Praise for restraint: Kerry lauds Nawaz’s India policy

Published: August 24, 2013

Kerry appreciated Islamabad’s policy of exercising restraint amid the ongoing tensions and border flare-up with New Delhi. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan earned some rare and unexpected praise on Friday when US Secretary of State John Kerry telephoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and appreciated Islamabad’s policy of exercising restraint amid the ongoing tensions and border flare-up with New Delhi.

Although, the PM House did not share details of the phone conversation with the media, officials told The Express Tribune that the discussion between the two concentrated on the strained relations between the neighbours.

Washington is increasingly worried about the worsening relations between Islamabad and New Delhi, as it fears that a revival of hostilities between the South Asian rivals would have a direct bearing on the peace prospects in neighbouring Afghanistan, said officials.

Prime Minister Nawaz told the US secretary of state that his government was following the policy of ‘restraint and responsibility’ in the larger interest of peace in the region. “Pakistan could have responded aggressively to Indian provocations but it decided not to do so,” Nawaz was quoted by officials as telling John Kerry. “We are seeking dialogue with India, because we believe it is the best possible way to resolve issues,” the prime minister explained.

There have been a series of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) since early August that have resulted in the killing of Indian and Pakistani troops. Civilians have also been injured as a result of the mortar shelling and shooting across the ceasefire line.

At least three Pakistani soldiers including a captain were killed and four others injured during the last 72 hours due to ‘unprovoked firing’ by Indian troops. Earlier, on August 6, India accused Pakistan of breaching the LoC and ambushing an Indian Army patrol, killing five soldiers. Pakistan denies any involvement.

Despite there being no let-up in the tensions, Nawaz reiterated his call for dialogue with India. On Friday, Islamabad ordered the release of 364 Indian prisoners who will be repatriated to their country within the next 24 hours.

In an interview with the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, Nawaz said he sees his election victory as a mandate for peace with India. He emphasised on the need for reconciliation with Pakistan’s “oldest enemy”.

“There will be progress and there has to be progress,” Nawaz emphatically said in the interview. “If we have to prosper, there has to be progress on this [issue].”

Nawaz also called for an end to the “unfortunate arms race” between the two countries. “The money wasted in defence should have gone into social sectors – it should have gone into education, it should have gone into health care,” he added.

“We didn’t have any India-bashing slogans in the elections. We don’t believe in such slogans. There have been such slogans in the past — 10 years ago, 20 years ago — but not now. In fact, I very clearly spoke about good relations with India even before the elections.”

He went on to say: “I made my position very clear: if we get a mandate, we will make sure we pick up the threads from where we left off in 1999 and then reach out to India, sit with them, resolve all our outstanding issues, including the issue of Kashmir, through peaceful means.”

“I hope that both countries realise these mistakes that we’ve made. I think the main objective of making peace with each other is to get rid of all that. We’ve got to sit with India and discuss this matter.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (45)

  • zainulabadin
    Aug 24, 2013 - 6:06AM

    After a long time. A sensible attitude from a leader. Nawaz sharif is headed the right way. Lets hope army doesn’t commit any foolery

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  • True Indian
    Aug 24, 2013 - 6:07AM

    yes Pakistan must show restraint coz there is no other option for Pakistan aur millitary pe toe koi control hai nahi….toe Nawaz ko restraint ka mojzaira hi karna padega…..

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  • PTI Supporter
    Aug 24, 2013 - 6:45AM

    I cannot stop myself commenting on this
    A mature and progressive thinking by NS, India Pakistan can’t even get closer to developing countries if they are going to spend billions of dollars in buying weapons. Now its time for both nations to realize that only education and well being of people can uplift the society.
    Its time to sit and resolve all issues, walking away will not work anymore

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  • True Indian
    Aug 24, 2013 - 6:48AM

    NS knows the art of fooling its people very well….Recommend

  • Hafiz
    Aug 24, 2013 - 6:54AM

    Nawaz- first close all TTC(Terror Training Centres) if you really want peace.

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  • Brookside
    Aug 24, 2013 - 7:25AM

    And Washington also appreciates Pakistan’s drone policy too ….

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  • Humayun
    Aug 24, 2013 - 8:39AM

    NS is bending backwards for friend ship with provocative India where it should be on mutually acceptable beneficial terms while US is an optimum exploiter

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  • Zain
    Aug 24, 2013 - 9:01AM

    This “seeking” is actually “begging”

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  • Xnain
    Aug 24, 2013 - 9:13AM

    A lesson for Indian diplomats,media and Zaid Hamids of Pakistan……

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  • confused
    Aug 24, 2013 - 10:04AM

    I must say Mr. Nawaz Sharif has fully transformed himself into a statesman. History will prove India wrong and Pakistan right as for the first time our leadership is not holding its nation hostage to sentiments and emotions. Well done Mr. PM.

