Pakistan’s High Commissioner to UK Dr Mohammad Faisal has told the Pakistani expatriates living in the United Kingdom “it doesn’t make any sense” that they are living in the UK but their minds are stuck in the developments taking place in Pakistan.
Speaking to the Pakistanis living in the United Kingdom at a gathering this week, Faisal said, “If you rise here, Pakistan will also rise with you. This is one way to move forward. The other way is you are living here, but your mind is stuck there; it doesn’t make any sense to me. If you will keep thinking about that [developments taking place in Pakistan], you can’t move forward. This is my considered view as I have spent my entire life in this field.
“If you feel very strongly about what’s going on there, please go there and try to fix it. Nobody is stopping you. Let’s try and if you are successful you can stay in Pakistan. If you are not, doesn’t matter, you can always come back. But the message should be loud and clear: this is your land that you have chosen; rise here. What’s happening there is happening. Things are not going well in Pakistan. I agree with you. There’s no debate over it. If everything was good there, it would have been obvious. It should be fixed. Agreed. But is this your issue? Is this the issue you list in your priorities?”
I have never seen a High Commissioner lecturing overseas Pakistanis to stay away from Pakistan, don’t raise voice for why Pakistan has been turned into a lawless, constitution-less state where human rights of its citizens are totally usurped.
But then I… pic.twitter.com/5rmx0nPKdz
— Jehanzeb Paracha (@JehanzebParacha) November 24, 2023
Faisal recently came under fire for his meeting with Pakistan’s convicted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in London and then seeing him off at the airport when he was leaving for Pakistan to resume his political activities after spending four years in self-imposed exile in the United Kingdom.
During Sharif’s four-year stay in London, the Pakistani community had been very vocal against the corruption of the Sharif family and registration of around 200 allegedly politically-motivated cases against the ousted prime minister Imran Khan. A large number of British-Pakistani supporters of Imran Khan has been protesting outside the Sharif’s Avenfield Apartments in London on a regular basis for the last few years.
Against this backdrop, Pakistani authorities are now trying to pacify the largely pro-Imran British Pakistanis and Faisal’s advice to the Pakistanis living in the United Kingdom appears to be part of these efforts. At home, apparently all efforts of those in power in Pakistan have failed to curb Imran Khan’s ever-increasing popularity even 20 months after his controversial removal from power. Imran Khan was later arrested and jailed on August 5, 2023, where he remains incarcerated until today in inhuman conditions.
Imran Khan was removed from power through a controversial vote of no-confidence on April 10, 2022, but he continues to defy the pressure exerted by an alliance of 13 rival political parties, Pakistan’s powerful military establishment, the law enforcement agencies of Islamabad and all provinces of Pakistan and the caretaker government of Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar and interim chief ministers of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan.
As ruthless crackdown was launched on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders and supporters in the wake of the May 9 riots across Pakistan, hundreds of leaders and workers of Imran Khan’s party are languishing in jails and have been repeatedly denied justice. Many of them were granted bail by the courts, but they were arrested again as soon as they came out of the jail and then incarcerated in new cases. Some of them were not released even after they were granted bail by the court 13 times.