Deciphering the attacks on Pakistani Nationals in Bahrain

CPR – A Bahrain ID Card which has the nationality clearly mentioned

After posting the two write-ups on the blog here & here about the threats on Pakistanis living in Bahrain, its important to share my own analysis over this issue that I have gained over the past two days thanks to a number of friends in Bahrain and around the world.

There is a large population of Pakistanis living in Bahrain, many settled for years, many knowing only the Kingdom of Bahrain as their birth place, are now suddenly feeling threatened and fear their own personal security. The population which has lived together as a community for many years has recently been divided drastically in terms of Shia and Sunni religious sects, predominantly the Arab rulers are Sunni while a large influx of expatriates have flowed into the country namely Pakistan & other south Asian regions [sunni] and a large section from Iran [shiite]. Mostly the ruling family has recruited Pakistanis [and other south Asians] into the police force because of their natural preference to having a “trusted” dominated force.

Over time many people in Bahrain eyed Pakistanis as the golden-eye favorites of the rulers and were seen with a certain degree of resentment. With the hub of the revolution starting from the GCC roundabout the issue initially was reported as a pro-democracy protest, but over the past few days the “pro-democracy” protesters have become Anti Government rioters taking a startling turn.

Peaceful Pakistanis being a blue-eyed favorite of the rulers have been blanket labeled as pro-government and have become fair game to protestors to identify and inhumanely brutalize them at will. Prime target has been the multi-national police force of who have been at the receiving end of the most inhumane, racial treatment by the protestors and abundant videos are circulating to support this.

The anger has spilled over to Pakistani civilians living in Bahrain, it is now every Pakistani is seen to be as a pro-government supporter and is being targeted under the context of a revolution. The Anti-Government protesters have been marking homes of “naturalized” Bahrainis’(of Asian decent), Pakistanis, Indians and Bangladeshis to attack at any time they have an entry to do so.

My personal telephonic discussions in the past two days with a few Pakistanis settled in Bahrain have revealed some horrifying stories of their families under the threat of being targeted for merely walking on the street, many cases have emerged where mob has stopped people and asked them to show their CPR (Bahrain ID Card). If the card has Pakistani flag then immediately they are subjected to sever beating & nearby killing them. Some of them are no more with us.

Pakistanis are fearful of going to work or school for the fear they may come across a mob who might identify and target them. They are also not sure if the person stopping them is among the good guys or the bad guys.

My concern as a Pakistani is the sole protection of my brethren in Bahrain, I am not commenting on the pro-government or anti-government status of the revolution undergoing on in Bahrain, as I do not consider myself any expert to comment on the intricacies of their political associations or their sectarian problems but to only focus on the safety of Pakistanis living there and to support them in any which way possible.

We would like our powerful media who are covering every aspect of every (kind) of News, to cover the ground reality of this problem. They should be talking to people on the streets who are actually facing this problem rather than copying footage from other channels which in most cases is one side story.

The Pakistani Embassy is ill staffed to handle this emergency and drastic measures need to be employed for the safe extradition of any Pakistani who may be under threat.

The Pakistan Embassy has given safe harbor to 40 families in the Pakistan Club but that is insufficient. A major appeal across Pakistan media and government entities needs to be raised to launch an effort to help these expatriate Pakistanis in this crisis. Our simple goal is the safety of Pakistanis

NOTE: I, would like to thank Abdulaziz Khattak, Fahd M. Akhtar and Reem, based in Bahrain in helping me verify the contents of this writeup helping me to present the true picture of current situation in Bahrain



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17 responses to “Deciphering the attacks on Pakistani Nationals in Bahrain”

  1. karachikhatmal Avatar

    the situation in bahrain is very tragic.

    that said, i think while the actual citizens are not directly to blame, there are two problems. firstly, the influx of pakistanis in bahrain is a deliberate ploy to upset the demographic balances by the al-khalifa regime, which is a form of genocide.

    more importantly, the bahraini security forces, whose brutality is all over the internet, does not employ local bahrainis, but is made up of mercenaries from our dear land. in fact, a few days ago several newspapers had ads for instant jobs in the security forces in bahrain. we are sneding our people to fight someone else's war, and kill other people for a war we have nothing to do with. these mercenaries are also making life very contentious for the pakistanis already living in bahrain, because the two get associated.

    would appreciate if you did cast a wider net onto the entire dynamics here.

    1. Teeth Maestro Avatar

      KK – the issue I am debating is that civilian Pakistanis are now being looped into the same threat.

      I also contest the mercenary aspect – people call the Pakistanis working in the forces here as mercenaries sent from Pakistani. One thing must be clear that these are not sent by Govt of Pakistan but instead have taken EMPLOYMENT on their own free will

      And under the Geneva Convention a non-conscript professional member of a regular army is not considered to be a mercenary although he gets monetary reward from his service.

