Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday warned the Trump Administration against slapping a travel ban on Pakistan, saying such a move will create a “host of hostilities” between the two countries.
“As far as the ban is concerned, I believe it only has detrimental effects on the countries it has included and if that is extended to Pakistan it will create a whole host of hostilities,” the PPP chairman said during a conversation hosted by the US Institute of Peace in Washington DC.
Bilawal’s remarks come in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s executive order barring entry to citizens of seven Muslim-majority coutnries and subsequent hints by the White House that the ban could be extended to other countries, including Pakistan.
In response to a question on whether Pakistan can be included in the list of seven nations whose citizens have been barred from entering the US for at least 90 days, Bilawal said including Pakistan in such a list “would also be a very negative indicator that the US is turning away from those very ideals that it stood for.” He added, “I hope that this is not the new normal.”
The PPP chairman said there was a lot of uncertainty about what the future policies are going to be and he would like to hold on to the wait and see approach. He said the Muslim ban “seems to be extremely controversial decision” of the current US administration.
“For my generation as a progressive Muslim in the world it is really discouraging to see countries responding to the fear of the others in such a way. We have learned through history that this is not the way to deal with such issues,” Bilawal said.
“I know by interaction, by finding common ground, studying in other peoples universities, learning about a shared culture, history we find the common ground. A few criminals should not be allowed to spoil the situation for everyone.”
The PPP chairman went on to add that it was very discouraging for those out there in the Muslim world fighting radical extremism because “people [put] their lives on the line on a daily basis to do so, to fight for what they believe in, not Americans ideals or freedom.”
Bilawal said he was extremely encouraged to see what he described as another side to America. “The outpouring of support for the people affected by this ban is a very positive message sending to the world. I do hope that this issue will be shorted out very soon. Because this is sending a wrong message and is shrinking the space for those of us out there fighting Islamic extremism on the front lines,” he said.
“I feel for the citizens of all these countries who have been thrown into chaos through these [executive orders],” he added.