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  • M. A. Changezi
    Aug 24, 2013 - 10:14AM

    Good going. I have never supported PML-N. If they keep the good work up, my vote is for them next general elections.

    May you succeed Nawaz old boy.

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  • usman 786
    Aug 24, 2013 - 10:31AM

    Congratulations NS ur boss is happy for time beingRecommend

  • Aug 24, 2013 - 11:12AM

    I admire Nawaz’s consistency. But, I don’t believe for a second that there is civilian supremacy in Pakistan. So whatever the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan thinks and says in actual effect does not matter.

    Only if he manages to get his Army under his thumb like it is the norm in all civilised societies, then whatever he says carries weight. I don’t think that’ll ever happen in Pakistan.

    India will have to deal directly with the Military, like with Musharaff to get anywhere. India should cut out the middlemen. Its not India’s job to promote Democracy in Pakistan.

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  • Pakka Paki
    Aug 24, 2013 - 11:43AM

    @True Indian:
    Peace can never be achieved through Violence. We fought many wars but still did not earn peace. If your nation really want to have peace in sub-continent region. You have to step forward and make some courageous decisions and solve the issue of Kashmir at first through Dialogue.

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  • Rabbani
    Aug 24, 2013 - 1:07PM

    US Secretary of State John Kerry telephoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and appreciated Islamabad’s policy of exercising restraint amid the ongoing tensions and border flare-up with New Delhi.

    Oh, so the US can see through Indian double-dealing, huh? I can sense a slap on the face of India. No offense.

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  • Aug 24, 2013 - 1:24PM

    @Pakka Paki:

    The thing which stumps me is Pakistan saying both countries are not peaceful. I don’t know about Pakistan, but India is peaceful.

    International Business will not invest in a country which is not peaceful, nor will so many Tourists arrive if there is no peace. Businesses are investing India, foreign Tourists are arriving.

    I know, I know. There are incidents, but these very incidents are largely isolated in such a large country, which houses 1/6th of the Humanity.

    Pakistan is the one which is derived of peace, but not by India, but its own hate.

    India has been reluctant because it knows it is doing good, its not consumed by its hate of Pakistan, but is it true of Pakistan?

    So, Pakistan has more to gain in talks with India, than India. Pakistan has to go that extra mile to please the status quo power and invite it to the negotiating table. Not the other way around.

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  • Amir
    Aug 24, 2013 - 1:54PM

    NS has sugar mills in India. He is no saint nor he is sincere to pakistan. History is full of proofs

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  • Syed Jalal Kashmiri
    Aug 24, 2013 - 2:59PM

    Nawaz Sharif is right in this aspect, We should show the world the truth: Pakistan wants peace and justice, Kashmiris have been denied that for 66 years. India is an aggressor nation, the world should see this openly. America’s role in Pakistan will vanish next year, and so will the bombings and attacks in Pakistan. Pakistan must quickly build its economy and increase trade relations with Iran, China, Turkey, Qatar, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Post-Karzai Afghanistan. Pakistan has much more to gain through peace than India does, and gifted with the best geographic location, strong culture, and most beautiful natural beauty in the world.

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  • Rabbani
    Aug 24, 2013 - 4:52PM

    Hafiz

    Nawaz- first close all TTC(Terror Training Centres) if you really want peace.

    Hafiz – first use your real name if you want to be taken seriously.Recommend

  • unbelievable
    Aug 24, 2013 - 5:16PM

    Kerry knows that the Civilian govt has little to do with foreign policy and zero control over how Pakistan responds to alleged aggression on it’s border. No doubt he made a separate phone call to Kayani which hasn’t been reported. If Sharif agrees that money has been wasted on weapons that should have been used on Civilian infrastructure – then what’s stopping him from changing that policy? – or maybe he doesn’t control the military budget?

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  • Hedgefunder
    Aug 24, 2013 - 6:21PM

    Don’t praise too much, otherwise the Boot Boys in Pindi may get wrong ideas, and start toying with takeover once again !

