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Black day for Pakistan, says expat community

By our staff reporters / 4 November 2007

DUBAI/ABU DHABI — Pakistani expats in the UAE have termed the emergency imposed in Pakistan yesterday as a “black day” in the history of Pakistan.

Saddened by the state of affairs, many of them, Khaleej Times spoke with, said the emergency was, ironically, a kind of martial law on a martial law.

Prominent businessman and owner of Bangash Properties Abdul Nabi Bangash said: “This is the worst day in the history of Pakistan. In the past, whenever people were fed up of corrupt politicians they used to welcome martial law, but in this case there is already a martial law in the country.

“The generals in our country think that the people are their slaves and that Pakistan is their colony. This emergency also proves that President Pervez Musharraf has been unable to bear with the freedom of the judiciary and media in the country and wanted to rein in them because if you look closely, the constitution and the post of prime minister remain intact. So what is the emergency for?”   Tanveer Khawaja, a member of the Pakistan Business Council in Dubai, said: “It is a black day for Pakistan. We were expecting free and fair elections in a few months so that Pakistan’s problems would be solved. Everybody was happy for the freedom of media and judiciary, but it has been proved that the present government cannot solve the problems.

“Forty-eight hours ago, we saw the breakdown of the state airline (Pakistan International Airlines). This shows the weakness of the government. Why has the government declared an emergency when there is no outside threat to the country. The threat is only from insiders,” he says.

M. Alvie, another prominent businessperson, said: “A major German trade delegation has already postponed its trip to Pakistan after hearing the news of emergency. From today, the stocks will also plunge, which will be a major loss to the country. I hold the government responsible for this.

“This action will also take the country back to where we started. I believe  the government, by taking this action, has taken a cowardly step against the media and judiciary in the country.”

The Pakistani community in Abu Dhabi gave a mixed reaction to the emergency declaration and a majority of them said it should be lifted the moment situation in violence-torn areas of northwestern borders normalised.

Tauseef Hasan Farooqi, an engineer, supported General Musharaff in taking the extraordinary measures to restore law and order. He said fundamentalism has taken deep roots in certain areas, and the recent terrerort activities were a severe blow to the writ of the state.

“In the light of the poor law and order situation coupled with the political complexities, there was no option for President Musharraf but to impose emergency,” said Farooqi.

Dr Ejaz Khawar, Pakistani expat, strongly criticised emergency saying it would badly affect the political image of the country.

He said since General Musharraf has been in charge for the past eight years, he must take equal responsibility for the current law and order situation and political problems.

Dr Ejaz said suspension of human rights and sacking of the Chief Justice of Pakistan would have far-reaching consequences in the future.

Irfan Manzoor, a banker, said that not only the image of the country but also the economy would take a beating.

He said that foreign direct investors would shy away as there are many other destinations better than Pakistan. “The emergency rule is an ill-conceived idea taken without considering the country’s long-term objectives,” Manzoor said.

He strongly lamented the silencing of the media, saying it is not a good omen for the people of Pakistan.

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