It's a word that takes me back to my childhood, a time of fear and prejudice, when people could get away with racial abuse because it wasn't seen as racial abuse but as an acceptable term for a minority that looked funny and smelled funny.
So says Riazat Butt in a Guardian article. Meanwhile, the Prince Harry pakigate story has been dissected all over the national media and been followed up by stories about his dad - Prince Charles, not James Hewitt, as some naughty people suggest - and his friendly, affectionate nickname for his Asian chum. Sooty. Yes that's right, "Sooty". Because soot is black and Charles' friend is also... oh you get it. Good. And of course, the Prince Harry story wouldn't be complete without his added little touch of describing someone else as looking like a "raghead", a derogatory term relating to the headgear of some Arab or Asian people.
The debate about the word "paki" and whether or not it's actually a racist term, or just a clipping (like, say Brit for British, or Aussie for Australian) has been taken up on many news websites. Some of the more interesting articles are here (from where the quotation at the top of this post comes from) here and here.