Opinion | Letters

Gulf News stands by editorial on Expo 2020 vote

Gulf News responds to the criticism against its December 15 editorial, ‘UAE deserves answers from Pakistan and Afghanistan’.

  • Gulf News
  • Published: 21:00 December 17, 2013
  • Gulf News

Editor’s note:

Gulf News understands and appreciates the sentiments expressed by many readers and the passion with which they have reacted to the editorial, “UAE deserves answers from Pakistan and Afghanistan”, December 15.

Gulf News appreciates the feedback we have gotten over the past few days, in response to the opinion expressed in that editorial. We thank our readers for that.

It is important to clarify, though it was clear in the editorial, that we have taken a stance on an official action taken by the government of Pakistan with regard to the Expo 2020 voting. On the other hand, the article has expressed appreciation of the Pakistani community which, as we said, was one of the strongest supporters of the Dubai Expo bid. One can never doubt the contribution of the esteemed Pakistani community, as well as other respected communities, to the development of this country.

The editorial only discussed and questioned the action, and the intent of a government that is considered to be a close ally of the UAE. And in this regard, we stand by what we reported, which is based on solid facts. Those facts have also been confirmed by some sections of the media in Pakistan.

The fact remains that the Pakistan government, despite its official pledge to the UAE, has voted for another city on the night of November 27. As an independent newspaper, we have the right to question such action and call for a justification, if there were any.

In the editorial published on Sunday and in all our reporting, we uphold the Best Practices outlined in our Code of Ethics which is published on our website, gulfnews.com.

Finally, we thank the hundreds of readers who took the effort to write to us to express their views and we assure them that we will always remain honest to their expectations, our editorial policy and Code of ethics.

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Letters to editor: Pakistan’s official response

Damaging relations

The front page Op-Ed published in the Gulf News of December 15, 2013 together with a scathing editorial titled “UAE deserves answers from Pakistan and Afghanistan” is apparently an orchestrated attempt to damage and defame the historic fraternal relations between Pakistan and the UAE. Not only is the language offensive, the article is factually incorrect. The Editorial Board seems to be unaware of the facts regarding official interaction between the two countries, at the leadership level on the subject.

The leadership of Pakistan is fully cognisant of the importance of its relations with the UAE, where its citizen comprise the second largest community. The leadership is also aware of the overwhelming support that the Pakistani community in Dubai extended to Dubai’s bid to host the Expo 2020. However, the bonds of friendship between the two countries transcend beyond individual events and encompass many extremely important areas of cooperation.

With this backdrop, the purpose of such an article by a prestigious newspaper “Gulf News” is beyond comprehension. The voting for Expo 2020 was a secret ballot and, therefore, the authenticity of this report and its sources are at best dubious. Pakistan takes strong exception to the threatening language used in the news item and demands that the allegations of “betrayal” and “backing out’ of a commitment to vote at the last minute be substantiated by the newspaper.

The newspaper has not referred to any governmental source for the allegations and charges it has made against Pakistan. Can the newspaper state its source, which confirms that (a) Pakistan officially promised to vote for Dubai; and (b) that Pakistan in fact did not vote for Dubai.

It is also intriguing that while the newspaper has chosen to malign Pakistan, there is no mention of how the UAE’s largest trading partner voted in the secret ballot.

The newspaper is expected to realise the negative implications of such unsubstantiated reports, which has not only hurt the sentiments of the Pakistani community but has also cast a shadow of doubt on the credibility of the newspaper itself.

We, therefore, demand that the newspaper may revoke the allegations in an equally prominent manner.

From Mr Javed Jalil Khattak
Consulate General of Pakistan, Dubai


Disappointed

Referring to your [Gulf News] editorial “Pakistan and Afghanistan betrayed a friend” dated December 15, 2013; the Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) would like to convey the feelings and sentiments of the 1.5 million expatriate Pakistani community in the UAE.

We feel disappointed and deeply hurt by the strong language used in the editorial and the claims [made] with no proof. The title is misleading and unprofessional. The facts are contrary to as portrayed in the editorial.

Pakistan feels proud to be the first country to recognise United Arab Emirates after it attained independence in 1971. Our friendship is from the days of deserts and we are like one family. Our brotherhood and friendship cannot be questioned and weakened on the basis of a single vote.

