Independence Day: We are Pakistanis now, say Afghans

Afghan refugees celebrate country’s independence with fervor.

Sohail Khattak August 15, 2011

KARACHI: Usually in Ramazan, the shopkeepers in the narrow streets of al Asif Square listen to the recitation of Quran and naats. But on Sunday their little stereos blared patriotic songs.

Muhammad Ali, 27, a mobile seller likes to be called a Pakistani. His family hails from the Lugar province in the southeast of Kabul, but he was born and raised here. “I love to be called a Pakistani,” he said. “I opened my eyes in Pakistan and I grew up here.”

Muhammad Jan, 61, migrated from Mazar-e-Sharif, in Balkh province, 22 years ago. He said although he was too old to pin a badge of the Pakistani flag on his chest, but his grandchildren celebrate it. Last year, Jan visited Lugar, his hometown in Afghanistan but Pakistan is his home. “I do not want to leave,” he said. “I am happy here.”

Haji Abdullah Shah Bukhari is the chairman of the Afghan Mohajir Jirga in Karachi, and feels that freedom is precious. According to him, around 350,000 Afghan refugees live in Karachi. “We share the joys and sorrows of Pakistan as we live here,”he said. “The Independence Day is a day of happiness for both, Pakistanis and us.”

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


Tariq Ahmed | 12 years ago | Reply To Wazir, you are wrong, the Afghans would never have defeated the USSR without Pakistans help, it was Pakistani soldiers who actually trained Afghans in the use of modern weapons and in fact Pakistani soldiers fought many battles, it was thousands of Pakistani mujahideen who fought alongside Afghans, so it was not like Afghans alone defeated the Soviets, if that was true why cant the Afghans beat the US and NATO today, because Pakistan is not involved.
Wazir | 12 years ago | Reply

As far Afghan hatred for Pakistan, why shouldnt they. We have been ineptly and constantly meddling in their affairs for years. We played favorites through out the ninties, making the Taliban neccessary, then when Colin Powell makes a phone call, we cave in, in effect handing the country back to the bandits, drug barons and communist the Talibs fought. Afghans have every reason to view our government as malicious, conniving, craven and inept.

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