Pakistan’s fastest man shares recipe for success and delicious pulao

Updated 06 December 2019

Pakistan’s fastest man shares recipe for success and delicious pulao

  • Sami Ullah won the bronze medal in the men’s 100-meter race at the 13th South Asian Games in Nepal
  • He reconciles his sports career with running his father’s pulao business

PESHAWAR: Pakistan’s fastest man, Sami Ullah, who won the bronze medal in the men’s 100-meter race at the 13th South Asian Games in Nepal on Tuesday, is all into sports, but he also needs to support his family, which he does with a traditional rice dish – pulao.
“I know that I need time to practice and improve my speed, but I am also aware that my family depends on my pulao sales,” the 25-year-old athlete told Arab News during a phone call from Nepal’s Katmandu on Thursday.
The young runner’s talent has been widely recognized even before he won the gold medal at the National Games in Peshawar last month, when he completed 100 meters in just 10.64 seconds. For comparison, the record of the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, for the same distance is 9.58 seconds.

Sami Ullah wins the bronze medal at the South Asian Games in Katmandu, Nepal, Dec. 3, 2019. (Photo courtesy: Sami Ullah)

Under his coach, Muhammad Shah, who as Ullah says “polished” his skills, the runner won gold twice when he was a teenager, in the under-14 and under-19 categories. It was also Shah who kept his spirits up when Ullah thought to give up.
“I injured my foot and treatment took four years. It was a crucial point in my sports career. I was disheartened and my dream of becoming a champion seemed to me an illusion,” he said. But at that time the coach and friends came with support and infused into him new energy.
Besides the coach, there was one more very special person who made his sports career possible.
“Since childhood I’ve been assisting my father at his pulao shop,” Ullah said. While back then the father was not enthusiastic about his son’s athletic career, the young runner found a powerful supporter in his mother, who secretly gave him money to buy vitamins and other things he needed to go on.

In this undated photograph, Sami Ullah runs his father’s pulao stall in Jamrud, Khyber district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. (Photo courtesy: Sami Ullah)

Sports is his passion, but Ullah knows that he must reconcile it with running the pulao business of his father Dilawar Khan. Khan migrated from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s southern district of Bannu to the town of Jamrud in Khyber, where in a roadside restaurant he introduced the delicious pulao variant of his home region.
His father’s recent retirement, gave Ullah sole responsibility for running the shop.
While he has his eyes fixed on bigger goals and wants to wave Pakistan’s flag in international competitions, the country’s fastest man begins his day slowly with cooking utensils, a manual weighing scale, spoons and a huge pot of rice.
His recipe for success is in loving for both his father’s legacy and his own dreams.
“No doubt, it is a difficult task to keep both the family business and my personal dreams alive,” he said. But he attributes his stamina to having many responsibilities. “That’s why I love both my father’s seat and my own goals,” he said.
His recipe for delicious pulao is in proportion. He mixes 25 kilograms of rice with the same amount of meat and cooks it all in a spicy garam masala blend. The spice mix, however, shall remain a family secret.

Police detain Pakistani activists protesting PTM leader’s arrest

Updated 28 January 2020

Police detain Pakistani activists protesting PTM leader’s arrest

  • Lawmaker Mohsin Dawar and other activists of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement arrested as they demonstrated in Islamabad
  • The protests were against Monday’s arrest of PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen who is now charged with ‘sedition’

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani police on Tuesday arrested activists and lawmakers protesting the arrest of the leader of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), local media said.

Lawmaker Mohsin Dawar, along with several activists of PTM, were taken into police custody as they demonstrated outside the National Press Club against Monday’s arrest of Manzoor Pashteen, the movement’s leader.

Local media footage and videos circulating on social media showed police arriving at the protest site and rounding up demonstrators. One video showed Dawar in a policeman’s chokehold as another shouted: “Take them away!”

Kohsar police Station House Officer (SHO) Akhtar Ali told local Dawn TV channel that fifteen member of the PTM, including Dawar, had been taken to Kohsar police station from outside the National Press Club in Islamabad.
Pashteen was arrested by police from Peshawar in the early hours of Monday on a number of charges, including “sedition,” a senior police official of Pakistan’s northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa told Reuters.

PTM campaigns against alleged extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of Pashtuns and other ethnic minorities.

It emerged in 2018 after the killing of an ethnic Pashtun man by police in the port city of Karachi. That killing led to nationwide protests and turned the issue of alleged state violence against Pashtuns into a national debate.

The Pakistani military accuses the PTM of being funded by foreign enemies India and Afghanistan. The PTM denies foreign links.

Many of PTM’s supporters are ethnic Pashtuns who hail originally from areas bordering Afghanistan, which has been the center point of a long insurgency by Taliban and other militants and subsequent operations by the Pakistani military. Millions of people from the area have been displaced due to the operations.

Two members of the PTM, including Dawar, are elected lawmakers and were arrested under anti-terrorism laws and detained for close to four months after a deadly clash between troops and activists at a security post in northern Pakistan in May last year.