A humiliating experience

Published: October 29, 2010
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The writer hosts “Kal Tak” on Express News 
javed.chaudhry@tribune.com.pk

The writer hosts “Kal Tak” on Express News javed.chaudhry@tribune.com.pk

It took us four hours to come out of Washington DC’s Dulles International Airport. We had landed there at three in the afternoon but when we came out of the airport, it was late evening.

We had left Paris at noon and when we landed at Dulles we were received in the way we had feared. I stood in line for half an hour just to reach the immigration counter. Once there, the immigration officer asked me a series of questions. It began with: “What is the purpose of your visit to the United States?” I replied: “Pakistan and America are holding a strategic dialogue and I have come for that.”

The officer asked me who had invited me and I told him that it was the US Department of State. He asked who would be my host and I said the US government, to which he asked if I had any “proof” of that. I showed him the proof. He then asked me what I did and I told him that I worked in a newspaper and a TV channel. He then asked me how old I was, to which I said “forty”. He fixed his eyes on me and I couldn’t hide my grin. I was then asked for my thumb impression and directed to another counter.

There sat a fat, bald American in a blue uniform. He took my documents and ordered me to sit in what seemed to be a waiting hall. Soon enough, the rest of my travelling colleagues joined me — apparently they were also suspects like me. After some time, people from other nationalities also started coming into the hall.

An hour went by. My colleagues and I were discussing the future of our government when the fat American appeared and in a pure, American accent yelled something like “Jeuw’ved Shoodri”. My colleagues and I guessed that he had called my name but before I could stand up, an old East European couple started following the officer. We resumed our discussion but my eyes were following the immigration officer.

From a distance, I noticed the old couple arguing with the officer. I felt they had gone there wrongly as my name had been announced and I went to where they were standing.

An exasperating and tiresome interview started in which I was made to feel as if I was solely responsible for all the anxiety Americans everywhere were experiencing on account of terrorism. I was made to think I was the reason Americans spent sleepless nights.

I got exhausted during the 40-minute interview and decided to accept all the allegations and accusations levelled against me. But before I could do this, the bald man relented and allowed me to enter America. I took my passport, praised the bald man for his generosity and hospitality and triumphantly shook his hand. I was sure at that moment that some of my colleagues must have become jealous of my success.

Mubashar was waiting for me in the hall. He has a French passport and therefore, I thought, had escaped the special suspicion that we were greeted with. However, I was wrong. As both of us were about to leave the hall he was stopped by officials — it was his turn now. They asked him only three or four questions but exhausted him by making him wait for 90 minutes.

Eventually, the wait ended for all of us and as we all walked out of the hall, something dawned on me. I realised that citizens — be they ministers, advisers or journalists — of a nation that does not guard its honour must go through total humiliation if they want to enter the United States.

Note: Readers can contact me via Facebook on www.facebook.com/javed.chaudhry

Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (79)

  • Tippu
    Oct 29, 2010 - 6:04AM

    A society that produce 99% of the terrorists around the world deserves no better. A society that has corruption ingrained into its very fabric deserves nothing but contempt.

    Frankly, with the image that our currupt and violent society has around the world, im surprised that we are still allowed to travel around the world. And that is an image we have created ourselves with our own actions. Cant blame anyone else for it.Recommend

  • Humanity
    Oct 29, 2010 - 7:41AM

    Once upon a time, before 9/11 happened, the borders between the US and Canada at remote crossing point used to be unmanned after 6 p.m. The note on the border crossing stated to honk the horn and to carry on! Border crossing could not have been more easy. Similarly, one would walk right into the terminal gate to board the plane. Those were the days when would be proud to declare Pakistani origin loud and clear, with the head held up high!

    Once upon a time in Pakistan over three decades ago, the gate of a house would be open and the main door did not require multiple bolts. People would come and go freely without fear. Fast forward into the current time and age. Now there are armed guards with automatic rifles at the gate and doors are locked 24/7 with security systems. Those, who have amassed enough wealth, travel in their own country with a platoon of private body guards.

    Now we all know that not every visitor is a robber or a murderer or a terrorist. Yet, every one take precautions for their own safety. An unknown visitor is made to wait outside the house to allow the residents of the house to ensure that they are not letting an unwanted person into the house. Mr. Chaudhry, isn’t this what you do, when an unknown person rings your door bell? Please, correct me, if I am wrong.

    The point Mr Chaudhry, is that trust is earned and that honor is defended by behaving honorably, Once squandered, it takes ages to rebuild trust and regain honor.

    On the topic of entitlement, be it ministers, advisors or journalists, senators or ordinary citizens, every one is subjected to a security check in the US. Rules are bent for VIP and VVIP in Pakistan, but not in the USA. When traveling abroad, Pakistanis ought to leave the chip they are used to carrying on their shoulder at home. The chip has no value outside of Pakistan.

    And BTW, calling a fat, bald guy a fat, bald guy is in poor taste and shows lack of sensitivity. That you felt humiliated is not the fault of the fat, bald guy. That an American spoke in an American accent is also not his fault. It helps no one by targeting your frustration in the wrong direction.

