Pakistan could be in trouble, as U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign two executive orders barring immigrants from seven Muslim countries from entering the United States. On Wednesday, Trump reportedly signed a controversial order temporarily barring Muslims from seven countries – Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia.
While the seven countries on Trump’s so-called Muslim ban list include some of those with large Islamic populations and where there is a high terrorist threat, some might say that Pakistan fits the criteria perfectly. And while the nation with 195 million population, approximately 97% of whom are Muslims, hasn’t been included on the Muslim ban list yet, there is a high chance Trump could add Pakistan, along with Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, to the list.
High chance Pakistan could be included on the Muslim ban list
There are several reasons Pakistan could be included on Trump’s Muslim ban list. First of all, Pakistan’s proximity to war-torn Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran (the latter two are already on the list) increases its chances of getting on the infamous list.
Second of all, the U.S. believes Pakistan has for years sheltered terrorist elements, while India’s claims about its traditional enemy allegedly harboring terrorist groups don’t exactly cleanse Pakistan’s reputation on its involvement in terrorism. Third of all, the mention of Pakistan has regularly popped up during terrorist attacks on the U.S. in recent years.
History of Pakistan’s involvement in terrorism in the U.S.
On December 2, 2015, 14 people were killed in the San Bernardino shooting, which was carried out by a Pakistan-born lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
The even-more headline-making Orlando nightclub shooting in June 2016 killed 49 people and wounded 53 others. The terrorist attack/hate crime was carried out by an American-born U.S. citizen of Afghan descent. In December, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani accused Pakistan of exporting terror to his country.
In May 2010, a Pakistan-born resident of the U.S. attempted to carry out a terrorist attack in Times Square in Manhattan, New York. A year later, when United States Navy SEALs killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, then-President Barack Obama accused Pakistan of sheltering terrorists.
Obama’s accusations on Pakistan’s links to terrorism were the turning point in relations between the U.S. and Pakistan, which were once close allies. In recent years, Islamabad has been accused of not doing enough to eliminate terror groups operating from its territory.
As the new U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly said, he wants to keep Muslim immigrants who might harm Americans from entering the U.S., there’s a high chance Pakistan could still be included on his infamous Muslim ban list, given the country’s involvement in terrorist attacks in the U.S. in recent years.
What should Pakistan expect from Trump’s Muslim ban?
At this point, it’s unclear how the new U.S. administration perceives Pakistan, given that the Obama administration believed that Islamabad is sponsoring terrorism in the war-ridden region. However, it’s probably safe to say that if Trump doesn’t officially ban Pakistanis from entering the U.S., the nation’s citizens should probably expect in-person interviews with American immigration officers and additional security checks at U.S. airports involving special security screenings.
And even if Pakistanis manage to get into the U.S. through the nerve-wracking interviews and thorough security checks at airports, they would still be viewed differently by Americans, making them feel like “second-class” people and completely out of place, not to mention the suspicious gazes from Americans.
Trump to reintroduce torture and secret overseas “black sites”
While Trump’s temporary ban against the Islamic countries is expected to last several months until the U.S. adopts a permanently stricter border policy, Trump is also considering enhancing enforcement power for border agents and reintroducing torture techniques at the border. In addition to keeping refugees and some visa holders from the Muslim countries from entering the U.S., Trump reportedly wants to reintroduce secret overseas “black site” prisons that allow agents to interrogate terrorism suspects.
The new executive orders, which also include building the infamous wall on the border with Mexico, are expected to drastically change how America deals with immigration, border security and the fight against terrorism. It would also drastically reshape U.S. relations with the Muslim countries on the list, as the move has already fueled anger around the world.
During his presidential campaign, Trump was hell-bent on cracking down on immigrants entering the U.S. illegally. He insisted that America had become too “politically correct” to actually defend Americans from terrorism threats.
Trump: “You’re going to see” if we’ll ban Pakistan
In an interview with ABC News on Thursday, Trump addressed his controversial Muslim ban and revealed the chances of Pakistan being included in the list. In his first-ever media interview after his inauguration, he reiterated his campaign pledges to ban immigrants from Islamic countries. The President said it’s not his intention to ban all Muslim, only those coming from countries with high terrorist threats.
“No it is not the Muslim ban. But it is countries that have tremendous terror,” Trump told David Muir of ABC News.
Trump added that he’ll ban the countries from which “people are going to come in and cause us tremendous problems.” He insisted that the U.S. is already having “enough problems” and reiterated that there are people who want to enter the country to do “tremendous destruction.”
When the ABC News host asked Trump if people from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia will be included on the Muslim ban list, he gave a very ambiguous answer.
“You’re going to see — you’re going to see,” Trump said, adding that America would do “extreme vetting” in all cases from now on.
He also said that his country won’t allow anyone in if there is “even a little chance” they could harm America.