Zahrah Nasir Call it racism, call it colour prejudice, call it xenophobia, call it what you will but, however you want to define it, a certain sector of Pakistani society is bent on taking 'nationalism to a senseless extreme without, I may add, pausing to consider their own antecedents. How many 'indigenous Pakistanis can honestly claim to be 'unpolluted by Indian, Afghan, Kashmiri, Persian, Central Asian or other 'neighbourly gene banks?.very few when it comes to the crunch and yet, these days, it is increasingly de rigueur to 'victimise anyone exhibiting obviously 'different roots. Chinese, Sri Lankan, Russian and other Central Asia women are promptly labeled 'ladies of the night without the slightest thread of evidence, all Africans are drug smugglers and, anyone with a white skin, as being British or American spies or, horror of horrors, being employed by that organisation of unspeakable evils, Blackwater, to the point where, reportedly, they are secretly photographed and their pictures displayed on some nefarious website or other as being public enemies, therefore, it goes without saying, acceptable targets Personally speaking, being unfortunate enough to have a white exterior then this issue is very personal indeed, the current outbreak of xenophobia, a word defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as a morbid dislike of foreigners, is nothing short of frightening, particularly so as I happen to be a distinctly patriotic Pakistani national, far more so, I strongly suspect, than 'brown skinned Pakistanis lusting for much prized American, Canadian, Australian or British passports for example. People have leapt to the wrong conclusions since I first set foot in this 'land of the pure back in 1983, automatically presuming that I am Christian, that I am wealthy (dream on), that, after taking up permanent residence and obtaining first a nationality certificate and then a, to me, prized green passport, I must shuttle backwards and forwards from Scotland at the speed of light or the drop of a hat and, that when the going gets tough, I will promptly pack my life in a suitcase and run 'home with my tail between my legs as fast as I can go.all of which just goes to prove how wrong uninformed judgment can be. The latest full frontal assault on myself personally, came in the form of a readers letter (The Nation 4-2-10), written in response to a column I penned, Tourist at Large (The Nation 1-2-10). Would she care to explain what are ten thousand troops from her country doing in Afghanistan? the letter writer demands to know before pointing to the consequence and fallout of the war her country has launched in our neighbouring Afghanistan. Hey Hang on a minute reader If you had bothered to undertake more than a cursory search into my background, including looked up and studied some of the 'personal articles I have written over the years, you would certainly have learnt that I vehemently support the concept of an Afghanistan totally free of any 'foreign interference whatsoever and, like it or not, whose country happens, out of choice, to be this one and which, coincidentally, is my paternal, brown skinned grandmothers ancestral home. British politics and policies have absolutely nothing to do with me.Pakistani ones do Aside from being stricken with a serious case of xenophobia, the majority of 'indigenous peoples of this wonderful, sadly strife torn country. not all of this devastating strife being caused by 'foreign elements or 'out of state actors, also appear to be under the impression that all Muslims, other than Arabs, Iranians and Turks are brown, completely refusing to accept that Islam is far from being a colour coded religion and that people with white, yellow, black and lots of other shades in between, skin tones can, in some cases are, brethren too and, as such, should be accepted for what they are rather than subjected to some incredibly hostile diatribes as, surely it is written that everyone is born a Muslim. The shocking intolerance, sectarian, secular, xenophobic and otherwise, increasingly displayed in 'current societal structures here is fast getting dangerously out of control, the fires stalked by people who should know better such as Imran Khan and those who apparently dont, Zaid Hamid of the red topi being a prime example of the latter, with the resulting conflagration, when it erupts, set to completely desecrate any remote semblance of sanity that tries to prevail in the country-shattering inferno that will, undoubtedly follow if left unchecked. Returning to the readers letter mentioned above, the writer also has the gall to state the white race has a serious problem; it suffers from a deep-seated superiority complex. A statement to which the only possible response is to suggest that Pakistanis, of which I am one dont forget, suffer from an identical disease and that, ultimately, this very disease is fatal The writer is a Murree-based freelance columnist.