    The wise set their expectations based on the reality on ground. It would help to do a reality check. The security procedures are there for a very good reason. They are there for your security. You might be pleasantly surprised that it is easier to work with the system than to go against the flow. So help the ‘fat, bald’ guy do his job and you might find him to be a courteous, regular guy very much like yourself.

    Good luck with your next trip!Recommend

  • MAD
    Oct 29, 2010 - 10:20AM

    The US has lost out on significant toursist money because of these actions. (particularly Arab money). a top contender for the worlds most paranoid state I think. Recommend

  • Umayr Masud
    Oct 29, 2010 - 10:30AM

    You should be happy that you don’t really have to go through Pakistani Immigration on your way back :P. Your celebrity status helps you in passing through from here. Last time I returned to Islamabad airport a guy with his family was standing in front of me. Since 3 flights had landed from UAE the chaos started at 1.30am and lasted till 5 am. The guy infront went to the immigration officer and told him that the family had been traveling from canada and its been a long journey, to which the officer replied ” Humaray per koi Ihsan tou nahi kiya” .. the poor guy remained quiet afterwards.Recommend

  • Mahvesh
    Oct 29, 2010 - 10:44AM

    Frankly I fail to see what ‘humiliation’ you suffered. Were you ordered to strip and cavity searched? Were you ordered to take your shoes and socks off? I don’t know, but I think 3-4 hours isn’t a decade to wait at immigration, compared to the waits and delays we go through in our country. If anything, it seemed like you had a relatively procedural experience. Please stop painting yourself as a victim – I’m sure you’ve spent a lot more hours stuck in traffic jams in Karachi but you never felt humiliated then. Recommend

  • Saman
    Oct 29, 2010 - 10:45AM

    Why so many of us do not object to denial of basic human rights? If someone does, they say;
    “Well we are Pakistanis!”.
    WHY????
    It is this unwillingness to embrace ourselves and problems via constant criticism that things just keep on getting worse.Recommend

  • Rana Umair
    Oct 29, 2010 - 10:50AM

    Oh puhleaseeee Javed Chaudry stop complaining!! What are you? A king or something!!! You visit their country and then complain!! They have their rules FOLLOW THEM or dont go !! You of all should know the politics of Pakistan and involvement of agencies. You of all should know why the American authorities are so reluctant towards us!! Stop being a hypocrite! Look at our own deeds first and then criticize others. And as a journalist, the last thing you could ever do is get personal!!! and right there in your article you called a police officer fat and bald! Shame on you! As an anchor who tries his level best to show our politicians as bad and at the same time you call yourself democratic. You are a hypocrite !!! Recommend

  • M. Rafique Zakaria
    Oct 29, 2010 - 10:52AM

    Dear Javed Sahab,

    Very well written piece. Your narration was such that I felt I was a part of this episode. I am in complete agreement with you that nation that does not guard its honour must go through total humiliation if they want to enter the United States. May Allah bless us all.

    Regards,

    M. Rafique Zakaria
    Karachi.Recommend

  • irfan Hameed
    Oct 29, 2010 - 11:02AM

    This is all due to the image we have in the outer world .Not the outer world but in the Pakistan too. I have come across this often in Pakistan . Once i was walking nearby policemen,they shouted at me and ordered me to walk away from them because i am a security threat to them. when such a state exists within our own country ,how can we blame them such a disgraceful hospitality in the foreign countries. This above situation happened to me time and again . This is ironical to say but we have to bear all this until we present a soft image to the rest of the world. We can do this by educating our society and mobilizing our media towards this.
    We are very much away from technology , we can have a dozenz of news channels but not a single Technology channel, which is need of an hour, When you direct your youth to something that then they can sent a message to the world that they want to learn and that they are not terrorist. Moreover by Excercising retailiating steps,we can reduce such humiliating situations. When the people of USA visit Pakistan ,they are fully protocoled.
    If they should be passed through all the screening processes ,then they will realize ,how insulting is all this.Recommend

  • Asmat Jamal
    Oct 29, 2010 - 11:11AM

    “Eventually, the wait ended for all of us and as we all walked out of the hall, something dawned on me. I realised that citizens — be they ministers, advisers or journalists — of a nation that does not guard its honour must go through total humiliation if they want to enter the United States” writes javed.chaudhry.
    Our talk shows are full of venom including “Kal Tak” . They let down the State and Government on every sentence that they speak. They have created a perception around the world about the non viability of the state of Pakistan. So what ever Mr Chaudry faced was the music they had orchestrated. Recommend

  • Rana Amjad
    Oct 29, 2010 - 11:42AM

    Javed, Do you really blame them? What Muslims especially Pakistanis are doing in US, you should be happy they allowed you to enter USA. Imagine at Pakistan’s immigration what they would have done if Americans would be flying planes into Habib Bank Building in Karachi & MCB Head Office in Lahore. Think about them instead of complaining! RanaRecommend

  • MAD
    Oct 29, 2010 - 11:51AM

    @Rana Umair
    Are you American??????Recommend

  • Adeel Ahmed
    Oct 29, 2010 - 11:59AM

    @Tippu. Shut your trap. Most of the terrorists who are involved in attacks on American soil, etc, if not all, have been NON- Pakistani. In fact MANY Americans, non-MUSLIMS have been involved in terrorist attacks in America. Get your facts straight.
    @Rana Umair, I agree. If you dont like how they treat you… dont go there. I would have turned back and said Thanks, but No Thanks, and taken the first flight back home.
    But thats just me.