      FOCUS on the well fare of Pakistanis in general without mixing up the political aspect of the issue

  2. karachikhatmal Avatar

    awab it is a bit impossible to focus on the wellbeing of just one group of people when there is a state of war. how can we call for the protection of pakistanis alone when the own people of bahrain are being oppressed?

    as for the mercenary aspect, you are correct in pointing out the legalese. and of course, for the poor people taking up such callous employment, there is often no other choice.

    but at the same time, their actions are contributing to violence and repression. their presence is contributing to the chaos going on there. calling for their welfare while a war goes on is a bit oxymoronic, since the only option pakistan can exercise is to arrange their evacuation. if that is what we are going for, then all the power to it. but if we are asking for a fake ceasefire to be observed which usurps the rights of the actual citizens of the country, then we're being hypocritical.

    either way, its a terrible situation, and my heart goes out to my countrymen just as much as the people of bahrain themselves.

  3. Arshad khan Avatar
    Arshad khan

    @Karachi khatmal

    No wonder they are not hiring the locals for these jobs. It should be obvious now what they would do to the royal family there. Although I don't agree with the idea of kingdoms I think things should be solved peacefully with peaceful protests rather then killing people because they are Pakistani or in security forces. Besides that we are playing in the hands zionist agenda in middle east according to some scholars.

  4. Imran Ali Avatar

    "My concern as a Pakistani is the sole protection of my brethren in Bahrain, I am not commenting on the pro-government or anti-government status of the revolution…"

    You should be on the side of truth and justice, not 'brethren'. Some of those brethren are implicated in the deaths of protestors; today the authorities bulldozed Pearl Roundabout as part of 'roadworks'.

    Saudi and Kuwait troops are joining the massacre… you would prefer to see the deaths of Muslims struggling for equality and freedom or a few fat kings remain in their cosy seats?

    1. Teeth Maestro Avatar

      Imran – Humanity should be weighed above all – You cannot talk about Freedom of Expression at the edge of a sword – Im choosing NOT to take sides and weigh Human life more important then liberty –

      I give an example – in 2007 Pakistan saw its own form of a revolution we were on the streets a tussle between the lawyers and the govt – the POLICE was the representative of the burecarcy and we took them on we had our own too and fro battles we stood our ground and they obeyed their orders – NO MATTER how ruthless our battled were it NEVER got to a situation where we staked out Policemen and brutaly murdered them.

      In Bahrain no matter WHO is in the uniform they are acting under explicit orders and the protestors are inhumanely brutalizing and killing officers as well as civilians – confirmed reports from Pakistanis in Bahrain say its not an issue of police officers only its now a threat on them aslo as the crowd has gone mad

      This inhumanity MUST stop – and the world SHOULD look beyond the "struggle for democracy" and look at stopping all murderers and that also includes the RULERS who are pushing this situation and using the police force as their puppets – MY PUSH IS FOR PREVENTION OF KILLING OF ANY HUMAN regardless of their affiliations – for now my focus is on Pakistanis

  5. Dr.Jawwad Khan Avatar

    Struggle for freedom…..bull shit

    The citizens of Bahrain are the most privileged and well off people in entire oil rich gulf region as also mentioned by Mr.Abdul Aziz Khatak…..This is out loud a sectarian issue.

    Pakistanis are not the mercenaries.they are doing the job like any one else unfortunately the law enforcement agencies are the only area that a Pakistani can explore.

    We need to protect Pakistanis and raise our voice for our fellow Muslim brothers who are threatened by Shia fanatics.

    1. Imran Ali Avatar

      Sorry mate, wealth alone doesn't provide the foundation for a just society.

      It's irrelevant that Bahraini have wealth – they wish to exercise choice and oversight over their current rulers. If you don't like your government, how do you change and influence their behaviour – either though protest, the courts or the ballot box. When you have none of those choices, frustrations are likely to bubble over into violence.

      They Shia/Sunni question is irrelevant… it is simply about the powerful coercing the powerless. I would hope to see a representative, broad-based government replace autocratic monarchy.

      And incidentally, those Pakistanis and others choose to go and fight for a foreign regime, need to accept the consequences and responsibilities of doing so.

  6. Ahmed Avatar

    While there is no excuse for the violence on our Pakistani brethren in Bahrain, removing context from the story is extremely dangerous.

    Have a look at this and you will understand the context:

    1. Imran Ali Avatar

      Very well said Ahmed- the context is indeed complex, with overlapping loyalties, ethnicities, nationalities and geopolitical influences.

      Just Reducing the story to a simple narrative about Pakistani victims does not do justice to the broader arc of what is happening in Bahrain and North Africa.

      I'm sad that Pakistanis have to find employment with the brutalising government of Bahrain, or those innocently caught in the violence. But equally, I have great sympathy for those on the receiving end of those boots bullets and batons too…

  7. Majid Avatar

    TeethMaestro wrote: "My concern as a Pakistani is the sole protection of my brethren in Bahrain"

    – Let me give a very simple solution to your and other "P.akistanis who like to save Pa.kistani Raym.ond Da.vis in Ba.hrain" concern;

    1. The Pa_kistani go_vt should evacuate all Pa_kistanis from Ba_hrain whether civi_lians or serving in Sec.urity age_ncy. Brit_ish go_vernment already asked and cleared off their nationals.

