The Diplomatic Enclave in Islamabad where Pakistani citizens are unwelcome

The most embarrassing moment of my life was when I couldn't to go for dinner in Islamabad because I was a Pakistani.

Maha Mussadaq June 06, 2013
Quite easily, one of the most embarrassing moments of my life was when a group of friends decided to have dinner and I was singled out at a checkpost on our way there.

Here is why.

The Diplomatic Enclave in Islamabad is a world of its own. All foreigners housed there are holed up behind the high walls of the enclave, bordered with barbed wires and cement barricades every five steps.

It is an area where an average Pakistani cannot enter without permission, invitation or even registration on a list through a foreign reference at the main gate.

So when my group of foreign journalist friends decided to go to one of the restaurants situated inside the enclave, everyone was allowed to enter except me because I was not a foreigner; like that was a bad thing!

Instead of trusting me more than the others, he questioned me on ‘how’ I knew them and what my agenda was?

I kept asking him why he would not let a citizen of the country, a resident of that city enter?

I started giving him explanations about how I belonged to a good family, worked for a reputed newspaper, other explanations — none of which worked. He just refused to listen.

I asked him whether the reason I could not enter had anything to do with me being a threat. He had no answer to this question, except he merely laughed and said,
“Madam it’s an order. No Pakistani can enter”.

One of the foreigners accompanying me recalled an incident where he and his friend had to hide their Pakistani friend in the back seat of the car to sneak him into the enclave — just to have dinner!

I understand the sensitivities of the area, but treating your own citizens as foreigners can be rather insulting.

Foreigners in Islamabad feel unsafe to eat outside the enclave and Pakistanis cannot enter without humiliation and interrogation.

So if you ask me, the next time there is a dinner plan, I will excuse myself from an embarrassing meal!

Read more by Maha here.
WRITTEN BY:
Maha Mussadaq
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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COMMENTS (104)

Voice of Baloch | 6 years ago | Reply | Recommend So many questions, I will try and wrap everything in one. Too all those who are living in Quetta, Please notice when FC stops you and ask for identification, their behaviour suddenly changes when you they see you are a Baloch, even though you are a pro-Pakistani. The systematic abduction, kill and dump is not new in Balochistan, Army and Intelligence agencies are adopting such counter independence strategies for long but sadly it is affecting their own cause and pushing us more and more towards the wall. I apologise if I offended anyone in anyway but you must open your eyes and accept the truth. Instead of proving me wrong here, you can try and lobby for the truth and start accepting what your army is doing wrong. I am not pessimist but I don't see myself being a proud Pakistani in near future, we see a whole different future once NATO withdraws from Afghanistan. ET pls public, its the answer to most of the questions directed to our cause. Thank you
Diplomat | 7 years ago | Reply | Recommend And Pakistan is always encountered with the criticism that it doesn't give right to minorities, its a land of extremists , foreigners feel unsafe & etc etc etc. I'm glad to read this.
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