There are a lot of similarities between Pakistanis and Arabs. Many Pakistanis, like many Arabs, are Muslim. Pakistanis live in hot climates like many Arabs. Pakistani and Arabic languages use the same scripts. However, there are differences as well.
I consider myself an American. But I do have a very strong Pakistani background, and I despise it when someone calls me an Arab or Indian. I am not mocking these other cultures. They are very unique and special. However, I want to point out that many people outside these cultures don’t know any better. They very easily mistake Pakistanis for Arabs. Let’s take the article titled The Mehran is the real deal for Arab food (Sept. 28, p. 9).
Obviously very mistaken, The Hatchet mistook Mehran for an Arab restaurant. But believe it or not Mehran has always been very Pakistani, from its name, the sign it has in the front, the type of food they serve and to the people who work there. I know this because I have been going there since it opened. As a matter of fact one of the past owners was a good friend of mine.
The article reads, Most ethnic restaurants these days seem to homogenize their atmosphere, with American motifs and quiet, `light sounds’ music. Mehran, however, is a real-deal Middle Eastern restaurant. Yes all of this is true; Mehran is the real-deal but it isn’t Middle-Eastern. It’s Pakistani.
The article mentions a dish called the Bhuna Gosht Punjabi. It’s funny but the Arabic language doesn’t even have that phrase Bhuna Gosht Punjabi. It is an Urdu/Hindi or Punjabi phrase, which literally means Punjabi mixed meat. At least the description of the dish is right.
Speaking of Punjabis, there aren’t any in the Middle East, unless they are immigrants from Pakistan. Punjabis originate from Pakistan or India. One of Pakistan’s provinces is called Punjab, and about more than half of its population is Punjabi. India has some Punjabis as well. You must of heard of Bhangra, the dance they do in Bhangra Blowout. Well, the Bhangra dance is a Punjabi dance.
It is good that finally someone wrote an article about Mehran. The article was past due, but it was not accurate. I just feel the need to point the mistakes out.
Just like there is a difference between Pakistani culture and Latin American culture, or an African culture or a Japanese culture, there is a big difference between being Arab and being Pakistani. I do not mean any disrespect to my Arab/Middle-Eastern friends. Their culture is very special to me, and I know enough about it from my close friends that it is far different from a Pakistani culture.-Atif Qarni