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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

Comic Jeff Mirza questioned by police for using the word "Paki"

British-Pakistani comedian Jeff Mirza has been questioned by police after being accused of racism.  

Mr Mirza - who was born in Pakistan but raised in East London - has been vowing audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with his show "Meet Abu Hamsta and Paki Bashir - From Allah with Love".

Police became involved after a Pakistani man visiting the Festival took offence to the use of the term "Paki" on a poster promoting the show.

Mr Mirza, 49, was questioned at a police station in Edinburgh and warned that he could be arrested and charged if he continued to use the poster, although he is continuing to do so, according to reports.

The comedian told The Sunday Telegraph that his show was an attempt to "reclaim" the term and he could not be accused of racism against his own community.

"A few years ago I realised that I am a Paki and I should be proud of that. Pakistan means Land of the Pure and what’s wrong with that?

I have been called Paki so many times that the only thing for me was to turn it around and make people laugh with me. Black people use the N word as a sort of reclaiming it in songs and on TV and I have never seen any of them arrested”, Mr Mirza said.

Mr Mirza's act is a comic take on Pakistan and the wider Islamic world.

The act features a variety of characters, including "Abu Hamsta";  a Saudi pet-shop owner and Al Qaeda's ambassador of the arts to Luton, "Jameela"; the burka-clad widow of a suicide bomber and the butcher "Paki Bahshir"; who is all halal meat and Paki pride and who loves his family, "otherwise known as the workforce".

- Viji Alles

Picture courtesy of Shekhar Bhatia

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