Jang Forum on Trump's policy & its Impact on Pakistan was held at Aman CED Main Campus
February 7: A 'Jang Forum' based on 'Trump's Policy and its Impact on Pakistan' was held at the Aman CED, Main Campus, with notable personalities Air Vice Marshal (r) Dr. M. Abid Rao, Mr. Sardar Ashraf Khan, Political-Economic Analyst, and Associate Professor Dr. Huma Baqai, voicing their opinions on this increasingly relevant topic. The forum was hosted by Mr. Akram Khan, Editor Jang Forum, Karachi, who thanked Dr. Huma for organizing this session.
Dr. Huma commenced the session by stating that Trump's policy is not new – rather it is something which has been happening since the 20th century. For instance, American immigration policy is known to be one of the toughest in the world. A similar policy was also seen towards the Jews post-World War I in America. To think that Trump is the one introducing anti-Muslim policies is a narrow perspective. Several major institutes have stated that Trump should adopt a more assertive policy towards Pakistan, in return for trade concessions. In addition, China should use similar measures towards Pakistan. 'However, such a policy will lead to a rise in negativity amongst the Pakistani populace,' elaborated Dr. Huma. 'A country which has trillions of dollars in debt like Pakistan cannot have an independent foreign policy.' She also expressed the dangers of targeting particular communities. 'America today is polarized; targeting is dangerous for any country, even America itself'.
The second speaker, Dr. M. Abid Rao, looked at this topic from a historical perspective. In the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Israel suffered heavy casualties. As a result, a policy was formulated between America and Israel which tried to curb the power of any country which could potentially harm Israel. Consequently, Americans systematically reduced the threat to themselves and Israel. Today, Pakistan has a strategic relationship with the US. On the one hand, we are blamed as a nation for exporting terrorism, but are also used to keep India's power in check.
The next speaker, Mr. Sardar Khan also spoke about the various shifts in American policy. In the era of former President Bush, there was a significant shift. Ultra-rightist Jews and Christians collaborated, and altered the direction of policy towards Islamic terrorism. Therefore, it is safe to say that Trump's ideology is not just his own opinion; it represents white supremacist and racist opinions. Moreover, this policy might also possibly help in garnering support for Muslims. This was seen in the recent incident of a mosque being burnt down in Houston, when 2500 people staged a demonstration in solidarity with Muslims.
Dr. Huma also added that there are new foreign policy alignments today. A convergence is seen in international relations – USA-Moscow and China-Pakistan. For Pakistan, Washington is an important world capital, but new capitals are emerging such as Beijing and Tehran. Thus, before reaching a conclusion about Trump's policies we should 'let the dust settle'.
After this, the floor was opened for questions. Dr. Huma advised the students to take a stand against these policies and not just be a bystander. A question was also asked about the possibility of Pakistan's name being included in the travel ban. According to Dr. Huma, this will not happen especially after the court order suspending the ban. An interesting question was raised about how western countries give greater rights to citizens from Muslim countries compared to the Muslim world itself. To this, Dr. Huma replied that essentially, the world works on self-interest to which Mr. Abid added a little about the strict travelling restrictions imposed on Pakistanis by Kuwait.
Overall, it was quite an enlightening session with several aspects of Trump's policies discussed. One wishes that the Jang Forum holds more of these insightful talks in the future.