HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014


The other side: Pakistan turns a blind eye to Headley
Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times
Islamabad , January 25, 2013
First Published: 00:12 IST(25/1/2013)
Last Updated: 00:15 IST(25/1/2013)

Despite its high profile in India and in the US, the David Headley trial has been left largely unreported in Pakistan. Most news channels refer to Headley as an American and in most instances do not mention the Pakistani connection. Some media outlets also question his Pakistani links terming it ‘Indian propaganda’.

This week there was no mention in any of the major channels or newspapers about his trial or its conclusion.

But Headley has had a far reaching effect on Pakistanis who travel abroad.

Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar admitted that Pakistanis are facing tougher restrictions abroad with many Western countries now insisting on extra security clearances for them.

In addition, there have been instances where people who visit Pakistan are questioned at airports in Europe and US and some are even denied entry.

Activists in Pakistan say that Pakistanis are facing discrimination because of people like David Coleman Headley and Faisal Shehzad, the Times Square bomber.

“We have been fighting the extra security requirements imposed on Pakistani nationals and how some governments assume all Pakistanis are terrorists unless proven otherwise,”  says Ansar Burney, who runs an NGO that helps Pakistanis lodged in foreign prisons.

Burney says that after the Headley incident and other such incidents, many Pakistanis have been illegally detained.

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