x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Pakistani expatriates fear for country's future

When the group of militants attacked the Sri Lankan team's bus in Lahore they delivered a killing blow to Pakistan's image, and to the future of international cricket in the country.

ABU DHABI // When the group of militants attacked the Sri Lankan team's bus in Lahore they delivered a killing blow to Pakistan's image, and to the future of international cricket in the country. That was the fear of Pakistani expatriates in the UAE, who also expressed their sadness that the relatively peaceful city of Lahore had become the setting for such violence. Mohammed Farouqi, president of the Pakistan People's Party in the UAE, said: "It's a very sad day. Nobody can bear to think about the terrorist attack. "We really did not expect this, especially in Lahore because it is a peaceful ground and a peaceful city. It's sad for cricket fans. People in Pakistan love cricket. It's especially sad for the future of the World Cup. "We hope cricket will return. Sportsmen are always brave. They will come and play, inshallah. We will see cricket again. We condemn this terrorism and we are going to fight the war of terrorism. We hope the international community will help us." Nabeel Akhtar, a business development manager in Abu Dhabi who is originally from Lahore, said: "Terrorists are just trying to create a bad impression of Pakistan to other countries. "It's really bad that they treated our guests like this. The Indians refused to come. The Sri Lankans were supportive of the cricket. Games should not be political. "It's going to affect the image of Pakistan around the world. It should be a lesson to Pakistanis all over the world that they should work together to prevent this from happening."

Mr Akhtar said he hoped cricket could return to Pakistan but that there was only "a slim chance" countries would agree to visit now. Maarya Ashraf, a pharmacologist in the capital, also from Lahore, said: "Future events, not just in sports, are at risk now. "Soon, the international community will prevent Pakistan from holding events and being invited to any events. Pakistan will end up as the black sheep. I don't think after this incident cricket will ever return." Sheheryar Qaisar, a 23-year-old student living in Abu Dhabi, said: "How can someone dressed in normal clothes in one of the main cities do this? They claim security did well but these terrorists were carrying rockets. "I'll be flying to Lahore in two days' time. I'm not scared but I am concerned. My family is there, it's a concern." Mr Qaisar said he believed only domestic cricket would continue in Pakistan after the attack. Sanam Imran, a credit analyst originally from Pakistan, said: "I'm a huge fan of cricket and this is a disappointment to cricket fans. "This means the end of international cricket in Pakistan. No one is ever going to send them there any more, there is no point. "The Sri Lankans, I expect them to be understanding. They might realise it's not Pakistan's fault. Now the damage has been done. I can't think of anything that can be done to lower the impact. We pray they get back to good health." asafdar@thenational.ae