Najam Ul Assar

Chemical Engineer,


This conversation is closed.

Image of Pakistan in your sight?

How do you feel when you hear about Pakistan?
What stereotypes you have for people of Pakistan?
Do you really think, they are terrorist?
What if a Pakistani adds you on social network?

Kindly be Precise and Short.

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    Jul 6 2013: I have friends in Pakistan and have visited the country. The people are no different from anywhere else in the world. They want the same things, a good job, enough money to live and give their children an education. They are not terrorists, it is just that terrorists operate in the country.

    Just like the IRA terrorists operated in the UK and Ireland for many years but the British are not terrorists. Memories are short. It is only small minded, bigoted people who stereotype others.

    I am happy to have Pakistani contacts.
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    Jul 6 2013: Give everybody in Pakistan accesss to social media and this might be a step forward to healing it, I think.
    In other words - give them a computer and internet.

    To everybody, I mean.

    "Spend the money on feeding, clothing and educating the poor of the world, not one human being excluded, and we can explore space, both inner and outer, together, in peace." - a quote from the link

    Best wishes.
    • W T

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      Jul 9 2013: That is a short, but powerful message Anna.

      It reminded me of a quote:

      "Life is hard, but it includes a free ride around the sun every year."

      I often use this quote when speaking to individuals who live in a closed minded-negative-view of the world.
      If every human on earth realized we are all together on the "SAME" planet..........and it is our HOME........and that together we can live in borders, kindness, interchange of information.........after all we all die.........we can't take anything with us............and yet humans are so very selfish.

      I have faith that soon things will change for the better.
      Many others do too.

      Thank you for sharing this video. I had not seen it at all.
      Powerful ending. Why can't people stand "good news"?
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    Jul 3 2013: No, I do not see the people of Pakistan as terrorists. That's just another media generalisation based on a vociferous and violent lunatic fringe.

    I refuse to allow my view of Pakistan (or any other country for that matter) to be stereotyped by politics and the media. The media view of a country is sometimes spectacularly inaccurate and unrepresentative of the many people who may not hold the political allegiances that they would have us believe.

    "What if a Pakistani adds you on social network?": If you are flesh and blood like me, and you want to have a conversation, then I would be pleased and honoured to speak to you!

    If I want to get an accurate view about a country, I will speak to an ordinary citizen - NOT a politician or a journalist.
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    Jun 25 2013: What I can tell you from two tours to Iraq is that human beings are essentially the same all over the world. We share a lot of the same beliefs and wants, a better world for our children, someone to love and to be loved, a sense of humor, listening to your favorite music, etc. I broke bread and drank tea with many Iraqi people and shared many friendships with them. It's a shame that a few radicals can influence a nation (U.S.) to stereotype an entire people. There really should be more education and exposure to enlighten people.
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    Jul 3 2013: Hello Najam, and welcome to TED:>)

    The image I keep in sight, is peace and harmony for Pakistan.

    When I hear about Pakistan, I think of so many innocent people in harms way.

    The majority of people in Pakistan are NOT terrorist. In fact, I believe it to be a very small number who want to terrorize others.

    What if a Pakistani adds you on social network?
    Noveed is one Pakistani I have been gratefully communicating with for quite awhile:>)
    (Hope you don't mind Noveed!)

    I just looked at your profile Najam, and I LOVE this....
    "not only is the glass half full, but there's a full one around here someplace"
    Good one my friend:>)
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      Jul 3 2013: Colleen I am grateful that you remembered me during commenting on this post. Najam! Colleen has a magical personality like no one else in my life, I think this is really cool that whenever I get so depressed or extremely happy without thinking I share it with her and it's a coincidence that she always has a good idea for me. :)

      There is a sunshine after every dark night so I believe that soon my country will be a place of harmony and peace where people from every school of thought and ethnic group will be respected.
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        Jul 6 2013: Dear Noveed,
        I cannot forget you unless I lose all my memory completely!

        I agree Noveed, that there is sunshine after every dark night, so we will keep the image of peace and harmony for your country, and all countries in our world:>)

        Thank you again and again my friend, for your kind words.
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          Jul 7 2013: Hey Colleen, Thankyou for your feedback.

          Glad to know you already have a Pakistani friend, Majority of people want peace and to live their lives, no wonder when this region will know peace but least we can do is to work for it.