    However, it is not a ‘Pakistani’ problem. If I remember correctly Shah Rukh Khan was stopped and ridiculed and made to wait at an American airport recently…
    Its most probably a “Muslim” thing… which in itself is racist, discriminatory, derogatory, not to mention completely paranoid, but most of all… its a conspiracy.

    Obama when addressed the ‘Muslim world” in Egypt basically agreed and confirmed their mindset: We are a separate group of people… Muslims v Non-Muslims… its happening… and every one can see it.Recommend

  • Abdullah Ghazi
    Oct 29, 2010 - 12:04PM

    Instead of blamng the Americans, blame the Talibans and the muslim terrorists who gave you this ordeal. You guys, spcially TV anchors have spread hatred. You guys always complain that we sacrificed so much on this War on Terror, you guys created this terror, the world is civilised still by helping you. Grow up man and make tauba, still there is time for you to repent.Recommend

  • Oct 29, 2010 - 12:15PM

    Don’t forget you belong to a country of Faisal Shehzads and Aafia Siddiquis, whatever happens with Pakistani nationals abroad is completely justified, you should also do your self-analysis and ask yourself that what incites you sympathies with Taliban and pen down articles.Recommend

  • Hasan
    Oct 29, 2010 - 12:28PM

    something dawned on me. I realised
    that citizens — be they ministers,
    advisers or journalists — of a nation
    that does not guard its honour must go
    through total humiliation if they want
    to enter the United States.

    So how does a nation guard its honour, especially one that is a nuclear power (or so we are told)? I would love your opinion on that Javaid, as so far you have only highlighted the problem not provided its solution.Recommend

  • Oct 29, 2010 - 12:32PM

    Pen down articles like this http://tinyurl.com/38ormrmRecommend

  • Arifq
    Oct 29, 2010 - 1:16PM

    Dear Javed Chaudhry Sahib, 40! Really? Come on, then you wonder why you were stopped at immigration. Recommend

  • Who cares
    Oct 29, 2010 - 1:24PM

    Mr.Javed, I have never seen you project any optimism about anything. May it be our Govt or the society its self. Frankly it I dont understand how different this treatement was from what we Pakistani’s face on arrival at our own immigration. The US has its reasons for all this screening and we are the ones to give them a reason for this. There is not a single act of terrorism anywhere where the name of our country does not pop up so I guess they cant treat us any better………but if you were to really highlight something then why not highlight the issue us Pakistani’s face on our own immigration counters ?? Or did/do you use the VIP channel here???Recommend

  • Who cares
    Oct 29, 2010 - 1:29PM

    Mr.Javed, I have never seen you project any optimism about anything. May it be our Govt or the society itself. Frankly what I dont understand is that how different this treatement was from what we Pakistani’s face on arrival at our own immigration. The US has its reasons for all this screening and we are the ones who gave them plenty. There is not a single act of terrorism anywhere across the globe where the name of our country does not pop up so I guess they cant treat us any better………but if you were to really highlight something then why not highlight the issue us Pakistani’s face on our own immigration counters ?? Or did/do you use the VIP channel here???
    Who cares Recommend

  • Oct 29, 2010 - 1:46PM

    okay seriously why on God’s earth is this article in the op-ed section??? i mean EVERYONE has to stand in the line and wait for at least half an hour (if ur lucky) to get to the immigration counter! what’s the big deal abt it?? and as for the OMG-so-humiliating interview, what was asked?? how were u made to feel like the sun revolves around u???

    dear tribune, just because the gentleman is a host at Express TV does not mean that his meaningless piece of NOTHING is placed in the op-ed section…

    3 words: TOTAL NONE SENSE!Recommend

  • Hamza Baloch
    Oct 29, 2010 - 1:51PM

    Tanzeel

    faisal shahzad… Pakistan himself fighting a war against TTP.

    about aafia, i still did not get that, what was her crime.

    Mushaerafs also belong to this nation,who gave such persons to america..Recommend

  • Totta Khan
    Oct 29, 2010 - 2:26PM

    Anybody paying attention at what happens at Pakistani immigration controls? Have you seen what happens to poor Pakistani laborers that come from Dubai and across the middle east with their meager possesions? Ask them how they feel when they are extorded at entry points by custom officials who threaten them with consequences if they dont pay up. Have you ever wondered why the rich in this country easily walk by custom counters with suitcases full of items that are subject to controls (liquor, electronics, etc). Go visit Karachi airport, you’ll see customs officials acting as porters for the rich while they humiliate the poor laborers.

    While it is easy to criticize the US for its immigration and customs protocols, how about making Pakistans process a little better by publicizing the abuses that are rampant at all its airports. But then again, the author nor majority of the readers of this newspaper experience what the poor go through, so its easily ignored. c’est la vie. Recommend

  • witness
    Oct 29, 2010 - 2:29PM

    My friends visited pakistan,they were looted of cash.They had to pay tips to every one in order to get out.Their only mistake was they wore some good clothes and not what Pakistanis usually wear.I was shocked .Recommend

  • Jawad Maqsood
    Oct 29, 2010 - 3:08PM

    Though I don’t agree with what Mr. javed Ch. has written in the article, But I what I want to highlight something written by someone named Mr. Tanzeel. Mr. Tanzeel your statement is pathetic, its people like you who project our nation as terrorists and bla bla in the whole world. people like you are real threat to us from inside rather than any enemy from outside.Recommend

  • Oct 29, 2010 - 3:21PM

    @Totta Khan! Exactly!

