Pakistani workers seek cover amid Bahrain turmoil

Published: March 17, 2011

An army helicopter hovers over Pearl Square in the Bahraini capital Manama as heavily armed police forces raid a month-old pro-democracy sit-in. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: 

As Bahrain’s security forces cracked down on protesters in Manama on Wednesday, Pakistani labourers in the capital found shelter with friends and at community centres in the capital.

A Pakistani resident in Manama, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the protests were mainly a sectarian issue. “Pakistanis are being targeted because they are Sunni. They are also part of the army and police here and the protesters are asking why Pakistanis are being given passports.”

The Gulf Daily News newspaper reported that 13 Pakistanis had so far been attacked in Bahrain this week. One Pakistani was killed on Sunday.

The naturalisation of foreigners in Bahrain is viewed as an attempt to change the demographic of the population, which is largely Shia. Protests against the naturalisation of foreign workers in Manama took place earlier this month. Opposition activists estimate that up to half of Bahrain’s national security apparatus is made up of Sunnis from Jordan, Yemen and Pakistan.

“These are issues that the governments need to resolve,” he said. “Why beat up poor labourers? Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are being targeted.”

“The Pakistanis who live in small houses, particularly in Shia-dominant areas, have left their houses,” he said. “They are taking shelter with relatives and friends, as well as at the Pakistan School in Isa Town and at the Pakistan Club. At least 1,000 to 1,200 bachelors are at the club.”

The Pakistan Embassy in Manama was closed on Wednesday, said an employee who answered the phone. He said it would re-open on Thursday.

The resident said the Pak­istani embassy was not very active in resolving the problems faced by the community. “There is no ambassador here and the embassy has done whatever was in its control.”

However, he expressed the hope that the situation would be resolved soon. “I do not think Pakistanis will consider leaving Bahrain just yet. We hope everything will (turn out to) be fine and God will help the government.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • IZ
    Mar 17, 2011 - 11:11AM

    No mention of the fact that the Gulf Daily News is owned by the Bahraini government and is its propaganda mouthpiece? No, of course not.Recommend

  • amal
    Mar 18, 2011 - 5:33AM

    @IZ:
    dont lie everybody in bahrain knows that this is true
    perhaps u r one of the protestors!Recommend

  • IZ
    Mar 18, 2011 - 8:59AM

    Bangladeshi expatriates complain that pro-regime thugs are forcing them to participate in pro-government rallies:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12769714Recommend

  • Jalili
    Mar 18, 2011 - 10:31AM

    Gulf daily news is not owned by Bahrain Government. It is totally wrong. It is a serious newspaper of the country with almost balanced views. It is owned by a Bahraini family and is one business entity of a big busigness group like Jang Group of Publications in Pakistan. The main business is Al-Hilal Publications. The owner and the Editor in Chief of all Arabic and English newspapers of this grou Mr. Abdulrehman is married to a Pakistani women whose father Mr. Qais is a great Urdu poet of this whole arab region. This family is highly educated. Mr. Qais fetches a unique distiction amongst true Pakistanis not because of his poetry but because of that he still wears Lahori Kameez Pyjama and has not taken Bahraini Passports and feels proud travelling on Pakistani passport and being called a Lahori.Recommend

  • Mar 19, 2011 - 4:44AM

    Thank you Express Tribune for getting the true message out. Keep posting the truth.Recommend

  • Altaf
    Mar 19, 2011 - 8:29AM

    Perhaps you are supporters of those sectarian protesters that is why you have commented so rudly about reported. Recommend

  • FatimaMahdi
    Mar 21, 2011 - 5:49AM

    Unfortunately, what is in the article is true. Currently the Pakistani Club in Bahrain has taken upon itself the task of providing food and shelter to approximately 250 migrant Pakistani workers. I myself have been following up the story with the Embassy and medical service representatives who administered help to migrant workers who were severely attacked. The had to be transfered from Salmaniya Medical Complex to another hospital because protester medical staff refused to treat them because they were from Pakistan. I am appalled by the racism show by opposition members. Recommend

  • Tariq
    Mar 21, 2011 - 9:05AM

    Pakistanis are mercenaries for the Dictators. Just like the Mali mercenaries used by Gadaffi t kill Libyans. Freedom will overcome.

    Even in India it was Punjabis working for the British to enforce their rule until the locals wonRecommend

  • Angela
    Mar 23, 2011 - 12:17AM

    Shame shame shame on you!..

    One question if you stood out there in Manama Souq; and saw 10 Bahraini People! can you tell who is Shia and who is Sunni? you cant! I dare you I am a bahraini and I cant tell the difference! so why would you lie and say that those who kil…led are Shiaa? you saw them with your own eyes? and you knew who they were? and also you were so clever to know their religious backgrounds!??

    Bravo ! well done! Please do not spread nonsense no one appreciates itRecommend

  • RealBahraini
    Mar 23, 2011 - 12:51AM

    what a shame?
    who paid to them to say such words?
    all of us knows that the government is paying the pakistani expats to attack shia!
    Recommend

  • Angela
    Mar 24, 2011 - 11:27PM

    in response to real Bahraini; it does not matter killing and violence is not acceptable whether Pakistani, Indian, Bahraini in the end we are all humans!
    now if a Pakistani village was attacked; and they identified a Bahraini who was leading the attack; can we say all Bahraini are bad and killing all Pakistanis !

    Peace and Good luck Recommend

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