          As Noveed said, there is light at the end of dark and there's a glass full somewhere around too.
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        Jul 7 2013: Hey Noveed.

        True Noveed, There is Hope for us, Lets work for it.
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    Jun 25 2013: My first image at the word Pakistan is majestic mountain ranges- the Karakoram, K2, Hindu kush.

    I have never been to India or Pakistan, and while I know many families from India, I don't know anyone from Pakistan. Obviously I would not expect a Pakistani to be a terrorist!

    It is useful to realize that the images people have of the typical person in another country tend to be skewed by the few contacts they have and portrayals they see in media. This is true whether people are thinking about Pakistanis or French, American, or Russian.
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    Jun 25 2013: I'm Indian and not calling you guys brothers would be mean, and I seriously mean it when I call you brothers. We are basically of the same country, you guys are no different from us.

    Pakistanis are angry at my country for the reason that their country, although getting independence at the same time as ours, they have not gotten the same opportunities as our country.
    I do not blame them for their anger, if I was a Pakistani, I would be angry too at the preference India gets over Pakistan.
    This anger has brought forth lots of terrorists from Pakistan that are angry with the world and their misfortune.

    The problem is that stereotypes affect us unconsciously. We do not feel it coming but its there. I'm guilty of having stereotypes for everything and I'm racist (we all are, its how society has come to be) but I try not to show it or express it.

    Sorry for blabbing out, just felt like talking a little.

    I feel angry at their rulers for making the citizen of their country feel what they feel and I feel sad at the terrorists because they don't have much and are underprivileged which led them to revolt.

    I have the general stereotypes like everybody else.

    Of course not, I do not think so. Stereotypes are always just assumptions made by judgmental people which have caught on with the general public.

    If a Pakistani adds me on a social network I would accept it only if I knew him personally or the exception of the person being a valuable person to the society.
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      Jun 25 2013: Alot is going on between our countries for long now? No?
      I dont know when we will learn peace.
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        Jun 25 2013: I'm an optimist but truthfully, I say it will be a rather long time before that happens.

        There's soo few things we can do and even fewer things that we can actually execute.
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        Jun 25 2013: G'day Najam

        When we all become accepting of our small differences & only see them as differences instead of an opposing polarity, things are slowly changing I believe.

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    Jun 21 2013: I feel sad. I reckon Pakistan a part my culture, language, music and sports. Despite feuds and wars, I believe this country is closer to me than other countries.
    The Pakistani stereotype is that of an eccentric, militarized, mitant rogue where most people are either terrorists or fundamentalists. I know, there can nothing be more wrong. I have good Pakistani friends and they are as good and well meaning as any people in the world.
    The only problem with Pakistan, I believe, is its failure to embrace democracy, which was Jinnah's vision. Otherwise, it had the most promises of being a liberal democracy despite being Islamic.
    I will welcome any Pakistani to add to my social network. In fact, there are a good number already.
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      Jun 22 2013: Well said Pabithra, being an Indian I share the same view, I feel I am closer to a Pakistani than a Caucasian, I know I am being regionalistic but if we are ok with nationalism we should be ok with regionalism.
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    Jul 10 2013: About Pakistan I think dry, hot weather, and spicy food.
    About the people I think beautiful dark complexion dark eyed women, and fast talking men with sharp edged pronunciation.

    As for their political beliefs I'd likely not know much about that until I saw their body language, or other indicative information about their intent.

    As a base line indicator I'd figure that person probably hungers, hurts, bleeds, opes, dreams the same as any other person and in that assumption look forward to other likelihoods.
  • W T

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    Jul 9 2013: I do not have any particular image of Pakistan.

    I have met, and spoken to many Pakistani individuals, on line, and face to face.
    Usually the ones I meet in my community have been women, or else the entire family is out and about shopping.

    They have all spoken English, and many times also Urdu.
    Our conversations have been very pleasant.
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      Jul 9 2013: Pakistan is land of diversity, explore our music, culture and foods. you should explore them all :)
      • W T

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        Jul 9 2013: I am hoping that as more and more Pakistanis come to Florida, I will be able to enjoy their culture.
        Of course, nothing beats travelling abroad......perhaps one day Najam.......perhaps one day.

