Babylon & Beyond

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Israel, the Arab world and beyond

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PERSIAN GULF: Watching the old country

November 15, 2007 | 10:26 am

The Persian Gulf's huge Pakistani community is watching with concern as events unfold back home. At Sherview, Dubai-based blogger and commentator Anwar Sher writes:

It is blatantly clear that self interest, which has been the hallmark of most of the nation's leaders, be they in uniform or not, has begun to unfold in a sadistic soup of side deals, broken promises, exiles and finally the show of the power of the gun muzzle through 'emergency powers.'

BTW, fellow Babylon contributor Laura King described in a Nov. 8 article how the Internet has become an essential tool for opposition to President Pervez Musharraf.

Dubai's Gulf News on Wednesday published an opinion piece by Pakistani American Hussain Haqqani taking Musharraf to task:

Only a belief in the divine right of army chiefs can explain some of the assertions made by General Pervez Musharraf in his press conference over the weekend. He claimed that "I did not violate the Constitution and law of this land," even after suspending the constitution. Quite clearly, he sees his decisions as the law of the land.

The United Arab Emirates' Khaleej Times published a Nov. 10 opinion piece by Indian journalist Praful Bidwai, blasting Musharraf's argument that he had to impose martial law in order to stop the growing power of Muslim extremists:

Musharraf's martial law is certain to increase public alienation, social turmoil and political instability. That will prove conducive to the further growth of extremism. Musharraf has aborted the democratic political process which alone could have acted as a buffer against extremism.

The Persian Gulf kingdoms' Pakistani expatriates wield money and influence, and Pakistan's officials have taken notice. In response to an article in the Bahrain-based Gulf Daily News about the security of his country's nuclear weapons arsenal, Pakistani diplomat Mohammed Saleem wrote:

The government of Pakistan has a strong custodial control of its nuclear assets. They cannot fall into unauthorized hands. We have the expertise, personnel and a multi-layered system, devoted to safeguarding our nuclear assets. The state agencies are fully vigilant. We also have an impregnable system of nuclear export controls.

— Borzou Daragahi in Beirut