As international accusations of the Pakistani government’s involvement in the terrorist attacks on Mumbai continue to mount, Pakistani students at Boston University said they are working to reinforce a positive image of their country.
Pakistan as a whole will wrongfully gain a bad reputation because of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, which took place over three days and claimed nearly 200 lives, Organization of Pakistani Students President Haziq Haque said.
‘The governments have tension, but regular Pakistanis are just trying to live a regular life, like people are trying to live a regular life in Boston,’ Haque, a School of Management senior, said. ‘It becomes a big political game, but true Pakistanis aren’t after harming the world.’
‘There has always been tension, and this doesn’t help at all,’ he said. ‘It definitely impedes on the ability to build bridges and break down barriers.’
School of Hospitality Administration freshman Zahra Motiwala said the terrorist group that orchestrated the attacks on Mumbai is ‘definitely wrong.’
‘They think what they’re doing is in the name of God, a jihad,’ Motiwala, a native Pakistani, said. ‘What they don’t realize is it’s completely against jihad. Islam said, ‘do not kill the innocent.’
‘We work to project a peaceful image of Islam, a religion of peace,’ she said. ‘It said in the Koran to live and let live.’
Motiwala said she thinks that relations between India and Pakistan are ‘deteriorating and crumbling’ because of these militant terrorist groups. She said she thinks the terrorist attacks will also harm Pakistan’s relations with the United States.’
‘India and Pakistan are both allies of America, but America thinks Pakistan’s government is involved with the Mumbai attacks,’ she said. ‘America is completely with India, which could affect friendship and aid.’
The tension between India and Pakistan is more dangerous now because of the countries’ nuclear capabilities, international relations professor Augustus Norton said.
Involving outside powers like the United States could have negative effects on any potential peacemaking between the two countries, he said.
‘Such a conflict would be quite disastrous because it would probably destabilize the Pakistani state,’ Norton said. ‘It would make Pakistan more vulnerable to pressures from internal radical groups.
‘The U.S. has taken a very strong position urging Indians not to attack Pakistan, but as information continues to come out, we are going to see a very tense relationship between the two countries,’ Norton said.
OPS Secretary Zara Nensey said the terrorist attacks carried out by the Pakistani militant group will not affect her friendships with students of Indian background at BU.
‘To me, personally, it doesn’t make a difference,’ Nansey, a College of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said. ‘Why should the actions of a few people make a difference to my personal relationships and friendships?’
The OPS hosted a dinner in celebration of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha. The dinner celebration was open to all, regardless of ethnic background.
‘This is the essence of the event,’ Haque said. ‘The big group social setting brings people together and helps break down cultural barriers. Look around, there are Indian students here with Pakistani students.’