Pakistani exiles speak out about country's religious extremism - CBC News - Latest Canada, World, Entertainment and Business News While much of the world is currently focused on the threat posed by ISIS, a Pakistani couple living in exile in the United States continues to speak out about the heavy cost of Islamic fundamentalism in their homeland. Also this week on The Sunday Edition: Michaelâ€™s Essay - Loving Oblomov: Michael recounts his failure to finish Tolstoyâ€™s War and Peace. On the first Sunday of autumn, he recommends instead Ivan Goncharov's lesser-known Oblomov. Hip Hop class - Essay: Rebecca Hass signs up for a dance class, and puts hip hop and hope together with surprising results. The art and craft of Alex Colville: The Art Gallery of Ontario is hosting a new exhibit of the Canadian painter's works. AGO director and CEO Matthew Teitelbaum will be our guide. Tribute to Bob Carty: We celeâ€‹brate the passion and brilliance of our colleague Bob Carty, who died on Sept. 21. Many of Bobâ€™s radio documentaries won international awards for investigative journalism and human rights, but we have chosen to broadcast one that â€‹demonstratesâ€‹ his sense of humour and his love of music. Itâ€™s called â€œBanjo Bob.â€ Husain Haqqani and Farahnaz Ispahani have spent their careers fighting to improve the lives of their fellow Pakistanis. Ms. Ispahani is a journalist and was a member of the Pakistani parliament, while Haqqani, her husband, was Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S. from 2008 to 2011. They are both passionate advocates of liberal, secular values, democracy and the rule of law â€“ and it has cost them. Both have received numerous death threats. Ispahani says that when her father was ill and dying, she could not go home because of threats from the Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Haqqani was forced to resign as ambassador in 2011 over allegations that he had sought U.S. help to head off a possible military coup, while Ispahani was stripped of her seat in parliament, ostensibly because she holds dual U.S.-Pakistani citizenship. They now live in Washington, D.C., where Haqqani is director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute and Ispahani was, up until recently, a public policy scholar at the Wilson Center. A few years ago the couple was included in Foreign Policy magazine's list of "Top 100 Global Thinkers,â€ for "pushing tough love for their troubled country." They both say religious violence in Pakistan is on the rise. Suicide bombings, so-called â€œhonour killingsâ€ and assassinations of members of the media, the judiciary and politicians accused of blasphemy have become so common as to be almost routine. â€œTime is running out,â€ says Ispahani in an interview with Michael Enright on CBC Radio's The Sunday Edition. â€œIt is escalating to a point where the state canâ€™t stop it if they wanted to.â€ â€˜Every world leaderâ€™s worst nightmareâ€™ In addition to being unable to prevent sectarian violence, successive Pakistani governments have failed to provide their citizens with basic necessities. About two-thirds of Pakistan's nearly 200 million people live on less than two dollars a day. And of course, Pakistan has the bomb. Farahnaz Ispahani Farahnaz Ispahani, a Pakistani journalist and academic now living in Washington, D.C., says that when her father was ill and dying, she could not go back home because of personal threats from the Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. (Wikipedia) â€‹ All this makes for a combustible mix. As former CBC foreign correspondent Brian Stewart once put it, â€œThe mere thought of Pakistan boiling over into unpredictable chaos is every world leaderâ€™s worst nightmare.â€ Many commentators regard it as â€œthe most dangerous nation in the world.â€ In recent months, Pakistan has been embroiled in a political crisis. Former cricket star Imran Khan and Canadian cleric Tahir ul-Qadri have been leading crowds of protesters through the streets of Islamabad, the capital, demanding the resignation of Pakistanâ€™s current prime minister, Nawaz Sharif. Although Haqqani and Ispahani are not political allies of Mr. Sharif, they deplore the attempt to topple a democratically elected government. â€œThey are tapping into the peopleâ€™s overall unhappiness at the governmentâ€™s inability to supply basic services," says Ispahani, who has written a forthcoming book about religious violence in Pakistan. â€œBut it is an orchestrated protest, designed to clip the wings of an elected civilian government. My husband and I come from a different political background to Mr. Sharif, so we donâ€™t have any personal interest in supporting him. But we do support him.â€ Ispahani and Haqqani point to Pakistanâ€™s military, with its emphasis on an almost permanent state of war with India, as the cause of many of the countryâ€™s problems, including religious extremism. â€œThe Pakistan military created jihadi groups to fight in India and in Kashmir. But during what I call their 'off-season,' when theyâ€™re not fighting elsewhere, these jihadi groups turn their focus back home," says Ispahani. "Some like killing Shias, some like killing Ahmadis, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs. The Pakistani military has created a monster. Because they need them sometimes, they canâ€™t turn them on and off at will.â€ â€˜Baying for bloodâ€™ Ispahani also blames "mob rule." â€œNo one has been put to death for the blasphemy laws by the state. But the number of people who have been targeted, murdered, burnt alive by mobs baying for blood, is huge. Thatâ€™s why I believe what Mr. Khan and Mr. Qadri are doing is so dangerous. They are conflating Islam and the anger of the youth about corruption and no jobs â€“ and unleashing it.â€ Husain Haqqani Husain Haqqani was forced to resign as Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. over allegations that he had sought U.S. help to head off a possible military coup. (Wikipedia) The couple agree that the West can have influence in Pakistan, by tying aid and business relationships to human rights. â€œThe rest of the world should not be doing business with a country where leaders like former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and countless others have been killed. There has been no human rights qualification. That is what we wish,â€ says Ispahani. â€œThe relationship with the west has been one of dependence, deception and defiance," says Haqqani, whose most recent book is called Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States and an Epic History of Misunderstanding. "I support engagement and economic assistance for the poor in Pakistan. But most of the aid has gone for primarily military purposes. The international community needs to stop allowing Pakistanâ€™s officials and its government to sell them a bill of goods, and get away with saying aid money is going to help the poor.â€ â€œPakistan is at that last moment where either reform comes, or we go further down the slippery slope," says Haqqani. â€œI would love to go back to Pakistan if I didnâ€™t feel physically threatened, I would like to make these arguments to my countrymen at home."