Reasonable stance by FO

THE travel ban imposed by the new US administration against seven Muslim countries is being debated hotly not only in the United States itself but throughout globe as it has ramifications for the super power as well as for other countries besides its direct relevance to core values and principles that govern international relations. Though Pakistan is not included in list but word from Washington is that visitors from country might undergo extreme vetting process.
The official stance of Government of Pakistan, though ambiguous, can be described as cautious and reasonable in given circumstances. Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria, during his weekly press briefing on Thursday, remarked that it is every country’s sovereign right to decide its immigration policy but added that the countries would be well advised to adopt policies that are not susceptible to be exploited as propaganda tools by entities wishing to see cracks in the coalition against extremism and terrorism along religious lines. Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan also adopted almost similar stance while delivering a speech at the National Defence University in Islamabad when he said that shutting borders cannot ensure security and called for greater international collaboration to fight the menace of terrorism. We believe that stance adopted by Pakistan is close to ground realities as every country can take measures to protect and safeguard its rights but this should not be done at the cost of regional or global cooperation against a menace or denying some nations right of regional and global collaboration for socio-economic development. The United States is a country of immense resources and technological advances and it should not be difficult for its officials in this age of globalisation to issue visas through a stricter and secure mechanism but there should be no blanket restriction on an entire country, nation or community. Unfortunately, there is general impression that only Muslims are being targeted and this impression has gained further currency as the latest reports speak of targeting only ‘Islamic terrorism’ while the universal consensus is that there should be no discrimination in this regard and terrorist should be regarded as terrorist irrespective of his or her faith or nationality.

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