Glaring disrespect: Mickey ka Pakistan

Published: August 15, 2011

The founder and the scholar are joined by the world’s most famous rodent. PHOTO: QAZI USMAN/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: 

The national flag is more than just a piece of cloth, a fact that even children are aware of. They grow up to respect their national flag as the nation’s identity and a symbol of its dignity, its sovereignty and its greatness.

When the fervor to celebrate Independence Day begins in early August every year, it is always the children who rush out at the earliest with national flags of different sizes on their bicycles and tattooed on their faces. Just the sight of the national flag itself is enough to attract them.

Unfortunately, for the past few years certain ignorant traders have regularly sold national flags with a picture of ‘Mickey Mouse’ painted on the white part.

This Independence Day also witnessed dozens, if not hundreds, of such flags. No one seems to know who first put Mr Mickey on the flag and allowed him to encroach on the space reserved for minorities.

“I do not know who paints it. We purchase them from the wholesale dealers, said Abrar Ahmed, a vendor in G-9 Markaz, who had set up a stall in the market especially for Independence Day. He said that parents usually asked for the Mickey Mouse flags for their children. He added that very few children who visited his shop were actually looking for the Mickey Mouse flags.

“I’m not a baby anymore,” replied eight-year-old Mehrunnisa, a resident of G-9/4, when asked why she was not buying a Mickey Mouse flag. Her father said they never noticed the cartoon painted on the flag.

“For us it was just a national flag and I do not think it matters a lot,” he said.

Like many others, he was not aware of the fact that tampering with the original design of the flag is an offence punishable under law with three years imprisonment.

“Desecrating or disrespecting the national flag is an offence under article 123-B and, its penalty is three years imprisonment” said Justice (retd) Tariq Mehmood.

However, there was not a single case where the police or any other authority had taken action against people making or selling national flags with pictures of a cartoon character on them.

The design of the national flag approved by the first Legislative Assembly of Pakistan in 1947 was green and white
colour in the proportion of two to three. The green part had to have a crescent and a star on it.

The first prime minister of the country, Liaquat Ali Khan had clearly stated that the white part of the flag represented the minorities of
the country.

In grave violation of the design approved by the national legislature and the founders of the country, illiterate traders have continuously been tampering with the
national flag for years, hurting many hearts.

Journalist Chris Cork found the flags an affront to the minorities of Pakistan.

Another journalist felt it was US soft power. “Shows our subconscious subservience to the US achieved through mass media. That was for ole Mickey though” said Imran Khan, the Editor-in-Chief of WorldCall Services.

“Green is the colour of Islam and white stands for purity. We love our flag. Really do. We salute our flag. Mind you we will only salute our own flag. We owe allegiance to it” added Sohail Mehmood, a consultant at the World Bank.

However, right under the nose of authorities in the federal capital, certain people continue showing disrespect to the national flag and were still free to repeat it the next year as well.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Dr. Amyn A. Malik
    Aug 15, 2011 - 10:44AM

    Just a minor correction. 2 to 3 is the ratio of breadth to length of the flag. When talking about the colors, green is supposed to be 3/4 and white is supposed to be 1/4, a ratio of 3 is to 1.

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  • Dee
    Aug 15, 2011 - 10:56AM

    This is the limit, I swear! What has this country come to…

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  • Huuhaa
    Aug 15, 2011 - 12:28PM

    lol! It just shows that anyone carrying the pakistani flag is akin to a Mouse! huuhaaa

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  • Aug 15, 2011 - 12:57PM

    If Mickey’s picture can be termed “desecration”, then technically, so can the picture of Quaid-e-Azam and Iqbal between the crescent and star. Last time I checked, those two faces weren’t part of the national flag either.

    It’s amazing how Pakistanis get all riled up about these little things (Oops, I asked for it. Coming up next, a “heart-warming” speech from a random nationalist about how a national flag is not a “little thing”).

