‘Sorry’s not good enough’: Harry insult was disgraceful says father of Asian cadet called Paki by prince

It is racist to insult people with words like ‘Pakis’ in Britain. Even Prince Harry is being pulled up for calling a Pakistani-origin recruit Paki. ‘Paki’ is used loosely in UK as a curse word directed towards Indians and Pakistanis.

In India, we also should have debates about whether to discriminate in public forums, about calling people Italians or Pakistanis.

Remember the funny guy who said, “all Christians go to Rome, and all Muslims go to Pakistan”.

Remember the other funny guy (with roots in another country)and gals———- who brought up ‘discriminatory and inflammatory statements’ about another senior Indian (with an Indian passport and married to an Indian) politician with roots in Italy.

It is because of nascent and overt feelings of inborn racism and casteeism in India, that people in high places can get away with all sorts of discrimination of the worst kind.

‘Sorry’s not good enough’: Harry insult was disgraceful says father of Asian cadet called Paki by prince

12th January 2009

The father of a Sandhurst recruit called a ‘Paki’ by Prince Harry has condemned it as a ‘disgraceful insult’.

Muhammad Yaqoob Khan Abbasi said yesterday that he was ‘hurt and angry’.

He accused the prince of using a ‘hate’ word, and dismissed his claims that it was not intended in a derogatory manner.

Harry, 24, will be given a severe dressing down by Army chiefs after being captured on video using the phrase ‘our little Paki friend’ to describe fellow cadet Ahmed Raza Khan.

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The film was made in March 2006 during Harry’s final year of officer training at the Royal Military Academy in Camberley, Surrey.

It features the prince’s 30-strong platoon – of which Captain Khan was a member – on their final exercise together in Cyprus.

The first segment was shot by Harry as the group slept on the floor in a military airport.

As he pans around his men, he homes in on the face of the Asian cadet and whispers: ‘Anybody else here? Ah, our little Paki friend … Ahmed.’

The action then moves to Cyprus where Harry is again filming his colleagues in the dark. One soldier has covered his head with what appears to be camouflage material, prompting the prince to say: ‘It’s Dan the Man. F*** me, you look like a raghead!’

The final section of video tape shows Harry in the field, briefing his men about a forthcoming ‘attack’. He sits pretending to finish a call to his grandmother, the Queen, saying: ‘I’ve got to go, got to go. Send my love to the corgis and Grandpa. Bye. God Save You. Yeah that’s great. Bye.’

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With a cigarette dangling from his lips, Harry asks his men whether they have any questions, to which one jokingly asks him about the colour of his pubic hair.

The video was intended as a private ‘ tongue in cheek’ recording of the trip for Harry’s platoon but was, it is understood, sold by a soldier to the News of the World for a five-figure sum.

The prince, a second lieutenant in the Blues and Royals, will this week be summoned to headquarters at Combermere Barracks in Windsor for what is known in the military as an ‘interview without coffee’. He will be lectured by his commanding officer and receive a mark on his record over the incident.

Army chiefs insist that the prince, who is due to start training as an attack helicopter pilot in less than a week, is being treated the same as any other junior officer and stress that it is the strongest punishment open to them as no official complaint about his behaviour had been received.

At his home in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province, Captain Khan’s father stopped short of saying he would complain. However, he made clear that he believed the prince’s apparent contrition did not go far enough.

‘When I saw the video I was very, very hurt,’ he said. ‘I strongly condemn the disgraceful fact that Prince Harry used that language against my son. That word he used is a hate word, and should never be used against any Pakistani.

‘Prince Harry should apologise to the Pakistani Army and to the Pakistani government for this. I cannot accept his apology unless they first accept his apology.’

Mr Khan Abbasi, a former vice president of Pakistan’s Muslim Commercial Bank, spoke proudly about his son, who was awarded the coveted Overseas Sword of Honour by the Queen when he passed out of the Royal Military Academy alongside Harry in April 2006.

He said: ‘My son is a credit to his nation. Ahmed trained alongside Prince Harry – they were colleagues and friends.

‘I met Prince Harry myself when we attended his graduation.’

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Captain Khan’s uncle, Iftekhar Raja, who lives in South London, said: ‘Ahmed is a highly intelligent young man.

‘To be chosen as an officer cadet for Sandhurst, you have to sit many exams and just one is picked from around 1,000 cadets.

‘Prince Harry didn’t have to go through anything like this to get to Sandhurst.

‘Prince Harry is irresponsible to make these sorts of comments. How much money has been spent on his education?

‘The Royal Family are icons. They should have better sense than to
say things like this. I am shocked.’

The incident has caused acute embarrassment to the British Army, which fears that it could re-open old wounds about wider allegations of racism in the service.

Mr Raja, 38, said that his nephew and the prince ‘were colleagues, not friends as such.

‘They are trying to play it down and say that they were friends and that “Paki” was a friendly nickname. But that was not the case. You can tell that Harry was looking down on people in this video. Why else would he use these kind of words?’

It is also proving deeply uncomfortable for Prince Charles, who has set himself up as a champion of the Islamic faith and forged particularly close diplomatic links with Pakistan.

The prince, who is on holiday in Scotland, has not seen his son in person since the scandal broke as Harry is holed up at Highgrove, the family home in Gloucestershire. But he has spoken to him on the telephone and expressed his ‘disappointment’.

As news of the video’s existence emerged at the weekend, St James’s Palace issued an unequivocal apology from the prince.

It stressed that there was ‘no malice whatsoever’ in his use of the word and that it was merely a ‘nickname’ used to describe a popular member of his platoon and a personal friend.

‘There is no question that Prince Harry was in any way seeking to insult his friend,’ his spokesman said.

A senior aide added: ‘He has made a mistake. A big one. But Harry doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. It would be grossly unfair to hang him out to dry over this. He has matured so much in the last three years.’

The explanations failed to mollify anti-racism groups, who stressed that the prince was, whether he liked it or not, a public figure and should behave accordingly.
Uphill struggle for Muslim recruits

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For military commanders, Harry’s gaffe came as a highly unwelcome setback after years of efforts to banish racism and improve the image of the forces.

Footage of the prince using the word ‘Paki’ to an Asian soldier will do nothing to help the UK military in its struggle to attract more ethnic-minority recruits – particularly Muslims.

There are only around 250 Muslims across the UK armed forces, out of around 180,000 men and women.

The Army has introduced Halal ration packs, hired a Muslim imam as a chaplain and launched outreach projects to minority communities.

But the response from Muslim organisations has been lukewarm at best, and with controversial wars in Iraq and Afghanistan it remains an uphill struggle to tempt more Muslims to serve their country in uniform.

The Ministry of Defence boasts of a ‘zero-tolerance policy’ towards both racism and bullying across the services.

But an official report by Adult Learning Inspectorate in 2005 dismissed that as a myth, and claimed many young recruits in particular were still at risk.

To Harry, calling his friend a ‘Paki’ might have been no more than banter.

To the Army’s critics, it will be seen as further proof that racist attitudes flourish in the forces.

It will fall to Lieutenant Colonel Harry Fullerton, Commanding Officer of the Household Cavalry Regiment, to decide whether a stern talking-to will suffice, or whether the prince needs further punishment.

Since no complaint was made and Harry has already apologised publicly, insiders said the outcome was unlikely to go beyond low-level administrative action rather than more serious disciplinary measures which can lead to a court martial.

Options include a formal reprimand –although in theory Harry could be demoted or suffer loss of seniority counting towards his next promotion to the rank of captain.

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