Wednesday, December 9, 2015

How Would Trump's Plan to Bar Muslims Impact Pakistanis & Pakistani-Americans?

Leading Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump has called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on". While Trump's supporters have cheered this move, top Republican party leaders have denounced it.

The notion of banning all members of one religion from the country "is not what this party stands for," said Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan at Capitol Hill. Ryan's rebuke made even more powerful by the fact that he typically avoids commenting on the presidential race. "More importantly, it's not what this country stands for." US allies in Europe, including British Prime Minister David Cameron and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls have also condemned Trump's call.

While the chances of Trump's plan becoming reality are remote at best, there's clearly widespread concern about immigrants from Muslim nation that could lead to certain restrictions selectively applied to future Muslim immigrants entering the United States.  In addition to impacting Syrian refugees' entry, such restrictions will also affect future immigrants from Pakistan. These restrictions will make the process more difficult and could significantly reduce the flow of Muslims and Pakistanis into the United States.

Why Pakistan? For two reasons: a) Tafsheen Malik, one of the two suspects in San Bernardino massacre, came from Pakistan on a fiancee visa last year and b) Pakistan is among the top Muslim nations sending immigrants to the United States.

Source: US Senate Subcommittee

The U.S. granted 83,000 green cards to immigrants from Pakistan and another 83,000 to migrants from Iraq between fiscal years 2009 and 2013, according to a chart produced by the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest using Department of Homeland Security data. Immigrants from Bangladesh received 75,000 green cards, those from Iran received 73,000, and those from Egypt received 45,000 to round out the top five. In sum, the U.S. granted 680,000 green cards to immigrants from Muslim-majority nations between 2009 and 2013, according to a media report.

Pakistani-Americans (pop: 409,163 in 2010 US Census) are the seventh largest community among Asian-Americans, behind Chinese (3.8 million),  Filipinos (3.4 million), Indians (3.2 million), Vietnamese (1.74 million),  Koreans (1.7 million) and Japanese (1.3 million), according to Asian-American Center For Advancing Justice . They are still a minuscule fraction of the overall US population. However, their numbers have more than doubled in the last decade due to increased immigration, according to US Census 2010 data. With 100% increase since 2000, Pakistanis are the second fastest growing Asian immigrant group in the United States. With median household income of $63,000, Pakistani-Americans also earn more than an average American household. The most common jobs of Pakistani-Americans include doctors, engineers,  accountants, salespersons, administrators/managers and financial analysts, and 55 per cent hold at least a bachelor’s degree which is higher than 49% of all Asian-Americans and almost twice the 28% of overall American population with college degrees.

Here are some of the highlights of Pakistani-American data from US Census 2010 as gleaned from a report titled "A Community of Contrasts Asian Americans in the United States: 2011" published by Asian-American Center For Advancing Justice:

1. There are 409,163 Pakistani-Americans in 2010, the 7th largest Asian-American community in America.

2. Pakistani-American population doubled from 2000 (204,309) to 2010 (409,163), the second largest percentage increase after Bangladeshis' 157% increase in the same period.

3.  The median household income of Pakistani-American families is nearly $63,000 versus $51,369 average for all Americans.

4. 55% of Pakistanis have a bachelor's degree or higher.

5. 55% of Pakistanis own their own homes.

6. 6% of Pakistani-American population is mixed race.

7. 65% of Pakistanis in America are foreign-born. 57% of foreign-born Pakistani-American population is made up of naturalized citizens.

8. There are 120,000 Pakistani legal permanent residents of which 42% are eligible to naturalize.

9. There were 69,202 immigrant visas issued to Pakistanis from 2001 to 2010, the 5th highest among Asian nations.

10. 28% of Pakistanis have limited English proficiency.

11. 15% of Pakistanis are classified as poor; only 1% of them are on public assistance.

12. 8% of Pakistanis are unemployed, a figure lower than the general population of Americans.

13. Median age of Pakistanis in America is only 29 years, lower than most of the Asian groups and the national median age of 36.8 years.

Pakistani-American community is still relatively young when compared with other immigrant groups. More of the Pakistanis in America are college educated than the general population of whites and various immigrant groups.  They work in high-tech and entertainment fields, start and lead companies in Silicon Valley as entrepreneurs, own major professional sports teams, look after people as health care providers, serve in the US military and hold public offices. The youthful energy and higher education levels of Pakistani-Americans are opening doors for them to rise and shine in America, in spite of the current environment of religious discrimination and other difficulties in their adopted land of opportunities.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistani-American NFL Team Owner  

OPEN Forum 2012 

Pakistani-American Elected Mayor

Pakistani-American Entrepreneurs Catch the Wave

Khan Academy Draws Pakistani Visitors

Minorities are Majority in Silicon Valley

Pakistani-American's Game-Changing Vision 

Pakistan's Demographic Dividend

Pakistanis Study Abroad

Pakistan's Youth Bulge

Pakistani Diaspora World's 7th Largest


Riaz Haq said...

Zuckerberg says #Facebook will fight for rights of #Muslims. #Trump #Muslimban … via @HuffPostTech

Here's Zuckerberg's post:

I want to add my voice in support of Muslims in our community and around the world.
After the Paris attacks and hate this week, I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others.
As a Jew, my parents taught me that we must stand up against attacks on all communities. Even if an attack isn't against you today, in time attacks on freedom for anyone will hurt everyone.
If you're a Muslim in this community, as the leader of Facebook I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you.
Having a child has given us so much hope, but the hate of some can make it easy to succumb to cynicism. We must not lose hope. As long as we stand together and see the good in each other, we can build a better world for all people.

Riaz Haq said...

Pew Research: #Islam fastest growing religion in the world. #India to have largest #Muslim population (300m) by 2050

There were 1.6 billion Muslims in the world as of 2010 – roughly 23% of the global population – according to a Pew Research Center estimate. But while Islam is currently the world’s second-largest religion (after Christianity), it is the fastest-growing major religion. Indeed, if current demographic trends continue, the number of Muslims is expected to exceed the number of Christians by the end of this century.

Although many countries in the Middle East-North Africa region, where the religion originated in the seventh century, are heavily Muslim, the region is home to only about 20% of the world’s Muslims. A majority of the Muslims globally (62%) live in the Asia-Pacific region, including large populations in Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Turkey.

Indonesia is currently the country with the world’s single largest Muslim population, but Pew Research Center projects that India will have that distinction by the year 2050 (while remaining a majority Hindu country), with more than 300 million Muslims.

