Pakistanis pose as Indians after NY bomb scare

Published: May 7, 2010
A woman walks down Coney Island Avenue in the Brooklyn borough of New York May 6, 2010. (Reuters)

A woman walks down Coney Island Avenue in the Brooklyn borough of New York May 6, 2010. (Reuters)


Pakistani merchants and job seekers in the United States have begun posing as Indians to avoid discrimination in the wake of the Times Square bomb attempt.

“A lot of Pakistanis can’t get jobs after 9/11 and now it’s even worse,” said Asghar Choudhri, an accountant and chairman of Brooklyn’s Pakistani American Merchant Association. “They are now pretending they are Indian so they can get a job.”

This comes despite the fact that India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, creating hostilities that ordinarily would lead a Pakistani to resent being mistaken for an Indian.

In Brooklyn, home to one of the largest Pakistani populations in the United States, business is scant at the various grocery, halal meat and sweet cake shops. More than 100 businesses along Coney Island Avenue have closed due to a 30 percent drop in business since 2001, a merchants’ association said.

While there have been no reported incidents since the failed car bomb attack last Saturday, some Pakistanis are bracing for reprisals.

“I want to make clear that we will not tolerate any bias or backlash against Pakistani or Muslim New Yorkers,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said this week, noting that there are always “a few bad apples.”

New York is “the city where you can practice your religion and say what you want to say and be in charge of your own destiny and we’re going to keep it that way,” Bloomberg said.

Suspicious gardening:

In Washington, an American of Pakistani heritage who would only be identified as Farhan, said a manager of a suburban home-improvement store prevented him from buying two bags of fertilizer for his family’s lawn on Tuesday.

Farhan, who was born in northern Virginia, said police arrived soon after, investigated and allowed him to buy the fertilizer.

“What kind of a country are we living in when a 22-year-old male can’t buy fertilizer?” Farhan asked. “I’m American. I’m not Pakistani.”

Farhan said the store had subsequently apologized and the case appeared to be one of an overzealous manager rather than store policy.

According to the latest U.S. census data, some 210,410 people of Pakistani origin reside in the United States. Nearly 15,000 Pakistanis received U.S. immigrant visas last year.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • May 8, 2010 - 12:14AM

    A truly sorry state of affairs…… I am not saying that we can deny the international strategic importance of USA or the so called virtues of being its ally…. But we as a nation desperately need to find our independence and stop running after America and all things American…. It is not the ultimate destination for Pakistanis and should not be the target country of migration for our youth!!!Recommend

  • Monkey
    May 8, 2010 - 12:52AM

    This is just sad…really, really sad. Not because Pakistanis are posing as Indians, but because they are posing as anything other than Pakistani. Recommend

  • abid
    May 8, 2010 - 2:19AM

    agree with monkey!Recommend

  • Danish
    May 8, 2010 - 3:04AM

    if any paki around that age would buy two sacks of fertilizers everyone should get worried…Recommend

  • Fatima Ali Khan
    May 8, 2010 - 3:07AM

    what a disgrace! Recommend

  • May 8, 2010 - 5:54AM

    Many American believe Drone attacks in part of Pakistan are used only to kill Osama. In each drone attack many innocent die. As Pakistan’s Government claimed Faisal Shahzad was mad because of drone attacks. I am not sure it is true or not but yes many people in Pakistan are angry at drone attacks inside Pakistan by USA. If a man loses his kids along with other family members in front of his eyes , he survives. He is not going to become peace activist rather there is a good chance he will become so called terrorist. Specially all the money USA gives to Pakistan , that never reaches to comfort these people. All money ends up in the pockets of Pakistani politicians.

