Pakistanis in Britain say coup
a chance for complete change
Simon Gardner in Manchester
Pakistan's bloodless military coup has raised few angry passions among the large Pakistani community in
Most saw little threat of the military rulers using a
nuclear arsenal to enforce their domestic or international will.
''Hopefully a democratic election will follow, but the
military is not stupid. There's no danger of it using nuclear
weapons -- and I don't see them creating any problems,'' said
shopkeeper Hassan Akhtar.
''I'm very happy about the coup, because the poor people will
be alright,'' said Manchester restaurant manager Alys Hussein.
''Change is good. This is a chance for a complete change.''
Britain and the United States have voiced outrage at the
coup and urged a return to democracy. Neighbouring India has
stepped up security.
''Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had been in power for
three years and he hasn't done a single thing for the country,''
said Sheraz Ahmed, a shopkeeper in nearby Liverpool.
Manchester and Liverpool are major British cities where many
Pakistani immigrants have settled since Britain ended colonial
rule in their homeland in 1947.
''America and Britain will definitely get involved, but they
should leave the coup to run its course,'' Ahmed said.
Many Pakistanis in Britain send regular remittances back to
their families in Pakistan and say they are worried about the
economic implications of the coup.
''The economy is in a terrible state because of corruption.
Too much International Monetary Fund money has come into the
country and then disappeared,'' said 26-year-old Aamir Faiz, who
runs a Liverpool shoe shop.
''A military coup has steadied the ship a bit -- we need new,
fresh faces in Pakistan's politics. Things can only get better.''
Some regretted the coup, saying that the shock shift in
power would undermine the functioning of future governments.
''This is not the right way to change the government. It
should be changed in a democratic way and gradually,'' said
Liverpool restaurant manager Abdul Ghaffar.
''How can any government work properly for the country if
there is a danger of a coup.''
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