The Muslim population in Europe also is growing; we project 10% of all Europeans will be Muslims by 2050.

How many Muslims are there in the United States?

According to our best estimate, Muslims make up just less than 1% of the U.S. adult population. Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study (conducted in English and Spanish) found that 0.9% of U.S. adults identify as Muslims. A 2011 survey of Muslim Americans, which was conducted in English as well as Arabic, Farsi and Urdu, estimated that there were 1.8 million Muslim adults (and 2.75 million Muslims of all ages) in the country. That survey also found that a majority of U.S. Muslims (63%) are immigrants.

Anonymous said...

What america needs is a model minority like Hindus. According to the Pew Research, they are one of the richest and the most educated community in the USA with 74% holding college degrees. They also do not commit acts of terror in the USA - there has been no Hindu equivalent of 9/11, 7/11 or recent californian shooting. They do not ask for sharia law in their host country and they are more than happy to take up the culture of their host countries, unlike muslims who want to impose their culture onto their host countries. No wonder people are approving like of Trump who want to restrain Muslim immigration.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "No wonder people are approving like of Trump who want to restrain Muslim immigration."

Fortunately America is not India. Modi, a Fascist Nazi Hindu bigot, can win in India by a landslide. But Trump, a fascist Nazi White Supremacist bigot, can not win US presidency.

The only "people approving like of Trump" are known bigots themselves who are a minority in this country.

Sugandha said...

I think you made an gross error. There is no such survey that mentions "Hindu". I am a Hindu but an Indian first and the stats you mention is about Indians.
Secondly, the response @riaz about Modi being a bigot is false and championed incorrectly by Congress and it's well connected but unpopular supporters. Modi came in power because of his economic policies and anti poverty ideas.

Riaz Haq said...

Sugandha: "about Modi being a bigot is false and championed incorrectly by Congress and it's well connected but unpopular supporters"

Modi was a young man when he joined Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the extremist Hindu nationalists organization in India, which has a long history of admiration for Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader, and his "Final Solution".

In his book "We" (1939), Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the leader of the Hindu Nationalist RSS wrote, "To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races -- the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."

Apparently taking a cue from his Guruji Golwalkar, Modi presided over the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat state where he was first elected chief minister in 2001. During the riot, at least 2,000 Muslims were killed by Hindu mobs and several hundred girls and women were stripped naked, raped or gang-raped, had their wombs slashed and were thrown into fires, some while still alive.

In spite of the riots (or may be because of the riots), Modi continued to win elections and run Gujarat state as its chief minister since he was first elected 13 years ago.

r_sundar said...

I have several Muslim friends here (including a few Pakistanis). When asked candidly in a private conversation, almost everyone wishes Sharia law to be imposed in the US (if that was possible), as it is God's law.
When you cant keep your religion within your house, you give chance for Bigots to raise.

Riaz Haq said...

sundar: "almost everyone wishes Sharia law to be imposed in the US (if that was possible), as it is God's law."

Shariah Law means different things to different people. It's subject to multiple interpretations. To read my view of Islam, read the following:

As to the application of Shariah Law in US, there are many religious communities who use their own adjudication methods to settle disputes amongst themselves.

Across the United States, religious courts operate on a routine, everyday basis. The Roman Catholic Church alone has nearly 200 diocesan tribunals that handle a variety of cases, including an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 marriage annulments each year. In addition, many Orthodox Jews use rabbinical courts to obtain religious divorces, resolve business conflicts and settle other disputes with fellow Jews. Similarly, many Muslims appeal to Islamic clerics to resolve marital disputes and other disagreements with fellow Muslims.

Riaz Haq said...

Actually, #Pakistan Is Winning Its War on #Terror. #TTP #Taliban #ISIS …

The recent revelations that the San Bernardino shooters had extremist ties to Pakistan might appear to confirm the narrative that Pakistan is consumed by a downward spiral of extremist violence. But over the past year, Pakistan has quietly made some important, costly, and under-appreciated strides in its counter-militancy efforts. Individually, none are groundbreaking, but together they point in a more promising direction for Pakistani society, regional stability, and the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.

Military Targeting in Tribal Regions

First, the Pakistani army has pursued more comprehensive military operations in the tribal areas than initially expected. Though it has not directly targeted the Haqqani Network as the United States hoped, Pakistan has actively targeted a wide array of militant groups, not just the Pakistani Taliban (TTP).

Hafiz Gul Bahadur, the leader of the TTP and a long-time government tactical ally based in North Waziristan, may have only been displaced to Afghanistan during the early phases of the military’s operation, but the Pakistani army has made his life difficult. It reportedly targeted him, sidelined him operationally from his organization, and then eliminated some of his remaining commanders in airstrikes last fall. Once a potential prospect for reconciliation, Khan Syed Sajna, a former leader of the TTP in South Waziristan, was targeted by a Pakistan Army intent on accepting only unconditional surrenders. Sajna was consequently killed in a U.S. drone strike in late November. The state has also cracked down on potential TTP splinter groups like Jamat ul Ahrar and the Sheheryar Mehsud group, both of which have recently carried out attacks against a provincial government official and a Christian church.

Quietly expanded target sets may have resulted from lessons learned, deliberate strategy, mission creep, or failed efforts to flip breakaway factions. But the result is that Pakistan is more directly targeting the Taliban.

Kinetic Operations Against Former Assets

Second, Pakistani security forces have expanded their counter-militancy operations, not only against assets once under state purview that have now turned rogue, but also against a wider range of sectarian militant groups. Pakistan adopted a strategy of leadership-targeting, or “decapitation” against the once formidable Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a sectarian militant group with strong links to the Sunni extremist political group, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat. Over the past year, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leadership – once described as “untouchable” and “invincible” – has been systematically wiped out in a series of extra-judicial killings, possibly because it was drifting towards the Islamic State.

In February, the death of Usman Saifullah Kurd – the mastermind behind attacks on hundreds of Hazaras and Shia over the past decade – “[broke] the back” of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in Balochistan. Several months later, a major police raid killed its leader, Malik Ishaq, his two sons, and 11 other militants. Other Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militants were captured during targeted raids based on specific intelligence in October. And a third leader, Haroon Bhatti, was arrested in late October and then killed in a staged encounter with Lahore police (effectively an extra-judicial killing) two weeks ago. As a retributive response to Malik Ishaq’s killing, Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada, a retired Army Colonel, was assassinated in a suicide bombing along with sixteen others. Despite this, the state proved willing to stomach the consequences of the fight, and showed that it is willing to take on powerful and influential groups – like LeJ – once afforded de facto protection by the Pakistani government.