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  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan
    Aug 24, 2013 - 6:21PM

    @Syed Jalal Kashmiri:
    Yes sir, you will grow your economy and once you are on your feet though I have other opinion about Afghanistan in 2014, you will stand up to india with your might. We indians are fools as we are sitting on the fence and watch you make plans for restarting the proxy war with us. Wow, what an idea !!.It would be better if you stick real close with nawaz Sharif and make him strong enough to do a peace deal with india.while thinking about liberating Kashmir, you lost east pakistan and now in the process pakistan might loose baluchistan.kashmiris don’t want to be a part of pakistan too. What a suicidal agenda this is for your country. Please try to save what you have or another emirate of north waziristan might pop out soon. Sindhis, pakhtoons, and baluchis have little to gain from this obsession with Kashmir and I think a lot of them are a sensible lot. I cannot say this about the fellow punjabis from across the border who are living in a warp zone of their own and unfortunately they control the army. Rab rakha

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  • G. Din
    Aug 24, 2013 - 6:49PM

    @Pakka Paki:
    “@True Indian:
    Peace can never be achieved through Violence. We fought many wars but still did not earn peace”
    .
    Well, finally, you admit then that those wars you initiated were very stupid. That is progress of your mental processes.

    If your nation really want to have peace in sub-continent region. You have to step forward and make some courageous decisions and solve the issue of Kashmir at first through Dialogue.”
    Look, who is setting up the conditions? As far as we are concerned, issue of Kashmir is settled. All you have to do is to look at several Indian Parliament resolutions. There is no dialogue necessary. Just quit the areas under your occupation and ask Chinese to do likewise. We would like to have peace but we are not desperate for it, you are. We have lived and we can continue to live with the status quo. So, pick up the gauntlet, make those courageous decisions and you shall have peace. If you don’t, you are the ones to continue to suffer.

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  • Silent Night
    Aug 24, 2013 - 7:17PM

    So US praise will bring back Pakistani soldiers and civilians killed by India, will it? will US praise prevent Indian aggression? Is US prepared to take responsibility for Indian aggression? If the answer is “yes,” the lets see the US get India out of Kashmir. If the answer is “no” then what use is US praise?

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  • Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    Aug 24, 2013 - 9:58PM

    @Singh: Regardless of what you may think, India cannot openly confront Pakistan as this will immediately turn the entire Muslim world against India. India relies an Arab oil to survive, has wasted billions in Afghanistan for a very temporary strategic depth, they have also completely abandoned Iran due to US pressure, all the while the world is slowly understanding that India is using agents to set off bombs in Pakistan (the US recently accepted this). Pakistan has the luxury to bide its time, build up its economy. That’s exactly what Nawaz Sharif is doing. It’s the same strategy China advised Pakistan in the ’60s and ’70s during Pakistan’s rapid industrialization. Indian-backed Bengali nationalist war, followed by an Indian-backed Soviet invasion is what caused the fall of Pakistan’s economy.

    Regarding Pakistan’s internal affairs. Balochistan issue was resolved in 2003 by Musharraf who crushed Bugti, even his PM Jamali was a Baloch leader. Note: Bugti is not a major tribe in Balochistan, and numerous other tribes joined together to defeat this insurrection. Zardari also is Baloch origin, and most of the PPP are Shia (though it doesn’t really matter to most Pakistanis). Balochistan is governed by a Baloch party, even though it is Pukhtoon majority. This was the solution Nawaz Sharif made to keep peace in Balochistan to stop the strife between Pukhtoon and Baloch which was ignited by foreign hands.

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  • Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    Aug 24, 2013 - 9:58PM

    Regarding Sindh. SIndh’s Hindu class left the area with much of its wealth during the Partition. Sindh province is also contains many Baloch, South Punjabis, Muhajirs, Makranis, Bengalis, and others. Due to the theft of water due to India’s reneging on the Indus Water Treaty, large parts of SIndh have become Arid and Desert. There are small groups of Hindus who are trying to create friction and introduce Communism into Sindh, though they have largely failed.

    Regarding Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa, most of the issues relating to terrorism is because of housing 5 million Afghani refugees. The friction in KPK is mainly the result of the US actions in Afghanistan, being a very new phenomena. Pukhtoons have been one of the most loyal Pakistanis, and risked their lived countless times against invaders of Pakistan. 75% of the world’s Pukhtoon population is in Pakistan, and you cannot divorce Pakistan from a Pukhtoon.

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  • Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    Aug 24, 2013 - 9:58PM

    Regarding Punjab, this is a very diverse and multi-ethnic province which has large populations from across the Muslim world: Arabs, Persians, Turks, Afghans, Kurds, Turkoman, Uzbek, Hazara, Uygur, Rajputs, Jats, etc. As I am sure you know, Punjabi is not an ethnic group but a cultural identity. Punjab province also has many related people, Seraiki, Patwari, Pahari, Kashmiri, Punjabi Pukhtoon, Muhajirs, and Baloch.

