Celebrating Pakistan Day

Author: Illiyeen Jameel

You are basically Arabic right?

Do you speak Arabic?

Did you have internet?


These are the type of questions I get whenever I tell people I am from Pakistan.

And to be honest, sometimes I find it a bit infuriating, because it's wrong! Just because I am from the Islamic republic of Pakistan doesn’t mean that I am an Arab, have a full length beard, speak Arabic - I'm Pakistani not Arabic.

But I'm proud of my country and want to share about it, to teach you why it's so great. I know a lot times these questions are very genuine, so I, a person who has lived in Pakistan for 17 years want to tell you some basic facts about my country.

1. I am not Arabic

I am from south Asia- not the middle east. Also being Arabic, is not a thing, it is a language not a group of people.

2. I speak Urdu (not Arabic)

My mother tongue is the lingo-franca of Pakistan: Urdu. Urdu is one of the registers of Hindustani. The other one being Hindi. Urdu is thus, very similar with hindi slight differences. For example, the word for parents in Urdu is Waladaan and in Hindi it is Pariwar. But a Hindi speaker can communicate without any problems with an Urdu speaker.

These differences are due to Urdu being influenced by Arabic and Persian while Hindi was influenced by Sanskrit.

3. Pakistan and India are not the same country... exactly

If someone says Pakistan and India are basically the same country, I would do two things in quick succession:

fight you and then agree with you.

Weird right?

Yeah blame our history for this.

A Brief History Lesson: (overly simplified version or this would become a book)

Prior to August 14th, 1947 Pakistan, India and Bangladesh were all under one sovereignty called the British Raj, and combined, these three countries were called British India. Before the British came, India (then all three of these countries) were under the rule of the Mughals. At this time, the Hindus (the majority religion) had been under Muslim rule for a few hundred years and sometimes had problems with maintaining their religious rights. Under the Mughals everything was fine until a new ruler, Aurangzeb came along. He "Islamized" the whole of India and this made non-muslims feel forced to conform. When he lost the support of the people, the empire started to crumble. And in my opinion, this is when Hindus and Muslims as groups began to distrust one another with-in the country... and once the British arrived the Hindus and Muslims became rivals as both wanted rule over India. By the early 20th century the Muslims, being a minority, in India realized that to have their own rule and say in the works for their land they needed to separate. Thus, when the British Raj ended, two new countries were born: Pakistan and India.

Later Pakistan was divided into Bangladesh and Pakistan but that is another history lesson.

Thus, politically and somewhat culturally we can still be rivals.

Wanna see it in action?

Watch any Pakistan vs India cricket match, I swear, it is SO entertaining.

4. There's different parts of Pakistan

Pakistan has a total of 7 provinces and each of them have their own sub culture, majority language and other minority languages too. For example: Punjab has Punjabi has the majority language and also has Saraiki, Pothwari, Pashto, Urdu and English.

5. Our flag is awesome

Our flag is White and Green. The White is for the minority religions and the Green is for the Muslim majority. The Crescent symbolizes progress and the Star symbolizes light.

6. Pakistan has a big army

Pakistan has one of the most powerful armies in the world due to the arms race with India

Pakistan is a nuclear power, again, due to the arms race with India.

7. Pakistan has the best cricket team in the world

Wait, you don't think I just think that because I'm Pakistani do you?

We're the Shaheens and some people call us the Men in Green

8. Come celebrate Pakistan Day with the Youth Space Friday March 23

We'll be eating sweets and watching a Pakistani TV show (Humsafar) and I'll be here to answer any more questions you might have!


The Youth Space