Sugandha said...

Wrong about MODI. His parents put him for the discipline and character that RSS also promotes. His father could not afford a private education. So Modi has reflected on it several times and he has said there is good and not so good in schools and everywhere but it is upto you.

Riaz Haq said...

NBC-WSJ Poll Shows 57% of #American Voters Oppose #Trump's #MuslimBan #DumpTrump via @nbcnews

Nearly six-in-10 Americans oppose Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposal to bar Muslims from entering the United States, but Republicans are evenly divided, according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Fifty-seven percent of all adults disagree with Trump's proposal, versus 25 percent who agree.

But views are mixed among Republicans: 42 percent of GOP respondents support Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., while 36 percent oppose it.

And among Republican primary voters, it's 38 percent support, 39 percent oppose.

By comparison, 75 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents disagree with Trump's proposal.

There's an urban-rural divide, too: Just 13 percent of urban respondents and 27 percent of suburban respondents back Trump's plan, compared with 41 percent of rural Americans.

Rizwan K. said...

Pakistanis in IT

MesquiteIce said...

The problem as i see it and as correctly enunciated by Indian PM Modi is that:- "Crime and religion should never be linked". Why differentiate between a terrorist. How does it matter whether he is a muslim or a christian, or a sikh or a Hindu. A murderer is a murderer.

While i have a lot of problems with certain policies of Modi, his views on terrorism is very crystal clear, advanced and fair. In fact even when the pseudo seculars were stoking religious passions by citing a murder of a muslim, Modi was clear that a murder is a murder and they have to dealt with law and crimes should not be given religious colour allowing the criminals to get away.

People like trump, by not understanding this subtle idea, sterotype an entire religion because one/few individual was a criminal. Similarly, the entire RSS is being portrayed as a bunch of gangsters just because one of its members assasinated Mahatma Gandhi.

Our urge to support our ilk and their misdeeds is the main problem. Let a criminal be punished as any other criminal. Isnt it the fair thing to do?

Riaz Haq said...

Mesq: "the entire RSS is being portrayed as a bunch of gangsters just because one of its members assasinated Mahatma Gandhi."

RSS has a long history of murder and violence against minorities based on its hateful philosophy inspired by fascists and Nazis.In his book "We" (1939), Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the leader of the Hindu Nationalist RSS wrote, "To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races -- the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."

The fact is that Modi has been part of what University of Washington researcher Prof Paul Brass calls "The production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India".

Here's an excerpt:

Events labelled “Hindu-Muslim riots” have been recurring features in India for three-quarters of a century or more. In northern and western India, especially, there are numerous cities and town in which riots have become endemic. In such places, riots have, in effect, become a grisly form of dramatic production in which there are three phases: preparation/​rehearsal, activation/​enactment, and explanation/​interpretation. In these sites of endemic riot production, preparation and rehearsal are continuous activities. Activation or enactment of a large-scale riot takes place under particular circumstances, most notably in a context of intense political mobilization or electoral competition in which riots are precipitated as a device to consolidate the support of ethnic, religious, or other culturally marked groups by emphasizing the need for solidarity in face of the rival communal group. The third phase follows after the violence in a broader struggle to control the explanation or interpretation of the causes of the violence. In this phase, many other elements in society become involved, including journalists, politicians, social scientists, and public opinion generally.
At first, multiple narratives vie for primacy in controlling the explanation of violence. On the one hand, the predominant social forces attempt to insert an explanatory narrative into the prevailing discourse of order, while others seek to establish a new consensual hegemony that upsets existing power relations, that is, those which accept the violence as spontaneous, religious, mass-based, unpredictable, and impossible to prevent or control fully. This third phase is also marked by a process of blame displacement in which social scientists themselves become implicated, a process that fails to isolate effectively those most responsible for the production of violence, and instead diffuses blame widely, blurring responsibility, and thereby contributing to the perpetuation of violent productions in future, as well as the order that sustains them.

GP said...

First of all Islamophobia is a stupid and nonsensical word. A phobia is an irrational fear of a phenomenon. Fearing the tenets of islam is hardly irrational!

Riaz Haq said...

GP: "First of all Islamophobia is a stupid and nonsensical word. A phobia is an irrational fear of a phenomenon. Fearing the tenets of islam is hardly irrational!"

If US fear of terror was rational, the American Islamophobes would worry far more about gun violence in America that takes 1000X more lives in this country.

Anonymous said...

I am Indian American and wouldn't vote for Trump. Now that this Pakistani couple has done this evil thing many Americans than before are likely to support him. All the hate crimes will rise too and many Indian Americans will be seen as Pakistani terrorists as well by the ignorant.

Tambi Dude said...

Dear Riazbhai,

I am sure you are aware of the fact that Saudi/Qatar/Bahrain did not take any refugee from Syria. Did Trump told them so ?

Riaz Haq said...

RK: " I am sure you are aware of the fact that Saudi/Qatar/Bahrain did not take any refugee from Syria. Did Trump told them so ?'

Here's the response from them:

In any event, over 95% of Syrian refugees are in Muslim nations.

If you consider all refugees from everywhere, Pakistan is host to the second largest number of refugees in the world after Turkey.:

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan to Westland #Michigan to the #WhiteHouse: A #Pakistani-#American's story via @freep

Writing on a White House blog Tuesday morning, a 24-year-old writer for the Obama administration described how she and her family made it from Pakistan to the U.S. -- Westland to be exact -- and, in her case, on to the West Wing, forging their identities as new Americans.

Asra Najam’s blog entry begins with the words “Mujhe Amreeka jana hai” -- “I want to go to America” -- spoken by her as a 4-year-old in Karachi to her father before her family began a journey that eventually landed them in southeastern Michigan, where her father worked as an engineer on a skilled worker visa.

“We knew no one there, but thankfully, that didn’t last long,” she wrote. “We lived in an apartment complex 15 minutes from the airport and befriended two or three neighboring Pakistani families … Our mothers would drink chai and watch over us. You could find our fathers nearby discussing world politics.”

