While thousands of people from all walks of life and religions across the United States are waging nationwide protest against President Trump’s ban on Syrian refugees and travelers from seven Muslim countries, a statement by PTI chief Imran Khan to include Pakistan in the list has stunned Pakistani Americans.
In a report published in a Pakistani newspaper on Sunday, Khan said he would pray that President Trump bans Pakistani visas as well, apparently suggesting that Pakistan be clubbed with the countries which is a source of concern for the new Trump administration with regard to terrorism.
“How can someone who called himself a national leader make such an irresponsible statement? While making such a statement, he clearly missed the underline assumption of this whole affair,” said Mr. Fitzerald Lewis, an attorney of Pakistani descent while talking to APP here. He said it was unimaginable that any national leader would make such a reckless statement.
Through an executive order this weekend, President Trump suspended the program that allowed Syrian refugee entry to the United States, in addition to banning foreign nationals from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia aimed at what the President said screen out “radical Islamic terrorists”.
While Mr. Trump’s order is largely seen and interpreted by legal, immigration and rights activists as targeting Muslims, the President defended his order saying it was not a Muslim ban but about the concerns over terrorism. “If you take Mr. Trump’s statement at the face value, what Mr. Khan’s proposal means is that Pakistan should also be listed alongside countries which the new administration is concerned about in terms of terrorism,” said Dr. Asadullah Mir, a Pakistani American educationist. He observed that by implication, such a suggestion by the PTI chief spells disaster for the country as it will strengthen the hands of those anti-Pakistani lawmakers and the Indian lobby which are trying for years to designate Pakistan as a terrorist state.
“Putting in simple words, what Mr. Khan is praying for is that may Mr. Trump designate Pakistan as a terrorist state,” he said and demanded that the government and patriotic Pakistani must take notice of such a damaging statement which may cause irreparable damage to our national interests.
Mr. Hamid Malik, another Pakistani American and President of Pakistan Link USA , termed Mr. Khan’s remarks as the statement against all Muslims which have badly hurt the sentiments of Pakistani Americans and have brought shame to the country.
‘Our Muslim friends from other countries who have seen or heard of Mr. Khan’s statement are baffled that someone who calls himself a Muslim can make such a statement at a time when Mr. Trump’s order is causing so much trouble to thousands of Muslim families in the United States,” he added
Since the issuance of order, protests have broken out in several American cities, including the capital Washington where thousands of people gathered outside the White House to demand the President to withdraw the order.