    As you can see, Pakistan is a very diverse country, but it also very homogeneous, being a 97% Muslim population with a Persian-Turkish Mughal-based culture. Pakistan’s sphere of influence extends far into the heart of the Muslim world, and it is a strategic and valuable asset to Muslims globally, not to mention for China’s access to the Muslim world. India has no choice but to leave Pakistan alone.

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  • Anjaan
    Aug 25, 2013 - 3:51AM

    @ Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan,

    If Pakistan is, in your words quote “Pakistan is a very diverse country, but it also very homogeneous, being a 97% Muslim population with a Persian-Turkish Mughal-based culture” unquote

    - then why the entire nation of Pakistan remains glued to the Indian cinema and TV, day in and day out ….. ??

    - why not Persian-Turkish – Arab – Mongol ….. ???Recommend

  • Gp65
    Aug 25, 2013 - 5:32AM

    @Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan:
    India stole your water or Pakistan lies about it even though India honoured theIndus Water Treaty even during war? Please read what your own retired AVM has to say.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/588840/water-warriors/

    It s true that India has no interest in war because it would rather spend its energy and money on solving it’s own internal problems. But if ou think India depends on Pakistan’s goodwill for trade with the whole world you are poorly informed. India has a free trade agreement with Indonesia which is the most highly populated Muslim majority nation in the world. Same wih Malaysia. Who is UAE’s top trade partner? You guessed it – it is India. Did KSA or Iran stop supplying oil to India in 1971 or 1999? No.

    If according to you, US has accepted that India is trying to muddy water in Afghanistan, why did Secretary of State Kerry during his most recent visit to India to play a greater role in Afghanistan? What you probably refer to is not a recent statement an US official made but an off the cuff remark made by current Secretary of Defense 2 years back when he was not part of government. His statement was immediately refuted by a official state department person.

    You also are completely misreading the situation that post 2014 Pakistan will become peaceful. With a strong ANA backing an elected Afgan government, Pakistan backed Afghan Taliban are not going to get a walkover in Afghanistan.

    If you think that with problems in Balochistan, KPK, Karachi, GB and the balance of payment crisis and load shedding, Pakistan has the luxury of biding its time…good luck with that.Recommend

  • thor
    Aug 25, 2013 - 12:09PM

    @Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan:
    I could get the gist of your long diatribe.
    I could not have got a better perspective on the reasons why Pakistan is a failed state.
    Thank you.

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  • Aug 25, 2013 - 1:42PM

    My full support to the thinking and approach of Pak PM. May Allah be with him

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  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan
    Aug 25, 2013 - 5:44PM

    @Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan:
    Your dream of a united Muslim world against india if there is a war is misplaced. We faced each other 3 and a half time but your so called united Muslim ummah is more of a ally of india than yours. They are sensible enough to know, what is their national interests. The so called luxury you claim to have is a mirage because poor, defenseless Pakistani citizens are getting killed on a daily basis in the land of the poor. What luxury of time are you talking about ? Afghanistan is a friend of india and we have good relations with the country on a sovereign basis and goodwill. We are building their parliament, roads, schools etc. What have you given them except Kalashnikov culture of mujhahiddin. The Russian sponsored afghan government still had good infrastructure and basic amenities. Now, in the name of independence, these poor people have been reduced to misery by your support for a gun culture there for warlords. Rab rakha

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  • Pakistani Heritage
    Aug 25, 2013 - 5:59PM

    @Anjaan: We like Iranian films and Turkish dramas here in Pakistan more than Indian movies. Even in India, Bollywood movies are known for being cheap and superficial. American movies are much more popular here than Indian movies. Our culture is very different to India, we find Indian movies vulgar and unclouth. The reason people watch it is easy accessibility, not that they feel its a work of art. Also, Pakistani soap operas and dramas are popular not only in Pakistan, but also in Afghanistan, UAE, Indonesia, and the rest of the Muslim world.

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  • thor
    Aug 25, 2013 - 9:45PM

    @Pakistani Heritage:
    American movies are much more popular here than Indian movies. Our culture is very different to India, we find Indian movies vulgar and unclouth.
    I can just laugh..

