My favorite things Pakistan

1. Female singer: Abida Parveen, here is one early song, the later material is often more commercial.  Sufi songs!

2. Qawwali performers: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the Sabri Brothers, and try this French collection of Qawwali music.

3. Author/novel: Daniyal Mueenuddin, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders.  I am not sure why this book isn’t better known.  It is better than even the average of the better half of the Booker Prize winners.  Why doesn’t he write more?

4. Dish: Haleem: “Haleem is made of wheat, barley, meat (usually minced beef or mutton (goat meat or Lamb and mutton) or chicken), lentils and spices, sometimes rice is also used. This dish is slow cooked for seven to eight hours, which results in a paste-like consistency, blending the flavors of spices, meat, barley and wheat.”

5. Movie: I don’t think I have seen a Pakistani film, and my favorite movie set in Pakistan is not so clear.  Charlie Wilson’s War bored me, and Zero Dark Thirty is OK.  What am I forgetting?

6. Economic reformer: Manmohan Singh.

7. Economist: Atif Mian, born in Nigeria to a Pakistani family.

8. Textiles: Wedding carpets from Sindh?

9. Visual artist: Shahzia Shikhander, images here.

I don’t follow cricket, sorry!


Manmohan Singh was born in Gah, Pakistan in 1932 (Pakistan was not formed yet) and is an Indian citizen (in fact the former PM of India). He has not worked for the reforms of Pakistan, so it's strange to call him your favourite Pakistani economic reformer!

Its Tyrone in provocateur avatar!

Not sure if Manmohan Singh as Pakistani is tongue in cheek or mistake by Tyler

Someone as knowledgeable as Prof Cowen cannot make such a blatant mstake. It links to people born in (what is currently) Pakistan , so clearly a dig about borders, maybe.

...Or an implication that the number of Pakistani Economic Reformers is NIL?

Did they rope you in with the rugs? I think I lost a few valuable tourist hours on a couple of merchants. Next time someone offers tea the answer is a polite no.

Pakistan had a good sized Surf rock scene back in the 70s.

The Brink on HBO is set in part in Pakistan.

so is A Mighty Heart, a great movie about a terrible murder.

Jinnah is a very solid film - Christopher Lee felt it was one of his best.

pakistan food and drink favorite

cricket's a religion in pakistan and no comment good advice there

Do you have any plan to come to Islamabad?

You can stick with the haleem, but you'd be missing THIS:

Other Voices, Other Rooms is Capote’s semi-autobiographical debut novel.

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders is the name of the Mueenuddin novel.

best athlete head of state ever surely

Only if you discount Pele, who has been de facto ruler of Brazil since 1970.

Pelé has never been Brazil's ruler. He was only Sports Minister in the 90's.

What would President-Captain Bolsonaro do with such a man?

Not technically an economic reformer I guess ---

but Abdul Sattar Edhi and his Edhi foundation has provided remarkable assistance to Pakistan.

It's a shame he is not better known outside of Pakistan for his charity work ..... ambulances, hospitals etc etc

the movie Bol about a strict Muslim father and transgender son is OK. Might be hard to find (check a torrent site)

Lots of good documentaries - Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy from Karachi has 2 Oscars I think. Ironically, she went to school with Silicon Valley's Kumail Nanjiani.

The film Moor is typical Hollywood type stuff - but shot very well for a Pakistani film

To me, asking me to think about things I like about Pakistan is like asking what attributes I like about Osama bin Laden, Hitler, the Mumbia attacking terrorists, Tim McVeigh,...

I can't even rationalize the Pakistani first things I think of by connecting them to the CIA organizing a 1953 coup, or funding a right-wing terrorist campaign fighting commies by shipping coke to the US from the Andes.

You sound sane.

But at least you can pick which one is your favorite state-sponsored terrorist group. The Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, or a different one ?

Would have selected Mahbub ul Haq as economist.

You should check out the translated works of Saadat Hassan Manto, the best writer to have held Pakistani citizenship.

No movie, no painter, no classical music, no chess player, no scientist, barely any books. Welcome to Pakistan, and it's capital London.

Where 2/3 of the population implicitly support al-Qaeda and woman rights are a parody. But remember, the main enemy of western values are the likes of Salvini and Orban, sharia law is fine!

Where in the Quran or the Torah are woman rights or any kind of human rights?

Sultan Khan was fascinating like to chess what ramanujam was to Mathematics.
But perhaps now no Grandmasters in Pak compared to 64 in India.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the former prime minister of Pakistan, has a master's degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University (and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from UCLA). GWU was the subject of a blog post yesterday. As has been pointed out in previous blog posts, the Trump administration's hostility toward immigrants, including foreign students, has resulted in a significant decline in the enrollment of foreign students at U.S. colleges. It's incredibly short-sighted. We should be encouraging foreign students to come to the U.S. What better way to Americanize them.

I've never seen a study or other evidence that attending college in the US actually promotes pro-American attitudes or even any predisposition toward liberal values. Sayyid Qutb is the famous counter-example. And certainly nothing about Abbasi's tenure showed him to be any more or less beneficial to the US than any other Pakistani leader.