        Thank you for sharing your culture, music, and insights with us.
        I have thoroughly enjoyed reading everybody's wonderful comments.
  • Jul 8 2013: You are brave and have changed perceptions in just asking. Congratulations!
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    Jul 7 2013: Hi Najam,

    I have many stereotypes from the media:
    1. A nuclear armed country at risk of falling to religious extremism
    2. A country that got massively disrupted by recent floods
    3. A region with extremely deep history - about which the West knows little
    4. A country at great risk of impacts from global warming (flood/drought cycle deepening)

    However, I occasionally exchange emails with Pakistanis in pursuit of my business interests .. in that regard I find Pakistani's to be very entrepreneurial, excellent craftsmen with a lot to offer the world.
    My observation is that the focus on the need to catch-up with the west is actually inhibiting the great talent and craftsmanship of Pakistan from realising it's true potential.

    In my opinion, Pakistan would be better served to feed its social strength into Pakistani culture .. It will never be a Macdonald's country and should stop trying to be one.

    (Edit: I'll just add this . it seems to me that Pakistan has a dangerously exploitive elite .. they certainly invoke the craftsmen to work hard .. but I think they are being very cruel and are not letting the brilliant craftsmen to get any wealth from their work - and I think those exploiters need to be replaced by true cultural heros .. people who care for better things than money and power .. if you could get rid of the traditional ruling class, Pakistan would become a model country that everyone in the world could admire.).
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    Jul 6 2013: Pakistanis have the same potential and problems of many other countires. The difference is how they see themselves. If each individual of every country takes it upon themselves to be known by their good actions and noble deeds, rather than their prejudices, words, pretence and psuedo appearances, then the resulting image will be very positive.

    It is not what others think of you or your country, it is what you think of yourself and your country and what you as an individual are doing to make it better.

    In my opinion there are several problems in Pakistan that needs to be fixed. But primarily they need to first end communal strife and prejudice, next provide access to unbiased news and information and extensively promote "Education".
  • Jul 5 2013: I have many co-workers and friends who are Pakistanis. They were intelligent, educated, stupid, silly, caring, too linear, too traditional, no thinking out of the box, too much thinking out of the box, etc. They were like every other group of engineers I have worked with.

    I have many in my social network.

    My major concern with both Pakistanis and Indians are the overt and hidden caste systems.
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    Jul 2 2013: It doesn't matter where do you live, so in my opinion I do not have any good/bad image for pakistan. There are both types of people everywhere whether you belong to that country or not.
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    Jun 29 2013: Personally I see tragedy. I see the shattered hopes of millions left in poverty from the ravages of colonialism. I see millions of people who should think of Americans as brothers,and sisters, but who are camouflaged behind the cloak of fundamentalist thuggery, political treason, corporate sponsored fascist propaganda, misunderstanding, and jihadist lunacy. I see millions of people who are brainwashed by the abomination of religious extremist propaganda. I see the legacy of decades of inadequate school funding, inadequate investment in women, and family planning. I see a country of medieval backwardness, and repression. I also see millions of young, strong, intelligent, beautiful people who have the possibility for a brave and beautiful new future. It can happen if the world cares enough to provide funding for development, without burring them in ridiculous high interest crushing debt. I see a universe of wasted potential. I also see hope, for peace and prosperity if the young people of Pakistan denounce violence, and choose education and engagement with the community of nations without threatening their neighbors with nuclear weapons, or extremist violence. I see endless possibilities and peace.
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    Jun 28 2013: The pakistanis are, in my opinion, the same as in other countries all aver the world: people who wants to live in peace, to be free, to work and to learn, to grow up their children without fear, to be happy and to improve their lifes. How could it be different? Aren't we all human beings? Why are people -here and there- who think that pain, hate or violence can change that condiction, and if it could be changed, why, and where is their right to do it so? Nobody is legitimated for hate and hurt. Everybody of us are called to help people, everybody of us need help many times a lifetime.
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    Jun 24 2013: G'day Najam

    Cricket of course & Islam.

    What's a terrorist? You could call terrorists partisans which is quite acceptable when one’s country is invaded however when that fight is taken out of the invaded country into other countries then I suppose it’s just terrorism however when one’s hands are tied what is one to do? The problem is fundamentalist fanatics usually make up terrorist groups these days.

    No I don’t look at Pakistan as being a fundamental fanatical country.

