observation. Western civilization has reached the summit of science and technology. It has achieved knowledge, skills, and new discoveries, as no previous civilization before it. The accomplishments of Western civilization cover all areas of life: methods of organization, politics, ethics, economics, and human rights. It is our obligation to acknowledge its amazing excellence. Indeed, this is a civilization that deserves admiration. … The horrible backwardness in which some nations live is the inevitable result of their refusal to accept this [abundance of Western ideas and visions] while taking refuge in denial and arrogance." (Ibrahim al-Buleihi)
Irfan Jun 21, 2012 12:35pm
They should rather be burning Saudi flag instead of American, because it is Saudi ideology, money and support which Taliban are using to kill innocent Shia muslims in thousands.
Ahmed Jun 21, 2012 08:11pm
i am always scary of seeing people burning flags on tv screens, they are so careless some body tell them they can burn their cloths. burning a flag on foreign soil is always easy by the way.
A S Jun 21, 2012 08:15pm
Everytime Al Qaeda or Taliban blow up something, no one gets mad at them, but everyone blames the Jews, the Americans and Indians, but never fellow Muslims, despite the Taliban or the Jaish e Mohammed, or AL Qaeda brazenly take credit for it. Why is it that our people refuse to admit that Bin Ladin was behind 911, despit ethe fact that he released many many videos and recordings, openly taking credit for it, and also for encouraging more attacks on American interests. I just dont get it, why our people refuse to see the truth and instead hide behind conspiracy theories, even educated people I have met from Pakistan in the US refuse to believe Arabs caused 911. Until we accept the ugly truth, these ugly people will continue to hide behind us causing us to face American and global bullets, as such I support the drones and dont blame Americans.
Wazir Khan Jun 22, 2012 10:52am
Because Nissar, Sethi and alikes are paid for what they do.
Hasanalirana Jun 21, 2012 09:11am
we are obsessed with enemies, we need to have at least one, real or self created....that helps us to disguise our own loop holes.... !!!
Amigo Jun 21, 2012 01:43pm
I wonder how many of those U S flag burners live in the USA now, or wishing to migrate to U S if there is an opertunity!!
zeeshan Jun 21, 2012 01:08pm
please read 1st sentence as 'NFP, so you were the part of that bunch who were about to burn Pakistani flag.'
Devendra Jun 21, 2012 03:56pm
All of you can say whatever you want.....Here is the truth. All those American flag burners would stand in line for American visa and grovel infront of the American Counselor. The only words coming out of their mouth would be,"Yes, Sir. No, Sir. What a bunch of hypocrite entoproct or should I say Corpus Luteum. NFP, EXCELLENT as usual.
KDP Jun 21, 2012 01:29pm
I think American Flags burn better and faster looks good with its red color strips and blue starts. That might alos be the factor.
Pramod Jun 21, 2012 01:34pm
they created taliban .yes but that was against USSR not shia's(not justifying it) and Pakistan(Including Shia) supported it. now they are fighting your enemy.
Rafi Jun 21, 2012 09:56am
Which flag is the most burned flag worldwide........... American perhaps . Any idea guys.
Pramod Jun 21, 2012 01:29pm
that does not matter . Taliban are muslims
zeeshan Jun 21, 2012 12:55pm
NFP, so you were the part of that bunch who burn Pakistani flag? Don't you feel any guilt about that? People who were with America in the past are hypocrites because they are opposing them now, what about those people who were against America in the past and now standing with them? Are they not hypocrites?
Syed Mehmood Jun 21, 2012 03:47pm
Correction: I was at a talk given by NFP at SOAS early this year. There someone said the same thing that how Taliban were created by the US. NFP correctly rebutted the questioner that the Taliban were NOT made by the US. They were formed by Pakistan in 1996 when the US had the least bit of interest left in Afghanistan. So it is a myth that the US created the Taliban.
Karachi Wala Jun 21, 2012 12:20pm
Pakistan is a land of many Paradoxes running simultaneously.