“I didn’t know it at the time but the community we built in that apartment block the first year we moved to Michigan became the cornerstone to my American identity,” she continued. “Every time I go home, I still find myself in the company of those same neighborhood kids. Even though we’ve all grown up to lead different lives, we still look back to the days when we were all nervous and excited to live in a country where we could be anything we wanted.”

Najam’s blog entry comes at a time when, in the wake of attacks in Paris and California, many have called for a tightening of restrictions on programs to let people into the U.S. out of fear terrorists may try to infiltrate the country. The Obama administration has maintained its intention to settle some 10,000 Syrian refugees in the U.S. by next October.

Najam said it was in 2008, when her parents took their oaths of citizenship, that they knew, as a family, “that the home we had built for ourselves here could never be taken away from us.” She said it was that same day she started dreaming of a future that might include government service, “because I knew I had a stake in bettering this country and in carrying forth its ideals of opportunity and openness.”

“Being an American has never meant giving up who you are to become something else. It means using the sum of your parts to establish communities, build your livelihood, reimagine your identity and grow your dreams,” she added. “It means that even though there are imperfections in the immigration experience, they are always eclipsed by the overwhelming sense of possibility that makes our nation great.”

You can read Najam’s full blog post here:

Riaz Haq said...

#ColoradoSprings Deals With Mass Killing as Nation. #media Move On To #SanBernardino 24X7 #NRA #guncontrol

It had been just five days since a visit to a Planned Parenthood clinic put Kentanya Craion in the middle of a massacre that left her cowering in a back room and her boyfriend among the three dead.

And then she watched in horror on her mother’s television as the shooting here was eclipsed by another, deadlier, more spectacular mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. “Disgusting,” Ms. Craion said. “I can’t imagine how the families are feeling.”

She paused and corrected herself: “I know how they’re feeling. I know exactly how they’re feeling.”

This was the distinctly and distressingly American nightmare in which the people of Colorado Springs found themselves this month: grieving, confused and emotionally raw — but with all of those emotions amplified and distorted by a new mass shooting in a country where, by one measure, such attacks occur on average more than once a day.

And the shooting in California, which claimed 14 lives, siphoned much of the national focus from Colorado Springs, replacing a high-intensity conversation about violence against abortion clinics with perhaps an even more intense one about violence committed by Islamic terrorists.

“I knew it would be overtaken at some point,” Mayor John Suthers said.

Unlike Mr. Suthers, a first-term mayor who has served as Colorado’s attorney general and as a United States attorney, Jane Delaney seems unsurprised that another mass shooting occurred so soon. Dr. Delaney, 65, a retired physician, was trapped inside the King Soopers grocery store for hours during the melee, in which a self-professed anti-abortion crusader, Robert L. Dear Jr., is accused of attacking the clinic and engaging the police in a tense five-and-a-half-hour standoff before his capture.

Dr. Delaney said that the rampage at the clinic, which also left nine wounded, had itself eclipsed an episode here on Halloween morning when a man named Noah Harpham, 33, fatally shot three people before dying in a gun battle with the police. He left an angry blog post behind.

“It seems like it’s happening every day,” she said.

Last week, a disheveled Mr. Dear, 57, appeared for the first time in a crowded downtown courtroom here. He was formally charged with 179 felonies, including counts of first-degree murder. As the victims’ friends and family looked on, Mr. Dear, in manacles and a county jail jumpsuit, blurted out that he was guilty, a “warrior for the babies.”

About five miles north, the Planned Parenthood building, still a crime scene, was empty, its parking lot surrounded by fencing and no-trespassing signs. A police officer kept watch, and a blue tarp covered the entrance. And yet life bustled all around, with patients heading in and out of appointments at a nearby medical building, and Salvation Army volunteers ringing bells for shoppers at the King Soopers, a few yards away, where Dr. Delaney and dozens of others had been trapped less than two weeks before.

Quan Hoang, 25, who had also been trapped on the day of the shootings in his workplace, Fusion Nails, a salon near Planned Parenthood, tried to square the seeming normality the day after the shooting with the routine mayhem everyone sees on their Facebook feed and in the news daily. It was hard to do.

“America’s becoming a crazy place,” he said.


Here, as elsewhere, the attack in San Bernardino has changed the nature of the conversation about mass shootings, which now entails questions about homegrown radicalized Muslims and the influence of the Islamic State. Last Wednesday, a few hours before Mr. Dear’s court appearance, Mayor Suthers went to the studios of KVOR, an AM radio station, where he was the guest on a call-in show.

He spoke about how both shootings showed how difficult it was to identify the perpetrators of mass murders before they occurred. He told people to call the police if they suspected their neighbors of acting strangely.

Riaz Haq said...

What Donald #Trump and dying non-college educated white #Americans in 40s and 50s have in common.

In a paper published last month, Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton showed that over the last 15 years, white middle-aged Americans have been dying at unusually high rates. Most of those deaths were concentrated among people with only a high-school diploma, or less.

Polls say that the same kind of people — older, less-educated whites — are largely responsible for Donald Trump's lead in the race for the Republican nomination for president.

This could be a coincidence. But it is nonetheless striking that Trump’s promise to "Make America Great Again" has been most enthusiastically embraced by those who have seen their own life's prospects diminish the most — not in terms of material wealth, but in terms of literal chance of survival.

Case and Deaton’s work has attracted some controversy. There's debate over whether the death rate has actually risen for white Americans aged 45-54, as they claim, or if it has just remained the same over the past two decades. But even their critics concede that the bigger picture is alarming.

In countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, middle-aged people has been dying at ever-decreasing rates over the last 20 years. Middle-aged African-Americans and Hispanics in the U.S. have experienced similar trends: declines in the mortality rate of about 27 and 19 percent, respectively, since 1999.

But something is wrong with white America — particularly, less-educated white America. Between 1999 and 2013, the death rate for middle-aged white people, age 45 to 54, increased by 9 percent, according to the paper. For middle-aged white people with a high school education or less, the death rate went up 22 percent.

Now compare that to data from a new Washington Post-ABC poll, released Tuesday, which shows that Trump supporters are disproportionately white Americans without college diplomas. Among Republican-leaning registered voters, 46 percent of them support Trump, compared to 38 percent of Republican-leaning registered voters overall who support Trump.

Case and Deaton blame dramatic spikes in poisonings (including drug overdoses), suicides, and liver disease as the main causes for the rising death rate among middle-aged white Americans. These problems have been most acute among the less-educated. Among those with no college, poisonings tripled between 1999 and 2013; suicides went up by 78 percent; death by liver disease increased by 46 percent.

