Pakistanis pose as Indians after NY bomb scare
(Reuters) – Pakistani merchants and job seekers in the United States, still reeling from economic hardship since the September 11 attacks of 2001, are posing as Indians to avoid discrimination in the wake of the Times Square bomb attempt.
“A lot of Pakistanis can’t get jobs after 9/11 and now it’s even worse,” said Asghar Choudhri, an accountant and chairman of Brooklyn’s Pakistani American Merchant Association. “They are now pretending they are Indian so they can get a job.”
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, creating hostilities that ordinarily would lead a Pakistani to resent being mistaken for an Indian.
Merchants in New York, many of whom declined to be named, still remember reprisals after September 11. Soon after the attacks, there was a drive-by shooting in Brooklyn at a Pakistani restaurant, which is now closed.
The local merchants association has shrunk to 150 members, from about 250 merchants almost a decade ago.
The FBI also arrested many undocumented workers in the neighborhood, leading to a wave of deportations, and residents would call law enforcement to make claims against their neighbors, including many false claims, Choudhri said…”We are embarrassed that the name of Pakistan came up.”