AAKNiazi Jun 23, 2012 02:02pm
Marxists owed allegiance to Hammer & Sickle. An ideology that failed miserably , finally shot down by one of its own,Gorbachove, the ideology is dead & burried in the dust bin of the history. NFP is a pseudo Marxist under the guise of secularism still clinging to a lost cause.
haris Jun 23, 2012 12:17pm
Flags only symbolizes our real frustration and hate living in the society amalgamated with religious extremism and liberalism. The problem is common people are not well aware of the choices they make whether it comes to elect a democratic government, protesting for "right". Irony ! We live happily under dictators but protest for justice in illegitimate government, we vote the corrupt people to power then repent our actions. We brain wash our children telling about "west a.k.a farangi" and then blame suicide attacks on taliban for being insane and brain washed. I agree with NFP we have become deluded with realizing our real enemy, the so-called pseudo islamists.
Sandip Jun 21, 2012 09:43pm
Don't quite understand you Zeeshan. Someone questioning why you are burning American flag does not make him pro-American. When I read the article, my interpretation is that we are burning wrong flags or beating drums on wrong ears. Why would you burn American flag for Taliban attack? America is the one fighting Taliban? Wont you burn taliban flag ?
BuSaif Jun 21, 2012 10:07pm
Linga, you did not get it.....the Taliban movement is from Deoband school India.... whether they do that in India or not does not matter as i am responding to Irfan on his view as he thinks they come from Saudia hence suggesting to burn the flag of Saudia.... hope you are streamed now. BTW; they are burning RoW, India spared... Idea behind this from NFP is bring awarness on meaningless act of burning flags and still Irfan goes on suggesting the same act.....what a dude..... Maybe he just don't like what is written on that flag which never is even half masted due to the statement written...something to ponder Peace...
Abdul Jun 21, 2012 09:36pm
Shia rightly burn US flag as all murders of Pakistani innocent Shia civilians are done with support of Wahabi Saudia back terror organizations and their supported/pro people in Pak establishment. And even a 3 years old know who is the principal supporter of KSA regime, USA. Is it really complex as NFP tried to make it? Now is it a sane way of protesting to burn a flag is a different topic and I believe that Shia should follow sunna of Holy Prophet and his Pak family in that.
Salman Jun 21, 2012 08:44am
The ironies of being a Pakistani these days :)
manish Jun 21, 2012 01:59pm
so you call sticking to the stance, no matter right or wrong, as the only virtue in life....well, he was even then against suffocating ideologies of imperialism/ultra-conservatism,, even now he has not changed his stand...he, then, was part of protest against zia, and now is the part of protest against the same bunch of fanatics who grew up on the dose of zia era brainwashing...
emory Jun 21, 2012 07:26pm
NFP was a Liberal Marxist(I believe he still is but it is just me) dead against dictator Zia mainly for wreaking havoc and leading the people down of the pathof madness for which pakistan is still paying the price. He has clearly metioned that he proposed burning of Zia's and Reagan's photographs and not the flags per se. At that point in time the americans in their fear of the soviets had supported the religious fundoos(jihadis) to check their moves. NFP has always been against religious bigotry, their inanities and the grotesque outlook they have on literally everything under the sun, the fruits of which are all too visible in current pakistan.
manish Jun 22, 2012 05:33am
it is a lot better behavior than the saudi camels.....atleast here they can register there displeasure, than being beheaded by the some mullah said that it is unislamic to protest against the rulers....
Shubs Jun 21, 2012 07:15pm
Awesome...:-) Me likes!!!!!
Jack Palance Jun 21, 2012 09:53am
Wikipedia defines wisdom as: Wisdom is a deep understanding and realization of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to apply perceptions, judgements and actions in keeping with this understanding. It often requires control of one's emotional reactions (the "passions") so that universal principles, reason and knowledge prevail to determine one's actions. Wisdom is also the comprehension of what is true coupled with optimum judgment as to action. Unfortuanatly the people of this country are bereft of this quality/
Kalyan Jun 21, 2012 05:33pm
NFP has had an exciting time in college.
Bulbul Jun 22, 2012 02:29pm
Nak Jun 21, 2012 03:05pm
RoyalFlag - Its a little known cigarette brand here in India. I myself burn it many times a day...
HST Jun 21, 2012 09:52am
its a booming market
Ahad Jun 21, 2012 09:53am
We the shias burn American flags because Talibans were created, financed adn supported by America and they still support world wide shia killing.
zeeshan Jun 21, 2012 06:45pm
But, what about US factor, he was than anti American and now he is pro American. If he was wrong in the past, should we say that the people who were with America in the past were on the right path? Sticking to the stance... well same words can be said about the bunch of people who has changed their stance from Pro America to Anti America, than how can you call them hypocrites? same thing right for one group, but wrong for the other? is this not a hypocrisy?
linga Jun 21, 2012 06:34pm
Deobandis do not burn any flags in India.