In other words, what's killing middle-aged whites is the opioid epidemic. It's depression. It's alcoholism.

Riaz Haq said...

#Canada PM #Trudeau decries politics of 'fear' in #USA #President race #Trump #muslimban #republicandebate …

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has fired a broadside evidently aimed at U.S. Republican presidential contender Donald Trump — declaring that politicians who spout “hateful rhetoric” and equate all Muslims with terrorists are “ignorant” and “irresponsible.”

“At this time, when there is reason to be concerned for security around the world and here at home, we need to remain focused on keeping our communities safe and keeping our communities united instead of trying to build walls and scapegoat communities,” Trudeau said Wednesday.

He said Muslims are “predominantly” the greatest victims of terrorist acts around the world.

“And painting ISIS and others with a broad brush that extends to all Muslims is not just ignorant, it’s irresponsible.”

Trudeau’s strong words were delivered at a one-hour televised town hall at the National Arts Centre, where he took questions from journalists and citizens in the room, and from others through social media.

The town hall, hosted by Maclean’s, featured Trudeau in shirt sleeves answering questions ranging from the serious, such as the combat mission in the Middle East and the plight of Canada’s indigenous people, to why his shoes don’t match his pants and what he thinks of the Star Wars movie.

The prime minister was also asked if he would “stand up” to the rhetoric of Trump, who is the frontrunner in the race for the Republican nomination.

In recent days, Trump has called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, proposed a database to track Muslims there, and also repeated rumours that thousands of Muslims celebrated in New Jersey after the 9/11 attacks on New York’s World Trade Center.

Trudeau was asked what he would tell Trump if he could “sit down and talk to him.”

“I think it’s extremely important that someone in my position doesn’t engage in the electoral processes of another country,” Trudeau initially replied.

“So I’m certainly going to be very cautious about engaging in this particular topic. Just because I think it’s going to be important for Canadians, for Canadian jobs, for Canadian prosperity, to be able to have a positive relationship with whoever Americans choose as their president.

“However, I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone that I stand firmly against the politics of division, the politics of fear, the politics of intolerance or hateful rhetoric.”

Without singling out Trump by name, Trudeau then launched into a long answer about the need for politicians to avoid divisive rhetoric.

“I took a very strong stand against the previous governments’ playing dangerous games with veils and citizenship issues.”

“I think Canada, and indeed, any modern society does best when we understand that diversity is a source of strength, not a source of weakness.”

“And if we allow politicians to succeed by scaring people, we don’t actually end up any safer. Fear doesn’t make us safer. It makes us weaker.”

Riaz Haq said...

#ISIS New Year #terror plot story totally bogus. …

Another major holiday, another sensational ISIS terror plot the FBI takes credit for preventing. This time, the case splashed across the news is that of Emanuel Lutchman, a 25-year-old panhandler in Rochester, New York who allegedly plotted to attack a restaurant on New Years Eve. All major network broadcasts lead with the story and it was breathlessly featured everywhere from The New York Times to CNN. There’s only one problem: the way the story is being presented is wildly inaccurate and in many ways factually false.

Like almost all 11th hour FBI terror busts, the only thing the media has to go off is a DOJ criminal complaint that’s released to the press. Statements from the accused or their lawyer very rarely reach the public. And the criminal complaint and FBI press release are framed to deliberately deceive the media.

Let’s run down some of the key claims made by the media and why they’re either factually incorrect or misleading.

Claim: The plot was directed by ISIS

While the FBI's public statements to the media imply Lutchman was having discussions with real ISIS recruiters, the actual court documents are careful to never make this specific claim, only saying “Mr. Lutchman claims to have received direction from an overseas ISIL member.” For the purposes of proving “attempt to material support of ISIS” prosecutors do not need to actually show a material connection to ISIS, only an attempt to do so. It remains unclear if Lutchman’s contact (“Overseas individual” as the affidavit calls him) was, in fact, a member of ISIS but this hasn’t stopped the media from asserting it as fact.

Claim: Lutchman bought weapons for the attack at Walmart

Several media outlets, from to CBS to local reporters claimed Lutchman bought his weapons but this is inaccurate. He actually went along while a paid informant, at the direction of the FBI, purchased the equipment. Nominally this was because Lutchman could not afford the $40 worth of supplies. This means one of two things: Either A) Lutchman was looking for an out and used his inability to pay for the items as an excuse, only to be further pressured by the FBI or B) Lutchman did indeed not have the wherewithal to muster $40 to go on his own suicide attack which, on its face, should give any critical thinker pause.

This was a man who, according to his grandmother, “can’t buy Pampers for his son" who was being sponsored not by ISIS (evidently, his contact in Syria couldn’t send him $40 or fill out an Amazon purchase) but quite literally by the FBI. The fact that FBI knowingly bought the weapons for the attack is a clear sign the FBI wasn’t interested in thwarting a plot, but building a case. Notice how the New York Times cleverly gets around the awkward fact by reporting Lutchman “gathered” the materials since they can’t say he bought them. Because he didn’t, the FBI did.

Riaz Haq said...

Why aren’t we calling the #Oregon militia ‘#terrorists?’ #OregonMilitiaDemands #Islamophobia

As of Sunday afternoon, The Washington Post called them "occupiers" — and more precisely, "an armed militia." The New York Times opted for "armed activists" and "militia men." And the Associated Press put the situation this way: "A family previously involved in a showdown with the federal government has occupied a building at a national wildlife refuge in Oregon and is asking militia members to join them."

Not one seemed to lean toward terms such as "insurrection," "revolt," anti-government "insurgents" or, as some on social media were calling them, "terrorists." When a group of unknown size and unknown firepower has taken over any federal building with plans and possibly some equipment to aid a years-long occupation — and when its representatives tells reporters that they would prefer to avoid violence but are prepared to die — the kind of almost-uniform delicacy and the limits on the language to describe the people involved and the group is noteworthy itself.

It is hard to imagine that none of the words mentioned above — particularly "insurrection" or "revolt" — would be avoided if, for instance, a group of armed black Americans took possession of a federal or state courthouse to protest the police. Black Americans outraged about the death of a 12-year-old boy at the hands of police or concerned about the absence of jail time or a conviction in the George Zimmerman case have been frequently and inaccurately lumped in with criminals and looters or depicted and described as marauding wolf packs where drugs are, according to CNN's Don Lemon, "obviously" in use.

