The politics of ‘honour’ in Pakistan

by H Ahmad

Few days back, a Pakistani military delegation returned back home without going through with their US trip after they were ‘humiliated’ on the Washington Airport. According to the news reports, a brigadier was removed from the air flight while other members of his delegation were detained at the airport for some time. Dawn reported:

“United Airlines officials, however, told the US media that the brigadier, whose name was not disclosed, had misbehaved with a stewardess and told her that this would be her last mission.”
A Pakistani official commented: “This is a delegation of senior officials, led by a two-star officer, not unit captains and majors. Such responsible officers do not indulge in such behaviour.”
The statement released by ISPR read, “A Pakistani military delegation on a visit to US (on US invitation to attend a meeting at Centcom) was subjected to unwarranted security checks at Washington airport by US Transport Security Agency. Later, the delegation was cleared and US defence officials regretted the incident. However, as a result of these checks, military authorities in Pakistan decided to cancel the visit and call the delegation back.”

As the ‘ghairat brigade’ is thumping its breasts on standing up for the ‘dignity’ and ‘honour’ of Pakistan and as the media is celebrating the heroic act of ‘guarantors of our ideological frontiers’, it is pertinent to talk about other heroes too. Few months ago a parliamentarian delegation from FATA, very much civilian people, had returned home from the US airport when they refused to go through the full-body scanner, which by the way was a discriminatory security measure adopted by US for few countries including Pakistan. So, no, the recent ‘heroic act’ is certainly not the first exclusive act, and it certainly does not drive home the point that only one institution has purest of intentions of standing up for the ‘honour’ of Pakistan.

While we are at it there is another proposition; had the military delegation refused to go to U.S due to the recent increase in the frequency of drone attacks, I think it would have resonated more vibrantly with the public at large at home. More than 60 drone attacks have taken place in 2010 alone and the last seven attacks were made in the first eight days of September. The protest of these drones could have earned them a better PR. But wait, weren’t they the ones who saved the PAF airbase, from where allegedly the drones fly, and which resulted in flooding of many villages in Baluchistan? Obviously, it was again a bloody civilian feudal lord, who earned the bad name.



Filed under Army, Pakistan

17 responses to “The politics of ‘honour’ in Pakistan

  1. Anwar

    Initial reports did support PK military officials version… I do know much about “ghairat” business – the act on part of PK delegation may not be an act of honor but that of a principle…
    The drone attacks are permitted by the civilian government – PAF chief is on record about it…

  2. Junaid

    Where is the ghairat brigade when they have to beg for US dollars and US weapons?

    Beggars should give up their ghairat and stop beating their chests.

  3. hayyer

    I for one applaud those officers.
    A decade ago the Americans did a strip search on George Fernandes. He swallowed his pride and took it; and he was India’s Defence Minister at the time.

  4. Hira Mir

    This is time for no politics but unity amongst all the citizens and sects witin the country to fight the menace of terrorism.

  5. bciv


    the father of the house, the oldest US congressman, was strip searched at the airport some months after 9/11. when asked how he felt about it, he replied “reassured”. what else could he have said.

  6. Sardar Khan.

    Salute to the Army & Parlimantarians.Down with so called liberals/seculars,who are clining to their jobs for money and sacrificing their principals,shame on them.

  7. Nasir

    racial profiling is sad but needed to avoid another disaster, as a freequent traveller i feel re-assured that this is happening. If my fellow pakistanis want to end racial profiling at international airports they need to ask their politicians to stop taking half measures and destroy the terrorism that we spawn and export.

  8. Humanity

    @ Sardar Khan “Salute to the Army & Parlimantarians. Down with so called liberals/seculars,who are clining to their jobs for money and sacrificing their principals,shame on them.”

    MPs’ average assets triple in 5 years: report

    So much for the gharatmund supporters of the “gharait brigade”. As they say, “inn tillauN maiN taeL nahiN”.

