By Aliyyah Begum IP Correspondent, South Asia
(Lahore) A young American housewife has experienced the unfortunate corruption, cruel and inhumane treatment that exists within the Pakistani government. Married to a Pakistani businessman, the young housewife, whose name is withheld to prevent further incident, has lived in Pakistan for over six years and recently required a routine renewal of her Visa. During the process, she and her family were met with rudeness, disregard and an unwillingness to help. Unfortunately, her appalling encounter is becoming the routine for Americans when dealing with corrupt elements in Pakistan. Still, for this young housewife, the memory of years of service by American Muslims shines in contrast to the disrespect delivered to innocent housewives, students, and humanitarian workers who have sacrificed, given aid, and shown kindness to the people of Pakistan who overwhelming support and respect American Muslims. The young housewife speaks exclusively to The Islamic Post about those good works with the aim of exposing and ridding the Pakistani government of those who fraudulently represent them.
As an expectant mother in her last trimester, the young American housewife sent her husband’s brother with the paperwork to renew her visa at the Ministry of Interior office in Islamabad. Oddly, it was after review of the documentation that he was spoken to harshly, treated rudely, and told he must bring the passport owner to Islamabad. Her brother-in-law insisted on processing the visa immediately explaining the delicate condition of the young housewife who was under doctor’s orders to refrain from travel. Furthermore, there was no security to accompany her in an area highly susceptible to the abduction of foreign nationals. The explanations afforded no leniency. The reply from the Pakistani official was a firm “no” as well as an indication that the young housewife’s visa might be cancelled altogether.
Against doctor’s orders, the young housewife travelled five hours to Islamabad. The Pakistani government official remained discourteous to the young housewife, not caring that she was visually suffering from apparent maternal pangs. Thankfully, his boss learned of the entire situation and immediately gave due and proper respect as well as provided a one-year extension to the visa. After leaving, the young housewife learned that the rude official who initially rejected the paperwork brazenly reversed his boss’s permission and changed the visa to expire in three months. Furthermore, he advised that the young housewife cannot come back to the office for renewal, but instead might have to go to America. She knew these were not empty threats because some years ago several American doctors, humanitarian workers and students were sent home from Pakistan after visa extensions were denied.
This type of corruption, hatred and ill-treatment of American Muslims has permeated the government of Pakistan for years and should be known by every American organization. It is well understood that when Muslims from America come to know that one of their honorable daughters has been mistreated, it could cause great strife. To create disruption between the American Muslims and Pakistanis living in America would be a great failing after decades of faithful service provided by American Muslims who work hard to look after Pakistanis everywhere.
After catastrophic disasters, floods and earthquakes, it is the American Muslims who sacrificed time, money and family to travel to the country of Pakistan to offer help to the people. Following the devastating 2005 earthquake, American Muslim Medical Relief Team, AMMRT, sent doctors, nurses and medical staff worked in tent camps to offer food, medicine and comfort to those affected and displaced from their homes. On the contrary, it is well known that many corrupt individuals within the Pakistani government took donations of medicines and money and embezzled them to sell on the black market – denying comfort and healing for their own people. Due to this corruption, the American doctors working in Pakistan were faced with medical supply shortages. At one time there were two hundred burned children seeking medical care, but doctors had no surgical knives. It was the American Muslims who provided the much-needed supplies to save the lives of suffering Pakistani children. In return, the Pakistan government provided not even a word of thanks, except one article found in the daily Nation newspaper.
American Muslims have touched even the lives of Kashmir refugees when the rest of the world turned a blind eye. For four years, American Muslim ladies provided money, food, shelter, education and assistance to the refugees from Kashmir. In 2010, flooding in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan regions of Pakistan was described by General Secretary of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, as the worst disaster he’d seen in his life. The American Muslims responded with immediate aid. A member of the American Muslim Medical Relief team recalls their flood relief effort, “During the flood relief work, we were not treated well by the government even though we were there to help the people of Pakistan who appreciated us. When our team was preparing to return home to America, we had a lot of unexpected expenses and unfortunate experiences. For one, we incurred the expense of transporting our medical supplies because Pakistan International Airlines withdrew their offer to carry aid for free. We also had trouble with our visas similar to the young housewife. I remember those two issues being a major setback. We were in the middle of a humanitarian crisis, in which travel visas and transportation should not have been an issue.”
In the case of the young housewife, the Pakistani official who cancelled the one-year visa should never be allowed to again interfere and mistreat citizens. The family calls for the immediate transfer of the Pakistani official and restoration of the one-year visa as promised. The American Muslims have also formed a delegation who will further pursue the matter in the US. Therefore, this resolution has been promptly adopted by The Muslims of America, Inc., and the staff and students of the International Quranic Open University, Inc for immediate attention.