If a group of armed Muslims took possession of a federal building or even its lobby to, for instance, protest calls to surveil the entire group, they could avoid any of those harsher, more-alarming labels.

In fairness to those assembled in Oregon, it is true that there have been no reports of actual violence, injury or anyone being held inside the Oregon building against their will.

And in the interim, some may feel particularly inclined to take real care with the language used to describe the situation so as not to inflame it or offend people who, in some cases, have already been troubled by the decision to charge a father and son pair of ranchers with arson under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. The charge not only carries what many of the rancher's supporters believe to be an unjust five-year jail term but; it brings the very same t-word into the mix.

For those who know the father and son — Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son, Steven Hammond — personally, it is understandable that they would disagree vehemently with any government action that implies that the men they know as engaged members of the community are terrorists. But one really cannot help but wonder where similar outrage lives when, in the face of clear data indicating that black Americans are far more likely than white ones to face serious charges and jail time rather than misdemeanor penalties for resisting arrest. Where has the lock-step adherence to careful and delicate language been in all of 2015 when unarmed black Americans were disproportionately more likely to be killed by police than others?

Beyond that seeming incongruity, the Hammonds are not among the occupiers. The man who has helped to organize the building occupation in Oregon is Ammon Bundy. Bundy is the son of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who engaged in a standoff in 2014 with the government over grazing rights. And the younger Bundy has, again, described the occupiers as "armed" and prepared to die.

Riaz Haq said...

Inside CAIR's command center of the fight against #Islamophobia. #Trump2016 #Republican … via @thisisfusion

Barely a few sentences were passed between us when Ibrahim Hooper cut me off to tend to other business. “Hold on, I have another call,” he said.

About twenty seconds later he was back with me, but he couldn’t quite remember who I was. The previous day, we had twice spoken by phone and exchanged emails. A formal interview was arranged, and I would be speaking with him at length. The story: What it’s like to work in in the communications office at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil-rights organization. If anywhere, the office is the command center in the fight against Islamophobia in the U.S., I figured. Hooper, being the national communications director, would be the ideal person to talk with.

But between the time I spoke to him the previous day and when I called him back, something monumental happened. It was revealed that Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the married suspects responsible for the mass shooting of a public health facility in San Bernardino, Ca., which left 14 dead, were Muslim. “Muslim Killers,” read the front page of the New York Post. An anti-Muslim backlash was anticipated, and the group had been scrambling to control the message, setting up press conferences and communicating with countless media outlets.

“From 9/11 to now this is the most toxic atmosphere I’ve seen,” Hooper said of the aftermath of the shooting, when we could finally talk at length the following day. “We’re at a rather sharp moment in America where we have to decide if we’re going to vilify Islam and Muslims on a daily basis, or if we’re going to have to work together for the common good.”

Again, just three minutes into our conversation, another call came in. It was CNN.

“There’s a controversy brewing,” Hooper told me when he came back.

News outlets had been let into the home of the shooters, and camera crews were fixing shots on all the personal items they could find. Family photos, underwear drawers, the baby’s crib. At one point, the lens of an MSNBC camera trained itself on the expired driver’s license of Rafia Sultana Farook, the mother of Farook, one of the shooters. It contained her address and other personal information.

“They would never do this with the abortion clinic shooter, or the Newtown shooter, or any of the 355 mass shootings (Editor’s note: That number has since gone up) around the country. They would never do this,” said Hooper, leaning on me through the phone line for support.

“But somehow it’s okay with Muslims,” he said.

Hooper does not have an easy job.

Every morning, he wakes up hours before going into the office, filtering through an extensive keyword news search, looking for recent anti-Muslim incidents around the country. Rarely is there a shortage. On the day we first spoke, his organization was figuring how to respond to a bullet-riddled Qu’ran that was found outside an Islamic store in Anaheim, Ca., about 48 miles from where the shooting in San Bernardino would happen hours later. Earlier in the week there was the story of a Muslim taxi driver who was shot in the back on Thanksgiving Day after the suspect allegedly probed him about his religion. A group of white supremacists were planning an anti-Islam rally in front of a Texas mosque.

When he finally arrives in the office, he told me, the staff holds a briefing he likened to a news assignment meeting you would find in a television newsroom. “That will determine the direction of the day,” he said. “We’ll start working with the chapters, editing, suggesting communications content,” and coordinating with the legal team on language.

Riaz Haq said...

Donald #Trump for President, in #America or in #India. #Trump2016 via @htTweets …

‘If the US doesn’t elect Trump, he should come to India and become our president,’ said a local bigot. He predicted, ‘With his fantastic ability to flaunt his prejudices, his narrow-mindedness, his contempt for minorities, his jingoism, his wealth and his hair, he’ll be a great inspiration for many of our political leaders.’

Riaz Haq said...

Peter Bergen: " since 9/11, 45 #Americans killed in US by Jihadi #terror, 48 killed by anti-abortion, neo-Nazi, etc" …

BERGEN: Well, since 9/11, the foundation that I work at, New America, we've been compiling deaths caused by jihadi terrorists. And at a certain point, we started thinking, hey, why don't we also - there are anti-government fanatics who've also killed people and violent neo-Nazis. And so since 9/11, 45 people have been killed in the United States by jihadi terrorists while 48 have been killed by people animated by, you know, anti-abortion, neo-Nazi, anti-government fanaticism.

GROSS: And compare the amount of investigative power that we have on each of those.

BERGEN: Well, I will say I think that the FBI is fairly concerned about the issue of anti-government violence. It's hard to make a direct comparison, but I know that the Department of Justice, for instance, has recently appointed a sort of additional senior official to really examine this problem because, you know, whether it's the attack in Charleston where the perpetrator wanted to start a race war or whether it's the standoff that we saw in Oregon, there are other forms of political violence than jihadi terrorism in the United States.

GROSS: But on the whole, Americans are much more preoccupied with jihadi terrorism on American soil, even though the number of deaths since 9/11 - there is more of them caused by right-wing and anti-government extremists.

BERGEN: Yeah, I mean - and some of that isn't surprising. I mean, 9/11 was a sort of hinge event in American history, and all jihadi terrorist plots or attacks are kind of filtered through that lens. But the fact is is that, you know, we had a neo-Nazi shout hail Hitler after he killed three people in Kansas City at a community center in 2014. If he shouted, Allah akbar, what was already a pretty big news story would've become an even bigger news story, I'm sure. So, you know, that's just kind of just the environment we live in.

