The Nation (Pakistan) : "Operation Pathway"

Saturday, May 02, 2009

"Operation Pathway"

By Tayyab Siddiqui | May 2, 2009

Pakistan's stock was never so low in the international community as is now. The country is a favourite target of media, NGO's and the official circles in Europe and the US. The refrain is that Pakistan is a sanctuary of terrorists, an epicentre of terrorism and a direct threat to global peace and security. The accusations have been without credible evidence, but the nefarious campaign has severely impacted on Pakistan expatriates who experience on daily basis humiliation of intrusive investigation and viewed as potential terrorist. The waves of anti-Pakistan sentiments based on specious intelligence report has ground swelled and in most capitals of Europe the resident Pakistanis are living in an atmosphere of fear and apprehensions.

In Britain, since July 7, terrorist attacks in London subway, allegedly involving couple of British nationals of Pakistan's origin has led to hysteria against Pakistan. The Mumbai Tragedy, in which three Britons also died, was over blown by the British authorities. Foreign Secretary Miliband visited Pakistan and before Pakistan's involvement could be established demanded Pakistan to accept the responsibility. He went to the extent of blaming Pakistan, stating that 2/3 of the terrorist attacks in Britain originate from Pakistan. The statement was followed by a telephone call from Brown to Zardari expressing deep concerns and urging him to take immediate and effective measures to eliminate terrorists and their hideouts.

The bizarre incident of April 8, when 12 Pakistani students were arrested over a suspected bomb plot in UK, and their eventual release for want of any evidence and substance is the right time and occasion for Pakistan to protest against the statements from the authorities including the PM for maligning Pakistan who termed the arrests as "a very big terrorist plot."

The failure of "Operation Pathway" - the code name given to the probe maligned Pakistan beyond relief. We should not therefore let the issue die unless Britain apologies and compensate the accused for wrongful detention under prevalent UK laws.

The decision to deport these Pakistanis, declared innocent back home is without precedent, and should be resisted by us. There are no basis in law to deport them as they have been found innocent of any wrongdoing and are holding valid student visas. Our high commissioner in London has rightly demanded that the authorities, "owe an apology not only to these boys but also to the Government of Pakistan."