East Tennessee doctor talks about turmoil in native Pakistan

Knoxville (WVLT) -- Even though it's on the other side of the world, what's happening in Pakistan affects us all.

For most of us, the concern is whether there's stability in a country with nuclear weapons, but for some East Tennesseans, it's far more personal.

Dr. Jim Haq is a native Pakistani who lives in Knoxville but still has friends and family in the nation.

He said he is now worried his country's future and whether it will even be safe enough for him to visit in a few weeks.

"It's not certain what's going to happen next," said Dr. Haq.

An assassination and riots have left Pakistan with a future no-one can predict.

That uncertainty is what really worries Dr. Haq.

"We don't have one of the major candidates who got assassinated,” he said, “and the other candidate says he's not going to run in the election. So we don't know what the election would mean."

Dr. Haq also questions whether democracy can work right now in a country with a 16 percent literacy rate.

He says the government's recent track record has not been good.

"Those previous administrations that were elected governments there were very corrupt,” he said, “including the currently assassinated ex prime-minister’s."

Whatever happens with the elections, Dr. Haq said dealing with the turmoil in Pakistan won't be quick or easy, but he hopes Americans will be patient with their ally in the war on terror.

“For the American people to expect that this fundamentalist Muslim uprising is a short-term situation is wrong,” he said. “This is going to be a long-term fight that must be continued."

The doctor was planning to visit Pakistan in a few weeks.

Even though he's from the central part of the country, which has been more stable, said if the situation grows any worse, he may cancel that trip.

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