    @javed saab: Poor you! so the main thrust of the strategic dialogue for you was how you were “humiliated”. Please dont try to frame your experience as some afront to Pakistan. Its only a certain class of people who get to sit on planes and fly to America. Its their country, and if they want to ask you questions for 5 hours 10 hours or send you back that’s their prerogative. The fact that as a journalist, and as a guest of the US state department you expected to get whisked through and not treated like common Pakistani’s reflects poorly on you. Recommend

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Oct 29, 2010 - 3:58PM

    Sir,

    Consider yourself lucky. Yesterday they caught a Mr. Ahmed (no less) who was planning to blow up the metro (underground) in Washington DC. How nice!

    You keep at your jihad and they will screw us harder.

    I am a Permanent Resident (Green Card) and am allowed to use the ‘US Citizens Only’ line at Dulles. Makes no difference. I am questioned and finger-printed each time.

    I plan to visit Pakistan in December. I am already dreading my re-entry in the US. Recommend

  • Usman
    Oct 29, 2010 - 4:05PM

    Mr. Chaudry do you want a hug ??Recommend

  • khushbakht
    Oct 29, 2010 - 4:38PM

    I pledge I’ll stop reading ET or Daily express or watch Express News or 24/7 if this plague of JC is imposed on me.Recommend

  • Amer
    Oct 29, 2010 - 5:43PM

    Mr. Chaudry, don’t be such a cry baby you know. I have been stopped at a US airport for 9 hours because their finger printing system was offline and they had to finger print all the people waiting in that special room manually. I was a student and then worked in the US for some time and I remmember the first time I was interviewed, after 4 or so questions, I stopped the lady asking me the questions and asked her, “tell me if I ask you these same questions would you say yes to any of them or for that matter has any one of the people you asked these questions said yes”. She politely said I know what you are trying to say but I have this list of questions and I have to do my job. I understood that she wasn’t interested in the questions any more then I was and I felt bad for her too. She quickly finished the interview and I was out in a few minutes. And by the way, it’s not Pakistan alone floks, there is a list of about 25 countries, the citizens and traveler of which get interviewed.
    If Mr. Chaudry bothered to tell you, then you would know that even if a US senator visits these 25 countries on a commercial airline then he gets to go thru the special interview process. I know it’s not the same Special Registeration process but nevertheless it’s something addition then the routine. Saudi Arabia, UAE, and alot of the Arab/Middle Eastern countries with the exception of North Korea are in this list. Recommend

  • Oct 29, 2010 - 5:52PM

    You can thank Hamid Mir for your humiliation. Since his nefarious phone activities with the Taliban, journalists are an important target for questioning even more so because they have more access to high-level security areas. Ejaz Haider, had an even worse experience in Washington — on the street where he was pulled off for questioning.

    unfortunately, they have no choice but to profile everyone when we have such a dismal track record. MIT-educated scientists are marrying Al-Qaeda operatives by their own admission (Dr. Siddiqui). and veteran journalists on Geo are spinning conspiracy theories with impunity. What do we deserve then — they cant just single out imams with beards? As a Pakistani-American I am questioned frequently but take it patiently as a price to pay for my homeland’s follies. As long as the officers were not rude to you there is little to whine about. They have a toll-free number you can call and complain if someone was rude to you. I actually had a very positive experience at the US-Canadian border recently. My cousin who wears a hijab forgot her handbag at the border post where they had stamped her passport. We were driving to New York from Toronto and got a call one hour down on my cell phone number (which had been given to them on the entry form since she is not a US citizen) indicating that she had forgotten her bag. The officer did not panic and call the bomb squad — instead she said “dont worry” — we’ll mail it to your address. It arrived with nothing missing.

    So there are lots of good stories as well at the border Mr. ChowdharyRecommend

  • aa
    Oct 29, 2010 - 6:17PM

    if u feel humiliated then stop entering these countries

    and if u still hv to enter them for some reasons then keep quiet and do the way they hav for other

    why the hell u ppl get frustrated at other countries and show ur anger and have no patienceRecommend

  • Anoop
    Oct 29, 2010 - 6:22PM

    Stop blaming America and start criticizing the Taliban and Al Qaeda who are actually responsible for this. Americans value each and every life and hence, this “humiliation” doesn’t matter much when you compare it with protecting a life.

    My advice to you is fight the fanatic ideology in columns on an ideological level. If you dont want to get “humiliated”, there is modern Technology to help you. I suggest Skype.Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Oct 29, 2010 - 6:44PM

    *“What is the purpose of your visit to the United States?” I replied: “Pakistan and America are holding a strategic dialogue and I have come for that.” You make it sound as if you were leading the mission…I would’ve sent you back just for misrepresentation.