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      Jun 25 2013: Yes mathew glad there are people like you, who actually are not bounded to stereotyping.
      There's alot about Pakistan, food, music and culture.

      Thanks for your feedback.
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        Jun 25 2013: G'day Najam

        It's funny because in western countries we are lied to or manipulated just as much as in some eastern countries about the rest of the world outside western culture, if we just looked at each other as a difference not an opposing polarity the world would be a far better place.

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    Jun 24 2013: Pakistan is a country with a lot of potential. That potential has to be nurtured with a lot of care or it may not fully bloom to reach its potential. What I want to see in Pakistan is sticking to progress in the society, economy, government, bureaucracy and other areas. Slow and steady progress will definitely lead to the victory and happiness of Pakistan. :-)
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    Jun 21 2013: Try These videos :)

    This is just the start of Exploring Pakistan,

    You are always welcome over my fb

    Pakistan is a place to visit :)
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    Jun 20 2013: Your'e just like the Indians and the Sri Lankans, obsessed with cricket. I feel sorry for your countries location, it's peoples are many and varied with different dialects. Where does one start?
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      Jun 21 2013: What few things you hate about south Asian countries?
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        Jun 21 2013: I just got past the media blind when in my head the word "Pakistan" is recognized or brought up in a conversation, there's nothing wrong with your country it just needs to gather itself together and begin it's climb upwards, other than that "What is it with cricket?"

        I'm a kiwi so when people mention the word "Asian" we tend to group asiatic people from mongolia to indonesia as asiatic and the indian continent upwards towards the M.E as Indian. Don't be offended it's just how we look at the world, we see it from the bottom up Literally.
  • Jul 19 2013: Well !! I'm from India. The country which hates Pakistan the most than any other country.

    I don't feel so safe, maybe because of the mental image formed by my country in me since childhood for being Pakistan's enemy.
    For stereotypes, our country assumes Pakistan as the first suspect for any terror attack.
    No, I don't think they are all terrorists. It sounds funny to me.
    I actually have a friend on Facebook who is from Pakistan.

    Bottom line, I respect the country very much and I know there are a lot of people with consummate skills, lying unused in the country because of the unavailability of the resources and majorly due to the corrupt and kind of a military ruled government. I love the Pakistani food and enjoy eating haleem during the Ramadan and other savories. We have a lot of people of Pakistan taking refuge in our country, we all colloquially live together and celebrate all the festivals regardless of the religion. We love and respect the country and want both the countries to establish peace relations on the Kashmir issue.
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    Jul 17 2013: Country full of terror.. I agree with smith that Pakistan is a nuclear armed country at risk of falling to religious extremism
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    Jul 17 2013: Based on its geography probably a lot of natural wonders that people from the West haven't got a chance to freely explore. Images come to mind of Kashmir and I try to remember when it broke away from India. I'm not very update on current events, but the word Pakistan makes me think of Hindus although I think there are a lot of Muslims there, too. And they aren't thrilled with the U.S., but then again, neither are many Americans. Oh, and they'd have to write in English not Urdu if I was added to their social network. Is the food as good as Indian food?
    • Jul 18 2013: People from the West have gotten a chance to explore Pakistan's natural wonders. Some of the world's tallest mountains are there and people have been climbing them for decades. But just this summer 10 mountain climbers were killed by terrorists.

      I think Pakistan has had a lot of wrong done to it and also done a lot of wrong itself.
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        Jul 18 2013: I didn't say they haven't had the chance to explore them, I said they haven't had the chance to FREELY explore them, i.e. unencumbered by local politics, guerilla armies, passport and travel visa snafus, unfriendly locals, etc. during whatever time period suits them and not just when is deemed safe by U.S. Department of State through the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