  9. Humanity

    @ Sardar Khan “Salute to the Army & Parlimantarians.Down with so called liberals/seculars,who are clining to their jobs for money and sacrificing their principals,shame on them.”

    MPs’ average assets triple in 5 years: report
    www(dot) (slash)News25411-MPs_average_assets_tripled_in_5_years_report (dot) aspx

    Pity the gairutmund supporters of the ‘ghairat brigade’. Afsaus kay Inn tillauN maN taeL hee naihN.

  10. Some five years ago I was passing through Denver Airport and saw a former (and still highly respected) Secretary of State (=American; Minister of Foreign Affairs) and an eminent Senator going through the same Security procedures as everybody else. I find that as impressive and not-humiliating.

    Begging Bowls in hands we (wet pants, et al!) should not wantonly criticize others for trammelling over our Smelly Toes. And Fros.

    I have read a lot of scurrilous nonsense about the Washington incident. In stead of spreading “conclusionaries”, give us facts .. tell us what happened.

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  12. I am sorry to read this post – if they had carried on with the tour and the news leaked into press about their “be-ghairiti”, the nation would have burned their efigies for being shameless and having no national pride.
    Now that they have done otherwise, it is still objected upon. I think we should not write for the sake of writing.
    And secondly, cancelling the visit on pretext of drone attacks, is matter of policy to be approved or disapproved by the government and not by a group of officers officially invited.
    And if that be so, why not object the foreign minister and other officials going to USA and other countries?

  13. Moz

    Sorry to go Off topic. But admin please don’t delete this. I was a big supporter of Imran Khan, and I always wanted him to be a Prime Minister of Pakistan. I thought he was somebody of principles. But his continuous hatred towards liberal or secular segment of Pakistan, and defending extremist elements of our country. Look at his friends, Jamaat-e-Islami, Hameed Gul, and etc. He would go to any length to defend these terrorist, and want to negotiate with them. Now, as former supporter and now hater I invite people to join a group on facebook. It is called “I hate Imran Khan”.!/group.php?gid=119683012728&ref=ts

    He thinks he is popular amongst the masses, even though he cannot win a single seat. But his supporters just stop posting online polls of how popular he is on the internet. Well, lets make him the most unpopular on the internet.

  14. hayyer

    That would be fine if they did the same sort of search on American dignitaries in India occasionally butdo you think they would.

  15. Basit

    Yes, a lot of ghairat with begging bowls in hand.

    And everyone has to go through the full-body scanners (i.e., if they’re installed), not only Pakistanis.

  16. bciv

    in pak’s case, if one were to believe what one hears about the ‘arrangements’ for when they come visiting, the less said about it the better.

  17. Farah ali

    This is not how it was reported in our media after the initial report by daily Dawn.
    We were informed that the high ranking army official was overheard by a paranoid fellow(American) passenger while saying that,”I hope this is our last trip.” This remark was,if you please, interpreted as the last statement of a warrior on his way to martyrdom by the paranoid passenger who duly reported it to the authorities!And the rest is history….
    your information somehow sounds more plausible.
    Given the track record of most of the (presumptuous) Pakistanis men,this particular gentleman must have tried to take advantage of the situation as well but couldn’t get away with it. Others who were seen or reported of ungentlemanly behaviour are,to name a few: Shaukat Aziz vs Miss Rice,Zardari vs Mrs.Pauline and a very renowned lawyer vs Christina Lamb.
    The other snag in the story is the second part of the statement issued by ISPR which declares that it was a group of highly responsible two-star officers and not some unit captains or majors.
    In response I have following observations to make:
    a. There is a strong elitist culture within the Army and they are obsessed with rank and status.Thus considering junior officers inferior beings and not having any high expectations of them.
    b. By the time an officer acquires a two-star status,ostensibly his days of sowing wild oats are over and he is expected to behave in a certain respectable way.In that case how does one explain the epicurean lifestyle of most of our army