Wazir Khan Jun 22, 2012 10:50am
Blessings of being Pakistani are far more than the ironies. Please re-evaluate your statement.
caz Jun 21, 2012 05:59pm
Pakistan is an historical mistake.
Irfan Jun 21, 2012 05:47pm
NFP, you remembered Shia's burning the American flag, but you totally forgot the mass killing of Shia's across Pakistan. After every few days a dozen Hazara Shia's are killed in Quetta - but you dont want to recall; however you make sure that you exactly remember the dialogue exchange between yourself and a young guy burning the Americal flag.
BuSaif Jun 21, 2012 05:41pm
Talibans are Sunni following the Hanafi school of thought from deoband India and Saudians are mostly Hanabils and following the Salafi school..... So burn Indian flag as the deoband is in India or Iraqi flag as Imam Abu Hanifa (R.A) was from Iraq.... lol Peace to alll
Sabiha Jun 21, 2012 08:43am
Another powerful punch by NFP, exposing the hypocrisy of the so-called ghayrat brigade. Sharp as usual and done with wit.
Sindhri Liberal Jun 21, 2012 08:46am
Excellent article. NFP you are an asset for Sindh and Pakistan. People of Sindh will gladly accept you as Chief Minister or Governor.
Ali Ahsan Jun 21, 2012 08:48am
Pakistan is filled with its own set of ironies, contradictions, in a cocktail of hilarity.
Shandar Jun 21, 2012 08:57am
Agreed! In fact he should be at the head of an organization that has progressive Sindhi, Baloch, Pushtoon and Mohajir people. Jeeay Paracha!
dhiraj garg Jun 21, 2012 08:59am
The last one was awesome:) I am still laughing :)
Noor Ahmed Jun 21, 2012 09:10am
Well, I had a little discussion, with one of my communist friend, he meant the influence of americans on our minds and quoted some documentries as against the blind beliefs. I simply asked him the documentries made by? ' Mostly american influenced intellectuals' he replied.
Rokhan Jun 21, 2012 03:52pm
NFP, I always enjoy reading your articles but for some time I feel that you are stuck on point. There is a lot of other things happening now adays. Please write something about that as well especially the judiciary saga.
ahmad butt Jun 21, 2012 09:13am
Another sheer irony of our misinformed and misguided awam, they are like pack of sheep, rebels without knowledge of their cause...Our opinions change and as divided as we are a divided nation.Majority of our people do not their research but voice opinions of what the media or what their limited capacity can churn. I am saying majority as a few urban cities does not constitute our general public, who come out to the streets and become a nuisance. As as avid viewer of current affairs program (though ive decreased watching now after 2 media anchors were caught with their shenanigans) , a lot of media coverage is being given to the iconic PTI leader Imran Khan, i wonder what he will be termed as come election day, some of my colleagues think he is supported by the agencies, some people (mostly mullah) say he is a jewish and USA agent, some refer to him as Taliban Khan for his opposition to drone attacks, some say he is only a media figure and after cricket success should be a philanthropist; poor him having to fend his credibility in this messed up society. In the end if he ever gets to power, i see all these groups getting in a big brawl fighting amongst each other saying their reason for protesting against imran khan is correct(disregarding the fact they are protesting against him). @NFP a little request, please write a satirical article on what the possible scenarios can unfold should PTI come to power, i amongst your other admirers would love your food for thought and creativity on this.
Sunil Jun 21, 2012 09:18am
All taken. But from where these 'protesters' get these foreign flags, especially those of 'enemy' countries? Do they sew them by their own hands? Do they import from other countries? Are there shops in Pakistan that sell enemy flags?
@asifbintalib Jun 21, 2012 09:21am
??? ???? ??? ?? ???? ????
Naveed Jun 21, 2012 09:33am
NFP, u r just settling political scores through DAWN
Tahir Razvi Jun 21, 2012 11:00pm
My late parents taught me from a very early age that no flag should touch the ground. This is what I am teaching my kids too. I am American now for a long time and so ae my kids My kids never let the American flag touch the ground, I have a big flag outside my house and I protect this flag with all my heart and soul. You can hate us but our flag has done nothing wrong to anyone please respect the flags which ever country it belongs to.