        I commiserate with you on the state of Pakistan in regards to what it has done and what has been done to it. I read a book back in January by Salman Rushdie that made Kashmir seem like a magical place while detailing some of the strife within the region.
  • Jul 13 2013: Corrupt government. Very hierarchical--officials and their wealthy friends get everything, everybody else gets nothing.
    Even colleges cannot get electricity, while the government and the rich always have the power on.
  • Jul 10 2013: Let me Congratulate Mr. Najam for bringing in such a topic of conversation. This is very much necessary to erase misjudgments and create harmony.
    Well, I am from India and Pakistan is my neighbor. I respect it as much as i respect any other country. It is really unfortunate that few incidents have disturbed the peace in Pakistan, nevertheless, it a country wanting co-existence, harmony in my view. Your question "do you think they are terrorists" seems funny to me. Few peoples mistakes or stupidity cannot be held as parameters to judge others, in this context, the whole Pakistan. Terrorists have an ideology that is far from that of a normal peace-loving and caring person's. By standing together and firm, situation can be controlled. No one will ever have to find an excuse to connect with a pakisatani,socially, given that social network is all about connecting with different people from different places. Remember, when we become narrow minded because of few incidents, we should be open minded to accept the beauty of differences when we find lot of good things.
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    Jul 9 2013: I've met incredibly erudite Pakistanis in the U.S. and had great discussions with them. I find it hard to reconcile these folks with all the other realities that Pakistan is: mass illiteracy, a thin veneer of landlords taking advantage of ignorant rural folks, oppressed women, a dysfunctional government, a military caste bent on building nukes, millions filled with hate against minorities such as Shiites, paranoia about India, poverty fueled by underinvestment, madrassahs indoctrinating young people in the most extreme variations of Sunni Islam, open acceptance of violence, and an economic future as bleak as one can imagine. I find it immensely depressing that Pakistan's rulers have traded nuclear information with North Korea. If I had to pick the most likely nation to be annihilated in some kind of crazy nuclear exchange, I'd place Pakistan right at the top of the list. It's a nation without a future (except in terms of massive population growth.) I'm sorry Najam, but that's how I see Pakistan.
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    Jul 5 2013: A country is known by what it does. A good act is forgotten but a bad one is always remembered. That is the law of this world. At the same time, a powerful country can get away from anything. However, Pakistan people should realize that the bad publicity which is attributed to their country has origin in their own country. If the civilian government has no control over certain aspects of the military and the ISI, steps must be taken to bring them into the overall control of the democratically elected government. Otherwise, the unfortunate tag of being a terrorists will stick to the innocent majority of its people, even through the act itself is carried out by its military and the ISI.
  • Jul 3 2013: In my opinion, (which is both framed from- discreet personal belief and the interception of some experiences across social networking platforms), Pakistan as a whole is just as any nation, having its own agendas, its own people, its own mode of plans and actions. But the negative feedback that it receives from across the world is simply due to the overcast in the governmental hierarchy. Pakistani's are not to be deemed terrorists in this regard, because they are just as human as any of us, they also share the same sentimentalism, but the government's complete stoicism towards terrorist activities that originate from the very heart of the country and its inactivity to barr such heinous forebodings is the fact which adds dark clouds to the otherwise beautiful scenery.
  • Jul 3 2013: What type of answer do you expect a bitter truth or a pleasing answer. The bitter truth is that Pakistan is country which is a breeding ground for terrorism and promotes terrorism. And the pleasing answer to show that I am secular is its a very very good country which promotes Peace and Harmony.
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      Jul 3 2013: Hi Santokh, the 'bitter' truth which you are sharing almost everybody knows to some extent but you are blaming the whole country which is really not appreciable. No doubt terrorism exist here, but about 180 million people lives here so for your information only a few are violent which belongs to some countable conservative religious or political organizations. So for our government and law enforcement agencies concern, both are taking almost every possible action to overcome this situation. I am one of those optimistic who believe that soon these conservative Islamist groups will be changed because they also love their children as you and I do, just they need education and awareness.
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      Jul 7 2013: Noveed summed it very beautifully, i guess.
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    Jun 25 2013: Salam,
    according to me Pakistan is a country having a lots of potential but due to politics, military power they are ruining there ........ need good leader there and one more thing you all are my brother and sisters :) we all love you
  • Jun 23 2013: my views: mix of moderate muslims and fanatics... the fanatics however are more prominent in the news today.
    And it kinda surprises me why those prominent ones want to put shariah law into its constitution... Iran did the same thing years ago.. and now those very people who opted such rules want the extreme religious clerics out... I wonder why some muslim countries (turkey recently) don't see the Iran situation as an example... or is it a totally different situation that doesn't merit a comparison?... thoughts?
  • Jun 23 2013: Raymond Davis
    In January 2011, CIA contractor Raymond Davis shot and killed two Pakistani men
    in broad daylight in Lahore, Pakistan.