Pakistan Association Dubai was the first and only community organisation to register as an official supporter for the Expo 2020 bid.

PAD organised the month long ‘Solidarity Celebrations 2013’ to share the community’s solidarity with the UAE on the 42nd National Day. Solidarity walk on November 29 was organised to congratulate Dubai on wining the Expo 2020 bid.

The perception created by your [Gulf News] reputable newspaper has eroded the newspaper’s creditability in the minds and hearts of the Pakistani community.

We believe such matters should not be open to public debate and are best served at governmental and diplomatic levels.

The Pakistani community remains committed towards the prosperity of the UAE and Emiratis love Pakistanis, no matter what.

From Dr Faisel Ikram
General Secretary, Pakistan Association Dubai

Comments (93)

  1. Added 16:07 December 18, 2013

    While so much has been said about GN , I was bit amused and surprised by the consul general remarks on another big trading partner of UAE - why should he drag another counry ( which in this case is India) into the discussion. This is solely a matter between UAE & Pakistan, Afghanistan - why get India into this? - that also such childish comment from the Consul !

    VRAO, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 16:07 December 18, 2013

    Dear Sir, The report and the editorial in GN regarding the indifference shown by Pakistan and Afghanistan in favor of Dubai’s bid during the Expo 2020 voting despite their official assurances is simply proper. What wrong for posting such a news in the Gulf News? Gulf News has every right, as an independent newspaper to inform its readers what was gone on at that time. It is natural to take stock of Dubai’s successful bid in which most of the countries voted for Dubai beating other great competitors. Further, it was also extremely bizarre that Pakistan and Afghanistan considered to be the two close allies of UAE, voted for other cities with advance assurances of their governments that they would vote for Dubai. It is imperative to question about their credibility and required their explanation for why they declined when it was needed. Friend in need is a friend indeed!

    N E Haq, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 16:04 December 18, 2013

    sad to read this article from my once favourite newspaper..we pakistanis consider UAE our second home...I think all the comments below made it very clear for gulf news what they have done..An Apology would be highly Appreciated from gulf news.

    amara, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 16:03 December 18, 2013

    Shame on you GN..... dont have the guts to make an apology... shame!

    WAK, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 15:49 December 18, 2013

    GN has acted in a very unethical manner. The Opinion piece was either 1) deliberately aggressive and biased against Pakistan, with an agenda to cast it in a bad light or 2) not researched properly and full of half truths. Either way, in refusing to acknowledge its mistake and continuing to try to justify its stance is totally irresponsible. I for one will be cancelling my subscription and shall move to a paper which does not have an anti-Pakistan agenda.

    Obaid, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 15:33 December 18, 2013

    stop inciting hatred against the community.

    Bilal, Dubai, Pakistan

  7. Added 15:32 December 18, 2013

    "Every Country has a Culture and UAE prides itself as a multicultural Place and is doing a pretty Good job with over 200 Nationalities. We all are happy to be a part of this developing country. This tune in this article printed on the Front page was never seen before...even when India "Betrayed" and "Stabbed" Iran-Pakistan-India Gas pipeline Deal.. despite assurances. and Sold his word to American Nuclear power projects. It's the attitude and understanding that makes us Civilized human. else even Parrot have loads of words to say. Facts and figures aside, which are in Pakistan's favor - approach from the first sentence is not correct for readers of GN.

    Qumber Abbas, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 15:23 December 18, 2013

    The actual fact remains is that, Gulf News Management is being stubborn in realizing its mistake of not mentioning the commitment of Pakistan to Turkey & the subsequent voting in favor of Dubai in 2nd and 3rd round this is the worst example of yellow journalism & bias reporting residents might have witnessed in U.A.E. ever. I think the bunch of so called journalists in GN doesn't know the "Value of Promise" by any means...cancellation on the way.

    Tajammul, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 15:04 December 18, 2013

    First gulfnews didn't cited any source of information. Secondly it was factually incorrect. Thirdly it was an orchestrated attempt to damage and defame the historic fraternal relations between Pakistan and the UAE.

    Siddiq, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 15:01 December 18, 2013

    The editor is afraid to reveal himself.

    Sheldon, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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