Future of Pakistanis in USA
Abdul Zahoor Khan Marwat
The Raymond Davis issue has hurt the Pak-US ties. People want to find out how come a US official or a so-called diplomat pick up a gun in a major Pakistani city and kill two innocent Pakistanis when nobody had fired at him or mugged him.
Then it appeared that Washington had made the bilateral ties hostage to the release of Davis. Are the Pak-US ties so fragile that they can be made hostage to the release of a person who shot dead two Pakistanis, hitting them on their back? That should not be the case.
The Pakistani government and people want to have good ties with the United States but they cannot allow people like Raymond operating in the country with impunity. Luckily sense has prevailed in Washington and there are strong indications that the US officials now also realise that it is not simple to free people like Davis in the face of his horrific crime and mounting agitation in Pakistani streets.
On the other hand, there are fears among more than 100,000 Pakistanis peacefully living and working in the United States that they may be made a target by the US government in the aftermath of the Davis fiasco.
According to one estimate, in New York alone, there are more than 10,000 Pakistani cab drivers. These people are hard working and have nothing to do with either the Davis issue or organisations like al-Qaeda or Taliban.
While there may be cases once in a while of people like Shahzad but the fact is that Pakistanis living in the United States have nothing to do with terrorism and are peaceful residents. And that has always been the case. If there is a crackdown on Pakistanis and some of them are sent home following the Davis saga, which is not yet over, it will have serious consequences on Pakistani economy, which is greatly dependent on remittances sent from abroad, especially the United States.
Then, there is no sense in losing hardworking law abiding people contributing positively to the US society who have been there for several years. Also, a crackdown on these people will in no way contribute affirmatively to the US image in Pakistan. In fact, some people in Pakistan now see the Americans as “arrogant, haughty rich fat cats”, which certainly is not the case. Most of the Americans, in fact, are friendly, helpful and extremely positive. And that image should be inculcated among the Pakistanis and not that of gun toting Davis. Let us hope that both countries can leave behind the unfortunate Davis saga and move forward to building genuinely warm ties based on mutual respect and honour. In a sense, for both countries there is no other way out.