British tabloid The Sun has levied some serious allegations against Pakistan over an alleged crime ring based in Lahore that, it says, was involved in issuing fake passports and visas to Pakistanis who would then hitch a ride to the UK for two months along with the Pakistan Olympics contingent slated to go for the games. The Sun claims it has exposed this crime ring and has released a video complete with an undercover reporter who is seen being offered a chance, by a Lahore-based agent, to travel to London with the Olympics contingent. The tabloid claims that this scam offers potential terrorists easy access to the UK to carry out their nefarious designs. Needless to say, this is a very unfortunate way to have Pakistan represented right at the start of the Olympic games. What is even more unfortunate is the way this issue is being handled by those in our government entrusted with shining a positive light on our image abroad.
The usual knee-jerk reactions have been in evidence, with the cabinet labelling this ‘exposé’ as little more than “false propaganda” and threatening to issue a libel suit against the tabloid. This tendency to threaten and run around in a state of paranoia is nothing new for lawmakers — and the general public — in Pakistan who think that every bad news about us is a conspiracy to undermine us. It would do well to remember that The News of the World, a once sister publication, uncovered the Pakistan cricket team’s match fixing scandal in which three of our prominent players were found guilty. We labelled that episode a conspiracy initially as well, just like we are doing with The Sun’s report. Meanwhile the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) is claiming its hands are clean — despite some of its officials and agents being arrested — and so is the Passport and Immigration Department. The Sun has also vowed to fight the libel suit, leaving Pakistan hard pressed to find supporting evidence to prove that the allegations are indeed false. So far, it seems, we have only been crying wolf because no legal notice has yet been initiated. We must get over this urge we have to blame all our woes on malign external parties. An investigation must be launched to uncover this stinking mess, keeping in mind that Pakistanis really are desperate to travel abroad and that certain elements in this country have a terrible reputation for aiding and abetting in identity fraud when given financial incentives.
Pakistan has seen its sporting stars’ reputations blackened by the shenanigans of such putrid elements. The fact that we have a Pakistani team participating in the games ought to be reason enough for the government to investigate this matter deeply so that some positive light is shone once more on our team players and the country.http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\27\story_27-7-2012_pg3_1