    None of us know what and why USA is in that Part of the world. USA being a world power number 1. And I am proud of America being number 1 power of the world. So do not take me wrong. In my opinion America has a job to do in that region.
    Pakistan and Afghanistan is surrounded by Some states of Russia, China , India and Iran. Now do your math.
    1-Russian states are full of Oil and Natural Gas. Open the world map and see how Oil/Gas can get out of those states. Only way to get oil/gas out from there is via Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    2-India is getting closer by day to become next world power. Don’t we want to keep them to their toes?
    3- China is already world economic power as well as Military threat. And we must watch them closely for that what will better place than Afghanistan and Pakistan?
    4-Iran want to be Middle east power with nukes on the way in Iran and extremist views should be dealt with.

    Now do your math its our job to sit in that part of world now or wait till all these powers take over USA? We already do think ahead and we must think ahead.
    Morality and facts of past forces USA to find a way to do all this without occupying a nation like Russia did in Afghanistan. Now Russia lost 100 of thousands of their solders and countless money.Not to forget loss of life in Afghanistan. End result Russia lost…
    Here is USA occupying Pakistan and Afghanistan which in my point is being done for the interest of USA. And why not. But it is being done differently that Russia. If we calculate the loss of life Russia VS USA style of occupation. USA is causing way less causalities.
    Now being a world power number one. USA has obligations to pave the way for next world orders in this world. USA has 2 options. Give up being number 1 world power status let some one else do the dirty work or do it in the way that there is minimum loss of life.
    I strongly believe USA is not going to take a chance to give this dirty job to next world power for the reason that they will be less human than USA.
    So long story short I think may be we need transparency worldwide so people know exactly what the hell is going on rather than doing things sneaky way.
    What bothers me the most when people of Pakistan and Afghanistan get nothing out of the money we give to those nations. Rather than giving them cash , Invest in improving the life of people by funding American base companies to work on those projects.
    God Bless AmericaRecommend

  • anwaarahmad
    May 8, 2010 - 6:00AM

    during my stay at Turkey,I observed the patriotism of some of semi- literarte women from the pak families[Embassy staff].When they behaved with taxi drivers or shop keepers rudely or begged extra concession,
    they introduced them as Indians.Recommend

  • Ali Haider
    May 8, 2010 - 8:29AM

    I know its bad. But portraying oneself as Indian is not a solution to anything. This way all the good things that you have done, do, and will do will be credited to India. I am not madly anti-Indian but what you do as Pakistanis should be a credit for Pakistan and not India. I would never ever do that. Recommend

  • I.M
    May 8, 2010 - 10:06AM

    In the UAE I have met Pakistanis who want to show their link with India by saying “no we are actually Indians but unfortunately our parents migrated during…..”And same thing when asked to an Indian the answer would be WE ARE INDIANS. Education gives confidence but unfortunately most Pakistanis here are either drivers or petty bread winners and they don’t seem to be living in present. And in the middle of a day if you want to go to the mosque only people sleeping their will be from Pakistan. If you see any one begging it will be either a Pakistani or from Palestine A handsome looking Pakistani will be taking orders from below average looking south Indian, that is because the south Indian is educated and lives with time .If you happen to visit prison 90% inmates are Pakistanis. THERE SEEMS TO BE SOMETHING SERIOUSLY WRONG WITH YOUR COUNTRY. Educate your selves and live in present. Heaven or hell we will see when we die .Success in Islam is a blend of Faith and hard work, not sleeping in the mosque when entire world is sweating for their better life. I hope it helps your people.Recommend

  • H I
    May 8, 2010 - 4:09PM

    In response to IM,
    i too live in the UAE and have come across many Indians who say “Our grandparents were lazy and stayed back in India because of personal benefits(business and the like), and we(muslims) are now suffering the consequences(Gujarat riots) and are considered 2nd class citizens…..”
    Pakistani’s just like any other nationality have varying job status, from cab drivers to Managers to owners of reputable companies .If you(mr IM) open your eyes wide enough you’ll see the most low paid job seekers are from India and most toilet cleaners in most mall are INDIANS(with all due respect,to these ppl this is only in response to the narrow minded MR.IM).
    We in our country dont humiliate people based on their cast and we dont burn our women just because her husband dies!!! so its you who needs education…to open your eyes and broaden your vision! Recommend

  • Syed A. Mateen
    May 8, 2010 - 6:50PM

    It is not a matter of Indian or Pakistan; in fact it is a matter of respect which one gets in a foreign country.

