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No Room for Moderates

Pakistan now ranks number four among countries where Christians are most persecuted
By The News · 11 of April 2017 09:25:50
Pakistani students light candles to condemn the recent attack on a shrine in interior Sind province, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 in Karachi, Pakistan, Pakistani students light candles to condemn the recent attack on a shrine in interior Sind province, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 in Karachi, Pakistan. An Islamic State suicide bomber targeted worshippers at a famous shrine in southern Pakistan on Thursday, killing dozens of worshippers and left hundreds of people wounded, officials said. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil), photo: AP/Shakil Adil

Pakistan is not on President Donald Trump’s list of predominantly Muslim countries whose citizens he wants temporarily banned from entry into the United States, but it should be.

A massive terrorist attack last month by the Islamic State (I.S.) terror group at a Sufi shrine killing at least 88 people (just three days after a suicide bomb in Lahore) is clear evidence that the Muhammad Nawaz Sharif administration does not have terrorism in check.

The brutal attack also demonstrated the ability of radical jihadists to increasingly silence moderate and tolerant voices in the nuclear-armed South Asian nation, and a surge in anti-Sufism.

During the same 48 hours surrounding the Sehwan Sharif shrine attack, two Indian Sufi clerics also went missing in Pakistan, allegedly detained by authorities because of their “suspicious” movements, although they were later released after formal complaints from New Delhi.

And it’s not just the Sufis that are paying the price of a growing intolerance in Pakistan.

Other Muslim minorities — including Shi’ites — are being systematically imprisoned and murdered because of their faith.

And according to the Open Doors USA 2017 Watch List, Pakistan now ranks number four among countries where Christians are most persecuted.

Under the dubious tutelage and bankrolling of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan is sadly leaning more and more away from tolerant Islam and more and more toward xenophobic Wahhabism.

Meanwhile, the number of terror groups operating inside Pakistan is growing, and currently includes an ominous Who’s Who of jihadist fanatic organizations encompassing not only I.S., but also the Taliban, the Haqqani network, al-Qaeda and countless others.

Moreover, Pakistan has been providing safe harbor for a chilling pageant of terror leaders and Islamic militants.

Pakistan is the second-largest country of origin for foreign terrorist attacks in the United States (right after Saudi Arabia).

Since 1975, a total of 14 Pakistani nationals have been charged with terror-related activities in the United States, including Tashfeen Malik, one of the perpetrators of the 2015 San Bernardino attack that killed 14 people and injured 22 others.

And, lest we forget, Pakistan was Osama bin Laden’s command post for his diabolic 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, and it was in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad where he was finally tracked down and killed by U.S. forces.

There is strong and well-founded suspicion that Islamabad intelligence was well aware of Bin Laden’s whereabouts the entire time.

Pakistan may pretend to play footsie with the West, but it remains a hotbed of jihadist extremism and intolerance, and should be on every anti-terrorism watch list.

Thérèse Margolis can be reached at therese.margolis@gmail.com.