    Your sense of entitlement and self importance is staggering! The registration process has been in place since 9/11 and I’m sure you were aware of this – so why the gripe? Its a very simple choice, grin and bear it or don’t go but enough of this victim mentality. Recommend

  • Nadeem Zafar
    Oct 29, 2010 - 6:55PM

    This is the kind of journalish/column-writing which makes one of the root-causes of political and social immaturity in our country. Only those who have never travelled to USA will accept it as the whole truth. Recommend

  • s.nazir mohmand
    Oct 29, 2010 - 7:00PM

    We are sale able ,disposible and above all fearfull of Americano. Javed, you are brave to face the pricky questions.
    sad enough. THE worst is still to come . hold your breath till they prevail in every organ of the govt and institutions.Then thy shall sweep for xe, black water and so many in the line. Recommend

  • Jehanzeb Malik
    Oct 29, 2010 - 7:35PM

    Americans have gone totally nuts. They dont catch the real ones, like the 9/11 hijackers none of whom was a Pakistani. A whole industry has aprand up there. Fat cats get secuirty contracts and employ complete idiots and unqualified individuals to do screening and checking. Racial stereotyping is rampant because after the fall of the Soviet Union, American establishment had to invent an enemy. That is radical islam. In ten years, they caught one idiot bomber who had some links with Talibans but most of the other guys like Major were Americans. Recommend

  • Immy
    Oct 29, 2010 - 7:48PM

    I hope he wont write anything lousy like this again….why our ego wakes up suddenly when we enter in other countries….i am not advocating US isn’t it true we have all the curses that qualify us for this sort of treatment??Recommend

  • S
    Oct 29, 2010 - 8:19PM

    To Mr. Chaudry: 3-4 hours is about average immigration time for Pakistanis. I am sorry the US Authorities refused to acknowledge that you are not the average Pakistani. Still, it pales in comparison to the 2 days that a colleague of mine, a Canadian citizen, was detained for at Jinnah International. His crime? His father had had the audacity to be born in India. We harbour unbridled bigotry against others and many of our own people, yet we expect to be treated with respect everywhere else. That is the missing moral of your story.

    To the editors of ET: Mr. Chaudry’s hysterics and inanities are a necessary evil on a 24 hour news channel in a country that struggles for quality news programming. But please don’t force him on us when ET actually seems to slowly be developing a roster of quality columnists. Recommend

  • Bangash
    Oct 29, 2010 - 8:39PM

    Now Javed Chaudhry finds out a little bit of the price paid for supporting Lal Masjid gangsters and Taliban militants.Recommend

  • Amna
    Oct 29, 2010 - 9:21PM

    I cant believe how many idiotic people are telling Mr Chaudhary to stop complaining and how it is our fault as Pakistanis that this is happening. HELLO PEOPLE: That is the point of his article. The fact that Pakistanis are responsible for how we are being treated.
    He is just writing his experiance and commenting on it.

    All these Pro-Western anything, Anti-Pakistani anything, liberal mommy daddy “burger” kids need any chance to bash anyone who has some love for Pakistan. No matter what you say, you lose. The majority of the people that read/comment on ET are hopeless wannabes. Disgusting. Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Oct 29, 2010 - 9:26PM

    We go with a begging bowl and complain? What would u do to the beggar who came to ur house and demanded that give me alms and also respect me..after all i am a beggar with ghairiat!Recommend

  • Maulana Diesel
    Oct 29, 2010 - 10:03PM

    Javed Chaudhry sahab — The problem with border controls, like in the US, is that they just look at your passport and group you with the rest of the Pakistanis – not realizing that Mr. Javed Chaudhry a hot shot media figure is in the same line as a NY cabbie. The NY cabbie coming back from Pakistan doesn’t care because he has already been dishonoured by the Pakistani authorities on numerous occasions so what if the gora sahab joins in too. The cabbie is feeling smug looking at the media hotshot anchor sitting next to him getting the “treatment” who normally would never interact with someone like him. Recommend

  • Ashutosh
    Oct 29, 2010 - 10:41PM

    Is there anything wrong in questioning by people responsible for protecting their country?

    Only people with malarious intentions will shout “Humiliation!”.

    Everyone should cooperate and understand that the security officers are doing an important but thankless job.

    At least smile and thanks them for the curtsy and good job next time. They surely need some appreciation for keeping their country’s terror in check. Recommend

  • parvez
    Oct 29, 2010 - 10:42PM

    Mr Chaudhry you made the mistake of letting your ego get the better of you by making yourself appear to be the victim through out the article. Obviously did not work.
    Right in the end you say the correct thing about a nation that does not guard its houour ———- but by that time it was too late you were already sunk.Recommend

  • saif M
    Oct 29, 2010 - 10:52PM

    First of all Mr. Chaudhry, you made a mis-statement to the first question that the immigration officer asked you. You implied as if you are going to attend the Dialogue. The correct answer would have been: “I am a journalist and have come to cover the Dialogue.” Next time, be more careful with what you say. Otherwise, you may end up with deeper search.