    2. Stop Ba_hria Fo_undation and Fau_ji Fo_undation to give recruit_ment faciliti_es for Bah_rain Int_erior Min.istry as they are busy these days hiring and exploiting the life/soul/career of more Pa_kistani youths. Check the links for the advertise appeared in Daily Jang Lahore 7th March 2010 for recruiting Pa_kistani youth to be mercenaries.

    3. Pa_kistani foreign office sho_uld call the Ba.hraini representative in Pak.istan and ask for a show cause and beg pardon of turning Pa.kistani man into mercenaries.

    1. nota Avatar

      Perfect analogy ("Pakistani Raymond Davis")


      We have been having the same discussion elsewhere for weeks now. I certainly agree with @Majid. On one side we have pure naked government propaganda like this "anonymous" email (another excellent example here as to how ridiculous it can get).

      To me, the violence against expats is but only natural and it is only going to INCREASE. One just cannot ignore the role the expats have been playing in the security forces. Doing so is living in a lala land. Similarly foolish isblaming Iran for all the troubles.

      Here is my basic argument:

      Missing the mountain for the molehill: The Rich/Poor & Sunni/Shiite Rift

  8. TightDhoti Avatar

    I am not sure, but I am abit disappointed with your interpretation of the events in Bahrain. I would have thought that given how you have spoken out against injustice in so many cases over the past few years, I would have thought that you would have taken a more stronger stand against the actions of the Bahraini monarchy.

    One, the recruitment is being organized by the Fauji Foundation, with direct links to the military. In the past many Baloch were encouraged by the federal government and military to join Bahraini security forces over they years. Several Baloch nationalists organisations have called for an end to this practice.The BLA has even alleged the use of coercion is certain cases.

    The Shite population of Bahrain are the original inhabitants of the island and make up the overwhelming majority. They are excluded from taking up posts in the government, police and army beyond token representation.

    While I under no circumstances condone the violence against Pakistani nationals living and working in Bahrain, I do believe that our government bears responsibility in encouraging the recruitment of Pakistani nationals in such organizations and the recent recruitment drive by the Fauji Foundation after the uprising reflects poorly on us.

    The Pakistani Embassy in Manama should engage the protesters and clarify the Pakistani states position in this situation as being neutral and that it does not condone the use of violence by the Bahraini monarchy, Saudi and UAE forces. If the revolt succeeds or reforms are ushered in eventually, Pakistan may find itself on the wrong side of history and that would harm all Pakistanis living in Bahrain in the longrun.

  9. haya Avatar

    ahmad, i saw the videos of the link you posted, and it made me laugh ! all these videos are from the cameras held by the protestors, do you have any video from the other side?? seriously ! cant you see the shirtless man being shot at, from the the front, and blood splattered at the back? and a man being shot at ,at point blank range walks away with his hand to his forehead and no blood visible?? you have no idea to what lengths ppl can go to thse days to achieve their distorted goals.. and kindly note, i am just a neutral bystander looking at evrything with my own eyes, and then finding the exact opposite things in the newspapers the next morning.. !

  10. Sakib Ahmad Avatar

    حیراں ہوں دل کو روؤں کہ پیٹوں جگر کو میں

    مقدور ہو تو ساتھ رکھوں نوحہ گر کو میں

    مسلمان سنی،شیعہ فرقوں میں تقسیم ہو کر ذلیل و خوار ہو رہے ہیں – اسلام جہالت دور کرنے آیا تھا لیکن آج کل بدترین جہالت کو اسلام کہا جاتا ہے – اس بلاگ میں جن لوگوں کا ذکر کیا گیا ہے ان میں سے کسی کا دامن بھی صاف نہیں ہے – مادی لالچ یا مادی ضرورت کے تحت سبھی انسانی سطح سے نیچے گرے ہوۓ لوگ ہیں –

    اس کا یہ مطلب نہیں کہ قتل و غارت کی کھلی اجازت دے دی جائے- جیسا کہ صاحب بلاگ نے لکھا ہے اصل ضرورت یہ ہے کے انسانوں کو بہیمیت کا شکار ہونے سے کیسے بچایا جائے – یہ الزام تراشی کا نہیں، جانیں بچانے کا وقت ہے – میں صاحب بلاگ کی راۓ سے متفق ہوں کہ پاکستانیوں کو بحرین سے زندہ سلامت نکالنا ایک قومی ذمّہ داری ہے

  11. Samina Sadukhel Avatar
    Samina Sadukhel

    Another episode of Shia-Sunni conflict. Killing of Pakistanis seems more of sectarian nature as majority of Pakistanis belong to a different sect then the protestors.

    The Gulf security forces must stop this brutality.

    1. Majid Avatar

      @Sam.ina Sadu.khel

      You wrote: "Ki.lling of Pa.kistanis seems more of sec.t.arian nat.ure as majo.rity of Pa.kistanis belong to a different s.ect then the pr.otes.tors."

      – Why Pak.istanis in Bah.rain belong to a "different se.ct" the reason: because Pak.istanis in Bah.rain are part of the eth.nic cleansing plan of the re.gime.