GROSS: Let's look at another comparison, the number of Islamic extremists who have attacked Americans on American soil, the number who come from other countries and have come here for the attacks versus the number of attackers who are American-born or are American citizens and grew up here.

BERGEN: You know what's interesting, since 9/11, we tend to think that terrorist attacks against the United States must be conducted by foreigners because on 9/11, it was 19 foreign-born Arab hijackers recruited by al-Qaida. In fact, every lethal terrorist attack in the United States since 9/11, whether in Fort Hood or Boston or San Bernardino, has been conducted by American citizens or legal permanent residents. And so some of the hysteria about refugees coming into the country and performing acts of terrorism is very overblown. Certainly about 10 refugees have been involved in relatively minor jihadi terrorism crimes, like material support for a terrorist organization. And - but really, if you were concerned about lethal attacks, it's been American citizens or American residents.

Riaz Haq said...

We must stop #Trump2016. Silence and inaction of good people in the face of evil is inexcusable #Islamophobia

Like any number of us raised in the late 20th century, I have spent my life perplexed about exactly how Hitler could have come to power in Germany. Watching Donald Trump’s rise, I now understand. Leave aside whether a direct comparison of Trump to Hitler is accurate. That is not my point. My point rather is about how a demagogic opportunist can exploit a divided country.

To understand the rise of Hitler and the spread of Nazism, I have generally relied on the German-Jewish √©migr√© philosopher Hannah Arendt and her arguments about the banality of evil. Somehow people can understand themselves as “just doing their job,” yet act as cogs in the wheel of a murderous machine. Arendt also offered a second answer in a small but powerful book called “Men in Dark Times.” In this book, she described all those who thought that Hitler’s rise was a terrible thing but chose “internal exile,” or staying invisible and out of the way as their strategy for coping with the situation. They knew evil was evil, but they too facilitated it, by departing from the battlefield out of a sense of hopelessness.

One can see both of these phenomena unfolding now. The first shows itself, for instance, when journalists cover every crude and cruel thing that comes out of Trump’s mouth and thereby help acculturate all of us to what we are hearing. Are they not just doing their jobs, they will ask, in covering the Republican front-runner? Have we not already been acculturated by 30 years of popular culture to offensive and inciting comments? Yes, both of these things are true. But that doesn’t mean journalists ought to be Trump’s megaphone. Perhaps we should just shut the lights out on offensiveness; turn off the mic when someone tries to shout down others; reestablish standards for what counts as a worthwhile contribution to the public debate. That will seem counter to journalistic norms, yes, but why not let Trump pay for his own ads when he wants to broadcast foul and incendiary ideas? He’ll still have plenty of access to freedom of expression. It is time to draw a bright line.

One spots the second experience in any number of water-cooler conversations or dinner-party dialogues. “Yes, yes, it is terrible. Can you believe it? Have you seen anything like it? Has America come to this?” “Agreed, agreed.” But when someone asks what is to be done, silence falls. Very many of us, too many of us, are starting to contemplate accepting internal exile. Or we joke about moving to Canada more seriously than usually.

But over the course of the past few months, I’ve learned something else that goes beyond Arendt’s ideas about the banality of evil and feelings of impotence in the face of danger.

Trump is rising by taking advantage of a divided country. The truth is that the vast majority of voting Americans think that Trump is unacceptable as a presidential candidate, but we are split by strong partisan ideologies and cannot coordinate a solution to stop him. Similarly, a significant part of voting Republicans think that Trump is unacceptable, but they too, thus far, have been unable to coordinate a solution. Trump is exploiting the fact that we cannot unite across our ideological divides.

The only way to stop him, then, is to achieve just that kind of coordination across party lines and across divisions within parties. We have reached that moment of truth.

Riaz Haq said...

6th Annual #Pakistan #US Strategic Dialogue Planned to Start Monday in #WashingtonDc with #Kerry Sartaj meeting …

It will be the third annual meeting since the present government has come to power. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the U.S. in October last year had given the necessary impetus

Pakistan and the U.S. will on Monday hold a ministerial-level strategic dialogue on key areas including economy, security and counterterrorism, amid strong opposition by India as well as U.S. lawmakers on the proposed F-16 deal to Islamabad.

Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz will lead the Pakistani delegation while U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will lead the U.S. side for the 6th round of the strategic dialogue to be held in Washington, Radio Pakistan reported on Monday.

The six segments of the strategic dialogue include cooperation in economy and finance; energy; education, science and technology; law enforcement and counterterrorism; security, strategic stability and non-proliferation and defence.

It will be the third annual meeting since the present government has come to power. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the United States in October last year had given the necessary impetus to the dialogue mechanism, the report said.

The dialogue process began in 2010 but interrupted in 2011 when the U.S. forces killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in a midnight raid. The process resumed in 2014 when Mr. Aziz and Mr. Kerry met in Washington in January.

The key meeting will take place soon after the U.S. announced to sell eight F—16 fighter jets worth $700 million to Pakistan, despite objection from India and mounting opposition from influential American lawmakers.

Mr. Kerry has strongly defended the Obama Administration’s decision, arguing that these fighter jets are a “critical” part of Pakistan’s fight against terrorists.

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, who is in Washington as part of the Pakistani delegation, has said the dialogue will provide an opportunity to operationalise key future making initiates between the two countries.

He was speaking at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

The Foreign Office had earlier said that the upcoming meeting will “afford an important opportunity to take stock of the entire gamut of Pakistan’s bilateral relations with the U.S”.

Riaz Haq said...

#Trump's polices aren't anathema to #America's mainstream but uncomfortable reflection of it. #racism by @ggreenwald

In some instances, their claim is plausible: There is at least genuine embarrassment if not revulsion even among America’s political class over Trump’s proposed mass deportation of 11 million human beings, banning of all Muslims from entering the country, and new laws to enable him to more easily sue (and thus destroy) media outlets that “falsely” criticize him. And his signature personality brew of deep-seated insecurities, vindictive narcissism, channeling of the darkest impulses, and gaudy, petty boasting is indeed uniquely grotesque.

