Friday, May 21, 2010



FW: Pakistanis are becoming the world's pariahs

Assudo Bhatia Thu, May 20, 2010 at 5:35 PM

Subject: Pakistanis are becoming the world's pariahs
Date: Thu, 20 May 2010 04:23:42 +0000

Pakistanis are becoming the world's pariahs?
Opinion: On Being Pakistani
ISLAMABAD (May 16) -- Pakistanis are becoming the world's pariahs. Since
being implicated in a steady stream of violent attacks -- from the London
Tube bombings in 2005 to this month's failed attempt to bomb Times Square --
it seems almost inevitable now that when the next act of terrorism happens,
a Pakistani will be involved.

As a Canadian of Pakistani descent, I've watched this pattern emerge with a
rising sense of trepidation. Thirty-five years ago, when my parents decided
to move to Canada, things were much different. Pakistanis were different.
They were much in demand -- an intelligent, hard-working people who
integrated and contributed positively to society, wherever they went.

What a terrible journey we've made since then.

Today, Pakistanis are objects of fear and suspicion. Wherever we go we must
contend with the "terrorist" label and endure the scrutiny that accompanies
it. Like many of my compatriots, I've been "interviewed" by the Joint
Terrorism Task Force at the U.S. border, questioned at Bangkok's
Suvarnabhumi airport and scrutinized with extra efficiency by a German
border control officer. Every time it happens, a piece of advice a Sufi in
Saudi Arabia once gave me cycles through my mind: "When an obstacle is
placed in front of you," he said, "be like water -- flow around it."

Pakistanis are being asked to flow a lot these days, and it will not get
better any time soon. Many people in the world must be asking why it is that
so many acts of terrorism in the West seem to lead back to Pakistan. Is
there something in the Pakistani psyche that makes them susceptible to

What those people might be surprised to hear is that Pakistanis are asking
the same questions.

At the forefront is something quite basic: How did this happen? How, in 30
years -- a mere generation -- have Pakistanis gone from being desirable to
becoming undesirables?

The standard narrative goes something like this: During the 1980s, the U.S.
promoted violent jihad in Pakistan to create a proxy army to fight against
the godless Soviets in Afghanistan. The Americans funded the growth of jihad
ideology, encouraged the construction of madrasas -- religious seminaries
that have now become militant birthing grounds -- and are now fighting the
jihadists they helped to create, including Osama bin Laden.

But there is another side to the story. After Soviet troops withdrew from
Afghanistan, Pakistan's military establishment decided to continue using the
jihadists as proxies, both in Afghanistan and in Kashmir. That cold-hearted
act of realpolitik was inspired by a neo-Cold War mentality in which India
was -- and still is -- viewed as an existential threat to Pakistan.

Most Pakistanis feel that America has brought war on them, a war no one here
wanted and which is ultimately killing Pakistanis. But for me, and for a
silent minority of Pakistanis as well, there is an alarming lack of
recognition of the role played by Pakistan's own armed forces and
intelligence agencies in sending Pakistan down the road to jihad.

There are two reasons for this. First, for decades, Pakistan's generals have
diligently maintained the illusion that the army is the only reason Pakistan
has not collapsed. Pakistanis are spoon-fed this false perception from
childhood, indoctrinated into believing that the army is the Great Savior,
the Protector, the Guardian.

Second, opposing the army can have dire consequences. The execution of
former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1979 is one salient example.
The mounting evidence of an army role in the December 2008 assassination of
his daughter, Benazir Bhutto, is another.

Just a few days ago my uncle expressed his concern in connection with the
work I was doing tracing Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad's militant
connections back to groups linked to Pakistan's dreaded spy service, the
ISI. "You don't understand these people," he warned me. "They can make you
disappear and you will never be found again. No one can stand up to them."

But somebody must stand up to them. Pakistan's image in the world, not to
mention its future, depends on it. Is it an accident that Faisal Shahzad was
the son of a senior Pakistani military officer? I don't think so. Military
culture in this country is virulently anti-American. Couple it with the
rampant spread of jihad ideology -- also the product of the army's failed
policies -- and you end up with a deadly mix.

The failed attack on Times Square is only the tip of the iceberg. The fear
among many Pakistanis is that some similar attempt is likely to succeed.
With each attack, fear and suspicion of any Pakistani is bound to rise. And
the irony is that as Pakistan spirals into chaos, young people here are
increasingly looking to get out.

Two of my cousins are waiting for their immigration papers to be approved in
Canada. They are educated, moderate Pakistani Muslims, much like Shahzad
appeared to be until recently. They worry now that the environment of fear
will hamper their efforts for a better life abroad. My brother, a professor
of biochemistry at Trinity College in Dublin, is planning a sabbatical to
Harvard, but worries about the treatment he'll receive there.

Bearded Pakistanis have been under the microscope for years. Now,
clean-shaven, Ray-Ban-wearing Pakistanis may be in for the same treatment.
My advice to them is to listen to the Sufis. Self-respect lies within the
self; no one can take it away from you. Be like water.
Adnan S. Khan covers Pakistan for AOL News.
Original Source: Opinion: On Being Pakistani by Adnan R. Khan

The New Busy think 9 to 5 is a cute idea. Combine multiple calendars with Hotmail. Get busy.

The New Busy think 9 to 5 is a cute idea. Combine multiple calendars with Hotmail. Get busy.



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