Albeit Jun 22, 2012 12:10pm
Actually, his article use is correct albeit pretentious. Almost as pretentious as using the word "albeit". Thus, a pretentious, out-of-place and troll-y remark it was.
Khair-Khwah Jun 22, 2012 12:52am
It is a reality of life that it is always easy to blame others for our own ills and shortcomings rather than man-up and say yes I'm the one who's to blame first for my own errors.Today our beloved Country is at the edge of disaster and yet we are fighting amongst each other, we are involved in all social ills, nationalistic pride and harmony has altogether disappeared and crime and lawlessness is rampant. Let me ask you a questions, how could America, right now stop a Pakistani to stand up say that enough is enough, as a Muslim I'll stop taking or giving bribes, I'll not lie, I'll love all other Pakistanis without discriminating anyone on the basis of their race, religion, ethnicity, I'll make personal sacrifices for my Country?? Where is that "Mard-e-Mujahid" who would stand up and say that the mother of Punjab is my mother, sister of Sindh is my sister, daughters of Balochistan and Sarhad are my daughters?? Let us stop blaming others for our own ills.Today we should be asking ourselves, do we want to continue on the same disastrous path or are we ready for a CHANGE!! "Bhaeeyo or Behno jawaab do"
Ronnie Dsouza Jun 22, 2012 01:33am
Correct, American Flag and which country would most of the people, especially Pakis, would want to be in, ofcourse, USA, a case of double-standard
Pramod Jun 22, 2012 06:45am
Pakistan need people like you who are ready to accept the truth. believe that will reduce 50% of Pakistan's problem. because you can cure a disease when you know it is there.
John Jun 22, 2012 03:50pm
SJDHE Jun 22, 2012 03:32am
SBB Jun 22, 2012 03:48am
Well said. There are quite a few actually. And they're working hard to create mini-something-stans here too.
Ali Jun 22, 2012 12:28pm
so there is a justified stance to become a terrorist, is that what you saying Rehman ?? who is using terrorism as a state owned policy is known to everyone... people have confessed and its time and time again proved who actually is behind it.. so wake up you.... as for the kashmiri youths, they were indoctrinated by the very PURE land and used as a bait for their own selfish propositions. Kashmiris are our brethren and we will always be one inshallah.... gujarat incident was unfortunate and you should have pointed the other side of coin too... but then you are not expected to know the complete truth...... lastly shame on the ones who justify shameless acts.... lets keep our own house in order and then point fingers on others... its time we start looking into ourselves for our own good.
Cyrus Howell Jun 22, 2012 03:32pm
It is frustration entirely, but it is a bit like flailing the darkness.
Cyrus Howell Jun 22, 2012 03:33pm
That is a nice complement.
Cyrus Howell Jun 22, 2012 03:37pm
People who cannot understand what is happening to them create there own reasons, which may be logical in their minds. Unfortunately conspiracy theories usually are filled with our worst fears (which does not help much).
Gaurav Arya Jun 22, 2012 04:42am
If Pakistanis coninue with flag burning, it wont be long before some Chinese company sees profit in this enterprise and starts supplying cheap flags at one fourth the cost. They have already started with Diwali fire-crackers, you know!!!
Arshad, USA Jun 22, 2012 04:48am
The blogger is recalling his student life and experience: the student organizations and their affiliation with political parties and religious groups. Every body knows that the politicians and the religious leaders all around the world try to mislead the students for their own gainsand interests. I will mention some of the famous student leaders who changed their priorities and political affiliation as soon as they entered the practical life. Mr Shafi Naqi Jami, president of Karachi University Student Union in the 70's and a very active member of Islami Jamiat e Tulaba, joined Muslim League as soon as he graduated from KU. Mr. Hussain Haqqani, was very active member of IJI and was even elected the president of KU student union on IJI ticket but what did he do after getting out of the university, joined the government and became the ambassador in USA and stayed away from IJT or JI. Mr. Sardar Hanif, a very active and vocal progressive student leader in NED Engineering University Karachi, who even joined PPP during his student life but later became an active volunteer of Tableeghi Jamaat. There are a lot more student leaders who did the same and changed their affiliation after entering the practical life. Almost all the student organizations are affiliated with political parties, the political leaders use these innocent students for their own interests and then flush them as toilet papers. Burning of Flags, pictures or portraits are all political stunts which the students do not understand and fall victim of the sharp minds of the politicians. During my student life in school, college and university, we never heard any problem regarding sunni, shia, brailvey, deobandi or even Hindu, Parsi and/or christians, not even when Ahmedies were declared non-muslims. Our religion teaches us peace and harmony in all stages and in every status. We have already suffered a lot by showing hatred, not only to our enemies but to our own countrymen also. We should stop burning vehicles, shops, petrol pumps, damaging public and private properties and start thinking of a better future for ourselves and our future generatins. GOD BLESS PAKISTAN.