    Davis claimed to have diplomatic immunity and to be a part of the U.S. Embassy in Lahore.
    But, Embassy officials denied him being an American diplomat or attached to the Embassy,
    and then changed their minds later, after President Barack Obama came to his aid, and referred
    to him as "our diplomat" and demanded he be freed.

    The U.S. Embassy in Lahore said the Justice Department had opened an investigation
    into the shootings.
    The anti-American uproar was so severe that the United States had to dispatch its best diplomats,
    including John Kerry, to negotiate his release, which Kerry accomplished, through the traditional
    Islamic method of the payment of blood monies to the victims' relatives. 19 relatives appeared in
    court to accept blood money payments totaling $2.34 million dollars.

    A U.S. official said Pakistan had paid the families $2.34 Million Dollars for Davis’s release.
    That arrangement allowed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to assert in a news conference
    that, “the U.S. didn't pay the compensation”. But the American government "expects to receive a bill
    at some point," said the U.S. official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because the situation
    was so sensitive.
    We need to assume that there will be unintended consequences of paying blood money for the lives
    of innocent civilians, wrongfully killed as collateral damage, by U.S. Spies, Drones, and Soldiers.
    Raymond Davis went home to Colorado, where he entered a Bar, was involved in a knife fight,
    arrested and jailed. The follow up research should be quite interesting, politically.
    President Barack Obama can really pick ‘em. Democrats should be proud.

    The press seems to have kept the follow up on the back page. Hmmm...
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    Jun 21 2013: Thankyou for your feedback :)
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    Jun 20 2013: Hate prevails...

    Masses suffering and surviving under the Gun because of a screwed up philosophy of some where hate prevails.
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    Jun 20 2013: I don't know that much about Pakistan. Perhaps Pakistan has to do more to reveal itself to the world, such as via films, commercials, travel promotion. Mainly I think of Pakistanis as normal people, variety of kinds of people. Perhaps I think they are somewhat or a little angrier than people in some other countries, or what do you think? Are they a poor country, that might make people a little angry.
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      Jun 21 2013: Alot of sacrifices for good of this world but there are variety of people. Some are less tolerant on various issues. Though they are most loving nation.
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        Jun 21 2013: Najam, what do you mean, a lot of sacrifices for good of this world?
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          Jun 22 2013: The nation whose army is involved in various UNO Peace mission, Nation who supported peace in the area and the nation which is on the verge of inside war since 10 years now.

          So sometimes when you loose people close to you in a war, it makes people a little angrier.
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        Jun 22 2013: Thanks, Najam, I didn't know you were on UN peace mission, or supporting peace in area. What other good points do you see in Pakistan, you said they are loving people, in what way, do you think they are more loving than people of other countries, or the same, or less loving?
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          Jun 22 2013: You will love the hospitality of the people, the food, weddings, life style and obviously natural scenery.
          Pakistan is one of the only country in the world which is blessed with all of the resources either natural or minerals.
          Pakistan is a nuclear power as well.

          If you want to know more about Pakistan and our daily life, you can add me over my facebook :)
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      Jun 21 2013: Pakistan's are not what they are shown on TVs and News. Cool, loving and oriented their lives to family ethics and morals. Its really surprising if you dont know much about Pakistan but it always about going ahead and knowing whats unknown.
      Pakistan was never the same though times are difficult.

      If you want to know more about us, want to explore Pakistan, Ask me anything.
      Lets break the stereotypes.

      A country that won worldcups of Cricket, Hockey, Suqash, Snooker. A country full of musical giants and inspiring youth.

      Thankyou for Replying
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      Jun 22 2013: "Pakistani people are more honest then Afghans and Arabs"

      Dear Zx, pray do not generalize (like u did in your post). One person may be more honest than other, but you can not compare nations, its only helps in stereotyping people and stereotyping is not good. Portraying Indians as scammers is also not justifiable, hope you realize that you are talking about billion people.
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          Jun 23 2013: Zx,

          Sorry if I went overboard with my reaction. Its true that I am not responsible for my fellow citizens, I should be responsible towards my government though.

          You must watch Ted talk by Chimamanda......she elegantly explains whats wrong with generalizations, hope u like that talk :)