    There is no nation in the world where good and people are not there.

    If some one act on his own that is his or her personal action. But this does not mean that the whole nation should be called as terrorist.

    After 9/11 terrorists attacks on World Trade Centre and Pentagon, Muslims are been branded as terrorists. So it is not a matter of Indian or Pakistan, it is more a matter of Muslims and Non-Muslims.Recommend

  • Mekayl Mashhadi Ahmed
    May 8, 2010 - 8:42PM

    There’s no way I am ever saying I am Indian!! Never!Recommend

  • Good lookin' guy
    May 9, 2010 - 2:30AM

    This refers to IM who writes, “A handsome looking Pakistani will be taking orders from below average looking south Indian…” Oh crap, don’t you any self esteem to judge people by their looks instaed by their intelligence and talents??? This is the same mentality that makes the Pakistanis suffer more than they should. It shows your boot licking attitude that is drven by loks. Be proud of your heritage and origin and carry yourself with pride no matter how you look. IM is a moron. Recommend

  • Good lookin' guy
    May 9, 2010 - 3:22AM

    This refers to IM who writes, “A handsome looking Pakistani will be taking orders from below average looking south Indian…” Oh crap, don’t you any self esteem to judge people by their looks instead by their intelligence and talents??? This is the same mentality that makes the Pakistanis suffer more than they should. It shows your boot licking attitude that is drven by looks. A so called good looker in most cases are not good senior peers. Be proud of your heritage and origin and carry yourself with pride no matter how you look.Be yourself, no one can be better. IM is a moron to accept orders from ‘good lookers’or lacks self esteem and pride.Recommend

  • Syed Shahabuddin
    May 10, 2010 - 12:24AM

    Pakistani’s accross the world are losing self respect and the respect of other’s in the world. We must change this. Our politicians need to make sure that people get good jobs and education. This is the cause of all the problems we are seeing in Pakistan. Until we address these issues, we cannot be a top country in the world like China, Brazil, India or Russia (BRIC).Recommend

  • Aristo
    May 10, 2010 - 2:11PM

    Here goes the two nation theory down the drain!Recommend

  • Fatima Ahmed
    May 10, 2010 - 3:50PM

    Truly sad! it had to come to this!!!! when will the people and the Government of Pakistan realize that we have to live and let live. Or nobody would want to live with “Pakistanis”Recommend

  • F
    May 10, 2010 - 7:55PM

    There is no point in even trying to justify such idiotic behaviour. USA is using drone attacks with permission from Pakistan Army. Its our government and army who should be blamed for allowing them and their incapability to deal with terrorist organisations.Recommend

  • May 11, 2010 - 3:02AM

    If I were a Pakistani living in America , I would leave that country to avoid discrimination instead of posing as an Indian. What a disgrace.Recommend

  • Indo-Canadian
    Jun 7, 2010 - 6:36AM

    This is a message for all Pakis living outside Pakistan.

    In order to regain self-respect, it is entirely in your hands. (If it is to be, it is up to me!!!)
    “Do unto others what you want others do unto you.” (the famous words of Jesus Christ)

    President Obama made it very clear on his inaugural speech that the world will watch what you create, not what you destroy. I think his words speak volumes…

    As an Indian living in Canada, I am just as loyal and passionate to my newly adopted country just as I would if I were living in India.

    What puzzles me is that how come after taking allegiance to protect US, Faizal Shezaad decided to turn against US to harms its citizens.

    This is just preposterous!!!

    If Pakis want to regain the respect of foriegn nations, they would have to first demonstrate by being loyal to the countries they live in and work toward peace and renounce violence against India and the West. Then and only then would they be accepted by foriegn nations.

    If this is something you cannot comprehend, then it is in your best interest to pack-up and leave.

    The fact of the matter is that you are called here, but not wanted here. It is just plain and simple!!!Recommend

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