    Secondly, officers at the US airports do their job. They follow the rules. Unlike Pakistan, there are no special favors for generals, judges or journalists. So, next time if you must visit this country, relax and enjoy — your trip. Recommend

  • Oct 29, 2010 - 11:34PM

    @ Amna, I agree with you. Most people who have commented here are totally westoxicated and are denizens of an artificially created Utopia. I guess Mr. Javed would be feeling even more humiliated with the comments and views that his countrymen hold. Such an identity crisis!Recommend

  • Rana Umair
    Oct 29, 2010 - 11:56PM

    I AM SO happy that at least some people here recognize the real danger!! We should fix ourselves first before pointing figures to others. and I am also happy that people are finally realizing that people who spread hatred everyday and destabilize our state and government are not angels after all!!Recommend

  • faraz
    Oct 30, 2010 - 12:12AM

    Actually a few thousand terrorist incidents arent an issue for us, but a single such incident is a deadly serious matter for rest of the world. So we find it hard to understand that why does a country maintain such tough security protocols at airports. Recommend

  • Adam Rehman
    Oct 30, 2010 - 12:27AM

    40????? Really! No wonder you got interrogated.

    You supported Lal masjid – now reap what you sow. Zero sympathy for you Mr Chaudry.Recommend

  • Ahmed Iqbalabadi
    Oct 30, 2010 - 1:20AM

    We are paying for the perception of Pakistanis that we are portraying, and Mr. Chaudhry, you’ve been part of that regime!Recommend

  • Asad
    Oct 30, 2010 - 1:33AM

    “There sat a fat, bald American in a blue uniform.”
    Firstly, the level of journalism is abysmally low when “seasoned” journalists like Javed Chaudhry don’t have a sense of what is inappropriate. Why not call him ugly too while you’re at it.
    Secondly, while I understand that the 4 hour wait is excessive, and highly inconvenient, it doesn’t seem to be humiliating enough to warrant a complaining article. If it was meant to convey the point of how people from our region (and religion) are treated, that is something that has been talked about and discussed by everybody. This article adds absolutely nothing to the discussion.
    There are two sides of the story. While the American paranoia is a little too much, it is not completely unwarranted.

    All in all, extremely disappointing. I hope Mr. Chaudhry will take the criticism to improve his work. Recommend

  • Imran
    Oct 30, 2010 - 1:42AM

    I totally have to disagree with you, what you described above is very normal especially if you are traveling international. Most of the wait is not due to interview process rather amount of people going to immigration. At least all the rules they have are followed by EVERYONE regardless of one Status or reputation. maybe Pakistan should learn from system like this. I am Pakistani and traveled to Pakistan few times and to be honest, I never felt that they are giving me hard time due to my nationality granted I have US passport but I am still a Pakistani origin.
    Instead of criticizing the process at the airport, you should appreciate it, it shows how much USA look out of their citizen’s safety. Maybe Pakistan should follow the same!Recommend

  • Asim
    Oct 30, 2010 - 1:52AM

    Javed Sahab, I am a regular viewer of your show, but was really disappointed to read this article. The title of the article is a grave exaggeration.

    What you went through is not humiliation but the process which everyone in the age group of I think 25 – 45 has to go through.

    I am sure you were treated well through out the interview and that the officer would have been very polite in his questions.Recommend

  • Neeraj, India
    Oct 30, 2010 - 2:10AM

    I write this comment not in response to the author’s article, but, it is my reaction to the Pakistani commentators above. I was perhaps one of the first reader to stumble upon this particular writeup, after reading it and finding no comments on this piece, I mused with a little sarcasm that within few hours Paks would be swarming the commenting section with a blood curdling cry of ‘death to America’, of course, with a few exceptions.
    But, after revisiting this same page many hours later, I am pleasantly surprised to see so many Pakistanis repudiating the author’s perceived outrage with their sheer logic. You leave me with no other option, but to admire you. Yes, I know that you guys/gals constitute a tiny minority in your country, but, no one can take the credit away from you for being wise and upright and that too in an environment of extreme adversity.
    Don’t worry fellas, no matter how few you are, knowledge and wisdom always looked wimpish, in the history of mankind, initially, but, only to emerge triumphant in the end. Recommend

  • afnan
    Oct 30, 2010 - 2:39AM

    Why is this guy even published here? His articles are so superficial and self absorbed. he is a national disgrace and I find it humiliating that people like him get sent abroad to “represent” our media.Recommend

  • zenia
    Oct 30, 2010 - 4:58AM

    Cut the poor chap some slack – he is clearly traumatized. Any therapists out there???Recommend

  • Oct 30, 2010 - 5:26AM

    Well, not exactly. Brzezinski cajoled our braindead leadership into transforming a peaceful developing country into a breeding ground of terrorism. We gladly took the bait thinking it was an “asset” against India. Now we have to bear the consequences. As one of great leaders said that we will even eat grass if we have to. So there you have it. How can a country which doesn’t have a long-term vision and plays the white guy’s stooge deserve any respect? A country that will go to any extent to guard fake honor (read Kashmir) has to eventually pay a price. And I don’t get what our grand strategy really is! Kashmir is the center of the storm where US, China, and India will clash bigtime in the 21st century. What’s the point in our getting minced in the mixer like Afghanistan? It’s more like asking for even more unwanted trouble. It would be much better if we hand over an unnecessary border with China to India and let them handle the dogfight. There’s absolutely no reason for us to hang in there endlessly with a failed utopian ideology.Recommend

  • Dr. Faiz Shah
    Oct 30, 2010 - 10:53AM

    Clearly, the immigration official ridiculed for his appearance and speech was doing his job. Doesn’t seem like Mr. Chaudhry was subjected to treatment that others were spared from, going by the account of Mr. Mubasher and his French passport.