But in many cases, probably most, the flamboyant denunciations of Trump by establishment figures make no sense except as self-aggrandizing pretense, because those condemning him have long tolerated if not outright advocated very similar ideas, albeit with less rhetorical candor. Trump is self-evidently a toxic authoritarian demagogue advocating morally monstrous positions, but in most cases where elite outrage is being vented, he is merely a natural extension of the mainstream rhetorical and policy framework that has been laid, not some radical departure from it. He’s their id. What establishment mavens most resent is not what Trump is, does, or says, but what he reflects: the unmistakable, undeniable signs of late-stage imperial collapse, along with the resentments and hatreds they have long deliberately and self-servingly stoked but which are now raging out of their control.

Two of the most recent, widely discussed anti-Trump outrage rituals — one from Wednesday and the other from last night’s Fox News debate — demonstrate the sham at the heart of the establishment display of horror. This week, American political and media figures from across the spectrum stood and applauded a tawdry cast of neocons and other assorted warmongers who are responsible for grave war crimes, torture, kidnappings, due process-free indefinite imprisonment, and the worst political crime of this generation: the attack on and destruction of Iraq.

These five dozen or so extremists (calling themselves “members of the Republican national security community”) were the toast of the town because they published an “open letter” denouncing Trump on the ground that his “own statements lead us to conclude that as president, he would use the authority of his office to act in ways that make America less safe, and which would diminish our standing in the world.” This was one of their examples:

His embrace of the expansive use of torture is inexcusable.

Most decent human beings, by definition, would express this sentiment without including the qualifying word “expansive.” Even Ronald Reagan, whom virtually all the signatories claim to idolize, advocated for and signed a treaty in 1988 that stated that “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever … may be invoked as a justification of torture” and that “each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offenses under its criminal law.” The taboo is on “all acts of torture,” not its “expansive use” — whatever that means.

But the group signing this anti-Trump letter can’t pretend to find an embrace of torture itself to be “inexcusable” because most of them implemented torture policies while in government or vocally advocated for them. So instead, they invoke the Goldilocks Theory of Torture: We believe in torture up to exactly the right point, while Trump is disgraceful because he wants to go beyond that; he believes in “the expansive use of torture.” The same dynamic drove yesterday’s widely cheered speech by Mitt Romney, where the two-time failed GOP candidate denounced Trump for advocating torture while literally ignoring his own clear pro-torture viewpoints.

Riaz Haq said...

As 7th largest immigrant population, #Pakistanis not eligible for US diversity visa. #Pakistan #America #Immigration

According to the US law, diversity laws are only allowed to counties that have low rates of immigrants, said US consulate in Karachi’s spokesperson Brian Asmus, during a media tour of the Karachi consulate’s visa section on Friday. Pakistan had 104,000 immigrants in the 10 years between 2005 and 2014, he said, explaining why Pakistanis are no longer eligible.

The state department has only stopped diversity visas and there are a lot of other options, such as petitions, student, visit and exchange programme visas, which come under the non-immigrant category. “One can always apply for immigrant visa if they have immediate family in the US,” explained US consulate’s Non-Immigrant Visa chief Mary Pellegrini.

She also explained that it takes around one year for spouse and children, two years for parents and, for siblings, the time can vary up to a decade.

Nevertheless, the Pakistanis who have managed to immigrate are doing pretty well. According to a recent survey, an average Pakistani in the US earns $63,000 every year while an average US citizen earns only $51,000 a year, said Asmus.

Asmus dismissed the misconception that fewer Pakistanis are able to get visa for the US. The percentage of applications is increasing every year and the number of Pakistani citizens getting visas has also increased by 20% between 2014 and 2015, and another 20% between 2015 and 2016, he said.

The US Consulate in Karachi only deals in non-immigrant visas while immigrants visas are dealt at the embassy in Islamabad. Last year, the consulate issued a total of 72,000 visas across the country. So far in 2016, the US consulate in Karachi has issued a total of 14,400 visas.

Riaz Haq said...

#Islamabad warns against extending US #MuslimBan to #Pakistan. Will withhold coop if #travelban applied. … via @FT

Islamabad has warned the US that it will reduce its co-operation with Washington in the fight against Islamist militants if Pakistan is added to the list of countries covered by President Donald Trump’s controversial visa ban.

Pakistani officials have told the Financial Times that a move by Mr Trump to put their county on the list of those for whom visas are banned would hamper joint efforts to fight extremism, especially in Afghanistan. This follows comments from the White House chief of staff suggesting the travel ban could be extended to other countries, including Pakistan.

The US still has around 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, and has found its attempts to reduce those numbers hampered by counter-attacks by the Taliban.

While Pakistan has been criticised in the past for not doing enough to stop homegrown terrorism, the Pakistani military has handed over hundreds of suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda militants to the US following the 9/11 attacks.

One senior Pakistani official warned: “If the US puts a ban on our travellers, how can we continue supporting the US in the same manner? The [US-Pakistan] alliance will automatically get scaled down if there is a US ban [on travellers from Pakistan].”

Another warned: “Washington risks endangering its Afghanistan stabilisation project.”

The head of a prominent Pakistani business group said: “Progress made by the US in defeating the Taliban and al-Qaeda will be undone if the US scales down relations with Pakistan.”

The warnings came on Monday, a day after Reince Priebus, White House chief of staff, suggested that the no-visa policy already implemented for seven Muslim countries could be extended to Pakistan.

Mr Priebus told CBS News: “You can point to other countries that have similar problems like Pakistan and others — perhaps we need to take it further.”

Experts said Mr Priebus’s comments marked a significant escalation in the immigration policy by involving a nuclear-armed country with which the US often co-operates closely.

Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, senior fellow for South Asia at the International institute for Strategic Studies, said: “We have seen the Americans provide funding to Pakistan for their defence programme and particularly for their efforts in Afghanistan, where they have strong joint interests.”

Mr Roy-Chaudhury predicted that Islamabad might react to any extension of the visa ban by restricting visas to American security and intelligence personnel, as has happened during previous diplomatic rows.

Officials in Pakistan have been trying to work out what Mr Trump’s election means for their relationship with the US, which will spend $860m this financial year in aid to the south Asian country.

Mr Trump has in the past criticised Pakistan for harbouring terrorists, and in 2012 called on the country to apologise for “providing a safe sanctuary to Osama bin Laden for six years”.

In December, however, he delighted Islamabad with a gushing phone call to Nawaz Sharif, Pakistani prime minister, in which he called Pakistan a “fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people”.