As a young man I was quite enthralled of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Laureate and state counselor of Myanmar/Burma. She seemed very personable and brave to be standing up to the military regime in her country. As a Pakistani, I knew a thing or two about military regimes, of the Zia-ul-Haq variety at the time, and what it takes to stand up to them. But then in the early two thousands, her silence on the Rohingya persecution, irreparably shattered the romanticized myth I had built of her as a courageous crusader for democracy and human rights. I still however, maintained a vague hope that perhaps she was being politic and keeping silent to meet the larger objective of easing out the military in Myanmar. But my optimism was short lived. Her comment, caught on camera during an interview with BBC’s Mishal Hussein, told me that she was not just being a politic, she in fact, was a xenophobic, anti-Muslim and anti-Rohingya charlatan. In exasperation at Mishal’s pointed questions about her role in the persecution of the Rohingya she said, “I did not know they were sending a Muslim to interview me”. Any doubts about who she was should have been settled for the world community there and then.Just as Suu Kyi’s concern with democracy and rights is limited to the Buddhist Burmese citizens — Pakistan, too, makes it clear that it’s concerns for protecting the rights of persecuted minorities is limited exclusively to the ‘Muslim minorities’ Pakistani state too has remarkably reinforced for me, and revealed to the world, what it is through the Rohingya tragedy. It has revealed its Islamist chauvinism through its official statement on the tragedy. The statement rightly expresses the anguish and concern of Pakistan at the ongoing persecution of the Rohingya people, at the beginning of the statement. But then the last paragraph of the statement is as follows:“In line with its consistent position on protecting the rights of Muslim minorities worldwide, Pakistan will work with the international community, in particular the OIC to express solidarity with the Rohingya Muslims and to work towards safeguarding their rights [sic]”Just as Suu Kyi’s concern with democracy and rights is limited to the Buddhist Burmese citizens, Pakistan too makes it clear above that it’s concerns for protecting the rights of persecuted minorities is limited to the ‘Muslim minorities’ only. Just as Aung San Suu Kyi evidently couldn’t care less for the rights of the Muslims, Pakistan evidently couldn’t care less if they were non-Muslim. Pakistan’s silence on the ongoing holocaust in Congo — 6 million dead and counting — or Tibetans in China, or Catholics in East Timor back when, has been quite consistent in that register.Anyone, besides a Pakistani, reading the above statement would not understand why Pakistanis complain about the discrimination and Islamophobia in the West. Or the West’s indifference to the plight of the Palestinians or the Kashmiris. It is evidently reasonable that we limit our sympathies for the Muslims alone. It is not reasonable for the right wing in the West, of the Donald Trump and Fox news variety to not limit itself to solidarity only with its own white Christian kind? Or is it that they claim to be champions of human rights, and hence they should pay attention to all human rights? And we only claim to be champions of Muslims so, we should only be asked to worry about Muslims?Pakistan’s ‘consistent’ position on the Rohingya’s in Myanmar notwithstanding, how much better is the Pakistan’s treatment of close to one million Rohingya’s living within its own borders? My research team spent three years working with the Rohingya community in the Bin Qasim Town of Karachi. The tales to emerge from there were horrific to say the least. Rohingya’s are denied any rights of citizenship by the state, even though they have been living in the country, for 30-50 years. They cannot get CNICs and hence their children can’t go to government schools, they cannot access health or any government services. They are perpetually harassed by law enforcement — they can’t even travel or get a job — all of them requiring the production of a CNIC under our recent National Action Plan. What is left for the Rohingya, especially young Rohingya to do in Karachi then? Obviously, petty crime, blackmail by the police and political parties, drugs and back breaking soul searing poverty and deprivation. But our hearts bleed all the same for their kinsmen in Myanmar. Fredrich Nietzsche, the famous German philosopher once said, “Beware, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster . . . ” We rightly fight and resent, at least in word, if not in deed, the monsters of racism, Islamophobia, discrimination, and hypocritical application of human rights in the West. But have we become the monster we fight? If not, then expressing solidarity with all persecuted minorities in the world; and issuing CNIC to the Rohingya Pakistanis might be an excellent start. The writer is a reader in Politics and Environment at the Department of Geography, King’s College, London. His research includes water resources, hazards and development geography. He also publishes and teaches on critical geographies of violence and terror Published in Daily Times, September 7th 2017.