Dixit Jun 22, 2012 04:59am
Don't you people think that there should be a combination of NFP and Umar Sharif. That will be a deadly combination on stage for showing mirrors to these ranting protestors.
Ali Jun 22, 2012 02:01pm
"Some of us thought that it was not such a good idea because the Zia regime would then get a bigger excuse to crackdown on the organisation with even more brute a force." and that was your only objection to the Pakistani flag! and you have following in Pakistan.. ! God save Pakistan!
J. Narula Jun 22, 2012 06:35am
What have u converted from?? or planning to convert too?
manish Jun 22, 2012 05:44am
NFP, in my opinion, cannot be restricted to a country...he is somewhat like naom chomksy(spare me for the analogy, as it is the best i can come up with).......... he is one for liberty, freedom and the 80s communism was such an ideology,,,,while america with it's attack on vietnam, and many other countries was seen as imperialist power...hence his, with communism in the bin, and ussr defunct...,,america is the country which many hope could provide respite from all this religious narrow-mindedness(we may have serious disagreements over this point, but US is still lot better than china and russia)....
manish Jun 22, 2012 05:45am
talha Jun 22, 2012 05:57am
why burn flags? isn't there enough hatred already?
jovi Jun 22, 2012 05:58am
Pls dont bring India all the time. Indian Deobandis are far far better and secular than any of the islamic organization in this world.
Bharat Jun 22, 2012 06:19am
Never understood this Why do you want so many enemies ??? From another angle - Can you see any worthwhile friends anywhere ??
Rational Jun 22, 2012 06:28am
Please write something about the fact that why people around the globe hate US and why its flag is burnt ubiquitously. Please be disloyal to US someday .. just for change
Shashank Jun 22, 2012 08:12am
Really ? Have you read their fatwas ?
Pratham Jun 22, 2012 08:14am
Never thought of that ! Selling Indian and U.S. flags must be a roaring business in Pakistan.....
Shashank Jun 22, 2012 08:16am
The same guys must have queued for an American Visa.
Shashank Jun 22, 2012 08:17am
Ironical - isnt it ? Just like the Ahmadies helped to create Pakistan ?
Pramod Jun 22, 2012 08:23am
Irfan I think NFP has just tried to say that only though not about any [particular instance. American did not kill shia's in Hazara. Taliban did then think, against whom you should protest.
annas Jun 22, 2012 02:06pm
This nation requires a century more to instill the seeds of revolution. We had been under the influence of so many issues that we forget the meaning of revolution.
Rational Jun 22, 2012 01:58pm
Please write something about the fact that why people around the globe hate US and why its flag is burnt ubiquitously. Who is the bigger hate monger US or the flag burning Pakistani citizens?
Pramod Jun 22, 2012 08:41am
From that equation, every American can hate Muslims and that will be justified.
zeeshan Jun 22, 2012 08:48am
Sandip Americans flags are being burnt because of their unjust doing in Afghanistan and off course in Pakistan.They have taken so many innocent lives by drones attacks. what Pakistani people want is that America should stop drone attacks and quit from Pakistan. we also want from Pakistani govt to take action against terrorist itself, not with the help of America. once America will quit from this region, peace will come very first.
WER Jun 22, 2012 09:00am
what the hell do pakistani people have to do with this? we ourselves are picked up and thrown to dogs like pieces of meat by the establishment, how is it THE PEOPLE'S FAULT.
