Yesterday we explored the argument, made by Foreign Policy's David Rothkopf, that U.S. Tea Party protesters should move to Pakistan. Rothkopf's satirical point was that the Tea Party agenda could find much to like in Pakistan: Guns are everywhere, taxes are frequently avoided, religion is prevalent, and foreign immigrants are unpopular. But U.S.-based Pakistani blogger and analyst Kalsoom Lakhani doesn't find Rothkopf's comparison at all amusing.
Lakhani takes issue with Rothkopf's flippant treatment of all 170 million Pakistanis as uniformly gun-toting, tax evading religious zealots. "Is Rothkopf being facetious? Of course. Was he successful? Not really," she writes. She singles out his comment that Pakistan is rooted in "the values and outlook of centuries ago" as misguided and wrong.
I am not denying that Pakistan as a whole tilts more right of center, (when I asked the Twitterverse to weigh in on the issue of Pakistan’s right-wing, @umairjav noted that politically it’s about 30-35 percent right-wing, and about 95 percent socio-culturally right-wing). Regimes in the last 40 years have also approved legislation that have increasingly legitimized intolerance and violence towards Pakistan’s minorities, and the paranoia among the 'right wing' has been discussed at length. But to paint an entire country with the same brushstroke as a right-wing socio-political movement? That’s offensive.
She is joined by journalist Alexander Lobov, who writes of Rothkopf's piece: "[p]roblem is that it's really poorly written, primitive satire with less nuance than Sarah Palin's policy platform." Lakhani has a suggestion of her own: "Maybe the better solution would be for Pakistan’s militants to run away with American Tea Party supporters. That way we're both rid of them."