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.
Letters to editor: Pakistan’s official response
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
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