    Numerous comments above indicate the plight of returning Pakistanis treated flippantly by our own immiration officials. We have all witnessed this. Perhaps Chaudhry Sahib would spare some time to write about what our compatriots face as the line up at Pakistani airports. Recommend

  • commo
    Oct 30, 2010 - 11:15AM

    Please try to follow logical /rational flow of ideas and arguments and leave behind the emotional-sentimental-melodramatic write-ups of Zero-point. They say its difficult to change after 40! Prove ’em wrong. Let the left brain win over the right- a difficult choice for a conservative-traditionalist-rightist :)Recommend

  • Oct 30, 2010 - 11:53AM

    The Indian Minister of Aviation, Mr. Praful Patel, was also searched and delayed but he chose not to complain since procedures have to be followed for everyone. So he’s just looking to stoke anti-American feelings. Shameful.Recommend

  • Qazi
    Oct 30, 2010 - 12:02PM

    Fiends! Did you notice ‘Zero Point’ and ‘Point Blank’ standing together :)Recommend

  • rocket
    Oct 30, 2010 - 1:08PM

    thats exactly the reason they have managed to thwart any terrorist attack after 9/11.Recommend

  • Hasan
    Oct 30, 2010 - 6:06PM

    Javed bhai how does it feel when shoe is on the other foot?Recommend

  • Faiz
    Oct 30, 2010 - 6:46PM

    Dear Mr. Chaudhry –

    I have my sympathies with the ordeal and humiliation you had to go thru at Dulles Airport… right or wrong however the polices and attitude is of the Immigration/Customs staff but describing someone as “fat and bald” is not very mature for a senior journalist especially who is representing his country for a “Strategic Dialogue” between two nations on State level to paint a picture of an individual. I think being a person of your stature you’re expected to be better and above this petty language usage and refrain from using such descriptions and maintain civility and appropriate manners. This only lowers your stature to their uninformed and mediocre level of understanding that not everyone coming from Pakistan is a suspect of wrong doing and is being mischievous against US. Recommend

  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Oct 30, 2010 - 10:18PM

    I think the Immigration Department in USA must not have heard/saw your talk shows and the sympathy you show towards those elements with whom both the government and the majority in Pakistan is fighting so consider yourself lucky for not being sent back. Thank them for not giving you the treatment which they gave to Mr. Imran khan due to your clear cut opinion about USA and the war on terrorism. You simply was expecting the treatment which you get from the people at Raiwind.Recommend

  • Nasir Mustafa
    Oct 31, 2010 - 11:48AM

    What you sow so shall you reap. First deserve respect and honour then desire.Recommend

  • Oct 31, 2010 - 3:05PM

    I went “Nooooooooooooo” at the end of the article – “a nation that does not guard its honour must go through total humiliation if they want to enter the United States” – then I paused and thought about the very brutal analyses the said journalist has made in his programme Kal Tak where he has spoken at length about issues of ruling by example and living the simple life (citing the example of our own Lal bahadur Shastri) and so on.

    He has a point – the foreign policy of Pakistan where neighbourly relations are spoken of in terms of strategic depth has helped paint a picture of an administration that cannot be trusted.

    And even now Kayani has not learnt his lesson it seems with his insistence that Karzai inform the pakistanis about his peace initiatives – why should Karzai be obliged to inform a foreign country of peace initiatives he is taking within his borders. Recommend

  • Hassan Aftab
    Oct 31, 2010 - 5:11PM

    Mr. Chaudry, for starters we have no honour to guard and take my advise; dont go to the US if you feel unwelcomed and even if it is a freebee. Recommend

  • Another opinion
    Oct 31, 2010 - 5:55PM

    “Fat, bald American.” Have you no tact?Recommend

  • Rafique
    Oct 31, 2010 - 6:40PM

    I agree, in part, with what most people have said, that yes we deserve to be treated like Mr. Chaudhry was because every other suspect caught in the US these days happens to be a Pakistani. But what I fail to understand is that while it’s easy to join the ranks and start doing what others are doing already like the majority did here – started criticizing Mr. Chaudhry for being a cry baby; I really haven’t seen many question as to why did these terrorist attacks, supposedly carried out by Muslims, were planned and executed, in the first place? Why hasn’t anyone questioned the presence of US military bases around the world? And of the Special Unit of their military in 75 countries? True that they help us, true that they’ve provided millions of dollars in aid to flood victims, but does that change every other reality? Does it change the fact that how many innocent people are being killed through drone attacks in the name of “hunting down” key Al-Qaeda members? Does it change the fact that more or less 100,000 Iraqis were killed, Saddam hanged, by them and yet no weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) were found? They can police around, infiltrate and invade any country at will, let their CIA agents plot against & topple any government they choose, just because they’re super power? Maybe, but if you can, at least call a spade a spade. If you’re quick to identify what so wrong have we Muslims done to deserve the treatment mentioned in the article, at least try to figure out what so disturbing could be there that has made people who were born and raised in the US to plan attacks? You’d probably say it happened when they returned to the US from Pakistan, ok, but aren’t you all living in Pakistan? If you can still think logically and question Mr. Chaudhry and criticize him how can it be that just a visit to Pakistan brain-washed every sane thought these guys might have ever had? And btw, I’m no Al-Qaeda member or supporter. I am an ordinary Pakistani, who is as much against the killings carried out by these terrorists and who believes that anyone’s killing anywhere should be questioned, who believes lives of Pakistani people and Muslims are as sacred as Americans’. Hope this raises some questions, logical, not just criticism.Recommend

