Usman Riaz’s illustration of Pakistan’s flag

Published: January 14, 2013
File photo of Usman Riaz.

File photo of Usman Riaz.

Talented young musician Usman Riaz, who made a debut in the music industry with his single Firefly, took to Facebook to express his feelings towards sectarian attacks and ensuing protests in the country.

On the Usman Riaz Facebook page, the artist shared artwork with the caption “An illustration I made a while ago, sad that it is still relevant.” The image shows a bloodstained Pakistan flag with the crescent and star inverted to show a sad face.


“I made this around two years ago,” Riaz told The Express Tribune. “I don’t remember what happened exactly but it was for a school assignment. [I posted it last night] because it fits perfectly with the tone of what is happening…”

He continued: “It is really depressing. I don’t want to include politics in my work, but I just wanted to use this illustration to create awareness and show others what is happening. The bloody flag and sad face — it’s how people feel here in Pakistan.”

Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Sami
    Jan 14, 2013 - 9:32PM

    Why has this been passed as news ??


  • Yasser Bilal
    Jan 14, 2013 - 9:53PM

    He can express this in other method, to change the flag is not a correct way, this change could be considered as Flag desecration . we have to make a strong Law for Flag desecration as lot of countries have these laws ( but unfortunately we don’t have. As nobody have right to play with the NATIONAL FLAG. Flag is the identity of the nation.


  • PakSurzameen
    Jan 14, 2013 - 10:01PM

    Strong message, but will fell on deaf ears!!


  • Tariq
    Jan 14, 2013 - 11:08PM



  • Final Solution
    Jan 14, 2013 - 11:51PM

    @Yasser Bilal:
    And what about those Pakistanis who desecrate the national flag by printing Kalima -e- Tayba, Allah Hu Akbar, Pictures of politicians etc?
    Will the law for desecration of flag include these anomalies?Recommend

  • ZK
    Jan 14, 2013 - 11:52PM

    @Yasser Bilal
    You seem to be more worried about ”Flag desecration’, while Pakistan is being desecrated DAILY! Don’t whinge about this, when we actually NEED such a blatant, strong form of imagery like defacing our flag to get through to the minds of our people. This is an amazing illustration by Usman Riaz.


  • nd
    Jan 14, 2013 - 11:59PM

    That’s an amazing piece of art . We should not take it negatively and encourage such stuff .


  • MustafaZubair
    Jan 15, 2013 - 12:05AM

    @Yasser Bilal – if a flag being sad offends you but the international depiction and image of the country as brutal savages doesn’t, then im sorry but something is REALLY wrong.
    Its just a piece of art. And he doesnt mean ANYTHING Negative by it. He wants people to see what all this violence is doing to us as a nation. Dont you think it would make Jinnah Sad? THE FLAG IS CRYING! THIS COUNTRY WAS MADE FOR THE MINORITIES! STOP SECTARIAN VIOLENCE!!!


  • doom
    Jan 15, 2013 - 12:38AM

    @Yasser Bilal:
    We can’t have such laws because we enjoy burning and adorning donkeys with other countries flags too much. It would be much too hypoctrical.

    Also whether this particular depiction is “desecration” by any standard is highly debatable. He made it with good intentions so just take it as such.


  • PakSurzameen
    Jan 15, 2013 - 1:17AM

    @Yasser Bilal: Dead bodies of Pakistanis are lying on streets and you are worried of saving flag?


  • natasha
    Jan 15, 2013 - 1:43AM

    this is exactly what we need! it is so symbolic of how we as a nation are being torn apart by all this violence. this boy has created a wonderful piece of art that will make even the most stubborn of people notice what we are doing. well done Usman Riaz


  • Karima
    Jan 15, 2013 - 2:39AM

    @ Yasser: We associate ourselves too much with material things. We need to look beyond all that and look at the message being given.
    Usman, this image brings about a very strong emotion. One that will definitely stay with me for a while, if not with others.


  • Jan 15, 2013 - 3:56AM

    This guy is immensely talented. And the illustration is remarkable. Symbolic.


  • Tanveer KHan
    Jan 15, 2013 - 4:08AM

    Amazing piece.


  • Jan 15, 2013 - 11:07AM

    And in reality its disgracing Pakistani flag and ET Endorses it


  • kamran1980
    Jan 15, 2013 - 1:54PM

    @Ovais – how is it disgracing the flag? its showing the state of the nation! and Express Tribune is very smart and supportive to endorse this piece. Stop being ignorant and understand the meaning behind it!


  • Hashem
    Jan 15, 2013 - 4:36PM

    It would have been a much more creative work of art if you had removed the white strip off of it as it does not make any sense any more……..


  • Nadir Naeem
    Jan 16, 2013 - 8:39PM

    Grow up kids…. This is not impressive and certainly not art. I am surprized it made it till here. There are bigger issues in life and far more better works of arts by Pakistani kindergarten children.Recommend

  • Nadir Naeem
    Jan 16, 2013 - 8:40PM

    Grow up kids…. This is not impressive and certainly not art. I am surprized it made it till here. There are bigger issues in life and far more better works of arts by Pakistani kindergarten children.


  • Salman
    Jan 16, 2013 - 11:48PM

    @Nadir Naeem – put a sock in it, it really represents how majority of Pakistan feels. jealous fools like you may have every right to express their opinion. but that doesnt mean you are right. Contribute to making a better Pakistan and stop being an idiot!! PAKISTAN ZINDABAD! this piece needs to be promoted to show people what out fighting is doing to the country! maybe then one day the flag will smile again! inshallah!!!!!!!


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