From Dr Gautam Pingle.
Sir, With reference to Julia Harrington Reddy’s letter (June 12): most Arab countries (except perhaps Syria and Iraq) are run by Egyptian, Palestinian, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi migrants. The Arab problem is that any liberal (ie western) approach to granting citizenship will result in a completely different polity. Lebanon is a dire example. Jordan is on the brink. In both cases, even without de jure status, non-nationals exercise extraordinary de facto power over the state. Therefore, Arab states – which anyway are unwilling to give full civil and political rights to their own minority Muslim sects let alone other religious communities – are unlikely to grant legal and civil rights to non-Arab, non-Muslim migrants.
With the usual xenophobia of nation states, the reluctance to grant citizenship rights without religious and racial discrimination is understandable. The prescription that the Arabs should do what Europe has done is not one that is welcome in their part of the world – any more than it appears to be in Europe currently.
Gautam Pingle, Director, Center for Public Policy and Governance, Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad, India