'All Pakistanis cannot be blamed for terror attacks'

DUBAI — Pakistani nationals in general should not be blamed for the involvement of some compatriots in terrorist acts, people from various walks of life told Khaleej Times reacting to the reported arrest of persons of Pakistani origin by British authorities in the airport terror plot.

By Asad Iftikhar Shafi

Published: Sun 13 Aug 2006, 10:08 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 6:09 PM

The report about a terrorist plot being foiled by the British authorities have once again brought to the fore the connection of terrorists with Pakistan.

It has been observed in the past too that in connection with the terrorist activities taking place, names of Pakistanis crop up in one way or the other.

As Dubai is a neutral city, this correspondent talked to Pakistani and British expatriates here to find out whether Pakistanis in general are being stereotyped in a negative fashion.

Shahwaiz Akhtar, 28, a web designer in Dubai, said: "People in Dubai are generally nice and don't stereotype others as such. But when events like this happen, they tend to become a bit reserved towards you and I don't blame them. I myself feel embarrassed. It not only reflects badly on Pakistan but also the millions of Pakistanis living all over the world."

Humair Khan, 27, a garment shop owner in Sharjah, said, "All my friends and my acquaintances are nice people. They never ever make me feel bad when something like this happens. They realise that some irresponsible, twisted people are behind this and the common Pakistani has got nothing to do whatsoever with anything like this.''

''In my office, people do tend to become a bit cold whenever something like this happens," complained Sumbal Ejaz, a secretary in an MNC.

''You can easily notice the change in them. They smile less at you, don't have time for a chat, invitations to lunch are avoided and small talk disappears. It is all very unnerving. I admit that they get disturbed whenever they hear about the involvement of Pakistanis in activities like this, but they should realise that it's only a small group of people who selfishly act as they do. All the Pakistanis are not like that," he added.

Khaleej Times also talked to residents of other countries, especially Britain, to elicit their opinions about Pakistanis and whether their views had undergone any change after the terror plot was uncovered.

"Although news like this is upsetting and makes me furious, I don't blame the Pakistanis for it. Every time anything like this happens, you can't hold the whole race responsible. Neither is it fair to stereotype them negatively. After all it's not their fault," reasoned Jeff Bailey, a teacher in Sharjah.

''I don't hold the Pakistanis living in Dubai responsible for what other Pakistanis do. But I do believe that these expat Pakistanis should do something to curb activities like this. They should form an association and try to pressure their government to prevent activities like this from occurring. They can always refuse to remit money back to Pakistan. That would be a huge financial blow to their government, to avoid which it would do more to stop terrorist activities like the ones planned for UK," suggested Hasan Noor, an economist who was born and raised in Britain.

''Whatever happens, one should remember that because of the selfish and irresponsible acts of a small group of people, the whole race, community or country cannot be and should not be held responsible."

"In fact at times like this, everyone should overcome their differences and join hands to work for the betterment of the human race. That is true success," advised Shawn Lampert, a mathematician.

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