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  • Dee
    Aug 15, 2011 - 1:10PM

    Okay my last comment wasn’t accepted so taking out the word which caused its rejection. But I really need to make this point. Please enlighten since when ‘white stands for purity’ as mentioned by “WORLD BANK CONSULTANT”? Last time I checked it represented minorities. Or is the white color too pure for impure minorities?

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  • Lubna
    Aug 15, 2011 - 1:53PM

    LoneLiberal PK: I agree with yuo technically, even though Jinnah and Iqbal’s pics don’t seem out of place, they shouldn’t be there anyway. It’s however, the Mickey mouse that seems totally in bad taste. I thinks these flags should at least be taken notice of by the local authorities and not printed ever again in the future.

    Oh, and our National flag is NOT just a little thing! and it’s not just about Pakistanis and their flag, ask any citizen of any other country in the world, you’ll probably find similar strong emotions attached to the symbol of their identity too.

    For Pakistanis especially, our flag is one of the last few things left that symbolizes the unity of our country and no way should we allow for it to be defaced. There is a reason behind article 123-B and its penalty- three years imprisonment!

    Got the ‘speech’ you were after?

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  • Lubna
    Aug 15, 2011 - 1:55PM

    The white colour is definitely for the minorities, no question about that!!

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  • Aug 15, 2011 - 1:58PM

    White seemingly stands for minorities, and I hope one day it will be equal in size to the green to represent the fact that Muslims and non-Muslims are all equal under the state constitution.

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  • M.Akthar
    Aug 15, 2011 - 2:04PM

    Pakistan has become a Cartoon Country.. Pathetic.
    :(

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  • sidra
    Aug 15, 2011 - 3:53PM

    this isnt new. i remember when i was in school, a fellow student accidentally brought a flag with mickey mouse printed on it. we laughed it off back then. but seeing that the trend has increased this is pathetic

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  • Aug 15, 2011 - 4:02PM

    for God Sake you guys take everything too serious……………who ever did put mickey in there probably wanted to attract kids…………….just chill out our flag is much more than a little thing just like our religion it is way above for anyone to disrespect it…………
    pakistan zindabad……………………
    ps…..we have made our minorities mickey mouse we are all up in arms about a character on the flag but we have failed to protect our minorities

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  • Imran
    Aug 15, 2011 - 4:31PM

    Desecrating is something else. In America people make bikinis out of the stars n stripes design n its considered patriotic. Everything depends on intention. This shoulsnt even have been in the news.

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  • Aug 15, 2011 - 6:05PM

    unofficially we can put flowers and leafs.. its ok….love…

    truly we cannot allow you such act at all,the green white flag represents Pakistan,and ofcourse you we must judge our nation from the political conditions or defeats or even victories but since we are born in a nation of muslims we must do our duty honestly, and sincerely to represent pakistan, as it is, and even fight the treasons that came with it democratically… because we are answerable to God for our actions in anycase ,and it is he who gives or takes bach home ..and i tell you any nation or family without a home knows how miserable life can seem…

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  • Aug 16, 2011 - 5:05AM

    “Green is the colour of Islam and white stands for purity. We love our flag. Really do. We salute our flag. Mind you we will only salute our own flag. We owe allegiance to it” added Sohail Mehmood, a consultant at the World Bank.

    LOL a consultant for the world bank talking about his love for Pakistan. The irony of it all!

    It’s funny how they’ve put the mickey mouse picture on the part representing the Christian and Hindu minorities. Are we to assume then that these minorities owe their allegiance to the US? Or maybe they are mice in disguise? Seriously though no one cares.

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  • Born Again Pakistani
    Aug 16, 2011 - 10:07AM

    @abdussamad:
    Mickey is a Jew that is why he has been placed in the white area. What is so bad? Pakistan is the safest country for non-muslims. Problem is they have not accepted the country’s ideology of a Sunni Theocratic state so there have been some minor skirmishes here and there otherwise they can go anywhere and pray anywhere as long as it is in a mosque and according to laid down principle of that Madhab.

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