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Monday, 17 September, 2001, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Fear grows among UK Pakistanis
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As tensions rise in Pakistan, members of the British Pakistani community are waiting anxiously for news of how Pakistan's role will develop.

The National Association of British Pakistanis has issued a statement urging the Pakistani Government to support the US if evidence points to terrorists living in Afghanistan.

But as UK residents are advised to avoid travelling to Pakistan, concerns are growing within the Pakistani community for the wellbeing and safety of family and friends.

Khurshid Ahmed, the association's chairman, has spoken of the tension that has built up over the past week.

The West owes it to Pakistan to give it support within any action taken to make sure the country remains stable

Khurshid Ahmed

"People are very anxious, no-one wants to see any further loss of life following this destructive act. Already we have lost a lot of valuable life." he said.

The London-based association, which has members from across the UK, sent messages to the Pakistani government last week urging co-operation with the US.

"Pakistan has been placed within an extremely difficult position.

'Extremist elements'

"There is great tension within our country. We have got some extremist elements who have come out onto the streets and could destabilise the country.

"I expect that some of these elements will try to pressure the government."

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Mr Ahmed said he hoped that Pakistan's fragile position would not be ignored.

"The West owes it to Pakistan to give it support within any action taken to make sure the country remains stable.

"We hope that any action by the US would be sanctioned by the UN so that the Pakistani government can feel justified in giving its support." he said.

The prospect of conflict on Pakistani soil is also causing concern on an individual level.

"There is worry for families. I have family there. There are fears," said Mr Ahmed who lives and works in the Dudley area of the West Midlands.

"We are hoping and praying that something sensible can be worked out."

"We are anxiously watching hour by hour as events unfold."

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