KARACHI: This is with reference to you editorial “Arab Spring undone” (June 18) that claimed that “a lot of the actions against the protestors have been carried out by Pakistani mercenaries” in Bahrain.
I was shocked by this assertion. As someone who lived and worked in Bahrain for many years, I can testify that personnel of Pakistani-origin are merely economic immigrants there, who were recruited to serve in career positions in the Bahraini internal security department, which also includes the police. They are not hired for a short period as soldiers or guerilla adventurers to serve in a civil or external war as hired guns for the duration of a conflict. Most such immigrants have their families living with them and some have even been given Bahraini nationality and have generally no intention of going back to live in the country of their origin. This description should amply establish the nature of their employment and their motivation.
It is unfortunate that the Bahraini police have been misused in suppressing the aspirations of the majority of the people of that country, but it must also be appreciated that members of a disciplined force do not have the discretion to disobey orders, however condemnable. It is a difficult situation to be in. To pronounce all those attracted by decent compensation packages and who wish to escape an impoverished existence, as “mercenaries” is an irresponsible statement, which can have unfortunate consequences for Pakistani professionals working in Bahrain.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2012.
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