US no longer 'terror-tagged' Pak civilians' favourite destination post failed NY plot

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Washington, May 24 (ANI): With quite a few terror plots against the United States in the recent past being revealed to have Pakistani links, several Pakistani civilians are now looking for countries other than America for finding a suitable job or to pursue higher studies, in order to avoid being implicated in any terror activity.

The recent failed Times Square bombing plot, which is said to have been masterminded by a man of Pakistani origin, Faisal Shehzad, has had a palpable effect on Pakistani nationals, who do not want to live under constant suspicion on foreign soil.

Following the May 1 terror plot, visa applications for the US from Pakistan have dropped drastically, and several travel agents confirmed that bookings between Pakistan and America have also gone down.

Pakistan American community leaders also pointed out that the Times Square incident has given way to a situation where every Pakistani is being looked at with some kind of suspicion.

"Times Square bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad has put us all in this situation where everyone will look at us Pakistani Americans and wonder if they have any connection," The Washington Post quoted Shaista Mahmood, a community leader in Mount Vernon, as saying.

Unlike earlier, the US now is not the prime choice of Pakistani people for job or for studying. The increased scrutiny of visas and more stringent U.S. airport searches, particularly of young Pakistanis has added to the trouble.

"All these U.S. policies have given a whole generation of Pakistanis the psyche that the United States doesn't want us," the newspaper quoted Arsalan Ishtiaq, a Rawalpindi based visa adviser.

Ishtiaq claimed that he has not received a single U.S. student visa inquiry in two years.

"Not only is it much harder to get a visa now, but the few who do get them worry they may get in trouble or implicated in something if they go," he said.

Pakistani engineering students, who had the US on top of their list of countries they would have preferred to work, are now looking for options in nations like Britain, Australia, Canada or even the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

They are fuming over the US virtually tagging every Pakistani with an 'Islamist radical' mark, the newspaper said.

"Now the Americans will think we are all terrorists. Why should we study so hard, take all those tests and pay all those expenses if they are not going to respect us?" said Asalan Khan, who is now planning to search job in South Africa. (ANI)

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