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Pak citizens pitch for peace

26 November 2011

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Hindustan Times

Naresh Kamath, Hindustan Times

Karachi, November 25, 2011

The common man in Pakistan condemns the 26/11 terror attacks, just like his counterpart across the border. People across Pakistan claim that terrorism is the greatest menace that their country is facing.

The lack of governance in Pakistan seems to be causing them much more distress than the India factor.

"The situation is very scary. Our schools are being bombed. Even shopping malls are not spared. Our agencies have completely messed things up," said Rehmat Ali, who lives in the plush Clifton area of Karachi.

Another resident, Shadab Shaikh, who hails from Lyari, one of the most violence-prone areas in the city, remarked that politicos are busy guarding themselves while the ordinary citizens are left to fend for themselves. "We hardly have any security and are sitting ducks. The militants tend to attack at will while our leaders are busy playing their own political games," rued Shaikh.

In an interaction with a delegation of members of the Press Club of Mumbai at Karachi, a cross section of Pakistanis were scathing in their remarks about the political class in Pakistan.

Karamat Ali, Executive Director, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), said that Pakistanis would never support heinous acts like the terror attacks of 26/11. "Both countries are victims of terrorism," he said, "citizens are more interested in governance and basic needs than any conflict with India."

"Those behind such acts are non-state players who neither have the support of the state nor its people," said Mian Abrar Ahmad, president, Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry. "Confidence would be built by increasing people-to-people interaction and trade," he added.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a major political outfit that organised the luncheon meeting for the journalists, blamed the terrorists for spoiling the relations between the two countries. "Relations between India and Pakistan are like a game of snakes and ladders. A single incident of terrorism spells doom and brings the whole process back to square one," said Dr Abdul Sattar, MQM leader and federal minister for overseas Pakistanis.

In the recent past, terrorist groups have increased the intensity of attacks in Pakistani cities, apparently angered by the fact that the Pakistani government is supporting the United States in its fight against terrorism.

[see scan of newspaper report ]


The above material from Hindustan Times is reproduced here for educational and non commercial use