While the Foreign Office (FO) and by extension the Pakistan government, has expressed a willingness to work with the Trump Administration, the new US President has other ideas. While Pakistan is not on the list of countries that will face the temporary (indefinite) ban on entry, Mr Trump, in his first interview as President, revealed that Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia would be subject to “… extreme vetting. And I mean extreme”.

This comes directly after the FO signalling the turning over a new leaf in the relationship between two countries. Even though all of the Pakistani Foreign Office’s optimism has come to naught, this is not something out of the blue, or something that could have been pre-empted. Mr Trump’s election campaign was based on racial divide (and stricter border control, with Muslims being the keyword) with divisive strategies. Pakistan’s Muslim majority and reputation of being a country with terrorism was never going to give it a friendly edge when dealing with the new US administration.

Whether or not the term “radical Islamic terrorism” is justified or not (according to the FO, it isn’t) is a moot point now, because the President of the US is using it as a foreign policy tool. What Pakistan thinks now is unimportant, as its citizens will have to undergo “extreme vetting” regardless. Make no mistake; it was hard to get a US visa for Pakistani citizens before this, it might be practically impossible for the average citizen to get one now.

Pakistan’s experience with the Trump administration, while still in its early stages, has not really given much to pin our hopes on. The congratulatory phone call between Mr Trump and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was quickly dismissed as fiction, and backfired horribly. The FO’s declaration of intent was quickly shut down with Trump’s own declaration, and it is hard to see how the relations with the US will improve if our people are not even welcome in the country anymore.

Pakistan is not bereft of friends, or even global powers, with its alliance with China a key foreign policy tool against the rapidly forming connection between the US and India, with the latter keeping Afghanistan on its side as a means to isolate Pakistan. Seeking closer ties with Russia should be key for Pakistan moving forward, and while there is no need for Pakistan to take this (very much expected) affront to heart, the government should also realise that its attempts to befriend the Trump administration might be altogether pointless.