— When the army and police trucks prowl through affluent areas in this sprawling garrison city, headlights flashing and riflemen at the ready, residents breathe a sigh of relief.

But when the trucks enter certain shabbier neighborhoods, home to a mix of Afghan refugees, migrants and ethnic Afghan Pashtuns, children scatter and adults wonder who may be taken away next.

Since the Pakistani security forces launched a nationwide anti-terrorist operation in Februaryafter a spate of suicide bombings, Pashtun leaders have complained vociferously that their communities are being targeted for harassment and racial profiling, especially here in Punjab Province.

Traditionally based in the northwest region bordering Afghanistan, Pashtuns who migrate or flee south to the Punjabi heartland have often been viewed as suspect outsiders, disdained by some as backward tribal people or war refugees with a penchant for crime and violence.

Now they have been further tarred by the Afghan and Pashtun origins of the militants who claimed most of the recent bombings, which took more than 125 lives; one blast ripped through a crowded public square in Lahore, the Punjab capital. 

 

Read the whole story from The Washington Post.

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