According to Time (October 15, 2019) “Pakistan Faces Blacklisting Over Terrorism Financing and Money Laundering”. A report earlier this month by the Asia Pacific Group of the Financial Action Task Force, a global watchdog which monitors Pakistan’s progress, was not encouraging. It found Pakistan had fully implemented only one item from a list of 40 measures that the country should be taking to curb terrorist financing and money laundering. However, this terrorist-supporting country can take comfort from a recent visit by Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Many readers, like me, thought that Cambridge was a university town on the River Cam and had plenty of ducks and no need of dukes. But this foolish couple, possibly falling foul of bad advise from those who should know better, have just been on a visit designed to make Pakistan look good. The Pakistani government hopes that an official visit by the Cambridges will improve the country’s image as both a tourist and business destination, despite many years of sectarian violence.
Living in their cloud-cuckoo land, they may not have heard of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death by hanging in Pakistan in 2010. The charge was brought after a dispute with a neighbour. After a world-wide outcry, her death sentence was reduced to many years in prison.
The “Royal” couple may not know that Pakistan is a corrupt anti-western and anti-Jewish country. In Pakistan, Sharia law is the only law and Christians, ostensibly sharing the Duke’s own religion, are persecuted all over the country.
Students in public colleges and universities across Pakistan start their classes by walking over an Israeli flag painted on the floor. Friday sermons in mosques feature clerics calling for the destruction of the Jewish state. The Pakistani passport is the only one in the world which says that its holder can travel anywhere on it, except Israel.
But this is of no importance to the “Royal” couple.
More than 1,000 Pakistani police will be deployed to watch over the couple as they make their way across the country. It was not clear if the police are to protect the visitors or to stop Pakistanis getting close enough to tell them just how bad life is in the terrorist state.
The couple had to make the usual comments about Global Warming and witnessed a “retreating glacier” in the Chitral district. I was reminded of Mark Twain’s attempts to ride a glacier (recorded in A Tramp Abroad) when he is told that the glacier is moving down the valley. He is disappointed, after standing on the glacier for nearly ten minutes waiting for it to move, when he learns that it takes thousands of years to move just a few yards. I wonder how far the Chitral glacier retreated while the royals were observing it.
Although the glacier may not have obliged, six Pakistani ministers did. They rapidly retreated from a reception held by the British High Commission in the royal couple’s honour, apparently in protest at their place at the gathering. Perhaps the shameless Duke and Duchess should have walked out in protest at Pakistan’s horrific record in just about every aspect of life, both internally and internationally.
Instead of meaningless prattle about climate change, they could have made the world aware of the fate of the Kalash people, a non-Muslim minority population. They happily watched a Kalash traditional dance but did not get the full story. Living in the Kalash Valley, in the Chitral District, these polytheistic people have their own traditions and beliefs. Once the majority in the valley, inward migration by Muslims has made the Kalash the minority.
The Muslim migrants are imposing their faith on the Kalash people. There have been many forced conversions to Sunni Islam. In 2014, the Pakistan Taliban called for “armed struggle” against the Kalashis, demanding they convert to Islam or be killed.
A lost opportunity for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to say something of real importance.