‘Show them the truth’

Pak­istani lawyer says ex­pats can dis­pel ‘ter­ror­ist’ stereo­type

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - By Sar­wat Nasir @Sar­watNasir sar­wat@7days.ae

People la­bel us ter­ror­ists... we need to show we are not by be­ing good cit­i­zens, con­tribut­ing to so­ci­ety – Pak­istani Lawyer An­sar Bur­ney

Young Pakistanis around the world need to be­come “ac­tive and con­tribut­ing mem­bers of so­ci­ety” to com­bat neg­a­tive stereo­types that stem from trou­ble in their home coun­try, a lead­ing hu­man rights lawyer has said.

An­sar Bur­ney said ex­pats “of­ten get la­belled as ter­ror­ists be­cause of the mass amount of ter­ror­ism the coun­try is fac­ing”.

Bur­ney, who was Pak­istan’s first hu­man rights min­is­ter, was speak­ing at the Pak­istani Youth Sum­mit in Dubai on Fri­day, which was hosted by the Pak­istani As­so­ci­a­tion of Dubai.

He said: “We are not ter­ror­ists, we, as a coun­try, are fac­ing ter­ror­ism.

“People la­bel us as ter­ror­ists world­wide, but we need to show people that we are not by be­ing good cit­i­zens and be­ing con­tribut­ing mem­bers of so­ci­ety.”

Bur­ney, who is also widely known for his work in the re­lease of hostages, said there are many ex­am­ples of young Pakistanis be­ing sus­pected of ter­ror­ism with­out foun­da­tion.

Last year, Mo­hammed Umar Fa­rooq, a 33-year-old ter­ror­ism and global se­cu­rity stu­dent at Stafford­shire Univer­sity in the UK, was ques­tioned af­ter be­ing seen read­ing a book on ter­ror­ism in the li­brary. He was later re­leased and was given an apol­ogy.

“I re­mem­ber once when we landed at Heathrow Air­port, a Bri­tish-Pak­istani po­lice of­fi­cer ap­proached me and told me his skin colour was au­to­mat­i­cally be­ing as­so­ci­ated with ter­ror­ism.

“But we need to re­mem­ber and be­lieve that we are not ter­ror­ists. We need to con­tinue giv­ing to the so­ci­ety and fight for those in­no­cent people who need our help.

“Even­tu­ally people will stop call­ing us ter­ror­ists be­cause we are not ter­ror­ists. We are a coun­try that is be­ing plagued by ter­ror­ism. We need to fight against that.”

RIGHTS: An­sar Bur­ney gave a speech in Dubai at the Pak­istani Youth Sum­mit

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