The Guardian, Saturday 25 April 2009
After days of slurs and speculation and a fair number of government media interviews, no charges have been brought against any of the men arrested in Liverpool and Manchester on suspicion of ... well, who knows quite what? Being seen in or near shopping centres and nightclubs while Pakistani? We have been told that international student visas have been subject to abuse, that universities need to do more and that the whole system needs to be tightened up. Now the arrested men are facing deportation on the grounds of "national security" (Lord Carlile calls inquiry into terror bomb plot raids, 23 April). I take it this means their immigration status has been in order.
This year the government has tried to force colleges and universities to become another arm of immigration control. We are being asked to snoop on students or lose our ability to recruit internationally because the Home Office will take away our "licence". They should stop worrying. When the rest of the world realises how dangerous Britain has become for its young people, they won't want to come here to study any more anyway. So much for our place in the knowledge economy.
Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya
Once again the lynch mob is out. Trial by media, not only of the 10 hapless Pakistani students but the Pakistani nation, maligned again. From the prime minister, the home secretary and every politician and his dog, the cries of TERRORIST resound in the corridors of Whitehall. Not only did Gordon Brown join in pronouncing the guilty verdict hours after the arrests, the Pakistan ambassador called for more to be done to keep such people out! New laws have already been drafted to ensure that the Pakistani student, starved of quality education at home, is kept at bay, possibly reflecting on other outlets for his intellect.
This kind of trigger-happy reaction from the security forces and wailing of politicians is fodder for the real terrorists. And the Pakistani community, once the workhorse of British industry, a peace-loving, timid people, now cowering in corners, castigated by the media and even the friendly neighbour who no longer hangs over the fence to talk about a curry. Where do they go to seek refuge? What are the risks such policies can instigate? Some food for thought for the home secretary and the prime minister.
Chairman, Pakistan Forward
(What happened to the British tradition of Innocent until proven Guilty!!)