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  • thor
    Aug 25, 2013 - 9:51PM

    @Pakistani Heritage:
    just check the collection of chennai express..
    American movies are much more popular here
    name them

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  • thor
    Aug 25, 2013 - 9:55PM

    @Pakistani Heritage:
    You use the word heritage..
    Do u know whats Pakistani Heritage?
    Just find out who you are.

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  • Gp65
    Aug 26, 2013 - 5:56AM

    India will disintegrate after the US leaves Afghanistan.

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  • Aug 26, 2013 - 10:00AM

    @Gp65: Hello, we seem to be on the same page. Great. You have lots of knowledge and analytical mind. Request to please see where the true interest of your country IS and WILL BE. regards

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  • Pakistani Heritage
    Aug 26, 2013 - 8:15PM

    @thor: Pakistan’s heritage beginning 7,000 BC: Indus River Valley Civilization (Harrapa, Mohenjodaro, Mehrgarh), Gandhara, Parthia, Scythia, Persia under Darius, Sikander’s Macedonian Empire, Sassanid Persia, Arab Khalifate under Sultan Muhammad bin Qasim, Ghaznavid, Sultanate of Deheli, status as capital/heartland of the Mughal Empire, followed by disintegration and destruction by Sikhs, Hindu Marathas, British. 1947, Pakistan formation and return to indigenous Muslim rule.

    Our civilization is based on the Sindh river, Septa Sindhu. Containing all the territories which derive culture and civilization to a common Indus River Valley Civilization, starting from Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, through the Punjab heartland and Pukhtoonkhwa, and emptying into Sindh and Balochistan.

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  • thor
    Aug 27, 2013 - 9:30AM

    @Pakistani Heritage:
    So you need to decide when was Pakistan formed, 7000 BC, 712 AD or 1947.
    You have excluded Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka the great,Budhist era, Gupta period & included all the foreigners who invaded your land.
    Indus River Valley Civilization extends across the border of current India & Pakistan.
    What exactly returning to indigenous Muslim rule means?

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  • thor
    Aug 27, 2013 - 9:43AM

    @Pakistani Heritage:
    Sindhi, sindhu, Hindu, India, Indus – are all related words referring to land and people of river indus.

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  • thor
    Aug 28, 2013 - 10:41AM

    @Pakistani Heritage:
    Please refrain from using the word we.You do not represent the whole of Pakistan.
    It does not matter what you see as foreign and what is part of your collective identity or heritage.
    Since 1947 many things have changed.
    Pakistan is no more the same place & there are reasons for it.

    Talking about blood & brothers, you can look yourself in mirror.
    If you look like an Indian, you can be sure your forefather had been living in this land for thousands of years. They would have converted to Islam in any century.

    If you look like an Arabs, Persians, Turks you can be sure about the fact that one of your forefather was an soldier from the invading army.
    Its as simple as that.

    Recommend

  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan
    Aug 28, 2013 - 5:38PM

    @thor:
    Hello brother, why look at the mirror ?get a DNA kit from genographic project, take a swab from inner mouth with a help of a swab stick, put it in a small tube, seal it and send it to them.they are conducting a research about the evolution of human migration and research. My paternal test was r* and is Aryan from central Asia before their invasion into india. I would recommend the same for Mr pakistani heritage with a open mind and be ready for surprises because you cannot refuse the dna test as false. For the record, I don’t believe in my Aryan superiority of anybody lower. We are all descended from a common eve from Africa some 50000 years back. Rab rakhaRecommend

  • Pakistani Heritage
    Aug 28, 2013 - 10:05PM

    @thor: Hindu, Indus, and India are foreign words from Farsi, Greek, and British English, respectively. These words are based on Sindh, but the meanings have changed over the years.

    We Pakistanis are the children of our ancestors who have always lived on the banks of the Indus River and its tributaries, Septa Sindhu. Many DNA tests have been done, which show without a doubt that we have very little in common with blood from India’s Gangetic river and South India.

    I have no need for a DNA test, as we Pakistanis, as proud Muslims and proud of our heritage keep our written lineage from more than a thousand years. This is one Pakistani tradition I am sure you are not aware of.

    Furthermore, what you call as invaders, the Macedonians, Persians, Afghans, Arabs, Mongols, and Turks. We refer to as our brothers and blood. There is nothing wrong with marrying outside your tribe or ethnicity, as long as those individuals follow the same religion. Hence, we are not stuck in the caste mentality that India is.

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  • thor
    Aug 29, 2013 - 9:37PM

    @Pakistani Heritage:
    Do you know about the word miskeen.
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/389166/going-miskeen-in-saudi-arabia/

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