Sam Jun 22, 2012 02:51pm
thats the point my dear friend... can you say with conviction that pakistan is doing its bit... no they are not, and hence other countries are pounding on your soil and questioning your sovereignty... had the pakistan government acted against the safe havens and terrorist hiding inside their territory i don't think any one has any business in pakistan.... and nobody would be bombing on your countries borders...
Madhu Jun 22, 2012 09:33am
ROFL ...
Shama Qureshi Jun 22, 2012 09:40am
At last where is the problem? Why wheresoever we have Muslims and Islam their is always poverty, illiteracy, violation of human rights, terrorism, intolerance, fatwas etc.
Hammad Khan Jun 22, 2012 09:48am
Could not have said it better.
Ghani Khan Jun 22, 2012 11:24pm
NFP - You live under Pak flag, you nourished under it, your favourite hero ZAB loved this flag. What is your gripe? A flag is a symbol of a nation, a country that we identify with. Which flag , represents your ideology ? Th Marxist flag does n't even fly in Moscow.
Baba Sidni Jun 23, 2012 02:06am
You know it a good business for some to provide these flags on demand. There is some serious money to be made.
Baba Sidni Jun 23, 2012 02:08am
Bravo, no harm in self disillusionment!
Komal S Jun 23, 2012 02:16am
This is the attitude of an average pakistani i cannot understand. Why do you have to insult your Hindu heritage for your problems. There is still this mindset that Hindus are inferior and becoming muslim should change all of that. I have no issues with Muslims being proud of their religion but having this superiority complex will forever doom your country. Dawn would have no issue letting this insult against Hindus publish but will NOT publish my response.
Abdullah K.Niazi Jun 23, 2012 05:02am
When I was in Punjab university (1963-65),we protested, we shouted, we raised slogans against Ayub Khan ,we faced tear gas, police baton charges but neve ever thought of burning our country's flag. I guess that was the difference between us & so called Marxists. Their flag flew in Kremlin.
kayT Jun 23, 2012 05:43am
Bad education, religiousness and conspiracy theories go hand in hand
kayT Jun 23, 2012 05:49am
Saeed Jun 23, 2012 06:45am
Jairam, you have stolen my words. I wish, we Pakistanis as a nation could channel our potentials in the right direction rather than being on suicide mission.
manghirmalani Jun 23, 2012 08:14am
agreed-Saudi are liability
Mirza Gulfam Baig Jun 23, 2012 08:46am
Well Truly I agree with you ... Why should it be shameful for a country to train guerrillas who may eventually decide upon the fate of a war as Quaid-e-Azam urged us to fight in defense of our country wherever it is needed: in jungles, mountains or plains. Why so? The answer is simple with instances of American Army's Privatization over the years and the notorious Black Water, an organization originated from a school in North Carolina. Well these militants are being used as anti-bodies against ourselves not only causing physical damage but fracturing our image in the long run... It is foolish not to think that war may not hit us on large scale with any superpower_they (Militant Guerrillas) are the best safe guard.
Jamshed Khan Jun 23, 2012 06:52pm
Mr. Rizvi, make sure they sing "America the beautiful' after every prayer.
BuSaif Jun 23, 2012 07:31pm
Just Muslim, These are two subjects address by you in a single note: The Real point: the difference is based on Aqeedah and that is the BIG/MAJOR difference to make them as two different identities. However, to prove in detail shall hijack the thread which is not my objective as NFP is the owner of the However, what I understood is that you are making them identical by looking at the condemnation issue so to be precise: The Grand Imam during the Hajj Sermon/Khutbah in Saudia Arabia which for sure is not a deobandi Hanafi, denounce/condemns the terrorism and violence, killings of innocent and or killing in general to the fullest and make mass notice and then dua’a for the protection of the oppressed and weak. On the contrary never heard from the others (PTT etc)... so it proves they are not even similar if we make this as criteria to identify the similarity, though as said above the real difference is Adeedah brother/sister... Peace to all
BuSaif Jun 23, 2012 07:36pm
Please write it in english ......
Ahad Jun 28, 2012 06:12am
Hillary admitted creating taliban was American mistake
Ahad Jun 28, 2012 06:14am
No Pakistani shia ever supported creation of Taliban. Taliban slaughtered Shias all over Afghanistan right from their start.
Abis Jul 10, 2012 03:15pm
Burning flags is a way of expressing hatred, and I believe USA / Israel as the main source of all evils across the world, including Terrorism in Pakistan.