I agree with Mr. Preston. Maybe American institutions should be managed to the benefit of America's people.

I lick frogs.

I think that is the communist impersonator.

Many of the Indian restaurants in Northern Virginia appear to be run by Pakistanis. I'm sure Tyler has praised at least one of these establishments on his other blog, perhaps even without knowing it.

This is probably the most tiresome incarnation of Thiago. Retire it, bud.

I do not know what you are talking about. I do not believe in reincarnation. I am Episcopalian.

10. Betrayal of Fellow Muslims: The Uighurs.

"Mueenuddin's book is in the top quarter of Booker Prize winners" would be a worthy blurb from you for the back of the book! I liked it too.

"My Beautiful Laundrette" is a pretty good movie that would count, I think.

Daniel Day Lewis.

Worth adding to your list / exploring if you haven’t:
-Sadat Hasan Manto’s short stories are amazing and reflect his life in both pre-partition India (Bombay), Partition, and Pakistan. Toba Tek Singh is a great one.
-Biryani should be on your food list, as should chicken kadai
-Khuda ke liye is a film worth seeing
-Junoon, once the top rock band in the subcontinent. After their split one member went fundamentalist.

Do you mean Junaid Jamshed, the lead singer of Vital Signs? I think the Junoon guys were into Sufism and have remained so.

TV Show: the Brink. HBO’s genuinely hilarious modern update of Dr Strangelove, revolving around a coup in Pakistan led by a schizophrenic, a horny Secretary of State, and a drug dealing US pilot shot down over tribal lands

"Charlie Wilson's War" can be a bit boring, but it's saved by yet another outstanding performance from Philip Seymour Hoffman (RIP)

Tyler is "signaling" that he is slightly left-liberal. Left-Liberals love to side with anything that is viewed as "problem child". But Tyler is an economist too. So Tyler can be said to be supplying compassion, which Pakistan needs because Pakistan has lately become the voiceless country. Its voice is not being heard by anyone.

Also if Trump is saying "Howdy Modi" then left liberals must favor Pakistan. Tyler took a clue or two from Bernie.

Maybe Indians shouldn't worship Satan if they want to be taken seriously by civilized countries.

Mr. Taliaferro made some good points. Pakistan, for all its shortcomings, is our natural ally againat Red China and India. America helped Pakistan to resist Indian aggression in the 1970s.

((((( Pakistan, for all its shortcomings, is our natural ally againat Red China and India. America helped Pakistan to resist Indian aggression in the 1970s. )))))

FYI - US helped India by sending its aircraft carrier during the Sino Indian war of 1962. The political left (which is extremely anti-US) in India kept this from the masses for a long time.

Because it was against Red China, but we sided with Pakistan against Indian aggression in 1971. Famous American supersonic flight pioneer chief Brigadier-General Chuck Yeager was in Pakistan supporting the Pakistani regime.

((((Maybe Indians shouldn't worship Satan if they want to be taken seriously by civilized countries.))))

Well said.


Thiago 5, why don't you stick to just praising Brazil instead of running others down?

You may be mistaking me for another person. I said nothing about Brazil. I just pointed out that Indians are known to worship Satan instead of worshipping the real god, God.

That is only part of the story. I suspect that at a level possibly deeper than Tyler's own self-awareness, his reasons may not be that different from those of our friend Arthur Taliaferro Jr above :)

5. Movies: Waar or Jawani Phir Nahi Ani.

4. Dish: Karahi, Nihari. Haleem is also good.

Poet...Faiz Ahmad Faiz

Faiz Ahmed Faiz


Someone is at the door again, my weeping heart, no, no one
Perhaps a passerby, who will go somewhere else

The night has passed, waiting, the star-dust is settling
Sleepy candle-flames are flickering in distant palaces
Every pathway has passed into sleep, tired of waiting
Alien dust has smudged all traces of footsteps

Blow out the candles, let the wine and cup flow
Close and lock your sleepless doors

No one, no one will come here now.

Translated by Hamid Rahim Sheikh

Mohsin Hamid, raised in Pakistan, lived in the West for about half his life, and is back in Pakistan now, has written four novels and a book of non-fiction in English. The novels are very good, especially Exit West and the Reluctant Fundamentalist (which was also made into a movie that's not as good as the book). The book of essays, Discontent and Its Civilizations, is also worth reading.

Theoretical Physicist: Abdus Salam?

No doubt there , though have to wonder if it was his political skills
also that helped him secure a portion of the Nobel.
Har Gobind Khorana of RNA Nobel fame , although of ndian origin was also born in erstwhile Pakistan.

Novel - case of exploding mangoes

Carry On Up the Khyber was set in Pakistan, although it was filmed in Wales.

No. 3: Maybe the book became so good BECAUSE the author doesn't write more books.

Movie set in Pakistan (and Norway) - Hva vil folk si (What will people say), a Norwegian film made by a Norwegian director of Pakistani origin - Iram Haq.

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