Pakistani Lawmakers Decry U.S. Airport Profiling
In January, after the Department of Homeland Security announced that citizens of 14 (mostly Muslim) “terror-prone” countries would face extra security screening at U.S. airports, I wrote a piece predicting a backlash. The U.S. was trying to convince Pakistan, for instance, that it was looking out for Pakistani interests — right as Pakistanis themselves were facing full-body screening. Kalsoom Lakhani, a Pakistani citizen who directs a Pakistan-based philanthropic organization, told me the new rules make her “nervous to travel.”
Sure enough, last week, the State Department brought a group of Pakistani legislators to the U.S. on a goodwill tour. It ended in what The New York Times calls a “public relations fiasco” after — of course — the dignitaries were told they’d be pulled out of a security line at a New Orleans airport and frisked. Instead, they refused to board their plane. Now, back home, they’re heroes. And we’re villains. One of them told a radio host: “Going through a body scan makes you naked, and in making you naked, they make the whole country naked.”
Imagine you’re a Pakistani official. You make a risky decision to start arresting your former proxies in the Afghan Taliban after years of American pressure. And this is how your legislators are treated by the Americans? How would you respond?