  • farooq
    Oct 31, 2010 - 7:30PM

    What a lame piece. I wish you could keep your wisdom to your Urdu columns and spare the English press. Recommend

  • Leo
    Oct 31, 2010 - 10:28PM

    I happened to be a get together at my friend’s place , where we met a few new friends, one of them had lost his 19 yr old sister (her third day as a trainee in Taj) to bullets of terrorists in 26/11. he made a very simple comment on Pakistan’s current status . Theory of Karma . What goes around comes around. Pakistan is reaping what it sowed through ISI. Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Oct 31, 2010 - 11:33PM

    Just think about this!
    How much of all of our collective time (for reading then commenting) has been wasted for this guys 4 hours, well deserved delay at the US airport!!Recommend

  • Singh
    Nov 1, 2010 - 7:20AM

    Mr. JC
    In US Law is Law. No One is above the law. they will treat you same as next to you.
    If you publish this artical in US paper, you could be end up in jail & loose all your worthy possesion in law suit for usuing derogatory word like bald, fat etc. Recently a right wing radio host loose his job & ridicule by every one when he stated in Larry King show on CNN that “he is fearfull traviling by air when he see a muslim on board.” He didn’t use word like fat or bald even.
    Shame On you. Recommend

  • edgarm
    Nov 1, 2010 - 5:58PM

    @ Rafique..the question to ask is ..how did Pakistan get here. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan gave the US a chance to ” bleed Soviet Russia white “. The Pakistan establishment grabbed this opportunity , arms , money ,drugs and the culture that came with it. The Soviets and US left the area leaving Pakistan holding the baby. Then came 9/11 and all else followed. It is time the government of Pakistan looked after its own people and its economy. Till then the sub continent will suffer.Recommend

  • Worldview
    Nov 2, 2010 - 3:43PM

    This article is basically an ego vomit.

    Dear JC:
    “There sat a fat, bald American in a blue uniform.” Thats your version of him, now listen to his version of you – “There sat a big nosed Pakistani suspect reeking with overconfidence”

    My message to JC: The man being fat and bald, are two physical aspects that are in the negative, how insensitive can you get?

    …the fat American appeared and in a pure, American accent yelled something like “Jeuw’ved Shoodri”. His take – “My colleague remembered his accent as being the same as that of Faisal Shahzad”

    My message to JC: Why is it surprising that he’d call you “Jeuw’ved Shoodri” ? He’s an American, if you had a name like Steve or Mark, things would have been okay.

    An exasperating and tiresome interview started in which I was made to feel as if I was solely responsible for all the anxiety Americans everywhere were experiencing on account of terrorism. I was made to think I was the reason Americans spent sleepless nights. – Thats your take. Lets hear his take “I had to patiently screen this suspect, although It meant that I would miss going to my son’s first solo theater performance. First and foremost, I have to safeguard the security of my country, especially when one claims to have come from a country with the maximum number of terrorists organizations in the world, namely Pakistan. Terrorist organizations such as Sunni Sipah-e-Sahaba, Shia Tehrik-e-Jafria, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Harakat ul-Mujahadeen, Tehrik-e-Taliban and people like Mullah Mohammad Omar, Hakimullah Mehsud, Faisal Shahzad. Thank God, I was able to clear him after 40 long minutes of strong asian accent.

    My message to JC: Trust me, the American does not delight in having to humiliate you. He is doing his job, trying to find out if you feel strongly about certain things, and to check whether you’d erupt…

    Bad article, in very poor taste.Recommend

  • Amn62611
    Nov 3, 2010 - 7:06PM

    Whatever Javed chaudhry wrote is his personal experience. And yes its true that muslims especially Pakistanis are

    treated ‘differently’. Yes beggars cant be choosers, but what ails me most is the mindset of the brainswashed, bigoted

    west worshippers who blame muslims and Pakistan for every ill that is taking place in the world.

    America itself is the greatest of all terrorists, that is beyond any shadow of doubt. Not only that but it also goes to

    any extent to achieve its nefarious designs. That includes sponsoring terrorism. Suicide bombing and terrorism were

    almost unheard of in this country till the US set its ugly foot in the region. Whether someone believes it or not but

    Taliban and osama were mere scapegoats to attack Islam and kill muslims ruthlessly. And no I am not a fan of conspiracy

    theories, but when there are more questions than answers then its no longer a conspiracy theory. For all those sane

    souls out there who are at least looking for truth i suggest read the book’Afghanistan, genesis of the last crusade’.An excellent analysis supported by logical explainations as well as plausible evidences.Recommend

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