It is done. Donald Trump has been inaugurated as the president of the United States. An openly racist, Islamophobic, and misogynistic bigot has been sworn in to the most powerful office in the world. Assuming his new responsibilities with a speech that struck an unapologetically strident and nationalistic tone, Trump gave little reason to believe that the realities of rule will temper the tenor of his rhetoric or the aggressive parochialism of his beliefs.

Is Trump bad news? Yes. Are his years in power going to be marked by controversy and despair in the United States and around the world? Almost certainly. There are some who would argue that Donald Trump is only exceptional for exposing America’s inherent illiberalism, laying bare the intolerance and insensitivity that have always been experienced by the country’s underprivileged classes, its racial, religious, and sexual minorities, and the victims of its foreign policy around the world. There is an element of truth to this view, although it ignores the very real ways in which Donald Trump’s ascendancy threatens to undo even the moderate amounts of progress made in America over the years; for millions of LGBTQ people, women, people of colour, and the poor, Trump’s America is likely to be a darker, more oppressive place than it was under his predecessors.

In Pakistan, public reaction to Trump’s election largely been greeted with indifference. Even as the government does what it can to adapt itself to the new global reality and decipher the intentions of the incoming American administration, most Pakistanis remain unconcerned about Trump, continuing to view him through the same prism as successive US presidents over the last two decades; for many people, Trump is nothing more than the titular head of an evil empire that has long been working against Pakistan and will continue to do so in the years ahead. The pathologies of American foreign policy in this part of the world, and the factors perpetuating anti-American narratives within Pakistan, are a subject for another time. However, it is interesting to note that even by Pakistan’s standards, Trump’s anti-Muslim sentiments appear to be beyond the pale and to the extent that he represents something new, Trump is seen by many Pakistanis as someone who will usher in an era of unprecedented Muslim persecution and animosity towards Islam.

This is not a bad thing, and it would be incorrect to assume that there is no reason to be concerned about the future of the millions of Muslims living in the USA. What is more interesting is how the opprobrium directed towards Trump in Pakistan provides yet another demonstration of the hypocrisy and double standards at the heart of our society. Raising your voice for the oppressed should always be welcomed, but it is important to recognise that the principles underlying such acts of solidarity should not be selectively applied. It is one of contemporary Pakistan’s greatest ironies that many of the people who weep bitter tears about the fate of Muslims in the USA and other parts of the world are the same people who feel no compunction in turning around and using their own position of religious and ethnic privilege to denigrate, abuse, and coerce this country’s minorities.

When Donald Trump says that Muslims should be banned from entering the United States, or that they should be constantly monitored, the reaction in the print and social media in Pakistan is one that rightly castigates him for his cavalier willingness to ride roughshod over the rights of millions of people. Yet, at the same time, it is not difficult to find people in Pakistan supporting the forced conversion of Hindu children, or the forced eviction of Christian families, or the murder of Ahmadis. The cognitive dissonance at work here should be obvious; it is inconsistent to believe that Donald Trump is evil for persecuting minorities while endorsing the persecution of minorities at home, but that is precisely what many Pakistanis believe everyday.

To find more evidence for this, one need look no further than the reaction to the abduction of Salman Haider and four other social activists two weeks ago. Without a shred of evidence, a hateful campaign has been launched online to smear the activists with accusations of blasphemy, with posts taken from different Facebook pages allegedly run by them being constantly shared as evidence of their misdeeds. The irony of sharing allegedly blasphemous material, thereby spreading more blasphemy, is clearly lost on the self-appointed defenders of the faith currently baying for the blood of so-called ‘liberal fascists’, ‘secular traitors’, and ‘foreign agents’. Earlier this week, protestors in Karachi demanding the return of the missing activists were assaulted by members of yet another militant religious organization acting with predictable impunity, and Jibran Nasir, an activist who has been relentlessly campaigning against religious extremism and upholding the rule of law, has constantly been accused of blasphemy himself for daring to suggest that the missing activists should be produced before a court of law.

When Trump attacks Muslims, it is bad. When the Modi government in India turns a blind eye to the activities of violent Hindu nationalists, it is bad. When Israel builds settlements on Palestinian land, it is bad. But when Pakistanis openly support the oppression of minority beliefs and points of view, when they laud the absence of due process in dealing with dissent, when they cheer authoritarian crackdowns on anyone who refuses to toe the official religious line, it is completely and totally justified. Trump might prove to be an utter nightmare, but Pakistan clearly has demons of its own to deal with.