Is it okay to awaken the dead to settle a score with Adnan Sami Khan?

If our sensitivities are so fragile that we throw a fit at a tweet from a musician, then we need to examine ourselves.

Khusro Tariq October 10, 2016
Last Monday, a young writer by the name of Ahsan Mehmood wrote a hypothetical letter  from Adnan Sami Khan’s (ASK) deceased father to his son for a newsblog called The Weekly Pakistan. The letter was written in response to a tweet from Adnan in which he congratulated the Indian armed forces and PM Modi on a “successful surgical strike against terror”.

The letter essentially consisted of the father, a decorated PAF officer, talking about his own patriotism and the sacrifices a soldier makes for his country. It ended with the “miserable” father referring to the son as a “disgrace”, a “cancerous part” of him and his “deepest regret”.

Let’s get this straight; there is nothing commendable about ASK’s tweet. It reeks of the same chauvinistic garbage being vomited out on social media and cable television on both sides of the border. But let us also examine the sort of reaction that the tweet has received, epitomised by this vicious and self-righteous piece of writing. There are literally thousands of strong-worded replies to the tweet by ASK and there is not one Pakistani news publication that has not carried some sort of rebuke or criticism of the tweet.

Most of these responses have attacked ASK’s character, evoked patriotic sentiment and accused him of betrayal. The aforementioned hypothetical letter stands out for its intentional brutishness and its breaking of the unspoken cultural taboo of evoking the dead.

Much as we do not like to step into any shoes other than our own, this sort of response makes one no different from the war ensemble on display in the Indian media. It makes one no different from the host and commentators that ganged up on Om Puri during a talk show and accused him of offending patriotic sentiment and betraying the sacrifices of Indian soldiers. It makes us no different from the imbecile who filed a legal complaint against Om and accused him of treason.

If our sensitivities are so fragile that we throw a collective fit at a tweet from a musician then there is something within us that we need to examine. If this riles us up more than the myriad homegrown afflictions that plague us, there is something here that we need to fix. For, if we continue to contribute to the hostility between India and Pakistan, we continue to host the depraved demagogues who alone benefit from this conflict.

Thing is, if a tweet from ASK can consume us entirely, one wonders why we were so parsimonious with our anger at the sickening murder of four Hazara Shia women last week. Even the brazen hijacking of the PEMRA meeting to discuss complaints of hate speech against the Ahmadi community has been drowned underneath the deluge of our supposed patriotism.

On the other side of the border, relentless brutalities against the Kashmiri people and the continuing suicide pogrom of destitute farmers are relegated to the fringes of public discourse. The pathological preoccupation with Pakistan reigns supreme.

Let us reject the narrative that allows the hustlers of communal schisms and ultranationalism to prosper.

The insufferable jingoism of Pakistan-India politics ensures that poverty, sectarianism and corruption are perpetually triumphant. Let us stop being a part of it.
Khusro Tariq The author is a Pakistani-American Psychiatrist currently pursuing training in Jungian psychoanalysis. He blogs on Huffington Post on matters of psychology, faith, politics and poetry. He tweets as @KhwajaKhusro (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Ze-yom-Durrani | 7 years ago | Reply You said Bollywood crap? Well as a matter of fact we are not hooked up onto Bollywood and I don't think it is crap either but I can say you have fallen for that crap. I see your artist die to get a role of a gay or a striper and pole dancer.. that is what Pakistanis getting, they are not embarrassed that after being humiliated by Indians still go and dance for them, so you have fallen for a crap and God knows how crap you'd be. You stay assured that Afghans are leaving go and tell your fellow Pakistanis who tore their throat shouting Afghans should leave.. but Afghans are leaving Karachi and ilahore not Pakhtunkhwa cause it is part of Loy Afghanistan. Did you know how many residents of pakhtunkhwa call themselves Afghan.. you go and find out and I am sure this will make you distressed and your dream of pakland will shutter!
Karachiwala | 7 years ago Your problem is you take up 1 point and rather to finish the argument, jump on the second one. As contrast to Pakistani artist begging for any role, you forgot what the main topic was about. It was about Adnan Sami Khan, and clearly he was begging the indian master of his for an indian citizenship. I have no issues with Afghans as an ethenic identity ( and no one should) , as we have Afghans in Khyber Pukhtoonkhuwa. But as a Pakistani, i have serious reservation about Afghans from Afganistan. They have lived in Pakistan for 40+ years. And they should go back home, and build their country. Lets say, we are bad. we as a Pakistani are very rude to them for 40 years. And Pakistanis are the worst, call as many name as you think of. But Please Leave!!!!! Leave this land that has given space to your mothers to deliver babies, Leave this land which provided the very first food for those infants. Forget about this Land that given your children time and space to play and grow. do one favour unto yourself. Ask Adnan Sami Khan to come back to Afghanistan. Not for fighting, or helping nation building... just ask him to come and collect some more MONEY/Land in inheritance from his grand father. Lets see what he does. And i am waiting anxiously until every Afghani go back to Their Purest Land- if not, at least take refuge in INDIA. but not any more in Pakistan. hope you uderstand.
abhi | 7 years ago | Reply I think Adnan Sami knows his father better than the man who has written this hypothetical letter.
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