‘Show them the truth’
Pakistani lawyer says expats can dispel ‘terrorist’ stereotype
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