President Trump is expected to sign new orders to block immigration to the US for applicants from six countries. Luckily, Pakistan is not expected to be on that list but it must be borne in mind that the South Asian region and particularly our country is and has been home to terrorist elements and is thus under watch.
Pakistan, considering its proximity to war-ridden Iraq and Afghanistan, and Iran, may soon be included on Trump’s ban list. Currently, countries undergoing consideration for a ban include: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Blanket bans are unjust and inhumane; the majority of persons fleeing their home countries do so for war strife or better economic and education opportunities.
Often when immigrants enter a new country, they have renewed hope, and prove themselves as hardworking; helping to build their new societies. While the requirement of safety for one’s citizens is justified, the Department of Homeland Security and Trump and his cabinet should have better sense prevail and think more along humanitarian lines. The angle of racism throughout the Trump campaign is detrimental to not only the US but operates as a divisive force throughout the world, fuelling anger and hatred.
At this point, the attitude towards Pakistan remains uncertain. If immigration continues to allow Pakistanis to enter, Pakistanis can still probably expect nerve-wracking interviews with immigration officers and longer wait times for special security screenings at US airports, more agonising than what they enjoyed before.
Furthermore, in the face of all of this melodrama, even if they are accepted into the country, some will feel like ‘second-class’ citizens. The realigning of powers and the new dynamics between Pakistan, China, India, Russia and the US paints a blurry picture at this time. We will have a more ostensible image once defence and trade talks come into the arena. For now, Pakistanis must remain wary and form a plan ‘B’ as an alternative to relocating to the US.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2017.